Short Takes

Miss debates? Neither do we

THUMBS UP:

Quick: When was the last presidential debate? Gotta think about it a bit, don’t you? Isn’t it nice that we’ve hit somewhat of a lull when it comes to debates and town halls? For a while there, it seemed as if there was one every night. Nice to have a break.

Real ID

THUMBS UP:

We hope the Legislature can once and for all pass ID legislation so we can move on from this issue. The Senate just passed a bill to study how to upgrade IDs and the House likely will soon as well. Hopefully this doesn’t drag on.

MMU has it covered

THUMBS UP:

With so many states worried about their water supply, it was nice this week to hear from Marshall Municipal Utilities that Marshall won’t likely be turning into another Flint, Michigan. It’s good to be able to trust the people in charge of your local water supply.

Terror back on public radar

THUMBS DOWN:

The terrorist attack in Brussels brought terrorism and ISIS back to the forefront in our national conversations. When thinking about your vote for president, remember to consider which candidate is best suited for defeating terrorism. That should be the next president’s No. 1 issue when he/she takes office.

Short Takes

Arena can still benefit city, county

THUMBS UP:

The Lyon County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to offer the Marshall Area Hockey Association $250,000 for the Lockwood Motors Ice Arena. A motion to pay $200,000 failed, but another for $250K passed on a 4-1 vote. In January, MAHA said it wanted $500,000, so we feel this is a good compromise. The county should take ownership of the building, but then work to keep it an open, viable venue, if not for hockey, then for other things, like soccer – which everyone knows is a growing sport in Minnesota. The Independent has asked MAHA about the arena, but got nothing in response; today we say to them: accept the county’s offer.

Let’s scrap the gas tax increase chatter

THUMBS DOWN:

There are good aspects of Gov. Mark Dayton’s supplemental budget that was released earlier this week, but he continues to recommend a gas tax increase to help fix our roads and bridges. This idea has already hit a roadblock, and that won’t change this year. It shouldn’t, either. The governor has, in the past, conceded in certain areas and has shown a genuine willingness to compromise. On this, he must do the same. Again, we say “no” to a gas tax increase. The increase would start at 16 cents per gallon and would go up as soon as wholesale prices rise above $2.50. And you know that’s inevitable.

A big step forward for hotel building

THUMBS UP:

In another Marshall building issue, the city took ownership of the Marshall Hotel downtown on Tuesday and the legal process continues. It’s good news the city is able to take a step forward on this issue, and the sooner this gets resolved, the better – then the city can move ahead with getting rid of this historic eyesore and making something productive out of that space in the heart of downtown. Marshall needs a viable and productive downtown business sector, and this building contradicts that image 100 percent.

This has to be the year for ‘Drake’s Law’

THUMBS UP:

“Drake’s Law” is back in play at the state Capitol. We give the proposed legislation a big “thumbs up” and are cautiously optimistic it will pass this year. It should’ve last year, but at least the issues with the bill’s language were brought up in 2015 and this common-sense legislation can become law in 2016.

Short Takes

Park the self-driving cars, for good

THUMBS DOWN:

Enough with the self-driving cars. Really. We don’t need them, and they’re dangerous. Look at what happened Monday when one of the Google cars struck a bus on a public street in Los Angeles. What, no crash-test dummies available? Aren’t cars – self-driven or not – supposed to be fully tested in a plant somewhere where they can be regulated? Sure no one was injured, and the car was going just 2 mph, but sending these cars out onto streets full of people and other autos is ridiculous. Get them off the roads, and keep them off.

Take the next step for our water

THUMBS UP:

About 1,000 people attended Gov. Mark Dayton’s Water Summit in St. Paul on Saturday. Nice to see such a large turnout. But now the real work begins to ensure cities in Minnesota don’t turn into another Flint, Michigan. For too long have we taken our water for granted – and in Minnesota, that just doesn’t fly. We need comprehensive water-quality changes and ideas on how we can improve things. Hopefully, lawmakers find time this session to get going on this most important issue.

Racism abounds

THUMBS DOWN:

Race. It’s still such a big issue in our culture. Is Donald Trump a racist? Is there discrimination with the Academy Awards? White cop shoots black man. Not again. When will it end? We like to think we live in the greatest country in the world and, in many respects, we do, but with each passing year, we seem to be losing more of our moral fiber. We don’t need terrorists to tear apart our still-great country – we’re kind of doing that ourselves.

Caucus system change too drastic

THUMBS DOWN:

A group of Minnesotans want to change the current precinct caucus system after voters turned out in huge numbers of Super Tuesday. The turnout led to crowded caucus sites and long lines. That’s why we need to fix this? How about planning better in the first place. This system isn’t broken – at least not in our neck of the woods. Marshall had record numbers Tuesday and by all accounts, everything went swimmingly. We agree with caucus supporters who say the current system supports grass-roots politics. Changes need to be made – but not systematic ones. Individual precincts that had issues need to reevaluate how things went this week and make their own individual changes moving forward. It can’t be that difficult.

Success at 145

THUMBS UP:

A big congratulations to Minneota wrestler Bryce Bruner, who captured the Class A 145-pound title last weekend at the state wrestling tournament. Hats off as well to another 145-pounder, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Logan Axford, whose title bout loss was his first of the year.