Troop taxes, tobacco taxes, and why Firebaugh should matter to Jerry Brown


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.

Jack Ohman’s look at the Farm-to-Fork-to-Tree debate. Read the cartoon here.

Our take


A “troop tax” to pay for GI Bill is ridiculous. Under a proposal in Congress, recruits would pay $100 a month as enrollment fee for education benefits. New Army privates make only $1,600 a month. With a trigger-happy commander-in-chief, it’s plain wrong to dock the paychecks of soldiers in combat zones so they can go to college later.

How to spend California’s cigarette tax. And don’t forget women’s health. Proposition 56 promises a windfall of more than $1 billion for Medi-Cal funding. Doctors and dentists should get the increase in reimbursement the campaign promised, but some should go to clinics like Women’s Health Specialists in Sacramento.

Fresno Bee: We know Gov. Jerry Brown is busy. There’s a budget to revise, a high-speed rail system to construct and battles to fight against the Trump administration on trade, immigration and climate change. But we have a simple request: Schedule a morning or afternoon for a visit to Firebaugh, population 8,300, and meet some students who need a hand.


Erika D. Smith: I don’t need statistics to tell me that driving while black or walking while black is a thing. I’ve lived it.

Dan Morain: Legislators rarely say no to kids issues, not directly. But there always are other calls on money, by people and groups with clout. It’s easy to forget foster kids. But maybe not this year, not when a high-end entertainment lawyer and his best buddy, the blue chip lobbyist, are pitching in.

Marcos Breton: If this new Mexican restaurant fails, send Sacramento politicians the bill.

Dan Walters: California Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego is a former professor, one of the few Democrats to buck the education establishment. She has been critical of Gov. Jerry Brown’s school funding formula and wants to expand teachers’ tenure period.

Jane Braxton Little: To protect illegal marijuana plants from wildlife, growers are poisoning wildlife in Northern California forests, new research shows.


Leah Litman and Erwin Chemerinsky: President Donald Trump’s new travel ban will be heard by two federal appeals courts this week, and the courts should say the government cannot act on the basis of animus toward any particular religion.

Mark Joseph and Amitai Bin-nun: Modernizing fuel economy standards to address autonomous vehicles can help unleash market innovation to reduce our dependence on oil.

Terry Tamminen: The Huntington Beach desalination plant can’t stand on its own merit. Desalinated water costs twice as much as imported water, and up to 8 times as much as harvesting the rain.

David Sosa: California’s broadband policy allows it to be a technology leader and the communications market is dynamic, innovative and responsive to consumers’ demands.

Take a number: 16,880

The number of affordable housing units in Sacramento County for the extremely poor grew to 16,880 in 2014, but it barely kept pace with the increase in very poor families. In the latest Numbers Crunch, Foon Rhee focuses on a study that shows many counties across California and America are struggling to build enough housing that the neediest residents can afford.

Their take

Miami Herald: Sen. Marco Rubio, don’t throw Americans under the bus in the health care fight. Care enough to stand up to the current president, and to stand up for Americans’ health, well-being and peace of mind.

Raleigh News & Observer: From the “when will they ever learn” file comes broad legislation from Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee. As approved in a party-line vote, the bill would start to dismantle the provisions of the Dodd-Frank law.

Kansas City Star: Missouri’s still-new governor is often compared to President Donald Trump for his promises to upend the status quo. But there’s at least one big difference between the two, and that’s Eric Greitens’ reticence to talk to reporters.

Seattle Times: The lack of enforcement of state gun-law confiscation orders in domestic-violence cases is contrary to good policing and common sense. Research has shown that more than half of the perpetrators of domestic violence homicides had protection orders against them. When you add access to guns to domestic violence situations, the risk of homicide jumps an astonishing 500 percent.

East Bay Times: University of California President Janet Napolitano on Tuesday used a tried-and-true deflective strategy when grilled by legislators in Sacramento about a scathing audit of her office and the burgeoning furor surrounding it. The allegations at play here deserve much deeper exploration.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: On Monday, a speeding car plowed through the display window of a Santa Rosa pet store. The driver, police said, was under the influence of drugs. He told the investigating officers he smoked some marijuana before hitting the road. No one was injured, but the incident reflects a disturbing trend.

Los Angeles Times: In a remarkable feat of special-interest favoritism, House and Senate Republicans have pushed legislation through Congress to protect Wall Street firms at the expense of their own constituents.

San Diego Union Tribune: A state Senate committee has given its blessing to a bill creating a state single-player health care system that could double the size of the state budget – or worse. But the measure co-authored by state Sens. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, does have an upside: It may prompt people to consider the idea that when it comes to health care, Americans need dramatic change.

Syndicates’ take

Timothy Egan: Do you know how many times Donald Trump, as president, has been west of the Mississippi? Zero. Trump is now trying to do historic and vengeful damage to a vast part of the country that he clearly knows nothing about.

Gail Collins: Ivanka Trump released a book that calls on readers to fight against “barriers that disproportionately affect women” at work, as Donald Trump opens a new front in the war against women.

Maureen Dowd: By delivering a win for Donald Trump on health care, House Republicans may well have delivered a way for Democrats to take the president down.

Nicholas Kristof: Willie Parker had been taught that abortion was wrong. But he had an epiphany that his calling was to help women who wanted to end their pregnancies.

Frank Bruni: One of the best and one of the worst bits of news last week were the same: Hillary Clinton is deep into the writing of another book.

Ross Douthat: If the American Health Care Act is the chief policy distillation of Trumpism, then Democrats can argue everything Republicans promised on health care is a sham.

Kathleen Parker: For Donald Trump, winning is and always has been the endgame. It’s his identity, his campaign promise. Even though Trumpcare was ill-prepared, the president’s winning narrative got a needed boost.

Dane Milbank: In the case of the spending bill, Donald Trump acted as president of all Americans. In the case of the health care bill, he catered to the most extreme elements of the Republican Party.

E.J. Dionne: The Republican health care bill would cut $880 billion over a decade from Medicaid. Then the Republicans turn around and plow roughly $595 billion of this money into tax cuts, mostly for the very wealthy.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: A South Carolina state trooper shot an unarmed black man in 2014. The trooper pleaded guilty in 2016 of “assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature,” but he has yet to be sentenced.

Ruben Navarrette: When you turn 50, you want to take stock of your life. So you create separate ledgers, one for your personal life and the other for your professional one.

Andres Oppenheimer: Rather than making America great again, President Donald Trump’s coddling of dictators and ignoring human rights will hurt America’s image and will create bigger national security problems in the future.

Jackalyne Pfannenstiel

Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, former chairwoman of the California Energy Commission, has died. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her. Later, President Barack Obama appointed her assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations, and environment. Our thoughts are with her family, including husband, Dan Richard, chair of the high-speed rail commission.


Somewhere on the journey, life got tough for Peter Selis, the man who was shot dead by police in San Diego after he shot and killed one woman and wounded six others.” – Peter Cavaghan, Cameron Park

And finally,

Jack Ohman: I’ve decided Rep. Greg Walden isn’t so nice after all. Sorry, Greg. The amusing announcer-guy voice won’t cut it now.