Good Sunday morning, and welcome to Take Two, our weekly sampler of California opinion, drawn from The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s daily opinion-politics newsletter, The Take. Please go to sacbee.com/site-services/newsletters/ to sign up.
Nurses take on Rendon
California Nurses Association members are true believers on the topic of single-payer health care. So the union didn’t take kindly when Speaker Anthony Rendon committed the apostasy of tubing the half-baked universal health care bill, Senate Bill 562, that had been lobbed over to the Assembly by the Senate. Adept at guerrilla theater, nurses carried on at Rendon’s LA-area office and in the Capitol. In a gruesome image, the nurses portrayed a bear with a knife in its back, with the word Rendon on the blade. Nurses are, after all, a healing profession.
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The Sacramento Bee was among the editorial boards that noted Rendon was absolutely right. The LA Times, Orange County Register and San Francisco Chronicle agreed. We’re sure the nurses would never condone violence. But as The Bee’s Alexei Koseff reported, Rendon was receiving death threats, which is not surprising, given the nurses’ theatrics.
The House of Labor is hardly united on the California Nurses Association’s take on Rendon. Robbie Hunter, the president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council, issued a statement saying: “Working people have real fights, and they are not with a labor champion like Anthony Rendon.” This from Jim Araby, executive director of United Food & Commercial Workers Western States Council: “SB 562 failed not because of Speaker Rendon, but because the proponents tried to exploit a Trump narrative and make threats to pass an incomplete policy without doing the tough work to build a truly broad-based progressive coalition.”
Our question: Will Sens. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, the authors of the paper moon of a universal health care bill, pay a price? We doubt it.
A little perspective
Speaking of sick, what is going on in the minds of Republicans in Washington, which is where Californians ought to be focused? Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and other Republicans seem intent on stripping health care from 2.5 million Californians, and vastly increasing premiums for low-income people, particularly older people who are most likely to become sick.
The Charlotte Observer had a particularly pointed take on the TrumpMcConnellRyanCare bill: If you were U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, but without his paycheck, would you think the Senate Republican health plan is a good idea? What if you were U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, but without his income? If you are actually Thom Tillis or Richard Burr, then you are worth millions of dollars each and don’t worry about insurance premiums.
Take a bow
Pregnant women don’t think of Kathy Kneer when the state issues some new warning on pesticides and birth defects. Young women don’t gratefully murmur her name when they swing by their neighborhood Planned Parenthood for free contraception and an STD test. But they should.
So writes Shawn Hubler in her must-read profile of Kneer, who is retiring from Planned Parenthood of California after a career helping to deliver health care to women. As she leaves, the fight goes on. Her successors must contend with Washington politicians who are bent on stripping federal funding for family planning. Speaking of sick.
Take a minute
Sergio Lopez is our editorial board’s summer intern, and a great young guy, who graces our pages with a lovely essay, the sort of piece that could bring a tear to the eye of certain editors we know. In the music of Springsteen, Dylan, Elvis and the Beatles, this son of Mexican immigrants from San Jose found a version of America he can call his own.
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