Newsletter: Trump takes his anger out at California, again
Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. For local readers, today will be the start of a week of rainy weather (and snow in our mountains) in much of Southern California. Let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.
This week saw two of
The latter behavior has to do with his desire to cut off all federal aid to the victims of last year’s fire, a punishment he previously threatened over his profoundly uninformed insistence that California manages its forests poorly (never mind the fact that one of the fires burned primary dried-out grassland, while the other originated in a federally administered national forest). It also overlaps with Trump’s behavior in causing the government shutdown, in that it likely has everything to do with the president’s dislike of California.
Right now, the most powerful person in Congress is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who happens to be from California and is the biggest obstacle to Trump’s demand for a wall on the southern border. At the same time, our new governor
The threat is probably no more serious than it was the last time Trump uttered it. He has frequently shaken his fist at California — over its immigration policies in particular — and has rarely followed through.
Still, Trump’s response to the fires, like his response to congressional Democrats’ refusal to waste billions of dollars on a bigger, longer border wall, reflects his disturbingly authoritarian view of the presidency. Stung by criticism from California’s Democratic leaders, Trump is proclaiming his intention to ignore the federal law governing disaster assistance and simply turn off the spigot of federal dollars. Frustrated that lawmakers won’t fund his pet project at the border, Trump threatens to declare a national emergency so he can ignore the will of Congress and spend the money anyway.
What’s especially galling about Wednesday’s sniping was Trump’s willful ignorance about the nature of California’s wildfire problem.
California is, in fact, getting its “act together,” moving to spend $1 billion over five years to reduce fire risk and better prepare communities for the larger, more destructive fires driven, in part, by climate change. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday called for even more money — an additional $100 million this year — to help accelerate the thinning of dry, dense forests and brush.
Some 60% of California’s forests are on federal land, however, and as Newsom points out, the U.S. Forest Service budget has been cut by more than $2 billion since 2016. Instead of properly funding fire prevention on federal lands, where some of the most destructive fires in the state’s history have raged, Trump has repeatedly railed against the “gross mismanagement” of forests in California — whatever that’s supposed to mean. Trump is myopically focused on forests when some of California’s largest fires have been in the brush and grasslands.
But such details apparently mean nothing to Trump. California leaders have dared to question his decisions and challenge his demands, therefore — in the World According to Trump — they do not deserve his government’s support.
There is a security crisis in border states, but it’s not about immigration. Wildfires pose a major risk to California and other southwestern U.S. states, but Trump’s partial government shutdown has put much of the work to address that danger on hold, notes the editorial board. The slowdown in other federal workforces — air traffic controllers, for one — is also cause for grave concern. L.A. Times
Back-and-forth on the impending teachers’ strike: Earlier this week, United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl insisted that the demands of LAUSD educators have very little to do with pay, and mostly address the overall working conditions faced by teachers that create a poor learning environment for students. District Supt. Austin Beutner’s retort: A teachers’ strike would solve nothing, and both the district and the union should lobby Sacramento for more education funding. Readers, generally, have been sympathetic to teachers.
From the seminary to politics, to exile, to politics again and finally to the family ranch: Former L.A. Times metro editor Miriam Pawell traces the circuitous route former Gov.
More women start serving in Congress, and right-wing misogynists lose it. There’s already a theme to much of the reaction to the new Congress so far: What women do and say — especially if it’s Rep.
Speaking of AOC, as Ocasio-Cortez has come to be known by her fans, her “Green New Deal” is a sign of the left’s intellectual exhaustion, says columnist
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