Who is Street Sweeper?

by Street Sweeper on January 29, 2015

Street SweeperWho is Street Sweeper?

That is a question we have heard since we began Leavenworth St. back in January of 2006.

Well, at 12:01 AM, on this Tuesday, February 3, 2015, you are going to find out.

We will make an announcement on this site at that time, and will also announce some of the new things that will be happening at Leavenworth St. and beyond.

One note: the site will go dark at some point on Super Bowl Sunday, and will be down all day on Monday, February 2nd.

There may be a countdown clock involved.

We look forward to seeing you at the new Leavenworth St. on Tuesday!

{ 16 comments }

The saga of the DCRP

by Street Sweeper on January 28, 2015

Aimee-Melton-District-7Usually when politicians talk about bringing in a “Hired Gun” they mean an out of state consultant.

In the case of last night’s Douglas County Republican Party meeting, they literally meant hiring a dude with a gun as muscle for the event in case things got out of control. (And since when can a guy who is hired security get authority to tell people to calm down at a party meeting?)

But things came close to getting out of control.

Voices were raised, tempers flared.
People shouted over one another.
“Shut up!” was shouted more than once.

In a situation that screamed out for opposing parties to step into a smoke-filled room to hash things out, instead participants decided to settle each others hash out on the meeting floor in front of God and everyone.

The meeting started with an introduction by Party Elder, Hal Daub, and a close by party junior, City Councilperson Aimee Melton. But in the end, the meet, called alternatively a “shit storm” or a “shit show”, depending on who you talked to, ended up with a simple counting.

The side that wanted “Ron Paulista” Jon Tucker as the new Chairman beat the side who wanted “Non-Paulista” Brandon Petersen…by 6 votes. One would likely argue that the 17 people who got the boot from the Central Committee for missing meetings made the difference.

And the arguments about what constituted a meeting, or what was notice, or what was the course of conduct, didn’t make a difference in the end.

If you’re a party member, you hope this is the end.
The new Chair promised to personally call all the Central Committee members.
That’s a start.

And the aforementioned Aimee Melton noted that all the upheaval and disagreement needed to end when the lights were turned off. She noted that members from both sides of the aisle at the DCRP had helped on her campaign. And that if members didn’t come together there would be a victorious side: the Democrats.

(If nothing else comes out of this, it may be the breakout moment for Aimee Melton.)

We look forward to see what happens next.

***

Wow, interesting story in the OWH about the new gig for Governor Pete Ricketts adviser Jessica Moenning.

We had heard a while back that Ricketts was thinking of using private funds for a position, but we figured it was for the newly created C.O.O. position — and frankly let it drop when that became an official state job.

But with the revelation that Moenning will have some sort of quasi-public/private job, we found it…unusual, to say the least.

There are dozens of questions about this, right?
Will Moenning keep her current lobbying clients, on state issues?
Will she keep her state political clients?
Will she be subject to state ethical considerations?
Will the records of her activities be subject to public review?
Is she a state employee?
Is she a private adviser?
Is she working in a state office?
Who does she report to?
Who reports to her?
What guidelines does she fall under?
Is she campaign staff?
What of her husband’s lobbying?

Here is a legitimate question: If the State Auditor — who used to be Lt. Governor Mike Foley — wanted to audit her, could he? And what could he review?

The thing that we don’t get is that with questions like this, why even bother? Why not just make her either a public employee or keep her as a non-public kitchen cabinet adviser?

The C.O.O. and H.R. positions were “outside the box” for the Governor.
This one can’t even see the box.
We just aren’t clear why they’ve put themselves into this gray area.

***

The Pat McPherson saga slogs on.
So, everyone stands up and shakes their fist and tells him to quit!
And then…he doesn’t. And they can’t make him quit. And can’t fire him.

What now?
On the one hand, McPherson can stand his ground, demonstrate, to the best of his ability, that he’s not a racist, is fair and yadda yadda.

On the other hand, by staying in his gig, he gives the Dems the opportunity to constantly point at him as what’s wrong in the party. And he sticks it to all the other office holders who are forced to show how much they don’t like McPherson.

What a joy.

***

Stay tuned tomorrow…

{ 58 comments }

NPVI: a disaster-in-waiting

by Street Sweeper on January 22, 2015

PatBorchers01As the Nebraska Unicameral takes up the controversial National Popular Vote Initiative, Creighton University School of Law Professor (and former Dean) Patrick Borchers takes a look at the proposal for Leavenworth St.

