Opinion

Legislature faces tough vote; the good that comes from Meals on Wheels; and explaining the Easter Bunny

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Our take

Editorials

Lawmakers face a new decision that will affect your wallet: Legislators need to resolve lingering questions about the cap-and-trade program. It won’t be easy, not after legislators agreed earlier this month for the first time in two decades to raise gasoline taxes and other fees to generate $5 billion a year to pay for road maintenance and transit. The costs of cap and trade ultimately fall on us all.

Statewide graduation rates are up. So why aren’t kids graduating at Sac City?: Graduation rates are at record highs in California. But Sacramento City schools appear to be backsliding. The district urgently needs a change agent, and the next superintendent should get metrics and accountability.

San Luis Obispo Tribune: Never again can an inmate be allowed to die like Andrew Holland: He was strapped naked to a plastic restraint chair for 46 hours and died in a cell just 20 minutes after he was freed from the chair — a device sometimes referred to as “the devil’s chair” or “the torture chair” by inmates and their advocates.

Columns

Foon Rhee: Charity begins at home, especially under President Donald Trump. With President Trump wanting to slash social program budgets to boost defense spending, donations to local charities are even more important. One of them is Meals on Wheels, which his budget director dismissed for not showing results. Riding with a volunteer might change his mind.

Joyce Terhaar: In its current shape, Oroville Dam is not safe, and Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is using a law intended to stop terrorism to keep details secret. Brown’s administration denied public access to some records that would tell us what led to the near failure of the emergency spillway.

Andrew Malcolm: As frightened Vietnamese refugees fled their country 42 years ago, they had heard about Easter season on the radio and were curious. Reluctant to delve into comparative religions, I tried to explain the Easter bunny, and here’s how that went …

Op-Eds

Julie Knight: Her son gave up athletics and missed most of his senior year because of drugs and rehabs. She prays he’ll finish high school. She will not be celebrating Weed Day (4/20).

James Gallagher: When the dust settled in the state’s transportation bill, Californians were facing $52 billion in new taxes and fees, and a few lucky lawmakers walked away with nearly $1 billion in pork.

Take a number: $16.2 billion

President Donald Trump is targeting unfair practices to reduce the trade deficit, but in the latest Numbers Crunch, Foon Rhee notes that Trump is no longer saying that China is a currency manipulator. Instead, he’s linking a trade deal with China to help on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. What could go wrong? California’s trade deficit in February was $16.2 billion, and the state accounts for one-third of the U.S. total.

Their take

East Bay Times: One of the earmarks of a thriving nation is respect for its scientific community. Here’s how bad things are in America today: Scientists feel so under siege, they have called for a March for Science on Earth Day, April 22.

L.A. Times: Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León’s amended SB 54 hews a pragmatic line by precluding local agencies — from schools to health agencies — from volunteering information to ICE about clients, students and others with whom they interact.

Miami Herald: One thing hasn’t changed when it comes to Haiti, the poorest nation in this hemisphere — the need for the United States to extend Temporary Protected Status to allow the more than 50,000 covered Haitians living in this country to stay. Sending them home will do far more harm to Haiti than good to the United States.

San Antonio Express-News: President Donald Trump’s border wall always has been a hare-brained idea. And, now, folly is inching up to reality. Firms in San Antonio and Texas are offering conceptual plans and are likely to be in the final bidding to build this monument to wastefulness. Congress should not appropriate a dime on this wall.

Kansas City Star: The education of Donald J. Trump has been a steeper climb than others have had to make in the early months of a new administration. Now reality is dawning, and none too soon.

Charlotte Observer: Libertarian Gary Johnson’s campaign crumbled partly because of a couple of gaffes, but also because entrenched interests firmly stack the system against independent and third-party presidential candidates. One major example: the presidential debates, which are essentially off-limits to everyone but the Democratic and Republican nominees.

Detroit News: As with any tax reform, the goal should be to encourage savings, investment and job creation. The initial details of Donald Trump’s plan work favorably toward that mission.

Denver Post: Gov. John Hickenlooper joined governors from other states that have legalized cannabis consumption in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Extending an olive branch, the governors reasonably ask Donald Trump’s Cabinet members to “engage with us before embarking on any changes to regulatory and enforcement systems.”

Syndicates’ take

Gail Collins: There she is, hands on her hips, proud and invincible. All day long, parents urge their daughters to go and link arms for pictures. An equally large group of tourists is posing in the back, stroking the bull’s private parts. It’s not easy to be a naked male statue.

Frank Bruni: Steve Bannon’s rapid rise and predictable descent in Trumplandia: Bannon crossed the line that a politician’s advisers mustn’t, to a place and prominence where only the most foolish of them tread. Or at best he’d failed to prevent the media from tugging him there.

Dana Milbank: President Donald Trump last week threatened not to pay $7 billion to insurers in annual subsidies for giving discounted coverage to low-income Americans. If he follows through, it ends Obamacare as we know it.

E.J. Dionne: This year’s celebration of Patriots’ Day comes when another impulse jostles with patriotism as the definition of dedication to country. Nationalism runs deep in American history, and it’s not just a Donald Trump or Steve Bannon import.

Ross Douthat: Why liberals should give church a chance: Honestly, dear liberals, many of you do believe in the kind of open Gospel that a lot of mainline churches preach.

Nicholas Kristof: Jimmy Carter on the Resurrection of Christ and other biblical teachings.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: One of my readers wants light after the election. But just now, all I have is resistance. And if, reading our exchange, you’re struck by my cynicism about reconciliation, you should know, for whatever it’s worth, that I’m struck by it, too.

Ruben Navarrette: Eric Liu has written an important book on a topic – power – that Americans need to understand better. He has a message for us. And we’d be wise to listen.

Paul Krugman: Donald Trump promised health care that would be “far less expensive and far better”; in the event, all he and his allies had to offer were surging premiums, higher out-of-pocket expenses and mass loss of coverage.

David Brooks: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo could have done many things to improve New York’s higher ed system. But on Wednesday, he signed legislation to make tuition free at New York public colleges for anybody coming from a family making no more than $100,000 a year. Unfortunately, the law will hurt actual New Yorkers.

Trudy Rubin: The White House desperately needs a communications director who can get the team on the same page, including the First Tweeter.

Remembering Jack Knox

“Amid the understandable demonization caused by our new, toxic White House, let us pause and acknowledge a great public official. John T. “Jack” Knox died earlier this month at 92.” – Former Assemblyman William T. Bagley.

And finally,

The Take couldn’t help but notice the Easter weekend juxtaposition, played out on Twitter.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson‏ @AsaHutchinson: “I hope everyone has a blessed Easter with friends and family today. He is risen!”

Sister Helen Prejean‏ @helenprejean, to Hutchinson‏: “I hope you reconsider the killing spree of executions. It's not pro-life and it's not Christian. Happy Easter to you and your family.”

Jerry Brown: Twitter silence. But Christopher Cadelago @ccadelago, The Bee’s man covering Brown, tweeted Saturday: “Jerry Brown issues 72 pardons and seven commutations.”

And then there was President Donald J. Trump’s tweet: “Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice!”

How Christian of him. On Easter.

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