Opinion

Tim Cook, campaign disclosure and California’s slow vote count

Apple CEO Tim Cook, 2015.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, 2015. AP

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

We’re Silicon Valley-heavy today: Apple CEO Tim Cook, Jim Heerwagen, and Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s effort to improve disclosure and counting votes. Take the time to read Foon Rhee’s column about new citizens and the truths that children speak. Silicon Valley cares about immigration reform, we’re told.

Take on Tim Cook

Like several other corporations, Apple has declined to participate in this month’s Republican National Convention, out of concern about Donald Trump. But Apple has federal issues, as became evident when CEO Tim Cook decided to fete Speaker Paul Ryan at a fundraiser last week in Menlo Park.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacted bluntly, telling The San Francisco Chronicle: “Poor Tim. What a nice guy he is, but somebody gave him bad advice.”

Apple’s lobbying cost never exceeded $2 million until 2011, when Republicans took control of the House and Cook became Apple’s chief executive. Apple spent $4.52 million last year to lobby Congress and is on pace to spend that much in 2016, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reports.

Apple’s lobbying presence is far smaller in Sacramento, averaging $132,000 a year. It’s biggest campaign donation remains $100,000 to oppose Proposition 8 in 2008. Not a stand Ryan took.

Take a number: $1.75 million

Sen. Bob Hertzberg, the Los Angeles Democrat, and Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced plans in March to upgrade Cal-Access, so voters could better track campaign and lobbying spending. It was part of an effort to avert a broader reform initiative by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jim Heerwagen.

“Cal-Access is very important. It measures the influence of the interests,” Heerwagen said.

Hertzberg sought $13.5 million to replace the site, created on Secretary of State Bill Jones’ watch at the turn of the century. We thought of the Hertzberg-Padilla promise Monday when Cal-Access flashed an error message: “The page you requested is unable to be displayed at this time.”

The new budget includes $1.75 million, a start. Heerwagen, who dropped the initiative, praised Hertzberg and Padilla’s efforts, but said: “I don’t think any of us feel like we’re done.”

Our take

Editorial: Yes, they’re still counting California primary votes. But legislation pushed by Alex Padilla and authored by Los Angeles-area Democratic Sens. Ben Allen and Bob Hertzberg seeks to push California toward a more perfect vote count.

Foon Rhee: Children becoming citizens remind us what America stands for.

Karin Klein: To pass English, students should have to read more than one full book.

Rob Bonta and Pablo Alvarado: Do we want to be a state that punishes victims, tears apart families and destroys communities’ trust in law enforcement?

John Bozzella: California must offer more to reach electric vehicle goals.

Their take

The Riverside Press Enterprise: The bullet train sold to California voters in 2008 is not the project that might someday be completed. It will certainly cost more, do less and siphon resources away from things that would benefit the average person.

The East Bay Times: California lawmakers need to wake up and smell the moving vans. This may come as a shock to them, but many other states do not view businesses as the state’s personal piggy banks to be plundered.

The Kansas City Star: Why can’t Kansas collect enough revenue to provide the sound, basic public services that 3 million residents deserve? Because of the income tax cuts Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature approved in 2012. Put another way, this state of fiscal hell was created by its own inept political leaders.

The Chicago Tribune makes clear that death takes no holiday. At midday on Monday, The Trib reported that there had been 33 shootings in President Barack Obama’s adopted hometown over the holiday weekend. And The Trib editorialized: We have an Orlando every month in Chicago, and no one seems to raise an eyebrow.

Syndicates’ take

Paul Krugman: Trumponomics involves posing as a populist, claiming that getting tough on foreigners and ripping up our trade agreements will bring back the well-paying jobs America has lost.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Instead of challenging each other’s love of country, we should accept that deep affection can take different forms.

Eugene Robinson: GOP seeks a real Hillary Clinton scandal. Any scandal will do.

Michael Gerson: America’s indispensable paradox.

Tweet of the day

Pierre Omidyar, eBay founder ‏@pierre: Does the phrase “dishonest media” sound familiar? What do you think it means? Turns out it means “I got caught.”

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