The National Popular Vote Initiative (“NPVI”) is back trying to enlist Nebraska (this year in L.B. 112) in a scheme to have the winner of the aggregate national popular vote always win the Presidency. For practical purposes this would do away with the Electoral College. It is a bad idea, it is unconstitutional and likely would lead to a mess that would make the Florida recount of 2000 look like a picnic.

Presidential elections are a two-stage affair. Early in November of each year divisible by four, each state selects its electors. Each state gets electors in the number of its Congressional delegation (Senators plus Representatives) so the minimum is three. By constitutional amendment, the District of Columbia also gets three. Now every state selects its electors by some sort of popular election (early in the history of the U.S., electors were often chosen by the state legislatures). All but Nebraska and Maine (which select based on the winner in each Congressional district) select on a winner-take-all basis.

The closing stage of a Presidential election occurs approximately a month after the first stage, in which the electors cast their votes and the President-Vice-President ticket must obtain 270 electoral votes to win. If no ticket gets to the 270-vote mark, the matter is thrown into the House, but with each state getting one vote, to be determined by its House caucus.

Enter now the NPVI, which is the result of unhappiness with the 2000 election in which Al Gore probably won the national popular vote, but George W. Bush won the Electoral College. (This happened at least once before with Benjamin Harrison beating Grover Cleveland despite losing the popular vote.) I say that Gore “probably” won the national popular vote, because there really isn’t any such thing as an official national popular vote total. States administer elections differently, including different rules on absentee and provisional ballots and the like.

The NPVI seeks to create a “compact” between states so that they would agree to throw their electors to the winner of the national popular vote total (again, not a number that actually exists). The compact would kick in only when states totaling 270 electoral votes (the number needed to win) have signed on.

The states to have joined the compact are Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, the District of Columbia, Vermont, California, Rhode Island and New York. You’ll notice a couple of things immediately. They are all blue states and they are almost all states in which one or more major metropolitan areas dominate the population.

The backers of the NPVI are desperate to get a red state to sign on and Nebraska is in their crosshairs again this year.

There are several important constitutional and practical objections. Let me begin with the constitutional objections. It is an obvious end run of the process for amending the Constitution. Besides that, Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution says that Congress has to approve any compacts between states. While the Supreme Court has allowed relatively minor compacts – such as those that clarify state boundaries – to stand without Congressional approval, it has ruled that compacts that increase the collective power of the compacting states as against the federal government require approval. Although the backers of the NPVI argue that the popular vote compact would not need approval, the fact that it essentially eliminates a federal institution (the Electoral College) make this a dubious assertion.

The NPVI would also likely require uniform rules of voting in Presidential elections. In the Bush v. Gore case that ended the Florida cliffhanger in 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that differing standards as to the recount process (remember the “hanging” and “pregnant” chads?) make the recount invalid. Under the rationale of this case, states would have to have identical standards for early voting, poll hours and voter identification.

Now to the practical objections: The argument raised by the NPVI proponents (aside from the general appeal to the notion the popular vote should control) is that it will force candidates to run truly national campaigns. This, of course, is nonsense. Instead, it will change campaigns into turnout contests in the big metropolitan areas, some of which have storied histories of vote fraud (yeah, I’m looking at you Chicago and New York).

It would also likely lead to a splintering of parties, at least when it comes to Presidential elections. Let’s assume that the Democratic Party, at least for purposes of Presidential elections, splits into the Socialist and Liberal parties and the Republicans split into the Moderate and Conservative parties. So we would have four major Presidential candidates running.

Let’s then assume that the popular vote percentages are: Socialist 29%, Conservative 28%, Moderate 27% and Liberal 16%. Assuming that the compact holds, the Socialist candidate would win.

There is also no practical way to hold states into the compact. Suppose the compact kicks in with just barely enough states joining. What is to prevent a state from passing emergency legislation to pull out after the popular election but before the electors vote? The short answer is “nothing.” The federal courts would refuse to adjudicate the matter for dozens of reasons, most obviously the “political question” doctrine. As far as trying to get one state court to order another state to stay in the compact, good luck with that one.

The compact also would dramatically increase the chances of so-called “rogue” electors. Occasionally, an elector will cast a vote that is inconsistent with the state’s pledge. For example, an elector who was supposedly committed to Ford in 1976 voted for Reagan instead. Thus far, such votes have been nothing more than historical oddities, and there are no consequences to the elector.

