Keizertimes. (Salem, Or.) 1979-current, January 30, 2015, Image 4

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Get out of town
The leaders of Keizer, especially
members of the city council, don’t
like to try new things unless or until
they’re been done somewhere else.
What is Salem doing? is a regular
question when policy questions are
discussed at the council level.
It’s a policy that suits Keizer—
why take the risk of being fi rst when
we can benefi t from what other
municipalities already know? We
may ask the leadership of other cit-
ies how they handle a particular is-
sue. When it comes to infrastructure
and development ideas the leaders
of city staff and the city council
should keep an eye on what is done
in the places they travel (whether
the trip is offi cial or personal).
Keizer as a city is not unique.
There are thousands of suburban
towns across the country that serve
as bedroom communities for larger
cities. Every tangible issue Keizer
faces has been addressed in a simi-
lar city somewhere else. Our com-
munity is poised to build a large
playground project at Keizer Rap-
ids Park because someone saw one
elsewhere and talked about it here.
What other ideas can be borrowed
from somewhere else?
The things our traveling lead-
ers should observe include public
art placement, commercial signage,
curb appeal of business areas, ame-
nities in city parks and the like. Col-
lectively our leaders could put forth
many ideas for what to do in Keizer.
What cannot be observed by city
offi cials are municipal policies. That
takes communication at seminars,
training sessions and conferences.
What are like-sized cities doing to
fund their 9-1-1 obligations? What
are cities doing to actively recruit
businesses (and jobs) to their towns?
This is a good thing to keep in
mind for the members of the newly
created Economic Development
Commission. The commission,
which will meet only four times a
year, is charged with, among other
things, to create development in-
centives for Keizer and create out-
reach to recruit targeted industries
to locate in Keizer.
The members of the commission
should leave no stone unturned, no
expert unquestioned, no resource
unread, no idea dismissed out of
hand. We believe one of the duties
of the commission is to know what
Keizer has to offer now to busi-
nesses considering a Keizer address.
Commissioners need to know their
product from River Road—south
to north—to Keizer Station and all
points in-between.
The main question that should
be asked of targeted business is:
“What is needed in Keizer for you
to move here?” As a city we can sell
what we have but if it is not com-
pletely what a business is buying, we
need to consider our course of ac-
tion. That’s a good job for the Eco-
nomic Development Commission
and our city leaders as they consider
a local, a regional and a national re-
cruiting strategy.
Keizer Rapids
Regional Park
chest thumping
opportunity for
the administra-
tion in power. I
would have ex-
pected no less
from Obama.
And a negative
rebuttal by the other party is expected
as well. It seems like things have never
been better—or worse.
Let me give my own “unbiased”
views about what has or should have
happened since Obama fi rst became
One of the Administration’s most
signifi cant actions, I feel, is begin-
ning “normalization” of relations with
Cuba, something that was long over-
Closing of Gitmo—on track (I
guess) but taking far too long. The
previous administration’s action in de-
nying prisoners access to courts of law
has done irreparable damage to the
credibility of the United States.
Renunciation of torture – it’s
about time. I can hardly believe that
we allowed such things as waterboard-
ing and sleep deprivation to occur.
Affordable Health Care—Seri-
ously needed but so many concessions
were made to Republicans and the
health care industry (that failed to win
their support, anyway) resulting in a
very fl awed health care act. The Ad-
ministration should have built on the
Wyden-Bennett Bill which already
had a measure of bi-partisan support.
We have allowed our relationship
with Russia to deteriorate, which is
a very dangerous thing, indeed. The
president should have entered into
direct talks with President Putin, at-
tended the Moscow Olympics, par-
ticipated in the Paris Anti-terrorism
Rally and should recognize the legiti-
mate concerns of Israel and moderate
Arab states about nuclear weapons de-
velopment in Iran.
Finally, like his predecessors,
Obama has done little toward recog-
nizing and strengthening the UN as
the best hope to lead the fi ght against
radicalism and provide support for
human rights throughout the world.
At least, that is my take.
