Good morning. It’s Monday, July 11.
- Yosemite wildfire pushes near cherished Mariposa Grove.
- Leak reveals Uber’s bare-knuckle tactics in global push.
- And L.A. opens bridge with colorful swooping arches.
A wildfire that erupted Thursday in the southern part of Yosemite National Park doubled in size over the weekend, crawling across more than 3 square miles of parched terrain and encircling hundreds of mature giant sequoias in storied Mariposa Grove. A sprinkler system soaked the tree trunks and air tankers dropped fire-retardant chemicals from overhead, a measure taken in the protected wilderness only in extreme cases. Late Sunday, the Washburn fire was 0% contained with conditions poised to worsen as temperatures rise this week. “It will be actively spreading,” a Yosemite Fire spokesperson said. Fresno Bee | A.P.
See the Washburn fire perimeter. 👉 InciWeb
The L.A. Times editorial board on Sunday called for California to repeal its ban on state-funded travel to states identified as having anti-LGBTQ laws. California should demonstrate its values, the board members wrote: “But the travel ban is a loopy, unworkable attempt to show the nation what we stand for without really showing much at all. It puts symbolism above pragmatism, weakening well-founded criticism of discriminatory laws.”
Democrats are hoping that the overturning of Roe vs. Wade will provide the edge needed to tip competitive midterm races. A prime target is Republican Rep. David Valadao, a staunch abortion opponent who won his Central Valley district in 2020 by less than half a percentage point. His Democratic challenger, state Assemblymember Rudy Salas, said he’s been hammering on the issue with voters. “People I’ve talked to door to door are upset,” he said. “So I tell people like, ‘Hey, that’s a big difference’ … there’s a clear line between our two candidacies.” Politico
Three people have drowned in Napa County’s Lake Berryessa in separate incidents over the past two weeks. The latest incident happened Sunday when Zaire Watu Fairley, 18, slipped off a log into deep water, officials said. Since 2020, 13 people have died at Berryessa. Henry Wofford, spokesperson for the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, told the Chronicle that people misjudge the blue-green reservoir, which has steep underwater drop-offs and islands that seem swimmable from shore. “You can’t judge it the way you judge a swimming pool,” he said. SFGATE | CBS13
A trove of leaked internal communications showed how Uber broke laws, duped police, and secretly courted politicians as it aggressively sought to supplant the taxi industry in cities across the world, according to multiple reports published on Sunday. A few of the revelations:
- “Get some sleep when you can,” Nairi Hourdajian, Uber’s head of global communications, wrote to a company lobbyist in 2014. “Remember that everything is not in your control, and that sometimes we have problems because, well, we’re just fucking illegal.”
- Uber used what it called a “kill switch” to shut off the company’s computer systems, making data inaccessible to authorities.
- Uber’s then-chief executive, Travis Kalanick, dismissed concerns that sending Uber drivers to a protest could put them at risk of violence from opponents in the taxi industry. “I think it’s worth it,” he wrote. “Violence guarantee[s] success.” Washington Post | The Guardian
Twitter now finds itself in a bizarre situation: As a buyer it never sought tries to exit his takeover of the San Francisco company, it is preparing to try to force him to see the deal through. Twitter’s fate now depends on a clash between multiple white-shoe law firms, with Elon Musk facing a potential $1 billion penalty and Twitter a plummeting stock price. Zohar Goshen, a professor of transactional law at Columbia Law School, said even if Twitter gets the judgement it wants, Musk could still refuse to buy it. “You don’t put people in jail because they don’t buy something,” he said. Wall Street Journal
On the night of June 11, 1962, three bank robbers burrowed, wriggled, and climbed out of the federal penitentiary at Alcatraz Island then pushed off into the San Francisco Bay on a raft made of raincoats. The escape from Alcatraz become known as one of the most notorious unsolved crimes in American history. The men, never seen again, are presumed dead. But the case remains open, which is why the U.S. Marshals Service recently released age-progressed photos. Frank Morris, Clarence Anglin, and John Anglin, pictured below, would all now be in their 90s. PopPhoto
In 1998, a pair of tree scientists discovered a hidden grove of some of the world’s largest redwoods near the banks of the Smith River in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. For years, the location of the mythic Grove of Titans — with specimens taller than 300 feet and as wide as 26 feet — was a closely guarded secret. But in May, the public was invited to explore the grove on new elevated walkways that protect the root systems. Christopher Reynolds visited in June. He described it as a place that “seems to operate on different principles of time and size.” L.A. Times
Before he became former President Trump’s lawyer, John Eastman was a little-known conservative legal scholar in Orange County. Now at the center of an inquiry into what Democrats have called a blueprint for a coup, he has been repeatedly described in news coverage as a “former Chapman University professor.” The scandal has haunted the small private university, leading some faculty members to question whether its commitment to academic freedom went too far. “Freedom of speech,” one professor said, “is not a complete blank check.” L.A. Times
In 2018, the Riverside County authorities rescued 13 children and adults who had been held captive and horribly abused by their parents, David and Louise Turpin, in a case that shocked the country. More than $1 million in donations poured in for the Turpin children. Now a law firm’s report on the handling of their care has confirmed what had been an unthinkable suspicion: Younger members of the Turpin family were placed in a foster home where the caregivers were later charged with child abuse. San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Los Angeles has a new bridge. After six years and $588 million, the 6th Street Viaduct — connecting the downtown to the city’s historic Eastside — officially opened over the weekend, welcoming thousands of pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders, and others. Its nickname, “Ribbon of Light,” is inspired by 20 massive tilted arches illuminated after dark with multicolored LED lights. The L.A. Times called the structure “instantly iconic.” L.A. Times | dezeen
When Adrian Rodriquez, 17, found a purse in the parking lot of a Chula Vista grocery store, he went the address listed on an ID inside the bag and knocked on the door. He handed off the purse in an exchange caught on a Ring camera. “It was just the right thing to do,” he later explained. But the person who answered the door neglected to get his name. What followed was a social media search that went viral, an in-person thank you, and a GoFundMe that aimed to raise $1,000 in reward money for Rodriquez. As of Sunday it was up to $16,010. NBC San Diego
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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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