California Today: California Today: Remembering the Victims of the Ghost Ship Fire

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Tributes left to victims of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire adorned the fence that surrounds the property on Thursday.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Good morning.

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On a brisk morning nearly one year ago, grim-faced firefighters emerged from the smoldering remains of an Oakland warehouse called the Ghost Ship. In the days that followed, they would recover the remains of 36 men and women, most of whom had been attending a party.

The Dec. 2 blaze was America’s worst structural fire in more than a decade and was shocking for many reasons, not least the distressing realization that most of the victims were young and full of plans for the future.

Among the dead was Griffin Madden, 23, a Berkeley graduate who specialized in Slavic languages. He was also a music lover and a part-time DJ.

In the year since the fire, Griffin Madden’s father, Mike, has sought ways to preserve his son’s memory. He helped launch a scholarship at Middlebury College, where his son studied Russian.

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Berkeley, Griffin Madden’s alma mater, set up a separate scholarship for undergraduate students enrolled in the philosophy and Slavic languages departments.

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“Our family has no religious affiliation, I wouldn’t consider us very spiritual and no belief in the supernatural, yet everyone in our family has felt very closely connected with Griffin over the past year,” Mr. Madden said. “I attribute this to our ability to reflect on who Griffin was, the influence he had on us and others and just the way he lived life with great joy and was immense curiosity.”

Four weeks ago, Cal Performances, the production organization for performing arts at Berkeley and Griffin’s employer at the time of the fire, dedicated two concerts to him, performed by a Russian orchestra, conductor and soloist. It was “a fitting tribute,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, the executive director of Cal Performances.

The last time Mr. Madden saw his son was Thanksgiving 2016, a few weeks before the fire.

“We gave each other a huge hug as I told him I loved him,” Mr. Madden said. “Thankfully in the midst of all this I have no regrets — we could not have had a better or closer relationship.”

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• President Trump called the verdict “disgraceful.” A defense lawyer said “physical evidence supported a finding that this was an accident.” After six days of deliberations, the jury ruled that a Mexican homeless man was not guilty of killing Kate Steinle. [The New York Times]

• The six men and six women on the jury in the Steinle trial were a cross-section of San Francisco, strikingly young, predominantly white, Asian and Latino. [San Francisco Magazine]

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A memorial to Kathryn Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, charged in Ms. Steinle’s death, was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges on Thursday.

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Paul Chinn/San Francisco Chronicle, via Associated Press

• “This will mean more traffic.” Southern California transportation officials rail against the Republican tax bill. [Los Angeles Times]

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• As a teenager, Rupert Tarsey savagely beat a classmate. The attack was forgotten, until he went into politics. [Los Angeles Times]

• Houzz, the company that hosts the website about home design, wanted to put a rooftop deck on its offices in Palo Alto. The City Council said it would be too noisy. [The Mercury News]

Russell Simmons, hip-hop pioneer, stepped down from his businesses after a sexual misconduct report. [The New York Times]

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Russell Simmons in 2016. He has been accused of assaulting two women at different times.

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Emily Berl for The New York Times

Raising a teenager: Who’s more confused, mother or daughter? [The California Sunday Magazine]

• The police in Shasta County say people looking for a Christmas tree found a partially clothed woman who had been kidnapped and abandoned in a rural area. [Associated Press]

San Diego medical tourism pitch: Get your hip replaced or your cancer treated — then take your family to Legoland. [STAT]

• Mr. Trump’s first major trade fight with China could be over solar panels. [The New York Times]

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China’s push to become a major maker of solar panels has driven down global prices by close to 90 percent over the past decade.

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Adam Dean for The New York Times

• And along came the 18th witness at the Robert Durst trial: A retired police detective admitted on the stand that he had sex with a potential witness. [The New York Times]

Sunset Magazine, siren of the American West, was sold to a California private equity firm [The New York Times]

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And Finally …

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Listening to Cesar Chavez speak at a farmworker rally in Oxnard, July 1975.

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Mimi Plumb

Forty-two years ago, Mimi Plumb traveled to the Salinas Valley to photograph workers in one of America’s most fertile and productive agricultural lands.

Cesar Chavez was actively recruiting workers for his labor movement but Ms. Plumb was most interested in the workers themselves.

“I was really curious about who were the farm workers,” she said. “Can I get to know them? Can I look at their lives?”

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Cesar Chavez talking with farmworker organizers in the Salinas Valley, July 1975.

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Mimi Plumb

The photos show life at hardscrabble labor camps but also the concentrated gazes of workers listening to Chavez and other organizers.

Ms. Plumb stashed the negatives in boxes and forgot about them until a few years ago. They now adorn the office walls of California Humanities in Oakland (where viewing is possible by appointment).

“It was an amazing moment in history,” Ms. Plumb said. “We’ve lost that spirit of organizing, that belief that we could really change our lives and circumstances.”

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A labor camp, summer 1975.

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Mimi Plumb

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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