Opinion

Diesel deal, privacy lost, parking costs. At least baseball is back

Good morning. 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

Editorials

Legislature shouldn’t choke on diesel’s win: The Legislature is expected to vote on a bill to raise taxes and fees that will generate $52 billion during the coming decade for road repairs. That price tag includes $10.8 billion in increased diesel taxes. While truckers would pay billions more in higher taxes, the industry saw an opportunity to get something in return for its support, and took it. That shouldn’t kill the bill.

The president just gave what’s left of your internet privacy away: If we’ve learned anything from reports of Russians hacking political campaigns and Silicon Valley corporations, it’s that online privacy can’t be taken for granted. But President Donald Trump apparently wants to strip Americans of our last shred of secrecy.

Columns

Foon Rhee: All those quarters add up. The city of Sacramento is taking in more money from its parking meters, and that’s helping prop up the financing plan for Golden 1 Center.

Dan Walters: Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders are still hunting for enough votes to pass a package of taxes and fees to boost spending on highways and other transportation needs. They want to move quickly before opposition to the package can coalesce.

Op-eds

Laura Wisland: Given California’s ambitious renewable energy goals, it no longer makes sense to invest in expensive and risky natural gas plants and related infrastructure.

Gregory Favre: To back up President Donald Trump’s view of dangerous illegal immigrants, press secretary Sean Spicer brought up a Maryland case of rape. Rape is a terrible crime that leaves lifelong scars, and every day we are learning of more cases, especially on college campuses. Yet Favre can’t recall Spicer pointing out any rape cases before, including the thousands committed by American-born citizens.

Take a number: $181.5 million and $81.7 million

Those are the opening day payrolls for the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s, respectively. “Moneyball” may have helped the A’s exceed expectations in the early 2000s. But the teams that are favorites to make the World Series this year are all in the upper echelon of payrolls.

The Giants rank fourth highest, behind only the Dodgers, Tigers and Yankees. The defending champion Cubs have the sixth highest payroll. Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Taking a road trip

Orange County Register: Gov. Jerry Brown’s package of tax hikes to fund road repairs is tough medicine to take, but we might just have to take it, at least in part. We certainly can’t let California’s freeways, roads and bridges become even more run-down or unsafe. Something must be done, but it must be done in a prudent fashion.

Modesto Bee: Set aside arguments over whether California’s roads need repair; just driving beyond your driveway proves that. Let’s get to what’s important to the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Leverage. For once, we have some.

East Bay Times: The statewide transportation tax package proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders of the state Legislature takes an excellent idea and runs it off the road.

Their take

San Francisco Chronicle: To paraphrase one of the relatively few Mark Twain quips that isn’t an online fabrication, the report of Nancy Pelosi’s arrest was an exaggeration.

San Diego Union Tribune: Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, is once again leading efforts to improve California’s teacher tenure law, which allows new teachers to gain powerful job protections after just two years, earlier than most other states. This time, Weber has added a provision with the potential to attract new support.

Bloomberg View: Last week’s bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric Co. is yet more evidence, if anyone needed any, that the economics of nuclear power are not good. Like coal, nuclear energy can’t compete against cheap natural gas and ever-cheaper renewables. Unlike coal, however, nuclear energy is a crucial tool in the fight against climate change. So the public subsidies that benefit the nuclear industry in the U.S. are justified, whereas efforts to prop up the coal industry are not.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Religious liberty laws don’t give religious freedom – they take it away. The Constitution protects religious freedom. It’s a fundamental right that any American can exercise, so these bills don’t do anything but discriminate against a minority group – this time the LGBTQ community. None of these laws is necessary, and all of them are damaging. Seventeen “religious liberty” bills have been filed in this year’s legislative session, all discriminating against the LGBTQ community in one way or another.

L.A. Times takes on Trump, Part II

The insult that Donald Trump brings to the equation is an apparent disregard for fact so profound as to suggest that he may not see much practical distinction between lies, if he believes they serve him, and the truth.

Syndicates take

Michael Gerson: If the accusations of dozens of women over two decades are correct – now with a new story detailing $13 million in payouts to women accusing Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment – then Fox News is the focus of hypocrisy in the modern world.

Eugene Robinson: President Donald Trump is apparently convinced that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, can fix anything.

Trudy Rubin: In a saner world, President Donald Trump would pay a visit on Thursday to the site in Flanders fields, where the Battle of Passchendaele was fought in 1917 in an effort to take a bulge of territory around the medieval cloth town of Ypres. In a saner world, the visit might moderate his take on nationalism and on “America First.

Paul Krugman: Business seems to have decided that President Donald Trump is a paper tiger on trade: The flow of corporate relocations to Mexico, which slowed briefly while CEOs tried to curry favor with the new president, has resumed. Trade policy by tweet, it appears, has run its course.

Charles M. Blow: There are no real winners here, regardless of what the current investigations reveal into Russia meddling in the U.S. election. Russia has unveiled an incredible vulnerability in our electoral process, and the damage that has been done to faith in the system will not only be hard to measure but hard to erase.

Mailbag

“It is ludicrous that previously collected transportation taxes are being diverted to the general fund, and road maintenance is in shambles, even through potholes are evident everywhere and an excess of Caltrans workers have remained on the payroll. Why is it that all our previously collected fuel taxes are not enough?” – Carole Dudley, Meadow Vista

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