California Forum

Scott Jones unretires + Weird peccadilloes + Money trail + The future of news

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


Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones’ announcement of his retirement was greatly exaggerated. As Marcos Breton reported last Sunday, Jones was mulling unretiring. Sure enough, he announced later in the week that he would seek a third term. Lucky us. Not so Republican members of Congress. McClatchy D.C.’s Andrew Malcolm noted that 31 House Republicans are quitting. Perhaps they sense a Democratic wave in November. Maybe they are tired of the bitter partisan environment and perhaps this president. That gives Democrats the confidence that they can win back the House in November. This is, however, the very same party that was certain it would win the White House in 2016.


We urged all 53 California members of Congress to sign onto a compromise DACA bill offered by Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, Jeff Denham, R-Turlock and Pete Aguilar, D-Fontana. As of Thursday, nine other Californians had joined: Republicans David Valadao of Hanford and Steve Knight of Palmdale, and Democrats Salud Carbajal of Santa Barbara, Zoe Lofgren of San Mateo, Lucille Roybal-Allard of Los Angeles, Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert, Judy Chu of Pasadena, Scott Peters of San Diego and Ami Bera of Elk Grove. We’re holding our breath awaiting word from Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, and all the rest.


On the editorial pages, we did not write about the $130,000 payment reportedly made by Donald Trump’s attorney to porn actress Stormy Daniels (a story broken by a former member of the Sacramento press corps, Michael Rothfeld, now of the Wall Street Journal) to keep her quiet about a supposed fling over in Reno. Why not have a tryst with a porn actress named Stormy, when your third wife had just given birth to your child? What could possibly go wrong? But, hey, Trump told anti-abortion marchers on Friday: “We’re with you all the way.” Again, we avoided Stormy. Far more significant was the piece by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon from the McClatchy D.C. Bureau detailing how the FBI is investigating whether Russian banker Alexander Torshin funneled money to the all-American, red-blooded folks at National Rifle Association to help Trump.

Show Me State

Some things you don’t want to be shown, and have a hard time un-seeing. Newsies revealed that Missouri’s pious governor, Eric Greitens, had an extramarital affair, which he subsequently admitted, though he denied blackmailing the woman by taping her hands to a piece of exercise equipment in the basement of his former home in St. Louis, blindfolding her and taking a nude photo. Our cousins at The Kansas City Star demanded that Greitens “break his silence on the black cloud enveloping his administration” if he wants to keep his job. As of deadline, Greitens had not resigned.


Audrey Cooper, editor of The San Francisco Chronicle, attracted attention with her letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “Hi Mark. We met last year, but you probably don’t remember. Let me remind you about what we discussed: You told me how important The Chronicle’s work is in the Bay Area and how invested Facebook was in helping us to do it. I believed you. I really wanted to, and, frankly, I didn’t have much of a choice.” We who produce news and you who care about news all have a stake in the outcome of this issue.

Letter of the week

“When Californians voted last year to legalize recreational marijuana, that approval required the state to establish measures regulating growers’ use of pesticides, energy and water. But the state’s current plan not only fails to adequately prohibit growers from using wildlife-killing rat poisons but also fails to adequately assess harms from projected increases in use of pesticides, water and energy.” – Bill Haskins, Sacramento