Art Burr
To the Editor:
I am under the impression our
Keizer Rapids Park was a regional
park since Marion County contrib-
uted funds to purchase some of the
The county was able to spend
county park money. If the park is re-
gional, the county should provide the
city with funds for some park main-
tenance. County Commissioner Ja-
net Carlson is the co-chairman of the
Community Build Task Force fund-
raising committee to fund the Big Toy
in the park along with former Keizer
city councilman Richard Walsh. If the
county is so involved why is it that
only people living within the city are
on the Keizer Parks Board? It only
makes sense that someone from the
county should have a vote on how
the regional park is managed and run
since it has money in the park.
The citizens of Keizer should thank
the Marion County Commissioners
for their interest and fi nancial support.
There are plans to construct a large
indoor sports facility within the park
in the future. The footprint for the
building is set out in the revised park
master plan. The money for the facil-
ity will have to come from the park
budget at the expense of the other city
parks. Besides the cost of construction
there will be constant maintenance
and administration cost throughout
the year. The facility would need heat-
ing and cleaning in the winter and
maybe air conditioning in the sum-
There were rumors that some
Keizer Rapids Park supporters want
to create a park district for a greater
source of revenue. This means a new
set of elective offi cers and a paid
staff like the fi re district. Of course
this would raise taxes on everyone in
Keizer. I assume a parks district would
not be entitled to receive Systems De-
velopment Charge funds. One possi-
bility would be to charge the people
who use the indoor sports facility. If
and when a sports facility is built in
the future, then anyone could pay to
use it and not just Keizer residents al-
though we paid for most of it in the
fi rst place.
Bill Quinn
State of the Union
To the Editor:
The President’s State of the Union
address is, by long standing tradition, a
Share your opinion,
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Please limit to 300 words.
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Keizer, OR 97303
Periodical postage paid at
Salem, Oregon
Who’s missing in economic growth?
To say that you are worried about
America’s future is no different than
saying you are worried about Amer-
ica’s children. Last week we learned
that just more than 50 percent of pub-
lic school children are now from low-
income homes. In the same week we
learned that the world’s richest 80
men collect the same income as the
world’s three and a half billion poor-
est citizens. The richest one percent
will control half the world’s wealth by
sometime in 2016. That’s half for one
percent, the other half for the 99 per-
cent. Even Congressional leadership
is beginning to publicly speak of this
inequity as a problem. Is it time to
connect the dots?
Income level is now the surest in-
dicator of successful outcomes in pub-
lic schools. Achievement gap is more
reliably predicted by wealth than skin
color. Children from low income
families often have more hurdles
to clear than their fi nancially stable
classmates. They often face disadvan-
tages in hygiene, health, nutrition and
sometimes safety and nurture in their
homes. There is humiliation in pov-
We are fond of telling ourselves
that America is the land of opportu-
nity. Anyone can rise from humble
origin to become a success—societal
or fi nancial.
It isn’t borne
out by real-
ity. Upward
mobility is a
hard thing to
measure, but
in our country
children of poverty most often remain
trapped in poverty and the children
of affl uent parents usually grow into
the same prosperity. Since the 1960s
the achievement gap between low in-
come and higher income students has
increased by forty percent. Raised in a
1950s small town, my assumption that
we all progressed through K-12 learn-
ing about the same stuff and graduated
with a common body of knowledge
now seems like wishful thinking.
It may help to view this as a na-
tional security problem. If America
can only remain safe and strong by
producing healthy and well-educated
citizens then that is our fi rst respon-
sibility. We seem to have turned our
backs to it.
Since 2009 the stock market has
grown by 60 percent, GDP is up
eight percent, and corporate profi t as
percentage of national income is at a
record high while median household
income shriveled by fi ve percent. Any
talk of reversing this trend through
legislation is called “class warfare.”
Since 1952 corporate taxes as share
of all revenues has dropped from 33
percent to 9 percent. That’s class war-
fare. Since 1963 the top personal
income tax rate has fallen from 91
percent to 36.9 percent. That’s class
warfare. We all tend to socialize and
congregate with people about like
ourselves. Congress does the same. It
is a millionaire’s club that is demon-
strably passing legislation in correla-
tion with the views of wealthy Amer-
ica. Intentional or not, that’s class
warfare. Is a hedge fund manager or
a schoolteacher more instrumental in
forging future citizens?
