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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 27, 2015)
D AILY A STORIAN
Founded in 1873
STEPHEN A. FORRESTER, Editor & Publisher
LAURA SELLERS, Managing Editor
BETTY SMITH, Advertising Manager
CARL EARL, Systems Manager
JOHN D. BRUIJN, Production Manager
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2015
By TIMOTHY EGAN
New York Times News Service
s the world contemplates
WKH GHÀDWHG IRRWEDOO VFDQGDO
in Boston — ballghazi — please
allow me one last moment of
undiluted sports delirium.
DEBRA BLOOM, Business Manager
I live in Se-
attle, where this
week the sky
is always blue,
trees are blos-
all children are
not only above
average but get
into the college
of their choice,
t is common in the world of real estate and development to
We are a
require earnest money upfront to bid on a property. Putting FLW\ WUDQV¿[HG UKDSVRGLFDOO\ ÀRDWLQJ
after the most are-you-kidding-me ex-
money down establishes two things: the bidder is serious and perience my hometown has ever been
To recap: With a little more than
Among Astoria preservationists questions. They are what any three minutes to go in last Sunday’s
there is strong belief that saving the prospective donor or investor NFC championship game, the Seattle
Seahawks were trailing Green Bay 19
Merwyn Hotel, also known as the would ask of any such project.
7. At that point, according to the odds
Waldorf, is essential to the cause
Astoria has seen a number of to
crunchers, the team had a 1 percent
of historic preservation in Astoria. VLJQL¿FDQW UHVWRUDWLRQ SURMHFWV chance of winning — 1 percent! The
The Waldorf has been empty for over the past 20 years. They each Seahawks promptly scored two touch-
some two decades. The Astoria demonstrate a different model. downs in 44 seconds. They recovered
onside kick, converted a two-point
City Council in 2014 voted to raze But behind each of them has been an
Hail Mary, won the coin toss to get the
the building as a component of either a group of citizens who put EDOO¿UVWLQRYHUWLPHDQGVFRUHGWRSXW
renewing the Astoria Public Library. their own resources and a decade them in the Super Bowl.
Sports metaphors crowd the lan-
At last Friday’s City Council of their lives into the project (the
guage of politics, usually for the worse.
goal-setting session, the doubts Liberty Theater) or a government John McCain’s pick of an uninformed
that three councilors raised about (the Guy Boyington Building) or demagogue, Sarah Palin, was supposed
demolishing the Waldorf have put an investor (the Coast Medical to be a “game changer.” Desperate cam-
a different face on library renewal. Building) or a group of investors paigns look for a “knockout punch,” or
make a “swing for the fences.” My fa-
For the council and for (Hotel Elliott). Another model was vorite is President Obama’s description
preservationists, there are some renewal of Clatsop Community of Joe Biden’s endorsement of gay mar-
College, which used an especially riage ahead of his boss — he “got out a
little bit over his skis.”
What does preserve the Waldorf GLYHUVHVHWRI¿QDQFLDOHOHPHQWV
%XW EDFN WR WKH PLUDFOH ¿QLVK ODVW
mean? Does it mean mothballing the
The point is that successful Sunday, and the lesson beyond pro
structure behind the facade? Does it preservation of a building demands football: It’s not about the miracle, it’s
mean full-blown restoration?
single-minded devotion over several DERXWWKH¿QLVK2EDPDKDVEHHQVOHHS-
walking through the middle part of his
If physical restoration is the goal, years, and it requires raising millions presidency. The brutal midterm electoral
how much would that cost?
of dollars. Without evidence of that crushing, with Republicans gaining their
Who would lead the drive to level of commitment, the slogan largest House majority since Herbert
Hoover, slapped him from his stupor.
raise that money? And how much remains a pipe dream.
No longer does he care about pleas-
of their own money would the
The other question for Waldorf ing the insiders, or playing nice with the
preservationists commit to the enthusiasts is where does a opposition, or conforming to the expec-
hypothetical drive to preserve the tations of a lame duck. He said it’s the
quarter of his presidency, “and
Once restored, what would be Merwyn Hotel rank with two other fourth
I’m going to play offense.” He’s decid-
the rental structure per square foot? historic buildings – the drive to ed to be Russell Wilson after throwing
What users could afford to pay that reclaim the Astoria Armory or the four interceptions.
Many have written him off. The re-
Save the Performing Arts Center
liably dyspeptic Charles Krauthammer
These are not idle or academic campaign?
said the epitaph of the Obama presiden-
cy would be: “He couldn’t govern, but
he sure knew how to campaign.” And
yes, little of what Obama proposed in
its way out of the dead zone of Con-
SAMANTHA MCLAREN, Circulation Manager
At what cost?
Questions about preserving
the Waldorf Hotel
How pure must Rep.
Herrera Beutler be?
Clark County Tea Party
goes after congresswoman
classic example of rigid and
is playing out in Southwest
Washington, where a traditionally
threatened with censure for being
something less than radically right
Third-term incumbent U.S. Rep.
