Say it ain't so, Lance
THUMBS DOWN: For years Lance Armstrong seemed to be a sports story too good to be true: a survivor of testicular cancer who bounces back to dominate one of the most gruelling sports events in the world, winning the Tour de France seven years in a row.
Now, despite never failing a drug test of any kind, Armstrong is being stripped of those titles and honors and is banned for life from bicycle racing, on charges that he and his team were doping the whole time. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency based its allegations on tesimony from more than a dozen unnamed witnesses they said had first hand knowledge of the doping, including, no doubt, several members of his US Postal team.
Armstrong had been fighting the allegations, but announced Thursday he would give up the battle, saying he was tired of fighting a losing battle against unfair accusations. He's pleading nolo contendere, leaving us all in a cloud of uncertainty - was he the greatest cyclist ever, or the most successful cheat? We may never know for sure. The sport, which has a long history of doping scandals, is diminished as well. It may never recover.
THUMBS UP: District 88 settled its contract negotiations with teachers for the current biennium, and the two years following. That comes after teachers worked last year on the old contract. The district is now set for the next three years.
This benefits the district in budgeting for the next three years. It will know, through 2015, what its teaching costs will be. It's a lot easier planning a budget when you don't have to estimate the major portion of your expenses.
Financially, we think the district and teachers reached a reasonable and modest settlement. Last year's payroll will remain the same as it was, with no retroactive increases. The overall impact on the district's costs will be 1.982 percent over 2011-2013, and 2.326 over 2013-2015.
The district has also capped its contribution toward health care costs, and teachers will be assuming some of that burden.
Brodkorb costs rise
THUMBS DOWN: The legal expenses to the state Senate Republican Caucus in the Michael Brodkorb lawsuit reached $100,000 this week, according to the Associated Press, which obtained copies of the latest invoices from the law firm working on the case.
Brodkorb is the former senior communications aide for the Senate Republicans who was fired last fall after it was revealed he was having an affair with then-Sen. Majority Leader Amy Koch. He is suing for defamation, invasion of privacy and gender discrimination, claiming female staffers who had affairs with male legislators were not fired.
We have said before that this expense should be born by the Republicans, not the state's taxpayers. We still think so.