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Elected officials don’t often give public advice to private businesses on how they should do business. Portland City Council member Steve Novick however, did just that in a recent blog post.

On August 7, the Oregonian had a very nice editorial commending me for changing my mind about something I was planning to do. It occurred to me that the Oregonian itself, and its parent company, Advance Publications, could gain a lot of good will if they changed their minds about some things they are planning to do. So I figured I might as well give them my two cents:

Don’t eliminate seven-day delivery.

Eliminating a seven-day-a-week paper is bad for democracy; as Mayor Hales said, online we look only for the things we know we’re interested in, but when we see a front page, we can wind up reading about something we should care about but never thought about before. Advance (owned by the Newhouse family) is the only national chain that is doing this; are they really sure they’re smarter than everyone else? And the Oregonian is, according to the publisher, making money; they don’t have to do this to survive.

Don’t fire Scott Learn.

Scott covers environmental issues, and does it very well. He tells complicated stories in an accessible way. And he hasn’t always only done environmental stories; I remember a fine piece he did on the inequities in our screwed-up property tax system in, I think, 2005. He’s one of the best reporters the Oregonian has ever had. And a really nice guy, too.

Don’t fire Ryan White.

Ryan is now the music critic, but he’s mostly just a fantastic all-around writer. He created one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, back in 2008, when he had a sports blog – the Best Thing in the World Competition, an NCAA-tournament style competition to determine, simply, the Best Thing In the World, through fan voting. The competition featured terrific, gripping matchups like Mike Ditka vs. Fire, Keith Jackson vs. The Wheel, and, if I recall correctly. Las Vegas vs. Sliced Bread. How could the guy who came up with that idea be out of a job?
But he’s also a very good music critic. A couple weeks back, I attended a Randy Newman concert, and Newman thanked “Mr. White from the paper” for his article previewing the concert. I’ve never, ever heard an artist do that before. Randy Newman is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I don’t think the Oregonian is likely to find another music critic who gets shout-outs from Hall of Famers.

Don’t fire David Sarasohn.

Just as a business decision I think it’s insane; I am quite confident that thousands of Oregonians mostly get the paper to read David Sarasohn. David is a fine, gentle, funny writer. He has (among other things) waged a fierce single-handed battle against childhood hunger in Oregon. And here are just a couple personal memories: He had a piece on Lewis and Clark some years ago, in which he noted how many things in Oregon are named after Lewis and Clark, and said that if weren’t for them we’d have lots of Oregon places and institutions with names like “Fred.” I emailed him and said I thought “Fred” would be a fine place name, and suggested (I hope this doesn’t offend anyone in Gresham) that I don’t see why people in Gresham would object to living in Fred instead. David immediately fired back with a soliloquy on the historical importance of Postmaster General Walter Gresham. Another time, the O had a headline on Amtrak cuts titled “Blood on the Tracks,” So I emailed David saying I’d always hoped the O would have more headlines based on Bob Dylan album titles, and was glad they were finally coming around. He immediately responded, “Don’t you remember our headline on the Barbara Roberts – Norma Paulus budget battle, “Blonde on Blonde”?” I doubt any paper in America has an editorial writer with a more refined sense of culture, history and wit than that.

The Oregonian wrote, “Switching course … can take even more courage than sticking to a controversial position.” So show your courage, Oregonian! Switch your course. A lot of people would be very proud of you.

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From an August 1 newsletter by state Representative Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls.

It has become increasingly evident, over the past several years, that the Oregon Water Resources Department is no longer a friend of agriculture.

Perhaps their position was best demonstrated by the lack of support for the Department’s budget. On the day their budget was to be voted on the Senate floor, the only letter of support was from the Oregon Conservation Network. There was no letter of support from any farm, ranch, nursery, groundwater or industrial water users….. NONE!

