Sen. Tony Mendoza invited a young woman seeking a job to his home. What was he thinking? Whether donors continue to pay tribute to Mendoza depends on how Kevin de León and the California Democratic Party respond. If Mendoza persists in running for reelection, we do hope voters give his résumé an extra close look.
The good news is, Jerry Brown has the world’s attention on climate. The bad news? There’s no time to lose. Global warming is an existential threat, most of which can be blamed on humans. This was clear even before this year of record hurricanes, record floods, record heat and record wildfires.
Welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter, pulled together by The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board. Please sign up for it here and invite your friends.
Dan Morain: Seven ways the Republican tax plan will hurt Californians, especially veterans in need: As often happens in Washington, the simple has become tangled. A corporate and middle class tax cut has morphed into a gift basket for the rich, paid for by the rest of us, especially those of us who live in California. House Republicans from the Golden State should think twice before voting for the tax package, at our expense.
Dan Walters: Three recent and seemingly discrete events neatly frame California’s political and legal war over whether the state’s six million K-12 students are being adequately educated. The conflict pits the state’s education establishment against a coalition of civil rights groups, education reformers and charter school advocates over the “achievement gap” that separates poor children, particularly Latinos and African Americans, from more privileged white and Asian students.
Jack Ohman goes to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s town hall meeting. Get a ticket here.
Nav Gill and Don Nottoli: Sacramento County is serious about the homeless. We are investing in solutions and collaborating with cities – and have not been hoarding state mental health money.
Take a number: $12,000
Las Vegas businessman and Democratic donor Stephen Cloobeck, an aspiring billionaire, appeared on MSNBC last week to harangue Democratic leaders for haranguing billionaires.
Cloobeck, who has been mentioned as a candidate for governor of Nevada, told host Stephanie Ruhle that he told Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: “If you use the term billionaires again, I’m done.” Becoming a billionaire is “aspirational,” he said. Democrats, he said, should be the “party of aspiration.” Although he hates the Republican tax bill, Cloobeck said Democrats have gone so far left that “it drives me nuts.”
“I’ve made it clear I’ll cut the money off and others will do the same,” he said of his giving, which included $1 million to a pro-Hillary Clinton campaign committee, and $400,000 to the victims of Las Vegas massacre.
Speaking of aspirations, Cloobeck gave $56,400 to Antonio Villaraigosa’s gubernatorial campaign in December 2016, after he had given $26,000 to Gavin Newsom in past years. Newsom got Cloobeck back into his fold on Sept. 27 when Cloobeck gave him a $12,000 donation.
Los Angeles Times: Foes of media consolidation have been calling on the federal government for years to take a tougher line on mergers and stop popular TV, film and video studios from being concentrated into so few hands. Perhaps the Trump administration will be their champion. But thanks to the Meddler in Chief, who can’t seem to abide the notion of an independent Justice Department, we fear the administration’s concern about consolidation extends to just one cable news channel.
San Diego Union-Tribune: The Sacramento Bee’s report that several unnamed sources alleged that state Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, invited a 23-year-old legislative fellow on his staff who was seeking a full-time job to his home in a Sacramento suburb this summer “to review resumes” and to stay overnight in his hotel room is, if true, appalling. But it’s sadly unsurprising given the harassment-rich culture in the Capitol detailed in a letter signed last month by 147 women.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: In the aftermath of the massacre at a Texas church, President Donald Trump said the shooting, which left 26 people dead, “isn’t a guns situation” but rather “a mental health problem.” It was, in fact, both. Both disqualified him from owning firearms. Clearly, the system failed.
Philadelphia Inquirer: If President Donald Trump really believes the massacre of more than two dozen children and adults at a Texas church was the result of “a mental health problem at the highest level,” then why isn’t he doing something about it? Instead, he’s riding shotgun for the NRA. He must have forgotten he’s the one who rescinded an Obama administration rule that prevented persons with a mental health diagnoses from buying guns.
Miami Herald: Are the Trump administration’s new, stricter rules on travel and trade with Cuba a return to the past? The Cold War days. Likely. Is that a shame? Well, yes and no. The new regulations announced Wednesday cancel any direct U.S. financial transactions with 180 entities tied to the Cuban military and intelligence and security services. We can’t argue with the soundness of that move. It’s possible this correction of the flow of money from the U.S. to the Castro regime was needed.
Frank Bruni: Alabama State Auditor Jay Zeigler’s twisted interpretation of the story of Mary and Joseph. What, then, of the Three Wise Men?
Ross Douthat: Cultural conservatism has its own distinctive swine: Why do worldly impulses make otherwise decent people into defenders of the indefensible?
Nicholas Kristof: If you find yourself excusing child molestation, you are driven not by morality or faith, but by the emptiest kind of tribalism.
David Brooks: Historically, Democrats win the cities, Republicans win the rural areas and the battlegrounds are in the suburbs. But we’re living in an age of global populism and the old political divides are being replaced, and political geographies are being redrawn.
Timothy Egan: The big problem with Vice President Mike Pence is the vast empty space between his ears and the articulation of thoughts formed in that space. His biblical bromides make Ned Flanders of “The Simpsons” sound like Voltaire.
Ruben Navarrette Jr.: Living as a Latino in the Trump era is surreal. You would think that a demographic group that holds most of the wealth, runs Wall Street, controls Hollywood, shapes academia, drives media and dominates politics would be more secure. But apparently white people scare easy. And many of them seem intent on creating an America that is scary for Latinos.
Leonard Pitts Jr.: The Republican Party was thoroughly rebuked in last week’s election, and no party in modern history has ever deserved rebuking more. Nor has any party leader ever deserved spanking more than Donald Trump, the boy president whose backside voters decisively, if tacitly, paddled.
Tweets of the weekend
“Thank you to those who have reached out to lend your support. It means a lot more than you know. I felt I had to tell my story because as I read about the other young woman who had a similar experience, I wanted her to know that she was not alone.” Jen Kwart, @jenkwart
“Steyer impeachment ads seem to me more of a vanity project than a call to action. It is-at least this point-an unhelpful message. If impeachment becomes a political tool, it will be as damaging to our democracy as the degradations @realDonaldTrump has inflicted on it.” David Axelrod, @davidaxelrod
“Unhelpful to whom, David? Millions of Americans strongly disagree. 78% of Democratic primary voters support impeachment.” Tom Steyer, @TomSteyer