Welcome to Take Two, our weekly sampler of California opinion, drawn from The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s opinion-politics newsletter, The Take. Please go to sacbee.com/site-services/newsletters/ to sign up.
Such a nice idea
“Bipartisanship” is such a sweet word, like “unicorn.” Assemblyman Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley learned all about it after voting for the cap-and-trade bill last month, and getting bounced as Assembly Republican leader last week. California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte, and Republican National Committee members Shawn Steel and Harmeet Dhillon sealed his fate by demanding he step down. If only the GOP could do something about its numbers. A mere 25.9 percent of California’s registered voters are Republicans, down by 300,000 registered voters since 2007. Democrats gained more than 2 million registrants during that time. Mayes promised to persist, saying in an interview that he will work to “remake the California Republican Party. I am a believer that if we don’t reshape it, we’re going to continue down the death spiral.” In an act of class, Mayes voted for his successor, Brian Dahle of Nubieber.
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Editor’s note: An early version used a line intended to be funny. It wasn’t so we removed it in the online version.
Speaking of sweetness, Republicans gathered sufficient signatures to recall Orange County Sen. Josh Newman. They claim it’s because of his vote for the gas tax to fix our roads. Really, they think they can win back the Fullerton seat. Understandably, Democrats won’t let one of their own go down without a fight. They used their majorities to drag out the process. The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board was among those that got huffy about it, opining that “both sides have disgraced themselves and their institutions in pursuit of an ephemeral partisan win.” Yes, Democrats are being heavy-handed. We find it hard to get too worked up. Republicans have weaponized the recall process, aiming it at a politician who, shockingly, voted his conscience.
The L.A. Times has rightly embraced legislation sponsored by L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer that would give him and three other big city attorneys investigatory power to subpoena records before suing suspected corporate miscreants. The Take in June wrote favorably about AB 814 by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica. The bill is stuck in Senate Appropriations. Question for Senate Democratic leaders, most of whom will be running for different offices in 2018: Will you cross the California Chamber of Commerce, Technet and Civil Justice Association of California, not to mention bankers, insurance, health care, telecom, builders, broadcasters, manufacturers, oil companies and more bankers, all of whom oppose AB 814?
A sweet deal
Foon Rhee is nothing if not tenacious. For years, he has been bugged that Sacramento employs firefighters to operate ambulances. It’s an unnecessary cost, $400,000 per ambulance per year, $6 million total. Earlier this month, Foon broke the news that the city quietly took ambulances staffed with paramedics out for a six-month test drive, and it went smoothly. Shocking, right? But there’s more. Sacramento trains EMTs in an apprenticeship program. But as we noted in an editorial, graduates of this worthy program wouldn’t be allowed to work in city ambulances without becoming full-fledged firefighters. Crazy. The issue will come before the council during contract talks next year. The firefighters union didn’t endorse Darrell Steinberg’s run for mayor. Not that he would hold that against them.
A little perspective
What a week. Steve Bannon is back at Breitbart. Donald Trump announced a surge in Afghanistan, America’s longest war, and went to Arizona where he ranted and, as near as we can tell, had no kind words for Sen. John McCain who is being treated for brain cancer. So classy. And to think the week started with something awe-inspiring and out of our hands, the solar eclipse. If you didn’t read our editorial, do yourself a favor. Not to spoil it, but here’s its ending: “We are stardust. We are light. We are dark. We are infinitesimal in the cosmos. And like this eclipse, we are oh, so brief. There is nothing like us. Now we are here. And now we are gone.”