A natural hire

EDITORIALS

BY ART CULLEN

It’s hard to argue with the Storm Lake School Board picking Dr. Stacey Cole of Storm Lake to be the next superintendent. Cole, who has served the past five years as the Number Two person in the Fort Dodge School District, has an intimate familiarity with the local district as a teacher and former assistant principal. Storm Lake has been moving its schools in the right direction under Supt. Carl Turner. Cole represents a step in the same direction forward.

Storm Lake is unique among Iowa school districts. It has the highest “minority” enrollment of any school. It has one of two charter schools, in partnership with Iowa Central Community College and Buena Vista University. Iowa Central and the high school occupy the same campus. It is one of the few rural school districts where enrollment is expanding. So there are many dynamics in play here that are not immediately understood. Familiarity definitely helps. Cole worked for the district for 12 years. She knows the players (her husband Chris is the assistant Storm Lake police chief). She knows the territory — she was principal at Alta.

School board members like the image they think Cole will portray for Storm Lake. Her experience in Fort Dodge should have acquainted her with the challenging finances of school districts in this spate of lean years. We also know how deeply she has been involved in the lives of her students and how that has stayed with the students. She is a person of character.

Cole has a tough act to follow: Turner. He is friendly, candid and approachable. He is eager to communicate and has been a pleasure to work with. Surely Stacey Cole has the same qualities.

Guarding the border

President Trump wants to send the National Guard to the border to protect us from immigrants, and Gov. Kim Reynolds says she is standing by ready to send Iowans to see Laredo at night. For what? To keep out the sort of people who live next door to the Guardsman here in Storm Lake? And for this we spend tax dollars, since we apparently do not have the wherewithal to spend them on a wall that no desperate man would not defeat.

The president of Mexico protested as elections near, and his opponents protested all the louder. The Mexican Senate condemned the militarization of the border, as it did when President George W. Bush did it, and when President Obama did it. Each time, we provoke our neighbors and pull back for the vanity and delusion of it all. After awhile, it will be recognized — it should be by now, it is repeated so often — that the facts show that Mexican migration to the USA has all but stopped, and for a time even reversed when more Latinos were heading south than north. The Great Recession of 2008 put a halt to migration, not a wall or a man from Galva with a gun.

Mexico has tried to control the flow of people persecuted in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They go through Mexico in hopes of making in to freedom in the United States. Many of them are women and children. They are running for their lives from drug cartels and military death squads. The Mexican authorities attempted to protect a caravan of poor refugees, and it caught the attention of Fox News, which caught the attention of the President. He said it was the worst thing imaginable, the worst sort of rape environment. Which was not true, according to reporters on the scene. No rapes were reported on this caravan. But that is why we are sending troops. The borders are out of control, they say.

And, to repeat so at least we can remind ourselves, more illegal immigration occurs from visitors overstaying their visas than sneaking in at Juarez. The Irish in Boston and Chicago overstaying their welcome are as numerous as Hondurans in Boston or Chicago, but of course the Irish are welcome.

Mexico is our biggest trading partner and Iowa’s most important export customer. That also is a reality. If you think Chinese tariffs are bad on pork and soy, wait until Mexico tells us to find some other sucker. Brazil is ripping up rain forest ready to take the markets we take for granted. So you would send the military to the border to scare them. But we do not scare them, we just enrage the Mexicans and set our bilateral relations back a generation by sending troops to the border. Bush had to figure it out. Obama had to figure it out. It solves nothing. Walls solve nothing. Deportation of innocents solves nothing. Trade can solve something. Conducted right, it can lift all boats. It can weaken the drug cartels. It promotes cooperation: Mexico had been stopping those people fleeing Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and fingerprinting them. It was figuring out who the real bad guys were and sharing that data with the United States. Now that relationship is in peril as the Department of Homeland Security, which partnered with Mexico to fight drug cartels, must stand at odds. The real work of fighting crime has been undone by the idiocy of President Trump. And by her assent, Gov. Reynolds endorses it.