California Forum

Alabama’s uprising + Tax bill takes aim at California + Trump’s FCC seeks to end net neutrality

Welcome to TakeTwo, drawn from The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s opinion-politics newsletter, The Take. Please go to to sign up.


Not to put too fine a point on it, but we called the GOP’s tax bill “a monstrosity.” It’s aimed right at California taxpayers who earn decent salaries but aren’t rich and deduct state income taxes, and those who have mortgages that exceed $750,000, common in the Bay Area and much of Southern California. Seven out of 10 Americans don’t want it. One is Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, who faces a tough re-election in 2018 and whose constituents would take it on the collective chin if the bill becomes law. It also will explode the federal debt and threaten the Affordable Care Act. Not that we had seen the full bill. It hadn’t been released. But there were leaks. We’ll find out what’s in it after it’s passed. Where have we heard that before?

Back and forth

Liberal commentator Sasha Abramsky writes that Californians should stick it to Trump and pass a statewide version of the New Deal. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro writes that California politicians have skated on the high taxes they pass for too long. Not to let legislators off the hook, but voters used initiatives in 2004 and 2016 to raise income taxes on the wealthiest Californians to pay for mental health care, public schools and health care.

Alabama uprising

Doug Jones shook the political world by winning the Alabama Senate seat over Republican Roy Moore, thanks to heavy turnout among African Americans, a strong get-out-the-vote effort and, mostly, Moore’s thing for teenage girls when he was in his mid-30s. Columnist Charles M. Blow wrote that Moore’s defeat suggests people who have normalized Donald Trump will have hell to pay in 2018. Maybe, but 2018 is a long way off.

Rest in peace

We mourned Mayor Ed Lee’s passing. He was a decent and understated man who died too young after collapsing at a Safeway near his home. Low-key though he may have been, we noted that his city’s influence became mighty during his six-year tenure. Lee lay in state under San Francisco’s grand City Hall rotunda. A crowd is expected for the memorial service Sunday. Scheduled speakers include his predecessors, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown.

Sandy Hook

The five-year anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School passed. A week earlier, all 14 Republican members of the California congressional delegation sided with the National Rifle Association and against their own state by voting for a bill that would require California to honor permits to carry concealed weapons issued by other states, no matter how lax those state laws are. The bill’s fate is uncertain in the Senate.

Net neutrality

Once again siding against consumers and start-ups, the Donald Trump administration, in the form of the Federal Communication Commission, voted to kill net neutrality, the Obama-era regulations that sought to protect consumers and tech companies from the greediest impulses of giant internet service providers such as Comcast and AT&T. Twitter is ready to “fight.” Netflix is “disappointed.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is just fine with turning “to the courts.” Congressional Democrats channeled the outrage of their constituents by demanding legislation to restore neutrality. Several states also are weighing legal action, as is the Internet Association. Yet again, Washington takes aim at California.