Pot lobbyists, real science, Wells Fargo’s fraud, and who’s calling us ugly


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 has some, um, innovative ideas for fixing the Oroville Dam. To see Jack’s suggestions, please click here.

Our take


If Wells Fargo wants to apologize, it should back this legislation: As Donald Trump tries to roll back consumer protections, California lawmakers should step in. Preventing the sorts of predatory practices engaged in by Wells Fargo employees is an excellent place to start.

On Earth Day, a necessary defense of science from Trump: It should scare every Californian – and every American – that scientists by the thousands felt compelled to spend Saturday demonstrating and making speeches just to convince the federal government to base policy and funding decisions on scientific fact, not ideological fiction.

San Luis Obispo Tribune: We are a nuclear community, and we are tired of waiting for a “solution” to the dilemma of what to do with spent radioactive fuel.


Dan Morain: Amy Jenkins, having seized an opportunity to get into the marijuana lobbying business early, is shaping laws that will affect a newly legalized and commercialized business for years to come. That’s heady for a lobbyist. Whether it’s good or not for the rest of us, we’ll find out.

Dan Walters: California’s Board of Equalization has a long history of dysfunction, so the most recent revelations have a familiar ring. The solution would be to abolish the politics-ridden tax agency and give its powers to a new Department of Revenue.

Marcos Breton: Homeless advocate Sean Thompson hit former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in the face with a pie. Now he wants another crack.

Gregory Favre: How is President Donald Trump handling this power tug-of-war between the Jared Kushner-Ivanka Trump duo and the Steve Bannon forces, as well as with Reince Priebus and Kellyanne Conway?

Joe Mathews: A bill in the Legislature would require middle and high schools to start the school day later – no earlier than 8:30 a.m. But the real problem in California education is not how early the school day starts, it’s how early the school day concludes.


Joel Fox: With pension funds lowering the expected revenue received from investments, CalPERS and CalSTRS turn to school districts and local governments to make larger contributions to retirement funds creating deeper holes in local budgets.

Dr. John Luther: California began collecting tobacco tax revenues on April 1, but the Brown administration doesn’t intend to use the funds to address dental care for the state’s most vulnerable patients.

Take a number: 187 feet

In the latest Numbers Crunch, Foon Rhee reports on a new study that highlights the potential impact of the Antarctic to rising sea levels off the California coast. Bottom line: Global sea levels could rise by 187 feet if the Antarctic ice sheet melts. The state Ocean Protection Council will discuss the report on Wednesday as it works on updating guidance to state and local agencies on how to prepare for rising sea levels. And Rex Tillerson, our secretary of state, once wondered: “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”

Why march for science, you ask.

Their take

San Francisco Chronicle: Ann Coulter and the UC Berkeley Republican club may be seizing an opportunity to be unreasonable. The problem is that UC Berkeley gave them that opportunity by failing to find a way to accommodate Coulter given a month’s notice.

San Jose Mercury News: AB 1250, introduced by Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, is hopelessly ambiguous, but the intent is clear: increasing the number of public employees, who would be members of unions, rather than looking at outside services that could be more cost-effective.

East Bay Times: Transparency should always be a public agency’s default position, because problems always arise when it isn’t. A case in point is how the state Department of Water Resources has handled Lake Oroville for years. It continues despite considerable public and political pressure since the spillway collapse. Two developments perfectly illustrate the point.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Congress reconvenes Monday, and the entire federal government could be on an unscheduled vacation by the end of next week. Yes, another government shutdown is looming.

Kansas City Star: Kansas legislators passed the bill allowing concealed weapons in all public buildings in 2013, but a four-year waiver bought the universities some time. On July 1, the law goes into effect. Representatives and senators haven’t mustered the courage to make any exceptions. That forces sports fans to shuffle through metal detectors and also leaves the University of Kansas Health System in an untenable bind.

Lexington Herald Leader: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and legislators must stop eroding our tax base by giving incentives to attract low-paying jobs or reward decisions that would have been made anyway.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Too many employers struggle to fill positions because of a stubborn “skills gap’’ – there simply aren’t enough people with the right set of skills for available jobs. U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has been on a mission to close that gap for several years.

Syndicates’ take

Frank Bruni: What James Beard’s obituary failed to mention, and why. A new PBS documentary also goes where the obituaries didn’t, describing Beard as an exuberantly gay man.

Kathleen Parker: President Donald Trump is rattling his borrowed saber because that’s what he does. The bully in chief no longer has to file lawsuits to try to evict widows from their homes for monetary gain. Now he has a military and can decide over chocolate cake to fire missiles at Syria.

Gail Collins: A test to see if you’ve been paying attention to President Donald Trump. Yes, nepotism is a beautiful thing.

Nicholas Kristof: Donald Trump’s “pro-life” foreign policy has a deadly impact on the women of Haiti.

Ross Douthat: Why a firing squad might have been more humane way to execute Ledell Lee.

Dana Milbank: There has been much speculation about President Donald Trump’s nonsense talk about his “armada.” And allies are coming to discount Trump because they recognize he is out of his depth. At home as well as abroad, people are coming to recognize this emperor’s state of undress.

E.J. Dionne: You don’t have to live on an island to worry about what Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doing in the name of justice.

Ruben Navarrette: For 16 years, the political left and the liberal media lost out to Bill O’Reilly in the competitive sandbox of cable television news/talk. He decisively beat his competitors in the ratings no matter who they put up against him.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: That day Bill O’Reilly got fired from Fox News, women across America did what they do every day. The lived their unique lives. And it was a good day.

Trudy Rubin: As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cements his rule in his 1,150-room palace, he’s dashed the dream that he’d create the first modern democracy in a mainly Muslim country.

David Brooks: More and more governments, including the Trump administration, begin to look like premodern mafia states, run by family-based commercial clans. Meanwhile, institutionalized, party-based authoritarian regimes, like in China or Russia, are turning into premodern cults of personality/Maximum Leader regimes, which are far more unstable and dangerous.

Paul Krugman: To understand what’s happening to Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, think about trying to stuff a balloon into a box that isn’t big enough.


“Striking North Korea with U.S. warplanes or missiles will certainly lead to an all-out war on the Korean peninsula.” – Young M. Lee, Carmichael

And finally,

Jack Ohman: Nathan Lump. Rank that name for attractiveness. Based on the photograph of Nathan Lump, we can see how he might be intrigued by the thought of an aesthetic plebiscite on the relative attractiveness of Sacramentans, Baltimoreans, and all other oppressed Ugly City Residents. He’s so attractive! Nice bow tie, too!