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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 9, 2019)
Friday, August 9, 2019
KATHRYN B. BROWN
WYATT HAUPT JR.
Founded October 16, 1875
County manager concept needs more work
o one familiar with the
effort to review — and per-
haps modify — the county’s
charter can refute the value of the
effort. For the past 19 months, the
Umatilla Charter Review Commit-
tee studied the charter to consider
how to improve it. Such efforts are
useful. After all, it is worthwhile to
scrutinize and consider key issues
before forming legislation.
One idea that evolved out of the
study was for the county to hire a
professional manager to handle the
administrative piece of county gov-
ernment and last week, two out of
three county commissioners voiced
support for the concept, but only
one voted to put it on the ballot.
Commissioner Bill Elfering
appears to agree with the idea to
hire a manager for the county and
he pointed out, rightly, that the com-
mission could just go ahead and hire
a manager. Yet, Elfering also cor-
rectly pointed out that, in the end,
the idea should be placed before
voters. He admitted, though, that as
Staff photo by Ben Lonergan
Michele Grable, chair of the Umatilla County Charter Review Committee, addresses the
county board of commissioners last month in Pendleton concerning the committee’s rec-
ommendation to hire a county manager.
the idea stands now it isn’t ready for
Elfering’s sentiments should ring
true to area voters. He conceded the
idea “truly has value,” but needs to
be fully “developed as to function,
cost and benefit.”
Those statements show an elected
leader who isn’t going to try to push
the legislative cart out in front of
Does the county really need to
hire a manager? How will such a
position help the county? How much
will it cost? These are all good
questions that deserve thoughtful
review by elected leaders.
We are certainly not entirely
convinced such a position would
be beneficial for the county, but,
as Elfering pointed out, the con-
cept should not be discarded. There
may, indeed, be a need for such a
In the end, however, such a
change must be sanctioned by voters
and Elfering seems to fully under-
stand that necessity.
Commissioner John Shafer also
brought up a valid point that such a
position could interfere with com-
munication between commissioners
and the public. Shafer, who opposes
the idea of a county manager, is
right on the mark. That’s because in
our rural county, face-to-face inter-
action between elected leaders and
the body politic are essential and, to
some degree, expected to be part of
the governing process.
The idea of a county manager
may be the right choice but it needs
more work, and far more input,
from area voters before it is ready
for prime time.
Self-examination would be good
start in response to mass shootings
Senate Democrats try to bill
Republicans for working
regon’s Democratic leaders have
struggled to react to the failure of
House Bill 2020, the carbon tax
They tried to blame somebody else.
They heaped blame on the walkout by 11
Republican senators. But Democrats didn’t
have enough support in their own party to
get passage in the Senate.
They also vowed to fine those Republi-
can senators for the days they were absent
and the Senate was in session. That has
been just as much as a flop as the bill itself.
First Senate Majority Leader Ginny
Burdick, D-Portland, wanted to garnish the
lawmakers’ pay by $500 for each day they
didn’t appear. “The fines shall be collected
by forfeiture of any sum that becomes due
and payable to the absent member, includ-
ing salary and per diem,” Burdick said on
the Senate floor.
Democrats then backtracked, saying that
would be illegal.
Instead, Carol McAlice Currie, a
spokesperson for Sen. President Peter
Courtney, D-Salem, said senators would
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.
be sent invoices — $500 a day for a total of
“Individual bills will be sent to each
senator who missed work,” she said.“If they
refuse to pay, they will be sent through the
regular debt collection process.”
Billing them for what exactly? Serv-
ing their constituents by trying to defeat a
flawed bill? They were arguably working,
just not doing the bidding of Democrats.
The invoice announcement was in early
July. A month has passed, and nobody has
been sent invoices. Joshua Sweet, the man-
ager of the financial services department
of legislative administration, said Wednes-
day he didn’t know how it was supposed to
work. He and other legislative staff were
still trying to figure it out. He said gar-
nishment of legislative wages might be an
option if people didn’t pay up, but he did
The battle over the climate bill has been
useful in highlighting just how weak a
Democratic supermajority can be even with
a Democratic governor. There’s no better
example than Democratic legislators essen-
tially trying to bill Republican senators for
working to defeat the carbon tax bill.
f the circumstances weren’t so awful,
I don’t buy it.
the predictability of the response would
And the reality is that while mass shoot-
almost be laughable.
ings understandably generate the most atten-
Every mass shooting inspires new calls for tion, we’re killing each other in ways and
gun control, as politicians and pundits retreat
places that inspire a conspicuous lack of
to their partisan bunkers and lob blame where outrage.
they believe it will do the most damage.
