MORNING BUZZ: Closed Doors, Agreement and 400 million

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Good Morning…
Hopefully some quick hits…

Closed Doors
Tapes of a closed session of the Des Moines School Board revealed there was, in fact, a conversation about how to handle the resignation of Dr Nancy Sebring in the Media. There was also an effort to come up with a story that, at best, didn’t reveal the whole truth and, at worst, was an outright lie. You can decide which you think it is. I don’t think there was any nefarious intent to the discussion. These are volunteer school Board Members who were caught off guard by the incredibly bad judgement of their Superintendent. I am willing to believe they were trying to give Sebring the ability to leave Des Moines quietly without the embarrassment of a scandal. The problem is, they have a responsibility to follow the law. They didn’t do that. The closed session was ended and a motion to go back into open session was made and voted on…then they started talking about the implications of the scandal and the story they would feed the Media. I would have had no problem if they’d agreed to say nothing at all and refer all questions to Sebring.
Maybe worst of all, the current Board President didn’t see a problem with ANY of this. From today’s Des Moines Register:

After Tuesday’s regular board meeting, current President Cindy Elsbernd acknowledged a judge found that some discussion did break the law, but noted the board did not vote on or discuss any policy matters.
“The public will find there is no new information” in the recordings, Elsbernd said.

Are you kidding me? There was a discussion on how to mislead the public, done in an illegally closed meeting… if no one thinks that’s wrong…what else are they doing in “closed session” that breaks the law? Apparently the Board President thinks they get to decide what the public does, and does not need to know. This isn’t the Pentagon Papers or anything…but it is an example of the widespread disregard government bodies in this state have for the Public’s right to know. The law is clear…it leans toward openness. If a body wants to close a meeting they have to meet specific criteria for doing so. They don’t get to close a meeting just because the conversation they’re about to have is uncomfortable.

SO apparently paul Ryan wants to run for President. He was the lead negotiator that came up with a 2 year budget deal. Conservatives are upset because it resets a lot of government spending to pre-sequester levels, and more to the point, it takes away a bullet from the neocons gun. If they can’t threaten to shut down the government every three months.. they don’t have leverage. If you want control over the budget process, win the White House and the Senate. Problem is, some of the members of the house who are upset, would be upset with ANY level of Government spending. They just don’t think the Federal Government should exist. I do. In specific circumstances, the federal government plays a key role in making the group of individual states stronger and more efficient. A two-year budget helps the economy by eliminating some uncertainty in Government branches. They can now go out and move forward with the private contractors and suppliers who will know what their business levels will be for the next two years. Jobs can be filled. It may not help one of these clowns get elected next fall, but frankly…I don’t care. Do your job.

400 Million
Lots of reasons to go buy a couple Mega Millions Tickets. We could go through our customary “what would you do” exercise when the jackpot hits these levels. Mine s the same. I’d figure out what my family needed to live comfortably and what I could leave for my kids kids…then I would use the bulk of the money to start a Charitable Foundation. You can’t convince me that it wouldn’t be incredibly rewarding and a whole lot of fun to assemble a Board full of your friends and give a few million dollars away to some good causes every year. Whatever the investments made each year…you give it away. You could spend the rest of the year finding the causes you’re really passionate about and really need some help.

Hope you have a great day!


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