Peter Thiel has his work cut out for him

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

Taking a page from history

Like other Democrats, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, was shocked by the Nov. 8 election results, and still was feeling a bit shell-shocked, as he chatted over coffee Monday at Café a Côté.

DeSaulnier said Democrats need to study Frances Perkins, FDR’s labor secretary, and do more than merely “listen” to Rust Belt workers. They ought to advocate for a latter-day Works Progress Administration.

“The problem with Democrats is we’re the party of Silicon Valley,” said DeSaulnier, who was in town to visit with former staffers. “We should be the party of Silicon Valley and of Dayton, Ohio.”

Speaking of Silicon Valley, billionaire Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member, has been trying to enlist entrepreneurs into a brain trust to advise the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump, without much luck.

According to The Washington Post, Thiel has been carrying around an iPad with an editable list of possible names. So far, though, he hasn’t had many takers. Their fear? That no matter how exciting it might be to influence an administration on emerging technologies, being associated with this particular president could prove to be disastrous for their social and business circles.

So, Thiel is down to a short list that includes Blake Masters, who wrote a book with Thiel and is president of the Thiel Foundation; Joe Lonsdale, who co-founded the data-mining startup Palantir Technologies with Thiel; and Jack Abraham, executive director of the Thiel Foundation. –Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith

Take a number: $216.39

Drug companies spent $120 million to defeat Proposition 61, the initiative that sought to regulate drug prices. No wonder. Allergan’s stock rose from $195.80 on Election Day to $216.39 on Nov. 10 on news that voters had rejected the measure. Pfizer, Bayer, Bristol-Myers, Johnson & Johnson and other drug makers recorded similar gains. It’s not over, of course. Sen. Ed Hernandez, the Democratic chairman of the state Senate Health Committee, will return next month with a new bill aimed directly at the pharmaceutical industry.

Our take

Editorial: Many presidents have endured skewering by artists. It comes with the territory. Thin-skinned Donald Trump had better get used to it. The arts are something to be celebrated, not controlled. The show must go on.

Editorial: California roads worsen as legislators make excuses. But in the coming year, Democrats will have fewer excuses not to act. They’ll hold a two-thirds majority in the state Assembly and possibly in the Senate, depending on votes from Nov. 8 still being tallied in the Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang vs. Josh Newman race in Southern California.

Editorial: Ideally, Donald Trump’s Cabinet would include a smart California voice, such as former state Secretary of Food and Agriculture A.G. Kawamura. But political ideology must not be permitted to trump basic access to clean air, pesticide-free water, safe meat and produce, and decent school lunches.

Foon Rhee: What it means to be the loyal opposition to President Donald Trump.

Karin Klein: Orange County, a formerly conservative bastion, offers hope for those upset with Trump’s win.

Geneva Wiki: The Yuroks stand with the Sioux against the North Dakota pipeline.

Their take

San Francisco Chronicle: San Francisco’s latest homeless head count shouldn’t surprise anyone. The number hasn’t budged. It’s a sign of trouble, a call to action and a reminder of how difficult the issue is to solve.

L.A. Times: After such a long presidential campaign, we could all use a break. Too bad we don’t get one. The 2018 gubernatorial race heated up last week when former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that he would run.

San Diego Union-Tribune: The heavy cost of government retirement benefits has already started diminishing local government services. And the gravity of the situation doesn’t seem to have sunk in with state leaders.

The (San Jose) Mercury News: ‘Hamilton’ owes no apology to Donald Trump or Mike Pence.

Charlotte Observer: Gov. Pat McCrory should let county boards of elections do their jobs. Roy Cooper, who started declaring himself “Governor-elect” on Monday, might want to tap on the brakes a bit, too.

The Lexington Herald-Leader: The University of Kentucky is suing the campus paper to keep secret documents related to charges of sexual assault against a faculty member. UK should drop its lawsuit, provide the documents to the attorney general and stop this assault on open-records laws.

Syndicates’ take

Eugene Robinson: Trump deepens the muck in D.C.

Michael Gerson: For evangelicals, a tunnel at the end of the light.

Garrison Keillor: E pluribus duo.

Paul Krugman: Trump’s infrastructure scam.

Charles M. Blow: Trump: Making America white again.


On Donald Trump’s Cabinet considerations: Read the résumés, take a breath and give America a chance. – Steve Kolodney, Sacramento

And finally,

California State Librarian Greg Lucas, working with the California Newspaper Publishers Association, has pulled together a terrific exhibit of California editorial cartoonists. Works by the great Paul Conrad and our own Jack Ohman are on display, as are cartoons from Ambrose Bierce’s The Wasp, pulled by Lucas’ excellent staff. Take a stroll over to Room 300 at the Stanley Mosk Building and check it out.