Sacramento City Council must hold the line on public money for MLS stadium. It could make sense for City Hall to reduce or defer some building fees, to donate land for a training facility, to give the team the revenue from new digital billboards, or to help with roads, sewers and other infrastructure near the stadium. But residents rightly expect city officials to stick to their pledge three years ago that the stadium, itself, would be privately funded. Read more.
Foon Rhee: President Donald Trump shouldn’t crow too loud about tax cuts yet. The almost daily announcements sound impressive and generous. American Airlines, AT&T, Bank of America and Comcast are giving their workers $1,000 bonuses. Since Trump signed the sweeping tax cuts that slashed what corporations pay, dozens of companies have announced payments to employees. Last week, Fiat Chrysler said it will hand out $2,000 bonuses and add 2,500 jobs in Michigan. Read more.
Andrew Malcolm, McClatchyDC: So far, a record 31 Republicans are quitting the House. That’s 13 percent of the entire caucus – and it’s only January. Perhaps they sense a Democrat wave in November. Some are term-limited as committee chairs. Some simply tired of the hassle, the bitter partisan environment and perhaps this president.
Dan Walters, CALmatters: For years, Gov. Jerry Brown has preached a secular version of a religious principle called “subsidiarity,” asserting that local officials should have flexibility to act without micromanagement from Sacramento. In practice, he’s not always adhered to the principle, but has been particularly stubborn about applying it to the state’s six-million-student public education system, rejecting demands of education reformers for more state intervention on behalf of “high-needs” students.
Daniel Barad: Last month the U.S. Forest Service released astonishing estimates that the number of trees killed by drought and pine beetles in California has risen to 129 million in the past five years. Rather than respond in a way driven by science, ecological values and common sense, state and local agencies continue to seek ways to remove dead trees. The first option they turn to is to burn dead trees in dirty incinerators. The logging industry is chomping at the bit for new land in remote areas. Dead trees are vital components of the forest ecosystem. Read more.
Carmela Castellano-Garcia: Congress failed to reauthorize federal funding for the community health center program by the Sept. 30 deadline, despite traditional bipartisan support.
George Runner: In an effort to keep up with their self-described “resistance” movement, California Democrats are engaged in a full-fledged attack against recently enacted federal tax reform legislation that provides tax cuts for most Americans and Californians. Ironically, these same Democrats who claim to be focused on the poor and needy are engaged in non-stop howling over two provisions of the new tax law. What Democrats won’t tell you about the GOP tax cut and California’s ‘lost’ tax breaks.
Jack Ohman administers the Donald Trump Cognitive Test. See your score here.
Take a number: 11
Updated: Earlier this week, we urged all 53 California members of Congress to sign onto a compromise DACA bill offered by Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, Jeff Denham, R-Turlock and Pete Aguilar, D-Fontana. As of Thursday, nine other Californians had joined: Republicans David Valadao of Hanford and Steve Knight of Palmdale, and Democrats Salud Cabajal of Santa Barbara, Zoe Lofgren of San Mateo, Lucille Roybal-Allard of L.A., Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert, Judy Chu of Pasadena, Scott Peters of San Diego and Ami Bera of Elk Grove. If the government shuts down, don’t blame them. We’re holding our breath awaiting word from Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, Tom McClintock, R-El Grove, and all the rest. Take a number was updated to include Bera
Los Angeles Times: After three churches in Texas were damaged last year during Hurricane Harvey, they discovered they were ineligible for federal disaster aid under a policy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Last week, the Trump administration came to their rescue – by abolishing a rule that prohibited federal aid for the repair or rebuilding of facilities used primarily for religious activities. We don’t often agree with the administration, including on matters involving the separation of church and state. But this was the right decision.
San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego’s reputation took a battering in late 2017 for local officials’ slow reaction to a hepatitis A outbreak, primarily among the homeless, that led to 20 deaths and nearly 600 infections in the county. Now another local city is in the global spotlight for its treatment of the homeless. El Cajon officials are being scorned after at least a dozen people, including a 14-year-old, were arrested and given misdemeanor citations Sunday at Wells Park after they gave food to the homeless.
Chicago Tribune: Raqqa in northern Syria is a broken city in the midst of a long, arduous rebuild. But it’s no longer the nerve center for the Islamic State’s mission of carnage. Syrians, the U.S., Europe and the rest of the world can thank Syrian Kurdish fighters for that. The Pentagon was right to train and arm Syrian Kurds ahead of the offensive to retake Raqqa.
Raleigh News & Observer: When Republicans were responsible for shutting down the government over budget disputes in the past, they could blame, or try to blame, the problem on Democrats and Democratic presidents. But now, with a shutdown looming over a confrontation over the DACA program for immigrants granted some leeway to work in the country because they were brought here as kids, Republicans won’t be able to pass the blame.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. In a remarkable story published Dec. 31, Kaiser Health News reported that the owners of nearly three-quarters of the 15,600 nursing homes in the United States buy a wide variety of goods and services from companies in which they have a financial interest or control.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: Just as Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen “imagines” Norwegians are white, I imagine that she, in her denial of the obvious and defense of the indefensible, is the latest Trump sycophant to trash her reputation.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: A large majority of voters, including many erstwhile Trump supporters, are rebelling. The evidence is overwhelming that Trump’s foes are as determined and motivated as any opposition in recent memory.
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: It has become increasingly clear that Chief of Staff John Kelly was instrumental in influencing President Donald Trump to flip from a stance of openness and compromise back to a celestial alignment with immigration hard-liners.
Gail Collins, New York Times: President Donald Trump took something called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and got a perfect score. Not perhaps the highest bar possible, but the test can be useful if there is, for some reason, concern that the subject is suffering from … um, dementia
Ross Douthat, New York Times: Race and class are less important than the media attention paid to them suggests, and divisions and anxieties around sex and gender are where the essential cultural action of the Trump era really lies.
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: Some incredible technological changes will pose as big an adaptation challenge to American workers as transitioning from farms to factories once did.
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: South Africa bans discrimination based on gender and disability. Someday all the world will be so enlightened. And while African leaders have worked very hard to raise vaccination rates and save lives, America has a president who has repeatedly cast doubt on vaccines.
“When Californians voted last year to legalize recreational marijuana, that approval required the state to established measures regulating growers’ use of pesticides, energy and water. But the state’s current plan not only fails to adequately prohibit growers from using wildlife-killing rat poisons but also fails to adequately assess harms from projected increases in use of pesticides, water and energy.” – Bill Haskins, Sacramento
Few people in politics are more deserving of the Congressional Gold Medal than Kansas’ own Bob Dole. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were among the dignitaries who honored the former U.S. senator from Russell, Kan., on Wednesday with Congress’ highest civilian honor – and rightfully so. – Kansas City Star