Jaime Herrera Beutler represents the
state’s 3rd Congressional District,
encompassing counties along and
near the lower Columbia River,
including the district’s largest
population center, Vancouver.
Although it was somewhat
reweighted to the Republican Party
when Olympia was removed during
the 2010 redistricting process, it is
still a “swing” district. Within its
boundaries are not only right-leaning
Portland suburbs, but also loyal
County. It has elected Democrats to
Congress in 32 of the past 40 years.
Most politicians — and
especially Republicans — would
look at this and conclude it’s a good
idea to take a balanced approach
and cultivate a reputation for
effective cooperation. In Herrera
Beutler’s case, during the recently
completed 113th Congress, this
translated into voting for Democrat-
favored positions 12 percent of the
time, according to an analysis by
the Washington Post. But this runs
counter to organizational reality
in Clark County. There, the most
passionate activists who participate
in the party’s central committee
prefer zero cooperation with
Democrats, and also a good deal less
cooperation with even the GOP’s
top-tier congressional leaders.
Herrera Beutler is intelligent
and personable, but certainly
far to the right of many of her
constituents, particularly on social
issues. For example, she recently
voted in lockstep with her party to
reinstate deportation policies for
undocumented immigrants — a
position that would decimate the
coastal economy if actually carried
out, in addition to wrecking the
lives of thousands of hard-working
But for the most avid members of
the GOP’s tea party wing, anything
short of blowing up democracy as
we know it is a form of betrayal —
apostasy, to use a religious term for
someone who strays from the faith.
To these folks, Herrera Beutler’s
work to keep the ports of Ilwaco
and Chinook open to the Columbia
River via federal dredging is a step
on the road to socialism and/or
Smart observers have noted that
this move by the Clark County
GOP is likely to strengthen Herrera
Beutler’s mainstream popularity.
Certainly, a young Hispanic woman
who plays her cards right could have
a bright future in statewide politics.
This future depends on seeking
additional — not fewer — ways to
work across party lines.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Seattle Seahawks’ players celebrate after overtime of the NFL football NFC
Championship game against the Green Bay Packers Jan. 18 in Seattle.
gress. Just 5 percent of his 2013 propos- held up the usual hate posters, one com-
als became law — and that was before paring him to Hitler. But it did not es-
Republicans gained the Senate.
cape notice that his motorcade passed a
The president’s proposals “are so Shell station selling regular gasoline for
out of touch you have to ask if there’s $1.77 a gallon.
To the west, in the Eastern Wash-
any point to the speech,” said Reince
Priebus, chairman of the Republican ington district of Rep. Cathy McMor-
ris Rodgers, people represented by this
But if you look beyond capital gas- robotically doctrinaire leader of the
bags, and consider the big ideas in Republican House have signed up for
Obama’s speech, you can see the inev- Obamacare coverage at a rate far beyond
itability of his philosophy. His proposals the national average.
To the east, Gov. John Kasich of
— raising the minimum wage, paid ma-
Ohio told a group of
ternity leave, making col-
lege more affordable and
this week that they would
the tax system more fair
be crazy not to embrace
— are popular across the
the president’s program
political divide. They’re
health coverage for
mainstream anywhere but
sleepwalking of the poor.
“I gotta tell you,
the fundraisers that Reince
turning down your mon-
Priebus presides over.
ey back to Montana on an
Obama has already
ideological basis, when
changed health care in a
people can lose their lives
country that lags far be-
part of his
because they get no help,
hind the rest of the world
doesn’t make a lot of
in access. He’s overseen
sense to me,” he said, in
an economic recovery
remarks reported by the
lyptic predictions of his enemies, and Great Falls Tribune.
Nearly every proposal in the State of
would be the envy of any European
country — let alone one governed by the Union address polls with majority
Mitt Romney, who’d be taking a victo- approval, nationwide. The great issue
ry lap with the kind of numbers Obama of the early 21st century is how to el-
evate a stagnant middle class. When 80
has generated on his watch.
Consider Idaho, arguably the red- people hold the same amount of wealth
dest state in the union, where Repub- as 3.6 billion of the world’s poorest, that
licans control everything but a handful equation of inequality can catch the at-
of latte stands. After much bluster and tention of even the most heartless.
So, to the end game, in Idaho, Kan-
protest, Idaho politicians caved and set
up a state health care exchange under sas and beyond. “It’s amazing what
Obamacare. To the surprise of the ex- you can bounce back from when you
perts, Idahoans have embraced the pri- have to,” Obama said last Tuesday.
vate coverage available under the Af- He was quoting from a Minneapolis
fordable Care Act — “one of the most woman, invited to the speech, but it
successful enrollments of any state,” as sounded like a motto for his last two
Kaiser Health News reported.
