California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Sept. 21.

Please note: Today's newsletter is abbreviated because I have some family commitments. We'll also pause Monday and be back in your inbox on Tuesday.

Big vetoes and signings by Gov. Jerry Brown.
How the wealthy sit out California's wildfires.
And the “most feared man in hip-hop” faces 28 years.

The roundup


Research has linked insufficient sleep with an array of negative health outcomes.

Elaine Thompson/A.P.

Gov. Jerry Brown made some big moves Thursday:

He vetoed a bill that would have required schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. Right now, the average start for California middle and high schoolers is 8:07 a.m. Insufficient sleep has been shown to exacerbate depression, drag down grades, and lead to more car crashes. But Brown, along with teachers and school boards, said the matter should be decided locally. S.F. Chronicle | EdSource
He signed a first-in-the-nation bill that restricts the use of plastic straws at restaurants, a win for environmental groups and red meat for anti-nanny state conservatives. "Our infatuation with single-use convenience," Brown said, "has led to disastrous consequences." Customers can still get straws; they just have to ask now. Mercury News | Sacramento Bee
Another thing you'll have to ask for: soda with your kid's meal. The governor signed a bill that requires milk or water to be the default drink sold with children's meals at restaurants. The idea is to get kids off sugary soda and juice. "Kids’ meals shouldn't come with a side order of diabetes, obesity or cardiovascular disease," a lawmaker said. A.P.

Marion "Suge" Knight simply replied "yes" when asked whether he accepted a plea agreement in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday.

Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via A.P.

Rap impresario Marion "Suge” Knight is looking at up to 28 years in prison after he pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in a man's death. In 2015, the mogul once described as the "most feared man in hip-hop" barreled over two men with his Ford F-150 pickup after a dispute. A daughter of the man who died called the plea a relief, but added, “Can’t bring my dad back.”


"How the rich sit out wildfires." California's rampaging wildfires are fueling a cottage industry of boutique insurers that offer "wildfire protection units" for wealthy clients. Teams of retired firefighters fanned out during the Wine Country inferno last fall to protect select addresses as home owners were put up at five-star hotels. "Insurance is a capitalist system," an insurance educator said.


Some of California's best young soccer players come out of the Salinas Valley. While youngsters in Silicon Valley train with elite development teams, the Mexican-American players in Salinas train with dads, uncles, and cousins who work in the fields. And they are increasingly chasing professional careers in the land their parents left behind.


Coffins containing victims of the flood were laid to rest in 1928.

Charles E. Young Research Library, U.C.L.A.

The 1928 St. Francis Dam collapse was one of California's worst tragedies. More than 400 were estimated to have died after a 120-foot wall of water barreled down a pitch-black canyon north of Los Angeles. Yet it's been largely forgotten. Now a movement with some big-name supporters is growing to build a memorial and museum at the former dam site now surrounded by tract homes in Santa Clarita.


In case you missed it


A chair reserved for Google was empty during a hearing on Capitol Hill on Sept. 5.

Jose Luis Magana/A.P.

Here are five newsletter items that got big views over the past week:

Colleagues say Google co-founder Larry Page has become more withdrawn than ever. As the company faces existential challenges, people have been asking: "Where in the world is Larry Page?" Bloomberg

Indian rhubarb brightens a creek near Quincy in Plumas County.

Mike Nellor

California has among the longest and most diverse seasons for fall foliage. Here are five of the best places to bask in the colors. California Sun

The Sittigs' spacious living area features sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay.

William Abranowicz/Architectural Digest

Here's the kind of living room you get as a Bay Area tech power couple. Jessica and Aaron Sittig worked with restoration specialists on a meticulous update of their midcentury home in San Francisco. Architectural Digest

An old Northwestern Pacific Railroad bridge in Humboldt County.

The Great Redwood Trail Act would turn an old railroad track into a bike path winding from Marin County through Wine Country and Redwood forests, along the Russian and Eel Rivers, and up to Humboldt County. S.F. Chronicle
It would take a lifetime to learn Los Angeles's diverse array of trees, plants, and flowers. Here's a great illustrated guide to 16 that every Angeleno should know — from jacarandas to sweet jasmine. Curbed Los Angeles

Thanks for reading!

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

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