Alabama editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:
The Montgomery Advertiser on new Alabama State University president Quinton Ross:
Some may question whether new ASU President Quinton Ross deserves $300,000 annually to lead the school because of his limited higher-education experience. But no one will question it if he gets it right and reverses the course of the university long mired in suspect decisions and fractured leadership.
It’s been fewer than two weeks since Ross resigned from the state Senate and accepted the top spot at his alma mater. He genuinely loves the university, and we hope that love turns around the school.
The list of fixes is long, and what is needed first for Alabama State depends on who you ask. Better pay. Increased enrollment. Better alumni giving. Better facilities. Better infrastructure (one student complained about having trouble even finding internet service in the student center). Increased endowment.
But none of that can happen - absolutely none of it - if Ross can’t pull the community together on and off campus.
“It takes a collective body to develop a vision and move forward,” Ross said in an exclusive interview with Advertiser reporter Andrew Yawn.
Ross couldn’t be any more right.
His No. 1 job, especially in his first year, is to change the way ASU thinks about itself and about its leadership. He needs to change the perception of the school within the community. He needs to increase the pride alumni have in their school.
Perception is reality. And perception is that it’s a hornet’s nest on campus.
We wish Ross the best of luck. It’s a huge challenge. Bringing thousands of students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni together into one vision will be hard.
Ross, a longtime state politician, needs to throw out what he learned in the Legislature about doing what’s best for the Legislature and not necessarily the people.
He needs to focus on the students and faculty. He needs them happy. He needs singing the same elevator pitch about Alabama State’s strengths that he is going to give to everyone he meets.
The school and its long history of excellence, starting 150 years ago when nine freed slaves came together, are too crucial to this community to have Ross fail.
The Decatur Daily on U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore’s respect for the law:
Anxious to weigh in on the side of President Donald Trump last week, U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore managed to attract guffaws from around the nation.
Moore pointed to a federal law, 32 U.S.C. 301, which states that people should stand during the playing of the national anthem. The law includes no penalty for a violation because the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would preclude any penalty.
“Kneeling during the national anthem not only demonstrates a lack of patriotism but a disrespect for the rule of law,” Moore said on Twitter, referring to the protests of some NFL athletes.
The idea that Moore would complain about someone else showing “disrespect for the rule of law” is what provoked laughter from those who have watched the twice-deposed chief justice’s political career.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary, the state panel that disciplines judges, suspended Moore last year because he violated judicial ethics when he urged judges to defy clearly established law as well as a direct federal court order.
The charges against Moore centered on a memo he sent state probate judges six months after the highest court in the nation ruled that gays and lesbians have a fundamental right, based in the U.S. Constitution, to marry.
Moore said in the memo that a 2015 Alabama Supreme Court order to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples remained in “full force and effect.” Alabama’s probate judges at the time were under a federal judge’s order to stop enforcing the state’s gay-marriage ban following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The conduct that got him suspended was not new for Moore. In 2003, he was removed from office after refusing a court order to remove a 5,300-pound Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the state judicial building. Despite his disrespect for the law, voters returned him to Montgomery as chief justice.
Moore also showed his disdain for federal law in 2010, when he signed an organization’s resolution declaring the right to nullify any federal laws members deemed to exceed constitutional authority. The nullification theory’s first test came in the 1830s, when a remarkably Moore-like Sen. John C. Calhoun declared two federal tariffs to be null in South Carolina. Despite its popularity among those who are enamored of the power that would come with deciding which laws to follow and which to ignore, nullification has no legal basis.
It perhaps should come as no surprise that Moore’s newfound respect for the law should attach to a federal statute that runs afoul of the First Amendment. His refusal to abide by a federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments monument violated the First Amendment. He ran roughshod over the First Amendment’s religion clause in 2006 when he penned an editorial declaring that Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, shouldn’t be allowed to serve because “Islamic law is simply incompatible with our law.”
Moore has never shown respect for the law. He has only shown respect for handpicked laws that suit his purposes. In his effort to boost his political campaign, 32 U.S.C. 301 filled the bill.
The Gadsden Times on hurricane season not being over yet:
The Atlantic Ocean has been churning this year, and those hoping for smoother waters as fall sets in and winter approaches could be disappointed.
There have been 15 tropical storms, 10 hurricanes and five major hurricanes (Category 3 and above) so far in 2017, according to AccuWeather.
Phil Klotzbach, a tropical meteorologist at Colorado State University, uses a system called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index, which rates the wind speed of tropical storms or hurricanes throughout their existence. It also cumulatively figures in the duration, number and strength of those storms during a season. Klotzbach has this pegged as the seventh-worst Atlantic hurricane season on record.
The past 10 weeks have been particularly troublesome, as people in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands will vouch. Ten consecutive tropical disturbances have reached hurricane status during that time frame. By the time one dissipates, another materializes with the regularity of a clock striking noon or midnight.
No. 10, Ophelia, actually moved west to east and fizzled below hurricane status before hitting Ireland of all places.
So what’s the prospective disappointment for those saying — and we’ll chime in — “enough already?”
Meteorologists point out that the Atlantic hurricane season actually doesn’t end until Nov. 30 — a little less than a month-and-a-half away — and the atmosphere is likely to remain conducive to storm development for a while yet — maybe until that date is checked off the calendar, if not a little longer.
An AccuWeather analyst noted that the waters in tropical and subtropical regions — most tropical storms form in the Caribbean — remain warm, thanks to a persistent area of high pressure off the southeastern Atlantic coast. Along with holding in the warmth, the airflows created by that high’s rotation help propel storms through the water and toward any land masses — coastlines or islands — that have the misfortune to be in their path.
The Accuweather analyst expects two more tropical storms to form before things finally wind down, both of which could become hurricanes. He said at least one could reach Category 3 or stronger status.
So, how should people in hurricane-prone areas — and places like Etowah County, close enough to the Gulf coastline to be wary — react to that news?
It’s simple, and not a bit different than the standard operating procedure in any hurricane season. Don’t panic or obsess about things — plenty of hurricanes wind up troubling no one but fish — keep up with what’s happening and have a plan should a tropical storm or hurricane head your way.
The same advice will be operative in November and December — Alabama’s secondary tornado season. (Those are the state’s No. 3 and No. 5 months, respectively, for tornado activity.)
Just pay attention and be prepared. Those words sound simple, but carry plenty of weight.