Legislators prepare to gut Board of Eek; Gangs of Sacramento; Greg Gianforte skates

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Jack Ohman reflects on Donald Trump’s cabinet meeting. Go through the looking glass here.

Our take


Legislators’ plan to gut a tax board seems solid. But here’s a cautionary note: Californians should welcome the proposal by Controller Betty Yee, Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators to eviscerate the Board of Equalization. If only there were time to fully vet the proposal.

The Modesto Bee: To hear many local officials talk about it, you’d think those narrow, serrated leaves were made of gold. Mounting unfunded pension costs? Wonder weed will pay the bills. Mental health costs rising? Sell more wonder weed.


Foon Rhee: Could this be the silver bullet to solve Sacramento’s gang problems? The City Council is being asked to approve a $500,000 deal with Advance Peace, a program that promises to cut shootings in half. But it’s not the first time officials have heard pledges to keep teens out of gangs.


Dee Emmert and Daniel Silva: To advance criminal justice reform, in the new Sacramento County budget, supervisors should invest in affordable housing, health care and economic opportunity – not in prisons and punishment.

Assemblyman Jim Gallagher: Gov. Jerry Brown and California Democrats are approaching flood control all wrong.

Take a number: $1.9 billion

One estimate says that U.S. retirement savers lose $17 billion a year, including nearly $1.9 billion in California, because of “conflicted” advice from financial professionals. A version of the “fiduciary rule” took effect last week, requiring advisers to act in their clients’ best interest.

But the rule would be repealed under the sweeping rewrite of the Dodd-Frank law that the Republican-controlled House approved last week. The Economic Policy Institute looked at the states represented by the 40 cosponsors of the Financial CHOICE Act – including Reps. Tom McClintock and Ed Royce of California – and says losses from conflicted advice total $12 billion a year.

Advocacy groups also say the GOP bill would be bad for consumers and could lead to another housing crash, like the one that devastated the Central Valley. The Bee’s editorial board says it would be a huge mistake to get rid of the rules passed after the Wall Street meltdown. Foon Rhee @foonrhee

Their take

San Diego Union Tribune: President Donald Trump’s fiercest opponents are joining the president in defining down what is acceptable in American public life. California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton let delegates at a party convention in a raucous, gleeful chant of “F--- Donald Trump.” Two weeks ago, comedian Kathy Griffin used social media to show a photo of her holding a fake decapitated, bloody Trump head.

San Francisco Chronicle: According to California’s Constitution, Gov. Jerry Brown “shall consult an advisory committee” of 12 people in the selection of the UC Board of Regents. It seems the governor isn’t following this provision of the state Constitution.

Mercury News: Last November, California voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment prohibiting the Legislature from voting on bills before their language has been made public for at least 72 hours. Proposition 54’s intent was crystal clear: to increase government transparency and accountability by giving constituents a chance to see what they’re up to, and perhaps influence them, before they pass a law. But is the Legislature following the voters’ will? Hah.

East Bay Times: Politics sometimes gets personal, but there’s no telling if President Donald Trump was thinking of the majority of people who didn’t vote for him in the West Coast states of California, Oregon and Washington when he made a recent budget decision affecting earthquake warnings.

Syndicates’ take

Eugene Robinson: The failure in Kansas should be a lesson to the GOP. For five years, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback conducted the nation’s most radical exercise in trickle-down economics. It led to crisis and decline. It always does.

Michael Gerson: Sen. Bernie Sanders took vigorous exception to an online post Russell Vought had written claiming that Muslims (and, presumably, others) who “have rejected Jesus Christ” therefore “stand condemned.”

Trudy Rubin: The former FBI director’s blunt use of the L-word, which many politicians and journalists have shied from, did the country a great favor.


“The protesters’ claims that ISIS-style sharia law somehow will be imposed in America is about as credible as a threat of rabid unicorn infestation.” – Douglas Purdy, Roseville

And finally,

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle of Montana reports that Gallatin County Justice Court Judge Rick West ordered newly elected Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Montana, to complete 20 hours of anger management counseling and 40 hours of community service for body-slamming reporter Ben Jacobs, who dared to ask him a question about the Republicans’ American Health Care Act. Gianforte was fined $385 and paid $4,646 in restitution to Jacobs. "I was just doing my job," Jacobs said at the sentencing. "Mr. Gianforte's response was to slam me to the floor and start punching me."

The Billings Gazette opined recently: The Grand Old Party in Montana was indeed having a good time as the rest of the nation seemed stunned that the Treasure State was sending Greg Gianforte to Congress just a little more than 24 hours after he was ticketed for assaulting a reporter. No one seemed worried. Why would the Republicans fret when the consequences of such an action are winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives?

“This isn't economic anxiety or cultural alienation, but seething, hate-filled madness.” – Larry Parsons, @LParsons69, of a Public Policy Polling survey that found that 42 percent of Donald Trump’s voters think it's appropriate for politicians to body slam reporters, compared to 45 percent who think it's inappropriate.