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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 4, 2017)
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2017
Founded in 1873
KARI BORGEN, Publisher
JIM VAN NOSTRAND, Editor
JEREMY FELDMAN, Circulation Manager
DEBRA BLOOM, Business Manager
JOHN D. BRUIJN, Production Manager
CARL EARL, Systems Manager
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Thompson answers criticism
The Federal Communications Commission building in Washing-
By R.J. MARX
The Daily Astorian
he U.S. Senate passed a tax reform bill in the middle of
the night Saturday, President Donald Trump had another
Twitter meltdown, an aggressive North Korea fired
another missile, and a continuous stream of men are losing their
jobs because of their harassment of women.
As important as those issues are, history may show the end of
internet neutrality in the United States outranks them all.
Consider that the internet has been the bastion of much of the
country’s economic growth of the last two decades. Sure, there
were bubbles and dead ends along the road. But the Amazons,
Facebooks and Googles — now some of the most powerful and
richest companies in the world — were little more than gleams
in their founders’ eyes just 20 years ago. Much of what is now
one of the richest and most powerful regions of the country —
Silicon Valley — was little more than a suburban academic set-
ting that few people had ever heard of.
Granted, much of the economic muscle created by the new
online behemoths came at the expense of the brick-and-mortars,
the analogs and the manufacturers.
But there is no doubting the fact that much of this country’s
economic fortunes have been dependent on the enormous growth
of many internet entrepreneurs and startup companies, which
have made our world both better and worse.
So that is what is at stake: The last, great libertarian frontier of
entrepreneurship free from government intervention and the con-
straints of our physical world.
The threat is net neutrality.
Although that term and the issue can seem like a rather com-
plicated concept, it doesn’t have to be.
Picture it this way: Right now, you access the internet to
view websites or stream video at pretty much the same speed as
The companies that built the internet must treat all traf-
fic exactly the same, no matter where it is headed or how it got
From many internet service providers’ perspective, net neu-
trality is an unfair burden that limits their ability to recoup the
cost of development. These ISPs have made significant invest-
ments in the online infrastructure, and they believe they should
be able to monetize their investment into more revenue and
higher returns for their shareholders.
For instance, if the government allowed it, ISPs could soon be
able to sell a faster connection to certain destinations for certain
customers. For Facebook, that could be a good thing. You could
load their site faster and at lower cost than you could the next
social network that comes along, which does not have the finan-
cial wherewithal to pay AT&T or Comcast or anyone else to fast-
track traffic to their site.
It’s the same on the consumer side. If you rely solely on the
big boys — the entrenched interests with the biggest pockets
— perhaps you will be content with a slightly cheaper internet
that restricts and throttles your traffic elsewhere. But if you wish
to go somewhere on the internet where your provider has lit-
tle financial stake in you visiting, prepare for it to be slower and
Ending net neutrality is bad for entrepreneurship. It’s bad for
the next new thing. It’s bad for consumers, too, who want fair
competition for their time and their traffic and their dollars.
Current corporate giants stand to benefit greatly if net neutral-
ity comes to an end. Their power to restrict competition and pro-
mote their own interests is increased considerably.
The internet will become just another shopping mall that shuf-
fles its customers to the sites it approves, and where it stands to
make a bigger buck.
A lifeless mall would be a sad way for the most important and
dynamic economic innovation in the last century to end up.
ver since her election as
District 5 representative for
the Clatsop County Board of
has been a light-
ning rod for critics
and supporters. A
resident of Arch
Cape, her approach
from the commission that she had
overspent and that her trips outside
the region were unproductive and
unrelated to the county’s goals.
She responded by insisting that her
trips to conferences and training are
attempts to build relationships and
bring resources to the county.
In September, an investiga-
tion into an incident alleging that
Thompson “crossed the bound-
ary of decorum” led to further
headlines. At the board’s Novem-
ber meeting, the board agreed to
reimburse her for travel and other
expenses she has incurred so far
this year, though she may have to
pay her own way on some future
trips. What’s coming up as the seat
goes up for re-election next spring?
Q: Tell me about your
A: My dad drove a truck. My
mom was a secretary in Lansing,
Michigan. They were upwardly
mobile. They bought into a whole-
sale beer and wine distributorship.
Q: How did you form your
outlook on life?
A: I received an undergradu-
ate degree from Michigan State and
graduated from the University of
Michigan with a degree in social
work. I started out as a caseworker
at the Ingham County Department
of Social Services in Lansing in
I moved from Lansing to Detroit
when Detroit was “Murder City.”
