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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 21, 2017)
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
KATHRYN B. BROWN
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Business Office Manager
If the Oregon Legislature intends
potentially divisive than the state’s
transportation package, far-reaching
to pass tax and spending reforms in
as it was.
2019, the work should have begun
Three approaches were key to the
That was the message from
First, the four legislators
veteran legislators at the recent
operated as a bipartisan leadership
Oregon Leadership Summit. It
team, instead of
echoed what Gov.
Kate Brown and
With a 35-day controlling
said in June: In the
session starting four trusted and
focus on structural
other, even when
budget and tax
Brown has yet to they disagreed,
Yet Brown told
show her hand. sometimes
Summit this month
that she wanted to
political practicality — the majority
achieve such reforms a year earlier
Democrats would need minority
— in the 2018 Legislature. She said
Republicans’ votes for passage.
her staff was working on “options
to solve the structural deficit issues
Widespread bipartisan support also
Oregon faces, not just for the short
would deter critics from trying to
term but for the long term.”
overturn the transportation plan
through a voter referendum.
With that 35-day legislative
That approach also reflected the
session starting in February, Brown
leadership quartet’s commitment
has yet to show her hand.
to a transportation plan that
Which reinforces why four
would overcome ideological and
veteran legislators — Democrats
geographical differences. Maybe
and Republicans — were skeptical
it’s noteworthy that three of the
about the state soon being able to
four came from rural regions; none
make progress on tax and spending
represented the Portland metro area;
none was considered an ideologue.
The four lawmakers steered the
Second, the negotiations
massive transportation-finance plan
involved months of work — or
through this year’s Legislature. The
years, if you count past iterations of
Democrats — Springfield Sen. Lee
Beyer and Coos Bay Rep. Caddy
Third, everyone had a say.
McKeown — chaired the special
Scores of individuals and interest
transportation committee. The
groups from throughout Oregon
Republicans — Dallas Sen. Brian
participated in workgroups. They
Boquist and Ontario Rep. Cliff
could not reasonably claim they had
Bentz — served as vice chairs.
Their collaborative success might not been heard.
In contrast, the 2018 Legislature
provide a guide for handling revenue
is only weeks away and Oregonians
and budget reform, which is why
know little about the governor’s and
the summit’s organizers asked them
legislative leaders’ plans for genuine
to speak. Yet the lawmakers warned
tax and spending reforms. We are
that financial reform would be far
not filled with hope.
more complicated, difficult and
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.
Raising graduation rates
The (Eugene) Register-Guard
regon Secretary of State Dennis
Richardson’s just-completed audit
of high school graduation rates
was one of those good news-bad news
While there has been some
improvement in the number of students
who graduate from high school in four
years, overall graduation rates have
remained flat if you
include students who take
longer than four years to
graduation rates are
a good thing for both
students and taxpayers,
but the bottom line is that
too many students —
almost one in five — are
still leaving school without earning a
The new audit is useful because it
drills down below these numbers to look
at which groups are struggling and what
might be done to help them.
This is the kind of information that
is needed for the state Department of
Education to set priorities and craft a
plan to reach these goals.
Auditors were critical of the
department’s response to low graduation
rates in the past, saying it needs “to step
up its game and assume its leadership
role to make Oregon a leader in
This puts the ball squarely in the
court of the department’s new acting
head, Colt Gill, a former superintendent
of Bethel School District.
Gill was named the acting deputy
superintendant in October after his
predecessor was fired. Based on Gill’s
initial response to the audit, Gov. Kate
Brown’s confidence in him is justified.
Gill concurred with the audit
recommendations made by the secretary
of state — and outlined efforts that are
planned or already underway to deal
with the concerns raised by auditors.
In some cases, these efforts surpass the
recommendations or goals outlined in
This kind of initiative is going to
be needed. Based on federal budget
priorities, Oregon public schools are
likely to face increased financial pressure
in the next few years.
