Sheriff candidates take the stage
THUMBS?UP: The city of Tracy was the place to be earlier this week when the three candidates for Lyon?County Sheriff, current sheriff Mark Mather, Ron McKenzie, and Bruce Hanson, gathered at City Hall for a candidate forum a week before the primary election. Voters have seen sign after sign for each candidate posted around area communities and on farmland out in the country, but this was the first significant chance to hear from the candidates themselves in an under-the-spotlight setting. Each of the candidates had the opportunity to speak out on a variety of issues - issues that the public needs to know their stance on. Lyon County Commissioner candidates Scott Riddlemoser, Phil Nelson, and Rick Anderson also went in front of the public to educate voters on their views as well.
THUMBS?UP: It's hard to believe, but there are still some families out there unaware that many school districts start classes Aug. 23 instead of after Labor Day, but it's good to see area schools are willing to work with families who might have some conflicts with the bumped-up start date. Marshall and Lakeview, for example, have both gone on record with the Independent saying they will be flexible with families who have conflicting events going on, such as attending the state fair, and will make sure these absences will be excused. Kids competing at the state fair, for example, will still be able to attend the fair without penalty. We're confident other schools will fall in line and do what they can as well to make sure families will be able to attend late-summer functions that conflict with school.
Target and politics
THUMBS?DOWN: A?couple of "Boycott Target" groups sprang up on Facebook recently in response to the company's $150,000 donation to MN?Forward, which is running TV ads for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, an opponent of same-sex marriage. Target employees, some of whom are gay, have raised concerns about the donation. Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel assured employees at the company's Minneapolis headquarters that the retailer's support of the gay community was "unwavering." Common Cause Minnesota, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization committed to election fairness and transparency, sent a letter to Target asking it to pledge to not spend money on political expenditures from its general treasury. Target has apologized to team members and shareholders. Target is a strong corporate citizen, especially in Minnesota, but getting involved with politics with such a healthy donation probably wasn't the best thing to do and is even a bit hypocritical considering it supports the Twin Cities Pride gay festival.
Saving jobs in the U.S.
THUMBS?UP: Months of efforts by governors of both parties paid off Thursday when legislation passed that will save the jobs of some 300,000 teachers, police officers and public workers passed on a 61-39 vote by the Senate. The $26 billion measure would provide $16 billion to help states fund their Medicaid budgets - and therefore free money for other budget priorities - and $10 billion for grants to school districts to prevent layoffs as schools across the country prepare to open.