On May 6, 2020

With less money, what is a priority?

Everyone is responsible for doing their part to stop this pandemic – wear a mask

By Sen. Dick McCormack

State Colleges

As everyone knows, the proposal to close three state colleges has been taken off the table, at least somewhat in response to public outrage. But the issue is far from settled. As I argued in my last report, maintaining our state colleges begs the question of where to find the money. To insist on keeping the colleges open, without suggesting a funding scheme, is crying crocodile tears. Similarly to oppose the necessary fundraising (a.k.a. taxes) while demanding the schools stay open is to propose a miracle. The Legislature will likely provide a “bridge,” an appropriation to keep the schools open for a year. Is this kicking the can down the road? Again? Or is it giving ourselves time to develop a real solution? Finally? We’ll see.

On a related issue, I’m sorry to see my friend and colleague Jeb Spaulding leave his position as chancellor. In fairness, he’s warned of this crisis for years. It’s not his fault.

Signing up for UI

There is no excuse for the mess with the Labor Department’s computers and phones. Some citizens have been trying for weeks to get through. The Labor Department assures us they’re doing all they can and that things will improve soon.

Front line workers

Everyone who is isolating is helping fight the pandemic. It’s a sacrifice, and it works. But some people go the extra mile, risking their own health and safety to protect others. The Senate has passed a bill to provide a bonus to a long list of front line Covid workers. They deserve it.

Detractors

Unfortunately, outrageously, not everyone is with the anti-Covid effort. On my rare trips away from home, to pick up groceries curbside, or to drop off recycling at what I still call the Dump (I’m old school), I’m horrified at how many folks I see without face masks and not keeping 6 feet apart. Some are negligent and irresponsible. Some subscribe to an ideology that they have a God-given constitutional right to spread a deadly virus, a perverted distortion of liberty. (Our president is much to blame for that.)

I figure that folks intelligent and civic-minded enough to still be reading a local weekly in this time of cyber-nonsense are not the folks I’m complaining about. But I’m calling out to the good citizens to stop letting the virus-spreaders off the hook. This is not a difference of opinion about which we can politely agree to disagree. It’s science. It’s real. For many of our neighbors it’s a matter of life and death. So be polite, be friendly, but be clear. They’re not just risking their own health, they’re risking other people’s lives. They need to get smart and to clean up their act.

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