Dan Morain

The Take: Political maneuvering follows Becerra’s move

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.

Election campaigns never end. And so it is with Gov. Jerry Brown’s choice of Rep. Xavier Becerra to replace Attorney General Kamala Harris. Without missing a beat, former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez announced his candidacy for Becerra’s downtown Los Angeles congressional seat.

Also not missing a beat? Controller Betty Yee, who immediately endorsed him, burying the hatchet in the wake of their tough 2014 battle for her statewide office. It was a smart, gracious move. No need to have enemies.

Assume that Assembly members Jimmy Gomez, Miguel Santiago and Cristina Garcia are checking with their backers to see if they have a path. Sens. Holly Mitchell and Ricardo Lara must be thinking hard.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León’s district also overlaps, but he has a good job and made it clear he won’t challenge his rival, Perez. Perhaps Isadore Hall, who is out of a job after he lost a congressional race to Nanette Barragán last month, may want to take another shot at it.

Then there’s the L.A. fray. “When an opportunity like this arrives, you have to look at it and explore it,” City Councilman José Huizar told Los Angeles Downtown News, a sentiment echoed to The Sacramento Bee by an aide to fellow Councilman Gil Cedillo.

All this is to say that Becerra’s departure from a seat he has held since 1992 is very good for the campaign consulting business.

Our take


Jerry Brown made a smart, level-headed choice in picking Xavier Becerra as attorney general, and drew a line against Donald Trump. The wily governor made clear that whatever Trump flings at this state, California will defend its values, with a very good lawyer. Becerra understands the political ways of Washington and California. The son of immigrants, he is a Sacramento native, McClatchy High grad and alum of Stanford and Stanford Law School. His parents still live here. On his to-do list: Change that status to “active” on his license to practice law.

In a perfect world, Joseph Mann’s death would have gotten a bolder answer than the police reforms passed this week in Sacramento. But the improvements to transparency and civilian review weren’t nothing, either. They’re probably best regarded as the start of a longer conversation, about whether California has made it too hard to police the police.


Ben Boychuk: Donald Trump is right about sanctuary cities. Darrell Steinberg, Janet Napolitano and other California officials are wrong and taking the state down a lawless path.

Sal Rosselli: With Cabinet pick of Rep. Tom Price, Donald Trump makes a worrisome reveal on Obamacare repeal.

Their take

San Francisco Chronicle: The Democrats’ decision to stay with House Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi was a testament to her ability to maintain the confidence of a caucus that will remain in the minority for at least another two years.

The (San Jose) Mercury News: Nancy Pelosi needs to build the Democratic Party’s bench.

Los Angeles Times: End the outdated, unscientific restrictions on gay blood donors.

The Charlotte Observer: A three-judge U.S. District Court panel ordered a special legislative election as part of its fix for North Carolina’s perpetually gerrymandered state House and Senate maps.

The Denver Post: Why Colorado’s Bob Beauprez is a solid choice for interior secretary.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Carrier deal gives Donald Trump a win, but it’s fleeting.

Syndicates’ take

Eugene Robinson: Trump’s sweet deal for Carrier and corporate America.

Charles Krauthammer: After a mere 25 years, the triumph of the West is over.

Michael Gerson: Is Trump ready for North Korea?

Dana Milbank: Stick a sterling silver fork in Trump’s ‘populism.’

Gail Collins: Count those votes again.

Nicholas Kristof: Gifts with meaning.


So how is President-elect Donald Trump doing so far on his administration’s picks to fulfill his campaign promise to drain the Washington swamp of the rich and political insiders?Richard Vidan, Orangevale

Tweets of the day

“Look forward to going to Indiana tomorrow in order to be with the great workers of Carrier. They will sell many air conditioners!” – Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump

“Carrier gets millions in tax breaks. Indiana loses thousands of jobs. United Technologies took Trump hostage and won.” – Bernie Sanders @BernieSanders