The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

October 23, 2012
Obama dings Romney for not mentioning vets during debate
After virtually ignoring military veterans in the first two debates, the presidential candidates finally made some amends in their third and final face-off.

Well, at least President Barack Obama did. 

In Monday night's debate focused on foreign policy, Obama said that part of the dividend from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should be used to take care of veterans.

"After a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building here at home," Obama said. "And what we can now do is free up some resources to, for example, put Americans back to work, especially our veterans...making sure that, you know, our veterans are getting the care that they need when it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, making sure that the certifications that they need for good jobs of the future are in place."

He mentioned meeting a former combat medic who was having trouble transferring that knowledge to become a nurse when he returned home to Minnesota.

As The Bee's editorial board urged him to do last week, Obama also bragged a little about his administration's efforts to aid veterans, including First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative to get companies to hire veterans. 

The president pointed out that the unemployment rate for veterans is now lower than for the general population -- 6.7 percent in September, compared to 7.8 percent overall.

But that's somewhat misleading since the rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is higher, 9.7 percent.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney, however, didn't mention veterans at all -- and now Obama is trying to make political hay out of that.

"The men and women and their families who have served this country so bravely...they deserve better in somebody who is applying to be commander in chief," the president said during a rally Tuesday morning in Delray Beach, Fla.

"I will fight for our veterans and our troops every single day," he added, according to press reports from the campaign trail.
October 11, 2012
Sacramento charter commission gets a ballot card of its own
Some supporters of the proposed half-cent sales tax increase in Sacramento were afraid that another measure on the Nov. 6 ballot -- whether to create a city charter commission -- would hurt their chances.

One fear is that the potential cost of the charter review panel might dissuade voters from increasing their own taxes to help restore city services. That may still be a major factor.

But another fear may prove unfounded. 

Backers of the sales tax hike -- Measure U -- believed that voters would have to wade through the charter commission measure, including the list of all 54 candidates who are running for 15 seats in case the panel is created, before getting to the sales tax measure. The thinking was that some voters wouldn't even make it that far on their ballot.

I just received my mail ballot, and it turns out that won't be the case. The charter panel -- Measure M -- and all the candidates are on a separate card. 

And that card comes after the two other city ballot measures, including the sales tax hike. Those appear on a page with the city school district's bond measures and state Propositions 39 and 40.

So it appears more likely that the sales tax increase will be decided on its merits, rather than ballot placement.

And since the charter commission measure comes at the end of the ballot, it's possible that some voters may not get that far and there will be a drop-off in the number of voter on that issue.

As a reminder, The Bee's editorial board recommended votes against both the sales tax and the charter commission



About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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