Marcos Breton

The real story of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s visit to California is one of symbolism and some fundamental changes in Mexico that are still barely understood here.

Sometimes you need to find the better side of a bad story.

Steve Hansen is showing some real daring in standing up to Mayor Kevin Johnson – the kind of political guts we don’t often see in Sacramento.

Even though the time for declaring candidacies and filing papers is more than a year away, it’s already election season to pick the next mayor of Sacramento.

The next several weeks are going to be critical in Sacramento’s quest to land a Major League Soccer franchise.

Even as they begin building a new downtown arena, the owners of the Kings are in discussions to expand their footprint in the region by buying Sacramento Republic FC – the minor league soccer team selling out games locally since April.

Billy Beane loves to pull the trigger on deals for players, but you wonder if he shot himself in the foot this time. Trading gifted left fielder Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for coveted starter Jon Lester is like trading a short-term buzz for a long-term hangover.

Speaking in Mexico City this week, Gov. Jerry Brown set a vastly different tone on immigration from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who uses the U.S.-Mexico border as a wedge to divide people.

Gov. Jerry Brown and a sizable California delegation leave for Mexico today on a three-day trade mission, but his trip symbolizes much more than that.

After years of writing about the death penalty in California, I’m convinced that we in the media are part of the reason why the issue is so distorted.

This is a story about soccer, but its really about one word – a vulgarity in Spanish that can be a gay slur or a chant at soccer games in Mexico that has infiltrated sellout crowds here in Sacramento.

S Earlier this baseball season, when the Giants had the best record, Tim Hudson was the story. He was the veteran pitcher acquired during the offseason after a horrendous injury suffered last summer while pitching in Atlanta. Hudson was the reclamation project who had become the Giants’ ace and most reliable starter as they soared early to the top of the standings.

On my Facebook page, smart people chime in every day on a variety of topics – often writing words more insightful than any written here. The one topic where this is not the case is immigration.

Twenty years ago this summer, California lost its mind. The Golden State embraced its worst impulses and was whipped into a frenzy of xenophobia masquerading as public policy.

Principled, albeit misguided, opposition to the downtown arena has been replaced by people with outstretched hands in search of cash – lots of it.

It’s been 10 years since Sacramento hosted a major track and field event, an absence that will be rectified today with the opening of the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.

The Yolo County Supervisors asked the Grand Jury to investigate Sheriff Ed Prieto. They weren’t happy with him. Now they aren’t happy with the Grand Jury.

Every four years, some Americans are still surprised by the global reach of soccer and the passionate celebration of a World Cup tournament. In Sacramento, that surprise is giving way to the communal feeling of exultation seen in the galleries of fans swarming to see the Sacramento Republic FC – the minor league soccer team taking the region by storm.

California’s Sacramento-based teachers unions do not often lose a battle they want to win – but that happened on Tuesday. California’s rules that protect teacher tenure and make firing ineffective teachers hugely expensive were struck down by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu. He ruled them unconstitutional.

Though registered Republicans are disappearing in the capital region as they are across California, Sacramento County voters still lean right on one key issue: law and order.

Anne Frank would have been 84 on Tuesday. A haunting image of the iconic Holocaust victim all but jumped off my computer screen, her innocent smile ever more poignant considering how succeeding generations have forgotten Frank’s lesson to the world.

It’s been 20 years since Sacramento voters had a chance to elect a new district attorney, and the race to succeed Jan Scully has been as fascinating as it has been frustrating and bizarre.

What happens when projects are proposed in Sacramento to create jobs or bring suburban residents back to the city for the sake of better air quality and community vitality?

There might have been a great debate over the construction of a downtown arena in Sacramento, but it never happened.

There is simply no such thing as a risk-free project. There are always worries. But the prospect of doing nothing was even more frightening and carried an even greater probability for lasting regret.

That the City Council is close to approving the financial terms for a new downtown sports arena is a kind of miracle of achievement in Sacramento.

The teachers union prefers that the entire district be graded by outdated federal education standards in which the vast majority of schools will be labeled as “failing” rather than have teachers evaluated more rigorously. It’s never about the kids for them. It’s always about the grown ups.

