California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, July 21.

Trump threatens to send federal force to Oakland.
California's only wolf family has a litter of pups.
And remembering the sweetness of Robin Williams.



An open-air barber shop in Berkeley during the 1918-1919 flu pandemic.

National Archives

The relocation of California commerce to the outdoors took another step as Gov. Gavin Newsom gave hair and nail salons the go-ahead to ply their trades outside. Personal care services have been decimated by forced closures, with many proprietors saying they simply can't survive the shutdown any longer. L.A. Times | A.P.


High school sports in California will pause until at least December, officials announced. The plan is to compress the three typical seasons — fall, winter, and spring — into the period between December and June. "The virus is the enemy here. No one wanted to do this," one official said. "Sports are super important for kids." Sacramento Bee | Sports Illustrated


Plaintive graffiti in Los Angeles.

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Other coronavirus developments:

A third of Californians don't know how they'll pay next month's rent. Meanwhile, the 20 richest Californians have seen their wealth grow by 30%. Here's a look at the state's deepening inequality in five charts 👉 CalMatters
"No social conditioning. No oxygen deprivation mask. No latex dirty germ spreader." A restaurant in Placerville has been turning people away if they are wearing a mask. KABC | CBS13
In the Inland Empire, more than half of infected people reached by contact tracers are refusing to cooperate "for reasons that include distrust, fear and privacy concerns." San Bernardino Sun

President Trump threatened to send federal agents similar to those battling Portland protesters to other American cities, including Oakland. "I'm going to do something — that, I can tell you," he said. "Because we're not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these — Oakland is a mess. We're not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats." The Hill | N.Y. Times

Oakland's mayor: “We are not experiencing any civil unrest right now. But I can think of nothing more likely to incite it than the presence of Trump-ordered military troops into Oakland.” East Bay Times


Northern California


Smoke billowed from the Hog Fire in Lassen County.

Gif made from video by PG&E

Several wildfires were burning out of control across the North State. In Lassen County, roughly 10 miles west of Susanville, the Hog Fire doubled in size on Monday to roughly 19 square miles, prompting evacuations and threatening 170 structures. Further north, two firefighters were injured battling the Gold Fire near the community of Adin, officials said. Their conditions weren't immediately known. A.P. | Record Searchlight

Explore live wildfire map 👉 CalFire


The Lassen pack captured on a trail cam in 2017.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

California’s only known wolf family, the Lassen pack, has produced a new litter of at least eight pups. In 2011, a gray wolf from Oregon was the first to be spotted in California since 1924. A son of that wolf was the original breeding male for the Lassen pack. With the new pups, there are now at least 14 members of the pack. “These little ones give hope to everyone who wants to see wolves reestablished in the places these beautiful animals once called home,” a conservationist said. Record Searchlight | Center for Biological Diversity

See trail cam footage of the Lassen pack from last year 👉 CDFW/YouTube (~1:30 mins)


Arnold Genthe, self-portrait, 1900.

The German-American photographer Arnold Genthe is best known for his incredible pictures of San Francisco's Chinatown before it burned down in the 1906 earthquake. But Genthe documented everything — architecture, nude women, Yosemite, the Bohemians of Carmel. "It wasn’t that he was the first to do these things," said one culture writer. "It was the fact that he photographed so much that made him a pioneer in American photography." A couple collections of Genthe's work 👉 Flashbak | Light Stalking


Southern California


Cary Jay Smith, of Costa Mesa, wasn't convicted of a crime. But the state confined him in a mental hospital in 1999 after he wrote a letter describing a wish to kidnap, molest, and kill a 7-year-old boy. Now the court order has expired and Smith is a free man. But an intense public backlash has led him to relocate several times since being released last week. Over the weekend, he was met by angry protesters at a motel in Lake Elsinore. His latest stop: San Diego County. KABC | Times of San Diego


A demonstrator confronted police during a protest in Los Angeles on May 29.

Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

The demands of the George Floyd protesters are now being taken up in L.A. County's halls of power. Two examples:

Supervisors are proposing a ballot initiative that would redistribute funds from law enforcement to underserved communities. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the measure would siphon roughly $170 million from his budget, resulting in mass layoffs. Fox 11
Another motion would declare racism a matter of public health and create a framework within the county's vast bureaucracy that ensures all policies address inequities faced by Black residents. L.A. Times | L.A. Daily News

Trader Joe's announced that it would change the names of some of its products after a petition accused the Southern California grocery chain of "racist branding." The petition, created by a high school senior in San Francisco, cited products carrying the names Trader Ming’s, Arabian Joe, Trader José, and Trader Giotto’s. L.A. Times | NPR


A beluga whale swam off the coast of San Diego last month.

Gif created from video by DolphinDroneDom

“Nobody's going to believe us if we don't have undeniable proof.”

Last month, a whale watching tour guide and nature photographer were on a boat off the coast of San Diego when they saw something astonishing: a pearly white, 15-foot animal with no dorsal fin. It was a beluga whale, a polar species never before spotted so far south. The photographer's hands began to shake as he piloted a drone to document the visitor. Smithsonian Magazine | National Geographic

The video footage 👉 DolphinDroneDom/YouTube


California archive


Robin Williams offering "The Thinker" some help at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

Arthur Grace, via Sotheby's

Today would have been Robin Williams's 69th birthday. The comedian who made the Bay Area his adopted home was by many accounts a genuinely kind person. A few remembrances:

After a devastating horse-riding accident, Christopher Reeve was going through a bleak moment in his hospital room when his old friend burst in the room. Williams, donned in a surgical gown and speaking in a Russian accent, announced that he was going to perform a rectal exam. "For the first time since the accident, I laughed," Reeve later wrote. Reeve Foundation
When he was 17, the actor Skyler Gisondo asked Williams to help him make a video asking a girl to the prom. Williams got really into it, Gisondo recalled: “All morning, Robin was pitching more ideas. He was saying 'Can I say this? Would it be appropriate to say this?' You're Robin Williams. You can say whatever you want!" The video is great 👉 YouTube (3 mins)
Norm McDonald recalled how as a "punk kid from rural Ontario" he was a ball of nerves before his first stand-up appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Then Williams appeared in his dressing room and started taking his measurements as a Jewish tailor. "I laughed and laughed and it was like I was in a dream because no one else was there. No one." The Verge

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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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