California Sun

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Supreme Court delivers blow to California farmworkers unions.
Gavin Newsom vastly overstates work done on fire prevention.
And San Francisco requires all city workers get Covid-19 vaccine.



A farmworker harvested curly mustard in Ventura County on Feb. 10.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

In 1975, California became the first state to extend collective bargaining rights to farmworkers. A provision gave unions a "right of access" to farm property to recruit workers. But on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court voided that rule, saying it violated growers' private property rights. "The access regulation," wrote Chief Justice John Roberts, “grants labor organizations a right to invade the growers’ property.” The court's three liberal members dissented, noting that many "ordinary regulations" permit entry onto private property, such as those allowing safety inspections. L.A. Times | N.Y. Times


Vice President Kamala Harris plans to visit the U.S. southern border on Friday, officials said, following months of criticism from Republicans over her reluctance to do so. Harris has been in charge of addressing the root causes of migration on the border since March. Her trip is scheduled to happen days before former President Trump arrives at the border along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Republicans criticized Harris' timing. “Suddenly President Trump is going to the border and they realized, 'Oh crap, we got to do something,'" Sen. Ted Cruz said. Politico | A.P.


An investigation by Capital Public Radio and NPR found that Gov. Gavin Newsom has vastly overstated the state's efforts to prevent wildfires. While the governor claimed a 2019 executive order resulted in new fuel breaks and prescribed burns on 90,000 acres, the true number is just 11,399. Last year, Cal Fire's fuel reduction output dropped by half, to levels below Gov. Jerry Brown's final year in office. Reporters sought comment from Newsom's office multiple times over a span of two weeks. No one responded.


Gov. Gavin Newsom drew the names of 10 vaccine lottery winners at Universal Studios on June 15.

Jay L. Clendenin/L.A. Times via Getty Images

After a steep decline, California's Covid-19 vaccination rate rose markedly this month, suggesting that Gov. Gavin Newsom's "Vax for the Win" lottery may have produced results. After Newsom announced $116.5 million in giveaways on May 27, the average daily doses administered jumped by about 33%. "I guess the lottery is working," said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist. He added: "I think we have evidence that it's had an impact." L.A. Times


When then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation mandating that women be placed on the boards of publicly owned companies, he worried that it might not survive a legal challenge. Now the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously revived a shareholder lawsuit that argues the law unconstitutionally requires discrimination on the basis of sex. “The law is not only unconstitutional; it’s patronizing,” said Anastasia Boden, an attorney who argued on behalf of the shareholder. L.A. Times | A.P.


The San Joaquin River flows out of the Sierra to the California Delta.

Kit Leong

Snowmelt from the Sierra plays a crucial role in replenishing California's waterways and reservoirs, but this year roughly one-third of the predicted runoff seemed to vanish. That's because extreme drought made the ground so dry that the water was sucked up before it could get down the mountain, state hydrologists say. “We have 100 years of data saying if you have this much snow, you would expect this much runoff,” said Sean de Guzman, a state water official. “But that fell apart this year.” Mercury News


Northern California


San Francisco said on Wednesday that it would require all 35,000 city employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, making it the first municipality in California — and likely the nation — to impose a vaccine mandate for all government workers. Those who refuse risk losing their jobs. “It’s about protecting the city as an employer from what we deem to be unacceptable risk,” said Carol Isen, San Francisco’s director of human resources. S.F. Chronicle | NBC Bay Area


One of California's most prolific filers of disability access lawsuits, a Sacramento attorney named Scott Johnson, was indicted in 2019 on charges of tax fraud. After that, he halted his litigation habit in Sacramento. But it turns out he started up in a new region: Now Johnson is targeting the Bay Area, where he has filed 1,006 lawsuits in two years. Hector Pedraza, an auto shop owner sued by Johnson over wheelchair accessible parking, said he would settle, as most businesses do. “I guess it’s cheaper to do it that way than to spend $50,000 or $100,000 on litigation,” he said. Sacramento Bee


Chanell Stone

Chanell Stone, an Oakland photographer, thinks nature photography should be about more than soaring mountains and roaring rivers. “For many Black people, rural nature, places like national parks, aren’t very accessible," she told NPR. "Sometimes it’s the cost, but more often the issue is societal. As Black people, it feels like these rural spaces aren’t for us. I want to turn that idea on its head.” Her series, Natura Negra, captures beauty in the urban environments of communities in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Brooklyn. NPR | LISTO

See more of Stone's work on Instagram. 👉 @___califia


Southern California


“I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized. I just want my life back.”

After a decade of public silence, Britney Spears delivered a shocking speech before a Los Angeles probate judge on Wednesday, asking to be released from a 13-year conservatorship overseen by her father. The pop star said the arrangement had become abusive. She was drugged, blocked from seeing friends, and prevented from removing her IUD, she said. “The control he had to hurt his own daughter," Spears said of her father, "he loved it.” N.Y. Times | Vox

Hear Spears' full testimony. 👉 YouTube (~23 mins)


On Tuesday, Coronado's school board fired their head basketball coach after players threw tortillas at an opposing team from a mostly Latino school. On Wednesday, the man who supplied the tortillas spoke out. Luke Serna is a half-Mexican alumnus of Coronado High who said he brought the tortillas not out of racial animus but for a celebratory ritual he learned as a student at UC Santa Barbara, where tortilla-throwing has been a tradition. "Knowing that there could be this crazy racial situation afterwards, I probably wouldn’t have done it," he said. "I didn’t really think about that until after the fact." Coronado Times | S.D. Union-Tribune


California archive


Audrey Hepburn and Pippin at a supermarket in 1958.

Bob Willoughby

Audrey Hepburn had a pet fawn that would follow her around Beverly Hills. In 1958, the starlet was asked to bond with the animal, Pippin, for a movie in which she portrayed a girl living in the Venezuelan jungle. Hepburn brought the deer everywhere: to restaurants, parties, the grocery store. When the movie wrapped, she was said to be heartbroken to give Pippin back. But a year later, after Hepburn suffered a miscarriage, her husband tracked Pippin down and brought it in as a pet. They made a bed for the deer out of a bathtub. The Guardian

Here are 26 pictures of Hepburn and Pippin. 👉 Vintage Everyday



An item about Subway tuna in Wednesday's newsletter left out important context. While an analysis of the tuna found no identifiable tuna DNA, the N.Y. Times noted that once fish is cooked, its proteins break down, making such results inconclusive.

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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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