The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

May 28, 2010
Scorecard on endorsements for ballot propositions
logo.pngA non-profit called CaliforniaChoices.org has put together a handy compendium of endorsements for the June 8 ballot propositions by various organizations and newspapers. You can find it here.

There are some striking difference between how interest groups and the media are approaching these ballot props. Almost all newspapers, including The Bee, have come out against Proposition 16, the constitutional amendment by PG&E that would allow it to more easily block competition from public power agencies. Most newspapers also favor Proposition 14, the open primary measure.

Yet among the interest groups, there are stark divisions between labor and business, liberal and conservative groups, on these two measures, as you would expect.
May 26, 2010
Obama: Oil spill 'heartbreaking' but life (and fundraising) goes on
image6412968x.jpgToday's editorial in The Bee hits the Obama administration's slow response to the Gulf oil spill and urges the president to get behind efforts to restore the coastal wetlands of Louisiana and Mississippi, which have shrunk by a third the last 80 years.

The Obamans say they are on top of the crisis, but that didn't prevent the president from flying to San Francisco last night to host a fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer that netted more than $2 million, according to the Washington Post.

During his speech, Obama called the oil spill "heartbreaking" but added that "the reason that folks are going to have to go down a mile deep into the ocean (to drill for oil)...is because the easy oil fields and oil wells are gone, and they're starting to diminish."

Since when did the oil industry become "folks"?

The president makes it sound like the Beverly Hillbillies are leading the exploration efforts in the Gulf.

Of course, given the way BP has handled the crisis, perhaps that comparison is appropriate.
May 19, 2010
More Prop. 16 propaganda from our friends at PG&E
photo.jpgTo the right is the latest Proposition 16 mailer that Pacific Gas & Electric is sending to households in conservative areas through its front group, "Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote."

Prop. 16 would make it harder for public power agencies to expand and serve areas that don't want to pay PG&E's rates. To block such expansions, PG&E is trying to mislead voters into thinking that public power expansion hurts taxpayers when, actually, the opposite is true.

Consumers and businesses served by agencies such as SMUD enjoy cheaper electricity than their PG&E counterparts. If Prop. 16 passes, PG&E would arguably be in a better position to seek excessive rate hikes since there'd be less threat of public power agencies trying to move in on its territory.

The flier above is particularly obnoxious. It suggests that state deficits and debt would increase if Prop. 16 did not pass. That's completely bogus. PG&E execs would be laughed off the stage if they tried to make such a claim in a public forum, but by sending their fliers through a stealth group, they don't have to face such accountability.
May 7, 2010
So who will The Bee endorse in the GOP race for governor: Meg Whitman or Steve Poizner?
In Sunday's paper, we will offer our endorsements in the two contests that have caused us the most heartburn in the run-up to the June 8 primary -- Sacramento Sheriff and the GOP nomination for governor.

We could have taken a pass on both these races. On Friday, the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times took a pass on both the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial primary and devoted a considerable amount of ink to explaining that decision.

In the GOP primary, we endorsed Tom Campbell for U.S. Senate on April 18. And as I explained in a column Sunday, California voters don't deserve the choices of Steve Poizner, Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown for governor. But as I wrote, abstaining is not an option.

All of us get angry when lawmakers take a pass and abstain from crucial votes that might come back to haunt them. We can't follow their example. As voters, our only choice is to drill down on the candidates, press them to address the important issues and make an informed call at the end of the day.
So stay tuned to Sunday's opinion page when we offer endorsements in two tough races.


About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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