The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, August 03, 2019, WEEKEND EDITION, Page A4, Image 4

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THE ASTORIAN • SATuRdAy, AuguST 3, 2019
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Would ousting governor improve Oregon?
s Oregonians decide
whether to sign petitions
to recall Gov. Kate Brown
from office, it is worth thinking
back to whom she displaced in the
governor’s mansion.
That would be Gov. John
Kitzhaber and first lady Cylvia
Kitzhaber was hounded from
office in 2015 after both were
accused of conflicts of inter-
est, particularly by blurring the
lines between Hayes’ public role
and her private business endeav-
ors. Subsequent investigations
uncovered more smoke than fire.
Kitzhaber agreed last year to pay
a $20,000 fine to the state ethics
commission, and this spring Hayes
settled for a $50,000 fine.
It is difficult to argue that the
state was well-served by the pub-
lic rush to judgment against
His resignation catapulted
then-Secretary of State Brown
into the governorship. A continu-
ing irony is that it was Republi-
cans who stood up for Democrat
Kitzhaber and helped finance his
legal defense. Republicans rec-
ognized he was being railroaded
from office. They also preferred
his collaborative approach and
moderately progressive views to
Brown’s all-out liberalism.
Brown served the rest of
Kitzhaber’s term and was elected
last fall to what would be a final
four-year term for her. Now, sep-
arate recall efforts have been
launched by the Oregon Repub-
lican Party and by Michael Cross
of Flush Down Kate Brown and
the Oregon First! PAC. To force a
recall election that could remove
her from office, either group has
AP Photo/Don Ryan
Gov. John Kitzhaber, left, is joined by his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, as he is sworn in for an
unprecedented fourth term in 2015. He resigned amid suspicion that Hayes used her
relationship to earn lucrative consulting contracts.
until mid-October to collect just
over 280,000 valid signatures
from voters.
The first lesson from the
Kitzhaber fiasco is whether Ore-
gonians would be better off with
a known quantity as governor or
someone new.
A successful recall would ele-
vate State Treasurer Tobias Read
to the governorship. The current
secretary of state, Republican Bev
Clarno from Central Oregon, was
appointed to the position after
Dennis Richardson’s death and, as
an appointee, is barred by the state
constitution from filling a guber-
natorial vacancy.
Read, a Beaverton Democrat, is
bright, politically ambitious and
well-regarded nationally for Ore-
gon’s programs to promote retire-
ment savings. To much of Oregon,
however, he remains relatively
Voters should be paying close
attention and evaluating his lead-
ership because there’s a good
chance he will run for governor —
whether it’s to succeed Brown in
2022 or, if she is recalled this year,
as the short-term incumbent in a
special election next year to finish
her term.
In contrast, a related question
is whether Brown, like Kitzhaber,
eventually will mellow and mod-
erate while in office. Of course,
that took Kitzhaber until his
unprecedented third term as gov-
ernor. Unfortunately for Ore-
gonians, Brown has shown no
such inclination. Asked recently
whether she planned to veto
Republicans’ legislation in retribu-
tion for their state Senate walkout
in June, Brown told Politico, “I
will just say … revenge is a dish
best served cold and slowly.”
Brown was the Democrats’ key
negotiator in the deal with Senate
Republicans that ended their first
walkout. She takes things person-
ally, instead of recognizing that
her and others’ lack of clarity and
specificity in that deal led to the
second walkout.
Still, Brown is not the dominant
cause of our state government’s
overreach and undisciplined
spending. She is the enabler. She
possesses the bully pulpit, she can
institute her will through agency
appointments and directives, but
the greater fault lies with the Leg-
islature that makes the laws —
and ultimately with voters who
have allowed one political party to
Instead of making gains in
2018, Republicans went the other
way, allowing Democrats to
achieve supermajorities in both
chambers of the Legislature. One-
party rule is not good for the state,
regardless of which party it is.
Next year, three statewide
offices are up for election — sec-
retary of state, treasurer and attor-
ney general — along with a
majority of legislative seats. With
the exception of certain urban leg-
islative districts that are inexo-
rably Democratic, each of those
races provides an opportunity
for Republicans to bring balance
to our state government. A case
can be made that the GOP should
focus on those efforts — recruit-
ing and financing excellent, inde-
pendent-minded candidates who
can appeal to voters in swing
The recall campaigns against
Brown may be great for venting
political frustration, but the ques-
tion for voters is: Would ousting a
governor improve Oregon?
e older folks remember the early
1950s when U.S. Sen. Joe McCa-
rthy vociferously investigated commu-
nists in the country. History remembers his
effort as “McCarthyism,” a word describ-
ing unfair charges against somebody.
The “ism” of modern-day America is
“Racism” was once defined as a belief
by one race that another race is inferior.
But today the word’s used differently.
