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B4 Weekend of March 7-8, 2020
The Dalles Chronicle
Accurate information requires public records access
F OREGON AND THE NATION
needed a reminder of the impor-
tance of accurate information,
the outbreak of COVID-19 provided
it. The spread of the novel corona-
virus spawned a parallel, equally
contagious flare-up of false facts,
opportunistic scams and well-in-
advice on social media platforms
such as Facebook, Twitter and, in
particular, the messaging system
Fortunately, public officials in
Oregon, with the help of the media,
were able to disseminate timely in-
formation, even before the first coro-
navirus cases were reported. Since
then, journalists, health care activists
and others have been requesting
additional data and documents
from public agencies in an effort to
inform, rather than panic, the public.
The health scare is an example
of why in this era of disinforma-
tion and divisiveness, Oregonians
are nearly unanimous in their
desire to have accurate
information about our
government, from city
hall to Mahonia Hall, the
official residence of the
Governor of Oregon.
In return for our
money and trust, gov-
ernment needs to make
conduct meetings in
public and provide pub-
lic records. Most of the
time, public officials do that so well
that it’s boring.
But when they don’t, we
Oregonians notice. And we don’t
In 2015, Gov. John Kitzhaber re-
signed after First Lady Cylvia Hayes
was accused of influence-peddling.
When journalists asked for records
to check her use of public time,
money and resources, the governor
tried to stop their release.
So when Gov. Kate Brown was
sworn in, she vowed to make
transparency a top priority. In 2017,
the first legislative session after the
scandal, the legislature passed the
state’s most comprehensive public
records law reform since the Nixon
era. A key component was the
creation of the Office of the Oregon
Public Records Advocate—a
professional who would offer open
government training, guidance and
mediation across the state.
Optimism was high. But it was
short-lived. In September of last
year, the advocate announced she
was resigning over the
pressure she felt to put
Gov. Brown’s inter-
ests above the public
A bill to make sure
that doesn’t happen
again is awaiting a
vote in the legislature
That’s not excit-
ing to most people.
Oregonians may not
care about public records law—but
they care about the results of it. And
Sunshine Week, organized by the
Reporters Committee for Freedom
of the Press, is a good opportunity
to remind everyone why every-
one has a stake in government
Oregonians care about their
babies. They cared that unsafe day
care facilities operated with im-
punity — when their records were
Oregonians care about school
This editorial commentary was
provided by Open Oregon, a non-prof-
it freedom of information coalition.
Learn more at open-oregon.com.
encourage some to be more rea-
sonable to the fact that we are the
product of a creator. This creator
informed a Hebrew man named
Moses of the fact that mankind
would destroy his creation unless
he intervened. This prophetic in-
formation was revealed to Moses in
what is commonly called the law.
At first, man the animals, the
plants and our entire environment
were created in a state of being
Man disobeyed and a horrible
curse bringing much suffering was
placed on the man and woman’s
biological functions. This curse
would cause humans reproduction
capabilities to explode beyond all
animal and plant life. Mankind
would consume the entire natural
world about him much differently
Also, more peculiar, is that man
would produce all sorts of unman-
ageable waste not only from his
own body but from his consump-
tion of the resources. Mankind was
defiling creation. He had become
unacceptable in the eyes of the
Instead of destroying mankind
instantly it was decided that he
could atone for his biological mal-
functions. Moses was told that there
would be six specific biological
transgressions that occurred in the
male and female body and these
would need to be atoned for.
One was for giving birth. Yes, as
strange as it may seem, the creator
insisted that when a woman gave
birth she became unclean and
was defiled in his sight. Why? She
brought into the world another cre-
ation destroying biological mishap.
The young Hebrew woman, Mary
after she gave birth to her first born
son Yahshua was required to go to
the temple in Jerusalem and offer
two doves. The blood of these birds
was to be shed instead of her blood
for her guilt free transgression of
giving birth to a son. A “sin” for giv-
ing birth may sound offensive but
the lesson is more important than
finding room to curse the law.
We can all “see” the destruction
now since it is at our door. Man will
reproduce to horrific numbers and
consume all that lives on the earth
and in return produce nothing but
unwanted nasty waste.
A miracle is needed and it will not
come from our pathetic politicians.
To witness the “fix” you must
understand the law and what it
teaches us about ourselves.
children. They cared that their
school plumbing could have been
making kids sick, or teachers iden-
tified by their coworkers as abusive
were still allowed to work—when
those records were made public.
Oregonians care about their food.
They cared when grocery stores or
restaurants had been quietly violat-
ing public safety standards — when
those records were made public.
