Thursday, February 05, 2004

OUR OPINION: Law school should keep meetings open;

York Daily Record
Copyright (c) 2004 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 5, 2004

OUR OPINION: Law school should keep meetings open; Kudos to newspapers for opening meetings about The Dickinson School of Law's possible move.

York Daily Record

Assorted thoughts on assorted issues. Open meetings: Kudos to our friends at the newspapers in Harrisburg and Carlisle for taking The Dickinson School of Law to court to make that school's board meet in public.

On Monday, a Cumberland County judge agreed with The Patriot- News and The Sentinel that state law requires open meetings because the campus is part of the Penn State University system.

The law school merged with Penn State in 2000 and may be relocated in the future to the university's main campus. Shifting these folks would impact the local economy of Carlisle, where the 170-year-old law school is now.

The public has a right to know what factors are controlling this decision. The Sunshine Act controls which meetings can and cannot be closed in Pennsylvania.

For its part, the law school's board plans to appeal the ruling, saying the open meeting law does not apply to the school.

Isn't it shameful that a law school would get this wrong?

Isn't it shameful that a law school would not understand the need to conduct its business in public especially with the fact that Penn State University relies on public funds to operate?

Isn't an appeal unnecessary?

A debate? Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., shouldn't be afraid to debate his challenger in the primary election this year.

U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is an articulate conservative who wants Republican voters to put him in the U.S. Senate seat this year.

Rep. Toomey has asked for six debates to be held. Sen. Specter, seeking his fifth term in the U.S. Senate, has said he'll agree to one televised debate. While six may be too many, one seems too few.

The primary's winner will go on to face Rep. Joseph Hoeffel, D- Montgomery, on the Democrats' ticket in the fall.

Important items are at hand for the Republican-controlled House and Senate. Witness the national discussion on issues such as the budget, the deficit, Medicare changes, post-war Iraq, homeland security, and President Bush's proposal for a new mission to the moon.

No better opportunity exists to hear both of their views on what should happen next.

While the primaries roll across the nation in the coming month, Pennsylvanians will want to hear from those who can put our state in the debate.

How might the deficit hit everyday Pennsylvanians, for example?

How might the ongoing effort to rebuild Iraq affect those with loved ones there or ready to go?

And how might the holder of this Senate seat best represent this state in the new challenges ahead?

Sen. Specter and Rep. Toomey should come to an agreement on a primary season debates now. In turn, the winner should debate Rep. Hoeffel later this year. The Daily Record would be happy to sponsor such a debate in York County.

Politics is in the air. Let's hear from those who want to keep practicing it to further the interests of the state.

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