California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Aug. 4.

New coronavirus infections fall in hopeful sign.
A movement to bring school education outdoors.
And San Diego cops use sedition law to punish speech.



Circus performers welcomed people to a drive-in event at the Ventura County Fairgrounds on Friday.

Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

California's coronavirus outbreak appears to be slowing down.

Three weeks after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of bars and indoor dining, new infections are trending downward. Hospitalizations are falling too, for the first time in weeks. Even so, Newsom said, Californians can't let down their guard. “This virus is not going away. It’s not just going to take Labor Day weekend off. It’s not going to take Halloween off, the holidays off.” S.F. Chronicle | A.P.

An exception to the good news: The Central Valley, where hospitalizations and positivity rates have been rising. KGPE

See trackers of cases in California, the U.S., and worldwide.


A teacher helped kids wash their hands during a summer school session in Monterey Park on July 9.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

A California coalition of educators and epidemiologists is advancing a solution to the challenge of social distancing at schools: Teach outdoors. "We're asking schools to consider space as something that they actually have infinite access to if they just walk out their door," said Craig Strang, a UC Berkeley educator. PBS Newshour

Molecular virologist: "Within two weeks of opening schools in communities with high virus transmission, teachers will become ill. All it will take is for a single teacher to become hospitalized with Covid and everything will shut down.” The Atlantic


Examples of people partying it up in defiance of shutdown orders:

Dozens of people attended a party for first responders inside a Hollywood bar Friday night — without a mask in sight. "This is exactly the situation that puts our entire community at unnecessary risk," the county's health agency said. KNOCK.LA | CNN
Police responded to a large party at a Beverly Crest mansion that included a DJ and a food truck. A man working security said it was thrown by an NFL player. News helicopters captured footage. CBSLA

California lawmakers have advanced a bill that would ban the possession of trophies from animals killed in Africa. But some African nations and conservation organizations are urging lawmakers to oppose the measure because hunting fees provide crucial funding for anti-poaching efforts. Moreover, they say, white Californians ought to stop meddling in how Africans manage their wildlife. Sacramento Bee

Video of an L.A. hunter shooting an elephant in South Africa is being used to persuade lawmakers to pass the bill. L.A. Times


Northern California


Coyote Valley on San Jose’s southern edge is beginning a new chapter.

Ron Horii/Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

Over the last 35 years, Apple and Cisco Systems tried to build huge campuses in Coyote Valley, a rural expanse of farmland and one of the last major open spaces in Silicon Valley. On Monday, a $93 million deal was finalized to preserve 937 acres of the land as a natural resource with walking trails and wildlife habitat. Mercury News


A boarded-up business in San Francisco.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In San Francisco, more than 150,000 residents have filed for unemployment. Uber, Airbnb, and Yelp have laid off thousands of workers. Downtown San Francisco, once bustling with tourists and workers, is a ghost town. Some now wonder if it will ever boom again. “I think we’re in for a rough couple years on all levels,” a former planning commissioner said. “Downtown will have to evolve.” S.F. Chronicle


For the first time, a new report detailed the lack of scrutiny surrounding the disappearance and murder of Native American women across Northern California. Out of 105 cases, law enforcement solved just 9% that were classified as murders. The statewide clearance rate is more than 60%. One reason for the disparity, according to the report: a “chronic and pervasive failure to investigate.” CalMatters


Southern California


The San Diego police have been enforcing a 1918 law prohibiting seditious language, generally defined as speech that aims to overthrow the government. Since 2013, more than 80 San Diegans have faced the charge. While details of the cases are unclear, an ACLU legal director said the law is likely being used to punish people who talk back. One man was cited for singing rap lyrics. Voice of San Diego


Charles and Willa Bruce in an undated wedding photo.

A century ago, a Black-owned beach resort thrived in Manhattan Beach. It was known as Bruce's Beach after the pioneer couple Charles and Willa Bruce, who in 1912 purchased property along the shore for $1,225. But disgruntled white neighbors ultimately drove them from town, and Bruce’s Beach was razed. As the nation now reckons with past wrongs, the story of the Bruces is drawing renewed attention. “Generations of wealth-building have been eliminated for so many folks of color in California history,” the Coastal Commission’s environmental justice commissioner said. L.A. Times


Details emerged about the eight Marines and one sailor who died when a Marine landing craft sank near San Clemente Island on Thursday. One was a brand-new dad. Another was about to get married. Four were from California. They were all 23 years old or younger. Two were just 18. S.D. Union-Tribune | A.P.


A firefighting airplane dropped fire retardant on a ridge near Banning on Saturday.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

A massive wildfire in the mountains east of Los Angeles that forced thousands of people to flee their homes was sparked by a malfunctioning diesel vehicle, fire officials said. Hot particles from the exhaust ignited brush in perhaps three places. The Apple Fire has burned more than 40 square miles and was just 7% contained late Monday. Desert Sun | A.P.

Here's video of a 747 Global Supertanker dropping a massive payload of fire retardant on the blaze. 👉 @johnschreiber


California wonders


☝️ Here's the Kanrin Maru Monument on the northwestern edge of San Francisco.

Presented as a gift from Osaka in 1960, it commemorates the voyage of Japan's first diplomatic mission to the U.S., which had been escorted to San Francisco by the Kanrin Maru warship a century earlier.

Reporting on the historic 1860 encounter, the Sacramento Daily Union depicted the crew's arrival as mutually bewildering. The Californians marvelled at the Japanese guests' "poetic language" and their almost religious devotion to etiquette. The Japanese were struck by the informality of the Californians, who tracked mud onto expensive rugs. Given ice cream, the skipper of the Kanrin Maru declared it the most wonderful thing he'd ever tasted.

Over the years, the U.S.-Japan relationship remained largely friendly before taking a catastrophic turn during World War II. The gift of the Kanrin Maru Monument was part of post-war efforts intended to restore good will between the two sides. So was the declaration in 1957 by Osaka and San Francisco that they would henceforth be "sister cities," formally committed to sharing ideas and heritage.

San Francisco unveiled a statue commemorating “comfort women” in 2017.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

But six decades later, the port cities’ friendship ran into trouble once more. A private group in San Francisco erected a statue in Chinatown known as the “Column of Strength” that depicts three young women in a circle, holding hands and facing outward. They represent the "comfort women" from China, Korea, and the Philippines who were enslaved in Japanese brothels during World War II.

After its unveiling 2017, Japanese leaders said it destroyed a spirit of mutual trust built up over generations. San Francisco refused to take it down. A year later, Osaka officially severed their sibling relationship.


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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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