But let’s imagine a Nebraska elector coming from his state where the Republican candidate won, but now supposedly is bound to cast a vote for the Democrat. With no consequences to the elector, it is easy to imagine electors defecting in droves.

Trying to monkey with the Constitution is generally a bad idea, and this is a particularly bad one. If the NPVI supporters believe so strongly in abolishing the Electoral College, they should propose an amendment to the Constitution. The Constitution has been amended 27 times. It is not as though it can’t be done.

In the meantime, let’s hope that the Nebraska Legislature has the sense to reject this bill. Or, if it does pass, that Governor Ricketts will veto it.

Patrick J. Borchers is a Professor of Law and former Dean of the Creighton Law School. He is a member of the Central Committees of the Nebraska State Republican Party and the Douglas Country Republican Party. He is the author of the blog “The Way I See It.”

{ 81 comments }

Are Paulites packing the DCRP?

by Street Sweeper on January 21, 2015

Elephants-FightingAs Governor Ricketts preps his first State of the State address, we are currently looking at what some might compare to Franklin Roosevelt’s “court packing” going on in the Douglas County Republican Party (DCRP).

Unbeknownst to many members, more than a dozen members of the DCRP Central Committee were removed and replaced over the past few weeks.

In general, many of these booted members generally sided with Chairman candidate Brandon Petersen, and against Chairman candidate Jon Tucker. Tucker is a RonPaulite compatriot to current Chair Bryan Baumgart.

But here is the kicker: of those kicked off the Central Committee, many were not even notified that they have been chopped.

Where does this come from?

Well, in the party bylaws, a member can be removed for missing three meetings. However, at that point there is usually a discussion by the Executive Committee as to whether a person should be removed — and then that person would be contacted and could, if they wanted, give a defense for their absences (asked to be excused, had an emergency, didn’t receive proper notification, meeting held wasn’t formal, etc.).

Apparently in this case, no discussions were held, and instead the committee was later packed full of Tucker comrades. And we understand that the new members haven’t even been vetted or discussed by the full Executive Committee — as has been the course of conduct in the past for replacements.

The fact that this comes immediately before a party election (next Tuesday) gives it the stink of manipulation and the reek of something that Tammany Hall would have pulled off in turn of the century New York.

Was it all done “legally”?
Ah, nothing like getting the lawyers involved, yeah?
Or, ya know, there could have been a discussion.

But what fun would THAT have been?

(This is the kind if stuff you won’t be getting at the State of the State…)

We will be watching and keeping the party faithful updated.

**UPDATE at 11:45am 1/22/15**

We were contacted by DCRP Chairman Bryan Baumgart, and he asked that we post the following response:

I don’t typically read this blog, but I was directed to it this morning by some Exec Comm members that were concerned about the inaccuracies and encouraged me not to leave them unchecked.

Let’s start with the DCRP Constitution and its bylaws on membership.
“A vacancy in the office of any member of the Central Committee shall exist upon the happening of any of the following events: (3) with respect to members of the Central Committee, three unexcused absences in any twelve-month period. Excused absences from Central Committee meetings shall be granted at the discretion of the Chairman”

The purpose of this clause is to avoid a situation in which the party becomes ineffective because it cannot take action due to failure to meet quorum. This was the case repeatedly in the past as a large number of new members are elected at convention, but then never show to a party meeting or event after. (As insiders know, typically this is the result of the various factions packing delegates onto slates in order to help elect more members sympathetic with their side.) This clause remedies the problem by enacting automatic removal for three absences. It does not require a vote or discussion and despite what was asserted in the original post, the Exec Committee does not review each person removed for absences and vote on whether to remove them or not. That kind of subjectivity would not be healthy for the party. Therefore, I closely stick to the rules laid out in our Constitution and members failing to show or request an excused absence for three meetings are automatically removed per the Constitution, without discrimination. However, it has been my practice to grant excused absences whenever requested, whether they were warranted or not.

