Saturday, June 30, 2007

Back in the Days When Good Republican Governors Stood Up to Republican Bosses

Martin Grove Brumbaugh was an eminent educator who became Governor of Pennsylvania at a time when some Republicans sought their own alternative to the Democrats’ educator turn politician of Woodrow Wilson. Brumbaugh, though, proved to the Republican leaders that he was smart enough not to allow himself to be led by their will. As Governor, he successfully fought for and won a child labor law and a workers compensation program and defended women’s suffrage. As a religious pacifist and opponent of entry into World War I, he as Governor made an intellectual choice to perform his obligations as Governor to be the leader of his state’s military against what might well have been his contrary personal feelings. He was a man who made tough choices, and he was penalized and hailed for those decisions.

This biography favorable captures the essence of Martin Grove Brumbaugh. He enjoyed learning and built upon his education towards furthering his endeavors. When once questioned how long it took him to write a speech, he responded “the preparation of that speech took me just five minutes—and 40 years.” The bulk of his working life focused on education issues.

Growing a mustache to hide his youth, Brumbaugh was elected County Superintendent of Schools at the age of 22 in 1884. Winning election by just one vote, it became his duty to annually visit 200 schools with 235 teachers and 9,000 students during an era when the average age of a teacher was 25. Brumbaugh distinguished himself by objecting to the fact that male teachers earned far more than female teachers, an issue he remained devoted to throughout his life. Further, he designated Music and Drawing as core courses. Braumbaugh was also an early supporter of requiring teachers to pass qualifying examinations before they could teach. He developed such an exam. One year, about half the prospective teachers failed his exam.

The education programs fought for by Brumbaugh led him to become an unofficial but important advisor Louisiana schools from 1889 through 1893. He was saddened by the poor conditions of many of the Louisiana schools he visited. He brought the concept of blackboards to schools that were unfamiliar with them. Brumbaugh returned to Pennsylvania to further his own studies. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Afterwards, he resumed his crusade for education improvements, including fighting for offering college classes during evenings, weekends, and summertime. In 1989, he became the President of the Pennsylvania State Teachers’ Association.

Brumbaugh became Puerto Rico’s first Commissioner of Education in 1900. His tenure was controversial. He persuaded President McKinley to increase funds for schools in Puerto Rico. He was accused of purchasing school desks in an improper fashion and was questioned for having schools purchase a textbook he wrote, decisions he vigorously defended as legal and proper as he had great faith in his own work.

Brumbaugh returned to Pennsylvania to serve as Philadelphia’s Education Commissioner. He found a system where Philadelphia’s Republican ward leaders were powerful influences on education policies as each ward had a 12 member school board in addition to each ward sending one representative to a citywide Board of Education. Some school directors were caught and successfully prosecuted for selling teacher positions. As Philadelphia’s Commissioner, Brumbaugh assisted in establishing the first Traders School in America, almost tripled the salaries of female teachers (who still remained with less pay than male teachers), led a successful drive to create a new state school code, and, noting there were over 50,000 Black students, and increased the number of Black teachers from 49 to 97.

Physical fitness became a priority of Brumbaugh’s, who recognized the connection between fitness and learning. In 1907, Brumbaugh became President of the Playgrounds Association of Philadelphia where he sought donations to purchase vacant lots near schools to turn them into equipped playgrounds.

The Philadelphia Republican machine in 1914, led by the Vare brothers, decided Brumbaugh made an attractive candidate for Governor. Brumbaugh agreed to run. The Vare brothers had their opponent in a statewide Republican power struggle, Boies Penrose, agree to a compromise ticket with Penrose for U.S. Senator and Brumbaugh for Governor. Running for office was something that was alien to his Brethren religion, and there were some Brethren who felt that had Brumbaugh prayed properly he never would have become a candidate. Brumbaugh, though, strongly defended his desire for government service and even declared that anyone who criticized Pennsylvania’s government committed treason.

Brumbaugh defeated Vance McCormick in being elected Governor and his margin of victory likely helped the political boss Boies Penrose to a more narrow election. Brumbaugh then returned his more moral roots and, stunned to realize he suddenly controlled 54,000 patronage jobs, began to stand up to the Republican leaders who had persuaded him to run. Penrose openly vowed revenge. When he vetoed a bill that would allow railroads, a powerful lobby and key backer of the Republican Party, to be required to have one less person on crew on each train, the Republican power brokers began splitting with Brumbaugh. Brumbaugh offered himself as a favorite son candidate for President, as some Republicans thought Brumbaugh was the Republican academician answer to Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Yet, Brubmaugh received only 21 Pennsylvania delegate votes with 34 Pennsylvania votes going to Philander Knox for President.

