Keizertimes. (Salem, Or.) 1979-current, January 26, 2018, Page PAGE A5, Image 5

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Honoring multi-taskers
The Keizer Chamber of Com-
merce held its annual First Citizen
banquet last Saturday and they hit it
out of the park with the four who
won awards.
Joe Egli was announced as Keizer’s
First Citizen Award to sustained ap-
plause. The creators seemed to have
Egli in mind when they conceived of
the award. Few First Citi-
zens have had their fi n-
gerprints in so many dif-
ferent areas of Keizer life.
His resume is dizzying.
A life-long Oregonian
and a long-time Keizerite
Egli has served in pub-
lic capacities, committee
member; he served one
term as a Keizer City Councilor.
A born leader, Egli has served as
president of both the Keizer Cham-
ber of Commerce and the Keizer
Rotary Club. But it is in his role as
resident he has displayed his most
far-reaching infl uence. Every major
project in Keizer over the past two
decades has had Egli as a cheerlead-
er. His gift for rallying support and
volunteers for projects as diverse as
The Big Toy, the artifi cial turf at Mc-
Nary High School, leadership of the
Iris Festival and his the Salem-Keizer
Education Foundation is legendary.
Egli and his wife Shelly comprise
one of the most productive teams
when it comes to their home. He does
what is needed to be done without
seeking the spotlight or credit. As he
said himself as he accepted his award,
it’s all about the people in Keizer. Yes,
it certainly is, Mr. Egli.
The pattern to the awards seemed
to be multi-tasking. The Merchant
of the Year award was presented to
Larry Jackson of Jackson’s Body
Shop. When volunteers are called
for, Jackson is one of the fi rst in line.
He serves on the board of directors
for the Chamber and volunteers as
one of the Men of Action in Keizer
(MAK). Christmas displays? Does it.
Iris Festival? Does it. Big Toy? Did it.
Larry Jackson was very deserving
of the Merchant of the Year award
and he will continue his good civic
works and continue to inspire others
to pitch in and help in his commu-
nity. For that the community thanks
you, Larry.
Another multi-tasker honored
Saturday night was Jason Flores who
was presented with the Service to
Education Award. Over the years this
award has been bestowed on teachers,
administrators, coaches and boost-
ers—all of whom have had a positive
impact on Keizer’s school kids.
A residential builder (Celtic
Homes, LLC), Flores devotes just
as much time to Keizer kid’s sports
as he does to his own business. For
more than 15 years he has coached
baseball, softball and football for
youth teams. Along with coach-
ing and mentoring he has also been
deeply involved with projects such as
the Keizer Little League fi elds, the
turf, refurbished scoreboard and soft-
ball dugout projects at McNary High
Like all good vol-
unteers he puts money
where his heart is. He and
his wife Keri sponsor stu-
dents in their chosen sport
through the McNary
Athletic Booster Club’s
Youth sports in Keizer
are a success due in part to commu-
nity volunteers like Jason Flores.
At their discretion, the Chamber
of Commerce leaders present their
President’s Award. The recipients of
this award over the years have been
a varied group who have made in-
delible impacts on the Chamber and
the city.
Nathan Bauer, president of the
Chamber’s board of directors, made
an impassioned speech before an-
nouncing he was honoring Matthew
Lawyer, who was stunned by the an-
Matthew Lawyer is the future of
Keizer volunteering and leadership.
A man who doesn’t know how to
say no, can be found involved with
community projects as well as proj-
ects that are his personal passion—he
is a board member of Keizer Home-
grown Theatre (he has quite the stage
On the public side he serves on
the Keizer Parks and Recreation Ad-
visory Board where his passion for
the city’s parks is evident at every
meeting. He has a young family and
his concerns mirror those of most
Keizer households, which is impor-
He is also a member of the Keizer
Planning Commission, one of the
most important bodies in the city.
The commission is the fi rst stop in
the process for developers and con-
tractors to get green lit by the city
council for their projects. His sober,
realistic views will be valuable when
time comes to seriously discuss fu-
ture growth in the guise of an Urban
Growth Boundary expansion.
What does any of this have to do
with the Keizer Chamber of Com-
merce? Everything...when you help
make the city a great place to live and
run a business, that’s the Chamber’s
mission. Full stop.
Congratulations to all the recipi-
ents of this year’s awards.
No more soap
Don Vowell, a long-time contrib-
utor to this page with his A Box of
Soap column passed away on Dec. 15.
