Water hogs, John Chiang, Clinton wafflers and Jeffrey Koons’ art

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

We urge voters who are presidential campaign fence sitters to take a stand, offer modest suggestions for how to view the $8 million Jeffrey Koons sculpture that soon will be unveiled at the Golden 1 Center, and print an op-ed by Treasurer John Chiang, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s one announced rival for governor in the 2018 campaign. Chiang’s piece is not the most riveting. Op-eds about water and infrastructure rarely are. But there’s a juxtaposition with Newsom, who is pitching initiatives on the Nov. 8 ballot to legalize recreational marijuana use and regulate bullets. In other words, don’t underestimate Chiang.

Take a number: 3.9 million gallons, give or take

Last year, the L.A. Department of Water and Power refused to release names of wealthy Bel Air water hogs to Michael Corey and Lance Williams, reporters at the Center for Investigative Reporting. It should, as we opined in October. So Williams and Corey used satellite imaging and various other tools to come up with their own estimates, which they reported on Monday. Billionaire and former Univision chairman A. Jerrold Perenchio led the list, at 6.1 million gallons a year, give or take. Our favorite: “Bold and the Beautiful” producer Bradley Bell and his wife, Colleen Bell, Barack Obama’s ambassador to Hungary, use 2 million-3.9 million gallons a year – not including water consumed by their 300-foot artificial waterfall. No doubt, it’s beautiful, and definitely is bold, coming, as it does, as the State Water Resources Control Board begins to urge farmers and residents who depend on the San Joaquin River system to curtail their water use.

Our take

Editorial: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton couldn’t be more different. To people who say they support progressive causes, this is the time to put up or shut up.

Editorial: Four ways to look at the new Jeffrey Koons sculpture outside the Golden 1 Center. We aren’t sure how the Kings and the Koons relate, other than that both are tall, bright, debatably amazing things for which rich guys paid millions. But the piece makes us smile, so we’re trying to roll with it.

Treasurer John Chiang: California must invest in watersheds, just like dams.

John Burton’s Soapbox: Every child deserves the chance to meet his or her potential but, unfortunately for California’s foster kids, the odds are stacked against them.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber: School standards should focus on achievement gap.

Their take

Orange County Register: Where has the $17 billion generated by Darrell Steinberg’s Proposition 63 of 2004 for mental-health care gone?

San Diego Union Tribune: The California Public Utilities Commission needs profound change. Here’s hoping that Assemblyman Mike Gatto and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom consider teaming to make that happen.

Mercury News: It takes more than good intentions to make a ballot measure worth passing. Vote no on Proposition 61. We agree.

Raleigh News & Observer: The scene in the parking lot of a North Carolina McDonald’s told the story of the opioid epidemic that has hit much of the nation: a young couple passed out from an apparent heroin overdose with their 3-year-old son in the car.

Kansas City Star: In the Missouri governor’s race, Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens go heavy on attack ads but skimp on issues.

Syndicates’ take

Debra J. Saunders, The Chronicle: Libertarians Gary Johnson and William Weld should be happy to sit out the first debate. Let Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do their worst to each other — the more voters see of the major party swells with their Machiavellian moves, the more they might crave a real human being who wants the government to do better by doing less.

Michael Gerson: Trump benefits from the ills of Obamacare.

Eugene Robinson: Trump would undo progress on climate change.

Trudy Rubin: Facing up to dangers of a Donald Trump presidency.

Charles M. Blow: Donald Trump, the Grand Wizard of birtherism.

Paul Krugman: Vote as if it matters.

Nicholas Kristof: Would you hide a Jew from the Nazis?

Dana Milbank: Donald Trump’s new hotel offers everything he claims to hate.

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: Spiro Agnew’s ghost.

The Trump (campaign) follies

In yet another sign of the apocalypse – or at least the apocalyptic ridiculousness of this election – a satire piece about Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence fooled so many Facebook users over the weekend that the author had to add a bigger disclaimer.

The cheeky piece that appeared on HuffPo claimed that Pence, Indiana’s governor and a firebrand social conservative, doesn’t want to be called a “vice presidential candidate” anymore because he opposes the word “vice” on religious grounds. That’s believable, right?

Check out the original piece here and the mea culpa here. – Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith

And currently underemployed Jeb “JEB EXCLAMATION POINT!” Bush made a cameo at the Emmys as an ironic Uber driver. You have to laugh at the campaign, or else you will cry. – Jack Ohman, @JackOhman

Take back

On Monday, The Take, relying on Secretary of State filings, overstated the amount of money billionaire Sean Parker has given so far to Proposition 64, the initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana. It is $7.3 million.