California Sun

Good morning. It's Monday, Aug. 19.
Today's edition: 15 items, ~4 minutes

Remarkable wildlife revival across California.
How Santa Monica High School shaped Stephen Miller.
And the magic of the state's best swimming holes.



California's job growth is now in its 113th month, the state's longest expansion since the 1960s. Not only that, the state has added an average of 29,200 jobs a month over that period, far more than the roughly 9,000 needed to keep up with its growing workforce. Year over year, California's job growth has outpaced the nation's, 1.8 percent to 1.5 percent. L.A. Times | A.P.


Bears doing bear things in Yosemite Valley.

As federal policymakers push rollbacks of conservation laws, California has been a showcase of the power of wildlife protection. Populations of bears, elk, sharks, whales, eagles, and more are at their highest numbers in more than a century. "Certainly there are challenges," a wildlife official said, "but when you look close, it's just one terrific story after another." S.F. Chronicle

California legislators are pushing a law that would lock in environmental protections until the end of Trump's presidency. Sacramento Bee


Grapes soaked up the Napa Valley sun.

Sign of the times: At least three leading Napa Valley wineries are planting experimental vineyards with grapes that thrive in warm climates. Why? Climate change has growers increasingly anxious about the future of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, the traditional lifeblood of the wine region. "There's going to come a point with Cabernet in Napa where you have it seared on the outside and completely raw on the inside," a winemaker said. S.F. Chronicle

Separately, a study predicted much more frequent "snow droughts" across the West within the next few decades. That's troubling news for water systems. National Geographic


Ships plying the West Coast are estimated to fatally strike more 80 whales annually. Now scientists are testing a new solution. They've lowered a listening station onto the floor of the Santa Barbara Channel that can hear whale calls and alert ships to slow down when a collision is looming. L.A. Times | A.P.


The Yuba River has an abundance of picturesque swimming holes.

"The coast is a line, but a swimming hole is a dot on the map, a point in space and time."

The N.Y. Times explored the magic of California's many swimming holes. The accompanying pictures are fantastic: From Southern California to Yosemite to Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties. N.Y. Times


Northern California


Sacramento has filed a lawsuit to ban seven men considered to be a "public nuisance" from a popular business corridor. The lawsuit says the men are "drug users, trespassers, thieves ... and violent criminals" who are forcing the city to drain its police resources. A civil rights attorney's view: "This is a huge assault on civil liberties." Sacramento Bee | A.P.


Daniel Komins sent this photo to his girlfriend last week from the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

Trinity County Sheriff's Office

The body of an experienced hiker who vanished during a solo trek in Northern California's Trinity Alps was found by rescuers after an intense five-day search. Officials said Daniel Komins, 34, appeared to have slipped and fallen on steep and rocky terrain. North Coast Journal | Sacramento Bee

Separately, an adventure photographer died in a paragliding accident in the Eastern Sierra. Cody Tuttle was 32. Outside magazine


Lake Tahoe's water visibility was about 100 feet in 1968. Last year, it was 70 feet.

Colorado Bralts

In the 1960s, tiny shrimp were added to Lake Tahoe to help fatten up game fish. That triggered a chain reaction that has made the fish smaller and the lake's famed clear water increasingly murky. Turns out the shrimp dive too deep for many fish to eat them, and they feast on zooplankton that help keep the water clear. Now the lake has trillions of the invasive shrimp. Capital Public Radio


The triangular Transamerica Pyramid has held a singular position in the San Francisco skyline, seen pre-Salesforce Tower.

When San Francisco's Transamerica Pyramid was completed in 1972, a lot of people hated it. A city planner called it an "inhumane creation" and warned of a "devastating effect of the tower on the fabric of the city." Now it's beloved — and for sale. For the first time in its history, the Transamerica building is seeking a buyer. Expected price: more than $600 million, with two smaller buildings included in the deal. Curbed San Francisco | SFist

Fun fact: The tip of the Transamerica Pyramid is made of glass. Here's a photo.


Montgomery Street, circa 1890.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The great 1906 earthquake and fires destroyed roughly 28,000 buildings in San Francisco, wiping away much of its Victorian character. Here are a couple collections of photos of the more ornate architecture of the pre-quake city. Flickr | S.F. Chronicle

In a later wave of disruption, thousands of the city's Victorians were demolished to make way for high-rise developments. But preservationists saved as many as they could — by lifting the homes from their foundations and carting them off. A photographer captured the project. Timeline | Flickr


Southern California


The latest count showed homelessness up 16 percent in Los Angeles.

The L.A. Times published a four-part series, titled "The Street Within,” that follows the residents of a homeless encampment in Los Angeles as they transitioned from the streets into permanent housing. It included this fact: "Black people live on the streets of this city at a rate far greater than their share of the general population." An official study blamed "racism, discrimination, and unconscious bias in our public systems and institutions." L.A. Times


Rent control debates are having unintended consequences across Southern California. Worried that new tenant protections will be added, landlords have been preemptively raising rents to avoid getting trapped at below-market rates. "A lot of people are complacent and don't raise the rents year after year," the leader of a landlord group said. "Now they're scared." O.C. Register


Stephen Miller quoted former president Teddy Roosevelt in his Santa Monica High School yearbook: "There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country."

The Washington Post and N.Y. Times both published profiles of Stephen Miller, the 33-year-old Trump adviser who has become a singular force behind the administration's immigration agenda. The Sept. 11 attacks unfolded at the start of Miller's junior year at Santa Monica High School, and became central to his political awakening. He waged a successful campaign to have the Pledge of Allegiance recited on a daily basis. "Osama bin Laden," he wrote in 2002, "would feel very welcome at Santa Monica High School." N.Y. Times | Washington Post


The former mayor of Palm Springs was indicted by a grand jury over accusations that he took $375,000 in bribes from real estate developers. Two developers were also charged. Steve Pougnet, who served as Palm Springs mayor from 2007 to 2015, faces up to 19 years in prison if convicted. Desert Sun | A.P.


Robert Redford, circa 1970.

Art Zelin/Getty Images

Robert Redford, angel-faced actor and director, was born in Santa Monica on this week in 1936. He badly wanted the lead role in the 1967 film "The Graduate" but was rejected by the director, Mike Nichols, because he didn't think Redford could play a loser. According to Nichols, Redford said, "'Of course I can play a loser.' And I said, 'O.K., have you ever struck out with a girl?' and he said, 'What do you mean?'" Vanity Fair


Please note:

As a test, this week I'm going to do between 12 and 15 items a day, instead of the usual hard 15. I want to see how it feels to vary the length depending on news. Feedback always welcome:

Thanks for reading!

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

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