“Racism” is now used to describe a white
person who criticizes a nonwhite person.
The most recent example is Presi-
dent Donald Trump’s tweets about U.S.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, an African Amer-
ican congressman who represents inner-
city Baltimore. After Cummings’ dra-
matic criticism of Trump’s immigration
policies, Trump responded like he usually
does when attacked. He pointed out how
Cummings’ district of Baltimore is still rat
infested and has the worst crime and mur-
der rate in the country after 25 years of
Cummings’ leadership that pumped bil-
lions of federal dollars into the city.
Democrat presidential wannabes and
the media immediately called President
Trump a racist. Criticizing an African
American isn’t politically correct, as we all
came to realize when Barack Obama was
president. But Trump isn’t a politically
correct president. He speaks his mind. He
says out loud what at least half the coun-
try’s thinking.
Thankfully, some media folks criti-
cized the misuse of the word “racism”
against Trump in the Baltimore exchange.
The word “racism” risks becoming, like
the word “McCarthyism” has become —
synonymous with unfair charges against
somebody. And it’ll be a sad day for
American race relations if the word “rac-
ism” is ever diminished in that way.
Poor judgment
ell it hasn’t even been a year yet,
and Ruben Vera Perez did exactly
what I predicted. He drove drunk (“Astoria
man detained by ICE a second time,” The
Astorian, July 30).
Despite all the support his well-wish-
ers could muster, he decided to break the
law again. As Winston Churchill once
exclaimed, “When will the lesson be
learned?” I hope this event will change the
minds of those who still think our justice
system is somehow victimizing innocent
People who come into contact with law
enforcement usually do so as a result of
behavior fueled by poor judgment. Poor
judgment can be the result of a number of
things, and needs to be carefully evaluated,
rather than dismissed by well-intended, but
misguided, Samaritans.
Those in our community who attempted
to portray Mr. Perez as victim of U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
did a disservice to our law enforcement
community, and all law-abiding citizens.
Perhaps this will help people see that the
old adage “where there’s smoke, there’s
fire” can be of some value. Only those
who truly seek justice, rather than subvert
it, will understand its message.
No matter how you slice it, ignoring
wrongful behavior encourages wrongdo-
ing. Luckily, this time, we didn’t need a
teddy bear vigil for someone due to his
drunk driving.
Housing data sought
was interested to see the housing infor-
mation on the opinion page (“And now
the good news on affordable housing,”
The Astorian, July 30). There is one major
piece of information I have never seen pre-
sented in The Astorian concerning this
subject, about which I have questions.
A data search using the criteria: Clat-
sop County zip codes; select individual tax
forms for families of three or more; and
select families with gross income of less
than $30,000 for the tax forms that qualify.
I am trying to determine how many
people in Clatsop County may be strug-
gling to pay for housing based on their
income, 30 percent of which enables a
$750 a month rent for a two-bedroom unit.
I am seeking the same information for
tax forms filed by single/married citizens
62 and older with a gross income of less
than $20,000, 30 percent of which enables
a $500 a month rent for a one-bedroom
I would like to know how much the
monthly rent would be on the examples
shown in the article for the units identi-
fied as affordable — rents above $500 for
a one-bedroom, or $750 for a two-bed-
room, are below market price, but still
Better leaders
he LNG case study article (“Case
study looks at lessons from LNG
fight,” The Astorian, July 27) cites that “it
was a victory for local grassroots groups
over wealthy corporate interests,” but the
real victory here was the elimination of a
role for fossil fuel.
Substitution of natural gas for oil and
coal was a rational measured attack on cli-
mate change that could minimize eco-
nomic disruption. Yes, these LNG plants
were terrible. Today’s technology provides
us with natural gas fired electric plants
that have zero emissions. It is interesting
that the tables have recently turned with
the recent opposition to “cap and trade”
in Oregon by different grassroots organi-
zations. These grassy groups favor a more
measured approach to the elimination of
fossil fuels and still the CO2 flows into our
These case studies of energy illus-
trate that these battles feature combat-
ants who are simply mentally unequipped
to work together to develop a plan which
will allow our civilization to have a future.
Name-calling has replaced the abil-
ity to reason. There is no ability for citi-
zens to sit together and become informed
and make rational plans. This used to be
the role of government. Our present lead-
ers talk about citizen involvement, but the
involvement of informed citizens is really
just a joke to them.
Until we get better leaders in our cit-
ies, county and states, we are doomed to
fail. And the election of better leaders is
the citizen’s job. You can see this fail-
ure every day, even without a meaningless
case study.
just wanted to write a brief letter
expressing my admiration of Katie Fran-
kowicz’s reporting for The Astorian.
I enjoy reading her reporting for its
up-to-date information and the clear, unbi-
ased way she presents the issues. She is a
real true reporter in the best sense.