Opinion

Revolving doors in ‘The Swamp’; Robert Mueller III; and winners and losers in the L.A. schools race

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 looks at Donald Trump’s big, beautiful crowds. Click here to see how big they are.

Our take

Editorials

Lobbyist for Big Ag gets ready to regulate his past clients: David L. Bernhardt, a smart and accomplished lawyer and a consummate insider, walks through the revolving door, back to the federal government. It’s the nature of Washington.

It’s time for President Trump and James Comey to come clean: The former FBI chief says Trump asked him to end the Michael Flynn investigation. The White House denies it. It’s a he-said, he-said of historic proportions – one that could build a case against the president for obstruction of justice and conceivably lead to impeachment proceedings. So the American people deserve no less than the entire truth.

Column

Andrew Malcolm, McClatchy D.C.: Trump should fire Trump as his spokesman. The current agenda Trump is setting for public discussion about Trump is self-destructive toward his professed long-term goal of fundamentally changing Washington.

Op-Eds

Graham Boyd and Tamar Todd: A new nonprofit, formed by many of the primary supporters of Proposition 64, believes the governor’s initial budget and regulatory proposals reflect voter intent and preserves Prop. 64’s fundamental framework while taking the smart approach.

Take a number: $14.5 million

It’s not often that a local school board race turns into a national referendum. But school reformers and public school unions spent combined $14.5 million on races for two seats on the 665,000-student L.A. Unified School District, the L.A. School Report notes on Tuesday’s results. The L.A. Times reported that Netflix chairman and charter school advocate Reed Hastings accounted for $5 million of that.

Charter school advocate Nick Melvoin, defeated incumbent board President Steve Zimmer, and Kelly Gonez, another charter school advocate, beat the teacher union-backed candidate, Imelda Padilla, giving reformers a majority.

Two other winners: Marshall Tuck, running for California superintendent of public instruction, and former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democratic candidate for governor. Tuck and Villaraigosa support public school reform, and have the support of wealthy charter school advocates. Former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Obama administration education Secretary Arne Duncan also endorsed the reformers. Among the losers: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who endorsed the union-backed losers, and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, a probable candidate for statewide office. Garcetti endorsed Zimmer. Roughly 750,000 people are registered to vote in the two districts that were contested on Tuesday. Fewer than 80,000 of them voted.

Their take

San Francisco Chronicle: The U.S. Justice Department made the right call in appointing a special counsel to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Even better was its choice to fill that difficult position: Robert Mueller III.

L.A. Times: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein emphasized the need “for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome.” Talk about stating the obvious. Rosenstein’s action is welcome, his reasoning is sound and the lawyer he has asked to assume responsibility for the investigation, former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, is a reassuring choice.

Orange County Register: Current and former IRS officials are demanding secrecy for their testimony in a lawsuit over the agency’s inappropriate targeting of conservative and tea party groups, but the public’s right to know what happened is too important to set aside. Threats must be taken seriously and investigated, and those who make them should be held accountable. But the issues in the IRS targeting case are of immense public importance.

Mercury News: Donald Trump should “Just Say No” to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to restart the disastrous War on Drugs. Even Republicans are saying being dumb on crime is not the answer to curbing Americans’ illicit drug use.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The West Virginia Capitol Police purport to be a bona fide law-enforcement agency. But there’s scant evidence of that. In arresting reporter Dan Heyman last week – his offense was asking questions – they look more like the security services in repressive regimes.

Biloxi Sun Herald, Mississippi: President Donald Trump’s proposed $9 billion cut to the Department of Education would cut the number of teachers in Coast schools. Cutting teachers is a poor way to balance budget.

Lexington Herald Leader: With the announcement last week that he had created a $250,000-a-year-job for longtime friend and political supporter Vivek Sarin, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, like so many before him, has begun to redefine cronyism as what happens when the other guy is doing the hiring.

Baltimore Sun: More than two years after his fateful arrest, many of the details of Freddie Gray’s death and the precise roles each of the six officers who encountered him that day played in the events leading up to it remain mysterious. The Baltimore Police Department now has in its possession what may well be the most definitive account of what happened that day that will ever be produced. Yet it’s entirely possible that we will never know what it says.

Syndicates’ take

Dana Milbank: So President Donald Trump gave secrets to Russia – but that’s OK because he didn’t know what he was doing. This is supposed to make us feel better?

E.J. Dionne: How can we speed our nation’s escape from the catastrophe Donald Trump has created?

Thomas L. Friedman: Are there tens of millions of good men and women ready to run and vote as Democrats or independents in the 2018 congressional elections and replace the current GOP majority in the House and maybe the Senate?

Mailbag

“In the 1990s, mental health care expenditures declined about 50 percent – not because patients’ suffering improved by half – and haven’t recovered since then.” Dr. Greg Sazima, Roseville

And finally

“We asked the leading Democratic candidates for California governor if @realDonaldTrump should be impeached. @antonio4ca was first to answer.” Christopher Cadelago,‏ @ccadelago.

  Comments