That brings us to the seats that have been vacated. Seats have been vacated each month due to members voluntarily resigning them or moving out of the legislative district, etc. New members have been appointed by LD chairs to fill those seats each month (not just the past two weeks as suggested). To clear up false information in the original post…there have been FOUR meetings since members were seated at County Convention in April. (August, September, October, and December). The Exec Committee voted to make the August meeting optional. The Exec Committee also voted to move the November meeting to December 2nd so it could be held in conjunction with a Christmas Party. That meeting was moved and announced in compliance with the DCRP Constitution which states “Each member of the Central Committee shall be notified at least ten (10) days prior to all meetings, in writing of the time, date and place of each meeting”. It was also one of the best attended meetings we held. That left September, October, and the December meeting to draw three unexcused absences from.

The seats vacated since the December meeting (third meeting) were members who were voted to their seat back at County Convention in April, but then never attended a meeting, nor called for excused absences. They hadn’t participated since being seated, nor indicated they planned to. Only these members who went completely MIA were removed.

I feel asking these people to now vote for chairman of the DCRP would be absurd. In fact, keeping them on actually violates the DCRP Constitution AND risks not meeting quorum for the election next Tuesday. It’s the reason these rules exist in the Constitution. On the other hand, we’ve got new members that actually want to be active and play a part in choosing the Chairman they will be working with. It only makes sense to welcome them.

That brings us to the new members who were seated. Let’s take a look at the relevant portion of the DCRP Constitution: “When the County Convention is not in session, any vacancy on the Central Committee arising from any cause shall be filled in the following manner: the legislative district Chairman shall fill the vacancy within thirty (30) days after notice thereof is given to the respective legislative district Chairman.”

This is exactly what was done. LD Chairs appointed members to fill empty seats within 30 days, as directed by the Constitution.

As for the accusation of “manipulation”. The rules were closely followed so that there would be no manipulation or accusations of merit. I didn’t contact a single person to be on the central committee myself. When someone contacted me requesting to be seated on the Central Committee, I first verified that they were a registered Republican in Douglas County, then checked to see if there was an empty seat in their LD. If there was not, I added them to the list for future adds and notified them, letting them know they could be added in the future at the discretion of their LD chair. If there was an opening in their LD, I emailed the respective LD chair letting them know, “so and so” requested to be seated in your LD and I passed along the contact info with a note asking them to let me know if they approve or not. In some cases LD Chairs got back to me and approved and the new members were added. In other cases, the LD Chair didn’t approve and that member was not seated. Not once, did I myself solicit any new members (though it would be within my right to do so).

All seats vacated were done so without discrimination and in strict adherence to the Constitution. All members added were done so by LD Chairs per the Constitution, and without coercion. In addition…both candidates for Chairman received updated membership lists as changes occurred (both at the same time).

This is the way it has been carried out for the past two years of my term. In strict adherence to the DCRP Constitution. Apparently, one of the candidates must feel they won’t be favourable to newly seated members and feels justified in stirring the pot and making false accusations.

We then followed up with Bryan, asking:

1) were those who were kicked off, notified this was being done, so as to dispute if they wanted to?
2) was the Executive Committee consulted on the new members?

He responded:

As i point out in my comment, the Exec Comm doesn’t and hasn’t reviewed who is removed and who isn’t on a case by case basis. That kind of subjectivity would invite criticism and accusations of foul play. For example, currently the exec comm leans in favor of Tucker supporters who could, if wanted, approve the removal of any opposition while keeping his supporters. Not a good situation.

Finally, we asked:

OK, so the Exec Committee wasn’t consulted.

Doesn’t the Constitution say that removing a member will be done with consultation of the Exec Committee?

Also, to confirm, Central Committee members, who you found missed meetings, were kicked off without being notified, correct?

And he responded:

No, the Constitution states that 3 unexcused absences by members automatically results in removal. It does so like I just said, to prevent bias in picking and choosing who will be removed and retained by the Exec Comm. I think the part you are getting confused is the part that says if a member has six absences (even if excused) in a 12 month period, then the Exec Comm sits down to review whether it is appropriate to keep the member on if they aren’t able to participate. That’s the only time the Exec Comm would review. To discuss if the excused absences were warranted. We have not in the past and did not this time, meet to discuss members being removed. That happens automatically per the Constitutuion.

I do try to notify members if they have been removed by the Constitution due to absences. Anyone not yet notified will be. The Constitution doesn’t require it, but I try to as a courtesy.

***

So, there are a few open questions:

We have been told that in the past it has been the course of conduct that the Executive Committee DOES look into whether a Central Committee member should be dismissed and then who is replaced.

Baumgart says that’s not the case, and all he did was follow the letter of the Constitution.

