Why were so many left in the path of Montecito’s mudslides? The reports out of Santa Barbara County have been heartbreaking and frightening: people swept to their deaths by an avalanche of muck and runoff. Boulders rolling through the night, crushing houses and cars. Like the record fire season that preceded this week’s lethal mudslides, the worst-case scenario has been far, far worse than expected. And far harder to manage: Once again, tens of thousands of people were in harm’s way well past the point at which they should have been moved to safety. It is not too soon to ask why.
What the Oroville Dam debacle should teach engineers and experts, and the rest of us: The concept that hubris often is our collective downfall is as old as civilization. It’s a lesson for all of us, not just the engineers and dam safety inspectors in the Department of Water Resources.
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Jack Ohman checks out the latest GOP congressional campaign slogans. Write yours in here.
Foon Rhee: Let’s face facts: Our president holds racist views. President Donald Trump shows his true colors – and he prefers white. His comments on immigration are more evidence that he holds racist views.
Marcos Breton: Davis may have just seized the crown for “most hopelessly liberal city” in California. It was tragicomic to watch Tuesday night’s council meeting, an amazing show of misguided intentions obliterating reasoned debate and proportional action.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s visit to Cuba was a huge blow to the remnants of a democratic, human rights-conscious and globalized left in Latin America.
City Councilman Jay Schenirer: My opposition to the conditional use permit for a fuel station in Curtis Park Village was the result of hundreds of these meetings and conversations over a period of many years – in person, on the phone, via text and email, and at formal meetings. I did nothing wrong on the Curtis Park gas station permit, and I will never back down from representing my constituents in the most deliberate and transparent manner.
Paul Petrovich: The fact is that council members are blatantly ignoring what is best for the entire city of Sacramento. How else can you explain their outrageous use of taxpayer money when their efforts to delay the Crocker Village project have resulted in more than $7.4 million in lost tax revenues and $32 million in impact fees? This suggests that council members’ top priority is to protect the reputation of one of their own and help a small group of affluent, well-connected Curtis Park residents.
Assemblyman Kevin Kiley: With the reduction of the state and local tax deduction by Congress, many Californians are crying foul. Paying taxes on one’s full income first to Uncle Sam, and then again to Sacramento, has been called double taxation by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and other political leaders. There is a simple solution to this problem. California should allow taxpayers to deduct their full federal tax liability on their state tax return. The new deduction would begin to repair three of the biggest faults in our broken state government.
Thomas Tighe: My familiarity with emergency situations and friendship with those whose sustained efforts in their aftermath our organization supports has provided a rare privilege in life. I’ve encountered far more poignant examples of leadership, selflessness, brilliance, courage and compassion than I would have ever found had that been a conscious effort, which it hasn’t. Unfortunately, none of that mattered much early Tuesday morning, when at 3:30 a.m. with rain falling hard. Now disaster has hit home.
Joe Mathews, Zócalo Public Square: It’s California’s second richest company, but you probably haven’t heard of it. McKesson, the fifth-largest company in America, is a massive healthcare middleman that distributes pharmaceuticals and other supplies from manufacturers to doctors and hospitals.
Take a number: 35,085
Assemblyman Rocky Chávez, a San Diego County Republican, announced his candidacy for the seat to be vacated by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista. Chávez, a retired Marine colonel, made a short-lived run for U.S. Senate in 2015 and 2016. But he abruptly withdrew from the race minutes before the first debate among Republicans seeking the opportunity to lose to the ultimate winner, Sen. Kamala Harris. “I looked at it and I figured the best thing I can do for the Republican Party and the best thing I could do for my role, because I still want to be active in politics, is to step back and run for the Assembly seat that I currently hold, and then see what develops in 2018,” Chávez told The Sacramento Bee’s Christopher Cadelago in 2016. Whichever Republican gets past the top-two primary will have the advantage of running in a seat where Republicans hold a 6 percentage point registration advantage over Democrats. But the race will cost millions and Chavez is not much of a fundraiser. He raised a paltry $117,000 for his aborted Senate race, and has a debt of $35,085, according to the Federal Elections Commission.
Miami Herald: When President Donald Trump lies, it’s usually a whopper. But when he tells his truth, it’s a breathtaking doozy. That’s why we see a direct connection between his belief that there are some “very fine people” lurking among white supremacists and his outrageous comments that this country has too many immigrants from “shithole” countries such as Haiti and El Salvador and nations in Africa.
Los Angeles Times: When Gov. Jerry Brown proposed the first state budget of his third term in 2011, the recession lingered over the nation’s economy like a nasty head cold, and California was $27 billion in the hole. Seven years later, California is rolling in dough, with a $7.5 billion general-fund surplus expected in the next fiscal year. But rather than revert instantly to the profligate ways of the past, this is a time for Sacramento, if it can, to be cautious, rational and mindful of the future. As the state’s lead penny-pincher, Brown must continue to hold firm even as he prepares to pass leadership to a new governor.
San Jose Mercury News: Congress has become so embarrassingly dysfunctional that it can’t find a way to fund one of the most admired, fully bipartisan health care programs of the past 20 years: the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides basic coverage for 9 million kids, including 200,000 in the Bay Area. House Republicans are using children’s health as a pawn in their never-ending quest to cripple the Affordable Care Act.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: President Donald Trump may be onto something. No fooling. During a meeting with congressional leaders Tuesday at the White House, Trump endorsed a two-step approach to immigration reform. First, address Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children. Then try (again) to resolve the thornier issues of border security, updating policies for legal immigration and what to do about the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. That would be a humane and logical path forward.
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Trumpism is a religion founded on patriarchy and white supremacy. It is the belief that even the least qualified man is a better choice than the most qualified woman and a belief that the most vile, anti-intellectual, scandal-plagued simpleton of a white man is sufficient to follow in the presidential footsteps of the best educated, most eloquent, most affable black man.
Bret Stephens, New York Times: “Fire and Fury” is catnip for everyone who detests this president. But gossip isn’t journalism. And Michael Wolff’s book is Exhibit A in how not to damage Trump’s presidency, much less his chances of re-election.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: The way to reach President Donald Trump is to flatter him in the extreme. This does not mean that everyone in the administration is always obsequious. But it does mean that all the incentives run toward obsequiousness.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: President Donald Trump is merely echoing, not embracing, the words he hears. No mind could possibly assimilate as many diametrically opposed ideas as Trump’s appeared to in the meeting on immigration.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: If ignorance is bliss, President Trump must be very happy. In office nearly a full year, evidently he has only the most tenuous grasp of the issues that come before him – including the issues that were central to his campaign.
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: The book “Fire and Fury” claims the president’s thinking was shaped by a hard right axis of former strategist Steve Bannon, Jewish billionaire and major GOP contributor Sheldon Adelson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.