Penrose attempted to have Brumbaugh impeached. Republican legislators loyal to Penrose accused Brumbaugh of diverting $30,000 of a legislative contingency fund for Executive Mansion maintenance expenses. A resolution to investigate the Governor passed the legislature. The Auditor General, though, stated that Executive Mansion expenses should not be paid for by the Governor personally. The impeachment movement failed.

While Governor, Brumbaugh reluctantly signed into law a direct inheritance levy. He successfully pushed and won passage of bills that increased the minimum salaries of teachers and superintendents. He fought for and lost an attempt to abolish capital punishment.

Brumbaugh, both for religious reasons and representing a state that had 12% of its population of German descent, spoke out for staying neutral in the war in Europe that would later be known as World War I. When America entered the war against Germany and its allies, Penrose loyalists in the legislature feared Brumbaugh would not properly exercise his duties of Commander in Chief of the Pennsylvania National Guard. They unsuccessfully sought to place the National Guard under legislative control. Brumbaugh though declared that being American was more important than his pacifism. He performed his National Guard administrative duties and further created a Pennsylvania Reserve Militia to assist the State Police due to the depletion of the Guard within the state.

After serving as Governor, Brumbaugh was to have served as the State War Historian, yet legislators allied with Penrose objected and the appointment did not occr. Sadly, many World War I documents were collected but never properly categorized. Brumbaugh, other than continuing his advocacy of education, physical fitness, and recreation, never returned to politics. Brumbaugh left with a distate for politics, claiming “the whole mess of nonsense that crept upon our statute books …is more honored today in its breach than it is observance.” Thus, Brumbaugh, was perhaps an accidental politician who though rose to the demands of the office. This book is an excellent examination into this life.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I See a Voter ID

Requiring voter ID at the polls looks, at first glance, like a sensible idea. Until you realize the havoc it would create. Most voters, especially in urban areas, and even smaller close-knit communities, walk to the polls. Not everyone carries ID on them. Many voters would have been turned away by a new law they may not have even known about.

The right to vote is a part of our democracy that should be encouraged, not discouraged. Not only would people who forgot their ID not be able to vote, many people do not have ID. It is estimated that 12% of adults do not have a driver’s license or state ID card. Many senior citizens and people with disabilities do not drive. To require people to then obtain a non-driver’s identification just so they could vote would be a burden of time and expense. Further, if they also need to obtain a birth certificate in order to obtain their identification in order to vote, there may not always be enough time to process this paperwork before the election. On top of that, the expense of obtaining this identification would have had the effect of a poll tax, which is unconstitutional.
Let’s consider what is really behind this issue. The push for voter ID is part of a national Republican strategy that realized that Republicans tend to live in suburbs and in rural areas and they tend to drive to polls and carry ID while Democrats tend to live in cities where they walk to the polls and don’t always carry ID. Republican legislators have made this same proposal in states across this country. This is primarily a political ploy to tilt elections to the Republican side.

If Republicans were serious about the voter ID issue, they would take their position to the next logical step. Why not automatically declare that anyone with a driver’s license or state ID automatically be a registered voter, so long as they are over age 18 and an American citizen? The Carter-Baker Commission reports this step would automatically increase the percent of eligible voters from 79% to 88%. I believe, in addition to keeping our current voter registration system for those without ID, this would be one of the most significant steps we could take to increasing the invitation to participate in our democracy to more voters that has been taken in years.

This issue by no means is voter fraud. The Elections Bureau reports that Pennsylvania is a state that most effectively prevents voter fraud. In Pennsylvania, a voter provides a signature in order to vote. The signature is matched against the signature when the person registered to vote. This signature evidence is one of the most effective ways to combat voter fraud, and it does so in a manner that does not intrude upon a voter’s right to cast a ballot.

Advocates of voter ID point to a Republican State Committee mailing to voters in Philadelphia where they state thousands of names on the mailing were returned. This indicates more that the voter lists are severely outdated. People move, even their homes and blocks destroyed, yet their names remain on the voter lists for years afterwards. What the Republicans found is that voter registrations continue to list voters long after they have moved away, not that people are voting fraudulently. The Republicans have made no claims that any of these thousands of names of voters to whom their mailing was not delivered have in fact then illegally voted.

