Opinion

Death penalty debate, then and now

Trump approves of this election message
Trump approves of this election message johman@sacbee.com

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

Take that

Californians have the opportunity to abolish capital punishment today by voting for Proposition 62, though the latest Field Poll suggests the measure is on the edge.

Bill Zimmerman, the strategist running the Yes on 62 campaign, holds out hope that Donald Trump’s voters are demoralized that he’ll lose and that could “suppress Republican turnout.” That assumes that most Trump voters also support the death penalty.

To fund Proposition 62, Netflix founder Reed Hastings chipped in with $1 million, Stanford professor Nicholas McKweon gave $1.5 million, and Laureen Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs’ widow, gave $600,000. But there was insufficient money to run an advertising campaign in Northern California.

“If we had the money to communicate, I would be very confident that we would win,” Zimmerman said. “It’s strange we don’t have the funds.”

Not that strange. Many supposed social justice advocates had their priorities, spending their millions to promote Proposition 64, legalizing marijuana.

Take a number: $250

In November 1986, California voters took the unprecedented step of ousting three of Jerry Brown’s appointees to the state Supreme Court. Chief Justice Rose Bird, the main target, had angered voters over her refusal to vote to affirm death penalty cases. Justices Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin were caught up in it all, unfairly. Both had voted to affirm death sentences. In 1986, The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board called Grodin among the most distinguished jurists ever to sit on any high court.

Now, 30 years later, in October and November, Grodin made four donations in support of Proposition 62, the initiative to abolish the death penalty, each of $250. We were with him then, and we’re with him now.

Our take

Erika D. Smith: In her most poignant, nonplagiarized speech yet, Melania Trump talked about something that should be a national priority long after Americans leave the polls Tuesday and all of the votes are mercifully counted. “Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough,” she said. Irony aside, she’s right. If we’re truly going to have a postelection, bipartisan kumbaya, social media must be part of our national discourse, too.

Editorial: The astonishing surge in Latino registration numbers, including new voters and people who updated their registration, is a reaction to Donald Trump’s attacks on immigrants. His rhetoric will echo across generations, far beyond Tuesday.

Editorial: The next president likely will not fire James Comey. But Congress should haul him to Capitol Hill to explain his questionable judgment. Comey needs to control himself and his agents, or hand the reins over to someone who is up to the job.

Editorial: The Bernie Sanders or Bust crowd must want to get Donald Trump elected.

Dave Jones, California’s insurance commissioner, remembers his days working for Attorney General Janet Reno. She set an example by doing what she thought was right.

Katie Valenzuela Garica: Is Measure B worth it for Regional Transit riders?

Their take

Boston Globe: Lawmakers should scrutinize the FBI inquiry after the election. By violating all of its normal rules, the FBI has left itself open to charges that it has abused its power and meddled in politics.

Syndicates’ take

Eugene Robinson: Comey’s damage can’t be undone.

Paul Krugman: How to rig an election.

Mike Hashimoto: The acrimony won’t end after Election Day.

Trudy Rubin: Will you help this demagogue win?

Charles M. Blow: For your health and your life.

Gary Stein: Some thoughts on campaign’s final day.

Take leave

If polls are to be believed, Donald Trump stands a good chance of losing the race for president today as voters cast their ballots. If that happens, the Republican nominee says he might just disappear.

“I don’t think I’m going to lose, but if I do, I don’t think you’re ever going to see me again, folks,” he said at a rally in Maryland on Sunday. “I think I’ll go to Turnberry and play golf or something.” And don’t count on a concession speech either, he says.

If only we could be so lucky. The world does not need Trump TV. – Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith

Mailbag

If California legalizes recreational use of this drug, and someone you love gets struck and killed by a driver high on pot, would you regret voting for it? And would the state of California, having facilitated the opportunity for this crime, be an agent to manslaughter? Mary Easley, Orangevale

And finally,

We learned of the untimely and senseless loss of a member of the Capitol family, Nick Broadway. He was a bystander killed by gunfire outside Capitol Casino early Sunday morning. Gov. Jerry Brown’s press shop tweeted: “Sending lots of love to Nick Broadway’s family. He wasn’t just a colleague, he was a friend to so many of us. We’ll miss you, Nick.”

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