Friday, February 25, 2011

The Firing of Sally Felix

The Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke said, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing".  It is probably hyperbole to speak of local government in such terms, but I hope it helps to explain why I feel I must write this blog. It has been a long time coming.

When the announcement was released in January 2011 that Sally Felix was retiring effective February 25, 2011 as the Director of Siouxland Libraries, my antenna immediately went up. I did not believe Felix was retiring of her own volition and found out from her personally that she was in fact fired by Mayor Huether with the best option offered to retire in six weeks.

Huether told the city management team in October 2010 at the city’s internal Fall Forum that he was going to be making more personnel changes.  He had already fired four city directors. I’m not sure anyone would have guessed that Sally Felix would be next.  To me the most sadly ironic fact about Felix’s firing is that, truly, it’s not that Sally Felix isn’t good enough to work for this Mayor, it’s that she’s too good to work for him.

Mayor Huether has experience in banking.  He thinks that because he can analyze a bank’s organizational chart he is qualified to determine when a library system should be reorganized.  Sally Felix has decades of library management experience and still is open to always finding a better way to run her organization. But you judge whose expertise won out.

Mayor Huether questioned the need for libraries in general, noting that research can be done using Google and consumers can buy e-readers.  He equated library services as only reaching out to the homeless and the poor.  As ill-conceived as that may be, let’s go down that road a minute and ponder the logic of supporting the purchase of a security system to lock the homeless up but questioning the worth of a system that can teach them to read. 

When you consider it in this context, it is not surprising that Sally Felix was not compatible with Mike Huether.  She was very much attuned to the changing role of libraries and supported the evolution of her programs and services.  Under her leadership, usage rose in all categories and the demand for neighborhood libraries grew to the point that new branches were envisioned years into the future.

So, it's really not surprising that even though this Mayor claimed to want to surround himself with people who would “challenge” him, when faced with a confident, competent and forthright person like Sally Felix—whose beliefs clearly differed from his own—the expedient course was just to fire her.

Felix wasn't ready to retire yet. She had only been with the City for 8 years. Lucky for her that she was vested in the city’s pension system and was able to retire. She was past the age of 60 which is the allowable retirement age with a minimum of 5 years of service. Felix wanted to stay at least until the end of this year or possibly next. She wanted to be here to make sure the new Westside Branch Library was well on its way to being built. But the mayor made it clear to her that the best offer was the end of February. Felix says he told her he didn't care how much she worked and that she could work one day a week if she wanted.  I suppose she should be thankful she got about 6 weeks "severance", if you want to call it that. When he fired Buseman as Public Health Director, she got 4 days.

I listened to the January 2011 ASK THE MAYOR program on Channel 16 (go to 9.23 on the video). It was hard to listen to the mayor's comments when I knew the truth about Felix leaving the City. The mayor, when asked about Felix leaving stated, "Sally did a great job in Sioux Falls, we are very blessed to have her here but she has made the decision to retire and when that happens we also have to move on". The mayor went on to say that he hoped there would be someone on her staff who would apply for the job. There are some very talented people on Felix's staff but there is no one on her staff who is as experienced as she is or who could compete with her qualifications on a level playing field.  And, most tellingly, after a personal plea from the Mayor for internal applicants, he ended up ceding to the need for a national search. 
One can only surmise that those who now know him don’t want to work for him. How ironic that Sally Felix was recruited through a national search.  And so today, Sally Felix leaves and Siouxland Libraries is without a director.

I wrote a blog about Sally Felix when I first heard she was "retiring". When I go back and read it now, I wonder how on earth he could fire this outstanding career professional. It's certainly couldn't be for performance, so it had to be personal. The Library Board deserved the truth from the mayor instead of this facade that she was retiring. She did not voluntarily choose to resign or "retire".

Just because you have the power to appoint and fire at the city director level, it doesn't mean you treat this executive, career professional level of service so disrespectfully and without any sense of decency and truth. Unfortunately for Felix, she felt she could not speak up because she feared she would be terminated immediately without any form of severance pay. Being out of work so abruptly, she needed as much paid time as possible. Six weeks later she is still in shock over what has happened to her career.

