Opinion

Labor mulls Newsom’s marijuana measure; Steyer offers water

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Today, we acknowledge that the Gavin Newsom/Sean Parker/Weedmap marijuana legalization initiative qualified for the November ballot, and think about workers who toil in 100-degree heat to bring us our food. Oh, and Zika and California’s depleted groundwater, too. It’s all related.

Taking heat

As the temperature neared 100, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer joined United Farm Workers leader Arturo Rodriguez on the north steps of the Capitol to urge lawmakers to approve overtime for farmworkers, as described by The Sacramento Bee’s David Siders.

Across L Street a short while later, supporters and opponents of the Gavin Newsom/Sean Parker/Weedmaps marijuana legalization initiative made their pitches to the California Labor Federation for endorsements.

Labor faces a question: Would the initiative give them a shot at organizing trimmers, drivers, retail clerks and other workers in the multibillion-dollar industry that is sure to grow?

Imagine, for a minute, if labor could have had a say when California’s agriculture industry was taking off. Would we still be talking about whether farmworkers should get overtime after working 40 hours a week? On Wednesday, Rodriguez lamented Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, the 17-year-old girl who collapsed while working in a vineyard near Lodi in 2008 and died. Would she have died if labor had been at the bargaining table when California’s farm industry was getting started?

Steyer announced he would supply workers with water jugs that have labels detailing California regulations intended to prevent heatstroke, with the UFW’s phone number. His view of legalization: The war on drugs has been a failure, but “it is not the thing I’ve focused on.” He’s more interested, he said, in “bread-and-butter issues for working people.” And water.

Take a number: $1.126 million

On June 9, Weedmaps, the app that is a little like the Uber of marijuana, retained the high-end lobby firm Lang, Hansen, O’Malley & Miller to represent it on “all issues related to marijuana technology.” Since April 16, 2015, Weedmaps has given $1.126 million to California campaigns, including $1 million to qualify the legalization initiative, and $56,400 to Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign.

Our take

Editorial: Do members of Congress want a widespread Zika outbreak on their consciences?

Editorial: Sen. Lois Wolk’s Senate Bill 1317 was an important bill that would have slowed the speed at which new wells are drilled, but local government and agriculture interests opposed it.

Joe Mathews: Here’s what makes San Diego’s Fourth of July festivities so special – and they truly are great.

Marcos Breton: When madness came to Sacramento, CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow and Sac PD Chief Sam Somers Jr. weren’t ready.

Their take

The San Francisco Chronicle: The scandal-plagued California Public Utilities Commission gets a shake-up at last.

The L.A. Times: Reforms worked out by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators will go a long way toward addressing the persistent complaints that the PUC is too cozy with utility executives.

Redding Record Searchlight: California’s liberal supermajority is treading dangerous ground as it continues to test the limits of its power. Terrible legislation by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, on concealed carry permits should be the line that marks that limit. (We respectfully disagree, at least when it comes to the cost of carry permits.)

Angie Wei of the California Labor Federation writes a deeply personal piece at Medium.com about immigration. “My dad was a janitor who got reported at work and INS came to get him at work.”

Debra J. Saunders of The Chronicle: Hillary and Bill Clinton have a genius for convincing the media that their miscues and cover-ups don’t matter because they are old news.

Biloxi Sun Herald: The fight over whether circuit clerks have the right to deny marriage licenses has made Mississippi look even worse in the eyes of its detractors and undoubtedly has cost the Mississippi Coast tourism dollars. More than that, it is just plain wrong.

Syndicates’ take

Dana Milbank: Two years and $7 million later, there is no smoking Benghazi gun.

Trudy Rubin: Globalization, the technology-driven destruction of borders, has changed the Western world so dramatically and so fast that many ordinary people are desperate to halt or reverse it.

Thomas L. Friedman: The pace of change has outrun the ability of our political systems to keep up.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Bernie Sanders is making his goodbye count.

Tweet of the day

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore,@asmMelendez: “Today I learned that it’s really true, to test a man’s character, all one needs to do is give him power. Very disappointing day.”

Melendez was referring to Assembly Public Safety Committee Chair Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, who manhandled Republican Sen. Janet Nguyen’s bill to raise the penalty for concealing a death. Jones-Sawyer pulled Nguyen’s bill back into the committee after it had passed over his objection and weakened it with amendments. As the hearing closed, Melendez, the committee’s vice chair, called the maneuver a “great dirty trick that the Assembly has up its sleeve.” One of many.

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