Opinion

A new Sac bridge, perhaps + Recalling Lee Harvey Oswald’s control agent + Legalizing prostitution, maybe

Our take

Editorials

The new Sacramento River bridge is a big opportunity. Let’s not blow it. Linking the downtown railyard and the Bridge District in West Sacramento, the planned span could accelerate riverfront development. It could set a local standard as a safe and inviting route for pedestrians and bicyclists. And just maybe, it could make an iconic architectural statement. But it has to be designed right.

Jack Ohman peeks into the JFK assassination files with Donald Trump. Find out whodunnit here.

Columns

Markos Kounalakis, McClatchy D.C.: Donald Trump taps JFK files to distract from the file Robert Mueller is building. I met Lee Harvey Oswald’s Soviet control agent. It is a story that is buried in my notebooks, but memorable.

Erwin Chemerinsky: Why laws against prostitution are unconstitutional: In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court barred states from making a moral judgment that homosexual activity was wrong. By extension, laws prohibiting sex work are unconstitutional.

Karin Klein: Some believe most students must start working with a private college admissions coach by sophomore year of high school if they want to get into the Ivy League. But what if building a theme for admissions officers puts blinders on and prevents students from finding their true calling?

Dan Walters, CalMatters: Sunday’s initial quasi-debate among the four declared Democratic candidates for governor strongly indicated that access to medical care may be a dominant campaign issue. However, it also strongly indicated that voters will likely see more sloganeering on the issue than reality-based prescriptions. That would be unfortunate, because it’s an issue that potentially affects not only the well-being of 39 million Californians but the state’s largest single economic activity.

Op-eds

Jay Schenirer: Teachers and parents are often pitted against each other in a blame spiral for our failing schools. It turns out that mutual accountability, trust and a changed learning environment leads to real gains in test scores, as well as improvements in attendance and behavior.

On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Take a number: 64 percent

A record percentage of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana. And the 64 percent support includes a majority of Republicans, as well as Democrats and independents, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday. Interestingly, Gallup says the growing support tracks that for gay marriage as America becomes more liberal on social issues.

Last November, about 57 percent of California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized recreational pot and which advocates who trumpeted the new poll call the biggest victory yet for legalization. Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, recently introduced federal legislation modeled on Prop. 64.

But we wonder how support for legalization might change next year as commercial pot rolls out and real-life problems arise. There are many, many unresolved issues, including driving while high, the impact on neighborhoods, enforcement of regulations, tax collection and the continuation of an illegal black market. Foon Rhee, @foonrhee

Their take

Raleigh News & Observer: Steve Bannon’s aides are said to be backing Charlotte preacher the Rev. Mark Harris against incumbent GOP Rep. Robert Pittenger in the Republican primary of 2018. This, despite Pittenger’s bona fides as a right-wing Republican. But in Bannonworld, which is next door to Trumpworld, loyalty means 100 percent, down-the-line, lockstep agreement.

San Francisco Chronicle: The state’s judges push to end the cash-bail system. California judges from the top down want a better bail system, one based on public safety, not a defendant’s wallet. That sentiment should be a major step in moving to a fairer system.

Los Angeles Times: For a few days after the Las Vegas sniper attack, it seemed as if Congress might actually move to ban the device known as the “bump stock,” which the gunman used to convert his semiautomatic rifles into, essentially, machine guns that could fire 90 shots in 10 seconds into a crowded music festival. That moment – like so many before it – seems to have passed. So what gun policy measure are lawmakers discussing in Congress these days? An absurd yet dangerous proposal that would drastically undercut states’ abilities to set reasonable rules about who gets to carry a weapon.

The Mercury News: Steve Bannon gave a hell of a speech Friday. It was all about winning, how winning begets winning, how there is a way for the California Republican Party to yet prevail in this oh-so-blue state. It was about the scourge of Bay Area liberalism and, by name, of Silicon Valley. But can what works for Donald Trump in the South and the Rust Belt really carry them back into power in the Golden State? More to the point – is that the party they want to be?

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Bob Corker. John McCain. Jeff Flake. The list of Republican senators who can no longer countenance the antics of President Donald Trump keeps growing. This isn’t “fake news,” a “wacky congresswoman” or protests from California liberals. These are unequivocally conservative members of the president’s own party who are no longer willing to sit idly by as Trump feuds with Gold Star families, shreds international agreements, undercuts his own Cabinet and generally degrades the office and, by extension, the nation.

Kansas City Star: Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has held elective office for less than a year. He is young, and he has shown a natural talent for politics and communication. There will be plenty of time for other races for other offices, if he chooses to pursue them. Today, though, he’s Missouri’s governor. He should worry about that job, and let the White House take care of itself.

Syndicates’ take

E.J. Dionne Jr.: While it’s important that Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker spoke out, they have chosen not to run for re-election because they know that their views are out of line with those of the GOP’s electorate. And the Republican congressional leadership, far from embracing Flake and Corker, moved immediately to sidestep any challenges to their “complicity.”

Ross Douthat: There is a small but significant Republican opposition to President Trump, but its leading figures still don’t want to go to war with him directly, preferring philosophical attacks and tactical withdrawal to confrontation and probable defeat.

Nicholas Kristof: Men can be more than passive observers to address the problem of sexual harassment, and a start is surely to be better at listening. So I asked some smart, strong women how men can become part of the solution.

Dana Milbank: Under the Trump administration, federal Washington has ceased to function. It would be much more productive if it were turned over to Amazon for its new second headquarters.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: The truth needs all the help it can get in an era where untruth spews from the highest levels of American governance with a brazenness and frequency never seen before. Still, there’s something a little rich in the fact that CNN’s new ad on Facebook was produced by a network known for shows where pundits in boxes yell half-truths over one another.

Mailbag

“The best thing that came from Bush’s presidency was making America receptive to Obama.” – Doug Haight, Fair Oaks

Tweet of the day

“My meeting with the Republican Senators was a love fest. Not since Caesar met with his Senate have things gone so smoothly. Believe me.” – Rep. Adam Schiff, @RepAdamSchiff

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