Putting a casino in an empty mall in Elk Grove may be the best of bad options: Wilton Rancheria considered other sites for the new casino, but the construction of new roads and utility lines would’ve been required. With a casino, the long-abandoned mall property on Highway 99 will be transformed into a new destination of shops and entertainment.
Democrats should find room in the car for Republicans: In this state so dominated by Democrats, a freshman Republican from Bakersfield might seem easy to ignore. But Vince Fong’s pedigree includes having worked for a decade for U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also of Bakersfield. And in Republican-controlled Washington, McCarthy will have a say over federal money earmarked for roads and other infrastructure.
Foon Rhee: Ethics reform is about to happen at Sacramento City Hall, finally. While a few critics say the ethics code and commission don’t go far enough, the local League of Women Voters and Common Cause are on board. It’s up to Mayor Darrell Steinberg to carry the proposals over the finish line.
Kathryn Phillips and Ron Stork: There are a lot of troubled dams that need attention in California. It’s time to focus on ways to use the water bond money to make sure existing dams are safe and provide the storage they originally promised.
Richard Costigan: Local agencies contracted with CalPERS to deliver the benefits that they promised their employees. Elected officials and city managers made the decision what to offer their workers in retirement, and it’s wrong to think that CalPERS can just invest its way out of their actions.
Take a number: 3,560
That’s the number of violent crimes reported in Sacramento in 2016. Police said Wednesday that’s a slight dip from 2015, unlike the national trend. It’s also a welcome turnaround from the significant increase from 2014 to 2015. Among other things, police credit more cameras and shot-detector monitors on streets.
San Francisco Chronicle: At the swearing-in ceremony for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump signed three executive orders on crime and law enforcement. The orders, which have been met with alarm by many prominent police chiefs and prosecutors around the country, won’t improve public safety. But they offer a fine window into the Trump administration’s priorities.
Orange County Register: The TSA’s behavior detection program is a wasteful flop. At a moment when borders and surveillance have become sharply divisive issues at home and abroad, all Americans should object to one of the great federal security failures playing out every day. The Transportation Security Administration’s behavior detection program, designed to catch terrorists by looking out for telltale words and actions, just doesn’t work.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Why San Diego’s crime rate is going down. The “American carnage” that President Donald Trump lamented in his inaugural address last month? San Diego hasn’t seen anything like it. Crediting partnerships with the community, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said this week the city’s crime rate was at its second-lowest level in 47 years.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Oroville Dam’s problems were no secret. We have no beef with what emergency officials did on Sunday in ordering an evacuation of Marysville, Oroville, Yuba City and surrounding communities as a precaution given the problems occurring at the spillway at Oroville Dam. Better safe than sorry. And a 30-foot wall of water can bring a lot of sorrow. Our concern is more about what happened 11 years earlier when the concerns about the spillway were first raised by environmental groups during the process to relicense the hydroelectric dam.
Takes on Trump and Russia
Charlotte Observer: Investigate Trump’s ties to Russia – now. The need for an independent, nonpartisan investigation into the role Russia played in the November election, and the potential influence it may have in the Trump administration, becomes more urgent and sobering by the day.
Miami Herald: Michael Flynn resigns, but Russia still has friends in high places – including the White House. Feel better now that Michael Flynn is gone? Don’t. Trump still has a deep and abiding relationship – in politics and in business – with a dictator who, with tacit encouragement – or maybe more – put America’s democracy on a collision course with chaos.
Dallas Morning News: Trump’s Russia problem imperils his presidency and undermines faith in America. The Trump era has only just begun, but already this week’s resignation of Michael Flynn as national security adviser is a watershed moment for Washington. President Donald Trump’s credibility, certainly, is very much at stake. But so too is the credibility of America itself, which stands accused of extending a welcoming hand to Russia, despite its many provocations, because of our new president’s personal, business or political ties to Vladimir Putin.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Congress must investigate Trump-Russia connections. The first scandal has surfaced less than one month into the Trump administration, and it’s significant enough that Republicans must overcome their natural inclination to give a president of their party the benefit of the doubt.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Trump aides’ contacts with Russia, not leaks, threaten America’s security. It’s not about the leaks. No matter how President Donald Trump and some congressional Republicans tried to spin it on Wednesday, the scandal behind Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser is this: According to The New York Times, key advisers to Trump, including Flynn, were in regular contact with Russian intelligence officers during the 2016 presidential campaign. Contacts continued until at least three weeks before Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20.
Nicholas Kristof: Did the Russians interfere in our presidential election? Did the Russians have help from within the U.S.? We urgently need a bipartisan investigation, ideally an independent panel modeled on the 9/11 Commission.
Dana Milbank: An early backlash against the Trump presidency has led to many verbal confrontations between Republican lawmakers and the citizenry. As recent town-hall meetings of GOP Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Tom McClintock of Elk Grove, Gus Bilirakis of Florida, Diane Black of Tennessee, and others turn into well-publicized tongue lashings, their colleagues are ducking and running.
Trudy Rubin: The downfall of the president’s national security adviser after only 25 days in office is symptomatic of President Donald Trump’s ill-informed, incoherent approach to foreign policy.
Thomas L. Friedman: If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s weak leadership and the overreach of the settlers in his party end up erasing the two-state solution, the debate within the Jewish community will move from “left versus right” to “right versus wrong.” And now, Jewish history has its eyes on you, Mr. Trump.
“Trump and Vice President Mike Pence knew very well what Michael Flynn was up to. They were just hoping we wouldn’t find out. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Never in this history of this country has its leadership been so clearly corrupt. Please don’t waste time here. The longer they stay in office, the more damage they do. Impeach Trump and Pence.” – Christine Shirley, Citrus Heights
Tweet of the day
“Downtown #Sacramento may be the last place in California where most of the men are wearing ties on a weekday.” – Joe Mathews @joemmathews