A companion Department fee bill, HB 2259, was returned to the Senate Rules Committee from the Senate floor because there were not enough votes to pass the bill. The Committee significantly reduced the requested fee increases. Our bipartisan coalition forced that nearly unprecedented action, because we believed the fee increases were absurdly excessive and the purpose of many of the fee increases were counterproductive to Oregon’s economy.

The Oregon Conservation Network is a coalition of more than 40 mostly extreme environmentalist organizations. Some of the Networks stated priorities for the recently concluded legislative session included:

 To promote a tax on each water right in order to support more stringent water regulation.
 To manage Oregon waters to encourage more transfers from agricultural use to in stream flows for the benefit of fish.
 To create a ban on suction dredge gold mining in Oregon.
 And, to expand Oregon Scenic Rivers to include not only rivers but creeks and small tributaries.

Most of the Network’s legislative agenda was either introduced or supported by the Oregon Water Resources Department. The Department actively promoted a mosaic of legislation that, in its entirety, would have significantly changed existing Oregon water law.

Virtually all proposed bills would have either further regulated out of stream water use or enhanced the Department’s ability to authorize transfers of existing irrigation water rights to in stream flows. Several attempts were introduced to provide the Department authority to buy and sell water rights through contracts with little regard for priority dates or potential injury to other water right holders.

The Department’s efforts to increase their revenue included new and increased fees for services, a substantial new fee to change the name on a water right certificate or permit, and a new annual $100 tax on all water rights. They explained that they needed the extra money to help implement their proposed changes.

It appears that the Conservation Network’s primary purpose for supporting the expansion of scenic rivers is to restrict the use of private land and water resources.

Current law provides that all uses of private land within a quarter of a mile of a scenic river are strictly regulated. No new surface water diversions are allowed from any Oregon Scenic River. No new wells for irrigation are allowed, without bucket for bucket mitigation in the event that the groundwater aquifer is considered to be connected to the scenic waterway.

In fact, any existing well may be ruled-off if the well is constructed within a mile of the scenic river or a tributary of the scenic river. The Department has the legal authority to shut down any such well, regardless of the priority date of the well.

With the current drought conditions in Southern Oregon, and the Klamath River adjudication being implemented, you may not have noticed that the Oregon Water Resources Department is already doing these things in the Klamath River Basin. The Department has refused to permit or delayed the permitting of a number of new wells that were constructed in the upper basin during the past four years.
At the same time, the Department was working on a modeled analysis of the regional aquifer in the upper basin. That four year modeling study has recently been completed. To no ones’ great surprise, the Department has concluded, from the model, the aquifer is connected with the scenic Klamath River.

The Department now believes they have established the legal authority to refuse to permit those existing new irrigation wells. They also appear to have no intention of permitting any future irrigation wells in the Upper Klamath River Basin.

Moreover, the Department is now contemplating shutting down any number of existing irrigation wells that are constructed within a mile of the scenic Klamath River, or any tributary to that scenic river. This action will essentially complete the dewatering of virtually all irrigated land in the Sprague, Williamson and Wood River watersheds.

The Department’s final determination and implementation of the Klamath River Adjudication is also telling.
Following the direction of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Department rightfully determined the state has authority to adjudicate Tribal and federal reserved water rights. They also followed the Ninth Circuit’s direction determining the Tribes hold a water right adequate to support their retained treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather, on their former reservation lands. That Tribal water right is the most senior priority water right possible, dated to “time immemorial”.

However, the Department inexplicably ignored another major part of the Ninth Circuit Court’s order. That Court ruled that the amount of the water provided to the Tribe’s in their time immemorial water right must be the amount that they formerly used to maintain a moderate living standard. No more and no less!

Instead of following the Ninth Circuit Court’s order and direction, the Department’s final determination in the adjudication gave essentially all the water tributary to Upper Klamath Lake to the Klamath Tribes. Further, they gave the Tribes the right to force the maintenance of an Upper Klamath Lake level that, arguably, could not be achieved without the storage capacity enabled by the Link River Dam.