She was raised in both a time and a culture that categorized women as second class, but she rose above it without a hint of resentment.

None of us knows if the shooting death of a mentally ill Army veteran by Lodi police was justified or whether gun-wielding officers could have avoided killing Parminder Singh Shergill in a fatal, late January confrontation.

Kevin Johnson’s sudden involvement in a national story that raged for days was much like his emergence as Sacramento mayor: He came out of nowhere to be perfectly positioned when the lights and cameras turned on him.

The right thing can happen for all the wrong reasons. That’s the enduring take-away from an NBA owner getting banned from his league for reportedly making racist comments on an audiotape that may have been obtained illegally.

While college has a way of making some students feel invisible, others try to be invisible so they can stay in college.

Befitting a vibrant community of runners, Sacramento was well represented at the Boston Marathon.

On this profoundly meaningful day of Easter, it doesn’t seem any easier to find the meaning behind why terrible things happen.

They were trying to change their lives and communities by doing something truly brave: Leaving all they had known to go to college far from home. Frankly, their stories put to shame the conventional wisdom that young people today – the millennial generation – are spoiled, lazy and disaffected.

You might have missed it, but there was a sea change within the Sacramento City Unified School District last week.

You could say Tim Hudson owns the Arizona Diamondbacks, if two wins over them in two weeks at two different ballparks is any judge in early April.

The enduring tragedy of a fatal Antelope car crash claiming the lives of a young father and his daughter is that a humble family will never gain justice or remotely fair compensation for their loss.

My personal feelings for Ron Calderon, Leland Yee and Rod Wright do run deeper because of their races and ethnicities. They don’t have to be your feelings, but they are mine, because I remember how difficult it was to affect diversity at the ballot box.

How many times is a 400-foot single a symbol of a bad night at the office? It was Monday as they A’s dropped a historic season opener the Cleveland Indians 2-0 – a night of inspiration and futility distilled down to one star-crossed swing.

After years of slogging through massive state budget deficits, Darrell Steinberg, the leader of the state Senate, is seeing an impressive array of legislative victories undermined by controversy.

If you read this early Wednesday morning, I’ll be on an operating table while undergoing a medical procedure that could save my life – the same one that could save your life.

While a broader community shrugs its shoulders and moves on a few days after a spate of deadly shootings, a code of silence endures among people who saw what happened.

It’s a milestone for a city that was written off in the national press as it strained to prevent the most recognizable Sacramento business – the Kings – from moving to another city.

Anne Marie Schubert is poised to become the next Sacramento County district attorney and, as a consequence, the most high-profile gay person to ever win a countywide office.

In contrast to the reputation of disaffected techno-geeks who rarely look up from their handheld electronic devices, it seems millennials in Sacramento really do care about their community and being connected.

When you follow the money in this case, the details and parties involved open a window into the mercenary trade of land development in downtown Sacramento.

At his State of the City address last month, Mayor Kevin Johnson cited the construction of a new B Street Theater in midtown as one of several projects that will elevate Sacramento and break ground in 2014. There is just one problem: A new B Street Theater is far from a sure thing.

It was an important week in Sacramento.

The CDC estimates that six of every 10 colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented in men and women over 50 if they were screened routinely.

Marcos Breton, news columnist

Marcos Breton

Hello, my name is Marcos Breton and I'm the news columnist with The Sacramento Bee. What's a columnist supposed to do? I'm supposed to make you think, make you laugh, make you mad or make you see an issue in a different way. I'm supposed to connect the dots on issues, people and relationships that cause things to happen or prevent them from happening in our region. I also write a weekly baseball column during the baseball season. I am a voter in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, I have voted for Barry Bonds - twice. I am a native of Northern California. I am the son of Mexican immigrants. I've been at The Bee for more than 20 years, and I love Sacramento.

Email: mbreton@sacbee.com
Phone: 916-321-1096
Twitter: @MarcosBreton
Facebook: facebook.com/marcosbretonmartinez

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