Jack Ohman enlists in the War on California. Look at the battlefield here.
Foon Rhee: What comes next for Sacramento Fire Department? With a new chief on the way, a new union president and a new contract, the fire department’s future is up in the air. What will it all mean for the cost-saving reforms that are badly needed? Read more.
Erika D. Smith: It was back in September that Russ Solomon made his way over to 18th and L streets to claim his spot on Sacramento’s Walk of Stars, but it always seemed an ill-fitting honor. No, what Solomon deserves is something big, something personal, something distinctly Sacramento. He deserves a mural - and, apparently, he’s about to get one. Read more.
Markos Kounalakis, McClatchy D.C.: Dictators hate a challenge to their rule. That’s why China uses its vast policing and advanced technological resources both to arrest individuals and to disappear from public view any protest words, phrases, images or symbols that might be seen as threatening the state. One of the high-priority targets of China’s security systems today? Winnie the Pooh. Read more.
Dan Walters, CALMatters: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions played to Donald Trump’s base by suing California. Gov. Jerry Brown and California AG Xavier Becerra played to their base, too. Read more.
Takes on Trump and North Korea
Max Boot, Washington Post: South Korean conservatives have had two nightmare scenarios about President Donald Trump: that he would either embroil their country in a ruinous war with North Korea or that he would sell out their interests to the North. Trump spent his first year in office lending credence to the first concern. Now, in a head-snapping display of incoherence, Trump has agreed to meet Kim Jong Un, giving the worst human-rights abuser on the planet, what he most wants: international legitimacy. Read more.
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump are both showmen with a flair for the dramatic and unexpected. That would make a summit thrilling – but create great risks if everything turned out wrong. Read more.
Bloomberg View: Donald Trump’s decision to sit down with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in character. The U.S. president loves outlandish plot twists that confound critics and supporters alike. Agreeing to this meeting was questionable. It’s something previous presidents have refused to do, and with reason: It’s a concession that demanded something valuable from the other side. Trump has not secured that, and he appears to have acted impulsively. This isn’t encouraging – but the decision has been made and what matters now is to make the best of it. That will require Trump to be less like Trump. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: The prospect of self-driving robot cars has often seemed like a futurist’s dream, years away from materializing in the real world. Well, the future is apparently now. Actually, next month. While much of the debate so far has been focused on the safety of driverless cars (and rightfully so), policymakers also should be talking about how autonomous vehicles can help reduce congestion, cut emissions and offer more convenient, affordable mobility options. Read more.
Orange County Register: One of the big potential advantages to a federalist system of government is that states can function as so-called laboratories of democracy. Well, California is now one big experiment in virtual one-party rule. And on one of the state’s most troubling issues – housing – the latest news confirms that the experiment has been a failure. Democrats weren’t able to stop the statewide shortage of affordable housing, especially in the bluest cities with their wealthiest and most loyal partisans. And now that it’s here with a vengeance, Democrats can’t decide what to do about it either. Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The biggest obstacle to any meaningful resolution to the state’s pension crisis is the “California rule,” which established the legal premise that public employees are not only entitled to the retirement benefits they accrue but they also are protected from any diminishment of those benefits until the day they change jobs or retire. It’s an obligation that threatens to drive cities and counties into bankruptcy – and it needs to change. Even Sonoma County, which has made modest reforms but has long claimed it was powerless to create any meaningful change at the state level, has gotten into the act. Read more.
Miami Herald: It took killer Nikolas Cruz mere minutes to force the state Legislature to defy the National Rifle Association. That’s something that 30 years of mass murder across the country and in the state of Florida simply could not do. Wednesday night, 21 days after Cruz massacred 14 former classmates and three educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a House divided gave final passage to, as the Herald reported, “Florida’s first gun restrictions in three decades.” Times, they are a’changin’. Maybe. Read more.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: The erratic nature of the Trump presidency can be explained by the interaction of his two compulsions – looking strong and being liked. They sometimes seem to collide, but they are actually of a piece. Both speak of a man for whom the personal is the only kind of political. Read more.
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times: As the Stormy Daniels drama unfolds, it’s becoming clear that, for all its sordid details, it isn’t really a sex scandal. It’s a campaign finance scandal, a transparency scandal and potentially part of an ongoing national security scandal. It’s salacious and absurd, but we should take it seriously. Read more.
Ruben Navarrette, Washington Post: The immigration issue seems to have finally driven President Trump and his entire administration stark raving mad. How else can we explain the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided to sue the state of California over a phony “sanctuary” law that only has the power to offend conservatives and make liberals feel morally superior? Read more.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Chile’s President-elect Sebastian Pinera has been one of Latin America’s most vocal politicians in international efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela, but Pinera may have to walk a fine line on domestic and foreign policy issues. Read more.
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Robert Ussery’s website denies mass shootings as “drills using crisis actors.” A study reported that 42 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats regard as “fake news” information they know to be accurate if they don’t like what it says. Read more.
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: I wanted to list female political leaders to watch in 2018, in honor of International Women’s Day, but the list is sadly disappointing. Currently, there are only 20 women holding the office of head of state or head of government – which equals 6.3 percent of the 315 international leaders. Read more.
Tweets of the day
Just so there is no confusion: I think it is great and also funny that Martin Shkreli is going to prison.— Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) March 9, 2018
When you see Martin Shkreli trending and just assume that Trump has just pardoned him and nominated him for Fed chair— Luisa Haynes (@wokeluisa) March 9, 2018