Less than four months later, the Tribes exercised their newly determined “time immemorial” water rights. They issued a call for virtually all of the water currently used for irrigation in the Sprague, Williamson and Wood River watersheds.

The Department has nearly finished enforcing that call, effectively shutting off all surface irrigation. They have, in effect, transferred all the water to in stream flow for the benefit of maintaining riparian and aquatic habitat to support the Tribal rights to hunt, fish and gather. More than 250 water users holding Allottee and Walton water rights dating to 1864 are being forced to turn off their irrigation water.

Unfortunately, the same result is most likely to occur in any future year, even with normal amounts of precipitation and normal stream flows. The Department’s final determination gave the Tribes such a huge amount of water that virtually no additional water will be available for irrigation in a normal year.

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The question of whether there’s more to the story of Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and the contract on school wi-fi provision he recently signed is addressed in this op-ed by Democratic state Senator Brandon Durst.

UPDATE: Here’s a reply from Kevin Richert to the Durst article below.

Soon the final pieces will be in place and the puzzle will be complete.

Many Idahoans expressed outrage and concern when Superintendent Tom Luna attempted to ram his ill conceived Students Come First plan down our collective throats. Luckily, Idahoans wisely rejected the Luna Laws and made their voices heard.

Governor Otter responded to the electoral bashing by appointing a (stacked) task force to review options for education reform. Unsurprisingly, the task force refused to look at the most empirically tested approaches to improving education (more early learning opportunities, teacher mentoring, etc.) and decided to continue to follow along the same trail.

Meanwhile, Boise State University, under the auspices of “leading” started the Idaho Leads Project, funded almost entirely by the Albertsons Foundation (more on that in a minute). They appointed Roger Quarles, at that time the superintendent to the Caldwell School District, to run the show. They also hired Jennifer Swindell, the PR flak for the Caldwell School District. Both Mr. Quarles and Ms. Swindell were on record for actively supporting the Luna Laws and Mr. Quarles pro-Luna bent went as far back supporting the failed iSTARS plan (the predecessor to the Luna Laws pushed by Luna in 2007).

The Idaho Leads Project has also become active in pseudo-journalism by creating the propaganda page Idaho Ed News. Lead by Swindell, Idaho Ed News hired two Idaho based journalists, Clark Corbin from the Post Falls Register, and Kevin Richert, the opinion page editor from the Idaho Statesman. Corbin was a much less significant hire than Richert, however. While in charge of the election endorsement process during the 2012 elections Richert personally fought for editorial board support of candidates that supported the Luna Laws as well Luna Laws themselves. His support of the Luna agenda was a key factor in his hiring at Idaho Ed News.

Starting in 2007, Education Networks for America (ENA) and K12 (the for-profit online learning company) began to actively participate in Idaho elections by funding the campaigns of what would become important allies, including Luna. ENA began hiring influential and well connected Republicans such as Gary Lough, a former Idaho GOP party executive director. As was discovered during the referendum election on Luna Laws in 2012, K12 was then connected to another important Idahoan, Joe Scott, better known as the head of the Albertsons Foundation. Scott also had personally funded the pro-Luna Law advocacy group that attempted to convince voters that they were in Idahoans best interest.

And now, Luna has signed a multiyear contract with ENA to provide wireless internet in Idaho high schools, despite not having the legislative authority to do so and ENA clearly not having the best bid. Luna has also appointed Quarles, his longtime ally to become Deputy Superintendent.

But the other shoe is yet to drop. Despite recent reports to the contrary, the fact is that Luna has already informed key State Department of Education staff he has no plans to seek re-election. Instead of running Luna will likely be hired by ENA or K12 to attempt to push the same policies to other unsuspecting GOP dominated statehouses and Quarles will no doubt run to replace Luna and continue the duping of Idahoans. The picture is becoming clearer by the day, I just hope we wake up and see it before it is too late.

