Elections focus politicians’ minds. In 2010, The Bee revealed a California National Guard bonus scandal, finding that some officers fraudulently collected enlistment bonuses. In 2013, The Bee reported that about 17,000 Guard members were being audited because of the bonuses and many would be ordered to repay bonuses. In October, after the Los Angeles Times wrote about demands for refunds, Defense Secretary Ash Carter stepped in to suspend forced repayments. Now, Congress is finally about to protect Guard soldiers and veterans. Yes, it was smart election-year politics. It also was the right thing to do.
As state lawmakers prepare to take another stab at a transportation funding package, they should consider the Across The Top freeway-widening project to be a cautionary tale.
Joe Mathews: California is finally embracing its rivers, but it may be a choking embrace. Our rivers are the battlegrounds in water wars.
Paavo Monkkonen: State can take steps to ease California’s affordable housing crisis.
San Francisco Chronicle: The California Supreme Court will issue the last word on a ruling that would give state and local governments new powers to cut public employee pensions. With an estimated $500 billion-plus shortfall in pensions for state employees, teachers and UC workers, pension spiking is a practice that’s truly impossible to justify.
The San Diego Union-Tribune: Forecasts for Southern California’s seven counties predict an average 12.3 percent increase in residential building permits. With median home prices in San Diego County hitting $507,500 in October, it’s never been more clear that California’s housing crisis demands attention.
Los Angeles Times: The days are numbered for the 5-year-old mountain lion believed to be responsible for the recent killings of livestock near Malibu. But killing the mountain lion is not the answer.
Dallas Morning News: Donald Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims could weaken his presidency. Sadly, Trump again has let his ego and impulsive fingers perpetuate a blatant untruth, which some suggest might have originated with a fake news story and tweet. We agree.
Miami Herald: It’s no surprise that President-elect Trump wants an ardent opponent of Obamacare, Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, to head the Department of Health and Human Services. But it would be cruel to get rid of health care protections for millions of Americans without having a practical alternative in place.
Dana Milbank: Let’s not get distracted by Donald Trump’s fantastic claims of millions of illegal votes, nor by Hillary Clinton’s search for a voting-system cyberattack that even the computer scientist urging the recount says has “probably not” occurred. Focus instead on the scandal that really is rigging American democracy.
E.J. Dionne Jr.: Democrats should skip the civil war and shouldn’t panic.
Frank Bruni: A show of hands, please: How many of you would like Donald Trump to step away – far away – from his Twitter account?
Kathleen Parker: Sometimes history doesn’t have to wait to judge – and when it comes to dictators, even dead ones, we shouldn’t either.
“In response to Democrats achieving a supermajority in the Legislature: Pass a real open records act, one that gives the public access to all the communications that lawmakers and the governor have with lobbyists and others seeking legislation.” – Susan E. Vaughan, San Francisco
Take a number: $2,000
Donald Trump, promising to drain the swamp, picked former Goldman Sachs executive and Hollywood financier Steven Mnuchin to be his Treasury secretary, fitting because Mnuchin helped fatten Trump’s campaign treasury as his campaign finance chairman. Mnuchin donated $592,600 to Republicans in 2016, including $430,000 to Trump, Federal Election Commission records show. A onetime Hillary Clinton donor, Mnuchin gave one donation this year to a Democrat, $2,000 to help elect Attorney General Kamala Harris to the U.S. Senate.
Tweet of the day
“We must not sink our college students with a lifetime of debt just so big banks and for-profit colleges can bathe in the riches.” – Senator-elect Kamala Harris @KamalaHarris