Oregonians care about the
thousands of dollars in tax money
they send to Salem every year. They
care when it’s wasted — when those
records were made public.
Oregonians care about accurate
information about their govern-
ment. During this election year, it’s
more important than ever to de-
mand anyone asking for your vote
to commit to transparency.
Stay on the job
To the editor,
Well, state Republicans did it
again. All but one Republican leg-
islator each in the House and in the
Senate walked out of the legislature
because of the revised climate cap-
In the past I never saw minority
party members regularly pick up
their marbles and go home (or in
this case, elsewhere) when they
didn’t like a particular piece of
legislation. Oregon’s Republican
legislators’ motto seems to be “it’s
our way or the highway.” That’s not
the way democracy in this country
is supposed to work.
And, amazingly, the absentees will
still be paid. Imagine if you decided
not to go to work; would you still get
paid? Also, thanks to the absentees’
walkout, the Legislature can’t even
close the legislative session early to
save us taxpayers money because it
doesn’t have a quorum to do so.
According to the Oregonian, the
upshot of the Republicans’ walkout
is to halt progress on a myriad of oth-
er bills, including up to $12 million
in Umatilla flood recovery funds;
funding for homelessness, mental
health, foster children, people with
disabilities, and wildfire prevention;
requiring free school breakfast to
be offered to more than 100,000
children; and bonding for building
improvements and expansion at all
of Oregon’s public universities.
Bills that don’t clear both
chambers by March 8 will die, and
remaining bills will likely be stalled
until the 2021 legislative session.
The Republicans who walked
out represent 36% of Oregon by
population, according to the Census
Bureau’s most recent estimates, from
2014 to 2019. So if state Republicans
don’t like being in the minority, per-
haps they should consider adopting
new ideas that a larger percentage of
Oregonians can support.
I respect the two Republicans
Rep. Cheri Helt and Sen. Tim
Knopp for staying in Salem to do
their job. Even if they don’t support
the cap-and-trade legislation they
show maturity and leadership by
Sens. Merkley & Wyden, and to Rep.
honoring their oath of office. Sadly, Walden.
you can’t say that for Reps. Daniel
Bonham and Greg Smith, and Sens.
Bill Hansell and Lynn Findley.
Beef up election
To the editor,
It is hard to believe that our elect-
ed official, Sen. Chuck Thomsen, has
walked out of the State Legislature
To the editor,
with his Republican colleagues,
Russia has already launched
leaving all of Oregon at risk in
covert social media campaigns
many areas. There is a great deal of
to attack our 2020 election, using
disinformation campaigns meant to important work that has now ground
divide Americans. At the same time, to a halt, including proposals to help
these legislators’ own districts.
last month’s Senate Intelligence
Thomsen with his colleagues
Committee report warned that
have turned their backs on program
the federal government was “not
initiatives and funding for flood
well-postured” to counter Russian
election interference. Additionally, recovery in Umatilla County, men-
cybersecurity experts warn that our tal health care, homeless shelters
election infrastructure remains vul- (including our own warming shelter
nerable to attempts to hack election here in Thomsen’s district), child
abuse prevention and treatment,
websites, voter registration rolls,
search and rescue through county
voting machines, and reporting
sheriffs’ offices (including our S&R
Senator Ron Wyden, who sits on funding crisis around Mt. Hood),
the Senate Intelligence Committee, wildfire management, NORCOR
has said, “What we will see in terms services, climate legislation.
This does not help Oregonians.
of foreign interference in 2020 is
We need these things. We need
going to make 2016 look like small
funding for initiatives that affect
There have been multiple bipar- us all. Walking out is an action that
does not keep the interests of rural
tisan bills aimed at strengthening
communities in mind. Who does it
election security and countering
foreign election interference (Safe, serve in reality?
Elected officials should be
Shield and Deter acts), but Mitch
McConnell and Senate Republicans doing their job and not blaming
their walk-out on others. If, as an
have repeatedly blocked these.
employee, I was a no-show at work,
Congress must significantly
increase investments in safeguard- I would be fired. What example are
ing our election security, including these walk-outs setting for our stu-
upgrading voting machines, requir- dents who believe that our elected
ing backup paper ballots, making
representatives should do their job?
contingency plans to mitigate the
damage if and when attacks occur,
and conducting post-election audits
to confirm that election results are
Every American voter deserves to
To the editor,
feel confident that their vote will be
Our possible near future cat-
counted and protected from cyber- astrophic demise was predicted
attacks. Please keep up the demand 3,500 years ago right in the good old
to beef up US election security, in
Hebrew Scriptures (the Bible).
This information should
repeated calls and letters to our
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Stay on the job
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