The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, December 22, 2017, WEEKEND EDITION, Page 4A, Image 20

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We are not filled with hope about session
f the Oregon Legislature intends to
served as vice chairs.
pass tax and spending reforms in
Their collaborative success might
2019, the work should have begun
provide a guide for handling reve-
months ago.
nue and budget reform, which is why
That was the message from vet-
the summit’s organizers asked them to
eran legislators at the recent Oregon
speak. Yet the lawmakers warned that
Leadership Summit. It echoed what
financial reform would be far more com-
Gov. Kate Brown and legislative leaders
plicated, difficult and potentially divi-
said in June — in the 2019 Legislature,
sive than the state’s transportation pack-
focus on structural budget and tax
age, far-reaching as it was.
Three approaches were key to the
Yet Brown told the Leadership
transportation plan:
Summit this month that she wanted to
First, the four legislators operated as
achieve such reforms
a bipartisan leadership
a year earlier — in the
team, instead of the
2018 Legislature. She
Democrats controlling
know little about
said her staff was work-
the outcome. The four
ing on “options to solve
trusted and respected
the governor’s
the structural deficit
each other, even when
issues Oregon faces, not
they disagreed, some-
just for the short term
times vehemently.
leaders’ plans for
but for the long term.”
That team approach
Still, we wait. With
recognized politi-
that 35-day legisla-
spending reforms. cal practicality — the
majority Democrats
tive session starting in
would need minority
February, Brown has yet
with hope.
Republican votes for
to show her hand.
passage. Widespread
Which reinforces
bipartisan support also
why four veteran legis-
would deter critics from trying to over-
lators — Democrats and Republicans —
were skeptical about the state soon being turn the transportation plan through a
voter referendum.
able to make progress on tax and spend-
That approach also reflected the lead-
ing reforms.
ership quartet’s commitment to a trans-
The four lawmakers steered the mas-
portation plan that would overcome
sive transportation-finance plan through
ideological and geographical differences.
this year’s Legislature. The Democrats
Maybe it’s noteworthy that three of the
— Springfield Sen. Lee Beyer and Coos
four came from rural regions — none
Bay Rep. Caddy McKeown — chaired
represented the Portland metro area, and
the special transportation committee.
none was considered an ideologue.
The Republicans — Dallas Sen. Brian
Second, the negotiations involved
Boquist and Ontario Rep. Cliff Bentz —
AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus
Gov. Kate Brown has yet to show her land on tax and spending reforms for the upcom-
ing legislative session.
months of work — or years, if you count
past iterations of transportation plans.
Third, everyone had a say. Scores
of individuals and interest groups from
throughout Oregon participated in work
groups. They could not reasonably claim
they had not been heard.
In contrast, the 2018 Legislature is
only weeks away and Oregonians know
little about the governor’s and legislative
leaders’ plans for genuine tax and spend-
ing reforms. We are not filled with hope.
Real heroes
As we end this roller coaster year, I’m
looking for heroes to emulate. But I’m trou-
bled by our careless, often-irresponsible use
of that word, “hero.” I believe we’ve trivi-
alized, cheapened, and overused the word
“hero,” and stretched the meaning to include
anyone caught in harm’s way.
Truth is — victims find themselves in
harm’s way; heroes put themselves in harm’s
way. Think about genuine heroes, like World
War I Sgt. Alvin York, wand World War II 1st
Lt. Audie Murphy, and unlikely hero Oskar
Schindler, a German businessman who at
great risk helped save the lives of 1,100
Jews. Those heroes articulated our aspira-
tions, exemplifying courage, selflessness, and
True heroes are role models for others,
committing brave deeds and selfless acts,
choosing to sacrifice to benefit or save oth-
ers. The small-town doctor who charges $5 a
visit may be beloved, but he’s not necessar-
ily a hero.
Of course I admire and respect people
who commit courageous acts. They deserve
to be called gallant, intrepid, noble and valor-
ous. But the real heroes of 9/11 weren’t those
ordinary citizens who displayed two flags on
their vehicles or wore New York Fire Depart-
ment hats. Patriotic, perhaps. Heroic, no. The
real 9/11 heroes were those courageous first
responders who knew full well the likelihood
of perishing in the inferno.
I don’t know about you, but that’s what
“hero” means to me.
Ocean Park, Washington
Failing the people
o institution is failing the people more
than the House of Representatives; rep-
resentatives in name only. The House has
become a second Senate, beholding to the
powerful and elite.
The House was meant to amplify the
voices of ordinary voters; make them dan-
gerous to ignore. Do our endless wars, and a
vastly unpopular tax reform, give evidence of
a government afraid to ignore its people?
Initially, two means were used to ensure
representatives were agents of their voters:
small districts and short terms of office. We
still have two-year terms, but the vast increase
in district sizes, from 10,000 to 710,000, has
diluted representation to nothing.
Americans know of first 10 amendments,
the Bill of Rights, but few know they were
actually the latter of 12 proposed amend-
ments, approved and sent out for ratification,
by the first U.S. Congress, Sept. 25, 1789.
The second proposed amendment of the 12
didn’t complete its ratification until 1992 (the
27th Amendment); an over 200-year journey.
This leaves only the first of the 12, waiting to,
again, be propelled into the light of the peo-
ple’s minds for debate and consideration.
Article the First, known now as the Con-
gressional Apportionment Amendment,
describes the methodology for increasing the
number of representatives as the population
grows. The First Congress expected both the
population and the number of representatives
to grow, and defined an equitable way for that
to occur. Without this amendment, population
growth undermines the people in their own
institutions. They grow weaker as their num-
bers increase. One person cannot represent
710,000 people.
At 48, I’ve never had a meaningful
exchange with my representatives; to do so
would be to rob someone else of theirs.
“Thank you for calling, the message box
is now full.”
Theft forgiven
o the person or persons who felt it neces-
sary to steal two star showers off the lawn
of a retired couple in Hammond on Friday,
Dec. 15: We thank you for leaving the third
one. We hope that you enjoy them, unless
someone decides to steal them out of your
front yard.
If you needed one or two of these so much
that you had to steal them, we would have
gladly given one to you.
God loves you, and we forgive you. Merry
Adopt a pet
hile volunteering at the Clatsop County
Animal Shelter, I met a dog named,
Bodie. He is a hound, and runs as fast as any
greyhound I’ve seen.
When I first took him out for a walk, we
stopped in the pvlay area, where we take the
leashes off the dogs, and let them chase tennis
balls and run free. There is a nearly 6-foot tall
fence around it to keep the dogs from getting
out. I took Bodie’s leash off, and went to grab
a blue tennis ball chucker.
I turned around and saw Bodie sitting
at the foot of the fence facing up at the top
corner. Before I could take another step, he
jumped to the top of that fence with his front
feet hooking over it, kicked and pulled his
hind legs over it, landed on the ground and
started sprinting towards the street. He ran
to the first car he could find, and stopped to
get attention from the people inside while we
came to round him up. That dog wanted to
be free.
There are a lot of great dogs at the Clat-
sop County Animal Shelter who would love a
good home, attention, kids to play with, and
a yard or sidewalk to become their new exer-
cise location.
What a good Christmas it would be for one
of these dogs to have a family. Come to the
Clatsop County Animal Shelter and adopt a
pet today.
Robin Hood?
have one sentence in regard to the Robin
Hood story in “We are heading in the right
direction as a nation” (The Daily Astorian,
Dec. 13): Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly — the
“No Spin Zone” — get it?