East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, February 24, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Friday, February 24, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
Tip of the hat;
kick in the pants
A kick in the pants to the plan to sell the Elliott State Forest.
This is a bad idea — an idea that even Governor Kate Brown, who
first came up with it — now opposes. Brown this month voted against
that plan to sell the forest to a logging company and Indian tribe, but was
outnumbered by Secretary of State Dennis
Richardson, Republican and Treasurer
Tobias Read, Democrat. Those three make
up the State Land Board.
Though the sale would come with
contingencies that ensure environmental
protections and public access, it’s still the
sale of public lands to private hands. And
that is not OK in Oregon, nor anywhere in
the American West.
Could you imagine the backlash if it was
a Republican administration that pushed
this effort? Environmentalists would be suing right and left, Patagonia would
be pulling out of Oregon and there would be thousands of protesters in front
of the capitol.
And there has been some pushback. Read has received a steady stream of
calls asking him to change his vote and keep the land in public hands. As he
Yes, the Elliott is not your average piece of public property. It has an
unusual, probably outdated mission. It must be tweaked and reconsidered.
But it is Oregon property — our property — and it should remain that way.
And politicians, no matter their political party, who try to sell our property
for a quick buck should feel the heat for doing so.
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board of publisher
Kathryn Brown, managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, and opinion page editor Tim Trainor.
Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not
necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
Citizens question Adams
city council vote
From a concerned citizens’ group
in Adams: It is our belief that in June
2016, some of the city council of Adams
at that time acted with impropriety and
possible illegality (the matter is still
under investigation) in the manner in
which they voted on June 22, 2016
(ORS 192.670(1)). At this time they
voted to adopt an ordinance given them
by Umatilla County and to enter into
an intergovernmental agreement with
Umatilla County.
It is also our belief that the city
council members acted without due
diligence to understand the ordinance
or its implications to the citizens. We
do not believe that Umatilla County
was in collusion with the 2016
Adams City Council, and at this time
respectfully request that the Umatilla
County commissioners cease and desist
all activity on the part of Umatilla
County against the citizens of Adams
and to end their association with the
intergovernmental agreement, the
legality of which is now in question.
James Pace, Patrick F. Christy, Jeana Drew,
Kyle D. Beers. Annette L. Easley, Traci
Powers, Travis Powers, Dan Pipkin, Jim
Morris, Mary M. Patterson, Jacqueline
Thompson, Samuel Spino, Iva Hasenbank,
Connie Hasenbank, Mike Christy, Chris
Hasenbank, Wendy Chase, James M.
Rohde, Mark S. Easley, Joseph Powers,
Kalyn Sloan, Christine P. Bauknecht and
Mary Brown
No easy solution for
troubled trailer park
It is with gratitude that I write to
thank you for shining a light on the
situation at Locust Mobile Village. (Page
A4, Feb. 17.) It was good to have an
EO reporter at the recent meeting of the
Milton-Freewater City Council.
Unfortunately, the reporter missed
one of two major concerns of the
council. So let’s review the two topics
While the owner of Locust Mobile
Village has steadfastly refused to make
the necessary investment to solve her
water quality problems for at least
three decades, some of the neighboring
property owners have solved the
problem — and other neighbors are
planning do so. Why should steadfast
refusal to meet health and safety
regulations lead to someone else
(federal government) paying to solve
the problem? Shouldn’t neighbors be
reimbursed for the investment they’ve
already made? How many additional
property owners will be incentivized
to not take care of their own private
property issues because the state and
the feds will fix it? Ultimately, the
council might conclude that the benefits
to the community outweighs the issue
of federal dollars flowing to a private
business simply because the owner
steadfastly refuses to meet regulations.
But the more important issue, which
was not reported, is that solving the
water quality problem is only a partial
solution to the problems which exist
at Locust Mobile Village. It would
be a Band-Aid on a broken leg. Any
“solution” to the problems at Locust
Mobile Village which does not address
the issue of sewage is not really a
solution. And addressing that problem
will be the expensive part of the
“solution.” If only safe water is provided
but sewage has not been addressed,
Milton-Freewater will be left holding the
bag. And sooner or later the council will
be taking heat to fix that problem for the
property owner.
Scott Fairley of the governor’s
office asked the council for two things
to describe why we objected to the
“solution” offered by the state and to
commit to reconsider if our objections
could be addressed. We forthrightly
provided the information requested and
we committed to reconsider if a better
solution is formulated.
Please continue to shine light on
deliberations involving the proper use
of public funds and the development of
holistic solutions to problems, OK?
Ed Chesnut
Milton-Freewater city councilor
Take time to select new
Pendleton superintendent
Dave Krumbein’s advice on
searching for a new Pendleton school
superintendent makes a lot of sense to
me — hire an interim superintendent to
give school board members time to do a
thorough search instead of following an
arbitrary schedule.
Now that Andy Kovach is on the way
out of the superintendent job after seven
months, the school board has adopted
a schedule that calls for closing the
application period March 24, a deadline
of April 24 for initial interviews and
selection of finalists and deadline of May
2-4 for second round of interviews and
selection of the new superintendent. The
problem is that finding the right match
for this district and its quality-conscious
patrons is hard enough without imposing
Krumbein, a veteran member of the
Pendleton School Board, said he worries
about the possibility that hiring by a set
of dates could force board members to
settle on an inadequate applicant. To
me, a sad refrain in the field is to see
a new hire fail in the job and hear the
selection committee say, “Well, his or
her application was the strongest in our
stack on hiring day.”