Mayor Huether should take a moment to read this tribute to Chicago’s Mayor Daley and his support of public libraries as it appears in the Chicago Tribune.  As the author writes, there are myriad ways to judge a mayor’s achievements.  There are just as many ways to judge one's ability to lead and manage people.  And to me, the case of Sally Felix tells you everything you need to know.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Event Center - Behind the Scenes

These past months have been filled with actions that contradict the mayor’s claim to be the most open and transparent leader this city has ever witnessed.  The most recent action to contradict this claim being ongoing issues out of the public’s eye related to the economic impact analysis for the downtown events center.
The Build It Downtown group is very interested in the site selected for study in the downtown area and the way the city’s experts have gone about determining that site.  As I stated before, I was frankly shocked to learn at this month’s event center update that in a matter of days a downtown site for study would be announced.
 I say this because I expected at least some sort of public involvement in the process.  Virtually any project of significance undertaken by this city, in the past, had multiple opportunities for public input.  There are open houses, neighborhood meetings, comment cards, websites, you name it.  I thought for certain that there would be an opportunity for anyone and everyone to provide input on downtown locations before the city’s experts select one for a comparison with the Arena.
It looks like there will not be such an opportunity.  The behind the scenes rumor is the consultants hired by the city have already made their decision and it will be announced as early as the end of this week.  Presumably then we will learn the methodology by which the location was determined.  Maybe, maybe not, considering the absence of transparency or the willingness to share public information to date.
The Build it Downtown group has requested, many times, to give the experts input.  They have been denied that opportunity.  They have asked to meet with the mayor.  He has refused.  This week, Directors Cooper and Smith finally met with members of Build it Downtown.  The data the group requested was not provided.  In a last ditch effort, downtown leader Steve Hildebrand emailed Mayor Huether asking, again,  for details about the criteria used to determine the downtown location.
I am not going to post all their correspondence here.  Some of it can be seen by going to the Build It Downtown Facebook page. I will tell you that some of the Mayor’s responses are both disappointing and mystifying and some of it unnecessarily personal in nature.  Huether uses the classic political tactic of trying to diminish his opponent as he avoids confronting the issue at hand.  He repeatedly tells Hildebrand to let the “professionals” do their work and he is very upset with even the implication that he has had any personal involvement in the process.  And, as is Huether’s pattern, he comes back to discussing himself, the difficulty of his job, his commitment to it, etc, in a narcissistic response to a very basic, direct request from Hildebrand.
 Who knows what the public will ultimately hear regarding this study,  but here are some issues to consider:
 --No consultant hired by the city works unilaterally.  These people are experts in their field.  They are not experts on the city of Sioux Falls.  They rely on city staff (who report to the mayor) for guidance on issues specific and unique to this community.  If the process is a good one, the consultants also seek outside input from other community stakeholders and the general public.  For Huether to claim he and his staff have been removed from this process is very far-fetched.
--There will be no presentation given to the City Council or the public unless it has first been presented to the Mayor.  He signs the consultant’s check, so to speak.  I am not suggesting he or his staff will edit this presentation.  I am simply saying they will have the opportunity to give input before anything is finalized.
The general consensus seems to be the consultants will recommend studying the Cherapa Place site.  This will result in questions on how available parking is now determined, a basic question from the downtown group that has not yet been answered.    It will further muddy the issue and complicate the process. It could have been avoided by good communication up front and ongoing.
To me the amusing part of this whole approach is that the Mayor keeps saying we will all need to get on board with whatever is ultimately recommended.  He is seeking the buy-in from everyone including the Build It Downtown group.  Well, mayor, you get buy-in when you build trust with people.  You build trust by disclosing information whenever possible, not withholding it.
If the event center vote goes down, you will blame the Build It Downtown group when the reality is it will go down because of your actions.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Irony of John Thune

John Thune is struggling with the heady decision of whether to run for President. He ran against Daschle with the platform that SD no longer had someone representing them that stood for SD instead of the national agenda. He won on that platform.

I knew John Thune when he was the Executive Director of the SD Municipal League. He was impressive, likeable and spoke with intelligence, conviction and spirit.  I was not surprised when he ran for Congress. Running for a national political office seemed to be his destiny. I supported him back then. I believed his conviction was to serve the people of South Dakota. I believed he would serve this state well as the lone SD representative in the House. I hoped he would run for governor. But then he got suckered in by the big guns to take out Daschle. Not because it was good or bad for South Dakota, but because it was good for national politics.

