Good morning. It’s Friday, Oct. 6.
- California credit unions make profits off overdraft fees.
- WNBA announces expansion team for the Bay Area.
- And an eruption of fall color in the Eastern Sierra.
Please note: The newsletter will be off Monday. Back in your inbox Tuesday.
In recent years, banks facing pressure from regulators have scaled back overdraft fees that by definition hurt people living on the financial edge. Until now, credit unions escaped scrutiny. But thanks to a 2022 disclosure law, we can now see that California’s credit unions have been making big profits from overdraft fees, turning money from people who have run out of it into perks and bonuses for executives. Golden 1 took in $24 million in overdraft fees in 2022, while spending $6 million a year on naming rights for an NBA stadium in Sacramento. Politico Magazine
When temperatures plunged last weekend, it was like flipping a switch in the forested slopes of the Eastern Sierra. After a delayed start to this year’s fall foliage, trees that were green on Friday erupted in brilliant tones of lime green, yellow, and gold. California Fall Color, the state’s most reliable foliage report, has now elevated a 40-mile stretch between Big Pine and Mammoth Lakes to its “GO NOW!” category. California Fall Color
- See updated fall color map. 👉 Google
On this week’s California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Evelyn McDonnell, author of the new book “The World According to Joan Didion.” They discussed the Sacramento writer’s disillusionment with the 1960s, as both a participant and observer. Didion keyed into the mistreatment of women and children in the Haight-Ashbury counterculture, McDonnell said: “She saw the failure of the suburban dream, but she also saw the inadequacy of the alternative.”
After decades of activist pressure, crews this summer removed the first of four dams slated for demolition along Northern California’s mighty Klamath River. For members of the Yurok, Karuk, and other tribes, the undamming, the largest in U.S. history, represents a chance to renew their way of life as riverine ecosystems roar back to life. “We have so much hope that this river will restore itself,” said Yurok attorney Amy Bowers Cordalis. “Dam removal is just the beginning. Dam removal is the end of colonization of this river.” L.A. Times
- Just across the Oregon border, the Klamath Tribes recently rejected a $40 million compensation offer for damages related to a planned hydroelectric project, comparing it to disemboweling the Vatican. KDRV
A Union Pacific train barreled into a tractor trailer stuck on the tracks near Redding on Wednesday in a thunderous collision that was captured on video. Investigators said the truck driver had tried to cross an elevated section of track while hauling a low-clearance trailer, causing it to bottom out. The train arrived moments later, horn blaring. “Are you kidding me right now?” said a witness as he filmed the action, unleashing a string of expletives — and then, boom! No one was hurt. KRCTV
- See the crash from another angle. 👉 Facebook
The Bay Area is getting a Women’s National Basketball Association team, making it the league’s 13th franchise and California’s second along with the Los Angeles Sparks, the WNBA announced Thursday. The team, which will be owned and operated by the Warriors organization, will practice in Oakland and play games at San Francisco’s Chase Center starting in 2025. “I believe we’ll have the No. 1 revenue of any WNBA team,” said Joe Lacob, the Warriors co-owner. It’s a bold prediction, but one backed up by the Warriors’ financial dominance in the NBA. ESPN | Sports Illustrated
One of San Francisco’s most ambitious public collections of art is housed in a hospital complex. During the planning for UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus in 1999, then-Chancellor Mike Bishop pledged 1% of the considerable construction costs to establish an art program, making UCSF the only campus to commission art as a matter of policy. The result is a place where, rather than an afterthought, art is an attraction all its own. UCSF
- See a picture gallery on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus by photographer Thomas Hawk. 👉 Flickr
Dr. George Tyndall, the former USC gynecologist accused of sexually abusing hundreds of students in a scandal that led to $1 billion in university payouts, was found dead at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday, his lawyer said. The cause was unclear. Tyndall, 76, had been out on bail awaiting trial. Several of his accusers expressed dismay that they would be denied their day in court. “I’m getting so mad I can’t speak,” said Allison Rowland, a former patient. “I was interviewed by the police in June 2018. They thought they had enough to prosecute then.” L.A. Times | A.P.
In 2013, Apple approached an Irvine medical device entrepreneur named Joe Kiani about working together. Instead, according to Kiani, the Cupertino behemoth infringed on his patents, stole trade secrets, and hired away executives from his company, doubling their salaries. Many small companies roll over when challenged by Apple, the first company to hit a $3 trillion market cap. But not Kiani. He’s already spent $60 million fighting the tech giant in court; he estimates he’ll end up spending twice that. L.A. Times
When an inspector visited an industrial facility along the L.A. River that processes bits of cows, pigs, and other animals, he said in his report that he had to step away to avoid vomiting. The odor, he said, “smells intensely of rotting animals.” For nearby residents, the stench became an unbearable part of life, permeating their cars and homes. A legal battle is now being waged over the future of the plant and the right to breathe freely in an area where one in five people live at or below the poverty line. LAist
Since 2012, three generations of golden retrievers have held the office of mayor in the San Jacinto mountain town of Idyllwild. The latest, Mayor Max III, said to resemble a “fluffy Tom Selleck,” makes daily public appearances, visiting hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. According to his chief of staff (and owner) Phyllis Mueller, he’s the only politician in the world who can close his mouth on command. The Guardian profiled California’s dog mayor on his one-year anniversary in office.
In case you missed it
Five items that got big views over the past week:
- A real estate agent celebrating a sale in Malibu shared a photo of the property on Instagram that delighted architecture lovers online. The home was built in 1979 by the celebrated architect Doug Rucker, who took extreme steps to meld the home into its rocky surroundings. Insider
- Sascha Jovanovic says he’s scared to walk to his car because there’s a woman who won’t leave the guesthouse of his Los Angeles home. Reporter Jack Flemming told the hair-raising story of an Airbnb “tenant from hell.” L.A. Times
- Last March, an East Bay firefighter was accused of having child pornography on his iPhone. Then, a couple weeks before his court date, he drowned in a boating accident, according to his lawyer and family. The authorities have serious doubts. Mercury News
- Brian Conrad, the director of undergraduate studies in math at Stanford, read every word of California’s 1,000-page math education framework. “Sometimes, as I pored over the CMF, I could scarcely believe what I was reading,” he wrote. The Atlantic
- Kylie Jefferson began training as a ballerina at age 4 and was accepted into L.A.’s elite Debbie Allen Dance Academy at age 6. She’s never looked back. A short documentary about Jefferson called “Kylie” explores being Black in the world of ballet, where ideas of perfection collide with those of race. Vimeo (~5 mins)
Thanks for reading!
The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
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