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What’s it like to live in Idaho on the minimum wage?

The people who actually have to do that don’t get a lot of media attention; they don’t heavily populate the ranks of broadcast spokesmen and interview subjects. We don’t hear from them much.

Should be the job of news reporters to fill some of that gap, though that too seldom happens.

It has, however, in the case of a series of reports by the NPR-affiliated group State Impact, which has released online a series of stories under the heading, “Bottom Rung: Living On Low Wages In Idaho.”

The cover page lead: “The share of Idaho workers earning minimum wage has grown from 5 percent in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2012. The growth has put Idaho in the top spot for the largest share of minimum wage workers in the country.”

That should give a taste of why this is important. Read the rest to get a fuller sense of it.

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From testimony prepared for delivery by Sal Peralta, secretary of the Independent Party of Oregon, about a bill amending Oregon’s public meeting law.

I am here today to testify on behalf of the Independent Party of Oregon in opposition to HB 3513.

Before addressing the substantive provisions of the bill, I would like to point out that Oregon ranks among the worst states in the nation with regard to “Public Access to Information”, according to the State Integrity Investigation, a project of Public Radio International and the Center for Public Integrity.

This bill would take a bad system and make it far worse. Short of an outright repeal, it is difficult to imagine a bill that would more effectively dismantle Oregon’s public meetings law.

The impetus behind this legislation appears to be a case that was settled in 2011, in which the Lane County Commission, and most particularly Commissioners Pete Sorenson and Rob Handy, were convicted of violating the state’s public meetings law for engaging a series of meetings and communications in 2009 that culminated in what Judge Michael Gillespie called a “sham vote” to approve a supplemental budget that hired part time assistants for the Lane County Commission.

I have attached a copy of the judge’s ruling in that case, as well as copies of numerous editorials and news stories that were published around the time that decision was reached that affirm the need for maintaining strong open meetings laws in Oregon.

Given the importance of the state’s public records law, I suspect that this
legislation will draw intense scrutiny from the press should this legislation move forward in this committee.

With regard to the bill itself…

HB 3513 constitutes a radical departure from current law.

Under Oregon Statute, all meetings of governing bodies that involve “deciding on or deliberating toward a decision” must be held in public unless the content of the meeting is specifically exempted in ORS 192.610 – ORS 192.690.

This legislation limits the scope of matters relating to decisions by governing bodies only to those relating to “budget, fiscal, or policy” matters.

None of these terms “budget, fiscal, and policy” are defined in the bill or in any part of ORS 192.610 to 192.690, so presumably it would be left to the governing body seeking to circumvent the public meetings law to determine whether decisions made in private meetings relate to any of those categories.

Second, the bill effectively neuters Oregon’s Public meetings law by exempting the following topics from the definition of “deciding on or deliberating toward a decision.”

(A) Communication that is wholly unrelated to the conduct of the public’s business;

(B) Fact gathering activities; or

(C) On-site inspections of property or facilities at a location other than the regularly scheduled meeting room of the governing body.

The latter two of these exemptions are especially troubling.

Fact gathering missions must currently be held in public, pursuant to Oregonian Publishing Co. v. Oregon State Board of Parole, 99 Or App 501 (1989).

Fact gathering is often the most crucial stage at which decisions are made by government. It would be unimaginable that a judge in a court of law should accept facts outside of the context of a public hearing open to all parties. Given that the role of governing bodies such as county commissions or city councils is often “quasi-judicial”, as in the case of land use decisions or other variances from local ordinances, what is the rationale for adopting a lower standard for Oregon’s governing bodies?

Similarly, the bill exempts from the definition of “deciding on or deliberating toward a decision.” “Onsite inspections of property or facilities at a location other than the regularly scheduled meeting room of the governing body.”