Washington, D.C. seems to be a place where people with convictions seem to lose their perspective. He has stood behind the Republican leaders at press conferences. He has linked himself to the conservative right wing of the party and he has adopted the Republican mantra. OK, he is a Republican, no surprise. The problem  is that I don't see the John Thune I knew and respected anymore. I don't see the man who was his own man with his own thoughts and convictions.  He started losing my support when I no longer felt he was thinking for himself and SD. And now, he talks of running for President. It feels like the ultimate betrayal to me.

He certainly has the superficial things that people like to lob onto when looking for a presidential contender. He has good looks, he loves sports, he has a beautiful and supportive family, no scandals that we know of, a nice guy who speaks well, an all-american picture perfect candidate. It's a mirror with nothing behind it, I am sad to say.

How is running for President the SD agenda that he ran on when he defeated Daschle? He couldn't even deliver the final funding for the Lewis and Clark Water Project. The motivation for running for President should be more than just taking out President Obama. It should be about solving the pressing problems of the economy and the federal budget and the disturbing foreign affairs swirling around us. These are troubled and scary times. We need someone who is more than smoke and screen and whose only agenda is to take out Obama.

I think Senator Richard Luger, R-Ind. sums it up when he was quoted saying that Thune acts "with grace and diplomacy," but he has not made a leadership mark on any policy issue."

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Mayor’s Broken Promises

 I joined the Build It Downtown Group because I believed in what this passionate and highly committed group of business people wanted to do – engage the Mayor in considering alternative sites for an event center. Consider, not demand. Talk, discuss and give input to the mayor and his staff as they work through the process. Work with them on this project.  It is a noble cause spearheaded by noble people who have the best interests of the city at heart. These people are taxpayers, citizens of Sioux Falls and voters. This group has worked hard to gather data, meet with architects, engineers, city planners, developers and the public. They have studied this issue extensively and reviewed dozens of cities’ successes with their own events centers. They deserve to be heard, not ignored.

Why is it that this group is being ignored and even demonized? Well, there are many factions at work with respect to this project. There are people who are adamant in their support of the Arena site. There are people who believe other sites should be considered for an event center. There are people who are adamantly opposed to the whole idea of building an event center. There are people who think the downtown retailers are behind the movement for their own personal gain. People are all over the place when it comes to an Event Center and yet the Mayor moves forward like his concept for the Event Center is the only good concept. He is already telling his “adversaries” that they will be the losers and they should just get on board and be a team player when he proves his idea is the only good idea.

What I don’t get is why the Mayor and members of his staff choose to ignore the Build It Downtown group’s repeated requests to meet and discuss their ideas. These business and community leaders has been trying to get a meeting with the Mayor and his staff to discuss possible downtown locations as an alternative for some time. All they want to do is give input to the city. Why is the mayor so threatened by differing points of view? After all, he did say he was willing to consider a downtown location. He did say he was committed to downtown revitalization. So why ignore input? All he has to do is listen to other ideas. Listen – what a concept. Not something the mayor seems to be very good at when it comes to this process. I guess people outside his immediate circle of control don't count. I don't understand why he seems to be so afraid to just talk to this group. I have worked for a lot of mayor's and I have never seen a mayor blow off a group of people like this mayor has done. People deserve to be treated with respect even if he doesn't agree with them.

Build It Downtown members have been trying to get a meeting with his staff to discuss possible downtown locations. They first refused to meet with the group, now they just ignore their requests. Build It Downtown asked for public record information and they've refused to provide it. This is a demonstration of an open and transparent government that the mayor promised when he was elected?

The Public Works Director stated at the most recent Event Center Update Session on Monday that they will be going to identify the most suitable and feasible downtown site by the end of February. That is in a few days. What criteria and input are they using to determine the most suitable and feasible downtown site? The audacity of this mayor never ceases to amaze me. In my opinion, his lack of respect for ideas other than his own is downright disrespectful to the voters and citizens of this community who just want to work with him on this important project.

