A Separated at Birth for the fans.
SCOTUS pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch…and legal eagle and NEGOP leader, Mark Fahleson!
Your Federal, State and Local rundown…
Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer was harassed and hounded this week with the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.
Fischer was a holdout of sorts, reserving her vote on the issue until she could learn some final info about DeVos. Because of that, the people who march in the streets, set limos on fire, bash Starbucks windows — and some of the violent ones — made a phone call campaign to Fischer’s office.
And the Dems they love them some phone calling! Or marching! If they could march to a phone booth, that would actually be ideal. (Are there still phone booths? Did I hear some of you yungins say, “What’s a phone booth?”)
Point is, Deb Fischer is a former school board member and was state president of the Nebraska Association of School Boards. She knows her Ed issues. And she wasn’t about to be bullied by someone from Portland calling saying, “I’m from…uh…Pap-ee-own…and you shouldn’t support DeVos or…uh..I won’t vote for you next time.”
Instead Fischer asked DeVos her position on local education control and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. DeVos wrote Fischer a letter and expressed her support for both.
That local control one was the biggie, as DeVos has been a big supporter of Charter Schools. And the haters point to a program in Detroit where Charter schools didn’t work. Which is always good stuff, as they don’t seem to point to the many, many, many, many places where public schools don’t work.
Which isn’t to say that Charters are the miracle cure for every school. Millard School Board President Mike Kennedy is one who doesn’t oppose Charter Schools on their face. But he doesn’t feel that successful districts, like Millard’s, would necessarily benefit from them.
Again, that’s local control.
But whether it’s schools or the minimum wage or the water on your farm, the Big Government Dems love to hammer down the rules for evvvvvverrrryone from Washington.
Well, there’s a new sheriff in the District of Columbia.
Good thing the last guy left that pen and phone on the desk.
At this time of year…well most of the year…it is all inside-baseball stuff in the Nebraska Legislature. Lots about rules and motions and cloture and committees that the average person doesn’t pay attention to or frankly understand.
But they do understand the generalities of State Senators going their own way, often in a different direction from the average Nebraskan. Case in point: the Death Penalty.
Down in Lincoln right now they are still trying to figure out the budget that got screwed up from miscalculating the incoming taxes last year, among other issues.
The Governor’s peeps are trying to reign in spending (crazy idea, that). But there are others now (we’re looking your way Senators Harr and Krist) who are yelping that the Governor should have called a Special Session…LAST YEAR.
Well, just so everyone is on the same page, the Legislature could have called a special session last year. They did not need Pete Ricketts’ permission to do so. And the Tax Rate Review Committee which included Krist, Heath Mello, Speaker Hadley and Mike Gloor could have motioned and recommended that Ricketts call a special session.
So the Senators, with their dresses over their heads yelping about what SHOULD have been done, should get a grip.
And there are now quite a few Senators who are being disruptive of the process…just to be disruptive. Stuff like voting for bills out of committees, then filibustering them on the floor. (i.e. being for it before you were against it.)
But some have another view on this behavior by the Dems and the left-leaning Republicans: they no longer have the votes to run the place and they are still ticked off about chairmanships. In the past, the conservatives were small in number and if the liberal/moderates threatened anything, the Speaker would side with them and cave.
Well, new session. New legislative body. New Speaker.
And they’re not getting pushed around anymore.
The aforementioned former State Senator and Omaha Mayoral candidate, Heath Mello was on the radio in Omaha yesterday. When asked about his top accomplishment in the Legislature, he named the aforementioned Budget that he designed and helped pass last spring.
You know, the Budget that’s nearly a BILLION dollars in the red, and some Senators are saying deserved a Special Session.
“Mr. Andrews, what would you say is your greatest achievement?”
“Well, I would HAVE to say building the Titanic. I mean it was a wonderful boat, really big, and EVERYONE agreed that it was unsinkable when it left port…”
But here’s another that would be funny, if it weren’t sad:
Heath Mello has been going on and on about how the City of Omaha needs to embrace technology and become a 21st Century city! And that he’s the youngster to do it!
(No matter that Omaha was recently cited as a top Digital City in the country.)
But Mello’s, and Mayor Jean Stothert’s, campaign report were due on January 31st at the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission offices. Stothert’s was submitted a few days before that, filed digitally and immediately posted online.
Her campaign raised a record $1.5 Million.
Heath Mello literally (and probably figuratively) MAILED his report in.
On a piece of paper.
So, that report, which will be put online, has to have all of the data, digit by digit, letter by letter, entered MANUALLY into the NADC system.
And don’t get the impression that there is a Mello staffer there to help out. It will be by the NADC staffers, paid by Nebraska taxpayers who will type-in each and every record in that mailed-report.
And you want a little irony, on top of all that? The poor NADC staffer has to hunt and peck on their keyboards to transfer the data. BUT, Heath Mello sent a regular Excel Spreadsheet out to the local press! WOWT even linked it for your handy-dandy download! NADC? Not so lucky.
There are any number of political reasons why Mello may be doing this. One wonders what he’s trying to hide by stalling his full report this way.
But the sum of it all is that he doesn’t care what it costs the taxpayers.
Or how the inability to review of these records side-by-side affects the issue of transparency that he has been trying to push since day one.