California has an $8.8 billion budget surplus. Gov. Jerry Brown is right to save most of it, but he should loosen the purse strings for homeless programs, mental health services, higher education, rape kit testing and other urgent needs. Read more.
Jack Ohman’s TV screen is filled with campaign ads for the June 5 primary. See them here.
Dan Walters, CALMatters: Prison inmates are down, but costs are still going up. Read more.
Danielle Blacet and David Guy: Assembly Bill 2050, which is expected to be heard Wednesday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, would allow noncompliant water systems to consolidate and pool their expertise and financial resources. Read more.
Takes on June primary
Dan Walters, CALMatters: Ordinarily, primary elections in June don’t settle partisan political conflicts, but rather set the stage for showdowns in November’s general elections. However, thanks to California’s top-two primary system, the June 5 election could effectively decide who will be the state’s next governor and, perhaps even more importantly, whether President Donald Trump will continue to enjoy Republican control of Congress. Read more.
Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post: Few people are talking about the California governor’s race, even though the crucial June 5 open primary is just a couple of weeks away. The state’s one-party rule could be the reason more people aren’t tuning in to the governor’s race, as it’s no fun watching a game when you already know how it will turn out. Read more.
San Jose Mercury News: When it comes to paying the state’s bill, keeping the books and auditing government expenditures, there’s only one candidate on the ballot qualified to be California’s controller: Betty Yee. Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t a full-throated embrace of her candidacy. It’s a recognition that the other two candidates in the race are unprepared for the assignment. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Proposition 70 would require the Legislature in 2024 to have a one-time vote to approve with a two-thirds margin a spending plan for revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade program, which auctions permits to polluters for greenhouse gas emissions. The measure is best seen as a clunky way to achieve a worthy goal: forcing a supermajority of the Legislature to take responsibility for continued funding of the state’s massively troubled $77 billion bullet train project. Read more.
Takes on Gaza violence
Reuven H. Taff: An editorial cartoon in the Sacramento Bee did what political commentary should do: It provoked a response. But many in the Sacramento Jewish and Christian communities are angry and shocked. The violence in Gaza wasn’t caused by the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, but was instigated by Hamas, a terrorist group. Read more.
David Brooks, New York Times: For two generations, the leaders of Israel and of Palestinians tried, sometimes dysfunctionally and bloodily, to find two homelands. But sometime in the 1990s, a mental shift occurred. Extremism grew on the Israeli side, but it exploded on the Palestinian side. Read more.
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: The knee-jerk reaction in the White House and Israel to the recent violence in Gaza is to blame Hamas and be done with it. But this PR blame game obscures the bigger picture. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: As appalling as it sounds today, the practice of sterilizing mentally ill women and men to prevent them from passing on their supposedly defective genes was routine and accepted across the United States in the first half of the 20th century. But nowhere was the eugenics movement more entrenched and aggressively pursued than in California. Read more.
Orange County Register: Wildfires in California are vastly different from the old notion of “forest” fires in mostly unpopulated places. That’s why a fresh initiative out of Sacramento in Gov. Jerry Brown’s May revision of his budget forecast is right to include $96 million in new annual spending to support up-to-date firefighting that acknowledges new climate and exurban-growth realities. Read more.
San Francisco Chronicle: California’s police departments have thousands of untested rape kits on their shelves, prime evidence that could produce arrests in sex-assault cases. But the numbers aren’t known nor does the law require that the kits be examined for DNA traces that can yield results. Two state lawmakers are pushing a pair of measures to improve a sorry situation. It’s up to the legislative leaders to push the bills they’ve killed in the past. Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: President Donald Trump tries to undermine the media by railing against “fake news,” but his administration’s most pernicious attack on America’s free press might be a recent decision to impose tariffs of up to 32 percent on newsprint imported from Canada. Read more.
Gail Collins, New York Times: Because we have been through this so often, we know what to expect: the portraits of the dead young people and their families. Shocked acquaintances of the shooting suspect. And a dissection of what went wrong, during which allies of the National Rifle Association will quickly point at something other than guns. Read more.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: Dehumanizing others always leads us down a dangerous path. This is why we need to reflect on the controversy over exactly whom President Trump was referring to as “animals” during a roundtable discussion with state and local officials from California on so-called sanctuary laws. Read more.
Paul Krugman, New York Times: ZTE, a Chinese electronics company, has circumvented a ban on exporting U.S. technology to North Korea and Iran. But President Trump suddenly declared that he was working with President Xi Jinping of China to help save ZTE and that he was ordering the Commerce Department to make it happen. Read more.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: Royal watchers were mesmerized by the story of Thomas Markle’s failed photo ruse, his on-again-off-again plans to walk his daughter down the aisle, his heart surgery and, ultimately, his canceled trip to London. Read more.
Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Having seen putative Christians excuse the liar, rationalize the alleged pedophile, justify the sexual assaulter and cheer as walls are raised against the most vulnerable, it’s obvious that many of those who claim that name embody a cowardly, selfish and situational “faith” that has little to do with Jesus. Read more.
Tweets of the day
We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this horrible attack in Texas. To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High School – we are with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever... pic.twitter.com/LtJ0D29Hsv— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
Santa Fe High, you didn’t deserve this. You deserve peace all your lives, not just after a tombstone saying that is put over you. You deserve more than Thoughts and Prayers, and after supporting us by walking out we will be there to support you by raising up your voices.— Emma González (@Emma4Change) May 18, 2018