For example, plans at the federal level
to do away with the state and local tax
exemption, or SALT, are likely to make
it even harder to increase
local or state taxes to
pay for improvements in
are allowed to deduct
state and local taxes
when they file their
federal income taxes. In
Eugene, for example,
a homeowner with an
income of $75,000 currently can deduct
about $10,300 in state and local taxes
from his or her federal income tax
obligation, according to the Government
Finance Officers Association. Remove
those deductions, and that homeowner
will pay about $1,550 more in taxes per
The vast majority of taxpayers who
benefit from these SALT deductions are
middle income or working class.
For example, about eight times
as many taxpayers earning less than
$25,000 a year claim this deduction
nationally compared to people with an
income of $1 million or more.
If this tax break goes away, it is likely
to make it harder to pass state or local
tax measures for schools.
The good news is initiatives already
underway within Oregon should help
improve graduation rates, including
recent increases in funding for Career
and Technical Education.
But it’s going to require building a
partnership between the Department
of Education, local school districts
and community members to improve
graduation rates in the face of these new
Bringing down our monsters
ASHINGTON — Jaws drop
Even though women are half of
and drop and drop. Until it
ticket buyers, only 4 percent of the 100
seems it will never stop.
top-grossing films over the last decade
You would think we would get
were directed by women. Women make
numb at some point. But no. There are
up 11 percent of writers, 3 percent
just too many numbskulls.
of cinematographers, 19 percent of
We cannot refresh our browsers fast
producers and 14 percent of editors.
enough to see the latest stupefactions
The quality of women’s roles, once so
on sexual violations and Trump
Maureen rich in the ‘30s and ‘40s, has atrophied.
violations — which dovetail in a
Last year, women comprised only 29
percent of protagonists.
Every day, TV anchors breathlessly
There has been lip service given
report some bizarre new insult or
to fixing the inequality, but no one in
accusation or hissy fit or Putin nuzzling by the
power ever raised holy hell about it — not
president, as he wanders around howling in the the women studio chiefs, not the male studio
storm like a late-stage Lear — raging, blowing, executives, not the unions.
spouting, wits turning — in his White House of
Hollywood was a warped society and
everyone knew it. Gender stereotypes were
The dynamic in the capital grows ever
enshrined in amber: Women can’t direct
more dangerous, as Donald Trump tells fables
because it’s too risky to trust them with big
to justify the unjustifiable and his staff feeds
budgets; they get too emotional; they only
him more fables in a futile attempt to manage
want to direct movies where people talk or,
his puerile moods. Truth is held hostage to
God forbid, cry; they don’t have the authority
Trump’s ego. The country’s fate — and the
to come across as commanding generals.
world’s — rests on who best flatters America’s
That’s why monsters were allowed to roam,
Grand Canyon of Need.
feeling entitled to human sacrifices, vulnerable
As men are falling, women are rising. The
young women offered at the altar of art,
gender gap in Virginia and Alabama presages a ambition and box office.
gender chasm in 2018.
Hayek asks the infuriating key question:
Democratic women in Congress have
“But why do so many of us, as female artists,
decided they may be able to expel the president have to go to war to tell our stories when we
on his self-confessed sexual larceny. If they
have so much to offer? Why do we have to
can purge their own party’s offenders and
fight tooth and nail to maintain our dignity?”
drive women to the polls
With so many talented
by whipping up outrage
women and so many
over the absurdity of
the nation’s avatar of
why had Hollywood
aspirations and values
stopped trying “to find out
being immune from the
what female audiences
penalties facing other
wanted to see and what
gropers, then they could take back the House
stories we wanted to tell.”
and maybe even the Senate and hold hearings
When I wrote a Times Magazine piece
on the Harasser in Chief.
two years ago, interviewing scores of
“We are not going to let up,” Rep. Lois
women directors, writers, producers and
Frankel of Florida, chairwoman of the
cinematographers and studying their amazing
Democratic Women’s Working Group, told
work, I got more and more angry as I realized
The New York Times’ Carl Hulse. “This is so
that these women were being systematically
much bigger than us.”
excluded based on ridiculous biases.
