On July 4, Elie Wiesel and the importance of taking a stand

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

We think today about freedom, especially the freedom to speak up and take a stand, and the need to remember. “The danger lies in forgetting,” Elie Wiesel taught.

Taking a stand

On April 21, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia took a stand by urging that Assemblyman Roger Hernández step down from his committee assignments, including his chairmanship of the all-male Assembly Labor Committee. This came after his wife accused him in court of abusing her physically.

“Domestic violence is an important issue that this Legislature has worked hard to address through awareness and statewide legislation,” Jackson and Garcia said in their news release.

Other Democratic assemblywomen were notably absent as signatories. For some Democrats, putting principle above party loyalty was too tall an order.

Speaker Anthony Rendon resisted Jackson and Garcia’s call, too, until Friday at 6:31 p.m., two and a half months later. When most people were focused on the long July 4 weekend and not on the news, Rendon stripped Hernández of committee assignments.

That’s a start, late. Here’s our take on how Rendon can show that the Hernández case doesn’t reflect his or the Assembly’s values. Shawn Hubler, @shawnhubler

Take a number: 240

Whether you became a citizen last week, or are the descendent of a soldier who fought at Bunker Hill, today is the day to celebrate our 240th birthday. Go to Point Reyes, or Tahoe, or sit in your backyard, or take a walk to your neighborhood park. Watch a ballgame and some pyrotechnics, but please take a minute to contemplate our ongoing attempt to achieve a more perfect union and revolutionary goal that all people are created equal.

We offer this editorial take: We can all agree that independence should be defended and cherished. We also need to agree that with that independence is a recognition of interdependence, not just at home but abroad.

Our take

Editorial: HR 167 would let the U.S. Forest Service tap into emergency funds to fight the most disastrous of wildfires. The authors, Oregon Democrat Rep. Kurt Schrader and Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson, have signed up 147 co-sponsors. Missing is Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, whose mountainous district is particularly susceptible to wildfires.

Joyce Terhaar: We have yet to hear satisfying answers to questions we’ve asked in the aftermath of the Capitol melee, particularly from the CHP: Why did officers appear to hang back? And why were no arrests made before protesters were allowed to leave?

Dan Morain: California voters have not looked kindly on rich business people running for governor, as Al Checchi and Meg Whitman can attest. If Tom Steyer is running for governor in 2018, he is going about it differently.

Erika D. Smith: This is a city where leaders talk a good game about building an environment where young professionals want to make their mark. But often what happens is people have ideas and they get farmed out to task forces and buried in bureaucracy.

Foon Rhee: Income inequality is high, so why not broaden the earned-income tax credit?

Heather Fargo: Let’s plan for nature and romance on Sacramento’s riverfront, and let’s involve the community in revising our plans.

Their take

The Mercury News: Enjoy safer, saner Fourth of July, at an organized fireworks show.

East Bay Times: Once diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Pat Summitt did not leave mysteriously. Just the opposite.

San Francisco Chronicle: Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon – who is proving to be no friend of good-government practices – had a particularly precious response to Charles Munger Jr. and Sam Blakeslee, proponents of the California Legislature Transparency Act.

Debra J. Saunders of The Chronicle: You can listen to Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson for a whole hour and not feel dirty afterward.

Miami Herald: More than 335 children have been shot to death in Miami-Dade during the past decade. The shootings have been done by teens who should not have had guns. So where did they get them?

Andrew C. McCarthy in The National Review: The “optics” of the Loretta Lynch-Bill Clinton meeting are not just bad, they are disqualifying. If your spouse were the subject of a major, high-stakes criminal investigation, do you suppose you would get a meeting with the attorney general?

Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker: If Bill Clinton was trying even subtly to influence the investigation, his attempt has backfired spectacularly. The disclosure of the meeting has raised questions about the integrity of the investigation.

Leslie Savan writes in The Nation: Peter Thiel is not an enemy of journalism. He just wants to destroy it. He is getting kudos from the tech world because, like Donald Trump, he shoved it to the prying, undeferential press.

Syndicates’ take

Dana Milbank: It’s Paul Manafort’s right to represent dictators and thugs and regimes that torture. But now this man is setting up a general-election campaign that portrays Donald Trump as a man of the people.

Trudy Rubin: Germany is working to integrate refugees.

David Brooks: The coming political realignment.

And finally,

“If only Washington had been more understanding, if Switzerland had been more welcoming and London less hostile toward illegal refugees. … If the leaders of the Free World had taken the trouble to warn Hungarian Jews, to inform them, to advise them not to obey the evacuation orders, to flee the transports – how many might have managed to save themselves? But we didn’t know. Perhaps we didn’t want to know. It was easier that way.” – Elie Wiesel, forward to “Voices from the Holocaust,” 1981.