Opinion

The Take: Coal, transgender soldiers, family leave and teacher tenure

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

Lots of news; lots of opinion. Legislators sent gun safety bills to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will sign some but not all. Brown’s initiative to partially return to indeterminate sentencing qualified for the November ballot, as did one to speed up the death penalty. We opine on coal legislation, and failed family leave and teacher tenure bills, plus Markos Kounalakis writes about the European institution that remains strong.

Take that

In March, Utah legislators slipped $51 million into an end-of-session bill, calling it economic development money. In fact, it was intended to help finance a Port of Oakland terminal from which Utah coal would be shipped to nations that don’t have or can’t afford California’s environmental sensibilities.

The Salt Lake Tribune thought this was a terrible idea, as did The Deseret News. We’re none too pleased, as the rail cars would roll through downtown Sacramento, as The Bee’s Tony Bizjak has written.

Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, responded with bills to require an environmental study by the Port of Oakland – the Oakland City Council earlier this week voted down the terminal – and bar the California Transportation Commission from earmarking funds for a coal terminal. Her bills passed out of Assembly committees this week and head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“Hopefully, they’ll go into another line of economic development,” Hancock said of Utah.

Look for a fight over Hancock’s bill in August when legislators return, and perhaps in the courts.

Not affected by the bills is the Port of Long Beach, a point of debarkation for petroleum coke bound for power plants in those very same countries that don’t share the Golden State’s environmental sensibilities. Petcoke, a byproduct of refining, is dirtier than coal.

Our take

Editorial: A dirty political deed by Assemblyman Roger Hernández and some other Democrats on the all-male Assembly Labor Committee hurt working families.

Editorial: A modest teacher tenure bill by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla met a bipartisan death, despite the best efforts of Sen. Loni Hancock.

Dan Walters: California’s perpetual war over schools flares on several fronts.

Markos Kounalakis: There is one European-wide institution that promises to be a unifying European political structure, NATO, and it could be a solution to European youth unemployment.

Mark Baldassare: Bernie Sanders’ supporters could turn out to vote November because of the Gavin Newsom-backed pot initiative.

Bill Whalen: Barack Obama’s visits to California were missed opportunities.

Darrel Woo and Nilda Guanzon Valmores: Men must be held accountable for domestic violence.

Jane Braxton Little: Surprisingly little is known about the Smith River, California’s last free-flowing river. But cantankerous Ted Souza has been fishing it for 66 years and has an idea for fixing the depleted fishery.

Their take

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: What can’t be forgotten in the debate about how to address homelessness is that nobody is more vulnerable than the homeless themselves, as became evident Monday when Cirak Mateos Tesfazgi was found stabbed to death.

San Diego Union Tribune: California must act decisively before its largest inland body of water, the Salton Sea, turns into a giant toxic dust bowl.

Raleigh News & Observer: Repeal HB2 and be done with it. Otherwise, black eyes and bloody nose will be followed by a knockout punch.

Miami Herald: Sen. Marco Rubio can be a hero in the Zika fight. Unfortunately, the vigor with which he works to serve his state seems to depend on his political needs.

Syndicates take

Michael Gerson: A Cuban doctor who moves history.

Charles Krauthammer: Brexit: Sovereign kingdom or little England?

Eugene Robinson: GOP leaders should put their country before their party.

Dana Milbank: Benghazi conspiracy theorists turn on Trey Gowdy.

Gail Collins: A patriotic presidential quiz.

Take a number: 47

Not long ago, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimated that 700,000 American adults, or 0.3 percent of the population, identified as transgender. Today, that number is pegged at 1.4 million.

Researchers attribute the increase to growing social awareness of what it means to be transgender and to younger Americans who are increasingly unafraid to identify as such.

As of Thursday, transgender people will be able to serve openly in the military. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter lifted the ban on transgender troops after a year of study, saying it’s “the right thing to do for our people.”

The San Jose Mercury News opines: Transgender individuals in U.S. military? Yawn. What’s new? Yes, times have changed in the 47 years since the uprising at Stonewall Inn, which now is a national monument.

Tweet of the day

Ben Adler ‏@adlerben @JerryBrownGov just walked by. I asked him about the #guncontrol bills. He replied that I was interfering with his contemplation process.

  Comments