Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 20, 2017)
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
KATHRYN B. BROWN
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Business Office Manager
Run for office,
or you might
get a Nakapalau
Last year, no one in Echo filed
on the Hermiston School Board with
to run for an open seat on the city
just 14 write-in votes. Perhaps he was
the best person for the job (and he has
certainly done nothing to embarrass
That left open an avenue for Lou
Nakapalau to win the seat with only
the city or school district) but we
eight write-in votes in the November think it’s undemocratic that such a
small percentage of Hermiston voters
It was later discovered that the
chose who got that important seat.
councilman had been convicted of
As we’ve said before, civic
multiple counts of
require a lot of
If no one runs work for very little
possession in 2000.
thanks. It’s not a
for an open
has used his time
on the council to
people should take
seat, it will
be filled by
But the moral of
the small city. He
story is clear:
used his Facebook
If no one runs for
the support of important local
account to tell a gay
filmmaker in Hawaii:
the electorate. positions
“When you croak
desire to improve
of AIDS (Anally
their city, school
Injected Death Serum) I’ll spit on
district, or cemetery district — you
may get someone of questionable
values and skills. You will definitely
Media coverage of that comment,
get someone who did not campaign
and Nakapalau’s unwillingness to
for the seat, and may not be familiar
apologize for it or even comment
with the issues and how residents feel
on it, brought an understandable
about them. You will get someone
backlash from some Echo residents
who does not have the support of the
against their city government. That
majority of the electorate.
backlash then spurred a backlash of
The best option, of course, is
its own, which created division and
for many people to run for these
distrust in the community — from
positions, so voters can make an
its political life to its downtown
informed choice in a competitive
commerce to its public schools.
race. That’s how a healthy,
It’s a mess. And it doesn’t appear
functioning democracy operates.
that mess will get cleaned up soon.
But at the very least, someone
Nakapalau has shown no signs of
must run publicly for each seat. A
resigning his seat, and city council
has no ability to throw him out under name must be on the ballot, because
that gives the electorate enough time
Oregon law. It’s up to residents to
to mount a write-in campaign if that
start a recall petition.
name is not to their liking.
Gaining a seat on a city council
The risks are too great otherwise.
or school board without filing for the
An unqualified and unfit person can
ballot isn’t uncommon in Eastern
Oregon, especially in smaller cities or get a few votes and suddenly be
misrepresenting your community
for lower-profile positions.
and making decisions that negatively
In Hermiston, former city council
candidate Mark Gomolski won a seat affect its future.
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.
Who is B2H power line
being built for?
Idaho Power claims it’s planning
to build the B2H transmission line
to benefit Eastern Oregon. Their
advertisements promise resilient energy,
positive economic impacts and new
carbon-free reliable resources as Idaho
Power moves toward “a collaborative
energy future for you.”
These are misleading advertisements,
not legal contracts. The B2H will slash
across 260 miles of Eastern Oregon
with no substations to provide power
for local communities. Not one. Positive
economic impacts will be insignificant
— three or four months of additional
motel and restaurant business from
outside contractors’ employees. Idaho is
10 years behind Oregon in developing
carbon-free renewable resources like
wind and solar. Oregon ranks fifth
nationally in energy efficiency. Idaho
ranks an abysmal 39th.
Along the B2H route, thousands
of holes will be blasted and drilled 40
feet down to anchor each tower’s four
feet. These massive towers will rise
to 19 stories high. That’s three to five
times higher than the tallest buildings in
Eastern Oregon towns.
On the ground, they will punctuate
sterile clear cuts as wide as an eight-lane
highway. Impacts on farm and forest
lands, wildlife, residential property
values and our historic Oregon Trail
will be permanent and devastating. Do
you know exactly how close to your
neighborhood or your favorite camping
spot this continuously buzzing, crackling
500 kilovolt line will be? Probably not.
Idaho Power only notifies property
owners within 500 feet of a proposed
Fortunately, it’s not a done deal, but
it’s definitely a bad deal. National and
regional organizations critical of the
B2H have filed more than 100 pages of
expert testimony with the Oregon Public
Utilities Commission. They document
obvious flaws in Idaho Power’s efforts
to prove their questionable need for
additional energy resources, which Idaho
Power admits will not occur for at least
ten more years.
This “need” is actually driven by
Idaho Power’s obsessive priority to
increase profits for shareholders at
the expense of ratepayers and our
Strange but true, utilities are
guaranteed a profit on building things,
whether they’re needed or not. Idaho
Power will share $80 million profit with
their partners if they’re allowed to build
Oregon doesn’t need and won’t
benefit from this monstrously ugly and
expensive transmission line.