Indeed, the national Republican Party has made a push for increased absentee balloting. This is a fine and welcome push to increase democratic participation. Except, if their primary concern is verifying that voters have ID, there is no requirement to provide an ID to vote by absentee. If anything, this position increases the possibilities for voter fraud.

There have been very few instances of actual voter fraud claimed in Philadelphia and there are current laws and procedures that deal with voter fraud. Denying the right to vote to people without IDs is not an answer to a problem that does not exist.

Keep Dangerous Republicans From Entering our Schools

Schools need to be safe places. Proper security is essential where children’s safety is concerned. It is necessary, though, to handle the conflicting needs for a.) security presence in halls and grounds to provide students assurances while b.) simultaneously allowing students to learn in an environment without reminders there are things to fear.

Police presence in schools is an unfortunate necessity. This could be minimized through greater use of non-police safety personnel. In a time when schools have trouble meeting students’ basic safety needs by not finding enough crossing guards, it would make sense to have full day safety guards. People could be properly trained and then serve as crossing guards during the day and patrol grounds or hallway guards during school hours. Guards could finally receive decent pay with benefits and thus would be attracted to such employment.

The solution to the dilemma of not having enough protection versus providing too much protection is to provide the proper amount of protection.

Reform Corrections Before More Republicans Go to Prison

After several decades of experiences with mandatory minimum sentencing, we must ask whether it is the most effective means to deal with criminal behavior. It does not appear to reduce recidivism. Instead, it seems to be sentencing young people to spend their educational years learning from other prisoners how to become better prisoners. It appears to have high social costs; a large number of fathers are torn from their families for many years and we are seeing families raised without financial or emotional support from the fathers (and, increasingly, mothers as the number of female inmates are rapidly grown). It definitely is having huge costs in terms of dollars; spending on corrections is becoming an increasingly larger share of how tax dollars are spent. In these fiscally difficult times, the requirement that funds be spent on people mandated to be in prison means there are increasingly fewer dollars remaining for education, social services, or (for conservatives) tax reductions.

The question as to whether mandatory minimum sentencing is effective is vitally important. Prior, judges had greater discretion to listen to the facts of a case and to judge people convicted of crimes. Granted, judges made mistakes and sometimes the system was abused. Yet, taking away that discretion may have removed an important element that generally used to work within our judicial system. Often there are circumstances that the hard facts of the law could not have foretold but a judge can see.

Judges often are better able than most anyone else to recognize who should be removed from society and who, for some crimes, may be better suited for an alternative sentence. There are growing numbers of alternatives presented us with electronic monitoring that may restrict a person to a home and a workplace, thus allowing that person to be earning a living and supporting a family. Placing a young person in prison for a long term may instead destroy that person’s chances at a reasonable future.

Most crimes are committed by young people. Fortunately, except for those hardened career criminals, maturity takes over and young criminals, with age, move away from crime. What mandatory minimum sentencing has done, in many cases, is taken away the judicial system’s ability to distinguish between either the behavior of a career criminal or an immature young person made a bad choice. This results in leaving these young people with the potential of developing only one job skill: remaining a criminal as learned from fellow prisoners. This serves no one’s interest.

The social costs of mandatory minimum sentencing is causing even past supporters to reverse their opinions. We have seen a generation of people brought up with a parent put away in prison, and while scholars differ on the exact effects, everyone agrees the end results are not good.

Finally, it is becoming too costly to keep building and operating more prisons. Prison health care, what little of it there is, is becoming both extremely costly plus the difficulty of providing health care in prison is causing significant health care issues within prisons. As prisoners are being sentences for longer terms, taking care of geriatric prisoners is often becoming an impossible task.

It is time to seriously ask these questions and look more towards alternative sentences and allowing greater judicial discretion. We should not fear the “tough on crime” supporters of more mandatory sentencing. Doing this, and proclaiming this is indeed being tough on crime, because it is more effective in combating crime, is what we need more leaders to do.

I Got the Republican New Orleans Blues

Tell you there ain’t nothing meaner
That a swift lady named Katrina
She swept all I had away
No I got nowhere to stay
Six months in a trailer stinks
Least I know now how FEMA thinks.
No Bush to grab onto when the waters came,
Who knew the response we got would be so lame.