The mayor promised to seek public input before decisions were made. He has chosen to ignore or even listen to voters who want to give input or their opinions regarding this important project. He is failing to keep his promises. He is failing the voting public.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Embarrassing Legislature

Just when I think I have heard the craziest thing coming out of the SD Legislature, I find something that tops the list

HB 1171: provide that the use of force by a pregnant woman for the protection of her unborn child is an affirmative defense to prosecutions for certain crimes.

Presented by:    Representative Phil Jensen
Proponents:    Rita Houglum, Eagle Forum
        Dale Bartscher, Family Heritage Alliance
        Cindy Flakoll, Concerned Women For America
        Zach Lautenschlager, Campaign for Liberty

On the printed bill, delete everything after the enacting clause and insert:

    "    Section 1. That § 22-16-34 be amended to read as follows:

    22-16-34. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person while resisting any attempt to murder such person, or to harm the unborn child of such person in a manner and to a degree likely to result in the death of the unborn child, or to commit any felony upon him or her, or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person is.
    Section 2. That § 22-16-35 be amended to read as follows:
    22-16-35. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person, if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished. "

Moved by:    Tornow
Second by:    Gosch
Action:    Prevailed by voice vote.


Moved by:    Gosch
Second by:    Turbiville
Action:    Prevailed by roll call vote. (9-3-1-0)

Voting Yes:    Boomgarden, Hansen (Jon), Kopp, Nelson (Stace), Russell, Tornow, Turbiville, Gosch, Hunt

Voting No:    Feinstein, Gibson, Killer

Excused:    Abdallah


    On page 1, line 1, of the printed bill, delete everything after "to" and insert "expand the definition of justifiable homicide to provide for the protection of certain unborn children.".

    On page 1, delete lines 2 and 3.

Moved by:    Turbiville

Take a look at an article written about this bill. This article has gone viral on Facebook. South Dakota is being ridiculed because of these people. Laws to mandate gun ownership, laws about restricting abortion rights. South Dakota has voted on the abortion issue. Obviously these people think they don't need to pay attention to what the voters have said. They are in the legislature to push their own personal agenda, period.

Who are the people who keep voting these lunatics to public office. People need to stop voting for a person they know nothing about just because they have an "R" behind their name on the ballot. While we are at it, we need to stop this practice of electing the same people over and over again while they switch between the House and the Senate. I swear, once you get elected, people in this state will forever vote for you just because they recognize your name.

It is an embarrassing legislature, making South Dakota look like a bunch of lunatics. The State has budget problems and all these fringe right wing people want to do is push their own agenda. It is a sad commentary on the state of our State. It's embarrassing that it got out of committee. Let's hope there is still rational thought when it gets to a floor vote. Not everyone there is a nut case, right?

Monday, February 14, 2011

County Housing

I am always amused when the ARGUS LEADER editorial board addresses something they really don't know anything about, like the financial responsibility of the homeless. The City has had to cut it's 2011 budget and doesn't even know if it will have surplus from the 2010 budget. They cut programs and services to citizens, gave no raises to employees, are worrying about pension costs and now the Argus thinks the city should find $100,000 somewhere to give to the County to pay for a security system.

News flash - serving the homeless is the fiscal responsibility of the county. If the city needed to fund a security system for a city function, the cost would be budgeted out of the OCEP Program. This cost is not budgeted for in OCEP and I heard that there isn't even money budgeted in OCEP to cover such an expense.

Ironic that Bob Litz is now pushing the City Council to fund this equipment. Where was his support a year or so ago? Transparent and self serving action on his part, in my opinion.

The City needs to take care of their own budget issues first, before they start giving money to the County for something that is their budgetary responsibility. This money should not come out of the city's operating budget.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sad Farewells

Why is it when you leave home, it seems sad things happen.  Maybe it is because you are not in the comfort of your home or surrounded by people who love you and comfort you. The beginning of 2011 has been full of sadness and loss and I am quite ready for it to stop.

First, my dear friend and colleague, Don Skadsen, passed away. It was a shock to hear the news. I and fellow city director retirees just had lunch together in December and Don was his usual smiling and talkative self. He was a respected Police Captain. He was elected as Police and Fire Commissioner and served the city of Sioux Falls admirably. I was sad that I could not attend his funeral and wish him a final goodbye and tell his wife Dorothy how much knowing him and working with him meant to me.

