Elon Musk diverts our gaze; Loretta Sanchez gets diverted, too

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.

Having gotten a heavy dose of presidential politics Monday night, we turn to one of Jerry Brown’s projects, Proposition 57; and transportation taxes on Sacramento and Placer county ballots. We provide a sampling of views by editorial writers and columnists on the Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate. Take a look at David French’s takedown of Trump, notable because he is a conservative.

Take us to the stars

No one can accuse Elon Musk of thinking small. On Tuesday, the founder of SpaceX laid out his vision for colonizing Mars.

The billionaire, who is also CEO of Tesla, thinks he can start sending humans to the Red Planet within a decade, using a fleet of reusable rockets that would head out into the cosmos “like Battlestar Galactica.”

“I don’t have an immediate doomsday prophecy, but history suggests there will be some doomsday event,” Musk said at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. “The alternative is to become a multiplanetary species, which I hope you will agree is the right way to go.” Beam us up, Elon. – Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith

Our take

Endorsement: Implicit in Jerry Brown’s Proposition 57 is that rehabilitation happens. Yes, there are risks. Future governors might scrimp on funding for rehabilitative programs. Parole authorities might grant early release to a miscreant who goes on to commit a terrible crime. But with or without this initiative, most felons will get out of prison. Better that they earn their freedom by bettering themselves.

Endorsement: Sacramento County’s Measure B sales tax for transportation will be painful, but it’s necessary to fix roads and boost Regional Transit.

Kathay Feng and Trent Lange: Brown should sign campaign bills and strengthen democracy.

Sarah Friedman and Kyle Jones: Time is running out to save the Salton Sea.

Take a number: 84 million

An estimated 84 million people watched the Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate, according to Nielsen. That’s the most ever, surpassing the 80.6 million who watched the Ronald Reagan-Jimmy Carter faceoff in 1980. That doesn’t count people who watched on their computers or other devices. As a share of total TV homes, the Clinton-Trump number is lower than the 1976 debates between Carter and Gerald Ford, when there were far fewer viewing options. – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Their take

Mercury News: For people who care about temperament? Game over. No matter what Donald Trump does or says from here, Americans won’t forget what they saw.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Score this one for Hillary Clinton.

L.A. Times: Donald Trump takes Hillary Clinton’s bait in the first debate.

Orange County Register: The first Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate answers few of nation’s big questions.

Debra J. Saunders, The Chronicle: Donald Trump won because he knew how to tap into taxpayer dissatisfaction, and he did so talking in plain English.

Miami Herald: At the presidential debate, there were lots of jabs, but no knockout punches.

Kansas City Star: Voters deserve better than either candidate delivered in first debate.

Charlotte Observer: Five ways Donald Trump messed up the debate.

David French, National Review: The GOP nominated a dangerous, unfit man to be president. When it came to foreign affairs, where the president’s power is at its peak, Donald Trump is showing himself to be ignorant, unprepared, and impulsive.

Ronald Brownstein: Donald Trump faced one overriding test in Monday night’s long-awaited debate with Hillary Clinton. And by all indications he flunked it – emphatically.

Syndicates’ take

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Clinton shifts the election in her direction.

Dana Milbank: What worked for Trump in the primaries failed him against Clinton.

Michael Gerson: Out of his depth, Donald Trump clings to deception.

Eugene Robinson: Clinton delivers a beat-down.

Jennifer Rubin: Eight takeaways from Trump’s awful night.

Jonathan Bernstein: Trump takes Clinton’s bait and hooks himself.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Trump’s strengths didn’t help him this time.

Kathleen Parker: Sniffles and The Cyber go to town.

Ruben Navarrette: For police officers, “things go wrong sometimes.”

David Brooks: The age of reaction.

Loretta Watch

Rep. Loretta Sanchez, an Orange County Democrat, has missed 44 percent of 216 recorded House votes, making her the third-lowest voting member of the House of Representatives, behind Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who is battling leukemia, and Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., who battles demons. And Sanchez aspires to be U.S. senator from California. – Jack Ohman @JackOhman