Page 4A OPINION East Oregonian Friday, February 24, 2017 Founded October 16, 1875 KATHRYN B. BROWN Publisher DANIEL WATTENBURGER Managing Editor TIM TRAINOR Opinion Page Editor MARISSA WILLIAMS Regional Advertising Director MARCY ROSENBERG Circulation Manager JANNA HEIMGARTNER Business Office Manager MIKE JENSEN Production Manager OUR VIEW 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 should. 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 It has an unusual, probably outdated mission.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. YOUR VIEWS 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 Adams 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 briefly. 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 deadlines. 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 superintendent. OTHER VIEWS This century is broken M 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 plagues. social disaffection that gave rise to him It’s looking like we’re not going to with some radically different policy David get to enjoy one of those times again. Brooks mix. The 21st century is looking much The hard part is that America has Comment 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 mojo. 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. 1960s. 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 Pendleton LETTERS POLICY 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 email@example.com.