It was a normal unassuming typical Tuesday, the day the peanut butter went missing. I couldn’t believe it myself. Although looking back, it shouldn’t have been too big a surprise. But I’m jumping ahead of the story. I enjoy a piece of peanut butter toast on occasion. Last Tuesday was going to be one of those occasions. I took out the bread and the toaster and opened the cupboard to fetch the peanut butter. It was gone.
I count the recent superintendent interviews at Timber Lake School as a victory for transparency and accountability. Since I’ve often been critical of our school board (and other boards) when they conduct business behind closed doors, I feel an obligation to give them a pat on the back for including the public in the interview process. It’s a step in the right direction.
It can seem overwhelming sometimes – this thing called life. You awaken at 4:00 a.m. because it is a “migraine day,” and roll over while trying not to move your head, just hoping to get back to sleep for another hour or two. You discover the furnace needs repairs and the washing machine needs replacing – all in the same day.
Somewhere around this time of year it happens as the bright mid-winter sun moves across the open sky, turning each and every fence post into a sundial as tired, aging snow melts off the prairie. The seasons wrestle for control as spring growth rises toward the surface, stopping to take the temperature of the earth, resting briefly in the warmth before breaking ground and racing diligently toward the sun.
This week is Sunshine Week, a national observance to spotlight the importance of openness and transparency in government at all levels. Open government is fundamental to good government. Openness builds citizen trust and confidence in government.
One week left! Tuesday, the 8th is the last day for bill discussion in each chamber. The rest of the week is spent negotiating amendments and budget. The much-debated Governor’s education bill barely passed the Senate on Tuesday (March 1) and is headed for the Governor’s desk.
Spring forward; fall back. Twice each year we reset the clocks. In the fall, I relish the extra hour of sleep I think I get because 6:00 a.m. is really 7:00 a.m. – or it feels that way for a couple days at least.
The quote atop this editorial is from Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road – a cheerful 1856 tribute to freedom and the great outdoors. Hopefully, Mr. Whitman would have approved use of his prose to promote open, well-aired government. It’s unlikely the great poet favored government secrecy and closed-door meetings.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has vetoed the controversial “transgender bathroom bill” (HB 1008 – An Act to restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools.) The Governor’s veto message follows: Dear Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives, I respectfully return to you House Bill 1008, with my VETO. House Bill 1008 does not address any pressing issue concerning the school districts of South Dakota. As policymakers in South Dakota, we often recite that the best government is the government closest to the people.