Too often, politicians ride roughshod over voters – because they can

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 the GOP Senate is operating in the dark. See his cutting, incisive cartoon here.

Our take


Politicians do what they can to hold power. That doesn’t make it right: From Sacramento to D.C., politicians do what it takes to maintain their control. So we offer this pox on both parties.


Foon Rhee: An idea to build unity spreads from Sacramento across America. Thursday night, Habitat for Humanity dedicates the first two unity houses, side by side in North Sacramento. The Build for Unity message has started projects in a dozen cities.


Lauren Gambill: Behind closed doors, U.S. senators are working on their version of the American Health Care Act to replace the Affordable Care Act. Based on what we know, we can expect staggering cuts to Medicaid. My patients are children. The proposed cuts will directly harm them.

John Chiang: CalPERS should lead by encouraging its business partners to not interfere as their employees determine whether union representation is necessary to combat wage theft, unsafe working conditions or low pay that makes workers depend on public assistance.

Take a number: 71

Wealthier communities around the nation have sought to secede from school districts, and of the 71 that have tried since 2000, 49 have succeeded, according to a study out Wednesday. Nine are actively seeking secession now, including Malibu, which is trying to separate itself from a district it shares with Santa Monica, and parts of Concord and Walnut Creek, which are trying to divorce from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. They’re not likely to succeed given the legal hurdles in California, the study says; Carson and the San Fernando Valley failed to secede from Los Angeles Unified. But EdBuild, an education advocacy group, calls this trend a new form of school segregation that worsens inequality in the public schools. There’s already an intense debate over public charter schools; this is a lesser-known front. Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Their take

Miami Herald: Florida Democratic Party chairman Stephen Bittel muttered: “They’re like children, these black lawmakers. They just don’t get it. I raised more money in this amount of time than they ever could.” Infantilizing what was a reliable base as childish and emotional is not a winning message. Candidates who don’t reflect the reality of the state’s diversity won’t help. African American support for Florida Gov. Rick Scott doubled when he sought a second term.

Kansas City Star: The more than 2,600 athletes who played for the segregated teams of the Negro Leagues probably never could have imagined this moment: the day when Major League Baseball would make a lasting commitment to the museum in Kansas City dedicated to honoring those players.

San Diego Union Tribune: Jessica Calefati’s comprehensive investigation for CALmatters details how a much-ballyhooed 2013 education reform measure hasn’t panned out. The state Department of Education said that the piece “makes sweeping generalizations based on narrow metrics.” But it actually makes a powerful case that the Local Control Funding Formula – which has funneled $31 billion to schools with relatively more English-language learners, students from poor families and foster children – has failed to close the academic gap between these students and others with more advantageous backgrounds.

East Bay Times: Patients deserve to know when their doctors are on probation, one misstep away from losing their licenses to practice medicine. Credit the state Senate with finally pushing for transparency. Even the California Medical Board, the regulatory agency led by doctors, has begun to recognize this is a legitimate issue. But the California Medical Association? Nope.

Orange County Register: Donald Trump was not elected president to renew crackdowns on marijuana in states that have legalized it for medicinal or recreational purposes. Last week, it was revealed that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a private letter to congressional leaders dated May 1 asking them to lift the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the Justice Department from meddling with state medical marijuana laws.

David French, National Review: As news of Otto Warmbier’s sad and tragic death spread across the Web, a number of people on Twitter recalled and reposted a series of leftist hot takes on Warmbier’s initial arrest and imprisonment. Let’s just say that they did not age well.

Syndicates’ take

David Brooks: There may be a giant revelation still to come. But as the Trump-Russia story has evolved, it is striking how little evidence there is that any underlying crime occurred – that there was any actual collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russians.

Kathleen Parker: What rules apply when a teenager allegedly persuades her boyfriend to kill himself? Aren’t we free to say whatever we choose in a private conversation with another person?

Leonard Pitts Jr.: The outraged crowd dragged him from the van, punching and kicking him. They might have killed him, but then Imam Mohammed Mahmoud of the Muslim Welfare House put himself between the mob and the man.


Martins Beach and unfettered capitalism – Carol Kennedy, Sacramento