California Sun

Good morning. It's Wednesday, June 6.

A two-party governor's race after stunning defeat of Antonio Villaraigosa.
Democrats appear poised to avoid lockouts in key House races.
And a judge is recalled after national outrage over his ruling.

The lede

1

It's Newsom vs. Cox

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, left, and John Cox.

Rich Pedroncelli/A.P.; Gregory Bull/A.P.

Then there were two.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, breezed to first place in the primary vote to decide the two candidates who will compete in the general election for governor in November.

The real fight was over the No. 2 spot, and the clinch by John Cox, a Republican businessman, represented a stunning defeat for Antonio Villaraigosa, a former Democratic mayor of Los Angeles.

But it's the outcome Newsom hoped for. The November showdown now pits a darling of the Democrats' core liberal base against a little-known Republican linked to the policies of President Trump in a state where he is deeply unpopular.

Read takes on the governor's race in the L.A. Times and S.F. Chronicle.

Here's what we know about other key contests:

Democrats had feared being shut out of congressional districts that they hope to capture from Republicans in November, part of a strategy to take back control of the House. But with most precincts reporting, Democrats were on track to capture second place in those contests. L.A. Times | Politico
Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky was recalled from office. Persky gave a light sentence to a former Stanford athlete convicted of sexual assault. He's the first California judge to be recalled since 1932. Mercury News | A.P.
Senator Dianne Feinstein easily advanced in her bid for a fifth full term in Washington. But the contest for second-place remained undecided early Wednesday, with former state Senate leader, Kevin de León, and Republican James P. Bradley running neck-and-neck. Sacramento Bee | A.P.
There were five statewide propositions on the ballot. Nos. 69 (a lock box for transportation funding), 71 (delaying effective date for ballot measures), and 72 (no new taxation of rainwater collection systems) passed. Proposition 68 (borrowing for parks, environment, and water) appeared poised to pass. And Proposition 70 (lifting threshold on cap-and-trade spending decisions) failed. S.F. Chronicle | A.P.
The race for San Francisco mayor was too close to call. Former state Senator Mark Leno had a slight lead over Supervisor London Breed. Whoever wins, they'll be a first — Leno, the first openly gay mayor, and Breed, the first African American woman in the job. S.F. Chronicle | S.F. Examiner
In Orange County, state Senator Josh Newman appeared headed for defeat in a recall election. Voters were angered by his vote in favor of a $52 billion gas tax and transportation fee hike. O.C. Register | Voice of O.C.

To see live results, check out the dashboards at the L.A. Times, S.F. Chronicle, or CALmatters.

Statewide

2

The Thomas Fire tore through Ventura last December.

Ventura County Fire Department

Last year was California's largest and most destructive fire season. Fire experts say there's no reason to think that 2018 won't be just as bad. Cal Fire has already responded to more than 1,200 fires since January. With the state growing increasingly hot and arid, some experts say the fire season is basically year-round now. "We don’t even call it a fire season anymore,” one said.

3

Among the latest refugees of California's insane housing costs is the National Park Service. Estimating it could save millions of dollars a year, the agency is planning to relocate its western regional office from San Francisco to a building it owns in Washington state. “We have struggled with recruitment in San Francisco for years due to the high cost of living,” the region’s director said.

4

Where else are exiles of California's housing crisis ending up? A study found that most people fleeing the state's costly coastal areas are moving to Las Vegas. The second most popular destination is New York City, then Phoenix, Dallas, and Seattle. The median home price in Las Vegas is $260,000, less than half that of California.

5

A lavender field in Shasta County.

It's lavender season in California. The fragrant herb loves our Mediterranean climate, and in June and July lavender farms open up to the public with festivals and opportunities to stroll the fields, and even harvest your own. Among them are events in Capay Valley, Ojai, Riverside County, and San Diego County.

Northern California

6

An internet conference in Beijing in April.

Mark Schiefelbein/A.P.

Facebook admitted to giving at least four Chinese companies access to user data. One has been flagged by U.S. intelligence officials as a national security threat. The companies — Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo, and TCL — were among 60 with which Facebook started sharing data as early as 2007. The partnerships could spell more trouble for the tech giant, which is already being investigated for privacy mishaps.

7

The operations manager of a Santa Rosa public bus agency got the call at 2 a.m. last October. He needed to grab a bus and help evacuate a neighborhood in the path of a raging inferno. “It just looked like a big witch’s cauldron,” he said. Now video has been released from the bus showing the terrifying and heartbreaking escape.

8

San Francisco's public library was named library of the year by the Library Journal, which called it "a model and inspiration." The award recognizes service to the community, creative programming, and success in drawing patrons. "The SFPL is nimble, creative, and always inclined to find a way to make things happen," said author Dave Eggers. "They always say yes first, then find a way. I love them for that.”

