Delta pumps, deluges, drought restrictions. And Trump. Always Trump

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


How Trump is boosting Wall Street, not Main Street: President Donald Trump and his inner circle are recklessly risking another Wall Street meltdown and housing crash. California Treasurer John Chiang says Trump has revealed himself as “a handmaiden for Wall Street bankers,” and he pledges to fight any efforts to do away with Dodd-Frank and other financial protections.

How about using science to inform gun safety decisions?: A study showing a connection between alcohol abuse and gun violence is shocking in a fundamental way, though not for its findings. You might guess that many people who abuse alcohol are not responsible gun owners. The shock is that more studies of its type aren’t done. They’re not, which is by design.


Dan Walters: The legislative conflict over reforming the State Bar appears to have cooled as the agency charged with regulating lawyers undertakes reforms to placate critics. However, the State Bar is still embroiled in a bitter battle with Joseph Dunn, who was fired as the agency’s executive director three years ago.

Marcos Breton: Donald Trump has record-low approval ratings for a new president, and the country has erupted in large protests, emotional Facebook campaigns, and angry town meetings. But only 58 percent of registered voters cast ballots in November, and that would have been the time to make your voice heard.


Susan Rohan: The state should let emergency water restrictions expire. Pretending a drought is occurring does not serve the public interests, nor does it align with prudent water management.

Phil Serna: The county, city, housing authority and nonprofits must address all gaps and opportunities in our continuum of care for those who are homeless.

Take a number: 10,300

As of today, the giant pumps that pull Delta water from Clifton Court Forebay and propel it into the Edmund G. Brown California Aqueduct will have been operating at capacity for 30 days straight, averaging 10,300 cubic feet per second. In January, the state Department of Water Resources pumped 476,029 acre-feet for use by Santa Clara County, Southern California and San Joaquin Valley farmers. All that is a record. More importantly, San Luis Reservoir all but full, relief for downstream users who depend on it in the summer. The State Water Resources Control Board is scheduled to vote Wednesday whether to extend drought restrictions. Clearly, California no longer is experiencing drought conditions. In our view, whether it keeps raining or not, April, the end of the rainy season, would be soon enough to make a declaration one way or another to lift the restrictions.

Their take

Mercury News: Is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sabotaging Caltrain’s electrification?

San Diego Union-Tribune: The State Water Resources Control Board will vote on the drought extension Wednesday. If members want to keep their credibility, they should vote no and instead choose only to extend the regulations for the handful of areas – starting with Santa Barbara and Ventura counties – where they still make sense.

L.A. Times: If Republicans won’t take a stand on someone as incompetent as Betsy DeVos, what will they take a stand on? For all of President Donald Trump’s talk as a candidate about disrupting Washington as usual, there is nothing more politics-as-usual than this: Elected officials who know better, who know they’re doing a bad thing for the country, but who go ahead and do it anyway because they need a future relationship with a president.

San Francisco Chronicle: Betsy DeVos may be no fan of public schools, but two-thirds of public-school parents give their child’s school a grade of “A” or “B,” according to a 2016 poll from PDK. Many of them just demonstrated their willingness to oppose her – not those schools – vociferously.

Lexington Herald Leader: A commission’s action – to provide tax incentives to internet marketer Amazon for an air hub at the Cincinnati airport in Northern Kentucky – was roundly praised by Gov. Matt Bevin and many others dazzled by the big numbers thrown out: average pay, including benefits, of $26 an hour, almost $1.5 billion in promised investment and 2,700 new jobs. The trouble with the Amazon deal is that it is really impossible to tell what we’re getting for that $40 million.

Chicago Tribune: University of Florida scientists believe they have cracked the genetic code of old-timey tomatoes. Folks, the intervention of science, once again, is expected to improve our BLTs, our gazpacho, our salads. A perfect tomato, coming to you soon. Maybe in three years. We hope less. Thank you, scientists. Now, can we talk about those watery, pruned, nude, embarrassed little baby carrots?

Charlotte Observer: The NCAA is deciding over the next two to three weeks where to play its college sports championships through 2022. North Carolina is expected to be shut out for six straight years unless it repeals House Bill 2 immediately. In other words, it’s the fourth quarter, we’re down big and we need some heroics to avoid a devastating loss.

Syndicates’ take

Leonard Pitts Jr.: Alive, Martin Luther King Jr. provoked a president and divided a nation with his truth. Dead, he is an image on a commemorative place mat, his words safe enough for recitation by children.

Leonid Bershidsky: Is it fair to call Vladimir Putin a killer? It’s not a trivial question.

Ruben Navarrette: An immigration ad during the Super Bowl was powerful, but Fox was too afraid to show the full version.

Dana Milbank: Rarely is the question asked: Is our Cabinet secretaries learning? And if we is being honest with ourself, we says: No, they is not. Today’s lesson: the education of Betsy DeVos.

David Brooks: The crucial questions will be settled there: Can Donald Trump be induced to govern in some rational manner or will he blow up the world? Does he represent a populist tide that will only grow or is some other set of ideas building for his overthrow?


“In 2009, Rep. (Tom) McClintock encouraged constituents to ‘agitate and agitate and agitate everywhere we can in every forum we can find.’ Yet when ‘seniors, families and middle-aged picketers’ oppose him, they are an ‘anarchist element.’ Thirty-plus years in elected office, and he can’t differentiate his own brand of democracy from anarchy. Sad.” – Steve McClaine, El Dorado Hills

Tweet of the day

“But we should definitely keep paying that $25,000/mo … so Holder can do undefined things well. Can we get some transparency over here.” – Kaitlyn MacGregor, @KMacGregor