Delta tunnels, charities and dogs, good and bad


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


Tales of sex traffic and Satan don’t hurt just one charity: Courage House, the embattled and temporarily closed group home for young sex trafficking victims, is back in the news. And not in a good way – not for the Sacramento-area nonprofit, and not for local philanthropy. Well-meaning people wonder whether their donations are really helping, or whether they are being exploited by con artists, incompetents or religious zealots.


Dan Morain: Jerry Brown believes the tunnels, plus Delta restoration, could help native fish rebound from the edge of extinction. But under President Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, federal protections for endangered species could be weakened. And Central Valley farmers can be counted on to amp up pressure to maximize water exports. Brown and his successor would need to provide ironclad assurances that they would operate the system in ways that protect the environment.

Andrew Malcolm: When I started volunteering at a local animal shelter this year, I thought I’d be doing a good deed for some lost little creatures. Little did I know what else.

Joe Mathews: California is trapped – between two authoritarian regimes that want to fight each other. One is headquartered in Beijing; the other is taking power in Washington, D.C.


Elaine Corn: Good news, bad news – less kale, expensive drinks and other delectable tidbits.

Miya Yoshitani: California’s renewable energy standards are important to vulnerable communities.

Take a number: 16

The California Department of Motor Vehicles moved to revoke the registration of 16 autonomous vehicles belonging to Uber. And rather than engage in a legal battle with the DMV, or obtain state permits to test the vehicles, Uber said it would be pulling the cars off the streets of San Francisco.

“This technology holds the promise of enhance safety and mobility but must be tested responsibly,” Department of Motor Vehicles director Jean M. Shiomoto told Uber in a letter Wednesday afternoon.

We agree, as we wrote on Wednesday. But the announcement late Wednesday is a partial solution. The state upheld its authority to insist that the new technology adhere to basic rules, which are designed to help ensure public safety. But Uber ought to go through the permit process so it can continue testing its vehicles in California.

Their take

San Luis Obispo Tribune: Grover Beach resident David Fear lost his life last week after protecting Betty Long, his 85-year-old neighbor, from a dog attack. There are many unanswered questions, and many rumors – including speculation that the owner of the dogs will get special treatment because he is a Grover Beach police officer who has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation. That cannot happen.

The Modesto Bee: We hope the state water board left Modesto having heard one message: It won’t be easy taking the water this region depends on.

Los Angeles Times: Many questions linger in twin tunnels project in the Delta.

Seattle Times: This has been a rough few months to be a Muslim American. Everyone should do their part to help our neighbors feel welcome during the holiday season.

Miami Herald: The situation continues to go from bad to worse in Venezuela, so much so that the U.S. State Department has warned Americans that it’s dangerous to live in or even visit that country.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Ohio lawmakers passed a bill that lifts a ban on carrying concealed handguns on public college campuses. Gov. John Kasich signed the bill Monday, and now individual institutions will decide whether to allow guns. This was a bad move. No college that cares for the safety of students should allow a proliferation of guns on campus.

Syndicates’ take

Frank Bruni: Early college admission significantly disadvantages students from low- and middle-income families, who are underrepresented at schools that offer it.

Ross Douthat: The Donald Trump presidency is not yet officially upon us, but the Trump era has already been good for political reading lists. Book buyers baffled by Trumpism and seeking understanding have turned to various sociologies of the ur-Trump voter.

Carl P. Leubsdorf: There is growing evidence that Donald Trump would abandon 70 years of U.S.-led Western firmness against Soviet and Russian expansionism by seeking friendlier relations with President Vladimir Putin, whose aggressive policies represent one of the greatest threats to European stability.

Dana Milbank: Donald Trump voters didn’t take him literally on Obamacare. Oops?

E.J. Dionne: Since Donald Trump does not strike me as particularly religious, I will err on the cautious side and wish him the very happiest of holidays.


She’s entitled to pray but not to the detriment of those living with trauma and mental health struggles. Xiomara Seide, Sacramento

Tweet of the day

“I'm home sick watching daytime TV in hopes something will put me out of my misery ... when I realize daytime tv is cause of election.”Matt Rexroad@MattRexroad