Since the infamous clock tower shooting
I believe in the Constitution, though I don’t on the University of Texas campus in 1966,
view every piece of legislation designed to
there have been 165 mass shootings in the
keep firearms out of the hands of criminals or U.S., according to an analysis by the Washing-
the unstable as a slippery slope toward repeal
ton Post. For purposes of the analysis, a mass
of the Second Amendment.
shooting is defined as one in which four or
It seems pretty naive to think that some-
more people are killed by a single shooter. The
one bent on mass murder is going to forget the analysis does not include domestic or gang-re-
whole thing because he can’t get his
hands on a particular weapon. Crim-
Using the Post‘s criteria, 1,196
inals tend to be resourceful. Timothy
people in the U.S. have been killed
McVeigh killed 168 people in Okla-
in mass shootings since 1966.
homa City and never fired a shot.
In 2018, the number of homi-
“Assault weapon” is a made-up
cides — by firearms or otherwise
political term designed to expand
— in Chicago, Philadelphia and
the list of firearms that gun con-
Baltimore totaled 1,223.
trol proponents believe should be
Over the weekend in Chicago,
banned. The AR-15, which is a hunt-
53 people were shot, seven killed.
ing rifle, falls into this category. It
You probably haven’t heard much
fires one round at a time, like a pis-
tol or a revolver. It can fire about 50
I’m more interested in why we’re
rounds in a minute as opposed to a
killing each other wholesale, on a
fully automatic, military issue carbine which
daily basis, rather than how we’re doing it.
fires about 1,000 rounds per minute. The U.S.
Perhaps we need to look deeper than the
banned the sale of new, fully automatic weap- simplistic explanations — political rhetoric,
ons in 1986.
social media, video games, the availability of
You want to ban the AR-15? Fine. There
firearms — and consider a society in which
are tens of millions of legally owned AR-15s
people are willing to take lives without con-
in the U.S. And keep in the mind that the man sidering the impact or the consequences.
responsible for the deadliest school shooting
We dismiss the presence of evil in the
in American history — Virginia Tech in 2007 world until a massacre reveals it in neon. And
— used two handguns.
soon after, we dismiss it again.
So-called “red flag” laws, which President
We foster a culture of victimhood, where
Trump supports, and more expansive back-
our dissatisfaction with life is always someone
ground checks make sense. Seventeen states
already have red flag laws, which allows for a
We lack empathy for those who disagree
court order to prevent someone deemed a dan- with us.
ger to himself or others from having access to
We value revenge over forgiveness.
We talk about diversity only as it relates
That’s a start, though it will be difficult to
to physical characteristics, never diversity of
move forward, mostly because of the shame-
thought or opinion.
ful politicization of the issue. Within minutes
We allow our children to retreat into the
of the shooting in El Paso, Democratic presi-
isolation of a virtual world, devoid of genuine
dential candidates were blaming the president. human interaction.
If that’s the case then perhaps we should
We fight the rule of law and wonder why
blame the left for the Dayton shooter who,
our young people don’t respect authority.
according to published reports, was a socialist,
We dethrone God and exalt ourselves.
gun control advocate and Elizabeth Warren
As Christians, we do a great job of tell-
supporter. We can also blame the left for the
ing people what they shouldn’t be doing and a
man who shot up a Washington, D.C., base-
lousy job of showing them Jesus.
ball field and tried to kill several Republican
Yes, the one who pulled the trigger is ulti-
members of Congress in 2017. The shooter
mately responsible and accountable.
once worked for Bernie Sanders. Or maybe
Maybe the rest of us need to look in the
we can blame President Obama and his criti-
cism of police for inspiring a gunman to kill
five cops in Dallas in 2016.
Rich Manieri is a syndicated columnist.
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