The ‘new normal’ on wildfires isn’t reason enough to give utilities a free pass. Facing billions of dollars in potential costs, PG&E and other utilities are seeking relief at the state Capitol by changing the law on liability for wildfire damage. The Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown should be very wary of any significant changes that shift the burden to homeowners and taxpayers. Read more.
Jack Ohman goes to the first Devin Nunes town hall. Catch the jump shot here at the Gahden.
Joe Mathews, Zócalo Public Square: The arrival of LeBron James is a high-profile symptom of one of our state’s big problems: California favors older, wealthier outsiders over our younger, homegrown compatriots, and it’s struggling to hold on to people like new Lakers teammate, Lonzo Ball. Read more.
Goleem Samari: There has been an increase in hate crimes, harassment on college campuses, vandalism, racial profiling, and violent assaults and attacks on Muslims. It’s not hard to understand how facing demonization and fearing that you might become the victim of a hate crime would be detrimental to your health. Read more.
Dan Schnur and Steve Westly: How California can head off the next recession and step back from partisan extremes. Read more.
Takes on Trump and Russia
Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg: U.S.-Russian relations are governed by agreements created by previous governments; not even Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, known for their disrespect for the rules, can veer too far from those obligations. Read more.
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: It is an unfathomable proposition that the day would ever come when America could rightly question the loyalties of its own president, but that is precisely where we have arrived after Donald Trump’s “Surrender Summit” with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Read more.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: The collection of impulses, deceptions, assertions, retractions, revisions and compromises that constitute Trump’s foreign policy record are difficult to gather into a consistent doctrine. But we do know what doctrines Trump has set out to destroy. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: How is it possible that Trump can assert that Russia is not targeting the United States – three days after he suggested it didn’t interfere with the 2016 election – while just a few blocks away, his own administration is prosecuting a Russian for targeting the United States? Read more.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: Before this hare-brained and reckless administration is history, the nation will have cause to celebrate the public servants derided by Trumpists as the supposed “deep state.” Read more.
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: President Donald Trump’s shameful surrender to Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit revealed a threat to U.S. security far greater than Russia’s hack of the 2016 election: The president himself. The situation is far more dangerous, and the threat is more urgent than most Americans realize. Read more.
Bret Stephens, New York Times: Assuming Mike Pompeo and John Bolton still have their own senses intact, they too should resign following the epic disgrace of the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki on Monday. So should their senior staff. Read more.
Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post: If President Trump wants to shut down the critics of his performance this week in Helsinki and strengthen U.S. national security, he can do so with one bold move: Announce he is moving out most U.S. forces currently stationed in Germany and sending them to Poland. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: In a welcome bit of relief, California will avoid a convoluted, messy and completely unnecessary battle over breaking up the Golden State. The California Supreme Court decided Wednesday to pull Proposition 9 – the initiative to break California into three states – off the November ballot. Read more.
Orange County Register: We hope there will also be no shortage of actual candidate debates, especially at the top, where Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox, who finished first and second in California’s top-two primary in June, will verbally duke it out. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Thanks to higher temperatures and repeated droughts, wildfire risks in California have never been higher. That’s why residents may be surprised to learn that the state government hasn’t come close to doing all it could to bring these risks down. Read more.
San Francisco Chronicle: San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is considering a new proposal to give safety officials more power to force negligent property owners to upgrade fire alarm and sprinkler systems in their buildings. Read more.
David Brooks, New York Times: We’ve tried liberalism and conservatism, and now we’re trying populism. Maybe the next era of public life will be defined by a resurgence of localism. Read more.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: If Democrats want to win the Hispanic vote in Florida – a key swing state – in upcoming elections, they will need to speak out much louder about the crimes against humanity that are taking place in Nicaragua and Venezuela, and denounce Trump’s refusal to consider asylum petitions from people fleeing the horrors of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba. Read more.
Molly Roberts, The Washington Post: Mark Zuckerberg’s Holocaust faux pas reveals a bigger problem. If there’s anywhere intent is not hard to understand, it’s in an anti-Semitic conspiracy. And in the world of right-wing reality inversion, intent is an infeasible standard. More important, it has little to do with impact. Read more.
“The farmers who overpumped the groundwater, or those who receive the water from the canal, should cover the repairs instead of getting a bailout from taxpayers.” – Eric Parfrey, chair, Sierra Club California Executive Committee, Stockton
Tweets of the day
'What Zuckerberg fails to understand is that by saying [Holocaust] deniers aren't "intentionally" getting things wrong, he leaves open the possibility that they could be right... This is breathtakingly irresponsible' writes @deborahlipstadt in @CNNOpinion: https://t.co/cgFbcxjavU— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 19, 2018
My general point that no one should be doing the filtering of news for 2.1 billion people. But Mark Zuckerberg defending the sincerity of Holocaust deniers suggests that we may have picked the single worst person to do what is an impossible job. pic.twitter.com/j3GELcn0w4— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) July 18, 2018
The second-wildest thing about the Zuckerberg interview is that he wasn't even asked about Holocaust denial, he just said he'd keep it on Facebook on his own https://t.co/4mI8k4pssE pic.twitter.com/pPUc4Tn23v— Matt Ford (@fordm) July 18, 2018