The plain ordinary language of that subsection makes it clear that anything can be discussed in private, so long as the meeting occurs at a location other than the regularly scheduled meeting room of the

ORS 192.620 states that: “The Oregon form of government requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions were made. It is the intent of ORS 192.610 to 192.690 that decisions of governing bodies be arrived at openly.”

I would respectfully submit that no part of this bill serves that public purpose and recommend against moving this bill forward.

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A piece from the Oregon Department of Agriculture on the bright colors of spring in Oregon, and their economic effect.

A sudden burst of warm sunny weather in late April has hastened the bloom of many flowering plants in Oregon that help bring color and cash to the state. With the blossoms come sales of floricultural production, which remains a key sector of Oregon agriculture. A new report shows cut flowers, potted flowering plants, and bedding plants are still important components of the state’s $744 million greenhouse and nursery industry, even though the numbers are down slightly.

“Floriculture is very important to Oregon’s economy,” says Gary McAninch, supervisor of the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Nursery and Christmas Tree Programs. “Of course, it’s a smaller subsection of the nursery industry, but floriculture’s sales and production value would by itself make it a top ten agricultural commodity in Oregon.”

Motorists don’t even have to stop or get off the freeway to see the splendor of Oregon floriculture in the spring.

“All you have to do is travel I-5 to see all the flowers that are blooming,” says McAninch. “The tulips and daffodils are already out, the irises will start blooming soon, and the dahlias will follow. It’s a beautiful time of the year to be driving in the Willamette Valley.”

The US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has released its annual floriculture survey. Nationally, the 2012 wholesale value of floriculture crops increased one percent to an estimated $4.13 billion, which is the same figure recorded in 2010. California continues to account for about 24 percent of the nation’s production followed by Florida, Michigan, Texas, and North Carolina. California and Florida combine to produce about 44 percent of the US floriculture production. Notably, both states saw a slight drop in production value last year despite the overall increase nationally.

Oregon ranks 11th in the nation in value of floriculture, with 213 growers responsible for about $129 million in wholesale value– about a 2 percent decrease from 2011. The number of growers in Oregon has dropped from 250 three years ago. The statistics show bedding and garden plants with a wholesale value of $50 million, potted flowering plants at $18 million, propagative materials, such as bulbs, at $9 million, and cut flowers at $12 million. All categories are down from three years ago with the exception of cut flowers, which has increased in wholesale value about 17 percent since 2010.

A significant slump in the nursery industry as a whole caused by the national recession the past few years has impacted floriculture.

“The overall economy has been slow to recover and we’ve seen the results on Oregon’s nursery industry,” says McAninch. “I’m not surprised that it has affected floriculture as well.”

Still, the nursery industry is bouncing back and McAninch expects the same for floriculture.

People have already enjoyed some of the state’s floricultural bounty, and there is more to come.

Easter would have a different look without Oregon. Easter lilies are raised in greenhouses and sold at retail outlets throughout North America, but virtually all of the bulbs that give rise to the lovely white flowers come from Curry County on the south coast and its California neighbor, Del Norte County.

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From the IdahoEdNews site, a post by Kevin Richert.

The governor’s education reform task force wraps up its statewide road show Thursday night in Boise.

If this listening session goes like the preceding six, it’s likely that the testimony will focus on funding and Idaho Core Standards, the state’s version of the multistate Common Core effort. Those have been two recurring themes from the other sessions, including Tuesday night’s session in Pocatello.

But this task force tour has been nothing if not unpredictable.
Nampa forum

Richard Westerberg of the State Board of Education kicks off the task force forums April 10 in Nampa.

Crowds have varied widely from city to city, from sparse in Lewiston and Twin Falls to near capacity in Idaho Falls. And the testimony has taken on an open-ended feel. Task force members have heard everything from the heartfelt (from parents who question whether schools can adequately teach children with autism) to the offbeat (from a speaker who said Idaho should encourage the use of e-readers, so kids aren’t overburdened with heavy backpacks).

