What’s with Oroville Dam secrecy; Congress’ crummy ratings; and legislators anger at UC

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Our take


Another UC audit, another game of hardball: Lawmakers deserve answers from the University of California and UC President Janet Napolitano. But eight audits in four years?

City wants you to adopt pets, not buy them: The Sacramento City Council should adopt a proposal to encourage more adoptions by banning the retail sale of cats and dogs, which often come from horrible kitten and puppy mills.


Dan Walters: State and local officials did a fine job of averting disaster when the main spillway of Oroville Dam began to crumble and an auxiliary spillway had problems. But since then, the Department of Water Resources has turned to secrecy on evaluations of the failures.

Marcos Breton: Mired in a crisis of confidence, the Sacramento Police Department needs to look outside for its new leader.

Andrew Malcolm, McClatchy DC: Congress returned from another half-month vacation this week to confront a national job-approval rating wallowing in the low double digits. Hard to understand why it’s that high.


State Sen. Ricardo Lara and Jamie Rappaport Clark: While President Donald Trump’s border wall will not make us safer, it will have unknown and damaging consequences for California’s economy, environment and binational culture.

Take a number: 16

Rep. Roger Williams is a Texas Republican whose gerrymandered district stretches almost 190 miles from Austin to Fort Worth suburbs. He was elected to Congress in 2012, but kept control of his car dealerships in the Fort Worth area. He also takes his opportunities when he sees them.

Alex Daugherty of McClatchy’s DC bureau reports that as Donald Trump prepared to unveil his tax plan, Williams is pushing to keep a loophole that helps car dealers like himself, and is promoted by the National Automobile Dealers Association, one of his largest campaign contributors.

The federal tax provision called “last in, first out” allows businesses to report their most recently acquired inventories as sold before older inventories. That allows businesses with reliably increasing inventory prices, like car dealerships, to save money on taxes by claiming lower profits as a last-in first-out reserve.

As Trump might say: Who knew tax law could be so complicated. But our take-away is this: Car dealers and other beneficiaries of “LIFO,” including oil companies and the drug makers, have a friend in Williams. By the way, the Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Williams in a separate case for promoting an amendment to a bill that would benefit his car dealerships. You don’t get to be the 16th wealthiest member of Congress by taking vows of poverty.

Their take

Mercury News: The rule of law once again has intervened in President Donald Trump’s attempt to govern as bully in chief. U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick has granted the injunction sought by Santa Clara County, San Francisco and other counties and cities across the country fighting the president’s executive order to broadly withhold federal funds from “sanctuary” cities and counties.

LA Times: Mayor Eric Garcetti has got good reason to be upbeat. The economy has been humming along, bringing more revenue to city coffers, and now L.A. is about to receive a monumental infusion of public dollars. But there is a cloud hanging over City Hall that cannot be ignored. Even with the boost in revenue, the city is still stuck with an ongoing $200-million-plus structural deficit.

Lexington Herald Leader: Congress, including Kentucky’s delegation, should make it clear to President Donald Trump that his plan for a wall along the Mexican border is going nowhere because it would be a huge waste of money, accomplish none of Trump’s avowed goals and do actual harm. Yet U.S. Rep. Andy Barr voiced support for Trump’s nativist folly.

Tampa Bay Times: President Donald Trump’s budget-slashing proposals to defund Planned Parenthood and PBS have received plenty of attention. Flying dangerously under the radar is the president’s push to eliminate federal money for the Legal Services Corp.

Charlotte Observer: Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina assured the public that the Senate investigation he is charged with leading will be aboveboard. So far, it doesn’t look anything like the balm that could help heal the country’s political wounds.

Miami Herald: It is imperative that the international community continue to condemn Nicolás Maduro and that the United States explore best ways to impose economic pain on the regime, while sparing its people.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Bypassing entrenched political parties is one matter; rejecting institutions designed to increase cohesion among European nations is another. French voters would be wise to make Emmanuel Macron – the more sensible, centrist candidate – their nation’s next president.

Syndicates’ take

Dana Milbank: At odds with the overwhelming public opinion that marijuana should be legal is Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has hinted at a federal crackdown against pot. That puts the Trump administration on a collision course with the eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana and the majority of states allowing medical marijuana.

Kathleen Parker: What a deliciously strange irony that until Monday night President Donald Trump set the stage for a government shutdown over, of all things, his campaign centerpiece – The Wall.

Ruben Navarrette: How can Americans be lazy when everyone insists we’re working harder than ever and spending less time with family? According to a recent article, laziness isn’t just about not wanting to work. It’s also about not taking risks, switching jobs, starting businesses and getting out of your comfort zone. And here’s how it’s hurting our economy.

David Brooks: Our anti-poverty efforts today tend to be systematized and bureaucratized, but Hull House was intensely personalistic. Jane Addams sought to change the world by planting herself deeply in a particular neighborhood. She treated each person as a unique soul.

David Leonhardt: A virulent nationalism, tinged with bigotry, is on the rise across much of the world. In the face of this ethnic nationalism, citizens often face difficult choices. They have to decide how much of a priority to place on combating it.


“Yes, Bill O'Reilly had a big ego and was rude, but that is not what those who watched him every night remember.” – Kay Walsh, Sacramento

Tweet of the day

“Watching @TuckerCarlson pretend to be a champion of the 99% is making me throw up in my mouth a little.” Josh Richman‏ @Josh_Richman, aide to Rep. Eric Swalwell