East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, April 07, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Friday, April 7, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
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Tip of the hat;
kick in the pants
A tip of the hat to the clever solution proposed to keep open the Oregon
State Police crime lab in Pendleton.
The lab — the only of its kind in Eastern Oregon — has found itself on the
chopping block before. With state resources as tight as they are, it’s no wonder
the ax is being wielded again.
But, as we’ve written before, having a resource like the lab in Umatilla
County is a worthwhile investment. One central
lab somewhere in the state may be able to process
evidence more efficiently, but getting forensics
teams to crime scenes in a timely manner and
getting that evidence back to the lab just as
quickly is critical.
The solution, which Sen. Bill Hansell and
Rep. Greg Barreto both found favorable in
their visit last week, is to partner with Blue
Mountain Community College to put the lab on
the Pendleton campus. It would add educational
opportunities for criminal science students at the college and provide a place for
the lab to operate. The lab was housed at the college from 1970 to 1986.
There is still much to be worked out, but we think OSP and BMCC would
make great lab partners and provide a long-term solution to a recurring
A kick in the pants to Congress.
It seems we could write such a line every week, but the childishness and
destructiveness of our legislative branch have hit a new record low.
In arguing the merits of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, both political
parties came across petty and vindictive, trying
to best the other side rather than work for the
American people.
This all began with Republican stonewalling
back in 2016, which kept capable and moderate
judge Merrick Garland from having a hearing
in the Senate — something that had never been
done in our nation’s history.
Following game theory, Democrats felt they
had to answer that rule-breaking with rule-
breaking of their own, filibustering Gorsuch’s confirmation on principle despite
his excellent résumé. Senate Republicans then broke another rule to break
the Democratic rule-breaking, for the first time allowing a simple majority to
confirm a Supreme Court judge.
Everything is now broken. It means the Supreme Court and the American
justice system will be used even more for political gamesmanship, that
vacancies will only be filled when the political winds are blowing in the right
direction, and that seriously incompetent or partisan choices will be confirmed
on the slimmest of margins.
The American system will suffer for it. The swamp is swampier than ever —
collegiality and compromise remain dirty words.
A tip of the hat to Governor Kate Brown for interceding to drop a lawsuit
filed by the Psychiatric Security Review Board against the Malheur Enterprise.
The lawsuit filed against one of the smallest newspapers in the state was
aimed at shutting off records that Oregon’s
attorney general had already ruled should be
made public.
The government used taxpayer dollars to hire a
lawyer to keep the newspaper from learning more
about why the state released a man who claimed
he faked mental illness to stay out of prison, and
later was accused of stabbing his wife to death
and killing a man in a car crash.
“Oregonians deserve a government that is
transparent to the fullest extent permitted by law,”
Brown said in a statement last week. “No one requesting public records should be
at risk of being sued by a state agency. I believe that the public is best served by
bringing this matter to an end now rather than after a lengthy and costly litigation.”
Governments across the country are testing their limits and trying to silence
media and keep important information from taxpayers and citizens. It’s a good
sign when the Oregon governor and attorney general both work to get public
information in the hands of the public.
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.
My most unpopular idea:
Be nice to Trump voters
hen I write about people
around the country. To win over Trump
struggling with addictions or
voters isn’t normalizing extremism,
homelessness, liberals exude
but a strategy to combat it.
sympathy while conservatives respond
Right now, 68 percent of partisan
with snarling hostility to losers who
legislative chambers in the states
make “bad choices.”
are held by Republicans. About 7
When I write about voters who
percent of America’s land mass is in
supported President Donald Trump,
Democratic landslide counties, and
it’s the reverse: Now it’s liberals who
Nicholas 59 percent is in Republican landslide
respond with venom, hoping that
Kristof counties.
Trump voters suffer for their bad
I asked the people I interviewed
in Oklahoma why they were sticking
“I absolutely despise these people,”
with Trump. There are many reasons
one woman tweeted at me after I interviewed
working-class conservatives vote against their
Trump voters. “Truly the worst of humanity.
economic interests — abortion and gun issues
To hell with every one of them.”
count heavily for some — but another is the
Maybe we all need a little more empathy?
mockery of Democrats who deride them as
I wrote my last
ignorant bumpkins. The
column from Oklahoma,
vilification of these voters is
highlighting voters who
a gift to Trump.
had supported Trump and
Nothing I’ve written since
now find that he wants
the election has engendered
to cut programs that had
more anger from people who
helped them. One woman
usually agree with me than
had recovered from a rape
my periodic assertions that
with the help of a women’s
Trump voters are human,
center that stands to lose
too. But I grew up in Trump
funding, another said that
country, in rural Oregon,
she would sit home and
and many of my childhood
die without a job program
friends supported Trump.
facing cutbacks, and so on.
They’re not the hateful
Yet every one of them was
caricatures that some liberals
still behind Trump — and
expect, any more than New
that infuriated my readers.
York liberals are the effete
“I’m just going to say it,” tweeted
paper cutouts that my old friends assume.
Bridgette. “I hate these people. They are
Maybe we need more junior year “abroad”
stupid and selfish. Screw them. Lose your
programs that send liberals to Kansas and
jobs, sit home and die.”
conservatives to Massachusetts.
