Good morning. It’s Wednesday, July 13.
- Twitter kicks off a legal battle with Elon Musk.
- Los Angeles drifts further to the political left.
- And a 23-year-old genius of Google Maps Street View.
In the few weeks since the Supreme Court bolstered the right to carry firearms openly in public, Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed at least three major gun control measures into law, with more to come. The latest, signed Tuesday, is among the most significant, requiring gun makers and dealers to refuse sales to anyone they have “reasonable cause to believe is at substantial risk,” a subjective standard that goes farther than existing checks. The NRA called it an attempt to drive the gun industry out of business with “frivolous” lawsuits. A.P. | L.A. Times
Statewide, 4,227 patients were hospitalized with the coronavirus on Monday, the highest total since February, as the BA.5 variant galloped across the U.S with stunning speed. California’s test positivity rate has surged to 16.1%, just one percentage point shy of the high of the winter 2020 surge. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, called BA.5 the worst version of the virus yet. “Not because it causes worse disease. … Because it is the most transmissible and most immune-evasive of any version of the virus since the pandemic began.” L.A. Times | Ground Truths
California coronavirus tracker. 👉 Covid19.ca.gov
Wildfires have burned a greater area of sequoia groves in the last few years than in the last century. Biologists recently reported that drought stress and bark beetles killed hundreds of bristlecone pines in Death Valley. Scientists predict that western Joshua trees could lose 90% of their habitat in the Mojave Desert by the end of the century. The L.A. Times editorial board: “How many more warnings do we need to act? Climate change is threatening some of our iconic trees that have stood for centuries, even millennia.”
☝️ The poop emoji made it into Twitter’s complaint against Elon Musk.
Twitter sued on Tuesday to force the world’s richest man to complete his $44 billion acquisition of the company, kicking off what is likely to be agonizing legal drama. The lawsuit’s language is caustic: Musk, it argues, appears to believe that he “is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away.” Much of the evidence includes Musk’s own public comments, including his infamous use of a poop emoji in a May 16 tweet aimed at Twitter’s CEO. Washington Post | Wall Street Journal
Last fall, two middle-school teachers in a small town near the Monterey coast were accused of recruiting children into an LGBTQ student club. The case drew national attention after the women, Lori Caldeira and Kelly Baraki, were recorded talking about how they “stalked” students online in search of candidates for the club, a remark Caldeira later described as tongue-in-cheek. Now an independent review of case has been completed. The conclusion: the teachers chose their words poorly, but they neither “stalked” children nor deceived parents. Caldeira and Baraki already quit after facing harassment. S.F. Chronicle
Two opioid manufacturers, Allergan and Teva, agreed to pay San Francisco $54 million in cash and overdose reversal drugs to settle claims that they fueled a surge of addiction and overdoses. That leaves Walgreens as the sole remaining defendant in the groundbreaking lawsuit, filed in 2018. San Francisco accused the pharmacy chain of overdispensing opioids. “Walgreens is the only defendant in this case that won’t look in the mirror and say, what did we do wrong?” a lawyer for the city said in court on Tuesday. Reuters | Courthouse News
Rarely are views so stunning so easily accessible. Heart Lake is a picturesque little lake perched on the eastern edge of Northern California’s Klamath Mountains just a mile walk from a parking lot. During sunsets on clear evenings, the view of Shasta Mountain and its reflection on the water looks like a Bob Ross painting. Cory Poole captured the picture above a couple Saturdays ago. The Outbound
A 23-year-old Angeleno named Trevor Rainbolt is one of the world’s greatest GeoGuessr players. Popular with geography fanatics, the game drops players somewhere in the world in Google Street View and challenges them to identify the location as quickly as possible. Rainbolt’s times are measured in seconds. “To some, Mr. Rainbolt’s snap answers seem like wizardry,” wrote Kellen Browning. “To him, they are simply the result of countless hours of practice and an insatiable thirst for geographic knowledge.” N.Y. Times
See Rainbolt at work. It’s incredible. 👉 @georainbolt
After years of drifting to the political left, Los Angeles is now moving even further left, the columnist Steve Lopez wrote. In the June 7 election, City Councilman Gil Cedillo, a former labor leader, was defeated by community activist Eunisses Hernandez, who ran on a platform of abolishing the police. On the Westside, where crime and homelessness have been a public fixation, the progressive attorney Erin Darling was the top vote-getter for City Council. And in another race, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell faces a runoff with labor leader Hugo Soto-Martinez, who was heralded as a “comrade” by the Democratic Socialists of America. L.A. Times
“Hold your loved ones tight. Check and make sure they’re OK.”
Dominic Green moved across the country for a job in Los Angeles. An epidemiologist, he worked remotely. He was 28, an introvert, and lived alone thousands of miles away from family. One day this past January, Green died suddenly of a heart condition in his bed. Five days passed before his body was found. Kiera Feldman told the incredibly sad story of the death of a remote worker. L.A. Times
Katie Hill, once considered a rising Democratic star, has filed for bankruptcy. The former Southern California congresswoman owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to media parties after she lost a “revenge porn” lawsuit over the publication of nude pictures of her. Hill’s lawyer said her predicament was proof of a broken system. An opposing lawyer accused Hill of trying to evade the consequences of her actions. L.A. Times | A.P.
During the pandemic lockdown, Tod Papageorge’s mind wandered to images of Southern California beaches he captured on trips between 1975 and 1981. The renowned photographer set about organizing the work, which is now on exhibition for the first time at the Danziger Gallery in Los Angeles under the title, “The Beaches.” It’s a fantastic time capsule of 1970s California. N.Y Times
The gallery published 20 of the images on its website. 👉 Danzigergallery.com
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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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