Opinion

The Take: Standing Rock settlement, opioids, and our new attorneys general

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

Take it for what it’s worth

There’s nothing quite like Beltway chatter. Rep. Filemon Vela, a veteran Texas Democrat, had been going off on Rep. Xavier Becerra, the Los Angeles Democrat who is Jerry Brown’s nominee to replace Kamala Harris as attorney general.

In the days after the election, Vela reacted badly to Becerra’s short-lived effort to win Democratic support to become ranking member of the House Ways & Means Committee, pointing out in a statement to The Hill that Becerra was the only Congressional Hispanic Caucus member who didn’t support Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s campaign for U.S. Senate against Harris. Becerra stayed neutral, which was smart given Sanchez’s lackluster campaign.

Now that Becerra is moving on, Vela sent a makeup statement to The Take: “I am confident that in Xavier Becerra, the people of California will have a state attorney general who will fiercely fight for and protect the rights of immigrants and all Californians. Senator Sessions’ nomination is a much more ominous proposition. The differences between these two nominees are stark. With Xavier Becerra as attorney general, immigrants and proponents of civil rights can feel safe, but with Jeff Sessions as (U.S.) attorney general they are in danger.”

Our take

Editorials

Thousands of American Indians and their supporters gathered in a frozen expanse of North Dakota for what could have become a needlessly violent showdown Monday with police at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Instead, on Sunday afternoon, the federal government did the right thing and capitulated.

Republican congressmen who represent impoverished, opioid-ravaged districts have been emboldened by Donald Trump’s nomination of Rep. Tom Price of Georgia for health and human services secretary, never mind the consequences for their constituents. The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, but it has allowed millions of previously uninsured Americans to receive addiction counseling and prescription detox medication at a reasonable cost. If the plan is to gut Obamacare, what then for the people who desperately need these services?

Columns

Dan Morain: A tale of two attorneys general. Jeff Sessions has a 100 percent pro-life voting record and called on the Obama administration to investigate unfounded allegations that Planned Parenthood trafficked in fetal body parts. As U.S. attorney general, Sessions could embark on the witch hunt he envisioned. As California attorney general, Xavier Becerra will inherit a state Department of Justice investigation into the activities of David Daleiden.

Marcos Breton: Contradiction? What contradiction? Donald Trump screamed endlessly about governmental bailouts on the campaign trail and some people ate it up. Last week, Trump orchestrated a bailout for Carrier, an Indiana air conditioning manufacturer. What are Trump and “Calexit” but different sides of the same coin?

Op-eds

Hedrick Smith: The Florida story is a classic case of reform powered by a grass-roots citizen movement and computer sleuthing that exposed a clandestine Republican gerrymander.

Ellen Hanak, Jeffrey Mount and Brian Gray: A grand compromise outlined for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Susan Sward: How millions in lobbying watered down legislation after Berkeley balcony collapse.

Damien Schiff: A new form of claim-jumping awaits California gold miners – an assault by the state on the gold-seekers and on federal authority.

Steve Westly: Use new technology tools to tackle homelessness.

Jamie Court: California Democrats must purge oil money.

Take a number: 71,000

Getting more carbon-free cars on the road is part of California’s overall climate change strategy. But sales need to be closer to 175,000 a year to reach the state’s goal, according to the study that is the focus of Foon Rhee’s latest Numbers Crunch. Instead, sales are at about 71,000 a year. Understandable, perhaps, with gas prices well below $2.50 a gallon.

Their take

The Mercury News: We await the findings of Mayor Libby Schaaf’s promised investigation. And we mourn for the tragic loss of life that was, by all accounts so far, preventable.

The Fresno Bee: The proposed Temperance Flat Dam is the linchpin of the San Joaquin Valley’s water future, and it must be built.

Mike Dunbar, The Modesto Bee: In reading a recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times, we just about choked on our Cheerios. Invoking the “California condor, the giant sequoia, the golden trout,” the writer implied that farmers in Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties have lost sight of what it means to be Californians.

L.A. Times: Now that the NRA has helped elect Donald Trump, NRA leader Wayne LaPierre is presenting his wish list, including one particularly dangerous federal law that would directly affect California.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The U.S. economy needs more educated workers. Allowing Dreamers like Noe Felix to stay and study and contribute would be more than a gesture of goodwill. It would also help meet the needs of this country.

Idaho Statesman: In Idaho we boast the the city of Salmon, the Salmon River, Salmon National Forest and Redfish Lake – and yet we wonder whether salmon have a physical future in the Gem State, or whether that beautiful, wild and spiritual symbol will go the way of the grizzly in California.

Charlotte Observer: We’re having a hard time imagining many people who are joyful about the prospect of a surprise special legislative election next year. But that’s what a three-judge U.S. District Court panel ordered Tuesday as part of its fix for North Carolina’s perpetually gerrymandered state House and Senate maps.

Syndicates’ take

Andres Oppenheimer: Instead of praising Fidel Castro, a dictator who didn’t have the courage to compete in a free election in nearly six decades, the leaders of Mexico, Canada and other countries should have cited Cuba’s revolution as an example of a failed economic model, which is going from bad to worse.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: As journalism’s hard year draws to a close, think of Elinor J. Brecher.

Ruben Navarrette: The presidential election had already taught us that the media often lack objectivity. Now, come to find out, some elements of it also lack spine.

Nicholas Kristof: Annette Dove is a little like Mother Teresa.

Ross Douthat: Donald Trump hands a favor to crony Carrier; he should focus on taxes.

Frank Bruni: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman offers a lesson to candidates everywhere.

Kathleen Parker: Donald Trump’s assaults on the Constitution and the First Amendment.

Dana Milbank: Donald Trump, the pleaser president-elect.

Timothy Egan: The Standing Rock Sioux’s real concerns and Cliven Bundy’s fake issue.

Gail Collins: How Donald Trump is like “50 First Dates” and Gail Collins’ dog, Frieda.

Paul Krugman: Seduced and betrayed by Donald Trump.

President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter feed

“Just tried watching Saturday Night Live - unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse. Sad” – Donald J. Trump @realdonaldtrump.

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