The country is going through twin traumas
I believed the top woman producer who told
that seem pagan in their lack of decency.
me that it involved something as primitive as
With so many grotesque stories tumbling
men in Hollywood not wanting to be bossed
out about marauding men treating women as
around by women because it made them think
property or their office as their “stable,” as one of hectoring wives and mothers.
former NBC producer said in the case of Matt
There are a lot of well-meaning people with
Lauer, you’d think it would be hard to remain
power in Hollywood. But they have looked
at peak disgust.
the other way for far too long on shameful
And yet I felt the revulsion rising yet again
as I read Salma Hayek’s Times op-ed piece
As Melissa Silverstein, founder and
about her nightmarish experience with the
publisher of Women and Hollywood, told
depraved Harvey Weinstein when she was
me, “Just because we finally had a successful
trying to get her Frida Kahlo movie made with superhero movie directed by a woman, we now
Weinstein producing — and demeaning and
see that we are still really at the beginning.”
threatening and pouncing and punishing.
Hayek nailed it when she concluded: “Until
Hayek recalled that she was “lost in the fog
there is equality in our industry, with men and
of a sort of Stockholm syndrome,” thinking
women having the same value in every aspect
if she made some compromises — Weinstein
of it, our community will continue to be a
demanded she add a full-frontal nude sex scene fertile ground for predators.”
with Ashley Judd — that he would come to see
No wonder, given the state of Washington
her as an artist.
and Hollywood, Dictionary.com chose
It perfectly captured the rotten little secret
“complicit” as its word of the year.
that has long been corroding Hollywood. The
industry that helps shape our view of women
Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer
has fallen into gender apartheid — Saudi
Prize for commentary, became a New York
Arabia on Sunset Boulevard.
Times columnist in 1995.
As men are falling,
women are rising.
Widening opportunity gap
requires immediate action
As 2017 draws to a close, we consider
the challenges, hopes and opportunities for
the year ahead and we are confronted with
the stark reality that Oregon can and must do
better for children and families. It is humbling
to know that more than 100,000 children in
Oregon are living in households with $800 a
month or less in income. If nothing changes,
these children — and many more in Oregon
— are unlikely to escape poverty and its
effects during their lifetime.
New research from The Oregon
Community Foundation confirms that
disparities in Oregon are growing along
socioeconomic, racial and geographic lines.
The circumstances of one’s birth, where
one is born, and longstanding patterns
of discrimination determine the lifelong
opportunities that are available to Oregon’s
children. Families face economic stagnation,
children face barriers to quality education and
neighborhoods are increasingly segregated
and isolated. Left unaddressed, this gap
in opportunity will cut to the very core of
But we can change this trajectory and
close the opportunity gap for many of
Oregon’s children by supporting economically
and racially integrated affordable housing
solutions, encouraging community
engagement and promoting leadership
development. Parenting education and
expanded career and technical education
opportunities are also part of the solution. We
need to invest in education, from quality and
affordable childcare and preschool to out-of-
school enrichment, mentoring, and access to
These strategies will be most successful
when they are led by community members
who can best define community assets,
problems and potential solutions.
Challenges and assets in each community
are varied and there is not one “silver bullet”
solution. But we have faith in the real
power of Oregon communities to address
these challenges because we see examples
around the state where communities, donors,
volunteers, government leaders and nonprofit
organizations are addressing these challenges.
As we enter the new year, we challenge
Oregon to focus on the children whose
promise of the American dream is becoming
an illusion. Timely solutions will come from
committed Oregonians who are willing to
organize, collaborate, advocate and invest in
families and strategies that renew the promise
of the American dream for every Oregon