California Sun

Good morning. It's Monday, Sept. 10.

Gov. Jerry Brown issues commutations to 20 killers.
Accounts emerge of sexual misconduct in the yoga world.
And the most beautifully designed museum in California.

The lede


Gov. Jerry Brown has issued far more commutations than his predecessors.

Rich Pedroncelli/A.P.

Gov. Jerry Brown is granting forgiveness to criminals at a clip unmatched in California since the 1940s.

He recently issued commutations to 20 men and women serving life sentences for murder. The moves are not so much acts of lenience, Brown told the Washington Post, but course corrections for a system where tough-on-crime sentencing has gone too far.

Criminal justice reformers have applauded him. Critics say Californians will be less safe.

"2018 is the worst I’ve ever seen it," one victims' rights advocate said. "The sad reality is, California is not a victim-friendly state. It’s an offender-friendly state."

Read the story in the Washington Post.




Gov. Jerry Brown added his signature to new legislation that would:

Block new offshore oil drilling by barring the construction of pipelines that could bring the oil and gas to shore. President Trump wants to expand drilling. CNBC
And prohibit for-profit charter schools, a move that supporters said was necessary to clean up a scandal-ridden sector of education. Mercury News

A researcher at a Stanford University stem cell lab in 2012. An infusion of funding was seen as a turning point for the field.

Paul Sakuma/A.P.

In 2004, California voters made a $3 billion bet on the promise of stem cell research. Fourteen years later, the money has nearly all been spent. Has it paid off? A review of nearly 1,000 grants found advances that are thrilling, but that fall far short of what campaign supporters had promised. For one thing, the research has yet to produce a single federally approved therapy.


"I trusted yoga so I trusted him. I shouldn’t have made that connection." A #MeToo project has collected hundreds of stories of sexual misconduct in the yoga world — including rape, groping, and inappropriate touching — with the largest share coming from California. Some say the soul-searching in a community prone to abuse-of-power is only beginning.


"By the end of June, three times as much land had already burned in California as burned in the first half of 2017, which was the state’s worst fire year ever." How did this happen? William Finnegan reviewed three books about wildfires, our increasingly flammable world, and what can be done to forestall "catastrophic overheating."


The roof of the de Young Museum, foreground, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Architectural Digest did a survey to find the most beautifully designed museum in every state in America. The California winner? The copper-clad de Young Museum. Designed in part locally, it's one of the Bay Area's most important cultural buildings. Among the current exhibitions: Indigenous art from the West and works by the California photographer Judy Dater.


Northern California


Embers flew from the north state's Delta Fire, which continued to burn out of control over the weekend.

Noah Berger/A.P.

The raging Delta Fire in Shasta County spread to nearly 65 square miles, destroying thousands of trees and keeping Interstate 5 north of Redding shut for a fifth day. Another blaze erupted Saturday in a remote part of Napa County and spread quickly to nearly four square miles. The so-called Snell Fire prompted evacuations and threatened about 180 homes near Lake Berryessa.


"Disillusioned, broke, and angry." The evolving patchwork of marijuana regulations in California, which requires businesses to be licensed by both the state and local jurisdictions, has put mom-and-pop growers at a severe disadvantage. Rural Calaveras County went from supporting marijuana farms to banning them, wiping out growers' investments and leaving them feeling betrayed. Now a lawsuit seeks to overturn the ban.


The California Trail, an exploration of the Golden State’s native flora and fauna, opened this summer at the Oakland Zoo. Grizzly bears, gray wolves, mountain lions, and five other native animals roam across 56 acres in the East Bay hills. It can be seen from a new four-minute gondola ride that soars overhead and deposits riders at a quarter-mile boardwalk through the trail.


The dolphin pods work together to corral schools of fish into a small area.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium captured awesome footage of a so-called superpod of roughly 1,000 dolphins slicing through the waters off Monterey Bay while on a hunt for fish. "It's a very special sighting near shore of one of the ocean’s magical moments often hidden away from human observation," an aquarium staffer said, "but to the dolphins it was probably just another Monday."


Southern California


Former President Obama campaigned for Democratic congressional candidates in Orange County, a key California battleground.

Ringo H.W. Chiu/A.P.

Former President Obama addressed a rapturous crowd of Democratic party faithful at a campaign event in Anaheim on Saturday. In the first stop of a national tour, he described the past two years as a time of anger and division. "If we don’t step up, things are going to get worse," he said. "Where there is a vacuum in our democracy, when we are not participating, we are not paying attention, other voices fill the void."


Santa Ana High School's principal said his school's football team encountered signs that said "We love White" and "Build the Wall" during a game at Aliso Niguel High School. Santa Ana’s student body is predominantly Hispanic. Aliso Niguel’s student section chanted "USA" when their players scored, as though they were playing another country, the principal said.


Leslie Moonves led CBS for 15 years.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/A.P.

CBS chairman and C.E.O. Leslie Moonves resigned Sunday, in a stunning fall for one of Hollywood’s most respected entertainment executives. The move came hours after the New Yorker magazine detailed six women's accusations against Moonves involving sexual assault and harassment in the 1980s and 1990s.


An analysis of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data showed that Bakersfield was the most abnormally hot large city in the United States over the past seven years. Between 2011 and 2017, 71 out of 84 months averaged warmer-than-normal highs. The state-level data were similarly startling.


The Long Beach skyline.

A travel writer poked around Long Beach and discovered a worthy destination with "a cute and compact downtown, good food, ethnic and cultural diversity, a thriving L.G.B.T. community, and some unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities." A Los Angeles local, he confessed: "I have no one to blame but myself for not realizing it sooner."


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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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