But here is a murkier issue.

Baumgart says he doesn’t have to notify someone if they’ve been booted off the Central Committee, but that he tries to as a courtesy.

Hmm.

Well, what is the mechanism then for someone disputing whether or not they SHOULD have been kicked off?

For instance, let’s say I asked for an excused absence, and received approval of that from the Chairman. Was that verbal? Handwritten? Emailed?

Is that recorded in meeting minutes? We would think that is the ONLY way one could or should get the boot. How else could anything be confirmed?

A phone call? How can you verify?
A handwritten note? What if the dog eats it?
An email chain? What if it gets deleted, any number of ways.

What if your child is hit by a car on the way to a meeting, so you didn’t ask to be excused beforehand? Is that excused?

Well, if you are not notified that you have been kicked out, then HOW can you dispute it?

And what is the current record keeping process?

We already have commenters suggesting that a DCRP Central Committee member DOES have proof of an excused absence, but was STILL kicked off.

So what is the process for dispute?
One would sure hope that such a process is in place before an election takes place.

And another point:
Baumgart points to the Constitution where it says, “…any vacancy on the Central Committee arising from any cause shall be filled in the following manner: the legislative district Chairman shall fill the vacancy within thirty (30) days after notice thereof is given to the respective legislative district Chairman…”

But…when does that vacancy arise?
The moment someone misses the third meeting?
But then that puts us back into all the questions above, if not others.

***

Look, we get it. There was a hard strategy put in place to get members in who are favorable to a certain candidate. Now we would suggest that in this party setting, it makes more sense to get others to your side of the aisle using persuasion, instead of bum-rushing the door.

And we also get another point: you want to be on the committee? Then show up at the meetings.

But there a number of open questions that simply pointing at the party Constitution don’t answer.

We will let them hash it out on Tuesday.

{ 116 comments }

Je Suis…McPherson?

by Street Sweeper on January 14, 2015

JeSuisCharlie01Pat McPherson should have known what was written on his blog. Especially if what McPherson himself called  ”offensive”, was written more than once.

That being said, I take him at his word that he did not know about it, and does not now believe it was appropriate.

I don’t know McPherson personally, but those who do say that he is more likely to be a Martian than racist (though not a racist Martian).

That being said, whoever DID write “Half Breed” over and over is a dope. I can say, without hyperbole, that there are a zillion things about which you could criticize the current President without resorting to name-calling based on his racial background.

That is not to say THAT cannot be discussed. It was President Obama himself who said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Travon (Martin)”, as if the color of one’s skin is the most important factor. McPherson’s writer notes that if Obama was Republican, you can bet he would be criticized by some for not, essentially, being “black enough”. Heck Clarence Thomas and Condoleezza Rice get that.

But the writer then went too far by throwing around the term “Half Breed” — likely congratulating him or herself at coming up with it. Most would agree that it is a derogatory term and it doesn’t do anyone any good, or make a point, by using it.

***

This sort of issue has never come up on the Leavenworth St. blog.

Longtime readers know that we delete comments that we deem to be offensive or in bad taste. For instance, on a case by case basis, we delete comments that make personal attacks on a politician’s family. (We say case by case, because, for instance, in the situation of former Lt. Governor Lavon Heidemann, if someone is commenting about the situation with his sister, that is in the news, and you can’t exactly ignore the elephant in the room by leaving her out of the conversation.)

But for the record, in case we get any weird questions: No, Street Sweeper has never written for Pat McPherson’s blog. And everything that is written in a post is 100% reviewed by Street Sweeper before it is posted.

Though we won’t be surprised to hear that Vince Powers himself (you know, because the intern is off taking a “me day”) is scouring Leavenworth St. looking for “offensive” statements. We are pretty sure he will come up empty, though who knows what may offend Vince these days.

(By the way, it was awkward in the Channel 7 interview with Vince. Apparently a reporter was not there — only a camera man — so he spoke directly to the camera. And then he started yelling AT Pat McPherson and Governor Pete Ricketts, via the Channel 7 camera. It was more than a little professional-wrestling-esque.

VincePowers 01

“I’m Vince POWERS! You’re afraid of me McPherson! I’ll see YOU at the Battle Royal at the Civic Auditorium! POWWWWWWERSSSSS!!!”

***

Is this a free-speech issue — equivalent in some way to Charlie Hebdo — as KFAB’s Chris Baker put it? Eh, not exactly. Though it certainly is an interesting “thought experiment”.

