Mentally ill Californians shouldn’t die on the street, untreated. The law must change. The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act remains on the books more or less as it was 51 years ago when Gov. Ronald Reagan signed it into law. It must be brought into the 21st century. We urge legislators, Gov. Jerry Brown and candidates running to replace Brown to focus on the issue. Whoever becomes governor should make improving the care of severely mentally ill people central to their agenda. It’s an issue that directly or indirectly affects us all. Read more.
Jack Ohman takes a small step for Tesla. See more.
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Columns & op-eds
Updated: Foon Rhee: California badly needs a fair and smart reform of its tax system – now more than ever after the giveaway to corporations and the wealthy in the new federal tax law. What the state doesn’t need are more gimmicks, such as soaking corporations with a tax surcharge. And we should be very careful about new targeted taxes on fast-growing industries – like the one on space transportation companies. California is the only state with such a tax on commercial launches. Read more.
Dan Walters, CALmatters: Were Sen. Josh Newman and Judge Aaron Persky to be ousted in recalls, it could bring more chaos to California’s already fragile structure of governance, declaring open season on any official who happens to do something that’s unpopular and encouraging politicians to protect themselves by distorting election laws even more. Read more.
Markos Kounalakis, McClatchy D.C.: Sometimes it takes an oilman to undermine an oilman. Reminiscent of J.R.’s tactics to edge out brother Bobby from the family Ewing Oil company in the fictional 80s “Dallas” TV show, America’s chief diplomat and Exxon oilman extraordinaire is upping the pressure on Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro. One possibility? A little military coup. Read more.
Andrew Malcolm, McClatchy D.C.: One major factor that enables President Trump to control the nation’s political news agenda and keep people watching is his volatile unpredictability, which causes many to wonder what he’ll do next, even when the events themselves are routine, annual and essentially empty. Read more.
Linda Parks and Sheila Kuehl: Community choice aggregation programs bring more clean energy to consumers and lower utility bills. But the state’s big utilities are urging the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday slow down the programs. Read more.
John Laird: California’s opposition to offshore oil and gas development is neither partisan nor geographic; it is deeply ingrained across the state. Republican and Democratic governors alike have actively opposed it, and the governors of California, Oregon and Washington have joined together periodically to oppose efforts to renew and expand oil and gas leases off the West Coast, most recently in January. Read more.
Thomas J. Umberg: The president has demanded the kind of show of force common to weak nations. Americans have nothing to prove. Congress should call a halt. Otherwise, if Trump wants a military parade so badly, he should lead from front. Read more.
Take a number: 1
Gov. Jerry Brown has decided to downsize the Delta tunnel project from the twin tunnels to a single tunnel, The Sacramento Bee’s Dale Kasler reported Wednesday. That’s wise, though it certainly won’t appease critics who continue to call the project a Southern California water grab. The Public Policy Institute of California’s Ellen Hanak, Jeffrey Mount and Brian Gray floated the single tunnel notion in a Sacramento Bee op-ed in 2016 as part of a compromise that would offer incentives for Delta farmers and residents. Last September, The Bee editorial board encouraged Brown to study one tunnel, after San Joaquin Valley farmers in the Westlands Water District took a pass on funding the project. Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth told Kasler that the first tunnel would cost $10.7 billion, far less than the $16.3 billion for two tunnels. It’s still not clear, however, how California would pay for it. So far, beneficiaries of the tunnels have pledge $6 billion to $6.5 billion.
Charlotte Observer: Five months later, we still don’t know why Stephen Paddock rented a room in a Las Vegas high-rise and decided to commit one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history, killing 58 and injuring more than 500. Despite the carnage and initial chatter among members of Congress, the federal government has again proven itself incapable of taking the issue seriously. Fortunately, several states and cities have begun trying to make up for Congress’s derelict of duty. Read more.
Lexington Herald-Leader: Never have we heard even the staunchest defender of gun rights say that adults have no duty to secure firearms from children. What we hear is that most gun owners exercise great care in handling and storing their weapons, and that they want people who are irresponsible to be held accountable. So, why is not a single Republican in the Kentucky Legislature sponsoring a law against leaving a loaded gun where a child can use it? Read more.
Los Angeles Times: The Interior Department gave final approval 17 months ago to a massive planning document that, among other things, designated nearly 400,000 acres of desert in Southern California for wind, solar and geothermal energy production. Ultimately, this move has less to do with renewable energy development than with the Trump administration’s desire to significantly reduce the amount of land set aside for conservation, and to undo every vestige of the Obama legacy that it can get its oil-stained hands on. Read more.
The Mercury News: The world will hold its collective breath as the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies are held Friday. The potential for tragedy is real, as those old enough to remember the 1972 Munich massacre know all too well. Bad behavior is nothing new. Cheating, bribery and scandals have been a part of Olympic history. Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: In his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump appealed for at least $1.5 trillion in new public and private spending on infrastructure. There is no debating the pressing need for upgrades to the U.S. transportation system. But delivering a workable infrastructure plan will require a level of engagement that has yet to be seen from this president. Read more.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The world’s great dictatorships share a common trait: the leadership’s demand for unwavering loyalty from the governed. Apparently, that’s what President Donald Trump wants from Congress. After Democrats sat in stubborn silence during his Jan. 30 State of the Union address, Trump accused them of treason. Read more.
Baltimore Sun: After a trip to France last summer when President Emmanuel Macron invited him to observe the Bastille Day Parade, President Donald Trump started musing about doing the same thing in the United States, only bigger and better. This idea, apparently, he actually intends to follow through on. Read more.
Bloomberg View: On Tuesday, SpaceX blasted a 230-foot rocket into orbit, returned its two side boosters to Earth for a flawlessly synchronized landing, and – with exquisite nerd flair – propelled Elon Musk’s own Tesla Roadster toward deep space, where it’s expected to orbit the sun for hundreds of millions of years. It was a triumph of private enterprise and a milestone in American spacefaring. Its true significance, in fact, may not be apparent for decades. Read more.
Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg: SpaceX continues to produce technical feats on which the Russian space industry has given up: First the consistent reuse of rockets, and now the successful launch of a rocket with as many as 27 engines. Read more.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: When a leader who often praises strongmen abroad defines routine political opposition as disloyalty to country and then suggests hauling out the military to march in our streets as he looks down from on high, friends of freedom should take notice. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: So in need of praise is President Trump that the lavishing or withholding of this commodity could be a negotiating tool: He gets more applause if he brings less crazy. Read more.
Ross Douthat, New York Times: Republican politicians who accommodated themselves to President Trump during the 2016 campaign offered the following reassurance to their more Trump-wary voters: Vote for us, and we will contain him. The project of containment has been much more successful than its critics feared. Read more.
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: Frankly, it’s suspicious that President Trump is throwing up so much dust and trying so hard to delegitimize the investigation. Read more.
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: Regionally, the Arabs and Palestinians have never been weaker, and under President Donald Trump, Israel has never had a more unquestioningly friendly United States. This has whetted the appetite of Israel’s settlers and ruling Likud Party to go to extremes. Read more.
Ann McFeatters, Tribune News Service: President Trump’s parade would cost at least $22 million, divert training and be highly unpopular in the military, which considers such large displays a waste of time, but what Trump wants, Trump gets. Read more.
“What a day in America. We witnessed a genius, Elon Musk, successfully launch the Falcon Heavy rocket, replete with a Tesla, and we watched Donald Trump call for a military parade in Washington, D.C. The incongruity couldn’t be greater.” – Mark Basgall, Sacramento