California Sun

Good morning. It's Monday, Aug. 12.

A Marin district "intentionally" segregates its schools.
Exploring the underground tunnels of San Francisco.
And photographs of the young men of Watts in the 1960s.



Not enough little boxes.

California desperately needs more housing. Yet in the first half of 2019, builders in the state gained approval for 20 percent fewer homes than the same period a year earlier. That puts California on track for the first meaningful annual decline since the recession. "We are going in exactly the wrong direction," an economist said. L.A. Times


A new bill would require companies that contract with California to certify that their products do not cause harm to sensitive tropical forests. It could affect everything from what paper gets used in state offices to what gets served in California cafeterias. ProPublica

Vaccines, guns, housing. Here are some of the bills awaiting California lawmakers as they return to work this week. A.P.


Dewayne Johnson, a Northern California groundskeeper, was awarded $78.5 million after claiming weedkiller caused his cancer.

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

The EPA ordered companies to ignore California requirements that businesses warn customers if their products contain glyphosate, a weedkiller some scientists have linked to cancer. "It is irresponsible to require labels on products that are inaccurate when EPA knows the product does not pose a cancer risk," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said. "We will not allow California's flawed program to dictate federal policy." A.P. | S.F. Chronicle

Separately, a study found that U.S. agriculture has become almost 50 times more toxic to honeybees. "This is the second Silent Spring," a researcher said. National Geographic


An audit found that the California DMV's new voter registration system is confusing and riddled with technical difficulties, leading to hundreds of thousands of discrepancies. Officials said the problems in the so-called "motor voter" program did not cause major voter registration errors. Even so, Republican leaders renewed calls to suspend the program. One assemblyman called the audit "a coordinated effort" to conceal "corruption and incompetence." S.F. Chronicle | A.P.


A composite image of the Perseid meteor shower captured from the Eastern Sierra in 2018.

It's Perseid meteor shower time. The annual meteor shower is expected to peak late tonight and into Tuesday morning. A nearly full moon will make the show less spectacular than other years. But experts say you'll be able to see up to 20 shooting stars an hour. Here are some viewing tips. Vox | EarthSky

Here's a fantastic map showing the darkest parts of California.


Northern California


Modesto rejected the permit application of a group that wanted to hold a "straight pride" rally at a park in town, citing concerns over safety and lack of liability insurance. The city said it would allow the event downtown if the group reapplies and shows proof of insurance. The organizer, a Bay Area chiropractor named Don Grundmann, vowed to go ahead with a rally. Modesto Bee | A.P.

During a City Council meeting, Grundmann referred to his organization as "a totally peaceful racist group." He tried to correct himself, but laughter drowned him out. Modesto News/YouTube


The heavily white enclave of Sausalito, above, has a thriving charter school. The school in nearby Marin City was neglected.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

A state investigation found that a Marin County school district "knowingly and intentionally" segregated its schools, corralling black and Hispanic students into an underperforming school that was starved of resources. "Depriving a child of a fair chance to learn is wicked, it's warped, it's morally bankrupt, and it's corrupt," said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The district, Sausalito Marin City, agreed to desegregate its schools under a settlement. N.Y. Times | Marin Independent Journal


A protester yelled at a line of Oakland police officers during a demonstration over police-involved deaths in 2014.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Today I learned: A 2017 study found that Oakland police officers are consistently ruder toward black motorists than white ones. Researchers used computers to analyze the language of police officers in more than 180 hours of body camera footage. "It's always important to have the research," an NAACP official wrote in response to the report, "but yes, we know." N.Y. Times


A cherry picker from Lodi who spent more than 14 years in prison on terrorism charges was released after the case collapsed. Hamid Hayat was convicted in a high-profile case in 2006 after prosecutors accused him of attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. But a judge vacated the sentence, ruling that his defense lawyer was ineffective. For one thing, the lawyer never called witnesses who could have provided a credible alibi. S.F. Chronicle | Sacramento Bee


Underneath San Francisco is a hidden network of old graffiti-covered tunnels. To see them isn't easy. First, you need good intel; those in the know have kept exact locations secret. You also need a good pair of boots and uncommon fortitude. But once down there, a spelunker said, "traversing large parts of [the city] entirely underground is not as difficult as you might think." Here are a bunch of photos. | Thrillist


Southern California


Bryce McIntosh, left, has been accused of killing his son, Noah McIntosh.

Corona Police Department, via Desert Sun

Noah McIntosh, an 8-year-old boy from Corona, has been missing for months and his father has been charged with murdering him. Now newly released records have revealed that Riverside County social workers had received 10 reports of abuse by the father, Bryce McIntosh. Nearly all of them were dismissed. One report said that Bryce McIntosh would zip tie the boy's hands behind his back, place him in freezing water, and dunk his head underwater. Noah told a social worker it was punishment for urinating in his pants. Desert Sun | Press-Enterprise


San Diego's city attorney, Mara Elliott, is California's most aggressive invoker of so-called red flags against suspicious gun owners. Under a 2014 law, weapons can be seized from people deemed a danger to themselves or others. So far, Elliott's red flags have led to the seizure of 400 firearms, including roughly 40 assault weapons. "Some think it's more difficult than it actually is," she said. L.A. Times


For decades, Southern California communities have kept their beaches looking pristine by dragging rakes across the sand with tractors. But according to new research, all that grooming has left popular beaches with about half as many native insects and crustaceans as other beaches, a loss of biodiversity with widespread consequences for coastal ecosystems. What many call "natural beauty," U.C. Santa Barbara wrote, "is in fact about as natural as a sand parking lot." Bloomberg | The Current


Joshua Tree National Park.

A study found that even with major efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, 80 percent of Joshua trees' Mojave Desert habitat will be whittled away by the end of the century. The iconic trees have survived past climate swings, an ecologist said. "But right now the warming is happening so quickly — and it's getting hotter than any of those previous periods." The Guardian


Young men hung out on Beech Street in Watts in 1966.

Bill Ray—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

It was on this week in 1965 that Watts erupted in the largest urban upheaval of the Civil Rights era. What started as a routine traffic stop of two African-American men by white cops gave way to a weeklong spasm of violence that left 34 people dead, nearly 1,000 buildings destroyed, and more than 3,500 people arrested.

A year later, LIFE magazine sent photographer Bill Ray to revisit the scene of the devastation. He found a community still seething with resentments. Another striking theme of the images: the exceptional stylishness of the young men. Here are Ray's photos. TIME | Considerable



Two items last week misstated the occupation of Kendall Jenner. She is a model, not a makeup tycoon. Her sister, Kylie Jenner, is the makeup tycoon.

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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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