Good morning. It’s Friday, April 7.
- Federal law thwarts Gavin Newsom’s plan to drop Walgreens.
- Wild shootout leaves hostage dead in Sacramento suburb.
- And the sensual surf photography of Anthony Friedkin.
A month after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Twitter that California is “done” doing business with Walgreens, his administration acknowledged that it isn’t and it doesn’t plan to be. California is legally bound to do business with Walgreens through the state’s Medicaid program, health law experts said. The Newsom administration even reinvited the pharmacy giant to apply for a specialty drug contract that the governor vowed to cancel. “Tweeting is not policy,” a Newsom spokesperson said. California Healthline
- When the L.A. Times reported on the broken promises of marijuana legalization, the Newsom administration sought to withhold information.
- When KCRA investigated criminal groups skimming welfare funds at ATMs, officials didn’t respond to questions.
- When reporter Anna Maria Barry-Jester reached out for comment on public health stories, “the answer was nearly always ‘no,'” she said.
While California leaders often publicly embrace the idea of transparency, journalists have increasingly found themselves shut out from the workings of government, CalMatters reported.
“Hydrologically, California is no longer in a drought.”
Of California’s 17 major reservoirs, all but five are now above their historical averages. Photographers showed what the turnaround looks like with a stunning set of before-and-after pictures at Lake Oroville, above. A.P.
- See more before-and-after photos, from space, of Tulare Lake and Owens Lake.
Dean King’s new book “Guardians of the Valley” chronicles the odd couple that saved Yosemite: the naturalist John Muir and the East Coast editor, Robert Underwood Johnson, who published him. Book critic Lyndsie Bourgan said King’s poetic prose is a match for that of Muir himself: “He saw God in the fragmentation of the stream and in rays of the sun passing through to make vivid rainbow beads,” King writes of Muir. “He saw God in the rebirth of the stream suddenly expelled from earth, as death and a new life, a new journey, were simultaneously manifest.” N.Y. Times
A man fleeing police took two bystanders hostage at a public park in a suburb of Sacramento on Thursday, then shot them both and a CHP officer, killing one of the civilians, before surrendering, officials said. The mayhem erupted in Roseville as families played at nearby baseball fields. The gunman was also shot, police said. His condition was unknown. The surviving hostage’s injuries were said to be non-life-threatening; the officer was described as stable. Sacramento Bee | ABC10
Ethan Boyes, a USA Cycling champion who set a 2018 national record in the flying start 500-meter time trial, died on Tuesday after being struck by a car while cycling in San Francisco’s Presidio, reports said. A witness said a vehicle careened into oncoming lanes and hit Boyes. U.S. Park Police did not say whether drugs or alcohol were a factor or if the driver was taken into custody. On Thursday evening, a white ghost bike appeared at the crash site. S.F. Chronicle | SF Standard
Every summer, America’s ruling class gathers in the Sonoma County redwoods to hear lectures, party, and burn a human effigy representing the “dull cares” of everyday life in front of a giant owl statue. Bohemian Grove, a secretive men-only retreat founded in 1872, reentered the public consciousness Thursday after ProPublica reported on how Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been treated to luxury vacations by a billionaire GOP donor. Among their destinations: Bohemian Grove. Washington Post | California Sun
You can stay in a glass-enclosed treehouse shaped like a pinecone suspended in the redwood canopy of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Pinecone Treehouse is reached via a nearly vertical ladder that leads to a trap door underneath what is essentially a floating bedroom. Reviews on Airbnb call it surreal, magical, and stressful. A tiny home YouTuber from New Zealand took a tour with the builder. YouTube (~14 mins)
The Compton rapper Coolio died from the effects of fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine, the Los Angeles County medical examiner reported Thursday. The agency also cited cardiomyopathy, a heart disorder, as a “significant condition.” Coolio’s longtime manager, Jarez Posey, said the rapper had been in the bathroom of a friend’s house in Los Angeles on Sept. 28 and failed to come out for a long time. His friends broke down the door and found him on the floor. He was 59. A.P. | Hollywood Reporter
A middle school teacher in Fontana was captured on video repeatedly saying the N-word in class, goading a student to repeat it. “Say it,” she says repeatedly. The incident at Sequoia Middle School happened during discussion of a Mark Twain novel that contained the slur, students said. “She was saying that the word is just an English word and everybody can say it if she wants to,” a student said. KABC | Daily Beast
Anthony Friedkin specializes in the sensuality of surfing. Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s, the photographer has said he bristled at gaudy portrayals of surfers in popular cultural products like “Gidget.” In 1970, he began keeping a visual diary of surfers in his social circle — partying, sharing drugs, fooling around — that critics have described as timeless, gritty, and swaggering. See images from Friedkin’s “The Surfing Essay.” 👉 Artsy | AnthonyFriedkinphotography.com
- Friedkin’s work is on display now through mid-April at Santa Monica’s Von Lintel Gallery.
In case you missed it
Five items that got big views over the past couple weeks:
- A TikToker bought up a pair of fruit vendors’ entire stock, then took them to Disneyland for their first time. It’s hard to watch without smiling. @juixxe
- The hillsides on the Channel Islands break out in luminous pinks, yellows, and purples in the spring. The N.Y. Times included the islands in a list of 10 wildflower destinations across the West.
- In the early 1960s, the architect John Lautner designed an almond-shaped mansion with 30-foot-tall windows overlooking a canyon in the Hollywood Hills. Architectural Digest took a video tour.
- Yelp released a ranking of its all-time best-rated campgrounds across the country. California appeared in three of the top 10. Yelp | Sacramento Bee
- When he wasn’t creating children’s books, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, created otherworldly art for his own pleasure. Maria Popova published a delightful collection of Dr. Seuss’s “midnight paintings.” The Marginalian
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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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