Californians are too cool to line up for weed. But Jan. 1 did bring one big change: Commercial sales of cannabis certainly will bring about social, environmental and economic changes here, but not in the short term. Here where shifting the culture is a tradition, the trick will be in managing the consequences over time.
Hilary Crosby: Grass-roots Democrats who care about the growth and success of the party – and the goal of flipping the U.S. House – should resist the push for neutrality on endorsements from party Chairman Eric Bauman.
Michael C. Battaglia: There are specific policies that local governments and the Legislature could act on to help ease the crisis and boost the housing supply, including finally taking on CEQA reform.
Erwin Chemerinsky: The Mueller probe, the Kennedy retirement, the Republican attempt to gerrymander a permanent majority in Congress – if you thought the Constitution mattered last year, just stay tuned in 2018.
Chuck Reed: California is great at making pension promises, but a dismal failure at properly funding them. The most recent annual report released by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System shows that, as of June 2016, CalPERS was more than $138 billion in debt. The teachers’ retirement system is nearly as bad, with $96 billion in debt. Even with a couple of really good years in the stock market, pension costs are threatening public services all over California. It has to stop.
Jack Ohman takes a hit on the new California pot law. Pass the cartoon here.
Take a number: $250,000
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to vastly outraise his Democratic competitors in the money race for governor, pulling in at least $1.15 million in December to former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s $393,300 and Treasurer John Chiang’s $106,800, campaign finance reports show. This after Newsom raised $802,163 to Villaraigosa’s $171,000 in November. On the Republican side, Assemblyman Travis Allen reported raising $70,000. John Cox reported raising $24,000. More interestingly, Cox in November gave $250,000 of his own money to get an initiative on the ballot to repeal California’s 12 cent-per-gallon gasoline tax. He and congressional Republicans including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy hope opposition to the tax will drive turnout in November.
Evidently, Newsom and the others won’t have to worry about Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, jumping in. In his latest column for the S.F. Chron, former Speaker Willie Brown wrote: “My phone has been lighting up with messages that Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier is spending the New Year’s weekend in Palm Springs with her advisers and mulling a possible run for governor. I haven’t been able to reach her, but if she jumps in it will make for one heck of a race.” The Take did reach her via email. Speier answered: “Consider the source! The only thing Willie got right was that I was in Palm Springs with my family over the holidays.”
Deseret News: Sen. Orrin Hatch demonstrated the kind of graciousness that has eluded some notable other senators in the nation’s history who jealously held onto power well beyond their effective years. Few things in politics have been more certain through the years than Hatch’s re-election campaigns. Yet, as he said in his video speech Tuesday, “every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”
Mercury News: The Christmas Eve death of a California Highway Patrol rookie officer serves as a tragic warning of the dangers ahead with the Jan. 1 legalization of marijuana. It reinforces the need for lawmakers to toughen the rules against driving under the influence of cannabis, and highlights the Legislature’s inaction of the past year.
Los Angeles Times: Fiscal year 2017 was the U.S. Forest Service’s most expensive fire season yet. The cost of battling blaze after ever-bigger blaze across the country topped $2.4 billion. The problem is the Forest Service ends up hoarding the money intended for other forest management programs – including fire prevention – because officials know they’re going to need it later in the year to fight fires.
San Diego Union-Tribune: A rough year for the tech and social media industries is ending as it began with giant firms in the news for reasons that must alarm shareholders. Apple responded to lawsuits alleging it intentionally worsened older iPhones’ performance to get people to buy new iPhones by announcing the company would make it easier to check iPhones’ battery health – and by cutting the price of replacement batteries from $79 to $29 for iPhone 6 or newer models.
Chicago Tribune: Chicago has an enduring if underappreciated story. The summer of 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics, an organization with deep Chicago roots that is now the largest sporting competition in the world for intellectually disabled children and adults.
David Brooks, New York Times: From an identity politics that emphasized our common humanity, we’ve gone to an identity politics that emphasizes having a common enemy.
Frank Bruni, New York Times: Donald Trump’s rise and presidency have brought so many of the cancers of American life to the surface, where we can no longer avoid them, and the movies reflect that.
Ruben Navarrette, Washington Post: If the Dreamers can get President Trump and Congress to give them permanent legal status, even if it doesn’t come with citizenship, they’d be wise to take the deal. Yet, apart from serving the narrow interests of the Dreamers, the proposed bargain would be bad for the country.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America 1989 and Fox News anchor, is new chairwoman of the Miss America Organization. It isn’t exaggeration to say that Carlson launched the ongoing anti-harassment crusade when she sued her former boss, Fox News founder Roger Ailes.
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Our sense of what is allowable and acceptable on the public stage have been eroding for years, but in 2017 things that are not supposed to happen happened all day, every day.
“To blame car wrecks for the increase in vehicle miles traveled is to admit that California has not kept pace with road building and traffic enforcement.” – Albert F. Kammerer, Sacramento