Opinion

Sally Yates becomes old news as Trump cans Comey; Newsom opens his tax returns

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.

Our take

Editorials

Dithering must end in California’s too-long desalination debate: At nearly 20 years, the debate over Poseidon Water’s proposed coastal desalination plant in Huntington Beach has taken far too long.

How Gavin Newsom got a jump on the pack by detailing his finances: By releasing his tax returns, Lt. Gavin Newsom proves to voters that he is serious about public disclosure. Other candidates for high office need to do the same.

Columns

Dan Walters: Exempt diapers and tampons from taxes? Nice idea but poor policy. Exempting diapers and tampons from sales taxes may be a nice idea, but it makes California’s messy tax system even worse.

Andrew Malcolm, McClatchyDC: Donald Trump’s religious freedom executive order is a promise kept, sort of.

Op-Eds

Robert N. Stavins: Senate Bill 775 is a repeal and replace of California’s effective and low-cost cap-and-trade system, and the bill will offer neither emissions reduction certainty nor revenue stability.

Assemblyman Dante Acosta: A pattern of deception is why a subpoena and forensic audit of UC Office of the President’s records is needed.

Takes on Comey’s firing

Sacramento Bee: Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey is not normal. A special prosecutor must be appointed to examine Russian ties to Trump’s campaign.

San Francisco Chronicle: President Donald Trump’s stunning decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, on the most suspicious of grounds, smells to high heaven.

Mercury News: Donald Trump’s firing of the FBI director investigating him and his team for possible connections to Russian meddling in the U.S. election is an outrage. And independent investigator or prosecutor is needed.

Jonah Goldberg, National Review: There’s much we don’t know. Much we need to know. Much we may never know. But my initial reactions to the news of the James Comey firings are:

Take a number: 3

President Donald Trump has fired 1) U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of Manhattan, who apparently was investigating matters close to Trump; 2) Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who warned Trump aides about National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia; and 3) FBI Director James Comey, who led the agency that was investigating Trump campaign ties to Russia. Who’s next?

Their take

Mercury News: For 11 years now, the State Bar of California has fought a UCLA law professor’s request for data about those who seek to become attorneys. Which raises the question: Why? What is the state bar trying to hide?

Orange County Register: The medically based arguments for Sen. Anthony Portantino’s Senate Bill 328 in the name of better adolescent health are hard to refute, and we think it deserves support in the Legislature.

Lexington Herald Leader, (Kentucky) : Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of Congress must get busy protecting the pensions of coal miners and thousands of other Americans who worked hard all their lives but are facing impoverishment in old age because of faltering pension plans.

Kansas City Star: Missouri Rep. Rick Brattin seems to believe that homosexuality and humanity are incompatible. Sadly, some of his colleagues appear to sympathize with his views.

Raleigh News & Observer: Credit Suisse is an international financial services holding company with 1,700 employees in the Triangle, and now, thanks to the repeal of HB2, Gov. Roy Cooper has announced the company will expand with as many as 1,200 more jobs.

Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska: Four years ago, Omaha needed someone to get City Hall’s fiscal house in order. Mayor Jean Stothert delivered. The contrast with her promising 2017 opponent, former State Sen. Heath Mello, offers a tempting alternative.

Syndicates take

Kathleen Parker: In watching Sally Yates and Condoleezza Rice, I am reminded that there are other women besides Hillary Clinton who could be president.

Ruben Navarrette: President Donald Trump’s attempts to brush back the media are usually in self-defense.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: It is not uncommon for a president to blame bad tidings on the guy before him, sometimes even with justification. But you, Mr. So-Called President, have ridden that horse into the ground where Barack Obama is concerned.

Dana Milbank: Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifies she informed the Trump White House that its national security adviser had been compromised by the Russians, but President Donald Trump took no visible action until a public outcry forced him to.

Trudy Rubin: The victory of centrist Emanuel Macron over a far-right populist in French presidential elections has precluded disaster from befalling Western democracy. But the battle against dark forces that seek to undermine Western democracies is far from over.

David Leonhardt: Despite the mundane quality of the Clinton emails, the U.S. media covered them as a profound revelation. Last weekend, France’s mainstream media showed how to exercise better judgment.

Mailbag

“‘Beauty Queen’ and ‘Laughing Boy’ can’t replace seasoned anchors” Richard Tipton, Roseville

Tweet of the day

“Split screen on L.A. TV: Bear on the loose in Bradbury and choppers recording Comey motorcade moving slowly in freeway traffic.” – Cathleen Decker, @cathleendecker

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