His irreverant writing will be dearly
Vowell, who retired as a carrier
for the U.S. Postal Service, enjoyed
mixing things up and making people
think. His frequent columns certainly
did that. His writings amused many
but some of his writings also rose
the ire of others. That’s what writing
should do: elicit emotion.
In his retirement years he turned
to natural photography. He had the
patience of a saint, waited for hours
to get just the right photograph. He
posted many on his Facebook page.
You would be hard pressed to tell
the difference between a Don Vowell
wildlife shot and a wildlife shot in a
National Geographic magazine.
Don had a whimsical look on life
and shared it widely. With tongue
fi rmly planted in cheek he consid-
ered running for mayor back in the
1990s. He even had a campaign logo:
Join the Vowell Movement. Needless
to say, his political career never got
off the ground.
We enjoyed his columns because
we never knew what he was going to
address. He covered a myrid of sub-
jects over the dozens of columns that
ran for more than 20 years.
Don Vowell’s voice will be missed,
but his columns will live on in our
archives and our hearts.
Wheatland Publishing Corp.
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Phone: 503.390.1051 •
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Salem, Oregon
Random Pendragon
Government can work
Episodes of congressional disarray
feed an ideologically loaded narrative
that government is hopelessly incom-
petent and can never be counted on to
do much that is useful.
Even if President Trump
and the Republicans ultimate-
ly come to bear the burden for
Washington’s disarray, episodes
of this sort bolster the standard
conservative view of govern-
ment as a lumbering beast
whose “meddling” only fouls
things up. The private sector is
cast as virtuously effi cient and best left
The power of this anti-government
bias is enhanced by our failure to re-
visit government’s successes. We don’t
often call out those who wrongly pre-
dict that activist politicians and bu-
reaucrats will bring on nothing but
This is why conservatives would
rather lock up the government res-
cue of General Motors and Chrysler
under President Obama in a memory
hole. In the end, taxpayers invested
some $80 billion in the rescue and
recouped all but approximately $10
billion of that. And that fi gure does
not take into account the taxes paid
by workers who might otherwise have
been unemployed.
Remember that when this was de-
bated, critics insisted that the federal
government could not possibly un-
derstand a complicated business and
that it would turn the auto companies
into some kind of patronage dumping
If the bailout happened, Mitt Rom-
ney famously wrote, “you can kiss the
American automotive industry good-
bye.” Rush Limbaugh accused Obama
of trying to “take over” the American
auto companies in order to turn them
into “another industry doing his bid-
ding.” Former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.,
said the bailout would amount to
throwing good money after bad. “Just
giving them $25 billion
doesn’t change any-
thing,” he said in No-
vember 2008, citing the
estimated upfront cost
at the time of saving the
companies. “It just puts
off for six months or so
the day of reckoning.”
In fact, in the most
capitalist of terms, the initiative
worked spectacularly well. Auto sales
rose for seven straight years starting
in 2010, before fi nally taking a small
dip in 2017. On May 29, 2009, GM
stock cratered to 75 cents a share—
yes, 75 cents. The restructured com-
pany went public again in 2010 at $33
a share, and it was trading at around
$43 a share last week. Fiat Chrysler,
the merged company that came out
of the government-led restructuring,
debuted on the New York Stock Ex-
change at $9 a share in October 2014
and is now trading in the range of $24
a share.
Although Obama organized the
details of the rescue and took the
heat for it, former President George
W. Bush deserves some credit here.
While he was initially reluctant to do
so, Bush responded to Obama’s desire
to keep the future of the companies
open. He eventually fronted GM and
Chrysler some $25 billion from the
funds set aside for the bank bailouts
after the economic implosion.
Bush said in December 2008, “If we
were to allow the free market to take
its course now, it would almost cer-
tainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy.”
For such a staunch capitalist, it was a
candid—one might say courageous—
admission that the market, operating
on its own, would create chaos.
And this bedlam would have taken
a severe human and social toll, since
the job losses from that “disorderly
bankruptcy” would have hit not only
the auto companies themselves but
also their suppliers and other enter-
prises, large and small, that served
Instead, Michigan, along with oth-
er parts of the region, has staged an
impressive comeback. The state’s sea-
sonally adjusted unemployment rate
peaked at 14.9 percent in June 2009,
fell to 5.1 percent by December 2016,
and has continued to drop, to 4.6 per-
cent last November. In Detroit itself,
unemployment declined from 28.4
percent in June 2009 to 7.8 percent in
November 2017.
Wages, it should be said, have not
fully recovered from the Great Reces-
sion. The real median household in-
come in Michigan stood at $57,910 in
2006, sank through 2010, when it hit
$50,943, and was at $57,091 in 2016.
