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About The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current | View This Issue
The INDEPENDENT, April 16, 2009
Published on the first and third Thursdays of each month by
The Independent, LLC, 725 Bridge St., Vernonia, OR 97064.
Publisher Clark McGaugh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Rebecca McGaugh, email@example.com
Mentor Noni Andersen
Printed on recycled paper with vegetable based dyes
Hooray for death of 5-190
This past Tuesday, April 14, Columbia County Judge
Ted Grove struck down Measure 5-190 that would have
required a $10,000 fine to any employer who knowingly
or unknowingly hired an illegal immigrant. Had this law,
passed in last November’s election, gone into effect, it
would have been a nightmare for businesses in Colum-
bia County. The law was poorly written and basically un-
enforceable. Judge Grove ruled that 5-190 violated
state law, among other problems. It’s not Columbia
County’s responsibility to ‘fix’ the problems in this coun-
try with illegal immigrants, and 5-190 would have penal-
ized businesses, not kept out illegal workers.
Good start to WWTP plan
Vernonia’s City Council recently approved a contract
with an engineering firm, Brown & Caldwell, to review
our existing waste water treatment facilities, formulate
alternatives, and then act as project manager for a new
wastewater treatment plant, to be out of the way of fu-
ture floods. Unlike last time around, in 2005, the city’s
engineers will not decide on the system, decide on the
contractor to build it, and then oversee it. That process
got us into lawsuit trouble. Brown & Caldwell is not the
city engineer, though the city engineer was on the com-
mittee that chose this firm. Brown & Caldwell won’t be
the builder, that will be decided by a bid process. In oth-
er words, the city got it right this time and the fox isn’t
watching the henhouse.
District elections coming
Sometime after May 1, voters in Washington and Co-
lumbia counties will be getting a ballot in the mail. Don’t
think that since there are no presidents, senators or
legislators on the ballot that it is not important. This
election determines who is on the board of directors for
school districts, fire districts, and other special districts.
These people are volunteers, and they make important
decisions, like the one facing Vernonia’s school board
about where to put new schools and how to pay for
them, or the one facing Banks School District of who
will replace Superintendent Marv Ott and lead the
Banks School District.
Do your part to make sure these districts have good
direction by voting and voting wisely.
Out of My Mind…
by Noni Andersen
The latest outrage du
jour, resulting in “tea bag-
ging” Washington, D.C.,
wasn’t simply ridiculous; it
was at best ignorant, at
In trying to drum up op-
position to President Oba-
ma’s plan to roll back
President Bush’s tax cuts
from 35% to 39.6%, for the wealthiest Ameri-
cans, protesters planned another “Boston Tea
Party”. Part of the ignorance undoubtedly stems
from either inadequate or forgotten understand-
ing of U.S. history: Part of that 1773 protest was
for taxation without representation because the
American colonies had no representatives to
speak for them in the English Parliament.
Today’s protesters do not lack representation
in Congress; they can vote just like other Ameri-
cans, if they choose to do so. The really ignorant
part is their belief that the increase they are
protesting will affect most Americans. Actually, it
will affect only the wealthiest, by not renewing
the Bush tax cuts when they run out…in 2011.
The problem with “belief”, is that facts are irrele-
vant. Under Obama’s plan, 95% of working
Americans will see slightly lower taxes.
A bit of more recent history: During Dwight
Eisenhower’s administration, the wealthiest paid
up to 91% on the top portion of their earnings.
Under Richard Nixon, it was 70%. At the end of
Ronald Reagan’s first term it was 50%. Then it
was lowered more and the result caused George
H.W. Bush to increase it slightly, probably cost-
ing him a second term.
Obama’s plan would return the tax rate on
America’s wealthiest people to the level it was
under the Clinton administration. If you recall,
they had no difficulty prospering at that tax rate.
Another part of the reason for the original
Boston Tea Party wasn’t simply that a tax was
imposed on tea, but a loophole in that tax which
gave a tax break to the British East India Com-
pany to help them establish a tea monopoly in
the American colonies. The colonists thought
that the companies should be treated equally.
What an American idea!
An important additional element in Obama’s
plan is closing huge tax loopholes for oil compa-
nies, as well as corporations that ship jobs over-
seas. Oil company profits have remained very
high. Indeed, Exxon has had three years of
world record-setting profits.
(Do you remember 20 years ago, when the Exxon
Valdez tanker spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil
in Alaska’s Prince William Sound? The oil fouled 790
miles of shoreline within the Sound and more than
2,400 miles of shoreline along its 470 mile trajectory
from the Sound to the southern Kodiak Archipelago
and Alaska Peninsula. Many areas are still damaged,
but Exxon, that model of corporate integrity, still has-
n’t paid the final $92 million for cleanup.)
The Congressional GOP did finally present an
alternative budget proposal that includes more
tax cuts for the rich, keeping oil company tax
breaks, and eliminating the stimulus plan. Were
yesterday’s protests somewhat off target?