Opinion

Kamala Harris to leave death penalty up to voters

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter.

As Donald Trump captured the Indiana primary and Sen. Ted Cruz suspended his presidential campaign (wow), we focused on the California’s Senate race, the back and forth between Gov. Jerry Brown and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (Spoiler Alert: We think Scott has a point), the fights in other states over Uber and transgender rights, and the Hacker Lab’s mayoral forum.

Attorney General Kamala Harris visited our opinion shop Tuesday and, answering a question, restated her opposition to the death penalty. She also said there are limits to what a senator or an attorney general can do.

“Your question asks, ‘How will it end?’ My answer is, ‘With the voters.’ ” Harris said. “I think ultimately, the voters of California are going to make the decision.”

Voters probably will get the opportunity, thanks to a decision by another death penalty foe, Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown signed a bill giving $16 million to county elections officials so they can count initiative petition signatures turned in as late as May 20.

Brown wanted the extra time so his measure to overhaul sentencing can make it onto the November ballot. But elections officials could count petitions submitted by any promoters, including death penalty advocates who are seeking to qualify an initiative for November to speed up executions.

Representing anti-death-penalty advocates, consultant Bill Zimmerman said his side submitted 601,000 signatures, more than sufficient to qualify a competing November initiative to abolish the death penalty.

Take a number: $76,305

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, in California to lure business and no doubt hit up the ATM, raised $76,305 from Californians in his 2014 re-election. Chevron gave $3,000 to the climate-change-denying governor, and billionaire Elon Musk, founder of the electric car company Tesla, gave Scott $2,500.

Our take

Editorial: Jerry Brown tussles with Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Scott has a point, however.

Endorsement: In our view, experience matters. Kerri Howell for Sacramento County supervisor.

John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance responds to our editorial, “Legislators, casino interests smell money.”

Rodney K. Brown warns that solar panel loans have spun out of control.

Their take

The Mercury News of San Jose lauds Sen. Bob Hertzberg and Treasurer John Chiang for legislation to closely track how government spends bond funds.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat offers thumbs down on Sen. Bob Huff’s brainstorm to allow advertisements on state-owned electronic road message signs.

The Miami Herald says Miami-Dade commissioners can’t put the brakes on Uber and Lyft ride-hailing services, but should provide direction.

Taylor Batten, The Charlotte Observer’s editorial page editor, says North Carolina Attorney General candidate Buck Newton, backer of HB 2 to keep “our state straight,” is taking “us back in time to the darkest days of Southern history.”

The syndicates

Dana Milbank: Ted Cruz-Carly Fiorina, the musical comedy.

David Brooks: The choice explosion.

Michael Gerson: The state of disunion.

And finally

We spent an hour-plus at a candidates’ forum at Hacker Lab the other night. Angelique Ashby won the night by portraying herself as business friendly and hugely interested in Sacramento’s future as a tech magnet. Tony “The Tiger” Lopez wins the award for most sincere, for telling the techies how much he he loves computers but knows little about them. Darrell Steinberg sent a stand-in who tried without much success to make Steinberg’s case. Steinberg had a long-standing engagement elsewhere. Bryan “Extreme Moderator” Barton moderated heroically as he drank wine from a very tall water glass.

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