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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 4, 2016)
Founded in 1873
STEPHEN A. FORRESTER, Editor & Publisher
LAURA SELLERS, Managing Editor
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • MONDAY, JANUARY 4, 2016
Test your savvy about
2016 with a quick quiz
BETTY SMITH, Advertising Manager
CARL EARL, Systems Manager
JOHN D. BRUIJN, Production Manager
DEBRA BLOOM, Business Manager
HEATHER RAMSDELL, Circulation Manager
A glance back,
a wish forward
New library, crisis respite
center, Port progress in view
n this fourth day of 2016, here are our ambitions for the
year and our gratitude for accomplishments of 2015.
1. Contrary to some futuristic talk,
libraries are not dead in the era of
digitized information. In places like
Seattle and Seaside, they are thriving
as community centers in contempo-
We could have that here. The
prospect of a new or refurbished
Astoria library has been studied and
discussed at some length. It is time
for the Astoria City Council to agree
upon an option and move forward.
2. We are grateful for creation of
the Astoria Warming Center. City
Councilor Drew Herzig deserves
credit for giving visibility to this
need. Two institutions — Grace Epis-
Mayor Arline LaMear
copal Church and First United Meth-
odist Church — have been essential
to the warming center.
9. On our wish list for 2014
3. Like the homeless, the mentally was, “An immigration bill, please.”
ill seldom rank high on a communi- Knowing that U.S. House Republi-
ty’s priorities. That’s why the crisis cans don’t see this as essential busi-
respite center, planned for construc- ness, especially for their friends in
tion in Warrenton, is a major step agriculture, we realize it is a pipe
forward for our region. Instead of dream to expect an immigration solu-
housing mentally ill persons in jail, tion in 2016. But the deeper fear is
this center will be an option. Clatsop that with congressional Republicans,
County Sheriff Tom Bergin com- it will never be time for progress on
mendably made this concept a prior- immigration.
10. The U.S. Coast Guard’s deci-
4. Driving by the Chinook School sion to base Sector Columbia River
and seeing its great paint job is a at the river’s mouth has been a ring-
pleasure. Going inside the restored ing success for an agency vital to
gymnasium for an event is hearten- our safety and economic well-being.
ing — especially when actors from We continue to hope for a favorable
the Oregon Shakespeare Festival decision to base two new 154-foot
make an appearance. Work remains Sentinel-class fast response cutters
to be done on the school. If history is here. Astoria, Warrenton and Ilwaco
any guide, the organizers of the resto- are Coast Guard towns. Let’s keep it
ration campaign will get it done.
5. The Port of Astoria has trained
11. A regionwide shortage of af-
us over many years to expect travail, fordable housing — keynoted by
controversy and failure. But in 2015 historically low rental vacancy rates
there was progress. The Port ¿nally — is harming the ¿nances of fami-
pulled the plug on one of its most di- lies and has the potential of hobbling
sastrous decisions — to install Brad our economic prospects. We need
Smithart at the decrepit former Red effective collaboration between de-
Lion property. After months of foren- velopers, lenders and agencies to add
sic accounting, the Port has ¿nancial new single-family and multiple-fam-
numbers it can rely upon. It is also ily dwellings in ways that respond to
clearing up its list of lawsuits. Ex- needs without violating the still-im-
ecutive Director Jim Knight has dis- portant goals of growth management.
played a competence and steadiness Accommodating more residents
not seen in his immediate predeces- without sprawling over important
sors. He has withstood the pull of the farmland, forests and open spaces
predictable periodic pointless out- will be one of the Paci¿c Northwest’s
bursts of some Port commissioners. biggest challenges in the 21st centu-
Our wish for 2016: more progress, ry.
12. It is time for Oregon and
is everything. At
the beginning of
2015 we celebrat-
gillnetting on the
ed the enormous
is an environmen-
of Willis Van Du-
sen’s more than
way to provide
20 years of civic
the new council,
led by Mayor Ar-
line LaMear took
seine nets have
of¿ce. One of its
not been shown to
early acts was to
lower wild salm-
end the fractious
on mortality, nor
debate over the
ies proven up to
cases, sending all
the job of replacing gillnet drifts on
the city’s cases to Circuit Court.
7. One of 2015’s most heartening the main river. The gillnet ban was
developments in Astoria was Greg an impulsive decision by a distract-
Newenhof’s acquisition of the dilapi- ed and now-disgraced governor. It
dated Flavel home at 15th Street and should be abandoned.
