East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 13, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
Tourism needs to
be taken seriously
Tourism matters in Umatilla
But the tax plan’s demise also
County, and nowhere more than in
shines an important spotlight on the
county tourism department.
The Round-Up City is
Elfering said the tourism
chockablock with hotels and motels
coordinator — Karie Walchli —
that fill for the annual rodeo, but
doesn’t have funding to do “much
stay busy throughout the year thanks of anything.” The tourism tax
to the town’s stylish offerings
would have been a way to give the
for tourists, as well as interstate
department some money to play
travelers who just need an affordable with.
place to rest.
That’s the exact wrong way to
Pendleton is
run government,
further ahead than
course. Private
Tourism is hard of
other municipalities
enterprise knows
in Umatilla
work — a crop that labor is
County when it
expensive, and you
that must be
comes to tourism
don’t hire someone
infrastructure, but
without having the
it’s easy to see
revenue to afford
and continuously it and a belief that
other cities have
plenty to offer.
your investment is
Milton-Freewater is
going to more than
a growing heart of
pay for itself.
wine country, and close to the perks
That’s not the way government
of downtown Walla Walla. Tollgate
seems to operate in Oregon,
and Ukiah can capture hunters and
however. An ever-increasing number
outdoors enthusiasts. And Hermiston of government employees are
continues to grow as an important
forcing private enterprise to keep up
stop for business travelers, a
with paying those significant salaries
different type of tourism but heads in and benefits — cart before horse
beds nonetheless.
style. That Portland/Salem thinking
There are opportunities to help
has made its way to Eastern Oregon.
create and promote a countywide
There are lots of tourism groups
tourism program, but county
already operating — backed by both
commissioner Bill Elfering’s plan
public and private dollars. Travel
was a nonstarter. He proposed
Oregon has made good headway.
adding a 2 percent tax to hotel
The Eastern Oregon Visitors
customers’ room bill within Umatilla Association also helps promote
Umatilla County’s major events, to
But without an idea of how the
less success but on a much lower
money would be used to increase
budget. Travel Pendleton works hard
tourism, the tax was destined to
to keep the tourism dollars churning
fall flat with hoteliers and tourism
in that city year round.
professionals not affiliated with the
Tourism is hard work. It’s a crop
county. And fall flat it did. By the
that must be planted, watered and
time Elfering arrived for a second
tended for many years before it
scheduled meeting on the issue, he
begins to bear fruit. It’s irresponsible
had already declared the tax “off the to treat it as an enterprise from
which money can be skimmed to fill
And that’s the right thing to do.
government coffers.
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.
City of Umatilla has
not ‘sat dormant’
In the city of Umatilla’s November
newsletter, some restatement of the facts
needs to occur as it appears the author of
“City of Umatilla welcomes new staff”
is not very familiar with what has gone
on in the city over the past 15 years, let
alone the “several decades” of which
the author seems to speak. It might be
reasonable to suggest the author owes
a few previous city managers, business
owners, civic leaders, and the city
residents a bit of an apology.
Not taking away anything from the
new staff, the article seems to imply it is
the advent of the new staff that is going
to miraculously turn things around. We
should wish the new staff success, but
the statement “after sitting somewhat
dormant for the last several decades”
couldn’t be further from the truth.
Revitalization of downtown has been
a goal of the Umatilla City Council
and city management since the late
1990s. The issue has always been
available money, and not putting citizens
into heavy debt to make it happen.
More than several city managers and
city councilors have worked with
economic factions of the state, and with
philanthropic foundations, to bring
about change. Countless volunteer hours
have also been evident throughout the
periods, and the citizenry have had
generous outpourings of money — when
they had money to spare and to give.
The “somewhat dormant”
statement of the newsletter article is
a misrepresentation of the facts, and
misrepresents the continuing energy
of Umatilla citizens and recognition
of former city management and city
councils. More would have been
done, and could have been done, had
additional funding been available.
Former city management and city
councilors, beginning with former city
manager Bonnie Parker, were positive in
their look forward but always cautious
not to overly-encumber the citizens of
Umatilla with debt. The city has always
attempted to live within its means and
prided itself that it was able to operate in
the black.
It would not be out of hand for the
author to reconsider this section of the
November newsletter, and to proffer
an apology to past councils, past city
administration and Umatilla citizens.
Because the city of Umatilla has not
sat dormant — it has done its best with
what it had to work with. And looking
at what it has accomplished over the
previous two decades, has every right to
be proud of its accomplishments.
