Could teenagers be America’s last, best hope for California-style gun control? History suggests the answer is no and Republicans will side with the NRA, no matter how hollow and morally repugnant its views have seemed in recent days. On Thursday, the group’s chief, Wayne LaPierre, shamelessly attacked gun control advocates and the press, and declared that that schools need to be “hardened” with more “good guys with guns,” even though an armed deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School never went inside to stop Nikolas Cruz. But, thankfully, history does not always dictate the future. Read more.
Landing the NBA All-Star Game would be a hollow victory for Sacramento without reducing homelessness. California’s big-city mayors ask for $1.5 billion from the state, while Sacramento asks developers to build 1,000 tiny homes. They are necessary asks to address the homeless crisis. Until we address the human suffering on our streets, no spectacle will ever be enough to give this city the image it deserves. For Sacramento’s prosperity and livability, not to mention the city’s soul, we must reckon with the need for shelter. Read more.
Jack Ohman mourns the corporate partner of the NRA. See more.
Columns and op-eds
Dan Morain: Sen. Tony Mendoza has no shame, but he does have plenty of campaign cash: Mendoza spent his days pushing inconsequential bills and once attempted to climb out a window to avoid having to cast a tough budget vote. He spent his off-hours trying to pick up young women while sucking up campaign money from payday lenders and casinos. Fellow legislators and lobbyists enabled him. Read more.
Markos Kounalakis, McClatchy D.C.: Donald Trump admires “winners” and his favored immigrant group, the Norwegians, are winning so much at the Winter Olympics that they are probably getting tired of hauling around medals. If the president were to take a closer look at the Scandinavian nation, however, there is little else beyond athletic success he would personally find appealing. Read more.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Disinviting Nicolas Maduro from the summit was an unusually harsh measure by regional diplomatic standards. Maduro wants to be there because he doesn’t want to be seen as an international pariah. Read more.
Chad Hanson: Logging trees and burning them in “bioenergy” plants produces even more carbon than burning coal. Increased logging is not a climate change solution. Read more.
Assemblyman Jim Cooper: After a judge’s ruling, more than half of the 20,000 inmates now serving time for violent sex offenses could be back on the street. The need for fixing Proposition 57 is even more urgent. Read more.
Glen M. MacDonald: A new UCLA study finds that sea level rise is wiping out coastal marshes from San Diego to Humboldt counties. A major Pacific ecosystem will vanish by the end of the century if California doesn’t act. Read more.
Joe Mathews: No high speed rail? California train deniers should see how crowded the Amtraks have become. Read more.
Take a number: 50,379
Rep. Mike Thompson is a gun owner, hunter, and Vietnam veteran, and he recalls how in simpler times, the NRA made its name by teaching kids about gun safety. The Napa Valley Democrat is, in short, ideally cast to lead congressional Democrats’ efforts to push for gun control measures, a role he fully embraced after the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. So it was noteworthy when, in reporting a recent editorial, we saw that Thompson had accepted $50,379 from gun rights advocates during his time in Congress. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: Drawing the boundary lines of legislative or congressional districts to provide an unfair advantage to one party is a practice with a long if not distinguished pedigree. But increasingly sophisticated computer software allows partisan gerrymandering that devalues democracy by unfairly rigging electoral maps. Read more.
Orange County Register: In theory, at least, California’s law enforcement agencies are bound by state law to report to lawmakers and the public on their use of various surveillance technologies. In practice, that reporting by police and sheriff’s departments in the hundreds of jurisdictions around our large state is often slow to happen or doesn’t happen at all. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Less than three weeks after San Diego State University was expected to identify 17 members of a task force charged with reviewing the appropriateness of the Aztecs nickname and Aztec Warrior mascot, the university has gone back on its word and decided not to name the volunteers until after their work is done. Read more.
San Jose Mercury News: The Bay Area should embrace the state’s call Tuesday to make permanent water-wasting rules that were in effect during the last drought. It’s the responsible thing for urban water users to do when the Sierra Nevada snowpack stands at only 20 percent of normal. But farmers should be required to do their part, too. Read more.
Gail Collins, New York Times: Donald Trump has replaced James Buchanan as the worst president in the history of the United States, with a score of 12 out of 100. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: Abortions are restricted far more than guns (and abortions are declining, while gun deaths are rising). Even speech is limited if it endangers life. Why shouldn’t there be reasonable restrictions on guns, too? Read more.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Nothing will change until the Republicans who control Congress and so many state legislatures start losing elections because of their obstinacy on gun control. They need to fear you and me more than they fear the National Rifle Association. Read more.
Paul Waldman, Washington Post: The Center for American Progress released “Medicare Extra For All.” It’s significant that this plan is coming from the heart of the Democratic establishment, a think tank that is the closest thing to a Democratic government-in-exile. Read more.
Tweet of the day
“Kids, today’s word is “unsustainable.” “California state payroll increased by $1 billion in 2017, twice as fast as previous year.” – Jon Coupal @joncoupal
The inestimable Foon Rhee will be taking over The Take, as I take my leave from The Sacramento Bee. It’s been my honor to serve up this newsletter, with the help of Foon, Shawn Hubler, Erika D. Smith and Jack Ohman. It will only improve. So please sign up and tell a friend.