Page 4A OPINION East Oregonian Tuesday, April 4, 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 Standing up against public records bullies This was supposed to be an age of transparency. The nexus of education, democracy and technology should be creating an environment in which public information is widely available to everyone. But the world seems to be getting more opaque. As conspiracy theory websites grow in popularity and are given increasing credence despite an absence of fact, traditional media is increasingly denied access to the hard data that reliable reports are based on. And sensing the upper- hand, government has become more aggressive about shutting down public record releases and whistle blowers. A perfect example of this obstructionist behavior by a government agency came up in Eastern Oregon last week. The Malheur Enterprise, a weekly newspaper in Vale, published a detailed report about a con man who avoided prison time by feigning insanity. The Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board discharged Anthony Montwheeler last year, and less than a month later he was accused of kidnapping and killing his ex-wife, fleeing police and crashing into a married couple on their way to work, killing the husband. The East Oregonian obtained permission to reprint the story in its entirety this weekend, and it’s the kind of reporting that brings real insight to the way the criminal justice system operates. It’s an incredible tale, but one supported by facts and evidence, research and the reputation of those sourced by journalists. What would have made the report even more complete is documentation detailing Montwheeler’s mental evaluations — documents that were used as evidence at hearings of the Security Review Board. When the board refused to release the records to the Enterprise, the paper appealed the decision to the Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who ruled the documents should be turned over. Instead of complying, the Security Review Board has sued the small paper to keep the records secret. To that end, they are spending taxpayer dollars on a $400-an-hour lawyer to argue the case in court. These records are critical, and they should be made public. They show what state officials knew — and didn’t know — as they ruled that Montwheeler should be released. They will put hard facts in the hands of citizens and hold those in power accountable. But this is about more than Anthony Montwheeler, the Malheur Enterprise and the Security Review Board. This is about beating back the brazen attempts of government agencies to obscure the truth. The balance is tipping in their favor already, and if those officials are allowed to shut out and intimidate by reaching into the deep pockets of taxpayers, we can all expect less access and truth in the future. In our opinion, the Enterprise is exactly the right rural weekly for this fight. Owners Scotta Callister and Les Zaitz have deep backgrounds in rural journalism and aren’t intimidated by bureaucracy or obstinance. Zaitz, a former Oregonian reporter, told us Monday the paper has received an outpouring of support from people “offended by the legal mismatch.” The paper has set up a legal defense fund through the Oregon Newspaper Foundation. Donations are tax deductible and can be sent to the foundation at 4000 Kruse Way Place, Bldg 2-160, Lake Oswego, OR, 97305. Checks should be made out to the Oregon Newspaper Foundation/EDF. The Enterprise has been told of donations from $10 to $1,000 and hopes to receive $20,000 by the end of the month to enter the fight on more even ground. Any excess funds will be donated to nonprofit journalism organizations. Zaitz said this case is a chance to underscore the importance of public access into what the government is doing. And he is hopeful it will cultivate an environment in which real reform is possible. 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 Pendleton fire bond will benefit city’s elderly I write in support ot the Pendleton fire bond, which will be voted on in May. I work with frail and isolated elderly persons who need the services proved by the EMTs that are part of the fire department. It is essential that these trained professionals are positioned in a site which will allow the best access to the most citizens of Pendleton. I believe the St. Anthony site is the best available. I know the response time is crucial to lives and seconds count. We must have this service and it must be as up-to-date and professional as possible. John Brenne Pendleton Potential projects reduce tax bite of bond measure We have a choice in a little over a month to support a bond measure that will give our community one of the most up-to-date school facilities in Oregon, while eliminating most of the overcrowding in our schools. One of the items that has not been discussed is the increased tax base that