9

A measure that would transform a 300-mile train track into a hiking trail connecting San Francisco and Humboldt Bay has been advancing through the state Legislature. Dubbed the Great Redwood Trail, it would wind through Wine Country and old-growth Redwood forests, along the Russian and Eel Rivers, and up to Humboldt.

10

The Warriors' Steph Curry has said he hoped avoiding the White House would "inspire change."

Marcio Jose Sanchez/A.P.

No matter who wins the playoffs, the Warriors or Cavaliers, there won't be any visits to the White House. That's according to LeBron James and Steph Curry, who both said their teams didn't want to go. “I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway,” James said. “I agree with LeBron,” Curry said. “Pretty sure the way we handled things last year, kind of stay consistent with that.”

Southern California

11

A black man walking his dogs in his neighborhood ended up being pictured in a hunt for burglary suspects in San Diego County. A neighbor snapped a photo of Ike Iloputaife, a 55-year-old Nigerian-born innkeeper, and gave it to officers investigating a break-in, telling them that Iloputaife was “a stranger.” He had little in common with the suspect aside from skin color.

12

Baby statues by artist David Cerny were unveiled in Palm Springs on Tuesday.

Richard Lui/The Desert Sun

An unusual outdoor exhibit in Palm Springs is raising eyebrows. Called "The Babies," it features 8-foot-tall fiberglass sculptures of naked babies crawling on their hands and knees. Some people are calling the works creepy.

13

Last month, the restaurant critic Jonathan Gold named Orange County's Taco María his restaurant of the year. Now another writer, Gustavo Arellano, is asking if it isn't the most important restaurant in all of California. The fare is Alta California cuisine, ancestral food blended with modern techniques that, Arellano writes, offers our past, present, and future — and tortillas "that’ll haunt your palate."

14

A view of Watts Towers in 1963. The monumental architectural sculpture was built by an Italian immigrant over a period of 33 years.

Los Angeles Public Library

Randy's Donuts, the Stahl House, and Watts Towers. Curbed put together a ranking of the 20 buildings that most signify Los Angeles. "They’re the places locals bring out-of-towners. They help tell the story of Los Angeles."

TODAY I LEARNED

15

Did you know?

The Navy wanted black and yellow stripes on the Golden Gate Bridge, a prospect unthinkable in retrospect.

Joan Campderrós-i-Canas/CC BY 2.0; Golden Gate Bridge

Here are three random facts about California:

Central to the allure of the Golden Gate Bridge is its color. But it came about almost by accident.

As it was being built in the 1930s, the engineers wanted an aluminum color. The Army Air Corps’ favored candy-cane red and white. And the Navy pushed for a bumblebee palette of black and yellow stripes so ships could see it through the fog.

The bridge's iconic color, known as "international orange," was considered a radical proposal. It came from Irving Morrow, the Golden Gate's consulting architect, who was inspired by the reddish-orange primer used to coat some of the structure's steel. He argued for a color as striking as the bridge itself, an idea that thankfully won the day.
In 1979, a Los Angeles man decided to get a personalized license plate that would express his love of sailing — and ended up with 2,500 parking tickets.

Here's what happened: Robert Barbour requested plates that would read either "SAILING" or "BOATING." But the DMV form contained a line for a third choice. Barbour didn't have one, so he just wrote "NO PLATE."

And those are precisely the plates he received. He got a kick out of it so he decided to use them. Within weeks his mailbox was stuffed with notices for overdue traffic violations. It turned out that police officers were writing "No plate" on citations for vehicles that had no license plates. DMV computers were matching all of those tickets to Barbour's vehicle.

Barbour got about 2,500 notices over the next six months or so. He never had to pay the fines, but fighting them was a collosal headache. The DMV asked officers to start writing "none" instead of "no plate" on citations.

Sunset in San Diego’s seaside community of La Jolla.

Chad McDonald/CC BY-ND 2.0

San Diego has the most predictable weather in the continental U.S.

That's according to an analysis by the statisticians at FiveThirtyEight. They measured weather variability across three categories — temperature, precipitation, and severe weather — in 120 American cities, one for each of the country's National Weather Service forecast offices.

Cities in the Midwest were among the most unpredictable. Among the most predictable, San Diego was beaten only by Honolulu.

America's Finest City is also notable by another measure: Most "pleasant" days per year. That's defined as a mean temperature between 55 to 75 degrees, minimum temperature above 45 degrees, maximum temperature below 85 degrees, and no significant rain or snow. San Diego has an average of 182 such days a year, edged out of first place by Los Angeles, with 183.

Got a good one? Send it to mike@californiasun.co.

Thanks for reading!

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

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