The president is playing for a lega-
Obama was in Boise Wednesday,
speaking to a crowd of more than 6,000 cy. He won’t get much of it this year, or
people at an event where all tickets even next. But eventually, if Obama’s
were gone within an hour. “Now there ¿QLVK PDWFKHV WKH ÀRXULVK RI WKH ODVW
are 10 black people in Idaho,” was one two months, the United States will re-
of the tweets from Boise. The president semble the country he envisioned last
was fully energized, jocular, primed for Tuesday night. Long odds make for
DVWURQJ¿QLVK$KDQGIXORISURWHVWHUV better endings.
Son held at gunpoint after library visit
7KH RI¿FHU JDYH KLV
method of the stop is the
name, then asked my son
to “give him a call the next
Why was a gun drawn
¿UVW" :K\ ZDV KH QRW LP-
aturday evening, I got a call day.”
My son continued:
mediately told why he was
that no parent wants to get.
“I got up slowly, and con-
being detained? Why not
It was my son calling from college tinued to walk back to my
— he’s a third-year student at Yale. room. I was scared. My legs
What if my son had pan-
He had been accosted by a campus were shaking slightly. After
icked under the stress, hav-
ing never had a gun pointed
at him before, and made
said, ‘Hey, my man. Can you
This is how my son remembers it:
step off to the side?’ I did.”
He left for the library around 5:45
a “suspicious” movement?
7KH RI¿FHU DVNHG KLP
p.m. to check the status of a book he to turn around so he could
Had I come close to losing
had requested. The book hadn’t arrived see the back of his jacket. He asked him? Triggers cannot be unpulled. Bul-
yet, but since he was there he put in a re- KLVQDPHDJDLQWKHQ¿QDOO\DVNHGWR lets cannot be called back.
quest for some multimedia equipment see my son’s ID. My son produced his
My son was unarmed, possessed
no plunder, obeyed all instructions, an-
for a project he was working on.
school ID from his wallet.
Then he left to walk back to his
7KH RI¿FHU DVNHG PRUH TXHVWLRQV swered all questions, did not attempt to
GRUP URRP +H VD\V KH VDZ DQ RI¿- and my son answered. All the while the ÀHHRUUHVLVWLQDQ\ZD\
This is the scenario I have always
cer “jogging” toward
the entrance of anoth-
information to someone dreaded: my son at the wrong end of a
There is no
gun barrel, face down on the concrete.
er building across the
over his radio.
I had always dreaded the moment that
grounds from the build-
ing he’d just left.
someone on the radio we would share stories about encoun-
respectability VD\ EDFN WR WKH RI¿FHU ters with the police in which our lives
“I did not pay him
“something to the effect hung in the balance, intergenerational
any mind, and continued
of: ‘Keep him there until stories of joining the inglorious “club.”
When that moment came, I was
to walk back towards
get this sorted out.’”
bend a gun’s we
my room. I looked be-
7KHRI¿FHUWROGP\VRQ exceedingly happy I had talked to him
hind me, and noticed
that an incident report about how to conduct himself if a situ-
WKDW WKH SROLFH RI¿FHU
ZRXOGEH¿OHGDQGWKHQ ation like this ever occurred. Yet I was
brewing with sadness and anger that he
was following me. He
he walked away.
spoke into his shoulder-mounted radio
$ IHPDOH RI¿FHU DSSURDFKHG 0\ had to use that advice.
I am reminded of what I have al-
and said, ‘I got him.’
“I faced forward again, presuming had just stopped me and pointed his gun ways known, but what some would
WKDWWKHRI¿FHUZDVQRWWDONLQJWRPH, at me, and that I wanted to know what choose to deny: that there is no way to
then heard him say, ‘Hey, turn around!’ this was all about.” She explained stu- work your way out — earn your way
— which I did.
dents had called about a burglary sus- out — of this sort of crisis. In these mo-
ments, what you’ve done matters less
³7KH RI¿FHU UDLVHG KLV JXQ DW PH SHFWZKR¿WP\VRQ¶VGHVFULSWLRQ
and told me to get on the ground.
That suspect was apparently later than how you look.
There is no amount of respectability
“At this point, I stopped looking di- arrested in the area.
When I spoke to my son, he was that can bend a gun’s barrel. All of our
boys are bound together.
towards the pavement. I dropped to my shaken up. I, however, was fuming.
The dean of Yale College and the
Now, don’t get me wrong: If indeed
laid down on my stomach.
my son matched the description of a campus police chief have apologized
³7KH RI¿FHU DVNHG PH ZKDW P\ suspect, I would have had no problem and promised an internal investigation,
name was. I gave him my name.
with him being questioned appropriate- and I appreciate that. But the scars can-
³7KHRI¿FHUDVNHGPHZKDWVFKRRO, ly. School is his community, his home not be unmade. My son will always
went to. I told him Yale University.
away from home, and he would have carry the memory of the day he left his
³$WWKLVSRLQWWKHRI¿FHUWROGPHWR appreciated reasonable efforts to keep FROOHJHOLEUDU\DQGDQRI¿FHUWUDLQHGD
it safe. The stop is not the problem; the gun on him.
By CHARLES M. BLOW
New York Times News Service