California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, May 31.

How the killer of dozens of protected species was nabbed.
Film critics swoon over an elegy to changing San Francisco.
And waters off San Diego shimmer in an otherworldly spectacle.



A satellite view of the Sierra snowpack from Wednesday.


"Reservoirs are brimming, the rivers are rushing, the waterfalls are spectacular, and people are still skiing in fresh powder in Tahoe."

As of May 30, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, a crucial source of water in warm months, measured 202 percent of average. At this time last year, it measured 6 percent of average.


A few happenings in the capital:

A intensely debated proposal to put a moratorium on new charter schools died. A poll showed Californians nearly evenly split on charter schools, which critics say drain funds from public schools. L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle
A measure that would have forced more cities to allow retail cannabis sales was shelved. Roughly 80 percent of California's municipalities prohibit marijuana stores. L.A. Times | Marijuana Business Daily
Lawmakers moved toward banning those tiny shampoo bottles in hotels. Supporters say the bottles hurt the earth. A political blogger called the move "performative crap." L.A. Times | Mother Jones

A closeup of the Los Angeles area from the data project: "A People Map of the US."

The Pudding

Petaluma: Winona Ryder. Roseville: Molly Ringwald. Merced: Ray Allen. Riverside: Ronda Rousey.

In a very clever use of data, The Pudding created an interactive map of the country that replaces city names with the most Wikipedia'ed resident. The Pudding


A home in Stinson Beach has a glorious living room.

Circle Visions, via Compass and Oceanic Realty

A few eye-catching homes on the market:

One of the prettiest homes in Stinson Beach sits on right on the beach. It has a midcentury look, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a central fireplace. Asking: $7.5 million. Curbed San Francisco
In the 1960s, a filmmaker hired Moroccan artisans to build him a Casbah-style home in the Coachella Valley. Its intricate plasterwork and tilework took two years to complete. Asking: $2.5 million.
This simple Palm Springs residence was designed at the tail end of World War II by master architect Albert Frey. The landmarked home is a largely intact example of International Style modernism. Priced at $610,000. Circa

Sheep grazed on drought-depleted grass in Los Banos in 2014.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman chats with veteran journalist Mark Arax, author of the new book "The Dreamt Land" about California's quest for water. Arax talks about the invention of California and "the grandest water moving system in the history of man."

"The question is," he said, "Is it going to see us into the future of more houses and more nuts." California Sun Podcast

Here's a fantastic piece of reporting by Arax on Stewart Resnick, an agricultural tycoon who has transformed California’s landscape. California Sunday Magazine

Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.

Northern California


Stockton led the nation in foreclosures during the housing crash.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

"I keep pinching myself."

Stockton has been giving a randomly selected group of 130 people $500 a month — no strings attached — in a closely watched test of guaranteed income. Supporters hope to demonstrate that, in an age of stampeding automation, people can be good stewards of free money. A reporter checked in on a couple of program participants: One used the money to buy groceries; the other bought summer tutoring for his kids. The Atlantic


Salesforce, a business-software giant that plays a crucial role in retail, instituted a new policy barring clients from using its software to sell semiautomatic weapons and some other firearms. The decision risks a backlash from gun owners. A top editor at the conservative National Review has already called for a boycott. Washington Post | The Verge


Richard Parker, in a booking photo, was sentenced to jail in one of California's largest raptor poaching cases.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Mercury News looked into how one of California's most baffling poaching cases was cracked. In April, a Lassen County ranch owner was convicted of killing 159 birds, including red-tailed hawks, ferruginous hawks, and harriers, but also songbirds and even a great horned owl. "In my entire career," an investigator said, "I've never seen anything to this extent — all protected species." Mercury News


The Fresno Grizzlies are facing an advertiser backlash over the scoreboard video equating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with dictators. Sun-Maid and Heineken International, which owns Dos Equis and Tecate, said they were ending their sponsorship of the minor league beaseball team. Sun-Maid, which has deep roots in the San Joaquin Valley, said the Grizzlies' apology was insufficient. "We are standing on the side of what we believe is right," it said. Fresno Bee | ABC30 Fresno

