Weed, water, guns, and Gianforte’s lame apology. Time to take a walk


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.

Ever helpful, Jack Ohman offers advice to Mayor Darrell Steinberg about how he can spend Sacramento’s $20 million surplus. See them here.

Our take


California needs to stop letting farm-water suppliers ignore the law. Most of the water used by people goes to agriculture in California. But most irrigation districts don’t adhere to laws requiring them to track it. That’s unacceptable.

Why not find out if pot can help veterans with PTSD? The American Legion joins the call to allow federal research into marijuana. Under current rules, VA doctors can’t even talk with their patients about pot even though it might help those struggling with post-traumatic stress. On Memorial Day, officials should pledge to change that.

Modesto Bee: Rivers are running furiously fast and cold; trusting your life to a flimsy plastic boat or inner tube is a death wish. Even wading into the rivers – with their incredible currents working below a calm surface – can be taking a terrible risk.

Fresno Bee: Fresno State graduated a record 5,648 students this month – a 23 percent increase since 2013. And while the graduation rates for four years (15.5 percent), five years (41.7 percent) and six years (56.5 percent) aren’t where university President Joseph Castro wants them to be, all are heading up. The university’s goal is to have a 70 percent six-year graduation rate by 2025.


Dan Morain: For the gun industry, Dr. Garen Wintemute may be the most dangerous scientist in America, more so starting on July 1.

Marcos Breton: Sacramento Kings fans: Robert Horry ripped your heart out 15 years ago and he’s not sorry.

Dan Walters: California courts do poorly in competition for funds. Pleas for foster child legal aid underscore the difficulty that California’s courts face in competing for slices of the state budget.


Tom Dresslar: The Capitol will reflect back to you the Californian at your core. It will reveal itself as a monument to all the men, women and families, all the sacrifices and tragedies and triumphs that built America’s greatest frontier.

Susan Sward: Candidate Donald Trump won 62.9 million votes largely by assuring those who felt forgotten by government that he would be the hero who saved them. Yet …

David Beier and Andrew Sullivan: There is no one in U.S. politics today who has spent more time grappling with the complexity of governing than Jerry Brown. President Donald Trump should study Brown’s leadership.

Norris Burkes: A Memorial Day story: “Four chaplains. Two faiths. One God.” It is said that in the light of the fiery oil of the sinking ship, the four chaplains were seen standing arm in arm on the ship’s keel, leading an interfaith service.

Allison Jaslow: The most recent proposal in Congress would have troops pay $100 a month upfront for two years for their GI Bill. I believe it’s unfair and unjust.

Stephanie Taylor: San Juan Bautista boasts of 30 historic structures and an eclectic array of period facades, including original adobes.

Their take

Ellen V. Sigal, Stat: At best, President Donald Trump’s proposed budget suggests that the White House doesn’t understand how the NIH and the FDA function. At worst, it suggests a disregard for the millions of patients who are desperate for the scientific innovations.

Kansas City Star: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City announced that it is pulling out of the Affordable Care Act exchange next year. Congressional Republicans insist that they don’t want insurance markets here or anywhere else to fail. But their party has done everything in its power to encourage that outcome.

Charlotte Observer: Republicans are working to sabotage the Affordable Care Act – even if that means hurting their constituents back home. Americans overwhelmingly want to keep Obamacare or the core benefits it offers. North Carolinians should say so again if Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have the courage to listen to them at town halls during the upcoming Senate recess.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Dozens of communities have banned outdoor growing in residential areas while others have prohibited commercial operations. Many have done both. But not Santa Rosa. It has has rolled out the red carpet for this burgeoning industry.

San Francisco Chronicle: Tucked inside Gov. Jerry Brown’s freshly revised budget proposal is a bit of creative finance intended to shore up the ailing public employees retirement fund with a $6 billion loan and, if all goes well, save the state $11 billion. The caveat is, of course, if all goes well.

Lexington Herald Leader: Kudos to Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover for assigning a bipartisan group of lawmakers to shed light on a topic that Gov. Matt Bevin has put center stage: foster care and adoption. There’s no cheap fix.

Miami Herald: Florida Gov. Rick Scott affirmed just how important the River of Grass is to Florida and signed a bill that will lead to the creation of a desperately needed reservoir that will store billions of gallons of water and redirect it south to replenish the Everglades.

Syndicates’ take

Nicholas Kristof: More than 167,000 young people age 17 and under married in 38 states between 2000 and 2010. State legislatures must confront child marriages in America.

Ruben Navarrette: Donald Trump didn’t divide America. This country was split long before the real estate mogul began a second career as a politician. He merely exploited those fault lines for his own benefit.

David Leonhardt: The United States is investing less in college education, as the globalized, digital economy has made that education more important than ever.

Maureen Dowd: Because of Donald Trump, Republicans adjust their standards, putting loyalty above all else. Trump is a caricature of strength, failing to to understand he comes across as weakness and boorishness.

Frank Bruni: Body language tells the story of Donald Trump’s foreign adventure better than his words.

Ross Douthat: Donald Trump’s character flaws and judicial activism could lead to a constitutional clash between the president and the courts.

E.J. Dionne: It is fitting that we honor the 100th anniversary of JFK’s birth on Memorial Day, which salutes those who died for their country. John Kennedy and his moment in history were shaped by the experiences of the Greatest Generation of which he was a part.

Paul Krugman: There is a unifying theme to Trump’s budget fraudulence and devastating assessment of Trumpcare – President Donald Trump’s contempt for the voters who put him in office.

David Brooks: American confidence is in tatters and we live in a secular culture. As a result, we’re suffering through a national identity crisis.

Takes on Gianforte

Missoula Missoulian: Greg Gianforte’s seven-point margin of victory doesn’t erase the Bozeman Republican’s actions. The apology doesn’t square the deal.

Mona Charen, National Review: The first question you have to wonder about concerning the assault and battery allegedly committed by Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte is: How could he possibly have put out a miserable, lying cover story when there were at least four witnesses in the room? The second question is: Do you regret early voting yet?

Gail Collins: What’s wrong with body-slamming a reporter? Montana gives its sole House seat to Greg Gianforte, a Donald Trump supporter who assaulted a reporter for asking a question.

Kathleen Parker: While President Donald Trump’s reflexive rudeness as he bulldozed past the Montenegro prime minister was merely embarrassing, Greg Gianforte’s attack was frightening. Both actions, however, flow from the same spout – our ever-coarsening culture and partisan hostility.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: The Republican candidate’s alleged assault is the latest addition to a growing body of evidence suggesting right-wing intolerance is not simply for inconvenient facts but also for impertinent questions.

Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg View: Republicans are responsible for birthing Greg Gianforte. Donald Trump is the elephant in the room. Republican leaders forced their own party into an impossible choice.

And finally,

Jack Ohman: An unusually chirpy Uber driver in Portland, Ore., told me the other day he had majored in French, although he didn’t have much use for it.