Trump confronts Afghanistan complexities + Sacramento seeks business + Chad Mayes hangs on

Jack Ohman views the other astronomical event of the week. Put on your special Steve Bannon viewing glasses here.

Our take


Trump’s path forward keeps U.S. stuck in Afghanistan quagmire: The president approves the Pentagon’s request for 4,000 more troops. But he doesn’t outline a clear strategy to finally end the U.S. mission in a war-torn country where we have expended immense amounts of blood and treasure already.


Foon Rhee: Is Sacramento’s industry hunter starting to hit the target? The Greater Sacramento Economic Council just announced its biggest win, and CEO Barry Broome says more announcements are on the way. Besides luring Silicon Valley companies, he says Sacramento can be a next-generation automotive research and manufacturing hub.

Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald: During a week when most Republican leaders were happy not be seen with Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott had lunch with the president at his New Jersey golf course. This, as neo-Nazis, white supremacists and drooling bigots all over America were online celebrating Trump’s breezy lack of outrage following the death and violence in Charlottesville.

Dan Walters, CalMatters: The Josh Newman recall drive is one of those petty, self-serving political exercises that feed the public’s cynicism. All of those involved – save, perhaps, Newman himself – should be ashamed of themselves for wasting the public’s time and money.


Jamie Court: A confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Gov. Jerry Brown’s top aide on oil and gas to the Public Utilities Commission gives the state Senate an opportunity to set the record straight on Aliso Canyon and the Achilles heel of the Brown administration.

Kevin Duncan: California needs to build a lot more housing. But to do that, it needs enough workers with the skills to do so safely and correctly. Prevailing wage standards, which function as a local minimum wage for skilled construction work, can improve the industry’s competitiveness in increasingly tight labor markets.

Take a number: 1250

The California Department of Finance rarely smacks down a bill as thoroughly as it did to L.A. Democratic Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer’s Assembly Bill 1250 on Monday. That’s the bill pushed by Service Employees International Union to restrict 56 of the 58 counties from contracting out many services. The other two, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties, had the clout to have themselves exempted from this turkey. “This bill makes a sweeping change – potentially affecting hundreds of contracts – when the extent of the problem is unknown,” said finance’s letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which, we hope, will be its final resting place. We go back and forth on the question of which bill is the session’s most naked power play: AB 1250 or AB 1513 by Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose. That’s the bill, also pushed by SEIU, to strip workers of basic privacy rights, in the name of helping them. We’ll keep watch of this terrible twosome in the final weeks of the legislative session.

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Their take

East Bay Times: Now that there’s a list of projects vying for the $2.7 billion in Proposition 1 money dedicated to water storage, you’d think the chances of the proposed Sites Reservoir in Colusa County getting some of that cash would be clearer. Not so.

San Francisco Chronicle: California Republicans’ attempted recall of a recently elected state senator might have marked a new low in abuse of the system for political gain. But Democrats refused to be beat to the bottom.

Kansas City Star: Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal has to go. The Democrat from University City must do the right thing and resign her office immediately for her incendiary Facebook post expressing hope that President Donald Trump would be assassinated.

St. Louis Post Dispatch: State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, issued a full-throated apology Sunday to President Donald Trump and his family for posting on Facebook that she hopes he’ll be assassinated. There are times when unequivocal contrition should be enough to clear the air and move on. This, sadly, is not one of those times.

Lexington Herald Leader: In a week when debate about race, history and free speech seemed doomed to end in vitriol or violence, Lexington gave the nation a welcome lesson in civility.

Syndicates’ take

Charles M. Blow: America doesn’t have a president. America has a man in the White House holding the spot, and wreaking havoc as he waits for the day when a real president arrives to replace him.

Michael Gerson: ‘America First’ is a gathering moral and strategic disaster. President Trump’s renunciation of foreign policy idealism means delighted dictators, bolder attacks on a free press, expanded Russian influence and betrayed dissidents and exiles.

Paul Krugman: President Trump’s agenda, such as it is, amounts to reverse Robin Hood with extra racism – the conventional Republican strategy of taking from struggling families to give to the rich, while distracting lower-income whites by attacking Those People, with the only difference being just how blatantly he plays the race card.

Eugene Robinson: We don’t know how to even begin inquiring into a president’s mental health, so we rationalize aberrant behavior as being part of some subtle strategy. We say that Trump is cleverly playing to his base, or employing the “madman theory” of foreign relations.

Trudy Rubin: President Trump would be bonkers to use mercenaries in Afghanistan. This dangerous idea is being pushed by Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, a U.S. contracting firm whose private security hirelings famously shot up civilians in Baghdad.


“Bringing a park to reality requires hours of work plus coalition building, satisfying property owners, meeting environmental requirements, and communicating a vision. Johnson did that and we Californians are beneficiaries.” – Jack Hailey, Fair Oaks

Take a breath

Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley beat back an effort to dump him as Assembly leader on Monday, and Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, the Lake Elsinore Republican who may be aiming to dump Mayes, remains relegated to her two-room fifth floor office. For now. Alexei Koseff, our reporter on the Assembly, reported there’s another vote on the Mayes matter next week. The Take dropped by Melendez’s digs hoping to find her. She was gone but her chief of staff Sam Spencer gave us the tour. It didn’t take long. We couldn’t help but notice the photo of Melendez with President Trump, and a clothe draped over a chair with the words: “They say God only gives you want you can handle. Apparently, God thinks I’m a badass.”