How badly messed up are Sacramento’s parking meters? No one wants to get a parking ticket, especially when it’s not your fault. City Hall needs to get to the bottom of a troubling spike in bogus tickets for expired meters.
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Allan Zaremberg: Another holiday season, another delay at the airport. Take air traffic control away from the FAA. The AIRR Act, now pending in Congress, would structure air traffic control more like a business and aid California’s economy.
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi: Republicans want to privatize air traffic control and let airlines run it. It’s a terrible deal for Americans. The AIRR Act, pushed by the GOP, is a holiday gift to lobbyists for airlines, and if it fails, taxpayers will foot the bill.
David Freed: Privatizing air traffic control now would be flying blind, writes a pilot. The FAA may be bureaucratic, but it’s in the midst of a 10-year modernization. Why experiment with air safety now?
Jack Ohman goes to Europe to hear Gov. Jerry Brown’s beat poetry. Dig it here, Daddio.
Marcos Breton: Should Sacramento be paying a Fortune 500 company millions to bring jobs here?
Joe Mathews, Zócalo Public Square: The new Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles and soon-to-open Salesforce Tower in San Francisco are the two tallest skyscrapers west of the Mississippi. But considered together, they make a more earthbound point about the state of California’s imagination. These competent corporate buildings are ultimately about branding.
Dan Walters, CalMatters: There’s much political complaining in California these days over congressional plans to overhaul the nation’s tax system in a way that would cost many Californians, particularly those in high tax brackets, more money. However, one should point out that California itself does much the same thing for the same supposed reasons through a variety of corporate tax loopholes.
Brian Gray, Leon Szeptycki and Buzz Thompson: The way California manages water for environmental purposes isn’t working for anyone. We propose an approach that integrates environmental uses into the existing water rights system. The goals of this reform are to increase efficiency and flexibility and enhance certainty for all water users.
Take a number: 788,317
The Oceanic Conservancy issued preliminary data about the beach clean-up, prompting The Mercury News and LA Times to laud Californians for approving the ban on plastic grocery bags. They, like The Sacramento Bee, endorsed the bag ban on the 2016 ballot. Indeed, the number of the flimsy bags declined in the 2017 beach clean-up, based on the report, to 11,867, plus another 12,745 other plastic bags, for a total of 24,607. That still seems like a lot of plastic bags to us. But it’s evidently down from 2010 when the beach clean-up project reported gathering 65,736 plastic grocery bags. The overall number of pieces of garbage fell to 788,317 from 886,147 in 2010, the report claims. But the 2017 number reflects an increase from 2016 when there were 716,872 items of garbage collected. On to all those fast food containers, candy wrappers and plastic bottles.
Al.com: All major Alabama newspapers urge voters to reject Roy Moore: The seriousness of these incidents, including one involving a 14-year-old child, cannot be overstated. Nor can the growing number of accusations –from the women who were at the receiving end of unwanted adult male overtures as teens, to those who say they were physically assaulted – be parsed with talk of statutes of limitations or whether proof has been recorded on a stone tablet. In the American system, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a consideration for the courtroom, not the ballot box.
Kansas City Star: Kansans of all political persuasions were stunned and saddened this week following the Star’s stories on the secrecy surrounding the state’s government. Calmly, methodically, factually, the newspaper’s reporters provided irrefutable evidence that some state agencies put their own interests above the public’s.
Lexington Herald Leader: In parts of Kentucky the cancer rate is rising, as smoking has become most prevalent among the poor and uneducated. A $1 increase in the cigarette tax would initially generate $266 million a year for the state. (Kentucky would still be under the national average state cigarette tax of $1.71.) More important, it would spare many young people from becoming smokers, save billions in medical costs and lost productivity and save lives.
Press Democrat: The economic challenges facing the state and the nation are not much different. The future depends on finding workers – and finding places for them to live. California’s economy, for example, had been humming along nicely before slowing earlier this year in coastal areas including in San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The problem, again, is housing.
East Bay Times: The House passed its version of a tax bill Thursday with zero support from Democrats. That plan is bad enough, but the one festering in the Senate is even worse. It is an attack on Californians and low- and middle-income citizens across the nation.
David Brooks, New York Times: President Donald Trump offers people cultural solutions to their alienation problem. As history clearly demonstrates, people will prefer fascism to isolation, authoritarianism to moral anarchy.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: The nation faces an unprecedented challenge brought on by President Donald Trump’s breathtaking irresponsibility. Republicans are pushing through the most reactionary tax bill since the 1920s. And leading Washington Democrats would have us engage in the “move left” vs. “move to the center” squabbles that have obsessed the party for at least three decades.
Timothy Egan, New York Times: The problem is not the Russians – it’s us. We’re getting played because too many Americans are ill equipped to perform the basic functions of citizenship. If the point of the Russian campaign, aided domestically by right-wing media, was to get people to think there is no such thing as knowable truth, the bad guys have won.
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times: If Sen. Al Franken goes through an ethics investigation but remains in the Senate, the current movement toward unprecedented accountability for sexual harassers will probably start to peter out. Republicans will use Franken to deflect from more egregious abuse on their own side, like what President Trump and Roy Moore are accused of.
Paul Krugman, New York Times: CEOs, living in the real world of business, not the imaginary world of right-wing ideologues, know that tax rates aren’t that important a factor in investment decisions. So they realize that even a huge tax cut wouldn’t lead to much more spending. And with that realization, the rationale for this tax plan, such as it is, falls apart, leaving nothing but a scheme to make the rich richer at everyone else’s expense.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: To pass their tax bill, House Republicans had to find a way around a teensy problem: Their vaunted tax “cut” actually was a tax hike for millions of Americans. In the Trump era, it’s ignore the rules and disqualify the referees who were put in place to enforce standards of integrity.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: From Harvey Weinstein to Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore to Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken – and dozens in between – it would seem women are swimming in groper-infested waters. Without good reason otherwise, I’m inclined to first believe the woman in any case.
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Donald Trump can be indistinguishable in temperament from a 7-year-old boy with his reflexive instinct to turn every jab back against his opponent. It takes a rather testicular temerity to accuse someone else of your own sins, but that’s what Trump does.
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit opened the door to a broader peace, under the right conditions: If Arab and Israeli leaders emerge who have the guts and foresight he did. That holds true for the future, even if the current landscape looks very bleak.