13. Thanks to a provocative sto-
Franklin Avenue. As co-proprietor of
City Lumber, Newenhof is the perfect ry in The New Yorker, 2015 was the
person for this immense challenge. year the general public learned about
He has the tools and he knows how the Cascadia Subduction Zone and
to access all of the expertise in town. understood its potential to generate
8. Conversely, it is disappointing massive earthquakes and tsunamis.
that the Flavel property on Commer- In our area, Cannon Beach has long
cial Street has not found a buyer. As been a leader in preparing for this di-
we reported last Thursday, the recent saster, practicing evacuation routes,
auction did not yield an adequate bid. caching supplies on high ground and
We hope this will not deter the con- generally planning how to survive.
servator and the city from ¿nding a All coastal and estuary communities
solution to a rundown block in the should follow Cannon Beach’s exam-
ple in 2016.
heart of downtown.
announced the formation of a Na-
whose time had passed.
C. Became the ¿rst woman tional Truth and Reconciliation
8. Chinese-U.S. relations ...
4. In Russia, President Vladimir
hose of us engaged in
A. Were set back after a naval
columny usually settle for Putin ended 2016 ...
A. By appearing in a television clash in the South China Sea near
writing about what has already documentary riding bare-chested the Spratly Islands.
happened. But today, let’s not across Siberia on a dragon bor-
B. Deteriorated because of Pres-
rowed from “Game of Thrones.”
ident Xi Jinping’s nationalist pol-
follow the easy course.
B. By dispatching provocateurs icies in the South China Sea and
Instead, take my quiz of what’s
to instigate unrest in Es- oppressive human rights policies at
to come in the year
tonia, then dispatching home.
ahead and see if we
troops “to protect Russian
C. Improved because undetect-
lives” there. NATO re- ed Chinese government hackers
sponded by holding meet- wrote glowingly about China in the
1. At the end of 2016,
President’s Daily Brief.
Donald Trump caused a
C. By crushing grow-
stir by ...
9. The technological break-
anti-government through of 2016 was ...
A. Preparing for his
A. The Amazon-Uber joint ven-
by renaming the White
ture to send a drone to pick you up
5. President Barack and carry you to your destination.
House “Trump Palace.”
2016 Syria strat-
B. Raising funds to
B. The spread of bloodstream
egy consisted of ...
bots that roam your arteries and
renovate the Statue of
A. Persuading Sunni veins, looking for cancer cells to
Liberty so that its arms
Arab countries to battle the Islamic destroy.
move, waving immigrants away.
C. Actually, no stir at all. After State in conjunction with Kurdish
C. The formation of a company
being crushed in the presidential forces.
to operate self-driving taxis.
B. Reluctantly dis-
race, he has been quietly trying to
10. The refugee crisis
repair business relations with Mex- patching 10,000 ground
icans, Muslims, women — well, troops into northern
A. Ameliorated as Eu-
Syria to destroy the
rope guarded its borders
see in more tightly.
2. In the Republican presidential Islamic State capital,
B. Deteriorated but
a year received
C. Really? You think
A. Ted Cruz built on his Iowa
less attention as
caucuses victory to make further he has a Syria strategy?
gains on Super Tuesday and win
curb the passage of refu-
Obamacare, in 2016 ...
we all gees to Greece and make
A. Republicans vot-
B. The failure of any candidate
the problem less visible.
to win enough delegates led the ed 23 more times to re-
C. Worsened as hun-
convention to draft House Speaker peal Obamacare, mak-
dreds of thousands of
ing it a major theme of
Paul D. Ryan.
Iranians, Nigerians, Ethi-
C. Marco Rubio overcame his the 2016 campaign.
opians, Afghans and others left for
B. The unpopularity of ¿nes for Germany.
failure to win either Iowa or New
Hampshire to narrowly win the lack of insurance made it a growing
11. Democracy ...
embarrassment to the Democratic
A. Was the title of a smash
3. Hillary Clinton ...
Broadway show about early Amer-
C. Amid evidence of its success, ica by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who
A. Dropped out of the race after
a series of scandals, and a last-ditch Republican candidates dropped the also created “Hamilton.”
effort to draft Joe Biden came too subject.
B. Retreated in central Africa,
7. In response to the Black Lives as leaders of Burundi, Rwanda and
late. Bernie Sanders won the Dem-
ocratic nomination and became Matter movement ...
Congo all tried to cling to power.
A. Princeton University an-
America’s ¿rst democratic socialist
C. Came to Belarus, often de-
president after Ted Cruz split GOP nounced that it would rename the scribed as the last dictatorship in
votes with the independent candi- Woodrow Wilson School and invit- Europe.
ed bids for naming rights. Donald
dacy of Donald Trump.
