Invasions of privacy, San Francisco’s plan for wi-fi, Prop. 13 unfairness, and Trump

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 says that Gov. Jerry Brown sometimes gets lost in translation. Translate his cartoon here.

Our take


People are going broke working in California’s gig economy. This will help: A deal to expand the earned income tax credit to self-employed Californians is a wise move – both for workers and Silicon Valley.

We Californians have a right to privacy. But what does it mean in the digital age?: The right to be left alone is gone, so long as we remain connected. It has happened over the years, byte by byte, bit by bit.


Dan Morain: Any little girl would love a My Friend Cayla doll. It has wavy blond hair, a cute French braid, big blue eyes and impossibly long lashes. So sweet. And it talks, though not with one of those pull strings of yesteryear. This darling piece of plastic is Bluetooth-enabled, and it can be hacked.

Julie Sze: The Transportation Security Administration has started asking travelers at Sacramento International Airport to produce food and reading materials for inspection.

Joe Mathews: My online time is now given over to companies experimenting on me to get me to make choices revealing which variables will change my behavior online. I’m a dystopian lab rat forced to design the maze – and the reward – that will entrap me.


Ben Tulchin and Ben Krompak: Democratic leaders in Congress have yet to endorse Medicare for All. But polls show burgeoning grass-roots and political support could make it the de facto Democratic replacement for Obamacare anyway, with or without the party leadership.

Erica L. Rosenthal: “The Handmaid’s Tale” ends its first season to rave reviews June 14 on Hulu. But liberals are wrong if they think Hollywood’s dramatization of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian tale of misogyny and totalitarianism will change minds in red states.

Sen. Ed Hernandez: The price of insulin has risen 450 percent in the last two decades and drugmakers won’t say why. A bill would force Big Pharma to reveal the true cost.

Take a number: 203

Per 100,000 people, California’s jail incarceration rate was on the high end among states in 2013. In the latest Numbers Crunch, Foon Rhee asks whether a sweeping bail reform bill that is teetering in the Legislature is the key to reducing pretrial detentions in local jails. Those are the main driver for rising local jail numbers, even as populations in state and federal prisons decline.

Their take

Lexington Herald Leader: In an era when the U.S. Supreme Court has decreed that money is speech and corporations are people, the federal courts keep killing anti-corruption laws. Kentucky lawmakers put themselves under one of the toughest legislative ethics laws in the country — a law that will be gutted if a ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman is allowed to stand. Wags may say legislative ethics is an oxymoron. But this case matters.

San Luis Obispo Tribune: Sorry, millennials. When you buy your first home, you’ll be hit with a triple whammy in California. Proposition 13 remains unfair in so many ways.

San Diego Union Tribune: Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang and just about every California leader of note have been mostly content with an education status quo built on mid-20th century values. This needs to change. Education is the foundation on which successful lives are built. It’s time this foundation had a better design. The U-T has a point here.

San Francisco Chronicle: A San Francisco lawmaker wants to take the challenging next step of spreading an online canopy across the city with municipal service. The proposal from Supervisor Mark Farrell is loaded with potential. Come on, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. You can do this, too.

Mercury News: Theresa May’s ideas for fighting global terrorism after the latest attack in Britain are still reverberating, and for Americans and their technology industry, they touch a political third rail: online freedom. Our view.

Tampa Bay Times: The latest advancement in irritating telemarketing schemes has arrived: ringless voicemails. It’s a phone call without any expectation you will pick up – open your phone and magically find a new voice message without having your cell ring once. The Federal Communications Commission ought to stand up for consumers, find that a call without a ring is still a call, and reject this intrusion. See our columns and editorial this day on privacy.

Las Vegas Sun: Overall, Gov. Brian Sandoval has been an extraordinary leader. It’s well worth mentioning that despite his loss this year on Education Savings Accounts, he scored victories on a number of fronts this session, including tax and labor issues on which he clashed with the Democrats.

Fresno Bee: President Donald Trump is an expert in many aspects of business: real estate, construction, golf-course management, licensing and reality shows. He has yet to show us he has the slightest clue about leading the greatest country in the world.

Miami Herald: Not since Richard Nixon has a president’s veracity been so blatantly and publicly questioned: At least three times, former FBI Director James Comey implied that he feared the president would lie, and he told the Senate Intelligence Committee in no uncertain terms.

Charlotte Observer: The former head of the FBI told the American public Thursday that the president of the United States is so untrustworthy he felt compelled to document encounters with him, something he did not do while working in the Bush or Obama administrations.

Syndicates’ take

Leonard Pitts Jr.: The GOP asks us to put their party above our country, to grade this presidency on a curve like you would a poor student who was trying real hard. But President Donald Trump has failed.

Maureen Dowd: James Comey and Donald Trump: The G-man vs. the mob boss. Republicans would be calling for the head of a Democratic president who had done what Trump has done. They would be going nuts trying to impeach him.

Nicholas Kristof: In Paul Ryan’s district, Planned Parenthood patients feared unwanted pregnancy, gonorrhea, breast cancer, and can’t understand why he is trying to close clinics that keep them healthy.

Kathleen Parker: In his meeting with the president, James Comey’s mind was frantically trying to assess the situation and wondering Lordy, why didn’t I wear a wire?

Gail Collins: Donald Trump appears to be unnervingly loony. Not just in the normal political way, with bad judgment or an overblown sense of importance.

Ross Douthat: What Donald Trump’s “leadership” means for the Middle East. Recent decades have seen fewer major wars, fewer combat deaths and many fewer interstate conflicts than in a multipolar, pre-Pax Americana age. But it won’t inevitably last.

Timothy Egan: What exactly did the president of the United States mean, the last time he spoke to the director of the FBI, when he talked about “that thing” they had between them?

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Britain’s election was the revenge of the young, whose voices go unheard because their turnout is usually low. They taught a lesson to their counterparts around the world: Voting confers power.

Dana Milbank: The most chilling line of James Comey’s testimony: “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document.”

David Brooks: Donald Trump was, as always, thinking about himself. James Comey had told Trump three times that he was not under investigation. Trump wanted Comey to repeat that fact publicly. When Comey didn’t, Trump took it as a sign that Comey was disloyal.

Paul Krugman: Think, for a minute, of just how much damage President Donald Trump has done on multiple fronts in just five months.


Winston Hickox’s letter continues the pattern of those who stand to gain financially defending the disastrous Cadiz water extraction project.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein