Steinberg’s first day; Rick Perry’s Exxon friends

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

Our take


Mayor Steinberg has a smart and strong first day: Darrell Steinberg understands what only long experience can teach a politician about governing a city – that it’s not just the big things, but also the little things that matter.

Obama should ban offshore drilling on the West Coast, and fast: California leaders have made an extraordinary request in asking President Barack Obama to permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters along the Pacific coastline. The president should do as they ask.


Joe Mathews: California can gain a competitive advantage by saving Spanish.

Nora Sobolov: What the feds could do to expand job training and reduce poverty.

Christina Marie: Ghost Ship fire highlights artists’ needs in Sacramento and elsewhere.

David Mas Masumoto: What kind of legacy are you creating?

Take a number: $223,800

Donald Trump’s first Cabinet meeting will be a little like old home week for Energy Secretary-Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Secretary of State-Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, assuming the Republican-controlled Senate confirms them. Exxon executives donated $223,800 to Perry during his tenure as governor, according to the count of the reliable nonprofit Texans for Public Justice. “That’s a sizable sum, but hardly eye-popping by Texas standards,” research director Andrew Wheat tells me. Here’s a link to TPJ’s list of Perry’s biggest donors; one gave more than $2.5 million.

Their take

Albany Times-Union: Electors, reject Mr. Trump: Our nation’s founders understood both the benefits and risks of democracy, and wisely built a safety valve into our Constitution. If there was ever a moment to use it, it is now.

Lexington Herald-Leader: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should explain why he blocked a bipartisan denunciation of Russian interference in our election before voters went to the polls.

Los Angeles Times: Donald Trump’s team: Outsiders, maybe; populists, no.

San Francisco Chronicle: By myriad measures, the effort to keep the Raiders from leaving Oakland is a long shot. Can NFL wean itself off public assistance?

Orange County Register: After a six-year tug of war between the Coastal Commission, Surfrider Foundation, the city of Dana Point and the developer of the Strand at Headlands, the commission seemingly got one last jab in, forcing the city to remove gates that had been used to restrict beach access.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: With the 21st Century Cures Act now law and destigmatizing efforts underway, substance-use disorders are finally getting the right attention – by most. But some Texas officials seem to continue believing that cutting off the drug supply from Mexico will solve the drug epidemic.

Syndicates take

E.J. Dionne Jr.: The Electoral College’s Trump dilemma.

Thomas L. Friedman: Is Trump’s approach a fresh start, or reckless?

Rex Huppke: Electoral College, you have a job to do.

Heidi Stevens: Trump’s meeting with Kanye West was real news.


If the Russians were involved in the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s emails, was any of the hacked data subsequently leaked untrue? John F. Petkovich, Roseville

Taking his time

Darrell Steinberg was working on his speech a few days before his inauguration and told The Take that it would take 17 minutes to deliver. That’s not too long, right? he asked. Nah. Perfect.

On his big night at the Railroad Museum, Steinberg was still going, 34 minutes into the speech. And it went on from there.

The morning after, he said he stuck to the script but that it somehow took longer to deliver. But it was worth it to hear “… And let’s build! That! Planetarium!!” Now that was an applause line no one heard coming.

“I was in the moment,” the mayor said the following day at Oak Park Community Center. He could be forgiven. It’s not every day that a guy gets sworn in as mayor. “I was drinking it in.”