Good morning. It’s Thursday, May 18.
- States appear to be near deal on Colorado River cuts.
- Huntington Beach City Council debates meeting prayers.
- And Gov. Ron DeSantis meets his match in Bob Iger.
After nearly a year of negotiating, California, Arizona, and Nevada are said to be close to a deal to voluntarily cut their use of the depleted Colorado River. The key states would aim to conserve about 13% of their allocations over the next three years in exchange for more than $1 billion in federal funds. An Interior Department spokesman said he was “heartened” by the progress in talks, which were at times contentious. Washington Post | CNN
Newly released court documents revealed what the wife of Dharmesh Patel told rescuers after he drove their family off a cliff known as Devil’s Slide south of San Francisco on Jan. 2. “He drove off. He’s depressed,” Neha Patel told a California Highway Patrol officer. “He’s a doctor. He said he was going to drive off the cliff. He purposely drove off.” Patel, 41, a Pasadena radiologist, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder. S.F. Chronicle | A.P.
After thieves robbed a Brink’s big rig parked at a stop along the Grapevine, one of the two truck drivers took an inventory of how much had been taken. By his count, more than 20 large bags of precious gems and other items were missing. “Holy shit,” his partner said, according to a new legal filing. “That’s a lot.” Brink’s claimed the total value of haul was $8.7 million. The jewelers whose wares were stolen said in a lawsuit that the merchandise was worth about $100 million. L.A. Times
The photographer Linnea Bullion said the secret may be out about the beauty of the Carrizo Plain National Monument, which has become a springtime media darling. “But the park is huge,” she wrote. “There are more people, but they still only just pepper the landscape in their sun hats.” See 23 of Bullion’s photos. 👉 Field Magazine
San Francisco’s Black population has shrunk from 13% in 1970 to about 5% today. A reparations proposal to give $5 million payments to eligible Black residents is seen by most as unrealistic. But some are hopeful about securing incentives for former residents to return to the city. “My bags are ready,” said Aliciea Walker, who now lives in Sacramento. N.Y. Times
- As the state weighs its own reparations proposals, some Black Californians are bracing for another broken promise. A.P.
Joe Eskenazi called the April 27 shooting of Banko Brown at a San Francisco Walgreens “sickeningly dystopian”:
“This was two marginalized Black men pitted against one another — with one killing the other — in a confrontation sparked by $14.64 worth of snacks from Walgreens. This lethal battle was waged in the name of protecting the assets of a corporation that, cynically, used San Francisco’s dystopian reputation as a pretense to carry out long-planned cost-cutting store closures.” Mission Local
- San Francisco said Wednesday that Walgreens agreed to pay $230 million over its role in the city’s opioid crisis. Reuters
Tabia Lee infuriated colleagues not long after being hired as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Cupertino’s De Anza College in 2021. Lee, who is Black, rejected ethnic affinity groups as “tribalism”; pushed back on the idea that “everyone is either a victim or an oppressor”; and opposed the use of the term “Latinx,” which she said many Latinos dislike. In March, the college fired her, saying she was uncooperative. According to Lee, she was targeted “because I declared myself ‘not woke.'” S.F. Chronicle
One of the most prominent structures of California’s bullet-train project is now complete, the rail authority announced last week. The Cedar Viaduct, lined by two pairs of 40-foot-tall concrete arches, stretches nearly three quarters of a mile over Highway 99 in Fresno. Fresno Bee | FOX26
- See drone video. 👉 YouTube
- When voters approved funding in 2008, California’s high-speed rail was supposed to cost $33 billion and start running by 2020. The latest estimate: $128 billion with a starter segment opening in 2030. KCRA | CalMatters
The inspector general for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department ordered 35 suspected deputy gang members to come in for questioning, show their tattoos, and name any others who have similar inkings. Inspector General Max Huntsman warned that failure to show could “adversely affect your employment.” A union representative said the order amounted to a threat and was possibly unconstitutional. Sheriff Robert Luna, who has pledged to root out deputy gangs, signaled support for the investigation. CBS News | L.A. Times
Not long after Huntington Beach’s City Council seated a new Republican majority in December, it sidelined an interfaith group that had provided religious invocations to open meetings. Since then, the prayers have been Christian. After a critic proposed instead holding a moment of silence, a conservative councilwoman went to a local church and, standing beside the pastor, urged congregants to speak out at the next council meeting. “This is all ridiculous,” said the pastor, Joe Pedick. “This is all an attack to shut down God.” Voice of OC
- The L.A. Times’s Gustavo Arellano: “Scapegoating a kumbaya interfaith group? Stay classy, Huntington Beach.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers said Wednesday that it had disinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a raucous group of gay activists in nun’s habits, from its upcoming Pride Night. The group’s inclusion had angered some conservatives, including Sen. Marco Rubio, who wrote to commissioner Robert Manfred asking “why you are allowing an MLB team to honor a group that mocks Christians through diabolical parodies of our faith.” In a statement, the Dodgers cited “the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the sisters’ inclusion in our evening.” L.A. Times | S.F. Chronicle
“DeSantis views this as a fight he can’t afford to lose.”
“Iger never loses.”
A feud between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Co. over an education law ballooned into an all-out legal fight. It’s being seen now as a battle between individuals: DeSantis vs. Bob Iger, the Disney CEO. For DeSantis, it poses a threat to his likely run for the White House. But Iger, business experts say, is not one to back down. Washington Post
Thanks for reading!
The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
Give the gift of the California Sun.
Get a California Sun mug, T-shirt, phone case, or hoodie.
Forward this email to a friend.
Click here to stop delivery, and here to update your billing information or cancel your support.
The California Sun, PO Box 6868, Los Osos, CA 93412
Wake up to must-read news from around the Golden State delivered to your inbox each morning.