Opinion

The Take: A stand for farmworkers, more Trump follies

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.

Let the countdown begin. The legislative session comes to a close on Wednesday. We start with a day of reckoning for farmworkers, pivot to some bills that, no matter what, must make it to the governor’s desk, and try – and fail – to figure out Donald Trump’s stance on immigration.

Take that

After a dramatic delay last week, with angry laborers chanting outside the Assembly chamber, the talk of the Capitol today will be the farmworker overtime bill, which goes to the floor for a vote.

The exploitation of farm labor is one of California’s oldest and most regrettable stories, our editorial board writes. The poorly paid, mostly immigrant workers who pick our produce have unions to look out for them now, but they still get a rotten deal on pay for working extra hours.

Assembly Bill 1066, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, would change that by slowly imposing the same standards for overtime pay that exist in almost every other industry in California. If it passes, credit Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. He’s been taking heat since last week’s vote was postponed, but the 41 votes the bill needs might have been more secure if its backers hadn’t indulged in that counterproductive farmworker rally stunt.

A handful of other bills should make the shortlist to the governor’s desk, too. Among those we’ve supported are the New Parent Leave Act, SB 654, which would extend the state’s paid family leave program to employees of small businesses. Also, SB 1190, which would ban ex parte communications for members of the beleaguered Coastal Commission, and AB 2868, which would create incentives for storing solar and wind power in the wake of the disastrous Aliso Canyon methane leak.

The Trump follies

Will Donald Trump build a wall? Will he deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, as promised? Or will he grant some of them amnesty? For now, things remain about as clear as mud.

On Saturday, the Republican nominee told supporters in Iowa that he will eject those who have committed violent crimes – or “international gangs of thugs and drug cartels.” Meanwhile, Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, took to the Sunday news shows to defend the nominee’s shifting position on immigration as “consistent,” while campaign manager Kellyanne Conway described it as a softening in “approach.”

Yup, clear as mud. Expect more clarity in a speech on Wednesday – we think.

Take a number: 37 percentage points

That’s the average difference in poverty rates for the 50 most economically segregated pairs of school districts in America, including three in California. In The Numbers Crunch, Foon Rhee takes a look at a new study from EdBuild on the divide between rich and poor districts and at what Fresno Unified is trying to do to address its challenges.

Our take

Editorial: After a long road, a change in the air.

Editorial: Farm work overtime is small price to pay.

Editorial: Three bills that must make it to the governor’s desk.

Dan Morain: Christian colleges receive a baptism by legislation.

Jack Ohman: He’s got evidence of not being in the tank.

Joyce Terhaar: They saved our soldiers; here’s how to help them.

Op Image: The small, devastating face of yet another war.

Their take

Tom Steyer: Lawmakers made the right call in passing SB 32, extending California’s signature clean air law.

Oscar Reyes: California’s cap-and-trade scheme is in trouble. It’s time to develop more effective climate policies.

Rob Bonta: Don’t worry. The potency of pot will be regulated under new medical cannabis law.

Amanda L. Tyler: Mitsuye Endo of Sacramento, an unsung WWII hero who deserves the Medal of Freedom.

Lien Hoang: With a first-ever gold medal at the Rio Olympics, maybe Vietnam will finally be known for something other than the Vietnam War.

The take from the swing states

​Harold Jackson, Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania, 21 electoral votes): Many in the black community are suffering, but they have a better chance of survival with someone who hasn’t left a bullet in the chamber for them.

Phil Van Treuren, Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio, 18 votes): The GOP is a party I’m proud of, and I’ll be damned if I abandon it to a con man. I only wish I could help every Republican understand that Donald Trump is a mortal threat, not a savior.

Charlotte Observer (North Carolina, 15 votes): We’d normally urge Trump to disavow speculation about dysphasia, concussions and the rest. But given his fondness for conspiracies – he was an enthusiastic Obama birther – we know that’s not going to happen.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin, 10 votes): We urge the State Department to release all remaining Hillary Clinton documents as quickly as possible so that voters have all the facts.

Denver Post (Colorado, 9 votes): Legitimate questions remain about the Clinton Foundation donor access to Clinton.

Las Vegas Sun (Nevada, 5 votes): GOP-voting Jim Murren, CEO of MGM Resorts International, astutely gives Clinton public support.

Manchester Union Leader (New Hampshire, 4 votes): Granite State voters, disgusted by the choices they face this fall, are giving Libertarian Gary Johnson a close look.

Syndicates’ take

Paul Krugman: No, America isn’t a hellhole.

David Brooks: The art of gracious leadership.

Quote of the week:

“They’re almost in a class by themselves.” – Andrew Jones, a director of the nonprofit think tank Climate Interactive, to The New York Times, on California’s climate leadership after last week’s SB 32 vote.

Follow Dan Morain on Twitter @DanielMorain and The Bee’s Editorial Board @SacBeeEditBoard, and like us on Facebook.

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