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Posts published in “Day: July 12, 2010”

A vote by mail glitch

Most people probably won't encounter this, but it's worth considering as we think about the long-range future of vote-by-mail, which is probably growing, and of the U.S. Post Service, which has been slowly spiraling downward.

The Klamath Falls News & Herald reports about the community at rural Crescent Lake (in far northwest Klamath County, about 70 miles southeast of Eugene), which has lost its post office and the zip code that goes with it, replacing it with another that has resulted in confusion. Getting mail there has become something of a problem.

When time came to vote in the primary election, there were issues getting them because the elections office was set up to use the Crescent Lake address and zip. The ballots were expedited, finally. But when time came to mail them back, the voters had to drive 35 miles to get them sent off.

Given the trend lines of mail voting and postal cuts, this is the sort of glitch that probably needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

The fine few, and the unworthy masses

The point tends not to be made this bluntly - and for good reason. It seems worthy of quote here because, we suspect, quite a few people out there are like-minded.

It comes in a letter to the editor of the Tri-City Herald from Jerry Czebotar of Pasco, who starts out mentioning (inaccurately) statistics on tax rates, and winds up with this:

"The rich are rich because they are smarter and more ambitious than the average person. There are three reasons why an otherwise healthy American won't be successful. They are either lazy, stupid or have substance abuse issues or some combination of the three. Those who are feeling wealth envy should examine their own lives. Are they stupid, lazy or drink or drug too much?"

There being, of course, no people laid off because of no fault of their own, or people working three jobs at minimum wage to survive. And there being, of course, absolutely no rich people who are "stupid, lazy or drink or drug too much"? And of course all of the rich having earned it all by the honest sweat of their brow, rather than inheriting or marrying into it. (Has he so much as visited a supermarket checkout counter lately?)

There are reasons Czebotar's line of reasoning has spread in recent years. Inadvertence is not one of them. Nor is anything resembling a reality check.

The week in the Digests

digest
weekly Digest

A variety of indicators last week, ranging from a slowing growth in Washington state, along with a decline in sales tax revenues, to - strange though it might seem in these times - growth in revenue the state of Idaho has received from banks.

Politics was a little quieter last week, although the Oregon Independent Party got underway with its unusual, first in the region (maybe the first in the nation) form on on-line voting for selection of its parties members. The Palomar gas line in Oregon was put on limbo, and talk spread about a possible move for the national fiddle festival long housed at Weiser.

As a reminder: We're now publishing weekly editions of the Public Affairs Digests - for Idaho, Washington and Oregon - moving from a monthly to a weekly rundown of what's happening. And we're taking it all-electronic: The print edition will be moving to e-mail.

That means we can include more information, and get it out a lot faster: The weekly Digests will be in your in-box first thing Monday morning. If you subscribe, of course: That's $59 a year, for 50 issues and the yearbook. Yes, including the yearbook. The Idaho Yearbook, which we published for years up to 2002, will return early in 2011 - in printed book form - and Digest subscribers get it for free with their subscription. And the Oregon and Washington yearbooks will be coming out at the same time.

If you'd like to take a look at one of the new weekly Digests, here's a link to the Idaho edition, to the Oregon edition and to the Washington edition. If you'd like to subscribe, here are the links (through to PayPal) for Idaho, for Oregon and for Washington.