I worked with kids in the precinct
that had the highest murder rate in
the country. You could really see
what happens when an economy
I’ve never forgotten what it’s
like to be surrounded by peo-
ple with no opportunities. I really
paid attention. I never forgot: I’m
white, I have an education. There
are people that really have prob-
lems. They’re hungry, they are
addicted. People have physically
abusive relationships — real prob-
lems. So those of us that have the
ability — the background, the skills
— we ought to come forward, to
come to the table, so we can all
work together on what there is to
Q: How did you arrive here in
A: I married my second hus-
band and moved up to Anchor-
age, Alaska. I ran a senior center in
Anchorage. Then I started a small
business in Portland. In five years I
sold it for five figures. I was proud.
So I haven’t done just public ser-
vice. And I still have a coaching
I have three grown-up children
and three grandchildren.
Q: Why did you enter the
A: My parents raised us to be
good citizens and that’s what I
strived for. When I was 23 years
old, I handed out campaign litera-
ture for my husband’s boss at the
Ingham County Fair. I worked on a
couple dozen campaigns.
I ran for Multnomah County
auditor in 1988. I talked to some-
one and (during the campaign) they
said, “You’re just too tight. You
should call yourself ‘Tightwad’
Q: Are you still frugal? You
are accused of spending more
than other Clatsop County
A: For over a decade now I
have lived in a house that is 846
square feet. It’s a beautiful house,
It’s small but compact, efficient. I
drive a Prius. I drive like grandma
— 52.8 miles a gallon. That takes
Q: When did you take office in
A: I got on the county Planning
Commission in 2011 and served for
five years until I got onto the Board
I ran and won in May 2014. But
before I won, County Clerk Maeve
Kennedy Grimes told me we would
have to re-run the election because
bad ballots went out. I won the
election by 81 votes but it didn’t
count. The judge said the whole
district had to re-vote because there
were bad ballots in Seaside. We ran
in a September special election. I
won again and took office January
Q: Was there conflict with
other commissioners at the start?
A: Not everybody agrees what
the role of a county commissioner
should be. That is the meat of the
Q: Do you have a particular
A: I do the best job I know how
to do. I try to learn from others and
hope to contribute to the group as
we work together. That’s my hope.
Q: What is the county com-
mission expense issue about from
A: I moderated a panel of
experts at the Earthquake Engineer-
ing Research Institute in Portland
to focus their attention and have
the benefit of their best thinking
to help Seaside. It was way more
than a marketing opportunity. The
room was full of experts, because
Seaside is ground zero. I thought it
was important to attend, not only to
learn and grow, but to network with
people to bring their expertise and
resources to Clatsop County.
I submitted bills that I thought
were simple and as frugal as could
be. They paid part and I paid part.
(Commission Chairman) Scott Lee
thought my hotel bill was extrava-
gant, but I worked hard to get the
best deal I could find. I understand
people have limited time, but don’t
thump on me because I’m work-
ing hard. Don’t complain because I
am using public resources for pub-
lic good. They hired two Portland
lawyers to “investigate” me as an
employee. If I were an employee,
I would’ve gotten stress disability
and sued the socks off them for a
hostile work environment.
Q: What would you like
to see from the Board of
A: We did visioning in 2014.
I went to six sessions all over the
county, from Knappa to Elsie to
Arch Cape. (Former Commis-
sioner) Dirk Rohne came to one. I
didn’t see any other commissioners
at the sessions. We have not trans-
lated vision into mission. At the end
this is a rubber-stamp process.
In June 2015, I put a written
statement on the record that I am
not voting for this budget because
we don’t have a plan, we don’t
Q: So you’ve been looking for-
ward for a change in the budget
A: Oh, yes. Lord, yes. I’d like to
see an open, extended budget pro-
cess. I’d like to see the budget ses-
sions move around.
We have every single meet-
ing at night in Astoria that lim-
its the people who can attend, The
Board of Commissioners used to
meet in Seaside pretty regularly.
That no longer happens. Now they
say that’s because all the TV cam-
eras are at the Boyington Center.
That just started. It’s comfortable
for some people to keep doing the
Q: In September, commission-
ers alleged you placed your hands
on a county employee and spoke
in a loud and frustrated tone
about County Manager Cameron
Moore after a Red Cross meeting
at Fort Clatsop in June.
A: There was no written com-
plaint ever. And my attorney asked.
Q: Do you think this debate is
A: I don’t know. It came out of
Q: Do you regret your actions?
A: I don’t want to offend any-
body. Do I wave my hands around,
do I touch people? If I offend you,
please tell me. I will apologize.
But to make this into something
where I harassed and intimidated
Q: Do you have hopes that you
can work it out with this group?
A: Sure, I always hope. I hope
that the county commission can
come together for a common pur-
pose to serve the people of Clatsop
Q: Is there a way out of this?
It sounds like a deep mire.
A: There’s a phrase in a “dark
room wandering.” I’m a hopeful
person, so I hope so. I don’t know.
R.J. Marx is The Daily Astori-
an’s South County reporter and edi-
tor of the Seaside Signal and Cannon