East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, April 04, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Dennis and Catherine Barnett
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
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
John and Janet Spomer
Manhood in the Age of Trump
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
inoculation against, anyone questioning
my maleness. Just before college I
That was the name for a line
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
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.
“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
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.
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
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.