Opinion

To Natomas Unified, by way of the toughest streets of L.A.

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

In 2004, Micah Grant was a senior at Washington Preparatory High School, preparing to leave the house in one of Los Angeles’ most violent neighborhoods.

“Today, as on all school days, Micah must strategize,” Erika Hayasaki, then of The Los Angeles Times, wrote in a compelling story of determination. “Will he get the education he is hungry for? And will he make it home?

“He selects his clothes with precision: Royal blue sweatpants, a safe color in his Crips neighborhood where baby blue implies gang ties. He wears a white T-shirt, a gang-neutral color, with a sports emblem on the back. He doesn’t dare wear red, the color of the Bloods, the Crips’ longtime rival. ‘I wouldn’t come home,’ he says. ‘I wouldn’t make it.’ 

Hayasaki, who left the newspaper to teach at UC Irvine in 2009, proceeded to detail a day in the then-17-year-old’s life. Grant later went to UC Davis, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger provided him with an internship. Then, he got on with Sen. Bob Huff, and now is a press secretary at the Board of Equalization, working for George Runner.

We endorse his candidacy for Natomas Unified School District board today. Who knows what office tomorrow.

Our take

Endorsement: Five years ago, the Natomas Unified School District was nearly insolvent. Today it’s in the black, with a new International Baccalaureate program, record high graduation rates and an enrollment boom. Only strong leaders can continue those trends.

Endorsement: The Elk Grove Unified School District is Northern California’s largest, with enrollment expected to top 70,000 by the decade’s end. Its challenges are big, too, with an urgent need for classrooms and stable management.

Bill Whalen: Jerry Brown picked a good time to be governor again.

Jonah Smith and Nelson Switzer: How a beer maker and a bottled water company plan to save Sierra forests.

Stephanie Smith: Want Sacramento schoolkids to have arts and music? Here’s how.

Garry South: Mike Pence running in 2020? Take a look at history.

Christina Arrostuto: Immigrants, ethnic culture can thrive in American unity.

Their take

San Diego Union Tribune: Proposition 64 is a policy gamble, but the downside decreases the more one looks at how similar laws have played out elsewhere. We disagree.

Dallas Morning News: The Texas Department of Public Safety’s inconsistent and loose data collection methods exaggerate the criminal threat of illegal immigration.

L.A. Times: Donald Trump is correct in one respect: It’s harder to sue the news media in the United States than in England. Blame the First Amendment.

David French, National Review: “I saw images of my daughter’s face in gas chambers, with a smiling Trump in a Nazi uniform preparing to press a button. I saw her face photoshopped into images of slaves. She was called a “niglet” and a “dindu.” The alt-right unleashed on my wife, Nancy, claiming she had slept with black men while I was deployed to Iraq, and that I loved to watch while she had sex with ‘black bucks.’” French’s piece was the subject of a Fresh Air segment.

Syndicates’ take

Eugene Robinson: And the title of Mr. Deplorable goes to …

Charles Krauthammer: Is Obama preparing a parting shot at Israel?

Michael Gerson: From Britain, a lesson for Republicans.

Dana Milbank: Back to business for Trump.

Gail Collins: The dark days of Donald Trump.

Mailbag

I don’t think we need to emulate Donald Trump’s approach to immigrants in our treatment of remnant urban wildlife (turkeys in Davis). I don’t think we need to trap and relocate, lethally control or otherwise intrude on their already disturbed lives. Instead, let’s give thanks that we even have wildlife in our cities. – Fraser Shilling, Davis

Double take

Supposedly, Christy Jones wrote a heartfelt letter, in perfect penmanship, to voters decrying “all the political mudslinging that comes with campaigns, but the attacks on my husband, Scott Jones, have gone too far.” Jones is the Republican Sacramento County sheriff who hopes to unseat Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove.

Supposedly, Sonia Denham wrote a heartfelt letter, also in perfect penmanship, to voters decrying “all the political mudslinging that comes with campaigns, but the attacks on my husband, Jeff Denham, have gone too far.” Denham is the Republican incumbent trying to retain his Modesto-Turlock-area congressional seat.

The mailers aren’t exactly the same. But the supposed letters from the candidates’ wives say Denham and Jones are “loving” husbands, and they “have faith in the voters.” They end: “P.S. I have enclosed a photo of our family. … We are proud parents.” The other similarity: Jones and Denham are represented by Dave Gillard’s firm.

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