School board members have a big job
in scouring the schools for the qualities
that have been important to people of
this district. They need time to do that
thorough job with the help of an interim
This century is broken
ost of us came of age in the
This is no way for our fellow
last half of the 20th century
citizens to live. The Eberstadt piece
and had our perceptions of
confirms one thought: The central task
“normal” formed in that era. It was,
for many of us now is not to resist
all things considered, an unusually
Trump. He’ll seal his own fate. It’s to
happy period. No world wars, no Great
figure out how to replace him — how
Depressions, fewer civil wars, fewer
to respond to the slow growth and
social disaffection that gave rise to him
It’s looking like we’re not going to
with some radically different policy
get to enjoy one of those times again.
Brooks mix.
The 21st century is looking much
The hard part is that America has
nastier and bumpier: rising ethnic
to become more dynamic and more
nationalism, falling faith in democracy,
protective — both at the same time.
In the past, American reformers could at least
a dissolving world order.
count on the fact that they were working with
At the bottom of all this, perhaps, is
a dynamic society that
declining economic
was always generating the
growth. As Nicholas
energy required to solve
Eberstadt points out in
the nation’s woes. But as
his powerful essay “Our
Miserable 21st Century,”
Tyler Cowen demonstrates
in the current issue of
in his compelling new
Commentary, between
book, “The Complacent
1948 and 2000 the U.S.
Class,” contemporary
economy grew at a
Americans have lost their
per-capita rate of about 2.3
percent a year.
Cowen shows that
But then around 2000,
in sphere after sphere,
something shifted. In this
Americans have become
century, per-capita growth
less adventurous and
has been less than 1
more static. For example,
percent a year on average,
Americans used to move
and even since 2009 it’s been only 1.1 percent a lot to seize opportunities and transform
a year. If the U.S. had been able to maintain
their lives. But the rate of Americans who are
postwar 20th-century growth rates into this
migrating across state lines has plummeted by
century, U.S. per-capita GDP would be more
51 percent from the levels of the 1950s and
than 20 percent higher than it is today.
Slow growth strains everything else —
Americans used to be entrepreneurial, but
meaning less opportunity, less optimism
there has been a decline in startups as a share
and more of the sort of zero-sum, grab-
of all business activity over the last generation.
what-you-can thinking that Donald Trump
Millennials may be the least entrepreneurial
specializes in. The slowdown has devastated
generation in U.S. history. The share of
U.S. workers. Between 1985 and 2000, the
Americans under 30 who own a business has
total hours of paid work in America increased
fallen 65 percent since the 1980s.
by 35 percent. Over the next 15 years, they
Americans tell themselves the old job-for-
increased by only 4 percent.
life model is over. But in fact Americans are
For every one American man ages 25 to
switching jobs less than a generation ago,
55 looking for work, there are three who
not more. The job reallocation rate — which
have dropped out of the labor force. If
measures employment turnover — is down by
Americans were working at the same rates
more than a quarter since 1990.
they were when this century started, more
There are signs that America is less
than 10 million more people would have jobs. innovative. Accounting for population growth,
As Eberstadt puts it, “The plain fact is that
Americans create 25 percent fewer major
21st-century America has witnessed a dreadful international patents than in 1999. There’s
collapse of work.”
even less hunger to hit the open road. In
That means there’s an army of Americans
1983, 69 percent of 17-year-olds had driver’s
semi-attached to their communities, who
licenses. Now only half of Americans get a
struggle to contribute, to realize their
license by age 18.
capacities and find their dignity. According to
In different ways Eberstadt and Cowen
Bureau of Labor Statistics time-use studies,
are describing a country that is decelerating,
these labor force dropouts spend on average
detaching, losing hope, getting sadder.
2,000 hours a year watching some screen.
Economic slowdown, social disaffection and
That’s about the number of hours that usually
risk aversion reinforce one another.
go to a full-time job.
Of course nothing is foreordained. But
Fifty-seven percent of white males who
where is the social movement that is thinking
have dropped out get by on some form of
about the fundamentals of this century’s bad
government disability check. About half of
start and envisions an alternate path? Who has
the men who have dropped out take pain
a compelling plan to boost economic growth?
medication on a daily basis. A survey in Ohio
If Trump is not the answer, what is?
found that over one three-month period, 11
percent of Ohioans were prescribed opiates.
David Brooks became a New York Times
One in eight American men now has a felony
Op-Ed columnist in 2003. He is currently a
conviction on his record.
commentator on PBS.
Slow growth
strains everything
else — less
opportunity, less
optimism and
more grab-what
you-can thinking.
Mike Forrester
The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public issues and public policies for publication in the newspaper and on our website. The newspaper
reserves the right to withhold letters that address concerns about individual services and products or letters that infringe on the rights of private citizens. Submitted letters must
be signed by the author and include the city of residence and a daytime phone number. The phone number will not be published. Unsigned letters will not be published. Send
letters to managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, 211 S.E. Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801 or email editor@eastoregonian.com.