Erika D. Smith: Unsure about rent control? Here’s another way to protect California tenants: Rent control is just being sold as the only palatable solution on the menu. But there are other ways to help people stay in their apartments without resorting to an imperfect, blunt-force policy tool that could very well make the housing crisis worse by shrinking supply. Read more.
Jack Ohman gets the memo on Devin Nunes. See more.
Don Perata: During the presidential election, I remember the constant assurances from polls and pundits that Donald Trump had no chance. When I led the state Senate, I knew a lot of smart people who would make confident predictions about elections. I learned a valuable lesson: In the world of politics, smart people are often wrong. And some of them aren’t thinking big enough about the 2018 midterm elections. California is uniquely positioned to be the epicenter of a blue wave this year, but Democrats will miss our opportunity if we don’t have boots on the ground preparing for success. Read more.
Karin Klein: California, more than most states, has been bumping around here and there, without a coherent plan for improving schools, and it shows. Do California leaders deserve an A or an F on education? A new occasional series in Forum will offer a primary primer in the weeks leading up to the 2018 election. Read more.
Dave LaBahn: Washington, D.C., and Santa Clara County have shown money bail doesn’t work and isn’t needed. Even prosecutors want to end California’s reliance on it. Read more.
Edwin Vasquez: Indigenous tribes headed from South America to Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate summit in September plan to ask Californians for help in addressing deforestation. What sort of help? The kind that involves asking more questions as consumers than Californians currently do. Read more.
Take a number: 62 percent
Of the 1.5 million infants and toddlers in California, 62 percent are in low-income families, according to a report issued Thursday. And that’s not good for their well-being because California gets failing grades on the 2018 report card put out by the advocacy group Children Now. California gets a D+ for child care, a D for child abuse and neglect prevention, a C- for developmental screening and a D+ for home visits. Its best grade is an A in health insurance, thanks to the expansion of coverage under Obamacare and Medi-Cal. Children Now says its report proves that the state needs to invest more in its children. Otherwise, president Ted Lempert said in a statement, “Disparities in achievement and opportunity open early in children’s lives and, once present, are more difficult to resolve and more likely to persist throughout childhood and adulthood.” – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee
Los Angeles Times: Prodded by daughter Ivanka, President Donald Trump included six weeks of paid maternity leave in his campaign platform, and expanded it to include new fathers as well as mothers in his proposed budget. The proposal — which relied on states making family leave part of their unemployment insurance programs, funded by a tax on employers — appeared to get no further attention from Trump until Tuesday’s speech, when the president touted it again. He could easily find Democratic support to translate the rhetoric into policy. Read more.
Miami Herald: President Trump was supposed to be the statesman, and, by the time the curtain came down on his first State of the Union address, that indeed was the role that he played. And as the curtain rises on his second year as president of the United States, it remains to be seen if he’ll stay in character. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: No State of the Union speech should be oversold on its value and importance. But Donald Trump’s speech still mattered in that it was an opportunity to show if he could be the best possible version of his impulsive, vindictive, emotionally needy self – an eager dealmaker ready to tackle problems that have gone unaddressed for far too long. Read more.
Orange County Register: Finally, with broad bipartisan support, an audit has been ordered for California’s high-speed rail project. On Tuesday, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved an audit request first brought forth by Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, and later joined by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Jim Beall, D-San Jose. Read more.
Mercury News and East Bay Times: Oakland Councilwoman Desley Brooks is a bully. It’s time for voters in her southeast district to remove her from office. For 15 years, the city has endured her self-centered behavior. But her assault of former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown in a restaurant altercation that will cost Oakland taxpayers $3 million is the final straw. Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The first new homes are going up in Coffey Park, the last lot has been cleared of debris. And a major homebuilder abruptly dropped out. So it goes with the recovery from October’s calamitous wildfires. Certainly, no one seriously expected a smooth, straight path to recovery – or a pattern of two steps forward, followed by one step back. Read more.
Frank Bruni, New York Times: Our president lives in a world of sand and wind and make-believe, and Tuesday night’s remarks – especially his appeal for “common ground,” his vision of “all of us together” as “one American family” – should be seen in that shifting, swirling, fantastical context. Read more.
Ross Douthat, New York Times: There are many reasons – one for almost every tweet – that President Trump arrived at his first official State of the Union address as a wildly unpopular president despite a reasonably strong economy, but his failure to follow through on his campaign’s populist promises is high on the list. Read more.
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: Israel is trying to navigate a battlefield with a rival state’s army (Syria), a rival regional superpower (Iran), a global superpower (Russia), super-empowered mercenaries and maniacs (Hezbollah and ISIS), and local tribes and sects (Druse and Christians). Read more.
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times: The nomination of Victor D. Cha as U.S. ambassador to South Korea was very close to being sent to the Senate, but was derailed when Cha privately expressed reservations about a preventive U.S. strike on North Korea. Read more.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: While President Trump opened his speech by calling on Americans “to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground,” he kept coming back to the most divisive themes of his presidency. Read more.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: Rep. Joe Kennedy seemed ideal to deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. And his selection of working class Fall River, Mass., as his venue sent a welcoming signal to the party’s lost souls. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: President Trump drove cultural wedges through the chamber over the next hour – pitting immigrants against “Americans,” trumpeting his support for the Second Amendment but no other, and reviving racially charged disputes he ignited over the past year. Read more.
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post: Co-opting the phrase “dreamer” and applying it to Americans was a slick move. It was also a cheap pandering pitch to folks who think that those undocumented young people – who pop up on television and get invited to attend the State of the Union – are having all the fun. Read more.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address did exactly what it needed to do: nothing. It wasn’t strident; it wasn’t provocative; it wasn’t alienating; it wasn’t retributive; it wasn’t divisive – except to Democrats. Read more.
Kansas City Star: The beaver-tooth grin, shifty cartoon eyes and bright red skin of the offensive character known as Chief Wahoo will no long appear on the uniforms of the Cleveland Indians, beginning next year. This was a decision long overdue. The demise of Chief Wahoo should serve as fair warning to the Kansas City Chiefs and the team’s fans that belittling Native people under the guise of sports is not acceptable. Read more.