The question with no right answer

May 18, 2009 1:58:41 PM PDT
So what would you do, if you were Mayor of the biggest city in the country? Keep closing schools, throwing more than ten thousand kids out of classes, worrying parents about who will take care of their out-of-school kids, and sending a sense of panic throughout the million-plus students in New York City?

There's no right answer. There's no blueprint of how to proceed with the (scare or outbreak - you fill in the blank) of the swine flu. And there is, it seems, a huge sense of making sure the wrong action isn't prescribed.

All of which has apparently led Mayor Bloomberg and other City officials to take the cautious approach and close schools - 16 of them so far, including three more in New York today and one in New Jersey -- even though the number of confirmed swine flu cases in the city is 186, including the ones last month.

If the discussions in our newsroom mirror the discussions in offices and dinner tables across the area, then the topic is debated with much verve. There are compelling arguments on both sides - doing nothing, except urging people who don't feel well to stay home, and shutting down the schools until the virus passes. If it ever passes.

I don't pretend to have the answer, and as I say, I'm not sure there is an answer.

What we do know is that many people are scared, others are angry, others just feel overwhelmed.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest on the outbreak, and we'll take a closer look at the standing-room only conditions at most local pediatric emergency rooms.

Also at 11, the latest on the Middle East peace process -- although calling it that might be too optimistic. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pres. Obama met today at the White House. Each came out singing the other's praises, but we know that behind the scenes there is much disagreement. Netanyahu, in his second tour as P.M., is against the two-state solution that the rest of the world pushes, including Mr. Obama and even the Pope.

That this remains an issue in 2009 is an indictment of both Israelis and Palestinians. (Ok, I'll wait a minute for the barbs and bricks to be thrown my way; it happens anytime I say anything that could be even in the slightest viewed as a criticism against either side, depending on which side the observer is standing when they're throwing said barbs and bricks.)

The hard truth is that both peoples have suffered, both are so much like the other that it's frightening, both are viewed as second-rate citizens by so many other countries, and both need more war like we need more deficits.

Peace is the answer, and enlightened folks from each side realize that. Jobs, education and a stake in the future -- that's the equation for peace and coexistence. Or to quote me (he says unabashedly): No one ever fought a revolution on a full stomach.

Also at 11, there's a nasty battle brewing at a credit union in Wayne, New Jersey, where the former CEO claims that she was fired for flagging state auditors to some alleged financial shenanigans by the institution's board members.

The former CEO says board members violated their own travel expenses by going on a cruise. The board says it was for educational purposes. Our investigative reporter Sarah Wallace has the story.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Scott Clark with the night's sports, and Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast. You can also see Lee's "Blog or Bust" by CLICKING HERE.

I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.