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Diversity, structure make governing this country hard work

Lee H. Hamilton
Director
Indiana University Center on Congress


I have been working in or around government for over 50 years, and if you asked me to boil down what I’ve learned to one sentence, it is this: Governing is much harder work than most people imagine. This doesn’t excuse its lapses or sluggish rate of progress, but it does help explain them.

Why is it so hard? Partly it’s the country we live in. There were 130 million Americans when I was in high school. Now we number over 300 million, with a diversity and cultural complexity that were impossible to imagine when I started out. Finding common ground, meeting complex needs, answering to an overwhelming diversity of interests — this is not work for the faint of heart.

Read more: Diversity, structure make governing this country hard work

Your vote is worth much more than you might realize

Feather Publishing
10/31/2014

More than 400 years ago, the first English colonists stepped ashore, stretched their legs and got down to the business of organizing their new lives in North America.

The first order of business in Jamestown in 1607? … Elect a community president.

Read more: Your vote is worth much more than you might realize

SPI deserves a full refund for Moonlight Fire settlement

Feather Publishing
10/24/2014

Sierra Pacific Industries has insisted from the beginning that it played no role in igniting the devastating Moonlight Fire in 2007. Two weeks ago, the company took the next step in an attempt to clear its name and get some more of its money back.

We cried foul in 2012 when SPI was forced to hand over $122 million ($55 million in cash and 22,500 acres of prime timberland) to the federal government.

Even if the family-owned timber company was responsible for starting the Moonlight Fire, the penalty was beyond excessive. And it could have been even worse — the government was seeking more than $700 million. Some said it was the result of a growing bounty hunter mentality by prosecutors and the courts. It was the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history.

Read more: SPI deserves a full refund for Moonlight Fire settlement

Domestic violence affects millions of Americans each year


Feather Publishing
10/17/2014

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month — a public campaign that began in 1981 with a Day of Unity and then morphed into a month-long event in 1987.

Although awareness of domestic violence is growing, more than half of the violent acts still go unreported. Worldwide, at least one in three women has been beaten or abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.

The experts tell us domestic violence knows no boundaries and can touch anyone regardless of their social, economic, racial or cultural background. Most domestic violence victims are women, but men, children and teenagers also can be victims, especially when the abuse is emotional or psychological rather than physical.

Read more: Domestic violence affects millions of Americans each year

County leaders need to make the most of a rare opportunity


Feather Publishing
10/10/2014

A proposed joint venture between the sheriff and the California Highway Patrol appeared to be dead last spring. But after last week’s visit by CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow, there is a glimmer of hope.

We emphasize the glimmer part.

Everything will have to come together just right to make the collaboration a reality. The plan — devised by Sheriff Greg Hagwood and local CHP Commander Joe Edwards — is to build a shared office for the sheriff and CHP on a campus that would include a free-standing jail and possibly even the fire department.

Read more: County leaders need to make the most of a rare opportunity


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