Ask Idahoans how the state should improve its education system, and you’re apt to get any number of responses. Especially when the Common Core controversy has taken on a talk-radio life of its own in recent weeks.

So let’s go back to where the task force started, two weeks ago, when these forums began.

The task force posed eight questions designed to get people talking. They’re on the State Board of Education’s website, but let’s save a keystroke. Here they are:

What is the basic amount of funding needed to adequately educate a student in Idaho?
˜Given the finite amount of funding, how would you like it spent in your school?
˜How should/could we balance a decentralized model with the Constitutional requirement for a uniform, thorough, common system of education?
Is funding based on attendance an appropriate model?
˜What should be the measure(s) to hold schools and districts accountable?
˜What should we be measuring with respect to student achievement?
˜What should be done about schools/districts that continually underperform?
˜What professional technical education skills would you like to see taught in high school?

Yes, you see several questions about funding. And why not? Education funding is a perennial Idaho issue. And in theory, the task force could have some say over where education dollars go (see Question No. 2). The Legislature earmarked some $34 million in one-time money for schools in 2013-14 — temporary spending on merit pay, professional development and technology, designed to free up money in 2014, at the task force’s disposal.

But you don’t see a question that addresses Common Core, even obliquely. And here’s a possible reason: It’s a settled issue. The State Board approved the math and English language arts standards in November 2010. And the House and Senate education committees approved the standards in January 2011 — amidst the heated debate over the Students Come First bills. Schools will begin teaching to Idaho Core Standards in 2013-14, four months from now.

So the task force has some pretty clear ideas of what it wants to talk about. Whether these topics come up Thursday night is another matter entirely.

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When a party takes over a legislative chamber, especially by a modest margin, the incentive ought to be to play it cautiously, stay relatively moderate, and not overstep. That’s even more the case if you’re in the position the Washington Senate Republicans hold today: In effective control of the chamber (with crossover help from two conservative Democrats), even though the voters didn’t give them a majority at the ballot. Stepping carefully, and cooperating with the opposition, would seem to be in order.

That’s not been happening. You needn’t buy all the Democratic spin to get that the Senate Republicans have been operating more as if they had a large and secure majority in the chamber. This may come back to bite them.

How that may happen is suggested by an April 17 press release from Democratic Senator Nick Harper, which seems to outline clearly Democratic talking points next year:

Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett, released the below statement following Wednesday’s cutoff to consider bills from the opposite chamber.

“When the Republicans took control of the Senate, they said their style of governing would be one of ‘policy over politics.’

“Four months later, their policies have proven to be purely political.

“They have operated in lockstep with the National Republican agenda, rolling back rights of working families, denying women access to reproductive choices, preventing aspiring Americans education options and doing absolutely nothing to prevent gun violence, most recently refusing to vote on HB 1840, which would have helped protect victims of domestic violence from gun violence.

“This bill passed the House with bipartisan support and was further amended in the Senate to address concerns raised by organizations such as the NRA. This is a yet another piece of common sense firearm legislation left to rot on the vine by the Republican majority.

“Their values are not the values of the majority of Washingtonians and they have demonstrated that every misstep of the way.

“This ‘Coalition’ of 23 Republicans and two ‘Democrats’ is firmly in the hands of a few far-right ideologues who have threatened to walk should any legislation that doesn’t line up with their FOX News-view of the world advance to the Senate floor.

“One session after seizing control, Washington state has at best been stuck in neutral and at worst been thrown in reverse.”

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A review of the last Idaho legislative session from Idaho Democratic Chair Larry Kenck.

The 2013 Idaho Legislature exceeded expectations. By that measure, it succeeded. Unfortunately, our expectations are so low for this annual GOP-controlled event that we can call it a success if they don’t accidentally burn down the Capitol.

Let’s look at how they exceeded our expectations.

