California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Jan. 8.

California pushes further left with governor's inauguration.
Another black man dies at the home of a Democratic donor.
And the strange beauty of a Bay Area mining operation.



Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke in Sacramento on Monday as his son Dutch, 2, wandered nearby.

Stephen Lam/Getty Images

California has a new, more liberal governor. Some highlights from Inauguration Day:

After taking office, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a sweeping health care overhaul. State-funded coverage would extend to young people in the country illegally, and anyone who doesn't buy insurance would be fined. A.P. | KQED
The new governor said California would be a "sanctuary to all who seek it," challenging the immigration policy of a White House he called corrupt and incompetent. Sacramento Bee | CBS Los Angeles
Dutch, Newsom's 2-year-old son, stole the show. Carrying his binky and blanket, the boy wandered across the stage to his dad as he delivered his big speech. "This is exactly how it was scripted," Newsom joked. L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle
Jerry Brown, who leaves the state flush with cash, had parting advice for his successor: "Don't screw it up." KQED

A PG&E worker tried to clear a fallen utility pole in Paradise after the deadly Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018.

Karl Mondon/Mercury News via Getty Images

PG&E shares sank more than 20 percent on Monday after reports that it might seek bankruptcy protection in the face of at least $30 billion in liability damages from wildfires. S&P Global Ratings downgraded the utility to junk status, citing a "decisive souring of the political and regulatory environment."


Disturbing revelations began to trickle out after a new state law went into effect requiring that police disciplinary records be made public. A Bay Area police department fired a veteran officer who asked women for sex in exchange for help with legal trouble. At least one woman was coerced into an affair.


Water conservation in California has eased since the drought.

California offers rebates to homeowners who remove their water-intensive lawns. But interest in the program has fallen off sharply since the last drought. In the year starting in the fall of 2015, more than 8,000 rebates were handed out. Last year? 114. The drop-off tracks with an overall decline in water conservation.


A state ban on foie gras is finally going into effect. After a six-year legal battle, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a ruling that upheld a California law prohibiting the sale of the liver dish produced by force-feeding ducks and geese. Animal rights groups call the process cruel. Chefs have vowed to keep fighting.


Northern California


The hospital was renamed after Mark Zuckerberg after he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $75 million in 2015.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A $20,243 bike crash: Zuckerberg San Francisco General, the city's largest public hospital, doesn't accept any private health insurance. That means, for example, if you were rushed to their emergency room after a stroke or bike accident, you could wake up with medical bills that bankrupt you — even if you had health coverage.


In Silicon Valley, where the average rent is more than $3,500, schoolteachers would have to spend 75 percent of their income to afford a one-bedroom apartment. Even so, a plan to create affordable rental housing in San Jose for 300 teachers and school workers has drawn opposition from a group of residents. "Low-income housing doesn’t belong" here, one said.


An image from the docuseries "Murder Mountain."


A new Netflix documentary series chronicles a murder mystery in Humboldt County, a hub of underground marijuana cultivation where more people go missing than anywhere in the state. The Daily Beast called "Murder Mountain" an "eye-opening watch." The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said it was sensationalized.


The salt ponds in Newman harvest 500,000 tons of salt each year.

Julieanne Kost

People flying into San Francisco commonly look down at an odd kaleidoscope of ponds in hues of lavender, pink, and red. It's a massive mining operation that extracts salt from bay water through evaporation. The colors emerge thanks to microbes that flourish in salty conditions. Photographer Julieanne Kost captured a gorgeous set of aerial images.


This is Sausalito's Richardson Bay. It was immortalized by the American classic "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay," released on this week in 1968. Soul singer Otis Redding had been relaxing with a guitar on a Sausalito houseboat when he came up with his lines about "watching the ships roll in." He died tragically at the age of 26, having never heard the song's finished version.


Southern California


An ex-convict was charged in the death of Tristan Beaudette, an Irvine man who was fatally shot in the head last summer as he slept in a tent with his two young daughters in Malibu Creek State Park. Officials said Anthony Rauda, 42, slept outdoors with a rifle and stalked numerous victims over the span of two years.


Ed Buck, center, addressed gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman during a campaign event in Los Angeles in 2010.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Two years ago, a 26-year-old black escort died of an accidental drug overdose at the home of a prominent Democratic donor, Ed Buck, in West Hollywood. Buck was never charged. Now another black man has been found dead at his apartment. The cause of death was unknown. Protesters gathered outside Buck's house Monday night and demanded that he be held accountable.


A sign of the times: At a new apartment building near Marina del Rey, residents sleep alone but share a kitchen, living room, and common areas with tenants often selected by the landlord. The idea is to cater to young professionals who enjoy luxury digs but can't swing the rent in desirable neighborhoods. Still, it isn't cheap: rent starts at $2,000 a month.


Disneyland attracted 18.3 million guests in 2017.

It now costs nearly $150 to go to Disneyland. Prices rose by about 10 percent just months ahead of the opening of the theme park's $1-billion Star Wars expansion. Disneyland’s annual ritual of increasing ticket prices is aimed partly at crowd control, though it's done little to lessen the throngs of visitors.


Statues celebrate native sons Mack and Jackie Robinson in Pasadena.

Two giant bronze heads rise across the way from Pasadena's City Hall. They depict baseball great Jackie Robinson and his older brother Mack, who grew up in the city. Mack was a sports phenom of his own, winning a silver medal in the 200-meter sprint behind Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Yet there was no hero's welcome upon his return to Pasadena, where racism ran deep. Mack worked as a manual laborer for the city but lost the job when local leaders retaliated against black employees over the court-ordered desegregation of public pools.

The Mack statue faces City Hall to reflect his complicated relationship with his hometown. Jackie's faces Brooklyn, where he fled to make history with the Dodgers.


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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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