Good morning. It’s Thursday, Sept. 15.
- California accuses Amazon of stifling competition.
- L.A. County sheriff’s deputies raid home of critic.
- And the precarious future of San Francisco’s fog.
California sued Amazon on Wednesday, accusing the retailer of anticompetitive practices that artificially drive up prices. The lawsuit, the result of a two-year investigation, says Amazon punishes merchants on the platform who offer lower prices for their products on competing websites like WalMart and eBay. “Amazon has stifled its competition for years not by successfully competing, but by blocking competition on price,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said. Wall Street Journal | Bloomberg
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed legislation that allows courts to force individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders into treatment. For years, California has poured billions of dollars into fighting the human crisis on the streets, with few visible results. “Continue to do what you’ve done and you get what you got. And look what we’ve got,” Newsom said. “It’s unacceptable.” Civil rights groups called the law cruel and illegal. L.A. Times | Mercury News
Opinion writers at the Washington Post have been finding much at fault with lawmaking in California in recent weeks.
- On the move away from gas cars: “It’s a shame that the state’s latest major climate action relies on blunt, unwieldy regulation when better tools are available.”
- On the new fast-food labor law: “California has a habit of pursuing well-meaning policy goals in ham-handed ways.”
- On an anti-misinformation bill: “This legislation will have a chilling effect on medical practice, with widespread repercussions that could paradoxically worsen patient care.”
Scientists are questioning a coroner’s conclusion that the death of Lori McClintock, the wife of California Congressman Tom McClintock, was related to the ingestion of white mulberry leaf. Bill Gurley, an expert on natural products, called white mulberry leaf “probably one of the safest leaves in the world.” He added: “It would take literally bushel baskets of white mulberry leaves to cause some type of untoward effect. And even then, you don’t see anything lethal.” KHN
Some scientists say California’s fog is fading away as the world warms. While fog isn’t unique to the state, few places are so deeply associated with its ethereal movements, wrote John Branch:
“Fog is why one neighborhood is notoriously chilly, another is surprisingly sunny, and the airport is where it is. … It is why fewer than half of Bay Area residents have air-conditioning. … Summer fog is why the mighty coastal redwoods grow where they do.” Don’t miss this beautifully done presentation. 👉 N.Y. Times
A wildfire burning for more than a week west of Lake Tahoe became the largest conflagration of 2022 on Wednesday, approaching 100 square miles. Fed by shifting winds and exceptionally dry brush and trees, the Mosquito fire has menaced several historic Gold Rush communities in Placer and El Dorado counties, destroying at least 64 structures. About 11,000 residents remained under evacuation orders. KCRA | L.A. Times
Since San Franciscans recalled the city’s progressive district attorney, Chesa Boudin, in June, his replacement, Brooke Jenkins, has rolled out a series of policy changes. Among them:
- Prosecutors can now charge 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in certain “egregious cases.” Boudin had banned the prosecution of juveniles as adults under any circumstance. S.F. Chronicle | KTVU
- Prosecutors will now “bundle” the charges of repeat drug use offenders, forcing them into the city’s “community justice” court system that places defendants into treatment. SFGATE | NBC Bay Area
- Suspects found with more than 5 grams of fentanyl will no longer be eligible for the community courts. Under Boudin, Jenkins said, prosecutors referred dealers arrested with more than 500 grams of fentanyl to the community courts. SF Standard
Catalytic converters were stolen from four San Francisco police vehicles parked outside a Police Department building, the authorities said. The thefts, discovered on Monday, were a glaring example of how brazen catalytic converter thieves have become. “They’ll get away with it too,” a veteran police officer said. “And this is not the first incident.” Mission Local | S.F. Chronicle
Poll: Nearly half of San Franciscans say they have been a victim of theft in the past five years. SF Standard
Joette Smith lived a quiet life as the proprietor of a little restaurant in the mountain community of Ben Lomond. One Sunday night in 1983, she went for a walk and never came home. Her body was found in a river. She was 33. The case went unsolved until August, the authorities said, when new DNA testing linked the killing to Eric Drummond, a man whose romantic advance had been rebuffed by Smith. But before an arrest could be made, Drummond killed himself in the hills of Sierra County, the authorities said on Wednesday. KOLO | Santa Cruz Sentinel
Early Wednesday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies raided the Santa Monica home of a county supervisor, Sheila Kuehl, who has been a vocal critic of Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Standing barefoot in front of her house, her phone confiscated, Kuehl said, “This is a bogus non-investigation. There’s no investigation going on that would support this warrant.” The raid was related to an investigation into favoritism in county contracts. L.A. Times | Los Angeles magazine
Steve Lopez: “It’s like something out of ‘Chinatown.'” L.A. Times
Yvon Chouinard, the Patagonia founder and former titan of Yosemite rock climbing, announced on Wednesday that he is giving his Ventura clothing company away. In a move unheard of in the business world, the Chouinard family handed all of their shares in the $3 billion company to a trust and nonprofit that will work on climate action. “Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” said Chouinard, 83. N.Y. Times
☝️ This is the Eames House, a Los Angeles home so celebrated that an estimated 20,000 people make the pilgrimage to see it every year. It was built by the husband-and-wife design pioneers Charles and Ray Eames in 1949 as part of the famed Case Study program, when major architects were commissioned to build experimental homes for the postwar housing boom. The Eames House, or Case Study House No. 8, is regarded as an almost perfect example of the De Stijl movement, a Dutch style that embraced pared down shapes and colors. Architectural Digest included the house in its list of “25 must-see architectural landmarks in Los Angeles.”
An Eames House gallery. 👉 ArchDaily
An earlier version of this newsletter misspelled the name of a town in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s Ben Lomond, not Ben Lomand.
A summary in Wednesday’s newsletter mangled some of the history of the 1922 Colorado River Compact, While the pact set rules for water rights among seven states, it did not bring about the transformation of California’s desert region of the Imperial Valley into farmland. That process had begun more than two decades earlier with the diversion of Colorado River water.
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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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