Another: “ALL Trump voters are racist and
Hatred for Trump voters also leaves
deplorable. They’ll never vote Democratic.
the Democratic Party more removed from
We should never pander to the Trumpites.
working-class pain. For people in their 50s,
We’re not a party for racists.”
mortality rates for poorly educated whites
The torrent of venom was, to me, as
have soared since 2000 and are now higher
misplaced as the support for Trump from
than for blacks at all education levels.
struggling Oklahomans. I’m afraid that
Professors Angus Deaton and Anne Case of
Trump’s craziness is proving infectious,
Princeton University say the reason is “deaths
making Democrats crazy with rage that
of despair” arising from suicide, drugs and
actually impedes a progressive agenda.
One problem with the Democratic anger
Democrats didn’t do enough to address
is that it stereotypes a vast and contradictory
this suffering, so Trump won working-class
group of 63 million people. Sure, there were
voters — because he at least faked empathy
racists and misogynists in their ranks, but that
for struggling workers. He sold these voters
doesn’t mean that every Trump voter was a
a clunker, and now he’s already beginning
white supremacist. While it wasn’t apparent
to betray them. His assault on Obamacare
from reading the column, one of the Trump
would devastate many working-class families
by reducing availability of treatment for
voters I quoted was black, and another was
Latino. Of course, millions of Trump voters
substance abuse. As I see it, Trump rode to the
were members of minorities or had previously White House on a distress that his policies will
voted for Barack Obama.
“Some people think that the people who
So by all means stand up to Trump,
voted for Trump are racists and sexists and
point out that he’s a charlatan and resist
homophobes and just deplorable folks,”
his initiatives. But remember that social
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has emerged as a
progress means winning over voters in flyover
surprising defender of Trump voters, said the
country, and that it’s difficult to recruit voters
other day. “I don’t agree.”
whom you’re simultaneously castigating as
The blunt truth is that if we care about a
despicable, bigoted imbeciles.
progressive agenda, we simply can’t write off
46 percent of the electorate. If there is to be
Nicholas Kristof grew up on a sheep and
movement on mass incarceration, on electoral cherry farm in Yamhill. Kristof, a columnist
reform, on women’s health, on child care,
for The New York Times since 2001, writes
on inequality, on access to good education,
op-ed columns that appear twice a week. He
on climate change, then progressives need to
won the Pulitzer Prize two times, in 1990 and
win more congressional and legislative seats
Maybe we need
more junior
year “abroad”
programs that
send liberals
to Kansas and
conservatives to
March for science and
evidence over ideology
On April 22, organizers in
Pendleton will host a March for
The focus is supporting
federally funded evidence-based
science, much of which influences
our communities, our economies,
and our daily lives.
With all the uncertainties in
Washington D.C. right now, the
Pendleton march coincides with
many more across the nation in
support of the sciences. Programs
and priorities are changing rapidly.
While science does not set policy,
sound science should certainly
inform and influence policy.
Here in our region, we have
benefited from federally funded
evidence-based science in many
Yields and efficiencies have
improved through the work of our
local agricultural research stations.
Knowledge and effectiveness of
management have increased for
forest, rangeland, fish, and wildlife
with the help of the U.S. Forest
Service research labs throughout
the northwest. Funding from the
Department of Commerce and the
EPA has advanced our knowledge
and management of aquatic species
throughout the Columbia Basin.
The list goes on and on from public
health and medical breakthroughs
into many other aspects of our
daily lives.
In considering the president’s
budget and some recent actions in
Congress, science is being replaced
by ideology. When this happens,
there are no long- term winners.
We define our culture and our
quality of life through science,
education, our achievements,
and the arts. They have been the
foundation for civilizations since
the beginning of time So much of
our technology and advancements
have relied on evidence-based
federally funded science.
The March for Science on
April 22 throughout the country
will be a statement supporting the
importance of continuing federal
support for these programs and for
science and what it brings to our
Jeff Blackwood
Hermiston schools
should sell property
“The good news is, as home
owners, we pay only about 48
percent of the schools’ bond levy.
Businesses and utilities pay 52
percent. Also, as our area continues
to grow with more residents and
business, the tax rate will be
lowered each year since more
people and businesses will be
included to pay the bond, thus
lowering individual tax bills over
time.” (Dr. Jer D. Pratton, March
28, East Oregonian.)
As this comment sounds good,
I find a few things with a flaw. As
I have been a Hermiston
resident for more then 30 years,
and graduated from Hermiston
High School.
My taxes have only gone up;
the only time my property tax ever
went down is when the county
devalued my property by $25,000
three years ago and in 2016 they
devalued my home value again
and raised the property tax. So if
there is suppose to be an overall
reduction, why did my property tax
go up?
If the current bond is voted in I
will see an increase. So over time,
how much time are you talking
about — 10, 20, 40 years?
I’m not against growth in the
school system. Our family donated
6,000 yards of fill for the new
football field and I helped load it
into their trucks for free. What I
am against is the school district
holding on to $5 million they have
now and wanting to spend it on
property for future growth, say, 40
years down the road. If expansion
is needed, they should spend
what they have now to better the
Most companies want a
25,000-person base within the city
limits. Hermiston’s last census was
in 2013; at what point will the city
update the census? I feel the time is
now to allow economic growth.
How about the school board
sell off the Highway 395 frontage
in front of the Sunset School to
develop commercial business and
take the $2-3 million value that I
have been told is considered for
this. Apply it to the expansion and
repair what we have now.
I would vote yes on a bond
to help pay for what is needed if
they would show good faith in this
community and allow Hermiston
to grow as well on the commercial
side. Sell off one part to pay up to
$8 million total and put up a bond
for the remainder. Compromise.
I do not feel we as residents
need to carry the whole bond. The
retired community of the town will
not be able to afford the increase.
Maybe a smaller increase would
work on both sides.
Troy White