is coming to our property tax district. Currently, there is over $1 billion of new projects slated for West Umatilla County. This potential increased assessed value will actually lower our taxes when it comes on line within the next ten years. This growth in assessed valuation, with the current low interest rates, makes this the perfect time to increase our schools’ capacity. The cost of the improvements will never be lower than now. The community is growing and we need to be prepared to educate the children of our area. So please understand that we may have a short-term tax increase, but the future continues to look bright for our community and its property tax situation because of these projects. We urge you to support the bond measure. Dennis and Catherine Barnett Hermiston School bond will keep Hermiston growing I urge the voters in the Hermiston School District to join us in voting for the upcoming school bond election. We live in a vibrant, dynamic, growing community that brings significant population growth, including many youngsters of school age. This alone necessitates the need for more classroom space. In addition, schools built in the 20th century are not equipped for the needs of the 21st century. Briefly let me enumerate a few items to consider: 1. Schools for today need to be energy efficient. Our old buildings that have classrooms with exterior doors do not meet today’s standards. 2. In the same manner, schools must be more enclosed to allow for the security needed in these times. 3. The schools being replaced were built before anyone knew of a thing called the internet and few of us understood what the computer age was all about. Students of the 21st century are required to be very technologically savvy and our schools need to be equipped to provide this knowledge. The jobs will be for those who design, control, and use technology. Automation and robotics will do much of the work that was previously done manually. Vote for 21st century schools for students who will live and work in this century. John and Janet Spomer Hermiston OTHER VIEWS Manhood in the Age of Trump O teen years were in the late 1970s and ne of the dippiest, catchiest early 1980s, when homosexuality alone commercials of my youth was was considered antithetical to true for Campbell’s soup. I remember manhood and someone like me was left it precisely; I can still sing the snippet of in a limbo, wondering what claims on song at its center. masculinity he really had. “How do you handle a hungry I was a competitive swimmer, man?” crooned an offscreen voice. and while I hated it, I didn’t dare A very deep voice, I should add. It quit, as it felt like a retort to, and then answered, thunderously, “The Frank inoculation against, anyone questioning Manhandlers!” Bruni my maleness. Just before college I That was the name for a line Comment completed an Outward Bound course of especially hearty Campbell’s in the Oregon mountains, and my concoctions, and the images that outsize pride was about how classically manly accompanied the lyrics, depending on which the adventure had been: no showers, no toilets, iteration of the commercial you saw, might be harsh weather, bland food. hockey players slamming into one another or That was decades ago, but just last week, basketball players jockeying for position under the net. The message was that a man worked up when I emailed one straight male friend and one a sweat and then ate up a storm — in this case, a gay male friend with a succinct, unexplained beef-and-noodle hurricane, or at least a split-pea question — “When do you feel the most squall. He was a force of nature with untamable manly?” — their answers reflected a similar appetites. perspective. That was the 1970s, and what strikes me The straight friend flashed on his experience isn’t how much has changed but how little. playing football in high school and college and Oh, sure, we’re having a soulful discussion, wrote that he had felt the most manly when at least in the media, about the elasticity of leaving the locker room with his “hands and gender. Just over two wrists taped up, win or weeks ago, the cover of lose, smelling and aching.” Time magazine read, The gay friend “Beyond He or She,” and mentioned that he’d been in smaller type: “How hiking a lot recently, in an a new generation is area where strong winds redefining the meaning of were tearing at trees. gender.” “Limbs keep coming But the following down,” he wrote. “I feel week, Time’s cover teased manly when I have to an interview with our move them off the trail, president, Donald Trump, knowing some are too big whose take on gender is for other hikers to budge.” decidedly old-fashioned When does Trump feel and fixed. He casts the most manly? That’s himself — surprise! — as a force of nature with pretty obvious: when he’s salivating over untamable appetites. And that persona won