Sports columnist: "The way to oppose hateful speech, and the implicit incitement to violence that always lies within it, is to find out who did it and punish them." Washington Post


Jonathan Majors, left, and Jimmie Fails in “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

Peter Prato/A24, via Sundance Institute

"The Last Black Man In San Francisco," a film about the search for belonging in a rapidly changing city, had its hometown debut in San Francisco, where it was met with a rapturous reception. Critics have called the film "exquisite," and "bound to go down as one of the all-time-great San Francisco films." (Here's the trailer.) S.F. Examiner


Turkeys commuting in the East Bay.

Today I learned: The ancestors of those wild turkeys you sometimes see strutting about Northern California suburbs were trapped decades ago in places like Texas and Nevada and then released in California. Why? To generate revenue for the state through hunting licenses. You can still hunt the birds in the spring and fall — starting a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. KQED


Southern California


Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher hugged his wife, Andrea Gallagher, after leaving a military courtroom in San Diego.

Julie Watson/A.P.

Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher, charged with multiple war crimes, was released from custody after a military judge said prosecutors interfered with Gallagher's defense counsel. The decision drew gasps in a San Diego courtroom. Lawyers for Gallagher said a Navy prosecutor had illegally snooped on defense attorneys and reporters in an effort to pinpoint leaks from case files. S.D. Union-Tribune | A.P.


Seth MacFarlane, the irreverent creator of "Family Guy," has called his critics at the conservative Parents Television Council "literally terrible human beings." The council has called MacFarlane's work "filth" that caters to a "sycophantic audience of frat boys and perverts." Now MacFarlane and the council's president are friends. L.A. Times


Bioluminescence has reappeared along the Southern California coast. The waters off San Diego have been shimmering in the otherworldly spectacle caused by tiny plankton that emit a bluish light when agitated. San Diego photographer Evgeny Yorobe shared the picture above, captured at Torrey Pines State Beach Wednesday night. (Another nice shot). KGTV


California archive


Uniformed men bearing clubs searched for targets in Watts in June 1943.

Library of Congress

In the 1940s, Los Angeles was a city of transplants: Mexicans fleeing war, black Southerners seeking opportunity, white farmers escaping the Dust Bowl. World War II was raging, stoking fears of a Japanese attack on the West Coast, and racial tensions were high.

Young Mexican-Americans embraced the pachuco style — known for its zoot suit with broad shoulders, narrow waist, and poofy pants — a look some regarded as gangsterish. It was on this day in 1943 that a group of zoot-suiters in downtown L.A. got into a scuffle with some sailors on leave from the war. Details of how it kicked off are murky, but one sailor, Joe Dacy Coleman, ended up with a broken jaw.

Two victims of a beating, one stripped, one badly beaten, during the Zoot Suit riots on June, 7, 1943.

Anthony Potter Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The fight lasted a only few minutes, yet it reverberated for days, wrote historian Eduardo Pagán: "The details of the fight grew larger and more distorted in each retelling of the story." Another clash a few days later tipped the tensions into full anarchy.

On June 4, 1943, mobs of sailors and soldiers roamed the streets armed with pipes and sticks, beating any young Mexican-American male they could find, along with some blacks and Filipinos. Some people were stripped and left naked in the street. The police, according to victims, didn't seem to care.

Zoot-suiters appeared at court in Los Angeles on June 15, 1943.

Herald Examiner, via Los Angeles Public Library

The L.A. Times cheered the violence. It wrote: "Those gamin dandies, the zoot-suiters, having learned a great moral lesson from servicemen, mostly sailors, who took over their instruction three days ago, are staying home nights."

The rioting lasted several days until finally subsiding on June 8, after the military ordered its men back to their quarters. According to an official report, 94 civilians, compared to 18 servicemen, suffered serious injuries. Even so, arrests of zoot-suiters far exceeded those of military men.

City lawmakers marshaled a response as well: a proposal to make wearing zoot suits in public a jailable offense. It wasn't enacted. KCET | Timeline


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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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