We Republicans Are Too Lazy to Go Sign Petitions

The process of requiring political candidates to obtain prescribed numbers of signatures in order to be listed on voting ballots is becoming an archaic procedure. Society has changed where it is difficult for candidates to obtain sufficient signatures. Many buildings, malls, and public places prohibit signature gathering. Many people, for reasons of security, will not answer the doors when campaigners knock. This old tradition is falling by the wayside as a new era of security consciousness becomes tantamount.

Fortunately, changes in society provide us with a new method to address this emerging challenge. People should be permitted to sign political petitions over the Internet as well as in person. Election bureaus should post the names of people seeking to be listed on election ballots and the public should be able to electronically sign the petitions of those candidates they favor to qualify for ballot listing.

Electronic signatures are already valid in many circumstances. They should be permitted for political petitions as well.

Remember the Victims, Don't Focus on Glorifying the Victimizers

The press focuses too much attention on criminals and people accused of crime. All too often, the victims are forgotten. Headlines and news reporting of crime should focus attention on the victims and the crime rather than the criminals and alleged perpetrators.

If we focused less on making public figures of criminals, those who seek fame through criminal acts would be deterred. Even if there would be minimal deterrence, it makes more sense to remember the victims or, when victim’s identities wish to be kept private, to remember the wrong that was done. Victims deserve the attention more than the criminals.

Consistency in Supporting Protests, and Preventing Real Abuse

It is sad to see politicians politicize our American flag by wrapping themselves around the flag and stating there should be a Constitutional amendment to ban burning the flag. Since there have been very few instances where anyone has burned the flag, I dislike politicians who seek grandeur gallantly proclaiming a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Now, I am against burning the flag, and I would be among those protesting should anyone state they are going to burn the American flag. Still, the person who burns the flag has a right to free expression, and here is why. I salute Chinese dissidents who openly oppose their country. I would cheer seeing Chinese dissidents burning the Chinese flag, or Cuban dissidents burning the Cuban flag, or Iranian dissidents burning the Iranian flag. Yet, I can not be a hypocrite and state I support such actions and then oppose anyone from every doing the same in my country. We need to lead by example.

What is really needed is a law banning politicians from using the flag in political advertisements. This is a real problem where the flag is abused. Yet, I believe you will hear few politicians call for action in these situations where a law is actually needed.

Help People Help Themselves Helping Our Economy: An Idea Even Republicans Should Like

It is generally good that so many people are leaving the public assistance rolls and finding employment and educational opportunities. The healthy economy has helped enable this. It is, though, premature to declare this program a success. We need to see whether people leaving public assistance are able to remain off assistance and to enter careers with increasing incomes.

Unfortunately, our government is doing little to determine whether people leaving public assistance in fact no longer need assistance. Perhaps government officials wish to declare victory in reducing the numbers of people receiving public assistance. It is crucial we learn what happens to these people afterwards. It is also important we learn what happens should we enter a recession when job creation decreases.

We need to follow what happens to people leaving public assistance in order to determine whether additional actions could benefit. Some people will find later job skills training or career counseling beneficial to remaining off public assistance. There will likely be matters such as the availability of child care or transportation to areas with employment which, if addressed, will assist many. We need to learn who needs such help.

It is very important we learn whether people leaving public assistance achieve upwards mobility. It does not help matters should former public assistance recipients exist permanently in low wage jobs or experience frequent periodic unemployment.

So far, evidence indicates that people leaving public assistance have generally found jobs in the range of $6 per hour to $8 per hour. This is below the wages needed to sustain livable conditions, which are in the $11 per hour to $13 per hour range. Also, studies are finding that one third to one half of people leaving public assistance have no employment two months after leaving public assistance. This is an important indicator there are major difficulties with welfare reform.

Information on people leaving public assistance be tracked and that efforts be coordinated to assist them when they experience future problems. There is no benefit to a welfare reform program removing people from public assistance only to have them later need help. More lives, and future tax dollars, can be saved if this simple but important idea is carried forth.

Turn Urban Residents into Republican Farmers

Urban farming may be the answer to a significant portion of the blight problem. Abandoned lots could be transformed from eyesores into scenic displays of plants growing. The city could coordinate efforts with moving people on public assistance into employment by creating agricultural training and employment. Urban farmers could work with neighborhood volunteers in these civic improvements. The end result will be fresh food that could supplement nearby food banks.

Small lot farming likely will not be financially profitable. Yet, done properly, it can work wonders in turning around neighborhoods.