On the one hand, if an “artist” puts a crucifix in a jar of urine liberals command us to congratulate him for his courage. And if you protest that or, heaven forbid, suggest that federal money should support it, you are a book-burning heretic. So if you use a derogatory term to make a political point — here, arguably, using the term “Half Breed” with mock sarcasm to show the other side’s hypocrisy — should that not be “protected”? Heck, if you had a “Bushitler” bumper sticker, you were a liberal HERO.

What if McPherson had instead come out and said, “Yeah I wrote it! And I was making the point that if the roles were switched, Democrats would be using that term! I was mocking THEM — not judging or defaming the President. It is called sophisticated writing, that I’m sure the likes of Vince Powers can’t understand!” (He would be yelling this into the camera, back at Vince, of course.)

What then? Can you even use political sarcasm these days? “OK for me, but not for thee“?

And then I suppose you could even ask, is the term “Half Breed” offensive? Heck, there was a popular  Cher song (was Sonny involved?) with that title, that we would guess you could find on the XM 70′s station. Is it really a bad word? (Our guess: it’s probably not a word that dignified people throw around.) But what about the word “mulatto”? Or “mixed race”? We have no idea, frankly. You can’t say “Oriental” any more, but you can say “Asian”. But then you are referring to someone from Japan, Vietnam and India under the same “race”?

Did we just “offend” someone with that paragraph? We thought we were supposed to be having a “discussion” about race. Ah well.

***

Here is what we DO know: If your plan is to score political points every time the issue of race comes up, and scream that everyone is a racist — that is what Vince Powers called Pat McPherson — then you can bet there will never be a “discussion” about race. Who would bother?

As long as we have gone this far, look at the new movie “Selma” (which Glenn Beck loves, by the way). Apparently President Lyndon Johnson is depicted in it as the “bad guy”, when most accounts show that he was the opposite — one of the driving political forces behind desegregation. But hey, that doesn’t fit the story! And now how many millions of viewers who don’t bother with that will leave the theater figuring that Johnson was the evil racist in the movement?

For Powers, if Pat McPherson is NOT a racist, then that doesn’t make his rant as POWERful. So of course he yelps at Pat and calls for his resignation — and donate to our party and elect more Democrats!

Because for the likes of Powers, the ends justifies the means. If someone like McPherson gets labeled a racist, and the result is more liberals coming to power, then that smear is OK, right? If Johnson is now thought of as blocking the civil rights movement, but people appreciate Dr. King more, and more movie tickets are sold, then it’s all good, yeah? If people think the Ogallala Aquifer is a a giant underground ocean of tap water that will be befouled if a Canadian pees into it, but that means more money flows into Bold Nebraska’s coffers, that’s win-win, sure?

This thing with McPherson will end up being a big nothing. Except the Dems DID shut down a GOP blog, so you can bet there will be a mini-toast of chocolate martinis at their next soiree.

Good thing Leavenworth St. is still around, eh?

**UPDATE at 3:25pm 1/15/15**

And Governor Ricketts has thrown McPherson under the bus:

“While many Nebraskans disagree with our president on many issues, he is deserving of the same civility and respect we give one another. There is no room for bigotry. I am deeply disappointed and unequivocally condemn these comments,” said Ricketts.

“I respect the will of the people, but as additional information about the frequency of these bigoted comments on the blog has become available, it is clear that this controversy will hinder the State Board of Education from accomplishing its goals. Pat should tender his resignation and allow the Board to get back to work on its goal of improving achievement outcomes for all students.”

Not real sure what the difference is today.
We thought all of the comments were known when Ricketts made his first statement, but maybe not.

In any case, we suppose he doesn’t want to take the heat for all of this at this point.

Well, McPherson can continue to say,

1) “I didn’t know about the statements and disavow them now. Therefore I’m not resigning.”

2) “I SHOULD have known about them, but still disavow them, and will work harder next time, and I’m staying.”

or…

3) “I still disavow them, but it has become a distraction, and I quit.”

Ball is in your court Pat.

**UPDATE at 6:25pm 1/15/15**

And Pat McPherson responds, choosing Door #1!

“Governor Ricketts has called for my resignation from the Nebraska State Board of Education. I am respectful of the Governor and understand his reasons for doing so.

