Welcome to TakeTwo, our sampler of opinion-politics, drawn from The Sacramento Bee editorial board’s opinion newsletter, The Take. Please go to sacbee.com/site-services/newsletters to sign up.
What a mess
North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. The FCC prepared to kill net neutrality. Donald Trump insulted Navajo Code Talkers by “honoring” them beneath Andrew Jackson’s portrait, and the Brits by tweeting anti-Muslim propaganda dished up by British extremists. Can this relationship be saved? McClatchy columnist Markos Kounalakis asked. We were wondering whether the union can be saved, and then Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and announced he is cooperating for the good of his family and country.
Kate Steinle’s family awaited the verdict of her accused killer and told The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Diaz that whatever the outcome, they “wanted it to mark the end of a public profile they neither sought nor enjoyed.” On Thursday, a jury acquitted undocumented immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zaratea of murder and manslaughter charges, and her parents were shocked. We were, too, and hope that politicians now stop trying to cast Steinle as a marytr.
Predictably, Ann Coulter tweeted a wall would have prevented Steinle’s death, Trump tweeted his outrage and the dim Tucker Carlson tweeted: “It is hard to imagine that an American citizen would have been acquitted of charges in the Steinle case.” KCBS’ Doug Sovern, a real news reporter who covered the trial, tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump & others will be apoplectic over #KateSteinle verdict, but if you sat in court & heard the evidence, it’s not a surprise. The people’s case was a long shot.”
American gun owners reported losing more than 237,000 firearms to thieves last year, an L.A. Times editorial pointed out, although many gun owners never tell police their weapons have been taken. The gun used to kill Steinle was stolen from a Bureau of Land Management official’s car, parked on a San Francisco street.
Oh, yeah, taxes
UC campus leaders don’t often take stand on major policy issues. But Gary S. May, UC Davis’ new chancellor, displayed guts and solidarity with grad students by calling the House tax “reform” bill an attack on higher education. That should matter to Republicans, but almond growers’ doubts may matter more. On behalf of other politically connected farmers, grower Bill Lyons signed an op-ed calling on House Republicans to block an obscure provision in the Senate version that would attack their business model. We’ll see whether House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield cares.
Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose and Garrison Keillor have fallen. Pressure built on Al Franken to quit the Senate. After fumbling questions about Rep. John Conyers, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urged him to quit. All of this was happening as an Assembly committee led by Democrat Laura Friedman and Republican Marie Waldron took testimony from Assembly staffers and women leading the #WeSaidEnough campaign, including Christine Pelosi, Nancy’s daughter. The hearing took place in the Assembly committee room dominated by a portrait of Jesse Unruh. Remember what “Big Daddy” said about money, booze and women, and maintaining independence? Too many legislators seem willing to sample Sacramento’s offerings, but have difficulty saying no to lobbyists.
The women didn’t name names. That wasn’t the point. They were there to explain the culture and why women hesitate to come forward. And it became clear when Debra Gravert, the highest ranking non-elected member of the Assembly club, explained that she doesn’t count sexual harassment complaints, only investigations. Not surprisingly, there have been no investigations during her watch. That don’t-ask attitude evidently extends to the legislator who cornered lobbyist Pamela Lopez in a restroom and masturbated. If you never ask, you never have to tell.