Opinion

Kamala Harris seeks a bail bill; GOP seeks a tax bill. Westlands seeks more water.

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 notes that the Oroville Dam report is dribbling out. Read how he spills his ink here.

Our take

Editorials

Getting people out of jail. How’s that for a worthy bipartisan cause? Sens. Kamala Harris and Rand Paul have a bill to reform the cash bail system. If passed, it could solve a logjam in California.

Columns

Foon Rhee: A jackpot for the 1 percent, a pittance for the rest of us. President Trump and Republican leaders are angling to give huge tax cuts to wealthy Americans. If they don’t succeed under the guise of fixing health care, they’ll try again and call it tax reform.

Ben Boychuk: One can accept that the climate is changing and disagree over the remedies. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Brown and their climate co-religionists should stop misleading people and stop insisting there is only one answer to climate change.

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: CIA Director Mike Pompeo gave Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his corruption-ridden regime the greatest propaganda ammunition they could possibly hope for.

Op-Eds

Archna Eniasivam and Justine Marcus: With scorching temperatures and threatening brush fires, there’s renewed conversation on heat and health for California residents. But there isn’t enough attention on the health consequences for families who face a power shutoff. We have a public health imperative to protect these people. This is precisely what Senate Bill 598 seeks to do.

California Forum

Sasha Abramsky: Trump’s treatment of immigrants, Muslims and the global community is tanking the nation’s global image. It is a “tragic, shameful and entirely self-destructive swan song to the American Century.”

Donia Bijan: What America gets when it takes in outsiders like me.

Markos Kounalakis: Since 2015, more than a million refugees and migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and other desperate countries have fled to Europe through the Greek island of Lesbos. But so far, the Greeks don’t see the huddled masses as Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin see them – as an existential threat.

Rep. John Garamendi: In the short term, the Affordable Care Act should be shored up. But longer term, the obvious Obamacare replacement has been here all along.

Take a number: 1 million acre-feet

The Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California are allies, though uneasy ones. MWD splits from Westlands on H.R. 23, the bill by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, that Westlands helped draft. The legislation would preempt state water law and open the way for a million more acre-feet of water to be exported to points south annually. Jeff Kightlinger, MWD’s executive director, told The Take that the bill “is not helpful” to the effort to gain approval of the $15.5 billion twin tunnel project to move water across the Delta. He plans to recommend that the MWD board oppose it. “It goes too far on issues like Endangered Species Act,” Kightlinger said. “We want to work within the existing framework.” MWD seems likely to embrace the tunnel project, but needs Westlands to sign on to help pay. Perhaps H.R. 23 is Westlands’ way of saying the tunnels project pencils out, only if it can grab more water.

Their take

Kansas City Star: The Sam Brownback era in Kansas government is coming to an end. President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the Republican governor’s appointment as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. When he does leave, we know this: History will not be kind.

Lexington Herald Leader: Kentucky has again in recent weeks provided evidence to support the wisdom of the Founders of our country and our state in separating religious and secular authority.

Los Angeles Times: People place a tremendous amount of trust in doctors and should be confident it is well placed before putting their bodies and lives on the line. Yet, surprisingly, a bill to extend the life of the California Medical Board was blocked in an Assembly committee this month because it included a provision requiring physicians disciplined for serious violations to notify patients that they are on probation, and why.

Orange County Register: Government isn’t exactly known for its efficiency, and California is no exception to high costs and bloated bureaucracies. Why should it be any different for food stamps?

San Luis Obispo Tribune: Allow us to introduce eight brave members of the California Legislature: The Republicans who had the fortitude to climb out on a shaky political limb by voting to extend California’s controversial cap-and-trade program. For that, they’ve been outed on conservative talk radio; christened the “Crazy 8,” according to Breitbart; and subjected to speculation about what repercussions they may face.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Sen. John McCain, who is being treated for brain cancer, doesn’t need to worry about his health insurance. So, yes, there was some irony in McCain’s remarks to his Senate colleagues Tuesday after returning to Washington to help resuscitate legislation that would make it harder for millions of ordinary Americans to keep their health insurance. But the plainspoken Arizona Republican still was spot on in his remarks about the poisonous political atmosphere that has reduced the Senate to antipathy and inaction.

Syndicates’ take

Charles M. Blow: This man’s vindictiveness and mendacity are undergirded by the unequaled power of the American president, and as such he has graduated on the scale of power from toddler to budding tyrant. This threat Donald Trump poses – to our morals, ethics, norms and collective sense of propriety – may be without equal from a domestic source.

Gail Collins: The way our president gets rid of unwanted members of his administration is a monument to passive-aggressive ineptitude. With Jeff Sessions, Trump has been broadcasting his displeasure to the world for more than a week without making the obvious follow-through.

Michael Gerson: One of the greatest victories of World War II was a mass evacuation. Dunkirk also proved the comparative advantage that democracies have in modern war: the ability of free people to self-organize.

Charles Krauthammer: Rather than calling Jeff Sessions in to either work it out or demand his resignation, President Trump has engaged in a series of deliberate public humiliations. Trump relishes such a cat-and-mouse game and, by playing it so openly, reveals a deeply repellent vindictiveness.

Nicholas Kristof: The patients swamped a county fairground in Virginia for a three-day health extravaganza of free care organized by Remote Area Medical, an aid group that holds these events across the country. This one involved about 1,400 volunteers serving 2,300 men and women who needed care of every kind.

Dana Milbank: Health care legislation languishes without presidential leadership. The Russia sanctions bill, a veto-proof rebuke to the president, seizes a foreign policy function from an unreliable commander in chief. Trump, baffling and alarming allies, goes on the attack against his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. It’s the United States of Anarchy.

Eugene Robinson: The Trump administration is like the court of some accidental monarch who is tragically unsuited for the duties of his throne. However long it persists, we must never allow ourselves to think of the Trump White House as anything but aberrant.

Trudy Rubin: President Trump’s fury is fueled by his grasp of a greater danger. Special counsel Robert Mueller is following a Russian money-laundering trail that could lead to Trump Tower. The president is desperate to drive Jeff Sessions to resign so he can install a flunky who will fire Mueller before his probe bears fruit.

Mailbag

“Now that the cyclists have taken over the sidewalks, where does the city suggest we walkers walk?” – Julia Leissl, Sacramento

And finally,

The California Nurses Association is not letting go of Speaker Anthony Rendon, who incurred the nurses’ wrath by acting responsibly and killing the Senate’s half-backed single payer bill, SB 562. “Why is Rendon holding healthcare hostage?” a nurses union mailer asks. It proceeds to answer the question by pointing out that he has taken campaign donations from opponents of SB 562. That math would be easy. The bill was so ill-conceived that anyone giving it any thought would oppose it.

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