Like most editors of weekly newspapers, one of my responsibilities is covering local governments. It’s not the most glamorous job in the world, but it’s the job.
As a result, it’s not uncommon for me to field questions from people about why the school board, city council or county board voted to do what they did. This time of year, the questions come more frequently because it’s budget time.
I answer what I can, but I always tell those asking that the best place to get the answer is from their elected officials at those respective levels of government.
If you have a question about county board spending and the county budget, you ask the supervisor who represents your part of the county.
And if you believe in transparency in government, you don’t ask anonymously. You give your name and ask your question or state your opinion.
That’s the way the process works best.
I also receive anonymous letters. Most are inaccurate with facts and opinions they want stated with no accountability.
That said, I also receive anonymous letters that point me to a possible story. But when I get those, I don’t jump to conclusions and simply write a story based on what the letter writer said. I check into the matter before I go public with anything.
Right now, for example, I am working on a story that resulted from a recent unsigned letter from someone unhappy with some local government spending. Some of what was mentioned in the letter dealt with something we had already covered in the paper, but some of what was mentioned was information I felt was also pertinent, so I am following up.
That’s the key. Follow up. Talk to the elected officials who deal with the issues you have a question about.
DACA decision disappointing
On Tuesday, Attorney General Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program Executive Order will be rescinded immediately and the program will begin to be phased out.
The action, ordered by President Donald Trump, wasn’t surprising, but his statements made about the program during his campaign and after have been inconsistent.
Consider what he said in a Tweet just last night: “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”
The action yesterday was disappointing.
One head-scratcher for me is that Nebraska is one of the states that joined an effort asking for DACA to be rescinded.
We keep hearing how Nebraska needs more economic development and the efforts the state is taking to see that it happens.
Well, the Center for American Progress estimates Nebraska would lose $144 million each year in economic output if DACA was ended, as part of a national GDP loss of $433 billion over the next 10 years.
The action announced yesterday does come with time to allow Congress to come up with a legislative solution.
DACA protections will start to be phased out in six months.
It means that if Congress doesn’t act to keep the program, some of the 800,000 young adults brought to the United States illegally as children who qualify for DACA will become eligible for deportation.
All existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration up to two full years and applications already in the pipeline will be processed.
Those impacted by DACA are often referred to as DREAMers.
They are children and young adults, who came into the U.S. through no fault of their own. They were brought here by their parents.
They have a long history of contributing to Nebraska’s communities, a fact recognized by business, agriculture, civic, faith, and education leaders across the state.