East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, August 16, 2019, Page 20, Image 20

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East Oregonian
Friday, August 16, 2019
News Editor
Hermiston Editor
Founded October 16, 1875
Elected, public leaders answer to the public
ccasionally it is prudent to
remind voters in Oregon of
a few, fundamental elements
regarding our access to government.
In Oregon, the presumption is always
government is, and will always will be,
open to public scrutiny. This scrutiny
promotes our form of democracy and
also furnishes a degree of transparency.
In short, all Oregonians have a right
to know what their government is doing,
how it is spending taxpayer money and
what that money is spent on. This isn’t a
nifty notion, or an aspiration. It is a right.
Like the right to keep and bear arms.
Like the right of free speech. It isn’t a
debatable item.
In short, every single Oregonian has
the right to prepare and deliver a public
records request to any government entity
to seek specific records. Some records
are inaccessible and are “exempt.” These
exempt records are that way for a very
specific reason with a narrow scope.
The important question for readers is
what is a newspaper’s role in such a par-
Courtesy photo
The Oregon Capitol in Salem.
adigm. A newspaper — a good one at
least — acts as a sort of de facto repre-
sentative of the people. When matters
that are important to the body politic as
a whole come to light, the newspaper
can act in the public interest and file a
public records request. This action isn’t
about pursing red herrings or hounding
hard-working elected and public offi-
cials. The process is designed to help
inform the public — voters — so they
can make good decisions about policy.
That’s because elected and appointed
officials — at least in our nation — don’t
get to do whatever they want when they
want. Our system doesn’t work that
way. Every public and elected official is
beholden to the voters. Every public and
elected official has but one responsibility
— to represent their constituents.
That means, in the end, that public
and elected leaders are required to be
open with the public. Whether they want
to or not, they must answer to the body
politic. As a newspaper, our role is ensur-
ing that those elected and appointed offi-
cials don’t lose sight of that important
fact and to certify they are being open
and transparent.
Occasionally, that system puts us
at odds with people who have the best
interest of the public at heart but don’t
see why certain elements of their work
should be open to the public. We take no
pleasure creating more work for public or
elected officials but we consider our role
as a watchdog to be vital for not only the
health of our little piece of the Republic
but for the well-being of our system of
government as a whole.
We take our job seriously and read-
ers should rest assured we will meet any
challenge to keep our readers informed.
After all, that’s our job.
Maybe the real Fredo
wasn’t so dumb after all
Don’t blame the gun
for mass shootings
Well, here we go again with
demands for taking guns from
law-abiding citizens. These most
recent, horrible shootings have
sparked a new onslaught of rage
and outcry to ban gun sales and
ownership — especially of the
category of “assualt weapons.”
Many agree that something dif-
ferent must be done; something to
limit access to firearms for those
suffering from mental illness is a
good place to start.
Most of the shooters are young
men who have a track record of
mental instability of some sort.
Often they broadcast this online
for the entire world to see. The
Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz,
had a long history of problems
at school. He had actually been
expelled for bringing guns to
school. He had been in a fight not
long before he killed fellow stu-
dents, but was only referred to
social workers and not the police.
He stated more than once he
wanted to be a school shooter. He
purchased the murder weapon
I hope people understand
that at one point Brower County
recorded more school arrests than
any other Florida district. To com-
bat this embarrassment, the school
board and disgraced Brower
County sheriff devised a plan to
artificially reduce in-school arrests
to try and curb this “school to
prison pipeline.” They basically
just decided to forgive suspensions
and expulsions, which resulted
in a 63% reduction of in-school
arrests from 2012 to 2016. Even
Obama complimented this dis-
trict on this drastic reduction and
pointed to them as an example of
how understanding and forgive-
ness works so well — except for
those students killed and their
If Cruz would have been
arrested for any of these griev-
ances, he would have been pre-
vented from legally buying a fire-
arm. Would that have stopped him
fromslaughtering so many fellow
students? We won’t know, but it
would have sure slowed him down
and made it more difficult. This
was the fault of many — the sher-
iff, the school board, his parents
— for not being willing to identify
his obvious mental problems and
deal with them before this hap-
pened. It wasn’t the gun’s fault.
David Burns
Don’t hide behind
‘the people’ in defense
of stalling legislation
On Sen. Bill Hansell’s decision
“to leave”:
Senator, you contend a prin-
cipled objection to the refusal of
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.
the Senate majority to refer a bill
to the voters as the reason you left
your post. I respect your conten-
tion, which I assume is based on a
belief in direct democracy.
Oregon’s constitution to the
contrary, the United States is not
a direct democracy. It’s charming
for small towns in New Hamp-
shire deciding which days private
contractors should pick up the
trash, but it is absurd in the con-
text of a complicated economy of
4 million people.