We're Opposed to Congress Turning Bi

A proposal in Congress to move from annual to biennial federal budgets is wrong. The federal government, which is a significant part of our economy both in its size and what it can influence, needs the flexibility to adjust to emerging economic and policy challenges. The number of people involved in federal programs, for instance the number of Defense personnel needed or the number of people seeking job training, changes daily. Government needs to adjust its budget according to events such as natural disasters, foreign situations, unemployment rates, etc. A government locked into a “cast in stone” budget over a two-year period is less able to meet changing needs.

In a time when computers make economic and financial information more readily available, it is a step in the wrong direction to make less use of this information. Federal budgeting need to be more responsive to changes, not less. A biennial federal budget is a step in the wrong direction.

Stop Us Before We Turn Legislators Over to Businesses and Lobbyists

Public anger against the state legislature is understandable. Yet, I wish to warn against those seeking to channel that anger into an agenda that will make the legislature less accountable to the public. These are self-described conservative and libertarian interests who want to make the legislature weaker against business interests. This will make certain business leaders happy, but it will come at a cost to consumers, employees, and the public in general.

There are some business and libertarian interests who want to end the full time professional legislature and revert back to the days of a part-time unprofessional legislature. The legislature handles a range of subjects, from determining laws on business practices to operating oversight reviews of administrative branch functions. A part time legislature is far less capable to perform these duties. In the days of a part time legislature, administrative abuses were far more widespread because it was known the governmental checks and balances of powers were not in place. When the legislature was part time, business interests wrote, introduced, and had enacted the laws that regulated them, and business lobbyists were considered more influential than even legislators. Legislators had neither the time nor the expertise to fully analyze legislative proposals. We should strongly guard against any efforts to return to this kind of “good old days”.

We need a strong legislature that takes its oversight functions seriously and that carefully examines the laws and properly updates them as needed. Citizens should criticize their legislators when they disagree with them, and they should demand greater accountability when they find them lacking. What we should never do is destroy the ability of the legislature to effectively do their job.

If We Search Really Hard, We Might Find a Good Republican to Become a Judge

Our current system of electing judges makes little sense. As judicial candidates are ethically bound to not discuss any issues bearing upon possible court decisions, they are prohibited from saying anything which would allow voters to distinguish among aspirants. A poll conducted by Millersville University found that 84% of people surveyed admitted they knew nothing about the appellate court candidates they were electing. This creates several problems. The election of judges becomes heavily influenced by the strength of political leaders, as it becomes such leaders who can most determine the outcome of judicial elections. This can potentially taint court decisions where such politicians have interests. This further leads to employment within the judicial branch being given to people to political connections, which can produce a weaker running judiciary than if positions were filed on the basis of abilities.

A better system would be to select our judges on the basis of merit. A panel focusing on the qualifications of potential judges can better decide who is capable of serving as judges. While this system does not guarantee perfection, it does remove the political bias from electing judges. For this reason alone, merit selection is a far better procedure.

The merit selection of judges, under most current proposals, still can lead to other problems. The proposal whereby the Governor appoints judges create a judiciary with a bias or appearance of bias towards the Governor. Proposals whereby committee members, appointed by the Governor and / or legislators, recommend judges allow the process to be politicized by the people choosing the members of the committees. Fortunately, there is a way to correct these difficulties.

Merit selection committees should be designed such that no one controls a majority of the appointments to the committees. The fairest system would be to have one third of the members chosen by the executive, one third chosen by legislative leaders of both parties, and one third chosen by other judges, but not judges sitting on the same bench as the panel is choosing. If the committees recommending judges were to be representative of our system of government, our system of checks and balances would apply to judicial selection. No one branch of government would be able to dominate the choice of judges.

The legislature should move to create a merit system free of political dominance. Only then can we have a judiciary independent of undue influences.

Support Future Republicans: OK, Future Democrats As Well

The future of our nation in an increasingly competitive global economy will depend on our preparing our young to learn to adapt this dynamic environment. We need our children to be healthy, alert, and willing and able to learn. Our children must learn the skills required to continue improving our quality of life.

Fortunately, many of the same preparations that may be taken may do more than just guide children towards prosperous lives benefiting their communities. These same activities may prevent placing children on paths towards academic frustration, lifetimes at low wages, and even criminal behavior. These simple, yet critically important, steps need to be taken.

There are important and proper roles where public policies may better serve children. Government should never improperly intrude into the privacy of homes. Yet, where children are being abused, government needs to takes rapid and decisive actions. Where government may assist in strengthening families, its aid should be welcomed. Where we may increase the ability of our children to learn, we must act.

