Is California’s direct democracy threatened by blackmail? Perhaps, but it could be worse. A law that allows the Legislature to make deals with initiative proponents has had its biggest impact in 2018 – and mostly for the good. Three contentious initiatives headed for the Nov. 6 ballot were withdrawn just before the deadline. Read more.
Grant High’s pool reopens to public; keep it that way. Twin Rivers administrators blamed vandalism for plans to close the $6.2 million pool until Aug. 20. But it’s more about bad planning on the school district’s part. The pool will reopen on July 11. Read more.
Jack Ohman swamp dives with EPA Director Scott Pruitt. Take the plunge here.
Alberto Ibargüen, Miami Herald: The murder of five people at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis was tragic. It was also a powerful reminder that local news organizations are the bedrock of engagement in a democratic republic. Read more.
Markos Kounalakis, McClatchy D.C.: America’s role in the world is rapidly changing, going from being the world’s policeman to loutish neighborhood beat cop. No one exemplifies the post-WWII generation of public servants who understood and promoted American global leadership than the now terminally ill U.S. Sen. John McCain. Read more.
Joe Mathews, Zócalo Public Square: Redding might not be on your bucket list, but it’s cheaper and less crowded than the coast, and cooler than the deserts. And its region, the North state, is crucial to understanding California. And you can visit California’s greatest 21st-century structure, the Sundial Bridge. Read more.
Robert Rivinius, Family Business Assn.: A proposed 2020 ballot measure that would impose a state-level estate tax to pay for free college for all Californians would create financial hardships for family businesses and farms that often result in liquidation and loss of jobs. Read more.
Bonnie Castillo, California Nurses Assn.: California has the world’s fifth-largest economy. Fix taxes to fix wealth disparity. Read more.
Katrina Cantrell, Women’s Health Specialists of Northern California: Trump’s Supreme Court is this close to ending the right to abortion. Will you fight? Read more.
Takes on trade war
Paul Krugman, New York Times: Until very recently, big business didn’t seem to be taking President Donald Trump’s protectionist rhetoric very seriously. Corporations have invested trillions based on the belief that world markets would remain open. Trump wouldn’t put all those investments at risk, would he? Yes, he would – and the belated recognition that his tough talk on trade was serious has spurred a flurry of action. Read more.
Los Angeles Times editorial board: President Trump has styled himself as something of a knight in shining armor on trade issues. But in his recent maneuvering to impose tariffs on imported cars and auto parts, U.S. auto companies and workers look like bystanders conscripted to fight a bloody war they don’t support – and that could leave them worse off than they are today. Read more.
In our most recent editorial on the Trump administration’s trade policy, we warned about the impact on California agriculture.
Orange County Register: If our criminal justice system is to fulfill its purpose and exact justice, it is imperative that laws are designed to truly hold individuals accountable for their actions. With Senate Bill 1437 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, California has an opportunity to better serve the interests of justice with respect to the crime of felony murder. Read more.
San Francisco Chronicle: With new blazes burning across Northern California and more than a dozen of last year’s wildfires freshly blamed on Pacific Gas and Electric Co., it’s an awkward time to consider pardoning power companies that start fires. And yet that seems to be what the governor and lawmakers are determined to do. Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: California will better protect residents’ online privacy after a last-minute deal that satisfied the backers of a ballot initiative to do the same thing. This was a win for new rules that give lawmakers time to negotiate with initiative sponsors… at least the ones with lots of cash. Read more.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Jared Kushner, who, in common with millions of poor and minority children in America, has had the searing experience of visiting a father in prison. Kushner has displayed considerable passion in recruiting conservatives to the cause of prison reform. Read more.
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: If you’re worried about terrorism, here’s a bigger threat to lose sleep over: an all-out cyberattack. Suddenly, the electricity goes out at the office. Cellphone networks and the internet have also gone black, along with subways and trains. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: We are due for another renewal of our commitment to freedom. Much of the country fears the loss of basic freedoms under President Trump: free speech, press and religion, due process and control over their bodies. Read more.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: President Trump doesn’t much seem to like non-white newcomers from anywhere, but he displays an especially vicious antipathy toward men, women and even children from Latin America. Read more.
Bret Stephens, New York Times: Admirers still speak of German chancellor Angela Merkel as if she is Europe’s last lion, the only leader with the vision and capacity to save the EU. There is much that is admirable about the chancellor, but as things now stand she is likelier to be remembered as the EU’s unwitting destroyer. Read more.
Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post: As President Trump prepares to announce his replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Democrats are desperate to block the president’s nominee, but are powerless to so. They have no one to blame but themselves. Read more.
“Thanks to a self-serving Legislature and a collaborative Gov. Brown, the right of the people of this state to vote on local taxation of an unhealthful product was taken away.” – Robert A. Dell’Agostino, Sacramento
Tweets of the day
I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this. The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2018
Scott Pruitt was the worst EPA administrator in the history of the agency. Not only has he acted, time and time again, in an unethical manner, but he has led the agency in exactly the wrong direction. https://t.co/iRUR6sST5e— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 5, 2018
Good riddance to a locust named Scott Pruitt. Sadly for those of you in Congress who enabled his rampage by abdicating your duty, this departure closes the door on your opportunity for redemption. You’ve set a new bar for government ethics, and we‘d need shovels to fall below it.— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 5, 2018
Scott Pruitt was the stuff of late-night parody, but he also was emblematic of the entire Trump administration – its corruption, its pervasive ethical failures, its deadly deregulation and its handover of total power to the very industries agencies are tasked with regulating.— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) July 5, 2018