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.
Jack Ohman goes to the Donald Trump grocery store. Get your ID here.
Erika D. Smith: Living in Sacramento, it’s easy to ignore the warnings about Americans’ declining trust in government. But if you think California and its capital city are immune, think again. Read more.
Dan Walters, CALMatters: Despite expressing support for CEQA reform, Gov. Jerry Brown has been reluctant to make it a priority. But there are 142 bills before the Legislature and dozens of them would grant broad or narrow CEQA exemptions to housing, particularly those for low-income families. Read more.
Arlen Orchard, SMUD: SMUD supports a reform of the liability rules surrounding wildfires. Unlike investor-owned utilities, we don’t have shareholders to bear the costs, so a major wildfire could cause SMUD’s electric rates to jump by 25 percent. Read more.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and state Sen. Scott Wiener: California has mental health billions. It’s time to improve how they’re spent. Read more.
Takes on DMV
Orange County Register editorial board: If there’s any government agency that might best embody the worst of government, it’s probably the Department of Motor Vehicles. Statewide, wait times have increased 46 percent over the past year, from 48 minutes to 69 minutes. A good starting point to deal with this problem: audit the DMV. Read more.
San Jose Mercury News editorial board: It often seems that the phrase Department of Motor Vehicles and the word bureaucracy are synonymous. But this year the California DMV has taken the equivalency to an entirely new level. Getting a driver’s license renewed or vehicle registered at a local office now takes hours, often entire days. Read more.
Sacramento Bee stories focused attention on the long lines at DMV. Here’s the most recent.
Los Angeles Times: When the next governor is sworn in January, he will have the opportunity to shape policy by filling the many state boards and commissions with his appointees – except, apparently, to the powerful agency charged with overseeing California’s ambitious climate change program. Read more.
San Diego Union-Tribune: A proposal to pursue a more independent San Diego police review commission – by greenlighting talks with the police union ahead of a potential November ballot measure – failed to win enough votes at a City Council meeting when Councilman Chris Ward broke ranks and sided with the council’s Republican minority to scuttle the measure. Read more.
San Francisco Chronicle: The economy may be booming, but President Trump’s tariffs are starting to have an impact on U.S. businesses. Reporting layoffs, increased costs and contracting business, some of the companies affected by Trump’s tariff policy are going to the administration with a simple and dangerous request: Bail us out. Read more.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: California is on the front lines of climate change. If last year’s wildfires that devastated Sonoma County weren’t proof enough, check out the massive fires raging across the state this year. And yet the Trump administration is poised to roll back vehicle efficiency standards, including California’s. Read more.
Aaron Blake, Washington Post: Last week, The New York Times reported on how special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at President Donald Trump’s tweets as potential evidence in an obstruction of justice case. On Wednesday, Trump gave him more potential evidence. In a tweetstorm, Trump called upon Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut the whole Mueller probe down. Read more.
E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post: The political interests of the president of the United States coincide with the purposes of foreign forces using social media to divide us along the lines of race and culture. Read more.
Ross Douthat, New York Times: The possibility for further ambitious conservative legislation seems to have died away; it’s hard to imagine President Trump successfully making deals with Democrats if his party loses the House in November, and so two years may stretch ahead of us in which literally nothing passes Congress except the necessary budget deals. Read more.
Dana Milbank, Washington Post: By now, there are few in the political world who have not yeti heard about what’s going on in the 5th Congressional District of Virginia. The Republican candidate in the race, Denver Riggleman, was discovered to have posted images of “Bigfoot erotica” on Instagram, with the furry fellow’s ample nether regions obscured. Read more.
Tweets of the day
..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
The President of the United States just called on his Attorney General to put an end to an investigation in which the President, his family and campaign may be implicated.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) August 1, 2018
This is an attempt to obstruct justice hiding in plain sight. America must never accept it. https://t.co/F8b6a0IGOh
Just because @realDonaldTrump obstructs justice in full public view by calling on Sessions to interfere in Mueller investigation doesn't mean it's not obstruction of justice. Like when @POTUS went on TV & said he fired Comey due to Russia investigation. That was also obstruction. https://t.co/G0Otz2z9uW— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 1, 2018
If this were any other presidency, Trump's call for Sessions to fire Mueller would be taken seriously. The fact that it's not shows the scary ground we're on. https://t.co/t6LcqMvreg— Chris Matthews (@HardballChris) August 1, 2018