The legislature spent months
considering how to confront cli-
mate change. After examining
what was effective and politically
possible, it wrote a bill and put it
on the floor. That’s our system.
I cannot imagine, much as
I would love to, that “the peo-
ple” have the time and exper-
tise to weigh the pros and cons
of the cap-and-trade bill or any
other bill the legislature may
consider. That’s why you are a
If you’ve got a better idea, put
it in the marketplace of ideas, and
stand by the results. But please
don’t hide behind “the people.”
Your job is to lead.
Democracy works when gov-
ernment fairly reflects the major-
ity, with respect for the minority. It
does not work when barely a third
of one body of the legislature stalls
the process.
Bennett Minton
redo has a good heart but
things, on a fairly regular basis. It’s not
so bad.
he is weak ... and stupid.”
Years ago, when I was working as
— Michael Corleone
a reporter for the Fox TV station in
Poor Fredo. Poor, poor Fredo.
First, he’s talked into double-cross- Philadelphia, some guy I had never
seen before called me a “pompass a —
ing his own brother.
dago. Now, that’s an ethnic slur.
“I know it was you, Fredo. You
In this case, Cuomo was giving the
broke my heart. You broke my heart.”
guy with the camera exactly what he
Then his brother disowns him.
wanted so he continued to taunt him.
“Fredo, you’re nothing to me now.
“You’re a much more
You’re not a brother. You’re
reasonable guy in person
not a friend. When you see
than you seem to be on tele-
our mother, I wanna know a
vision,” he said to Cuomo.
day in advance so I won’t be
“If you want to play,
we’ll play,” the anchor-
And then he goes on a
man responded. “If you’ve
one-way fishing trip.
got something to say about
“I ordered the death of
what I do on television, then
my brother. He injured me.
R ich
say it.”
I killed my mother’s son. I
A little later, he threat-
killed my father’s son.”
ened to throw the guy down
Now, his very name is
the stairs.
being misinterpreted as a
I think I speak for most, if not all
racial/ethnic slur.
Someone with a camera saw CNN Italians, that if someone called me
Fredo, I would assume he meant that
anchor Chris — “Are you talking to
I’m a dope. Not sure why Cuomo went
me?” — Cuomo at a New York bar
with the racial/ethnic defense right out
and called the younger brother of
of the box.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Yes, the outburst was over the
“Fredo,” Michael Corleone’s simple,
top. But maybe he got caught in an
younger brother in “The Godfather.”
unguarded moment, with his family,
The video went viral, not because
some jerk is trying to trigger an out-
of the “Fredo” reference but because
burst and Cuomo takes the bait. The
of Cuomo’s reaction. The newsman
video, by the way, had more than 3.4
didn’t exactly dismiss the insult as if
he were shooing away an annoying fly. million views by Tuesday.
And, of course, Twitter erupted,
“No, punk-ass b--es from the right
with President Donald J. Trump,
call me ‘Fredo.’ My name is Chris
who never passes on bait, leading the
Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN,”
Cuomo responded. ‘Fredo’ was from
“I think what Chris Cuomo did
‘The Godfather.’ He was a weak
was horrible. His language was horri-
brother and they use that as an Italian
ble, he looked like a total out-of-con-
slur — are any of you Italian? ... It’s
trol animal. He lost it, and frankly, I
a f---ing insult to your people. It’s an
don’t think anybody should defend
insult to your f--kin’ people. It’s like
the N-word for us. Is that a cool f---ing him because he spews lies every
Trump can’t stand Cuomo because
Chris — paison, bubula (I’m
of his politics and Cuomo hammers
one-quarter Jewish so I’m covered)
— take it easy. I know we Italians are Trump on CNN night after night.
known for our passion and quick tem- These two won’t be ordering a mar-
garita with two straws.
per, but your blood pressure, son!
So, to recap, we have some guy
“Fredo” is not a racial or ethnic
slur. If it is, it’s news to me. I just think with a phone trying, and succeed-
it means, as Donald Trump Jr. pointed ing, to get under the skin of a network
out, that you’re the meathead younger news anchor, who responds with a pro-
fanity-laced tirade, to which the Pres-
brother. That’s all. No need to get all
worked up. Even the real Fredo under- ident of the United States responds by
stood that much.
calling the news anchor an “animal.”
“I can handle things. I’m smart.
Of all the characters in this whole
Not like everybody says, like dumb.”
drama, the real Fredo is starting to
I’ve never been called “Fredo,”
look pretty sharp.
probably only because I don’t have an
Rich Manieri is a syndicated
older brother. But I have been called
a moron and an idiot, among other
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
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Pendleton, OR 97801