What’s wrong with radicalism
here was a striking moment in
between the whites and the blacks, the
the focus group that consultant
Republicans and the Democrats, Islam
Frank Luntz recently held with
and the West. If you’re not willing to
a group of Roy Moore supporters in
treat life as an endless war you’re a
Alabama. One of the voters said that
the women who are accusing Moore
Fourth, there is the low view of
of harassment are being paid to do
human nature.
so. Luntz asked the group how many
Today’s radicals conduct
people thought the women are being
themselves on the presumption that
paid. A bunch of hands shot up and
Brooks since life is battle, moral decency
voices called out that all of the women
is mostly a hypocritical fraud. To
are being paid.
get anything done the radical has to
That moment captures the
commit evil acts for good causes. “The
radicalism of the current moment — the
ethics of means and ends is that in war the end
loss of faith in institutions, the tendency to
justifies almost any means,” Alinsky writes.
see corrupt conspiracies, the desire for total
“Ethical standards must be elastic to stretch
change, the belief that sometimes you’ve got
with the times,” he adds.
to hire the biggest jerk available to get that
“Ethics are determined by whether one is
change, and you’ve got to
losing or winning.” That
be willing to ignore facts to
sentence could have been
justify it.
uttered by Donald Trump,
That attitude is evident
but it was really written by
on the pro-Trump right,
Saul Alinsky.
but also on the left. The
What can we conclude
about the radicals?
woke activists, the angry
Well, they are wrong
Sanders socialists and social
that our institutions are
justice warriors are just as
fundamentally corrupt. Most of our actual
certain that the system is rigged, that rulers
social and economic problems are the bad
are corrupt and that the temple has to be torn
byproducts of fundamentally good trends.
down. The moderate left is being decimated
Technological innovation has created
across Europe and that will probably happen
wonders but displaced millions of workers.
The meritocracy has unleashed talent but
We’re living in an age of radicalism.
But today’s radicalism is unusual. First, we widened inequality. Immigration has made
have radical anger without radical policies.
America more dynamic but weakened national
Stylistically and culturally, Trumpian
cohesion. Globalization has lifted billions out
populism screams “blow it up” and “drain the
of poverty but pummeled the working classes
swamp.” But Donald Trump’s actual policies
in advanced nations.
are run-of-the-mill corporatist. The left-wing
What’s needed is reform of our core
radicals talk a lot against the systems of
institutions to address the bad byproducts, not
oppression and an institutionalized injustice.
fundamental dismantling.
But they are nothing like the radicals of the
That sort of renewal means doing the
1930s or the 1960s.
opposite of everything the left/right radicals
Today’s radicals do not want to upend the
do. It means believing that life can be more
meritocracy, which is creating a caste system
like a conversation than a war if you open by
of inherited inequality. They don’t want to
starting a conversation. It means collectively
stop technical innovation, which is displacing
focusing on problems and not divisively
millions of workers. They don’t have plans to
destroying people. It means believing that love
reverse individualism, which atomizes society is a genuine force in human affairs and that
and destroys community. A $15 minimum
you can be effective by appealing to the better
wage may be left wing, but it’s not Marxist-
angels of human nature.
Today’s radicalism is fundamentally
Second, today’s radicalism is more about
spiritual, even if it’s played out in the political
identity than social problems.
sphere. It’s driven by the radicals’ need for
Both the Trumpian populists and the social more secure identity, to gain respect and
justice warriors are more intent on denouncing dignity, to give life a sense of purpose and
the people they hate than on addressing the
concrete problems before them. Consider the
The radicals are looking for meaning and
angry commentary you hear during a given
purpose in the wrong way and in the wrong
day. How much of it is addressing a problem
place, and they’re destroying our political
we face, and how much of it is denouncing
world in the process. But you’ve got to give
people we dislike?
them one thing: They are way ahead of the
Third, today’s radicalism assumes that war
rest of us. They are organized, self-confident,
is the inherent state of things.
aggressive and driving history. The rest of us
The key influence here is Saul Alinsky. His are dispersed, confused and in retreat.
1971 book, “Rules for Radicals,” has always
been popular on the left and recently it has
David Brooks became a New York Times
become fashionable with the Tea Party and
Op-Ed columnist in September 2003. He
the alt-right. One of his first big assertions
has been a senior editor at The Weekly
is that life is warfare. It is inevitably a battle
Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek
between the people and the elites, the haves
and the Atlantic Monthly, and is currently a
and the have-nots, or, as his heirs would add,
commentator on PBS.
We have radical
anger without
radical policies.
David P. Trott
Ron Wyden
221 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
La Grande office: 541-962-7691
Bill Hansell, District 29
900 Court St. NE, S-423
Salem, OR 97301
Jeff Merkley
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Pendleton office: 541-278-1129
Greg Barreto, District 58
900 Court St. NE, H-38
Salem, OR 97301
Greg Walden
185 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
La Grande office: 541-624-2400
Greg Smith, District 57
900 Court St. NE, H-482
Salem, OR 97301
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.