Even more infl ammatory is rais-
ing the “socialism” bogeyman. In the
Scandinavian countries income is dis-
tributed more evenly. I’m not sure
why. More signifi cantly they have the
best education systems in the world.
Their education investment begins in
children from one to fi ve years old.
They continue to support them by
tracking them in high school and then
making college affordable to qualifi ed
students. These countries know how
to prepare for their future. Maybe we
can call it something besides socialism
while still matching that dedication
in taking care of America’s children.
Our future and theirs depends on it.
Any Republican event convened
by Rep. Steven King—he of “calves
the size of cantaloupes” fame—
could easily have degenerated into a
festival of immigrant bashing. It is to
the credit of the serious GOP presi-
dential prospects in attendance that
the Iowa Freedom Summit gener-
ally was not.
Yes, Donald Trump emerged
from his stretch clown car to say that
“half of them are criminals.” And
King declared that protesting Dream
Act supporters were from “the other
planet.” But the Republican script
in Iowa was mainly focused on criti-
cizing President Obama’s immigra-
tion executive actions rather than
negatively characterizing illegal im-
migrants themselves. Avoiding of-
fensive language is admittedly a low
bar. But it is progress for Republi-
cans to realize that they are walking
in a minefi eld instead of a meadow.
The greatest hazard to Repub-
lican prospects with rising demo-
graphic groups came in the form of
an argument rather than an epithet.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum made
the case that the GOP should be
“the party of the worker.” Which is
better than being the party of disdain
for “takers” and the “47 percent.”
But Santorum went on to claim that
immigration has depressed the earn-
ings of native-born Americans. “We
need to stand for an immigration
policy,” he said, “that puts Americans
and American workers fi rst.”
The campaign slogan “America
fi rst,” it turns out, is already taken.
But Santorum is proposing a seri-
ous response to the GOP’s national
electoral challenge. Republicans, in
this view, need to shift their focus
away from high earners to strug-
gling middle- and working-class
families; and they also need to
choose between courting the work-
ing class and courting Hispanic vot-
ers, because immigrants take jobs
and depress wages at the low end.
The party of the worker therefore
must be the party of immigration
Santorum is often thoughtful; in
this case, he is
economic case
is overblown.
Economists sift
and dispute the
evidence. But
the long-term
impact of immigration on native
wages seems to be slight—slightly
positive for those with a high school
and some college education, slightly
negative for those who don’t gradu-
ate from high school. These effects,
however, are overwhelmed by other
economic trends, such as the ad-
vance of technology and globalized
labor markets. The white working
class does have many problems, but
competition from low-skilled im-
migrants is not among the biggest
Effectively focusing on the white
working class also buys into the no-
tion that Republicans can win the
presidency by running up the white
vote. This might, for all I know, work
in the next presidential election. If
Hillary Clinton is the Democratic
nominee and gets 80 percent of the
minority vote, Republicans would
probably need about 63 percent of
white voters. (The highest percent-
age Republicans have ever gotten
was Ronald Reagan’s 64 percent in
This is not impossible, with the
right con-
ditions and
cause the
white over
t i m e — by
about two
age points
every four
years -- this
harder and
harder to
implement. Mitt Romney won the
white vote in a landslide—59 per-
cent —and lost his election handily.
Republicans, in other words, need
the appeal of Reagan at his height
to narrowly win the presidency in
the current electorate. Eventually,
even that will not be enough.
It is one thing for a political
analyst to recommend a get-out-
the-whites strategy. But when this
thought is consciously entertained
by a politician, something disturbing
has happened. We have too much
tragic history with political lines
drawn along ethnic and racial faults.
The issue of immigration has a
way of clarifying some of the deep-
est beliefs of a political movement.
Does it regard outsiders as poten-
tial threats or potential allies? Does
it empathize or dehumanize? The
public character of a political fi gure
is often judged by voters—especial-
ly immigrant voters —intuitively, by
signals and symbols. When arriving
at a party, you generally know im-
mediately if you are welcome or
No effective reconstitution of the
Republican Party’s appeal can begin
with pessimism about the drawing
power of Republican ideals. A party
that has lost the ambition to con-
vince is a party in decline.
a box
(Don Vowell gets on his soapbox
regularly in the Keizertimes.)
Republicans in the immigrant minefi eld
(Washington Post Writers Group)