Next, my Uncle Ozzie died. Ozzie was my Dad's youngest brother. Ozzie was married to my mother's sister which kind of made all of us cousins like double cousins. We were together at both grandparents houses for holidays. We spent summers together. We grew up together. Ozzie had a very dry wit about him. He spoke his mind and didn't matter to him if his comment made you uncomfortable or not. It was said with conviction and he believed it, period. I was sad that I could not attend his funeral and give my dear Aunt Mackie and cousins hugs and comfort.

My cousin and his wife left for England after Uncle Ozzie's funeral to visit her mother who was ill. The day after they arrived, her mother died. I was so happy that she was there to be with her mother, to tell her she loved her in person. Another sad farewell.

A week after my Uncle Ozzie died, his youngest daughter lost her husband. You have to wonder why there has to be so much grief bunched into such a little space of time. One cannot get through the grief of losing one's father before additional grief and sadness is piled on top with the loss of one's husband. It seemed unfathomable that this happened. I was sad that I could not attend the funeral of my cousin's husband and let her know personally she was in my thoughts and prayers.

Just when I thought sadness and grief had reached it's peak, I get a call from my cousin in Richmond and she tells me Uncle Orv died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack. I am in shock. I ask, what is going on? Why is it that death has visited multiple times to my extended family? I was very apprehensive to call my father and tell him once again that someone in our family had just died. Orv was a man who always had a smile on his face, happy about everything, a wit and charm that just brought joy to your heart. A funeral to go to; sharing grief and sadness in person with cousins, their spouses and grandchildren who can't believe he is gone forever.

It doesn't matter whether your loved succumbs to an illness or dies unexpectedly. Death is death, grief is grief. One day they are here and then they are gone.  It is something that is so hard to comprehend and yet it is a fact of live.

As my 92 year old Dad says, we are all going to die some day. For him, the loss of his oldest brother in 2009 and now the death of his youngest brother brings his mortality even closer. He is sad and despondent that he is the only one left in his family. And he knows his time is coming.

Waiting for death when you are 92 years old. I cannot imagine what that must be like for my father.  If you are of faith, you believe that heaven is waiting for you and that you will see your loved ones again. I hold onto that faith. It is the one thing that comforts me when I lose someone I love. I am thankful that my father lives and I will cherish every day I have left with him.

Life and death. Happiness and sad farewells.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Love Affair with Technology

What can I say - I love my IPAD, IPOD, Kindle and Droid X. Oh, yes, and my laptop which seems to be taking a backseat more and more everyday.  Why do I need all those devices? They each serve a specific purpose, but with technology changing at a bat of an eye, the capability of doing everything on one device is becoming more of a reality everyday. Is it possible to get everything I love into one device? Can I love more than one device?

As far as I am concerned, I could buy a car without a radio or CD player. All I need is an auxiliary plug in which to connect my IPOD to in the car. I am my own mixer of music. I am a frequent shopper at the ITUNES store. I can't even get through my own library of music. I can go for a walk with my ears plugged into my music and maybe stop and sit on a bench and access the current book I am reading via the Kindle application loaded on my IPOD. I have been known to read my book on my Kindle application loaded on my IPOD. Small screen, but in a pinch - a lifesaver to nix wasted downtime. I love my IPOD.

My Kindle is small enough to throw in my purse. I went to a parade this past fall and as I was waiting for the parade to start, I pulled out my Kindle and started reading. I am amazed at how much attention I get when I pull out that device. I should get a sales commission from Amazon. I am a walking advertisement for that thing.  I love reading my Kindle in the car, at home, at the hair salon, outside in my lawn chair, when I am getting pedicure. I love to read and I love my Kindle!!

But wait, the new IPAD was introduced. I thought, I don't need that. I have a laptop. I have a Kindle. I have an IPOD. I have a smart phone. Why do I need an IPAD? I need it because it is portable. I need it because it is something new. I need it because.....I have a love affair with new technology. Not only can I get email. I now have my laptop capabilities in this very skinny device that can fit in a large purse. The only thing keeping it totally versatile is the fact it is hard to read outside and it doesn't accommodate Flash Player. I watch Netflix on my IPAD.  I am addicted to Angry Birds. I have every game you can think of downloaded on my IPAD. I have every news source application ready at the tip of my finger. I can access my bank. I have downloaded many, many educational and learning applications for my grandson.  What is the first thing he says when he comes to my house? Can I use your IPAD, Grandma? I really love my IPAD!

