Quiet campaign

EDITORIALS

BY ART CULLEN

School will start before you know it, and right after that there will be a bond election Sept. 10 calling for a new Early Childhood Center on its second try. We hope that the school board, administration, educators and parents of children in particular are spending their late summer days admiring the butterflies and scheming how to get that bond issue passed.

It failed the last time around by a handful of votes. Since then, the board stretched out the debt to make the annual household taxes lower. Still, a hundred bucks a year is a hundred bucks, and that is not necessarily enough of a spif to get the project over the hump.

It takes phone calls, letters to the editor, public information advertising and organizing supporters to get out and vote. School elections typically have low turnout. An organized support group in either direction can have a major impact on an election. That’s why campaigns work, and why they are important.

The board has invested a lot of time and resources in trying to solve our crucial space needs. It has done so over many years without increasing property taxes. The board last week used $6.5 million in sales tax revenue to expand the middle school. To get the entire job done for all space needs, however, the property tax levy must be increased so Storm Lake can move ahead. We have a growth problem in the early grades to manage, which is a far sight better than figuring out how to keep the school open.

It’s a bad time to ask. Farm income has been in the doldrums. This is not a high-wage community. Yes, it’s always a bad time to ask. But ask you must. That’s what concerns us most: The first rule of politics is to ask them for their vote. Let’s make sure we don’t miss that. The board and administration must build the case for the public, and they need emissaries to carry their message and deliver. We hope the relative quiet of summer breaks into some noise for getting this bond issue passed.

Trump losing on trade

President Trump acknowledged Friday that China is unlikely to make a trade deal until after the 2020 general election, which means a lot more pain for Iowa’s export-sensitive economy. Trump said that the Chinese probably will want to see if “some other dope” is elected US President before signing off on a trade pact. This suggests that somebody made it clear to Trump that China is not about to budge despite talks that resumed in Shanghai this week.

China said it would buy some agricultural products. It also has created new ag marketing arrangements, especially for soybeans, with South American producers. Brazil can’t rip up rain forest fast enough. The former Mexican ambassador to China tells us that those deals are permanent. That hurts Iowa growers, who have worked 50 years trying to crack that market.

Everyone had hoped for a quicker resolution of this trade war. Our two senators, Grassley and Ernst, stand with the President but continue to issue public statements wishing he would get off the dime and get a deal done. Ernst is acutely aware of how it is hurting her prospects.

Trump continues to try to emasculate Chinese tech giant Huawei because it somehow is bad for American security. But it was Facebook, an American company, that was being used by the Russians to subvert our democracy, not some Chinese concern.

So long as the trade wars continue, Trump will get hurt in the Upper Midwest, Michigan, Ohio and Pennyslvania — the areas that delivered him the electoral college. He is acting as if no resolution by 2020 is not a big deal. It is. This is the issue that will sink him if the Democrats don’t shoot each other in the head over race relations.

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