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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 20, 2018)
Saturday, January 20, 2018
KATHRYN B. BROWN
Opinion Page Editor
Founded October 16, 1875
A short, civil session
For much of Oregon’s history, a
biennial legislative session was enough
to attend to the matters of the state.
Every odd year, elected representatives,
lobbyists and citizens would meet at the
Capitol to debate and enact law while
developing and approving a budget.
In 2010, voters approved a Senate
resolution to create a 35-day special
session in even years with the
explicit purpose of making necessary
adjustments to the budget or addressing
unforeseen consequences of previously
So here we are, two weeks away from
the fourth such “short session” in state
history — and a politically fraught one
at that. While the U.S. Congress can’t
figure out whether shutting down the
federal government is an acceptable way
to settle a dispute or not, citizens are
feeling an ever stronger push toward one
partisan camp or another.
Meanwhile it’s an election year
in Oregon, with Gov. Kate Brown
campaigning for her first full term and
Rep. Knute Buehler leading the field
of Republicans looking to challenge
her. While much of our political energy
is spent watching D.C., Oregon state
politics is at a crossroads of a kind in
2018. Next month’s short session will
mark the first few steps down that road.
So what should we expect of our
elected leaders in Salem this February?
Here are a few pointers.
• Bipartisan or bust
While debating new rules and laws
during a full session requires a fair
amount of posturing, party line toeing
and negotiation, we feel that should be
set aside in the short session.
A legislative committee convened
in 2017 to examine how the sessions
have been functioning since 2012
and made the suggestion that any bill
should be required to be sponsored by
a representative of both parties to be
considered. The concept wasn’t enacted,
but we think it’s a good one and should
It makes us nervous to see a list of
goals including a Clean Energy Jobs
Bill and gun regulations coming before
a body with just over a month to debate
and enact law. We’ve previously written
that the pursuit of meaningful PERS
reform this session is doubtful, but while
politically difficult it would at least meet
the principal of why these short sessions
exist in the first place: Taking action
early so that future budget problems
don’t spiral out of control.
• Deal with Measure 101 fallout
Oregon voters will decide Tuesday
how they feel about the Medicaid
funding tax on Measure 101, which
will have a major effect on how
legislators will spend their in-session
time. If the temporary health care taxes
are approved by voters, it’s a tip to
legislators that voters remain supportive
of their work, and that health insurance
for all Oregonians is something we’re
willing to pay a little extra for.
However, if the measure fails, legislators
will be sent scrambling back to the
Capitol with some difficult decisions to
make. Money will have to be found, or
cuts will have to be made. More than
likely, it’ll require some of each.
• No politics
Gov. Kate Brown is Oregon’s top
government official, so she should be
able to guide legislative action during
the 30 days.
She told the EO’s Capital Bureau
reporter this month that she hoped to
tackle gun control, affordable housing,
PERS paydown, opioid epidemic and
state procurement practices. We’re not
sure how many, if any, of those are
possible, and the likelihood goes down
if Measure 101 goes down, too.
But we’re sure that Brown and
Democratic lawmakers will try to hang
some tough votes on likely Republican
challenger Knute Buehler.
The same rules stand for Buehler and
the Republicans, too — who will likely
look to the session as a chance to gather
ammunition to use against Brown.
All is fair in love and war, but
we hope the politicking is kept to a
minimum and that for these 30 days
legislators keep their eye on what’s best
for Oregon. Once it’s over, then we can
let the campaigning begin.
The mad king flies his flag
Measure 101 best way to
keep Oregonians insured
There was a great health care success
story in Oregon in 2014, when 360,000
Oregonians received health care for the first
time under the Medicare expansion of the
Affordable Care Act. That incredible surge
brought the percentage of Oregonians with
health insurance up to nearly 95 percent —
an incredible number.
Why should people who get insurance
through their employment care? Why
should hospitals? Why should insurance
companies themselves? Easy. It is a lot
more cost effective and efficient to provide
health care to people who are insured. The
uninsured will still receive healthcare, only
it will be in the very expensive emergency
room and will have to be written off as
charity by the hospitals. So who pays?
Everyone who has insurance will ultimately
bear the cost through increased premiums.
While Measure 101 is not perfect, there
is no better solution waiting in the wings,
and under 101 Oregon will continue to
have one of the highest levels of insured
individuals in the nation. That is definitely
worth a yes vote.
The road not taken
The good city folks of Pendleton dodge
and decry when they have no choice but to
drive its pock-marked streets.
My good country neighbors and I look
when two roads diverge and are left to take
the road less graveled.
(Apologies to Robert Frost.)
Pendleton needs men’s
clothing stores and car lots
In Wednesday’s paper there was a big
writeup on what the city had accomplished
in 2017 and it got me to thinking. What
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the
East Oregonian editorial board. Other
columns, letters and cartoons on this page
express the opinions of the authors and
not necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
does Pendleton need to bring it back to life
besides more housing? Well here’s my list,
and I think it’s a good one:
Growing up in Pendleton we had two
menswear stores besides Hamley’s and
The New York Store, now we have none.
Businessmen have to go out of town for
a suit or even a dress shirt. We also had
many womenswear stores including JC
Penny, The Bon Marche (now Macy’s)
Mode O’Day (now Fashion Bug, I think),
The Frances Shop, Dawn’s, Lucille’s and
Sidney’s Pink Poodle, and now we have
nothing but Maurices and Walmart, neither
of which sell business attire for women.
