Writings and observations

The cautionary note from Republican blogger I Am Coyote – that something significant appears about to break on the subject of state Representative Wayne Scott, R-Canby – appears to be breaking as predicted.

The aura of scandal is attaching to an unusual business operation: 4th of July fireworks.

Scott is president of Western Fireworks Inc., a firm based in Aurora (which is near Canby); apart from a person serving as registered agent, he’s the only named officer. His ownership interest isn’t clear. The firm’s website describes it as “Oregon’s oldest and largest fireworks company,” established in 1948.

Willamette Week describes it: “Whether you stock up on sparklers this Fourth of July or snag a seat at bigger-boom displays, the company supplying the fireworks will probably be Scott’s, which claims to be Oregon’s largest.”

So far, so good – but then WW comes up with this: “In the 2003 Legislature, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 667-A, a seemingly innocuous bill dealing with nonagricultural operations on land zoned for exclusive farm use. The bill included an amendment from Scott that lets his aerial fireworks company, which puts on Fourth of July shows at venues such as the Blues Festival on the Willamette and Oaks Park, operate regularly on farmland instead of needing to get temporary-use permits each year from local authorities. Typical fireworks operations on farmland that require permits include storing fireworks as well as testing, shipping or directly selling them. But the bill applied only to aerial fireworks companies in continuous operation on land zoned for exclusive farm use since Dec. 31, 1986. And Western was the only business that met that standard, according to at least two legislators who voted for SB667-A, Sen. Gary George (R-McMinnville) and Rep. Gary Hansen (D-Portland).”

Where the story goes from here is unclear. But it dosn’t sound done yet.

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Oregon

Mike McGavick may take some hits as he runs his campaign for the Senate based on the nature of his last job: CEO of an insurance company, SafeCo. Some of it may come from the nature of the beast, since his recent life experience is generally a whole lot different than that of most of us. His world view and perspective is necessarily a lot different.

Still, a pertinent question in the Washington Senate race: What exactly was the record of Mike McGavick as CEO at SafeCo? What sort of a job did he do there?

McGavick’s web site is getting out on top of this, putting a good deal of the record out there. There’s a good review of this just out at the Seattle Times, in a place political watchers might not ordinarily look: the column of business writer Bill Virgin. He takes a different perspective on McGavick – neither especially praising or critical, just something that resembles a reasonable review.

There should be more of this, and we’ll revisit the subject here. But Virgin’s column is a useful opening shot.

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Washington