After year of solid policies,
what’s next for Trump?
omething is happening in the final
first-rate people, too, in the White
days of 2017. People are noticing
House and across the administration:
that Donald Trump has gotten a
John Kelly, Mike Pompeo, James
lot done in his tumultuous first year
Mattis, Neomi Rao, H.R. McMaster,
in the White House. If in, say, 2014, a
Nikki Haley, Marc Short and more.
Republican, of either the conservative
The question now, with the coming,
or moderate variety, predicted that in
inevitable departures from his
2017 a newly elected GOP president
administration, is whether the president
and Congress would —
can convince the best people, or even
1) Cut corporate and individual
just really good people, to work for
2) Repeal the Obamacare individual
The first thing a potential high-
ranking Trump hire has to consider
3) Appoint a highly respected conservative
is the sheer difficulty of working for Donald
to the Supreme Court.
Trump. Throughout the campaign and in the
4) Appoint a one-year record number of
White House, Trump’s instincts have been
judges to the circuit courts.
remarkably consistent with those of many
5) Get rid of reams of unnecessary
Republicans (and some independents) across
the nation. But working in the atmosphere that
6) Destroy ISIS.
he has created, and thrives in,
7) Approve pipeline
can be a trial. What Trump
projects and new oil drilling.
needs in the second year
— then a lot of
are people who can endure
Republicans would probably
that trial and focus on the
have cheered. Loudly.
president’s political instincts.
No need to go through
“He needs people more
the litany of complaints
aligned with him,” noted
against the president or the
one Republican lawmaker
succession of hair-on-fire,
in a text exchange recently.
“Not toadies — Pompeo and
that have marked the wildest
McMaster disagreed with
first year ever in presidential
him on Afghanistan and
politics. Or the special
persuaded him — but people
counsel investigation into
more in general alignment
the Trump-Russia affair that
with his instincts. His key
some Democrats (and some
cabinet members and White
NeverTrump Republicans) hope will result in
House advisors need to channel his instincts in
Trump’s removal from office. Despite it all,
a constructive fashion for the country, helping
Trump has racked up a solid record of first-year him achieve his goals.”
“There are so many top-notch people on the
It would not be a great surprise if much of
sidelines,” noted another GOP lawmaker.
Trump’s second year consisted of reminding
A significant part of the problem is this: In
2018 midterm voters of how much he did in
the supercharged atmosphere of Washington,
his first year. Maybe that will be enough to
a prospective Trump aide (and his or her
keep Republicans in control of House and
spouse) can face intense professional and social
Senate, although the historical averages alone
disapprobation from being associated with the
— presidents tend to lose a lot of congressional president.
seats in their first midterm — argue against it.
“They definitely can,” said yet another
And Trump’s second-year agenda is unclear. Republican lawmaker. “I think there needs
There has been talk about an infrastructure
to be 1) more assurance that Trump and the
bill. About welfare reform. But it seems likely
administration have their backs (I’m thinking
that what Trump does in his next year will be
of the ‘mean’ tweet from Trump about the
anchored in his unilateral executive authority,
House Obamacare repeal bill), and 2) more
just like his first year.
assurance that the Senate will get them
Perhaps the critical factor in whether Trump through the approval process. Russ Vought
can succeed from a policy standpoint next year (nominee for deputy director of the Office of
is whether he is able to attract high-quality
Management and Budget) is still waiting for
people to his administration.
his confirmation vote, and the same with Tom
On many, many occasions during the
Garrett for Ex-Im Bank.”
campaign, candidate Trump promised he would
If, as expected, some on the Trump team
hire only the “best people” if he were to win
head for the exits in the new year, the problem
the White House.
will become more serious.
The recent, noisy departure of Omarosa
Personnel isn’t sexy. And the key person in
Manigault-Newman showed that was not true.
Trump’s policy successes is Trump himself.
So did the brief tenure of Anthony Scaramucci. But the president will need the actual “best
And Sebastian Gorka. And others.
people” if he is to make his second year as
In the Trump White House, there have been consequential as his first.
White House staff who had no business being
White House staff.
Byron York is chief political correspondent
Of course, the president has hired many
for The Washington Examiner.
does in his
second year will
like his first year.
Prayer should not be a
part of public meetings
This is a letter of appreciation to the
Pendleton City Council for choosing
not to include prayer in city council
Prayer is a highly individual choice
and not appropriate for public bodies. As
a secular person, I have family members
and close friends who are Christian,
Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, and of other
belief systems including secular. All
are thoughtful, civic-minded people
who work hard for their communities.
Everyone should feel 100 percent
welcome in public meetings, and that is
not the case when citizens must abide
expressions of faith that are not their
While I respect an individual’s choice
to pray according to his or her belief,
we must also guard against mingling
personal belief systems with public
citizenry. Good work, city council.
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 211 S.E. Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801 or email email@example.com.