We also had six car dealerships, not
including Ray Fane who sold imports like
Toyota, Vauxhalls and others foreign cars,
and now we have none. We have a perfectly
good building on the corner of 10th and
Dorion for a car dealer to move into that has
a shop space and showroom space already
built. We also have another building sitting
empty on Southeast Court that was built
as a car dealership that is available to buy,
and it even has a detail shop and a body and
What about approaching Legacy out
of La Grande about putting in a Ford
dealership selling new and used Fords, or
find a GMC dealership who has this area
to put in GMC, Chevrolet and Buick in so
that people who live in Pendleton can spend
their car buying money in Pendleton instead
of going to Walla Walla or the Tri-Cities?
I don’t think that it is out of line to
propose that a citizens committee be
formed to explore the possibilities of
getting some of these businesses back in
Pendleton and make Pendleton the place to
shop rather than it being the place where
there is nothing to buy. I am willing to
work on that committee and I am willing to
bet that there are others out there that are,
too. We need to bring Pendleton back to the
vibrant business community it was in the
1950s, 1960s and 1970s and now is prime
time to get the ball rolling.
Barbara Ann Wright
he emperor of the outdoors
took a helicopter to ride horses
rode into town on a horse
with Mike Pence? The Cabinet
named Tonto, and soon
member who wants to charge $70
demanded that his own special
to get into our most iconic national
flag fly outside his headquarters
parks? The man whose nomination
whenever he was in Washington.
was championed by Donald Trump
He believes fracking is proof that
Jr., elephant killer and dictionary
“God loves us” and, despite being
definition of elite hunter and
from Montana, doesn’t know how
to properly set up his fly line when
Defenders of public land have
fishing in front of the cameras.
pushed back. This week, a majority
“He had rigged his reel
of the nonpartisan National Park
backward,” Elliott D. Woods
Service advisory panel resigned in
wrote of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in
frustration. The board, federally chartered
a wonderful profile in Outside Magazine.
to help guide the service, said Zinke had
“Seems like an inconsequential thing, but in
refused to convene a single meeting with
Montana, it’s everything.”
them last year. Silly bird-lovers. Don’t they
As it turned out, it was quite
know you need to charter a plane for Zinke
consequential. When the magazine next tried if you want to get his attention?
to dial into an Interior conference call, it was
A much less-connected group, the
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers,
You may think that Stormy Daniels is in
responded with an essay from a board
charge of the natural world
member who lives in a
under Donald Trump. And
500-square-foot abode in
yes, the boorish behavior
the Rocky Mountains. “We
of the president and the
hunt, gather, garden, can,
porn star makes for better
smoke, dry, jelly and pickle
reading than an account of
as much of our own food
the quack running Interior.
as we can,” wrote Tom
But if someone were
Healy. “According to Mr.
trashing your house, you’d
Secretary, I am an elitist.”
want to pay attention.
The writer is from
And Trump, using the
very strange Zinke, is
hometown in Montana.
going after the sacred
Where have you heard
foundations of America’s
that before? Ah, yes, a
much-loved public lands,
tiny energy company
brick by brick.
from Whitefish with two
Zinke has been called the Gulfstream
employees — three if you count Zinke’s
Cowboy for his love of using charter planes
kid when he was an intern on a side
to fly off to the nesting grounds of wealthy
project — finagled a $300 million, no-audit,
donors. But he’s more like a mad king. And
no-bid contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s
this monarch has control over the crown
electric grid. Zinke said he had absolutely,
jewels of America’s public land. They are
positively nothing to do with it.
not in safe hands.
Look, it could have been worse: Sarah
Last month, the secretary attacked
Palin was an early favorite for interior
Patagonia, the outdoor retailer, after it
secretary. Zinke is an ex-Navy SEAL, and
protested the largest rollback of public land
looks the part. Enough nutty things come out
protection in our history with a website
of his mouth to make him a perfect Trump
home page of a black screen and stark
guy. “The government stops at the mailbox,”
message: “The President Stole Your Land.”
he said at a rally last year, “and if you come
It is your land, all 400 million acres of it,
any further, you’re going to meet my gun.”
though you wouldn’t know by the way the
Note to Mr. Secretary: Don’t shoot the
sheriff, or the census taker.
Trump administration has ceded control to
It took a bribery scandal to bring down
the private predators from the oil, gas, coal
an Interior secretary in the Teapot Dome
and uranium industries.
affair of the 1920s. Today, the corruption
It is also your water, the near entirety
is all upfront. Energy Secretary Rick Perry
of the outer continental shelf that Trump
gives bear hugs to coal barons, while doing
is opening to extractive drilling. Almost a
all he can to have the government prop up
dozen states have protested. The waters off
their industry. The Environmental Protection
the coast of Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, were
Agency is now a wholly owned subsidiary
given an exemption after Zinke met with
of the polluters it is supposed to regulate.
the governor who said drilling was bad for
Over at Interior, they haven’t yet figured
tourism. Your public servant at work.
Zinke is upending a century of bipartisan a way to charge Americans for the air we
breathe. But the next time Zinke’s flag is up,
values as part of a Trumpian culture war.
something may be in the works.
When asked why the president shrank
national monuments in the Southwest by
Timothy Egan worked for 18 years as a
2 million acres, Zinke said it was a way to
writer for The New York Times, first as the
strike back against “an elitist sort of hunter
Pacific Northwest correspondent, then as a
and fisherman.” Huh?
national enterprise reporter.
Could this be the same regular guy who
Zinke is going
after the sacred
brick by brick.
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