Domestic violence, juvenile justice and the ‘mother of all bombs’


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


What must be done before domestic violence turns deadly: Karen Smith, a special education teacher in San Bernardino, tried to escape her violent husband, but he fatally shot her an an 8-year-old student. Domestic violence happens in every community, and studies show that the presence of a gun dramatically increases the risk that the relationship will end in death.

Why bill parents for locking up their kids?: Sacramento County supervisors took a step for fairer justice this week by voting to end fees charged to families of juvenile offenders, which were among the highest in the state. Many of the juveniles come from poor families that can’t afford the fees.


Bill Whalen: The chances are slim that the Democrats will win back the Senate next year, and it might take as long as the 2022 election. So, does Dianne Feinstein want to run for her Senate seat again, given that the forecast in Washington is years of partisanship warfare?


John Kabateck and David Panush: Two people who have been on opposite sides of the health care debate have come up with some simple fixes that Congress can pass that could make a big difference.

Ellen Hanak and Jeffrey Mount: The drought delivered some hard lessons and gave us a glimpse into the future. Here are some steps that will help California improve its drought resilience in an increasingly challenging climate.

Jim Brulte: Nearly two decades ago Democrats began their upward swing to a legislative supermajority, and California was in great shape. Now, the last two years have exposed the Democratic Party’s failures across California. We need reform, we need changes, and we need accountability.

Victoria Carr: Teacher who became part of union negotiations for Sac City schools is startled at what she has seen after 17 bargaining sessions.

Take a number: $16 million

That’s the cost for one of the “mother of all bombs,” the largest nonnuclear munition in the U.S. arsenal, which cost $314 million to develop. The Pentagon announced it was used for the first time in battle on Thursday, targeting a network of Islamic State tunnels and caves in Afghanistan. That compares to about $1 million each for the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched last week against a Syrian airbase in retaliation for a suspected nerve gas attack. President Donald Trump, who called Thursday’s bomb drop “another very, very successful mission,” wants to boost the military budget by $54 billion this year, or about 10 percent, and cut domestic programs to make up the difference. The cost of our wars comes in blood, but also in treasure. Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Their take

Los Angeles Times: Restore the 4th Amendment at the U.S. border. The sad truth is that its core protections don’t seem to apply to any U.S. citizen at the border, where customs agents are as free to pore through hard drives as they are to scrutinize roller bags and backpacks. This so-called border exception to the 4th Amendment has a long history. The very first Congress called for warrantless searches at the border to ensure the proper collection of duties; since then, the rationalization expanded to include the need to block contraband, such as illegal drugs and child pornography.

San Diego Union Tribune: It’s curtains for the California Theatre. While San Diegans often support protecting the structures that connect our region to its past, the city also has a history of giving up too easily on history, of relegating properties many consider ripe for preservation to the scrap heap instead. For every Western Metal Supply Co. building or Whaley House saved from the wrecking ball, there are countless other landmarks lost to time, like the Normal School, the original Santa Fe Depot or the Hotel San Diego. Downtown’s California Theatre, which opened 89 years ago as a 2,200-seat vaudeville and silent movie house, has been idle since 1990.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Save Paulin Creek Preserve for hiking not more housing. For 15 years, hikers entering a bucolic open space area tucked in northeastern Santa Rosa have passed a sign reading “Paulin Creek Open Space Preserve. This property is protected through a partnership.” The only problem is it’s not. This hidden jewel of land known for its meadows, meandering trails and large oak trees is not protected. On the contrary, a key part of the property – whether by accident or by design – has been designated as surplus land and is in the process of being sold to a developer.

East Bay Times: Labor unions, again, want public’s business done in secret. California public labor unions’ secrecy lobby is at it again. This time their pawn is Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-San Fernando, who introduced legislation sealing off public access to records about local government negotiations with public employees. AB 1455 is the latest insidious move to block taxpayers from knowing how their money is being bargained away, and what public employees’ raises and benefit enhancements will cost.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Twitter reaffirms its users’ right to free speech. Twitter’s most bellicose presidential user often tweets taunts and accusations, but when someone else does it, they’re out of line. A “rogue” government account that criticizes President Donald Trump’s policies anonymously was in danger last week of being unmasked after the Department of Homeland Security issued a summons demanding the social media company turn over its users’ identities. The government withdrew the demand a day after Twitter sued. It was obvious from the start that the government had no legal grounds to make the demand.

Kansas City Star: White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s Hitler comparison – he said the man who sent millions of Jews to their deaths in gas chambers “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” – was all the things the president’s spokesman has said it was in his subsequent apologies: It was inappropriate and insensitive. And inexcusable and reprehensible, too. But to call what he said Holocaust-denying – no, it wasn’t – is to make the same error he did, which was to lose all perspective in these hyperbolic times.

Syndicates take

Dana Milbank: Sean Spicer’s struggles of the tongue make me believe his Nazi talk wasn’t a premeditated offense but a lost connection between brain and mouth. If you’re spokesman for the president, that’s not entirely reassuring.

Charles Krauthammer: With the airstrike in Syria, America demonstrated its capacity for swift, decisive action. And in defense of an abstract international norm – a rationale that dramatically overrides the constraints of America First.

Eugene Robinson: Donald Trump hasn’t even been in office for three full months, and he may already be the most erratic president we’ve ever seen. We have no idea where he really stands because neither does he.

Nicholas Kristof: Donald Trump opponents lost the election and we have to recognize that elections have consequences. But if “resistance” has a lefty ring to it, it can also be framed as a patriotic campaign to protect the United States from someone who we think would damage it.

Gail Collins: How does Donald Trump compare to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, the now-famous “Love Gov”?

Michael Gerson: For believers, the complete story of Good Friday and Easter legitimizes both despair and faith. Nearly every life features less-than-good Fridays.


“What I find unsavory is Alan Edelstein calling Roger Waters an ‘unabashed Jew-hater.’ ” Milton H. Whaley, Pleasant Grove

Taking stock

The Governor’s Office was none too pleased with our editorial lamenting that California seemed to shrug when Aerojet announced it would close its Rancho Cordova factory, costing the Sacramento region 1,100 jobs.

On Thursday, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development let us know that it had awarded $91.4 million in tax credits to 114 companies. A quick review shows that most of the money will go to companies locating in the Bay Area and Los Angeles and Southern California.

General Motors was at the top of the list, receiving an $8 million tax credit for its Bay Area facility where it promises to employ 1,163 people focused on developing driverless and zero-emission vehicles. Good for them.

At the top of the list of Central Valley towns getting a boost was Merced. Safeway was awarded tax credits worth $1.25 million for adding 51 food processing jobs in Merced, though some of those may be located in Riverside.

We in the Central Valley have a ways to go.