I have not violated any statute or constitutional provision or any of the rules or regulations that pertain to my duties as a member of the state board of education.

I do not intend to resign. Doing so would be a tacit admission of the false accusations being made that I am a racist. I am not. It would also reward the partisan political efforts of the Nebraska Democratic Party as well as the efforts of the Nebraska State Education Association which spent $25,000 in support of my general election opponent. It would allow these entities to overturn the results of an election that they could not win.

I didn’t write and have disavowed the racist comment made on the blog. I am also respectful of the First Amendment rights of others short of yelling ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater.

I eagerly await the opportunity to work with my fellow board member as well as with Governor Ricketts in improving education for all Nebraska children. I will work earnestly to support the needs of parents and teachers as well. We have lots of challenges and work to do.

I appreciate the support of so many who have offered their support. There is no room for racism or partisanship in educating our children and I will prove my commitment to education over the term of my service.”

Our take on their back and forth?

Well, McPherson put Governor Ricketts in a bad position where Ricketts pretty much HAD to call for his resignation?

Why?

Well, look at it two ways:

1) Assume (for this argument) that McPherson is lying about his knowledge about what was written on his blog. McPherson himself said the statements were “offensive”. So if he in fact either knew about them when they were posted or wrote them himself — and he’s now lying about it — then he is telling Ricketts to call for his resignation and should himself resign. How would anyone know whether he is actually lying? No idea, but in the world of emails and all that, it is certainly possible that it could come out.

Or…

2) Assume (for this side of the argument) that McPherson is telling the God’s honest truth that he DID NOT know about the posts and that he absolutely disavows everything written in them and that he is absolutely NOT a racist.

Well, he still forces Ricketts’ hand. He is saying that on HIS blog, at least FIVE times, someone wrote something that he, McPherson, finds to be beyond the pale AND it is written as if it is the full position of the blog.

So in the question of “Stupid or Liar” he is claiming “Stupid”. And while you can’t ask someone who was just elected to resign for being stupid, you CAN call for their resignation when their past stupidity will seriously affect the job they were elected to do.

Arguably, now every decision McPherson makes will be clouded by the question of whether he either wrote or approved the thing that McPherson himself calls “offensive”. And because of his “stupidity”, the effectiveness of the entire Board of Education is called into question because of the cancer that he brought into it.

Those are the arguments.

Since there is no way to prove number one, the Governor has to go with number two, and make a statement. If it was just the one instance, he could have just sat back and ignored it. But after discovering the blog used the “offensive” term five different times, as the chief executive of the state he has to do something.

Does this mean Pat McPherson is a racist? Or that he can’t say something — maybe even something offensive if he wants to?

Heck, there is an argument he could have/should have gone the other way, and said, “Dang straight, I wrote it!” (Well, maybe not “dang straight…) And then followed it up with an argument of , why what he wrote is not racist, and all of the things he has done in his life that prove he isn’t a racist, etc. etc.

He probably still gets called a racist and people call for his resignation, but at least at that point he is arguing in the positive sense, instead of spending the rest of his political life apologizing.

And FWIW people we have communicated with say he is NOT a racist…but maybe does enjoy being a bit of a verbal bomb-thrower.

But as we noted above,  what was written by either McPherson or someone else, is derogatory and whoever wrote it is a dope. And running for office with blog posts like that, means you’re going to be sunk.

***

And speaking of free speech and transparency, the Legislature’s Rules Committee voted unanimously to continue having secret votes for Committee Chairs.

And ALL the Republicans voted against open votes.

I guess that is “non-partisan” huh? If that floats your boat.
You can bet the Dems are happy about it.

***

This Saturday is the 9 year anniversary of Leavenworth St.

Yikes!

And we are going to tease this just a little longer to say that Coming Soon, there will be some changes here on Leavenworth St. and beyond.

We are still in the prep stage, but we will let you know our plans.
Or at least our plans for our plans.

We are looking forward to it.

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A question from Leavenworth Street

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“And fellas this all stays here…”

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Famous quotes from people who (maybe) did not think or know they were being recorded. “It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Hmm… “There are 47 percent of [...]

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Another #NE02 name as Ashford makes a move

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We have the name of a new person interested in the 2016 GOP nomination for the 2nd District gig! Actually we have known about this person for a while, but we have heard it from enough sources now that we are comfortable that it is common knowledge by local politicos: Brigadier General Donald “Bits” Bacon [...]

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