Here’s one way to get a state job

On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

We offer our view of odd provisions in Michael Weinstein’s two initiatives, turn to Fox News’ settlement with Gretchen Carlson in her sexual harassment case, and give our recommendation on Dean Cortopassi’s Proposition 53. Nice concept. Wrong prescription.

Take a job

Michael Weinstein has a fine job as head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. And yet in the two initiatives he is promoting on the Nov. 8 ballot, he seems to be seeking a new position: defender of Propositions 60 and 61.

Proposition 60 attacks the porn industry. Proposition 61 attacks the pharmaceutical industry. Both are worthy targets, though whether the measures should be approved is a question for another day (soon).

Both initiatives include virtually identical and equally odd provisions. If the attorney general refuses to defend them in court, they say, the people of the state of California declare that the proponent of the measures could step in because he has “a direct and personal stake” in the outcome. That would be Weinstein.

The language gets stranger. The proponent would become a state employee who would take the official oath of office, could only be fired by a majority vote of the Legislature for “good cause,” and would be indemnified by the state for actions related to defending the initiatives. Nice protections.

Attorney Thomas Hiltachk, who visited our editorial board as part of the No-on-61 contingent Tuesday, theorized that the provision stems from the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case challenging Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative banning same-sex marriage.

Attorney General Kamala Harris, a proponent of marriage equality, declined to defend Proposition 8. So the measure’s backers stepped in, or tried to. A majority of the justices declined to rule on the merits of the case. The reason, they held, was that the proponents had no “direct stake” in the outcome.

Propositions 60 and 61 aren’t nearly as weighty as Proposition 8 was. But lest the Supreme Court have any doubt, Weinstein would have a direct and personal stake in the outcome.

Take a number: $86.6 million

Proposition 61 implications aren’t altogether apparent. But by altering how the state purchases pharmaceuticals, the initiative threatens drugmakers’ bottom line. Clearly, Gilead, Merck, Purdue Pharma, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Astra Zeneca and the rest understand the implications. They’ve raised $86.6 million to kill it, and the election is still two months away.

Our take

Editorial: The Roger Ailes scandal gives Fox a chance to disprove ongoing reports that Ailes was abetted by male managers who remain with the corporation. They can start with a fairer, more balanced, more respectful, perhaps even – dare we say it? – politically correct treatment of women, both off and on the air.

Endorsement: In the guise of combating government debt, Proposition 53 could increase construction costs and add unnecessary layers of complexity and uncertainty to an already unwieldy state government.

Also opposing Proposition 53 are The Mercury News of San Jose, The Bakersfield Californian and The Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Emily Rusch’s Soapbox: Senate Bill 1107 would empower small campaign donors over special interests and megadonors.

David Vander Griend’s Soapbox: Biofuels present a solution to harmful airborne chemicals.

Their take

L.A. Times: No on Proposition 59. Don’t amend the Constitution over Citizens United. We don’t rule out supporting an appropriately crafted constitutional amendment in the future, but we see no reason to rush. We took a different view.

Dallas Morning News: Donald Trump is not qualified to serve as president and does not deserve your vote.

Miami Herald: Donald Trump’s gift to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi deserves a closer look.

Charlotte Observer: John Koskinen’s imperfections almost surely fall far short of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that impeachment requires.

Syndicates take

Ruben Navarrette: To judge Clinton on immigration, look at the company she’s kept.

David Brooks: The incredible shrinking Obamacare.


It is unacceptable and unconscionable that a city asks its citizens to participate in and support its events but makes no effort to provide basic and decent accommodations.Sondra Olson, Davis

And finally,

All might not be lost for Patti “Patris” Miller, the Oak Park activist and business owner on the verge of losing her studio space to gentrification. Dozens of people have contributed to a GoFundMe page set up to help her purchase the building she leases at 35th Street and Second Avenue. Miller remains short of her goal of $50,000.

Give a little to someone who gave a lot. Miller has lived in Oak Park for 25 years and helped transform it from a haven for drug dealers to one for hipsters. – Erika D. Smith @Erika_D_Smith