So there’s still work to do. But imag-
ine what the trends would look like if
government had made the irreversible
choice of letting GM and Chrysler go
The price of our collective amne-
sia about the moments when public
action kept capitalism from fl ying off
the rails is very high. Once a crisis is
over, extreme forms of deregulation
return to fashion and our political
discourse falls lazily back into cheap
government bashing. That Trump and
Congress sometimes make this easy is
no excuse for forgetting why govern-
ment is there.
(Washington Post Writers Group)
Elitism is the stick in the spokes of democracy
Elitism. It is a powerful word. Re-
cently that word has been brought up
in a nationally-syndicated
opinion column with dis-
paraging comment that
it should be drummed
out of Americans and all
things American. Defi ned,
it refers to a group that is
considered superior to the
remaining members of the
group in terms of ability
and qualities, and is also
used to identify those in
the group having the greatest power
and infl uence within a society due to
their wealth and privilege.
My reading of the U.S. Constitu-
tion, its companion document, the
Bill of Rights, and our nation’s laws
and related applications, is that there
has been an effort from the beginning
to drive a stake through the heart of
elitism even though those persons re-
sponsible for getting the United States
underway in the late 18th century
could be viewed as the elites in Co-
lonial America, those who led the
Revolutionary War and the ultimate
break from England’s rule. Inciden-
tally, in every person’s inimitable way
he’s an elitist: it’s the human nature in
all of us that’s inclined to judge other
persons as below us or inferior.
Recorded history of the world
could be described as people—back to
the Egyptians—and even earlier, sur-
rendering their lives to elites by per-
mitting themselves to be ruled by
the elites. These would have been the
pharaohs, the emperors, the czars, the
kings and queens and the rulers back
to the birth of civilizations. In fact,
world history suggests that the human
species has items in its DNA, resulting
in surrender of freedom, and the right
of every member to protect himself in
return for control by the most wealthy
and powerful in their midst.
In North America and
throughout the world of
yesteryear, humans struck
out on their own to escape
control as one can learn
by reading about those
who ventured away from
civilizations east of Poly-
nesia and settled the Pa-
cifi c Ocean, the tribes
that used the once-solid
bridge of land between
Asia and what is now Alaska, and the
pilgrims of Europe, England, and the
Netherlands, that sailed away to reli-
gious freedom in what became co-
lonial America. People, virtually for-
ever, have wanted freedom but sooner
or later have surrendered to controls
by the elites in their societies, those
richest in goods and greatest in power.
We bring our loss of freedom and
self-determination on ourselves be-
cause we want a measure of safety and
security we are not able to provide for
ourselves. If we do as we please and,
in doing so, break the law then we face
the consequence of fi ne or imprison-
ment. If we set out into hinterlands to
establish our own little fi efdom, we
soon are held responsible for what we
do by a force more powerful than our-
selves that comes to us because all of
America, deep in the woods and out
in deserts, is owned or controlled by
the most wealthy and powerful among
We cannot therefore avoid or es-
cape elitism. These elitists dictate
whether we like it or not because
these are the people among us who
hard work, mental ability—to accu-
mulate the most wealth and power.
Although we argue we are a nation of
laws, not men, we end up in daily life
by subtle or direct control, or simply
surrender, to those, we choose by vot-
ing in America, often with the most
wealth and power. Reminder: We
recognize, too, it is in the nature of
most all of us to view virtually every-
one else as, by subjective judgment,
lesser than ourselves.
The average American can do little
about his plight of powerlessness ex-
cept by pen, voice and vote. If I’d been
granted what’s required to stand tall
among those with wealth and power,
I might have had more power and
privilege other than effort at persua-
sion by columns. I am not wealthy
and thereby not powerful but appreci-
ate the fact that I can openly express
my ideas in a nation that generally re-
spects its Constitution enough to al-
low me to do it. Elsewhere, I could
be incarcerated or murdered, although
the level of intolerance for expressions
“too contrary” or “blasphemous” can
get a person “in deep trouble” here.
Elitism is here and here to stay
and has been since the “beginning
of time.” There’s no way in modern
times to rid ourselves of it because our
planet has been “civilized” from stem
to stern. And there’s no way to escape,
not even by death, as the authorities
will do with my body as law dictates.
But not to despair! As is true of all
Americans, the nationally syndicated
writer who disparages those he views
as elitists has the freedom to criti-
cize “them,” as do we all. Meanwhile
and always, the American freedom
of speech is preciously powerful and
must be protected at all cost from
those who would demagogue or dic-
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)