You might ask, why do you need a laptop? Well, I need it when I have type a lot of stuff, like this blog. Do you know how hard it is to type on a keyboard the size of a one inch square. It's good for a couple of sentences but after that, my fingers become my worst enemy. Thank goodness for auto correct but I am still known for spelling something incorrectly or getting a huh? response because the text doesn't make sense. I need my laptop for the "big" stuff. I do love my laptop but I am not monogamous in my love affair with technology. Sorry laptop, but you are not the only one.

I used to have a phone that only did what phones are supposed to do - calling and  text messaging. I had a Palm Pilot to compliment my phone. Then I found  true love with the Blackberry. Now I could have a phone, manage my calendar and contacts and get email. I was in heaven. Oh, but wait, the Droid X came on the horizon. It was like having a mini computer in my phone. I was infatuated. It was puppy love. It was love at first sight. It brought my google account to my phone. Oh, did I tell you that I can also access my Kindle books on my phone? I can still drive myself nuts playing Angry Birds.  I love my Droid X.

But with all these gadgets, there is constant dread.  You buy the new and latest generation and within months, a brand new generation is out. What to do, what to do? It is interesting that there is one little thing about each device that keeps it from being the universal device. Then there are all those cords, because those pesky devices have batteries that need charging.  So I have cords for home, cords for the car. I am up to my eyeballs with cords and chargers. What else do I need? I need Wifi, of course. I have Wifi at home and I have Wifi on the go. I am plugged in no matter where I am.  I love technology!!

Who would have thought that this 60+ year old lady would be so gadget driven. The way I figure it, if you don't stay on top of this technology thing, you become really old fast. I told my 92 year old Dad yesterday that I was so proud of him. He is good at text messaging. He said, yes, but I just don't get the computer thing and all this technology is so confusing. I told him not to worry. I was just glad he could text message and use his cell phone.

What I really need is a big bag - to carry all my technology. I am a consumer of technology. I am out of control. I am plugged in. I am hearing notification sounds in my sleep. I am having a love affair with technology. The one thing I can control. Nice!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Mayor's Love Fest for Munson and his Department Heads

The way the Mayor continues to profess his admiration for former Mayor Dave Munson and his 12 directors sounds like an endorsement for Munson's new election campaign for the city's highest office. He credits Munson and his department heads for making the tough decisions regarding the 2010 budget.

The Mayor also recognized Munson and his 12 department heads in his Top 10 Big Wins speech, specifically when addressing #1 Top Big Win.  He thinks they were so great and did great things but his actions speak louder than words. He has let 6 of those recognized department heads go and his first year in office isn't up yet.

Words are cheap.

Friday, February 4, 2011

An Ineffective Legislature

I find the discussions in the legislature regarding sales tax amusing. Everyone is wringing their hands over the budget cuts. The minute someone proposes raising sales tax, everyone says it's not time. Well, if the current budget crisis is not time, when will it be time? I agree that sales tax is regressive and that it disproportionately affects those who have less. Figure out a way to restructure sales tax in this state.  The fact is, this state has limited ways to raise revenues since it doesn't have state income tax.

I don't like raising taxes, but education needs funding help. Why can't we look at a 1 cent sales tax dedicated to fund K-12? Why can't municipalities be given the authority to increase a temporary sales tax to fund a specific project as long as it is voted on by the registered voters? Why doesn't the legislature look at reducing sales tax on food and increasing it on other retail and entertainment uses?

What has the state done to identify unnecessary programs to cut? The tendency is to protect one's turf. The first thing to do is cut all discretionary spending. If you can't tell the difference between discretionary and necessary, then this problem will not be solved.

Instead of dealing with tough issues like funding education, this legislature puts forth a bill to mandate gun ownership and a bill regarding abortion, again. Don't they listen to what the voters have said on the issue of abortion rights? What is it with these people who bounce back and forth between the House and the Senate? We continue to elect them. Lazy voters who vote by name recognition or because they have an "R" beside their name. Forget the fact they never accomplish anything. I think "R" stands for retreads. Retreads with no original or new thought.

And what does that get us? An ineffective legislature.