Welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter, produced by The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board. Starting on Monday, Aug. 6, it will become part of Capitol Alert, our go-to source on California policy and politics. Take subscribers will automatically start receiving the Capitol Alert newsletter. If you’re not a subscriber, sign up for free at sacbee.com/newsletters.
The Measure U debate is about more than taxes. It’s about Sacramento’s future as a city. The Sacramento City Council should agree on Tuesday to put a 1-cent sales tax on the Nov. 6 ballot. The measure would renew the existing half-cent Measure U for police, fire and parks and add another half-cent for neighborhood investment and inclusive economic growth. Read more.
Jack Ohman salutes California firefighters. See the cartoon here.
Dan Walters, CALMatters: California’s 114 community colleges are the Rodney Dangerfields of higher education, overshadowed by the state’s four-year universities and not getting much respect. Some big changes are coming to the system; some of them from Gov. Jerry Brown, who began his political career a half-century ago as a community college trustee in Los Angeles and will end it this year. Read more.
Fred Keeley, former Assembly speaker pro tem: Due to court rulings and incoherent regulations, California’s utilities face outsized financial risks from wildfires. To achieve climate change goals, we need financially healthy utilities. You don’t have to like them, but we do need them. Read more.
Joel Nelsen, California Citrus Mutual, and Roger Isom, California Cotton Ginners & Growers Association: Major investor-owned utilities, insurance companies, trial lawyers and others are all playing “hot potato” with liability for damages. Those at risk of getting stuck with the tab are ratepayers. Read more.
Erwin Chemerinsky, UC Berkeley Law School: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will be best remembered for the times he disappointed conservatives. Read more.
Takes on Devin Nunes
Mark Arax, “The Dreamt Land: Chasing Dust and Water Across California”: ‘Deep State’ isn’t Devin Nunes’ first conspiracy theory. You’ll never guess who he blames for the drought. Read more.
Markek Warzawski, Fresno Bee: Rep. Devin Nunes used to care about Valley. Now he’s a D.C. fat cat living large on donors’ dime. Read more.
Here’s our editorial from earlier this year on Rep. Nunes, which called him Trump’s stooge and received quite a bit of national attention. Read more.
Takes on Trump and collusion
Max Boot, Washington Post: It is hard to exaggerate the potential significance of the news, first reported by CNN, that the president's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, can testify that Donald Trump both knew in advance and approved of the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower between his campaign's high command and Kremlin emissaries who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. Read more.
Paul Waldman, Washington Post: Whenever Rudy Giuliani makes a new round of television appearances saying false, curious or just bizarre things in defense of his client, President Donald Trump, some people inevitably ask why he keeps getting invited back on these programs. But there’s a great value to Giuliani’s appearances. They tell us what the president is thinking about special counsel Robert Mueller ‘s investigation into the Russia scandal – and what he’s afraid of. Read more.
Los Angeles Times: The devastating Carr fire in Northern California continues to ravage the countryside, killing six people with an additional seven people unaccounted for. To the southeast, two men died fighting the Ferguson fire near Yosemite National Park. There were 15 other fires raging elsewhere in California. Such fires are nothing new in this part of the country. But the fire season this year has begun much earlier than usual. Read more
San Francisco Chronicle: It’s lost in court, at the ballot and in Washington, but the notion of ripping out the heart of San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy water and power system is rising from its policy coffin. It’s odd timing, coming amid drought, water wars and the nearby Ferguson Fire. Stranger still is the newfound patronage of the fringe plan from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, no friend of the environment or California’s best interests. Read more.
San Jose Mercury News: Ron Dellums was a gentleman. A fiery orator against the Vietnam War. A leader of the fight against South African apartheid. An opponent of U.S. military expansion. The plaintiff in the legal battle to stop this country’s military buildup in the Middle East before the first Iraq war. The gentleman from California, from the Bay Area, from Berkeley, from Oakland, the city where he was born, died Sunday after battling prostate cancer. He was 82. Read more.
Guy Branum, New York Times: I grew up a cerebral, effeminate child in a farm town in Northern California. You may assume when I say “Northern California,” I mean the vineyard and lesbian-sous-chef-laden lands of the Napa Valley. I do not. I am from the Sacramento Valley. Read more.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: One of the current complaints of the Trump right concerns the treatment given to Alex Jones by Facebook, which has temporarily banned the radio host for videos that violated “community standards.” There are few things I enjoy less than spilling ink on Jones’ vile lunacy. But Donald Trump has made a great many unpleasant things unavoidable. Read more.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: When the International Monetary Fund announced its forecast that Venezuela will reach a 1 million annual inflation rate this year, I wondered whether it’s because that country has the most inept government on Earth, or whether it’s pursuing a deliberate policy to encourage the mass migration of government critics. Read more.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: The xenophobic cultural warriors in the administration – President Donald Trump, policy adviser Stephen Miller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions – sent a message to refugees fleeing rampant violence in Central America: If you show up at the border seeking asylum, you may never see your children again. Read more.
Trudy Rubin, Philadelphia Inquirer: August is supposed to be the month you manage a vacation escape from the real or surreal world, including Trumpmania. But for those who can’t let go and still schlep wonky books to the beach, here are my picks for relevant reading this summer, with a focus on democracy, Russia – and Shakespeare. Read more.
Tweets of the day
NEW: Giuliani just moved the goal posts in 2 big ways on Fox & CNN :— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) July 30, 2018
1. He's no longer claiming Trump didn't collude with Russia. He's claiming "collusion is not a crime."
2. He's not saying Trump did not know abt 2016 Russia mtg in advance. He's saying Trump did not ATTEND it.
Giuliani's statement on collusion is the sound of the other shoe dropping. https://t.co/4WNOyF8XPE— Chris Matthews (@HardballChris) July 30, 2018
There is No Collusion! The Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17 (increased from 13, including an Obama White House lawyer) Angry Democrats, was started by a fraudulent Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC. Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018