women and styling himself some conquistador him tens of millions of votes, lofting him to of the flesh, as he did repeatedly with Howard the White House, so it can’t have contradicted Stern and on one infamous occasion with Billy Americans’ notions of manhood all that much. Bush. When he’s belittling and emasculating A real man lusts. A real man rages. A real rivals (“Liddle Marco,” “low-energy Jeb”), as man doesn’t chip in with domestic duties. he did throughout his campaign. When he’s That’s not just Trump’s view — he once vowing vengeance against the House Freedom boasted that he’d never change a diaper — but Caucus, as he did last week. When he’s also, apparently, the message that many young surrounding himself with generals. When he’s men in America today still get, according to an pledging huge increases in military spending intriguing study released a few days ago. while moving to starve wonky research and the Promundo, a nonprofit organization that arts. promotes gender equity, surveyed roughly 1,300 There are ways in which his life, and his American men between 18 and 30. Seventy-five political career in particular, are a burlesque of percent said that they’re supposed to act strong manhood, “so craven and desperately needy that even when scared or nervous; 63 percent said it has an air of danger and pathos,” said Michael that they’re exhorted to seize sex whenever Kimmel, a Stony Brook University sociologist available; 46 percent said that they’re waved and the author of “Angry White Men,” a 2013 away from household chores. book that will soon be reissued with a new Promundo also surveyed British and preface that takes Trump into account. Mexican men, and neither group described I think Trump protests too much, distracting a gender construct as musky, musty and us from other traits. He abhors handshakes: all unyielding as the one that Americans detailed. those icky germs! He gilds and swirls his hair. The research suggested that plenty of American Those white crescent moons under his eyes men live in what some sociologists call the Man suggest time spent wearing goggles during Box, constricted by a concept of manhood that artificial tanning sessions. The Marlboro Man includes aggression, hypersexuality, supreme got his sun on the range, not in the salon. authority and utter self-sufficiency. But Kimmel said that such signals have I can’t say that I’m surprised, not when I begun to diversify somewhat. He noted that look at the biggest male movie stars and see Axe, which makes men’s grooming products, such an emphasis on brawn over brain. Dwayne used to be famous for ads that equated using Johnson — aka the Rock — can open a movie; Axe with getting laid, but it unveiled a new one Daniel Day-Lewis cannot. Tom Cruise’s last year that showed one man in a wheelchair, box-office status owes more to physical another with cats, another at a chalkboard, pyrotechnics in the “Mission Impossible” another in drag. “Find your magic” was the franchise than to courtroom fireworks in “A tagline, and that magic didn’t boil down to Few Good Men,” just as Hugh Jackman’s sweat, swagger or a sheaf of condoms. currency comes from his bladed fingers in “The Axe, as it happens, sponsored the Promundo Wolverine” and now “Logan,” not from his study, which concluded that men who registered dulcet voice in “Les Miserables.” Will Smith’s narrow, clichéd instructions about manhood verbal dexterity in “Six Degrees of Separation” were more likely to act out in self-destructive may have won him critical regard, but his ways, such as substance abuse, and in coolness in “Bad Boys” and “Men in Black” outwardly destructive ones, such as online made him box-office gold. bullying. We’re seeing some young female stars Online bullying? That brings to mind expand into action roles — in the “Hunger a certain tweeter in chief, and so does the Games” series, in the last two “Star Wars” argument that when you feel compelled to offshoots — but I don’t detect a commensurate project an unforgiving kind of masculine trend of young male stars seeking, and strength, you end up in a twisted, tortured place. benefiting from, softer parts. True, Ryan You can call it the Man Box. Or, these days, the Gosling danced (awkwardly) in “La La Land” Oval Office. and Bradley Cooper embodied vulnerability in ■ “Silver Linings Playbook.” But Cooper soon Frank Bruni, an Op-Ed columnist for pivoted into “American Sniper,” for which he The New York Times since 2011, joined the thickened his body and slowed his speech. newspaper in 1995. Over his years, he has worn Maybe I read the tea leaves too closely and a wide variety of hats, including chief restaurant pessimistically, but then I’m a gay man whose critic and Rome bureau chief. Trump feels most manly when he is salivating over women ... belittling and emasculating rivals. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.