Page 4A East Oregonian Wednesday, January 24, 2018 KATHRYN B. BROWN Publisher DANIEL WATTENBURGER Managing Editor TIM TRAINOR Opinion Page Editor Founded October 16, 1875 OUR VIEW Trading an event center After successfully hosting its first fair and rodeo, EOTEC has been plagued by too many people expecting too many contradictory things from the property south of Hermiston. On Monday, the city of Hermiston and Umatilla County — currently co-owners of the multi-million dollar project — came up with a plan to take at least one cook out of a too-crowded kitchen. The deal is complicated, but it revolves around one surety: The county would relinquish all ownership and liability of EOTEC and Hermiston would take on full ownership and full responsibility. To get out of the partnership, county commissioner George Murdock proposed that the county pay more than $1.4 million through 2022, and increase its annual fair lease payment to $100,000 per year in perpetuity. We think it’s a smart move at this point, though we know it is sure to ruffle some feathers. Many people donated big bucks with the understanding that the former arrangement would continue. State and county taxpayers threw in many millions, too. And the Umatilla County Fair — in many people’s eyes the whole reason for this project — will cede their ownership stake. Sure, promises have been made to the fair board and there are reasons to be optimistic. But someone else will be making the decisions from here on out, and dollars are bound to be hard to come by. The fair has a right to be nervous about the county backing away. Underlying this proposal is the fact of a changing of the guard on EOTEC. Many members of the EOTEC board, who have been volunteering for this project for near a decade, will give way to a new generation that will now manage EOTEC day to day. Things will be lost in the transition, priorities rearranged. There is no way to please everyone and something is always lost between the planning and the execution. But the last year has made clear that changes are needed in how EOTEC is managed and operated. Hard truths need to be reckoned with, and that’s easier — Staff photo by E.J. Harris Umatilla County Commissioner George Murdock reads a proposal to dissolve the agreement between Umatilla County and the city of Hermiston on Monday. and better — done when a single set of priorities are in place. The city, the county and EOTEC are dealing with reality now. Mayor Dave Drotzmann described EOTEC as “another pool” — meaning a city asset that takes a lot of maintenance, money and management without bringing in enough revenue to cover costs. But, like the pool, it makes Hermiston a more desirable place to be, and has the potential to make a real difference to local businesses, especially hotels and restaurants. The city of Hermiston is going to make some difficult decisions in the coming months. After those decisions are made, we’ll have a better understanding of what EOTEC is and what its future will be. OTHER VIEWS Nevertrumpers face vexing question: What to make of Trump successes? T YOUR VIEWS Transparency needed about how county divvies SIP tax On Jan. 2 I attended a regular Port Commission meeting at the Port of Umatilla. I was there as a representative of the Umatilla Hospital District #1 hoping to gain an understanding of how the strategic investment program (SIP) money would be allocated. The funds will be paid by Vadata Inc. as part of a 15-year tax abatement program for the three Vadata projects. Two of the projects, the McNary and the Bonney property located west of Lind Road, are in city limits. The hospital board received a letter dated Dec. 7 from Umatilla County Counsel Doug Olsen, along with an agreement he expected the district to sign. The letter indicated that the district would receive a portion of the community service fee. However, the letter did not explain how the county will calculate the fees or how the fees will be shared among the districts in the two code areas. (The letter also did not accurately explain how much tax revenue the district would lose as a result of the SIP agreement.) Many public service districts are impacted by the SIP agreement. The county is responsible by law to administer the funds. Umatilla County, the city of Umatilla, Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District and Umatilla Fire District #1, the Hermiston Cemetery District, Umatilla Special Library District, West Umatilla Mosquito District Control District, Umatilla Morrow Radio & Data District and the Port of Umatilla will all receive funds. My reason for writing this letter is to question why the city and the districts were not included in negotiating how the funds are to be distributed and how the county commissioners arrived at the formula that was used.’ Darla Huxel, board chair of the Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District, asked this question at the Port meeting and was told by Olsen and County Assessor Paul Chalmers that county could not answer the question since she is a city employee and the city had retained an attorney to negotiate with the county. That opened up more questions as to why attorneys are involved and why the county is not being transparent. In my opinion all stake holders 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. should have been involved. The lack of transparency is disturbing. Let’s call a meeting to get answers to these questions and hold the county commissioners accountable. Danice McBee Umatilla What you don’t know about the federal payroll I encourage readers to check into openthebooks.com. This is a nonprofit private agency that takes no federal funding or grants. They expose some surprising — and sad — statistics on how tax dollars are spent. Here are some things they have uncovered: • The federal government pays its “disclosed” workforce $1 million per minute — $66 million per hour — $524 million per day. In 2016 the federal government had 1.97 million employees whose compensation was $136.3 billion. • Over a six-year period the number of federal employees making over $200,000 increased 165 percent. Those making over $150,000 increased 60 percent. Over $100,000 increased 37 percent. • On average federal employees get 10 federal holidays, 13 sick days and 20 vacation days. If each one took 13 sick days and 20 vacation days (added to the 10 federal holidays) that would cost taxpayers $22.6 