The Denver Post
So what is a city supposed to do when some homeless people reject available shelter and services and insist on camping on public property?
That's the issue Denver has faced since last fall near the downtown Samaritan House shelter, and officials demonstrated a great deal of patience in trying to resolve the problem without moving against the camps themselves.
But the problem did not subside. It got worse and would probably have continued to worsen with warmer weather on the way.
So Denver decided to act — to evict the campers and remove their belongings on the basis of a "looming public health and safety emergency." And while the decision was difficult, the actions taken so far this week have been justified.
Anyone who doubts that homeless camps left to expand and fester can create a health and safety risk should read a recent New York Times report whose headline says it all: “Seattle Underbelly Exposed as Homeless Camp Violence Flares.” Denver doesn't have any camp approaching the size or autonomy of the Seattle camp — tellingly dubbed "the Jungle" — but the point is that officials are understandably determined that camps here not evolve in that direction.
And no, this does not amount to the “criminalization of the homeless,” a phrase tossed around far too loosely since the passage of an anti-camping ordinance in Denver a few years ago. It has been illegal to obstruct public rights of way, such as sidewalks, for decades.
The more important point, however, is that the city's purpose was not to disperse the homeless so they would find somewhere else to occupy. To the contrary. Officials have been trying for months to connect those in need with services and shelter, and will continue to work at this task . . . .
The Seattle Times
For years, many Southern states felt they got short shrift from the presidential primary process. Candidates made fleeting visits and paid superficial attention to local concerns.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp changed all that. He was the architect behind what he gamely labeled the SEC primary. The idea was for several states to move up their primary dates and turn out voters on the same day.
Kemp’s two years of work led to a Super Tuesday coalition that included Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The result on March 1 was record numbers of votes cast, and the satisfying result that candidates came earlier, stayed longer and returned.
For the first time ever, Alabama reported seeing all the candidates in the race.
The new process takes its informal name from the Southeastern Conference. A big brand in college football. Off the gridiron, the attention fades in presidential years.
Kemp helped sell the regional primary to reluctant state legislatures by emphasizing that it was not only important for voters to know the candidates, but also vital for the candidates to learn about them.
Primaries held too late run the risk of being irrelevant. The SEC regional primary was a chance to participate when it mattered, and that was exactly the feeling left by the last week’s regional vote, Kemp said.
Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman wants to duplicate Kemp’s achievement, even invoking the spirit of a Pac-12 primary. She tried last year to move up the state’s primary date, but Democrats balked for their own internal interests.
Wyman wants Washington to join with Oregon and California, Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and perhaps Nevada and Utah, to help put regional issues before presidential candidates. That is a strong, compelling argument, and the political dynamic does not require that full list of states.
The National Association of Secretaries of State supports another wrinkle: rotating regional primaries. Change the order of the presidential primaries every four years so each region has a turn being first. . .