Dan Morain

A confluence of issues: guns, weed and Gavin Newsom


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.

Today, we begin our endorsements by weighing in on Proposition 59, the Citizens United measure. We turn to gun control, marijuana, Gavin Newsom, climate change, Tom Steyer, sports arenas and kids’ education. And Erika D. Smith tells the compelling story about the impact of gentrification in Oak Park on a woman who toiled for years to improve the neighborhood.

Take that

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision last week on issues that will be front and center in California’s Nov. 8 election: gun control and marijuana.

S. Rowan Wilson was denied the right to buy a gun in Nevada because she had a medical marijuana card. The appellate court upheld the denial, citing the policy of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which says: “Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”

That prompted me to ask Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom his view, given that he’s promoting Proposition 64 to legalize marijuana, and Proposition 63, to further control guns by requiring that people who buy bullets show they are legally entitled to own guns.

Newsom emailed that he doesn’t believe “the legal and constitutional rights of legal purchasers of legal medicine which happens to be cannabis should be automatically denied – any more than I believe the legal and constitutional rights of legal purchasers of other forms of prescriptions drugs should be automatically denied.”

Nor does he condone “the use of marijuana (or prescription opioids or alcohol or any other mind-affecting substance) while carrying or operating a firearm, or any other inherently dangerous device.”

Or as Newsom’s elder, Gov. Jerry Brown, said earlier this year, “Don’t smoke marijuana when you’re using your gun.” Sage advice.

Take a number: $276,950

On Aug. 23, Tom Steyer, the billionaire climate change warrior, was in the Capitol as the Democratic-controlled Assembly narrowly approved Senate Bill 32, which will require California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030. In a floor speech opposing the bill, Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher accused Democrats of “dancing to the flute of a rich hedge fund billionaire who’s running for governor.” On Aug. 30, Steyer gave $276,950 to various California Democratic Party committees to register voters and get out the vote. Gallagher, who represents the Northern Sacramento River Valley, is in a safe Republican seat. For now.

Our take

Endorsement: Take a stand on Citizens United. The path to constitutional change and to fix our broken campaign finance system will be long and difficult. Passing Proposition 59 is only one step, but possibly an important one.

Editorial: Students need champions. And there are other, less stressful ways to be one than running for school board.

Erika D. Smith: Patti “Patris” Miller is experiencing the inescapable, double-edged sword of gentrification in the Oak Park neighborhood she helped turn around.

Daniel Weintraub: More reasons for kids to cut down on added sugar.

Joshua Pechthalt: Don’t let millionaires dictate the fate of California’s schools.

Their take

Orange County Register: The California Coastal Commission staff concluded that only 19.7 acres of space was developable for Banning Ranch in Orange County. Understandably, the developer isn’t pleased.

L.A. Times: With all the celebrating and backslapping by city leaders on the return of the Rams to Los Angeles, apparently somebody forgot to figure out who’s going to pay for all the security around Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Reno Gazette-Journal: Any Raiders deal in Vegas would be unlikely to bring the claimed benefits. And The Register frets about the Angels’ ploy to get a better stadium deal.

Lexington Herald-Leader: Political posturing aside, Kentucky’s pension funds could not possibly invest their way out of the death spiral brought on by years of underfunding. There’s no shortage of blame. What’s needed is the backbone to push through tax reform.

Charlotte Observer: Rather than embracing a blind devotion to charter schools, adults would best serve students by studying the most effective ones and applying their tools to far more campuses.

Stephen Henderson, Detroit Free Press: In Detroit, the DeVos family, owners of the largest charter lobbying organization, gave a filthy, moneyed kiss to the charter school industry at the expense of the kids who’ve been victimized by those schools’ unaccountable inconsistency.

Syndicates take

Eugene Robinson: Republicans claim they want support from African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities. They don’t deserve the time of day until they stop this appalling effort to keep us from voting at all.

Paul Krugman: The best ways to judge a candidate’s character are to look at what he or she has actually done, and what policies he or she is proposing.

Nicholas Kristof: What religion would Jesus belong to?


“At least 40,000 homes have been damaged by recent flooding in Louisiana. Yet, today’s floods are only a mild preview of what the future holds if we do not accept the national security, economic and ecological risks of climate change.”Harold Ferber, Elk Grove