ANSWERS: We’ll see in a year
B. Easily won the Democratic Trump bought them.
how we all did. My choice for the
B. Not much happened: Atten- ¿rst six is C for the remainder it’s
nomination but then lost in No-
vember as Sen. Marco Rubio and tion switched to the presidential B. May our hopes be realized and
his running mate, John Kasich, race.
our fears prove unwarranted. And
C. After the election, Obama happy new year to all my readers!
portrayed her as a crony capitalist
By NICHOLAS KRISTOF
New York Times News Service
Privilege, pathology and power
By PAUL KRUGMAN
New York Times News Service
ealth can be bad for
your soul. That’s not
just a hoary piece of folk wis-
dom it’s a conclusion from
serious social science, con-
¿rmed by statistical analysis
and experiment. The afÀuent
are, on average, less likely to
exhibit empathy, less likely to
respect norms and even laws,
more likely to cheat, than those
occupying lower rungs on the
And it’s obvious, even if we
don’t have statistical con¿rmation,
that extreme wealth can do extreme
spiritual damage. Take someone
whose personality might have been
merely disagreeable under normal
circumstances, and give him the
kind of wealth that lets him surround
himself with sycophants and usually
get whatever he wants. It’s not hard
to see how he could become almost
pathologically self-regarding and
unconcerned with others.
So what happens to a nation that
gives ever-growing political power
to the superrich?
Modern America is a society in
which a growing share of income
and wealth is concentrated in the
hands of a small number of people,
and these people have huge political
inÀuence — in the early stages of the
2016 presidential campaign, around
half the contributions came from
fewer than 200 wealthy families.
The usual concern about this march
toward oligarchy is that the interests
and policy preferences of the very
rich are quite different from those
of the population at large, and that is
surely the biggest problem.
But it’s also true that those em-
powered by money-driven politics
include a disproportionate number
of spoiled egomaniacs. Which brings
me to the current election cycle.
The most obvious illustration of
the point I’ve
been making is
the man now
leading the Re-
bly have been
a blowhard and
a bully what-
ever his social
station. But his
from the external checks that limit
most people’s ability to act out their
narcissistic tendencies nobody has
ever been in a position to tell him,
“You’re ¿red!” And the result is the
face you keep seeing on your TV.
But Trump isn’t the only awe-
somely self-centered billionaire
playing an outsized role in the 2016
There have been some interesting
news reports lately about Sheldon
Adelson, the Las Vegas gambling
magnate. Adelson has been involved
in some fairly complex court pro-
ceedings, which revolve around
claims of misconduct in his opera-
tions in Macau, including links to or-
ganized crime and prostitution. Giv-
en his business, this may not be all
that surprising. What was surprising
was his behavior in court, where he
refused to answer routine questions
and argued with the judge, Elizabeth
Gonzales. That, as she rightly point-
ed out, isn’t something witnesses get
Then Adelson bought Nevada’s
largest newspaper. As the sale was
being ¿nalized, reporters at the pa-
per were told to drop everything and
start monitoring all activity of three
judges, including Gonzales. And
while the paper never published any
results from that investigation, an
attack on Gonzales, with what looks
like a ¿ctitious byline, did appear
in a small Connecticut newspaper
owned by one of Adelson’s associ-
OK, but why do we care? Be-
cause Adelson’s political spending
has made him a huge player in Re-
publican politics — so much so that
reporters routinely talk about the
a nation that
power to the
“Adelson primary,” in which candi-
dates trek to Las Vegas to pay obei-
Are there other cases? Yes in-
deed, even if the egomania doesn’t
rise to Adelson levels. I ¿nd myself
thinking, for example, of hedge-fund
billionaire Paul Singer, another big
power in the GOP, who published
an investor’s letter declaring that
inÀation was running rampant — he
could tell from the prices of Hamp-
tons real estate and high-end art.
Economists got some laughs out of
the incident, but think of the self-ab-
sorption required to write something
like that without realizing how it
would sound to non-billionaires.
Or think of the various billion-
aires who, a few years ago, were
declaring with straight faces, and
no sign of self-awareness, that Pres-
ident Barack Obama was holding
back the economy by suggesting
that some businesspeople had mis-
behaved. You see, he was hurting
Just to be clear, the biggest rea-
son to oppose the power of money in
politics is the way it lets the wealthy
rig the system and distort policy
priorities. And the biggest reason
billionaires hate Obama is what he
did to their taxes, not their feelings.
The fact that some of those buying
inÀuence are also horrible people is
But it’s not trivial. Oligarchy, rule
by the few, also tends to become rule
by the monstrously self-centered.
Narcisstocracy? Jerkigarchy? Any-
way, it’s an ugly spectacle, and it’s
probably going to get even uglier
over the course of the year ahead.