California Sun

Good morning. It's Thursday, Feb. 20.

Governor calls out "disgrace" of homeless crisis.
Gang motive suspected in killing of rap star.
And mesmerizing pictures of Marilyn Monroe.



Gov. Gavin Newsom focused almost his entire State of the State address on homelessness. California, he noted, is the richest state in a rich nation — and yet homelessness surged 16 percent last year. "Let's call it what it is," he said, "a disgrace." Among his proposals: exempting shelters from environmental review; lowering the bar to involuntary psychiatric care, and creating a new permanent funding source for homeless services. That last idea could mean more taxes, analysts said. A.P. | Sacramento Bee

A Republican leader criticized Newsom for what he didn't discuss: a plan to boost home building, high-speed rail woes, and the "devastating" gig economy law. LAist


President Trump arrived to a legislation signing rally in Bakersfield on Wednesday.

David McNew/Getty Images

Addressing a crowd of farmers in Bakersfield, President Trump signed off on a federal plan to divert more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for agricultural use to the south. Trump portrayed California as abounding in water that was being mindlessly dumped into the ocean. But that was going to change, he said: "All the farmland will be green and beautiful."

Newsom announced plans to sue. The delta, environmentalists say, is already so strained that fish species are going extinct and animals higher up the food chain are starving. Fresno Bee | Bakersfield Californian


Raymond Figueroa, left, and Patrick Jones died in the fire.

Porterville Fire Department

Two 13-year-old boys were arrested on suspicion of starting a library fire that left two firefighters dead in the San Joaquin Valley town of Porterville. Police officials said they believed the boys, who were seen running from the library, ignited the blaze intentionally. The victims were identified as Raymond Figueroa, 35, and Patrick Jones, 25.

Officials said Figueroa became trapped in the library after going in to ensure everyone had escaped. At some point the roof collapsed. Jones, who had recently gotten engaged to marry, is also believed to have gotten stuck inside. Fresno Bee | YourCentralValley


California legalized marijuana in 2016, yet the state government continues to disqualify job candidates who test positive for the drug. Last year, for example, more than 1,000 applicants for state correctional officer jobs were rejected for cannabis. That's led to legislative efforts to amend employment rules. L.A. Times


Marilyn Monroe went over her lines during the filming of "The Misfits."

Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

Nobody photographed Marilyn Monroe like Eve Arnold, the first female member of Magnum Photos. In 1960, the photographer spent two months with Monroe on the set of "The Misfits" in the Nevada desert. The images she captured are haunting. "My most poignant memory of Marilyn is of how distressed, troubled, and still radiant she looked," Arnold recalled. Within 18 months of shooting, Monroe would be dead. Magnum Photos | Vintage Everyday

It was on this day in 1948, before she rocketed to fame, that Monroe was crowned the Artichoke Queen of Castroville. California Sun


Northern California


Judicial officials reacted angrily after ICE agents arrested at least two unauthorized immigrants at a Sonoma County courthouse, flouting a new state law banning such arrests. Proponents of the law say it ensures victims and witnesses can safely seek justice. ICE's response: "Our officers will not have their hands tied by sanctuary rules." A.P. | Sacramento Bee

The Trump administration is deploying elite Border Patrol units to Los Angeles and San Francisco as part of a crackdown in sanctuary cities across the country. N.Y. Times | Reuters


A map shows the borders of a proposed Greater Idaho.

Greater Idaho

A movement is gaining momentum to absorb conservative parts of Oregon and northern California into neighboring Idaho. The Greater Idaho campaign, experts say, has no chance, but it illustrates just how alienated some rural counties feel in the otherwise liberal states. An Oregon legislator likes the idea so much he hung a poster of the proposed map in his office. Oregonian | Washington Post


Today's reminder that there are good people in the world:

Raj Singh, a Sacramento-area cabbie, was driving a 92-year-old woman to the bank, when she mentioned that the IRS had called to tell her she owed $25,000. She was on her way to get the money. Sensing a scam, Singh tried to talk her out it, but she was determined. Then let's run it by the police station, Singh suggested. She agreed. There, Singh explained the situation to an officer, who convinced the woman that, yes, she was being scammed. Singh took the woman home, her bank account saved. CNN


Southern California


Pop Smoke performed in London last November.

Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Pop Smoke, a rising rap star whose legal name is Bashar Jackson, was fatally shot during a home invasion at his house in the Hollywood Hills, the police said. He was 20. Officials trying to ascertain what happened were looking at a possible motive of gang rivalry. Pop Smoke was tied to the Crips street gang. L.A. Times | ABC7


A small farming town in Kern County rejected a proposal to convert two prisons into ICE facilities on Tuesday. The next day the mayor, who supported the plan, announced his resignation. The proposal would have brought millions of dollars to McFarland, which desperately needs the money, yet failed to overcome an outcry from residents in the heavily Latino town. Desert Sun


A lawyer for Julian Assange said Dana Rohrabacher, the former Orange County congressman, conveyed an offer from President Trump to pardon the WikiLeaks founder if he absolved Russia of hacking Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign. Rohrabacher and the White House both denied the report. Assange's lawyer said he had evidence. Washington Post | Daily Beast


KTLA made its feelings clear while airing a press conference with Astros second baseman José Altuve.


In case there was any doubt about how indignant Dodger-country Californians are about the Astros cheating scandal:

Two Southern California youth baseball leagues banned the use of Astros as a team name. "Parents are disgusted," a league president said. O.C. Register | ESPN
And during a press conference with José Altuve and Alex Bregman, the chyron producer at KTLA identified each not as, say, "Houston Astros player." The onscreen labels read, simply: "Astros cheater." Sports Illustrated

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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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