In December, Idaho’s wealthiest corporate interests had convinced everyone that a $140 million tax shift from big business to homeowners was a virtual certainty. Counties, cities, schools and Idaho Democrats crunched the numbers, rallied, and got the word out. In the end, small and medium-sized businesses saw their personal business property taxes cut without severely harming communities.

That was certainly better than we expected.

The Legislature also birthed a small group of Republicans who stood up to rightwing radicals who are still fighting the Affordable Care Act. This minority of the majority joined Idaho Democrats to help create a state-run health insurance exchange, benefiting consumers and giving Idaho control over insurance options.

That small triumph for moderation was unexpected.

Of course, we always expect some truly awful ideas to emerge from the GOP fringe. And, I suppose it’s fair to credit GOP leaders, along with Idaho Democrats, for killing some terrible legislation.

They fleeced a bill that would have made it illegal for sheepherders to quit their jobs. They beat back a bill that could have banned children from school if they got into fights. They shrugged off an effort to force all Idaho children to read Ayn Rand.

That legislation should have never showed up in the first place. It serves as an example of this Legislature meeting our low expectations. They didn’t surprise us on the big issues either.

When voters rejected the Luna Laws last fall, they failed to reject the guys who passed the laws in first place. So, it wasn’t altogether unexpected that those same GOP lawmakers would continue the assault on schools, teachers and students.

We also have never really believed GOP leaders who claim to save money. They showed their true nature by refusing to debate Medicaid expansion—a policy that would save counties a half a BILLION dollars and deliver health care to 105,000 men, women and children who cannot afford it.

And, we never expected the GOP Legislature to respect our way of life. When they demanded title of federal public lands in Idaho, they took a step toward selling of our heritage of hunting, fishing and hiking.

Who knows? Maybe the problem isn’t the Legislature. Maybe the problem is people like me. When we set expectations low, it doesn’t take much to meet them. If there’s no motivation to achieve excellence, then excellence only comes by chance. From here on out, I pledge to set my expectations high; and, when legislators fall short, I will do all I can to replace them with better people.

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The Independent Party of Oregon recently polled members on a variety of issues, and released the results this week. From their statement on the polling results, in a party very roughly positioned between Democratic and Republican:

82% agreed that “The cost of PERS exceeds the state’s ability to pay and should be reformed to reduce expenses.”

A majority supported each of the reforms contained in the Oregon School Boards Association Proposal for PERS reform. The most favored reform was stopping payments to out of state retirees to cover their Oregon state taxes that they do not actually pay.

A majority did not support “rate collaring” as a means of reducing PERS costs.

Only 11% thought that PERS reform was not needed.

Only 6% stated they were “willing to pay more in taxes in order to protect retirement benefits for state workers.”

76% favored reducing tax breaks for wealthy individuals.
69% favored reducing tax breaks for corporations.

50.0% favored capping at $30,000 per person the income tax deductions and credits claimed on state income tax returns.

No other proposals for cutting costs or increasing revenues earned majority approval.

The most popular potential additional tax was a sales tax (38% approved), while increases in income taxes and property taxes were highly disfavored.

IPO Members strongly support consumer protection & economic development legislation.

89% opposed a 2011 law that repealed a 2005 statute prohibiting private utilities (like PGE) from charging ratepayers for “income taxes” that the utilities actually do not pay.

Large majorities favored legislation intended to protect consumers from unfair practices and greater public review of health insurance rate hikes.

Large majorities approved awarding government contracts under rules giving preference to Oregon-based companies and providing tax credits for capital construction in Oregon for companies that hire new Oregon workers

50% approved of automatically registering to vote all persons who prove their U.S. citizenship and Oregon residency to government agencies, such as DMV.

Increased spending on transportation infrastructure received only 45% approval. IPO Members strongly support opening Oregon’s primary election to all minor parties.

98% agreed that Oregon should allow minor parties to participate in the state’s primary election instead of being compelled to conduct their own primary elections or caucuses.

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