Gov. Jerry Brown, the twin tunnel project’s main proponent, could be forgiven if he walks away from the Delta. He shouldn’t. Whoever replaces Brown as governor after the 2018 election will be less knowledgeable on this slow-motion mess.
Jack Ohman goes to the Rocket Man test range. Duck and cover here.
Foon Rhee: A candidate for lieutenant governor says inmate firefighters are slave labor. Is she right? More than 3,700 state prisoners are helping fight wildfires in California. They get paid an average of $2 a day – $1 an hour while fighting an active fire – and they also earn credits off their sentences. And they save the state some real money – an estimated $100 million a year.
Dan Walters, CalMatters: From all appearances, the California Legislature’s 2017 session was one of the most liberal – or progressive, as liberals prefer to say – in the state’s history. However, despite the overall left-of-center tone to the session that ended last week, the California Chamber of Commerce and other business and employer lobbies did what they have done for nearly two decades: killed all but a few of the measures tagged with the “job killer” epithet.
David Freed: ‘Horrible Bosses 2’? ‘WWE Smackdown!’? No wonder California can’t stand Donald Trump’s administration. It’s full of producers. And from Steve Mnuchin at Treasury to Linda McMahon at SBA, have you seen what they want us to watch?
Andrew Malcolm: Cassini may be gone, but NASA’s Voyager I and II, the space probes launched long before it, are still going strong.
Alastair Mactaggart: Major corporations helped kill an internet privacy bill in the Legislature. But a proposed measure on the 2018 ballot would give the right to know what information companies are collecting and to tell companies not to sell that personal information.
Dave Rodriguez: Hundreds of thousands of electric utility customers are paying more than they should to cover the cost of power purchased for other customers. The Public Utilities Commission has the authority to fix this problem, but it needs to act quickly.
On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter.
Take a number: 0
Republican attorney and initiative writer Tom Hiltachk last week filed an initiative to repeal the 12-cent per gallon gasoline tax to pay for road maintenance. It’s short: “the Legislature shall not impose, increase or extend any tax ... on the sale, storage, use or consumption of motor vehicle gasoline or diesel fuel, or on the privilege of a resident of California to operate on the public highways a vehicle, or trailer coach, unless and until that proposed tax is submitted to the electorate and approved by a majority vote.” On Wednesday, his Sacramento law firm opened a campaign account called Give Voters a Voice. It reports no donations. Yet. Dave Gilliard will be the committee’s consultant. His clients include Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, said to be the wealthiest member of the House.
Kansas City Star: The Category 5 Hurricane known as Graham-Cassidy is a man-made disaster that may yet be avoided. But if you’re asking why even the craziest storm chaser wouldn’t steer clear of the direct hit that this latest health care bill would amount to, well, talk to our own Sen. Jerry Moran, who remains undecided. Or better yet, listen to his fellow Kansas Republican, Sen. Pat Roberts.
Mercury News: The Westlands Water District’s 7-1 vote against helping to pay for Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels project Tuesday should be the death knell for an awful idea that will squander billions without accomplishing the “WaterFix” its name implies.
San Francisco Chronicle: AB1513 is custom made for a union linked to more than $5 million in contributions to legislative candidates in the current cycle alone. And its purpose – to help unions add dues-paying members – is stated plainly in its language. While SEIU is entitled to recruit members, it’s not entitled to the government’s assistance. Brown should veto this bill.
Los Angeles Times: For all the talk in California about leading the world in fighting global warming and resisting President Trump’s climate-denial agenda, the state faces one powerful obstacle that limits its environmental activism: Touch their cars and Californians will revolt.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: What state has the nation’s highest “supplemental” poverty rate? The correct answer is California, where about one family in five is living below the Census Bureau’s supplemental poverty line. A package of bills passed in the final hours of this year’s legislative session should deliver some relief.
E.J. Dionne Jr.: President Donald Trump’s pledge “to totally destroy North Korea” is what you’d expect to hear in a bar conversation from a well-lubricated armchair general. But the most alarming part of his United Nations speech was the utter incoherence of Trump’s “America First” slogan as a grand strategy in the world.
Noah Feldman: The Constitution is passing the Donald Trump test. The independent judiciary is withstanding a series of unprecedented assaults from the executive branch, both symbolic and actual. The separation of powers is forcing the president to tack toward the center if he wants to get legislation passed. And public opinion is slowly but surely pushing Trump to remove the most radical visible members of his administration.
Dana Milbank: A woman has been speaker of the House, another came within a whisker of the presidency and others wield the decisive votes on health-care and other legislation. But recent events make it feel as if we’re in an earlier time, when a woman’s job in politics was simple: sit down and shut up.
Organized labor has lost its compass on AB 1513. Worker organization should not come at the cost of privacy rights. – Phil Bongiorno, Home Care Association of America, Washington, D.C.
Tweet of the day
“What Graham-Cassidy will do to people with pre-existing conditions, an issue long thought untouchable, is simply reprehensible.” – John Weaver @JWGOP, consultant for Sen. John McCain in 2000 and 2008, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.