Trump offends our friends; Sacramento’s humanitarian crisis

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


Trump’s Muslim ban is a disgraceful, incompetent overreach: The executive order that sowed chaos at airports across the United States over the weekend does nothing to make America safer, appears to be ineptly, if not unconstitutionally drafted, and serves only one constituency.

Trump trashes U.S.-Mexico friendship in Week One: Why is Donald Trump pursuing this insane, hostile foreign policy? Why try to humiliate Mexico, an ally and neighbor, while cozying up to brutal kleptocrat Vladimir Putin? Bashing Mexico may play to the basest part of Trump’s base, but it doesn’t remotely reflect the values and priorities of most Americans.


Erika D. Smith: Almost 1,000 people sleep outside every night in Sacramento County. It’s a humanitarian crisis that should be impossible to ignore, particularly with recent rains. But people, convinced nothing will ever change, always seem to find a way to look past the suffering they don’t want to see. Such was the case Wednesday night.

Marcos Breton: Video or no video, here’s why cops can kill and escape prosecution.

Dan Walters: When the huge Los Angeles Unified School District faced accusations of misspending money meant to help poor students academically, it solved its problem, with the permission of state officials, by recategorizing many expenditures as qualifying for the money.


Frances H. Kakugawa: The U.S. government officially recognized the horrific mistake of sending Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II. But that apology becomes meaningless when politicians raise the possibility of using them again and saying the precedent has been set.

Sens. Scott Wiener and Ben Allen: There should be no more cutting ribbons on high-profile transit projects while letting our transit systems overall deteriorate. It’s time for California to prioritize public transportation.

Jay Lund: California will need to adjust long-term expectations for water deliveries, water operations, costs and environmental sustainability. The state needs more solid and transparent water accounting, better ecosystem management, some new infrastructure, and more sustainable financing.

David Mas Masumoto: We have always lived with sensationalism, but untrue stories have affected humanity in brutal ways. And we must each take measures to reduce the spread of this evil.

Take a number: 28 percent and 6 percent

California grew its economy by 28 percent between 2000 and 2014, and reduced carbon emissions by 6 percent during the same period. It’s called decoupling, and several other states recorded better numbers. In his latest Numbers Crunch, Foon Rhee asks whether that progress on climate change will continue under President Donald Trump.

Their take

San Francisco Chronicle: Instead of insisting on higher levels of spending, the Legislature should pledge to dedicate any additional funds to pension contributions. This wouldn’t be an easy promise, because current constituents are always more excited by the prospect of new spending.

San Diego Union-Tribune: As California embarks on a grand experiment with legalized recreational marijuana and expects to haul in hundreds of millions more in taxes and licensing revenue starting next year, a new bill by state Sens. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, seems a no-brainer.

Miami Herald: A troubled, 14-year-old girl killed herself in her foster parents’ home, while live-streaming the final moments of her life on Facebook for all to see. How is any part of the above sentence OK?

Denver Post: Any legislative plan to address training schoolteachers to weaponize should set minimum standards. We urge lawmakers to ask these questions as they give real consideration to SB 5.

Takes on Trump

Kansas City Star: To do right by the agents and analysts, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the former Kansas congressman, must make good on his only semi-airtight promise to keep the Trump administration from reopening CIA black sites and reinstituting interrogation techniques that were a betrayal of our values and a boon to our enemies.

Charlotte Observer: No one should be surprised. Most of the president’s actions are exactly what he said he would do as president. We are getting what everyone – supporters and opponents – knew we would get: a conservative, demanding, vain, impatient, uninformed, impulsive and impolite CEO of a president.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: David A. Clarke Jr. is showing no interest in serving the voters who elected him or in answering to the public he serves. His only interests seem to be in pining for a job in the Trump administration and in denigrating via social media anyone who criticizes him (sound familiar?).

Tampa Bay Times: Donald Trump’s first week demonstrated with alarming clarity the danger of a president who is woefully unprepared and uninterested in the complexities of managing the modern world.

Detroit News: To those cheering Donald Trump’s strongman threat to take over Chicago, a city they see as having been ruined by Democrats, we’ll offer the same advice we did when Obama was abusing the Constitution: Don’t give this president any power you wouldn’t want the next one to wield.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Enrique Peña Nieto has been absorbing humiliation in Mexican politics over his treatment by the president. This week’s delay of dialogue might give spirits a chance to calm, although it could equally well result in uglier, more concrete measures, roiling relations further.

Miami Herald: Where critics say Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has caved, we say that he was in a tough spot, especially in this county of immigrants. “The mayor is the mayor of all the people and will not do anything to jeopardize federal funding for our county,” Gimenez’s spokesman said.

John Podhoretz, Commentary: The Trump White House issued a statement on Friday commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the statement didn’t make specific mention of the Jewish people. The decision not to mention the Jews was deliberate, Hope Hicks said, a way of demonstrating the inclusive approach of the Trump administration.

Syndicates’ take

Nicholas Kristof: Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that suspends refugee programs and targets Muslims from certain countries. It’s hypocritical for Trump to be today’s avatar of hostility to immigrants, since his own family suffered from anti-German sentiment and pretended to be Swedish.

Maureen Dowd: With President Trump, it’s all right out there – the tantrums, the delusions, the deceptions, the self-doubts and overcompensation.

Gail Collins: Betsy DeVos is stupendously rich and a longtime crusader for charters, vouchers and using federal funds for religious education. Her family donated $200 million to the Michigan Republican Party. She’s used all that clout to make Michigan a model of how not to improve public education.

Ross Douthat: Before Donald Trump can be defended or criticized, we have to figure out what’s actually happening. And for several reasons, that’s going to be harder in this presidency than ever before.

Timothy Egan: In the Trump era, snippets of useful information from dedicated public employees are like the signals that a survivor’s beacon sends out after being buried by an avalanche.

Ruben Navarrette: It’s surreal to hear former President Barack Obama and other Democrats express their indignation at the idea that people could be deported and families separated when, for the last eight years, this has been standard operating procedure for the Obama administration and the party that covered up for it.

Frank Bruni: What we’ve seen from the White House in this opening stage of the Donald Trump administration isn’t encouraging. Trump’s promised pivot to a presidential demeanor never happened, and apparently never will: It’s outside of his skill set.

Dana Milbank: Donald Trump’s disconnect from reality is my biggest fear about the president, more than any one policy he has proposed. My worry is the president of the United States is barking mad.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: A Miami teenager hanged herself one morning live on Facebook. People mocked her, called her names and reacted with laughing emojis. It’s hard to understand why that act was received the way it was.

E.J. Dionne: When confronted with untruths, all journalists have one and only one choice: to call them what they are.

And finally

Jack Ohman: Now that we’ve swapped climates with Portlandia, previously drought-stricken Northern California is experiencing something it hasn’t seen in years: rotten weather and the attendant headaches, including endless weather chitchat.