billion. • In 2015, 406,960 federal employees made a six-figure income (1 in 5). Of those, 29,852 made more than each of the 50 state governors. • A federal agency in San Francisco, Presidio Trust, gets the prize for the highest paid bonus — the HR manager received a bonus of $141,525. • The post office and Dept. of Veterans Affairs employ over half of the federal workforce. • Only one third of the 35,000 federal lawyers actually work in the Dept. of Justice. The entire staff of federal lawyers were paid $4.8 billion in 2015. • The Dept. of Veterans Affairs employs 4,498 police officers at a cost of $172 million in 2016. There is a whole lot more of this that needs to be exposed. David Burns Pendleton he start of President Trump’s for impeachment. Max Boot, of second year in office has the Council on Foreign Relations, given Republicans and worries that Republicans might conservatives an opportunity to maintain control of the House in review a solid list of achievements: November’s elections, which would corporate and individual tax cuts; lower the chances of impeachment economic growth; wage growth; to nearly zero. So Boot, a lifelong a conservative Supreme Court Republican, is pulling for justice; a record number of circuit Democrats. Byron court confirmations; deregulation; “I worked as an adviser on three York the defeat of ISIS and more. Republican presidential campaigns,” Comment Each is a development worth Boot said recently, “but now I’m celebrating, either by the standards of actively rooting for Republicans to conservatism, or the general welfare, or both. lose the congressional elections ... because But for NeverTrump conservatives, the the Republicans have shown they are list presents a challenge. Many support unwilling to uphold their oaths of office.” the actions, like cutting taxes and reducing At The New York Times, conservative regulation, on Trump’s list. Yet some columnist Bret Stephens, author of have also staked their credibility and the recent piece, “Why I’m Still a prestige on declaring Trump’s election an NeverTrumper,” argues that reflexive unmitigated, historic disaster that will lead NeverTrumpism actually harms the effort to an autocratic, dystopian future. Many to resist the president. Stephens recently want to force Trump out of office, either by took on Trump critics who denounce the impeachment, the 25th Amendment, or, at president even when news is good — as latest, defeat in 2020. when Apple announced that it will bring So how to deal with the current good back most of the $274 billion it has parked news? overseas, pay a $38 billion tax bill, and The most extreme NeverTrumpers, create another 20,000 jobs in the U.S. like The Washington Post’s Jennifer Slamming Trump over a development like Rubin, simply rail against everything the that, Stephens wrote, does “damage ... to the president does. But more sophisticated anti-Trump cause.” NeverTrumpers are looking for nuanced Stephens did not spell it out, but ways to recognize the president’s a reasonable inference for those in accomplishments while maintaining that he NeverTrump world is that giving the is a menace — and that they have been right president his due on good developments about him all along. — rather than entering the la-la-land of the One strategy is to concede some of Resistance — will give NeverTrumpers Trump’s successes while insisting that credibility as they pursue the goal of getting the sum total of NeverTrump objections rid of him. outweighs those gains. Also at the Times, NeverTrump At the Weekly Standard, for example, conservative columnist Ross Douthat — all the editors recently cited some of Trump’s of the Times’ conservative columnists are accomplishments and asked: “Isn’t it NeverTrumpers, which assures the paper a time for Trump’s conservative critics to diversity of anti-Trump opinion — recently acknowledge his election was worth it?” debated NeverTrumper David Frum of The Their answer: No. Atlantic on whether Trump’s presidency has While citing a few of Trump’s so far been a tragedy or a farce. accomplishments, the publication argued Frum, author of the new book that the president’s endorsement of Roy “Trumpocracy,” voted for tragedy, while Moore in Alabama, his firing of FBI Douthat said farce. Douthat, who once Director James Comey, his bombastic hoped Trump might be removed from tweets about North Korea, loose-lipped office via the 25th Amendment, now seems meeting with Russian diplomats, response resigned to the president finishing his term; to Charlottesville, and “shithole” nations Frum, who helped get the 25th Amendment remark, along with other things, more than talk going the day after the election, is still offset goods like wage growth, job creation hoping for an early Trump exit. and a victory against terrorism. Within the range of implacable The magazine’s founder and editor- opposition to Trump, there is a lot of at-large, Bill Kristol, remains committed variation in the NeverTrump world — to Trump’s defeat. Asked recently what “9,000 cross-currents,” as Kristol remarked Americans should do if Trump’s four years recently. in office turn out well for the country, Kristol Before the election, NeverTrumpers answered, “We should pocket those gains were united by simple opposition to the (and) heave an unbelievable sigh of relief. Republican candidate. But Trump’s presence “I am still very much for constraining in the White House has made things more difficult. Trump to four years,” Kristol added. “And Trump will surely run into a major nothing that could happen, honestly, at this point could tell me Donald Trump should be reversal someday; that’s what happens to presidents. When it does, NeverTrumpers re-elected.” can say they called it long ago. But as To that end, Kristol — who in 2016 long as Trump is piling up conservative led a quixotic effort to find a third-party candidate to run against Trump and last year achievements, life will remain complicated for the nation’s NeverTrumpers. said “disposing of Trump ... can’t be done ■ in a day” — said he is “quietly” working on Byron York is chief political efforts to mount a 2020 challenge should the correspondent for The Washington president run for re-election. Examiner. Other NeverTrumpers keep hope alive 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. 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. 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