A cut for mental health care. Problems persist in foster care.


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, our resident wise guy, on the two ways to read The Kevin McCarthy Tape. Read both of them here.

Our take


A budget deal makes perfect sense, except it would rob people in need: Gov. Jerry Brown proposes to help fund one important health care service by taking money from another one, mental health care.

After Oroville Dam debacle, we deserve straight talk and safety: Oroville Dam reconstruction begins. Department of Water Resources promises straight talk and transparency. The public deserves nothing less.


Joyce Terhaar: Secrecy surrounding Oroville Dam spillway repairs has to end. Fortunately, California’s Department of Water Resources promises more transparency.

Dan Walters: The Democratic Party dominates California’s politics but is being hit by ideological conflict between liberal and ultra-liberal factions.

Marcos Breton: Long before he was named the new superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District, Jorge Aguilar was a freshman at UC Berkeley who had his educational self-worth shattered on his first day of chemistry class.

Joe Mathews: After years of budget crises and big deficits, Californians have adopted a budget religion grounded in self-flagellation even though our recent budgets contain surpluses.


John Berthelsen: China’s One Belt-One Road initiative is planned as the world’s biggest investment since the U.S. began the Marshall Plan, which saved Europe after World War II. The concomitant narrative is that the United States is in terminal eclipse.

Greg Thompson: We should stop wringing our hands over RT’s financial plight and do something constructive to improve it. Aborting the downtown streetcar project is an excellent place to start.

Danielle Osborn Mills: California has lost its spot atop the wind-power leaderboard, falling to fourth in installed capacity. With new renewable energy goals, more investment is needed.

Edward Joseph Pierini Jr.: Taxpayer-financed and government-subsidized affordable housing programs show little by way of accomplishment.

Joel Bellman: State Sen. Tony Mendoza of Artesia wants to expand the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors by two members and create an elected county executive, for additional checks and balances.

Take a number: 590,000

Nearly 1 in 5 California workers eligible for the minimum wage are being shortchanged, and they’re losing about $3,400 a year. That’s according to a new study that’s the focus of the latest Numbers Crunch. The Economic Policy Institute says that’s bad for workers, but also for taxpayers because more families are forced onto public assistance. While California’s minimum wage is scheduled to rise to $15 an hour by 2022, advocacy groups say the law must be more aggressively enforced to make sure workers receive what they’re owed.

Their take

East Bay Times: The Franchise Tax Board is blasting off with a proposal to tax the fledgling private spaceflight industry. The tax would be the first of its kind at the state level.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: California’s beverage container recycling program isn’t likely to win any awards for being consumer-friendly.

San Luis Obispo Tribune: Protected bike lanes should be part of the conversation when we discuss bicycle safety. If local leaders truly want more people to bike to work – and why else would the entire month of May be devoted to that goal? – they need to recognize that many of us don’t trust a “share the road” sign to protect us.

San Diego Union Tribune: The University of California’s Board of Regents continues to betray its obligation to defend the interests of Californians by supporting UC’s bureaucracy with too little skepticism.

Orange County Register: Assembly Bill 1250, introduced by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, would effectively prohibit most local governments from contracting out for key services. It’s a union-driven bid to force the hiring of more public employees, complete with their unaffordably high benefit costs.

Los Angeles Times: One odd thing about Donald Trump’s proposal: Cutting aid to public schools to push vouchers would especially harm Trump’s voter base in the heartland. With few private schools, rural states tend to rely heavily on their public schools.

Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ budget would sacrifice low-income students to pump money into her crusades. Lawmakers can – and should – protect programs that have long enjoyed bipartisan support.

Kansas City Star: Kansans should not be endangered for an entire year so a carnival owner can figure out if he or she wants to comply with the law. A toddler in Wichita is dead, killed at a carnival. We don’t want to type those words again.

Chicago Tribune: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is compromised. She is incomplete. She cannot maximize the role of attorney general, as others have across the country, because she, her family, her supporters and her brand are interwoven with the fabric of clout that envelops this state.

Syndicates’ take

Dana Milbank: President Donald Trump hasn’t been treated badly. He has been treated exactly as he deserved, a reaction commensurate with the action. He took on the institution of a free press – and it fought back.

Nicholas Kristof: Donald Trump’s women’s health policies worsen a preventable cancer. Netherlands, Canada, Sweden and other countries are providing more money for women’s health to try to make up for what Trump is doing.

Frank Bruni: One day “The Art of the Deal” is Donald Trump’s bible; the next, the Bible is his everything, and he’s promoting piety.

Ross Douthat: Donald Trump has sold out his voters to The Establishment.

Gail Collins: The bar is so stupendously low these days that if Donald Trump makes it clear he knows what country he’s in, it’ll be a triumph.

Kathleen Parker: I’m not the only one to tighten the frame around President Donald Trump’s wildly ironic and ambitious foreign odyssey to promote “tolerance.”

E.J. Dionne: Might Pope Francis, a compassionate Jesuit who preaches a God of mercy and the power of humility, engage in a pastoral intervention with President Donald Trump, a man whose soul (like all of our souls) could use some saving?

Ruben Navarrette: Many people are tuning out. They’re not paying attention to political news anymore.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a piece celebrating the rituals of spring many times. But invariably, the notion of some such languid meditation is burned away in the fire of more urgent news.

Timothy Egan: Alma Balter, at age 100, takes in that century of life with a shrug and looks around the table at who’s not going to finish their dessert.

Take on foster care

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday on county-run children’s shelters’ reliance on police to discipline the foster kids they serve. Much of the focus was on the Mary Graham Children’s Shelter outside Stockton, where staff called the San Joaquin sheriff an average of nine times a day.

In 2015 and 2016, children from Mary Graham were booked 199 times at juvenile hall. Supposed crimes at that and other centers included a cake fight, assault with a pack of hot dog buns, and poking a caregiver with a candy cane.

A reporter witnessed two sheriff’s deputies pinning a 10-year-old girl to the ground and forcing her into handcuffs on Mary Graham’s front lawn as a row of children watched from the shelter gate.

“The girl, about 5 feet tall and wearing a red hoodie pulled over her braided hair, cried as deputies put her in the back of a patrol car,” reporters Karen de Sá, Joaquin Palomino and Cynthia Dizikes wrote.

The Chron opined: One simple solution would be to retrain shelter staff in new disciplinary methodologies – and hold them accountable for their results.

We think of the story L.A. entertainment lawyer Miles Cooley told, and about his advocacy for a few million dollars in the $184 billion 2017-18 budget to provide a few more attorneys to represent children in the dependency court system. So far, legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown have not earmarked new money for those lawyers. They should.


“I’m sticking with Trump because I am a conservative, and I don’t want what the liberals want for America.” Joe Phelps, Citrus Heights.

And finally

Jack Ohman observes that Sen. Jerry Hill’s bills and their subject matter, passed and unpassed, are mind-boggling. The question is, what’s left for Hill to legislate? Jack has some ideas.