We are learning that childhood may be more important than we previously thought. Brain researches are debating the extent to which brain development during the early years of life influences their lives. The human brain adapts to its environment during this formative period. Frontal lobe activity can be stimulated by parental involvement. It is argued a lack of this stimulation can lead to lifelong depressed behavior. A child who does not find empathy by the age of three is likely to face life having difficulty showing empathy towards others. A person without consideration for others has a much greater tendency to drift towards anti-social behavior such as violent crime.

What a baby is exposed to, or not exposed to, may determine how the brain forms and how the brain is apt to operate for the rest of life. A baby growing up in a withdrawn or hostile environment may begin life at a significant disadvantage. Our young need to be raised and educated in homes and preschools that provide positive environments.

Future costs to government, from education to judicial to corrections, may be reduced through investing more in our youth. Where government may properly invest in our young is in providing greater health care, learning opportunities, and information to parents. Specific programs include expanding visiting nurse services, improving child care, providing Kindergarten and preschool options, updating our foster care system to move foster care children into loving adopted homes, and having children’s health programs reach more children.

Visiting nurses provide valuable services, especially when they contact first time parents. Often, just informing parents about health care options and how to obtain improved parenting skills brings high returns at low costs and limited intrusion. Further, the ability of nurses to identify health care problems earlier improves health and avoids many latter problems. The visiting nurse program is a success and should be expanded.

Quality child care is very important. The demand for child care exceeds the supply. Unfortunately, some of the day care that is supplied does not meet quality standards. It is important that day care employees positively stimulate children’s minds. In addition, child care centers need to be safe environments. Too often, children are neglected in overcrowded and understaffed facilities.

Child care employees are paid low, often minimum, wages. Yet they have great responsibilities in the care, safety, and education of our young. Children have emotional and developmental difficulties when their care givers change. Unfortunately, low wages in child care guarantees high staff turnovers.

One policy that assists in lengthening the time child care employees remain in this profession is through providing scholarship assistance. For employees remaining in child care, the further education they receive both makes them brighter workers as well as ultimately preparing some of our lower wage earners to eventually be able to enter careers with progressively higher incomes.

Pennsylvania needs to expand its Kindergarten offerings. Ours is one of the few states that does not mandate Kindergarten. Too many of our students enter our education systems at a significant disadvantage compared to the rest of the nation and the rest of the world.

We need to act to better serve our children caught in the foster care system. There are more parents seeking to adopt children than there are children available to adopt. It is almost always better for a child to be cared for by permanent, caring parents rather than bounced around amongst foster care parents and facilities. Yet complex rules slow down the ability of children to leave foster care and being adopted. We need to speed-up the adoption process.

Children health insurance (CHIP) needs to reach more children. This highly successful program has improved health care and avoided even costlier health care problems for thousands. Yet, CHIP stands to benefit many more children. CHIP needs to expand.

We need our children to be smarter and healthier so they may better learn. For those of us who state we’ll give everything for our children, let us now give our children something. If we do not act, our children will pay the price, and in the long run, we all will pay the price.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Middle East Disputes and a Non-Partisan Solution

The creation of a coalition government to administer to people living in the disputed Middle East lands can resolve that region’s basic problems. This is indeed the simple answer to a complex problem. The complex problem is two groups want the same land at the same time. Neither group will recognize the authority of the other; indeed, extremists within each group guarantee that the opposing side can never receive recognition. Yet, if both groups can be permitted to simultaneously claim and govern the same land through cooperative arrangements, this will create a structure that can create resolutions of their disputes.

Property ownership is a state of mind that permits multiple owners. As the same land holds great religious, cultural, historic, and military importance to both sides, disputants believe they both have ownership claims. The solution to this dilemma is one that is taught to most children of all backgrounds: Share.

The governance could be by joint agreement or by coalition. Jews could be governed by Israeli law and Palestinians could be governed by Palestinian law, even though they live intertwined. As duplicate governance proves inefficient, coalition administrative services in time could form. While this may be cumbersome, it surely is no less difficult than the alternative of continued violence.

The ideas of coalition or joint governance have been proposed by both Jewish and Moslem scholars. Politicians have long cast aside these ideas as theoretically interesting yet impractical. Yet, I have seen no politician explain why the concept is impractical. Leaders on both sides should adjust their visions and examine this concept. Granted, it is a cumbersome idea. Yet, the most important reason for trying is very clear: It is a solution.