Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

New superintendent

THUMBS UP: The District 88 School Board has offered the superintendent position to Jeff Bertrang, currently the superintendent in the Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop school district.

Bertrang certainly is familiar with the district, and the area. He knows the challenges of running a K-12 school district under the state’s financial challenges. We think he will be a good fit.

We also applaud the process that the South Central Service Cooperative provided to find a number of good, qualified candidates. The process included ample opportunity for the public to view the interview and screening process, and to have some input on the decision.

Another shot in the foot for Republicans

THUMBS DOWN: As the Republican Party tries to recover from the 2012 election and broaden its base by embracing immigration reform and courting the Hispanic vote in the US, along comes Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).

On a radio interview with radio station KRDB, in Ketchikan, Alaska, Young talked about his youth on a California ranch.

“We used to hire 50 or 60 wetbacks and – to pick tomatoes,” Young said in the interview with KRBD. “You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”

Such a racial slur, dropping from the lips of any elected official reflects very poorly on the party. “The words used by Representative Young emphatically do not represent the beliefs of the Republican Party,” assured RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, but it will take much more to convince Latinos who played such an important role in the presidential election that the Republican Party is not riddled with such attitudes.

State was led astray

THUMBS DOWN: The woeful performance of electronic pulltabs as a fundraising tool for the state is becoming more horrific by the day. The state was led to believe that the e-pulltabs would produce some $35 million a year to provide for the state’s share of the Vikings stadium funding. Turns out the state was relying on estimates provided by – get this – the electronic gambling industry, makers of e-pulltab equipment.

Their rosy estimates have proven woefully inadequate. Instead of $35 million, the state is expecting to take in $1.7 million in the first year. Granted, it is still the first year, but the state has no idea when or if the things will start picking up, or what the actual annual take will be.

Governor Mark Dayton says this issue will be fixed. We don’t know exactly how he is going to fix it, but his solution had better not include tapping into the state’s regular tax revenues.