North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


March 15, 2013

Our Views: Lawmaking should be done in the open, even with a noble cause

AN NJN EDITORIAL — [Editor's note: Shortly after this editorial appeared in our March 13 print edition, the Alabama Supreme Court vacated a lower court's restraining order against the Alabama Accountability Act. Gov. Robert Bentley has since signed the bill into law.]

We may have counted out the Alabama Education Association too soon. The teachers’ union got Montgomery judge Charles Price to issue a temporary injunction on the Alabama Accountability Act, which began as the so-called school flexibility bill in the state legislature.

The AEA contends that Republican lawmakers, who now hold a super-majority in both chambers of the legislature, violated the state’s open meetings law when they made major alterations to the bill in committee.

The bill was originally designed to give local school districts some leeway in scheduling and other matters, but ended up giving state income tax credits to parents of children in “failing schools.”

The law may have plenty of merit, and the lawsuit may be just the latest legal roadblock effort by an AEA that is struggling to distance itself as a functioning arm of the Alabama Democratic Party. But they do have a point in that this revised bill appears to have been put together largely in secret.

That’s never a good thing for the public.

We’ve harped on this tenet before. On more than one occasion, city councils in our area have passed controversial measures with little or no public input — or waited until the deeds were done and public comment had no effect. Almost every local town has done it at one time or another.

The same sunshine principle should apply to lawmakers on Goat Hill. We’ve long since passed the days of deals cut in smoke-filled rooms, or at least we should have. We know enough to realize that a lot of deal-making in Montgomery goes on outside the purview of public in general and the media in particular. But when it comes to the formal process of making laws, everything should be as open as possible.

A good rule of thumb is this: If it’s good enough to govern the public, then it’s good enough to be deliberated in public.

The GOP’s war cry for this legislative session is, “We Dare Defend Our Rights.” If that be so, then the public has the right to see how the majority purports to defend them.

Text Only
  • Danielle Cater: Be strong in moments of weakness

    A sad scene took place on Sunday at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The founding pastor of Calvary Chapel stepped down from his position of head pastor due to “moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church.” This church is home to over 20,000 members who worship together in 10 locations across Florida.

    April 15, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

    You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m of the opinion that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.
    So as an old dog, I’ve been trying to pick up a new trick.

    April 7, 2014

  • Commentary: Bad vacation attitudes won't last forever

    In these photos, everyone else in the family is smiling as if this were their favorite vacation of all times, but I am huffing with my arms crossed and a literal frown on my face.

    March 26, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: I’ll never live down running out of gas

    Have you ever had one of those days where you are functioning on four hours of sleep, and yet you still have to get up at 5:45 a.m. to get the family to church by 7 a.m. on the other side of town? After church you run home to get ready for your 6-year-old’s birthday party and then head straight back to church to help with the services until after 9 p.m.? That just might be a good description of our Sunday afternoon. Whoever said “easy like Sunday morning” obviously didn’t have kids and probably didn’t go to church.

    March 20, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Most people aren’t politically correct

    I probably work in the wrong profession to hate political correctness, but I do. I can’t stand it when I feel as if I need to walk on eggshells all the time to keep from hurting people’s feelings. I don’t try to be excessively offensive, but people are so easily offended these days, it’s almost impossible not to tick someone off by everything that you say or do.

    March 14, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Lessons, fun times make retreats enjoyable

    I did something recently that is apparently out of the ordinary for most people. I went to a marriage conference while I was not in the midst of marital problems.

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks to Gardendale citizens for hospitality

    We, along with many other travelers, spent the next two days and nights in your splendid center. We are of the opinion that we couldn’t have been stranded in a better place.

    February 28, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Be sure to give your kids what they need

    Once the snow melted this week, life went back to normal and we all found ourselves busy with our regular day-to-day activities, and trying to catch up on everything we had put on the back burner during the snow days.
    Our household had a busy weekend, and among the events of the weekend, we celebrated our second birthday in three weeks. That’s right, our perfectly-blended family has given us two daughters who celebrate birthdays within three weeks of each other.

    February 18, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Find excitement in the boring days

    Many people got to take a vacation day this past Monday for MLK Day. What this day stands for is a great cause and an issue that should be addressed, but for many people, it was just another holiday.
    Our office is like most other offices, so we were open to the public Monday. But since schools and daycares were closed, I got the privilege of staying home with the four best daughters in the world. We started off the day with the attitude of fun.

    January 22, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: One year down, rest of my life to go

    Dec. 29, 2013 has come and gone, and for many people it held no lasting significance. But for me, it marked the first anniversary of marriage to my amazing husband.

    January 9, 2014