A Dreamer’s nightmare deportation; turning off Fox News; trying to shut a campaign money loophole

On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Jack Ohman’s cartoon: Donald Trump’s Earth Day wish.

Our take


AB 1234 would make campaign finance more transparent: Unfortunately, from party leaders to moneyed interests, the prevailing attitude toward Assemblyman Marc Levine’s legislation is, “Why close a perfectly good campaign loophole?”

What’s wrong with faster deportations? Ask this Dreamer: If there were ever a cautionary tale about the perils of the Donald Trump administration making good on its promise to speed deportations of immigrants, it’s the case of Juan Manuel Montes, a 23-year-old Dreamer from the border town of Calexico.


Ben Boychuk: Whether or not the sexual harassment allegations are true, this much is certain: Bill O’Reilly was terrible. His ouster from Fox News is another opportunity to be reminded that cable news is terrible.

John Berthelsen: Kim Jong Un is a carefully calculating leader who seems willing to be more confrontational than his father or his grandfather, who invaded South Korea in 1950. Donald Trump was threatening North Korea with an aircraft carrier battle group, which was actually in the Indian Ocean when the commander in chief thought it was priming its jets just offshore from Korea.


Judith A. Wilde and James H. Finkelstein: We have been examining the contracts for presidents of public universities and have documented a dramatic increase in presidential salaries. But more surprising to us has been the growth of corporate-style perks, supplemental benefits and contract protections.

Christina Marie Martinez: It is one thing to declare ourselves the “Farm-to-Fork Capital”; it is quite another to bring the essence of that slogan into our communities where we have food deserts.

Charles Munger Jr. and Sen. Sam Blakeslee: The California Assembly and Senate have yet to codify in their operating rules the Constitution’s new transparency provisions. Instead, they have created rules that represent a half-measure of what those provisions require, and of what California voters intended when they approved Proposition 54.

Take a number: $200 million

That’s the upper range of the estimated cost of the proposed streetcar line linking West Sacramento and Sacramento – the recipient of the 2017 Golden Fleece award for wasteful spending from the Sacramento Taxpayers Association. What is more likely to deep-six the project, however, is if the Trump administration nixes a federal grant that supporters hope will pay for as much as half.

The association’s third annual awards, bestowed at a dinner Tuesday night, also targeted the role of local governments trying to pass a half-cent sales tax for roads and transit (Measure B narrowly failed last November) and abuse of overtime at the Sacramento Fire Department (also the subject of a critical city audit). Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Their take

San Diego Union Tribune: The state Department of Motor Vehicles has made so many gains in customer service over the years that – now don’t laugh – some motorists find the DMV downright convenient. But a new report by state Auditor Elaine M. Howle paints a disturbing picture of DMV sloppiness in one of its most visible duties: overseeing the distribution and tracking of disabled parking placards.

Stockton Record: We have chronicled recently how locally grown asparagus is waning as it simply has not been feasible to compete with the price of the imported spears. But this is Stockton. And the city identifies with asparagus. So we urge folks to attend the reconstituted Asparagus Festival this weekend at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds.

San Jose Mercury News: California public labor unions’ secrecy lobby is at it again. This time legislation introduced by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-San Fernando, would remove the public’s right to see records connected with local government contract negotiations with public employees. It would not make disclosure illegal, but the effect of saying the records need not be released under the Public Records Act would be the same. It’s hard enough to get access to records when the right to see them is clear.

Los Angeles Times: Dylan Roof walked into a South Carolina church two years ago, briefly took part in a prayer session and then methodically shot and killed nine people. Roof is white; the victims were black. Roof told police he wanted to start a race war. On Tuesday, Kori Ali Muhammad shot three people to death on the street near downtown Fresno, police said, just five days after allegedly killing a Motel 6 security guard. Muhhamad is black; the victims were white. Police have concluded that Muhhamad was motivated by a hatred of white people, and relatives said he may have believed himself a warrior in a race war. Racial violence, tragically, has been a constant companion over the long arc of this nation’s history.

East Bay Times: The U.S. and China have long held radically different visions for the world, but it is clear that both of those visions now agree on one thing: North Korea is a dangerous threat. It’s about time. North Korea’s provocative President Kim Jong Un is dangerous. For months, Kim has issued threats to use both missiles and nuclear weapons against the United States or South Korea.

Syndicates’ take

Dana Milbank: Restraint was in short supply during oral arguments in the Trinity Lutheran Church case at the U.S. Supreme Court. It was a manufactured controversy, cooked up by conservative interest groups that are hoping to chip away at constitutional provisions in 39 states restricting taxpayer money from going to churches.

Michael Gerson: The worst temptation is dehumanization – turning Donald Trump supporters into threatening types. It is a habit of mind that may help consolidate Trump’s control of the GOP and thus his prospects for re-election.

Charles Krauthammer: The Korea crisis is real and growing. But the United States is not helpless. Here are some major cards we can play.

Nicholas Kristof: A frightening nightmare is of President Donald Trump blundering into a new Korean war.

Charles M. Blow: For those who believed in Donald Trump – and cast supportive ballots – should feel cheated because you placed your faith in a phony.

Gail Collins: Everybody was talking about the dangers of a confrontation between the United States and North Korea. People debated all the variables. The only thing that did not come up was the possibility that the American flotilla was actually no place near the neighborhood.


“From its inception, the British monarchy has demonstrated its resilience by its ability to adapt to the changing needs of its subjects.” – John R. Williams, Rancho Cordova

Tweet of the day

“Hey Jeff Sessions, this #IslandinthePacific has been the 50th state for going on 58 years. And we won’t succumb to your dog whistle politics.” – Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii @maziehirono, after the U.S. attorney general told a radio host he was “amazed that a judge sitting in an island in the Pacific” could block the president’s travel ban.