I just got back from a quick trip into Portland. On the way I took a quick detour through downtown Beaverton. What I saw there was shocking. Talking to business owners next to it meant talking to pretty pissed off people.
Instead of fixing the traffic problem in the Metro area, the state and Metro are building a billion dollar boondoggle to run two trains a day, from Beaverton to Wilsonville. It boggles the imagination. Here's the problem. Democrat Representatives in the Oregon House are lying to you if they say they are working for you. Portland is next to bankrupt and the State is spending billions on a railroad for two trips a day. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns.
Here's the breakdown:
House District #5. Democrat Peter Buckley. If you live in Jacksonville, Phoenix, Talent or Ashland, you need to find someone to run, either as a Democrat in the Primary, or as a Republican. When Portland goes banko, your taxes are going to bail them out.
House District # 8. Democrat Paul Holvey. This should be a Republican House seat. South Eugene and Veneta are populated with men and women who work and have families. It's time to challenge Paul Holvey in the Primary, or find a decent man or woman to run for the Republican nomination.
House District #9. Democrat Arnie Roblan. Coos Bay and North Bend needs someone to work for the timber and fishing industries. It's time to put all the groovey tourism crap to the side and think about jobs for men and women willing to work. Democrats used to be about working men and women. And as your property taxes go up, imagine how much more you'll have to give to help bail-out the Crazies in Portland. Portland is going to make you pay. Get a Democrat willing to work for your district, not hobnob with the Gifted Geniuses of Portland.
House District #10. Democrat Jean Cowan. Fishing towns like Yachats, Waldport and Newport have been on the ropes for years. Buying into the Responsible Growth Plan means your kids are going to be changing sheets and waiting tables for the gentle folk from Eugene and Portland. Let them change their own sheets. Get your kids back to work in the marine industry or the timber industry. Decent jobs, decent wages. And quality schools. Because you were working and could afford it. Now your schools rely on hand-outs from the state to stay open. Find a Dem who believes in the working man, or find a Republican who believes that you should work for your wages. Either way, the working man will find a friend who believes that one of your first rights is the right to a decent job.
House District #11. Democrat Phil Barnhart. Talk about a district that got screwed by gerrymandering. Jimmy Carter could get elected in this district. Take a look at your district map and ask, "Why did they put that middle-finger of Springfield into House District #12?" The answer is they wanted to take all that common sense out of district 11 and overwhelm it with the Eugene Commune. House District #11 is like the biggest political "comb-over" in the state. Creswell? It's up to you. West side of Lebanon and Sweet Home? You got pwnd by your Oregon sTate legislature. Face it, you guys are fried. You live in the biggest non-district in the state.
House District #12. E. Terry Beyer. Never vote for somebody who hasn't figured out what his own name is. The E. Terry Beyer should have been a dead give-away. But for a town where you can still walk into a tavern and have a smoke with your beer, this should have been an easy shot for you. And if you're a union guy you need to tell your rep that he's YOUR REP and find a Democrat who believes in jobs and working.
House District #13. Nancy Nathanson. Wasn't Mary Burrows your representative back when it was House District #41? Republicans have always been big on education. Democrats used to care about education, too...before they became hysterical about global warming and socializing medicine. Smart people in Eugene should ask why the brakes on Portland's slide into the precipice aren't applied. Eugene is looking over the edge, too. Be careful of some of your crazy mass transit ideas. And hey, being tolerant of different lifestyles doesn't mean you throw your brain out with the water...or somesuch thing. Dressing funny is cool. Taking your city into bankruptcy or having to bail out Portland because your representative is chummy with the Portland Mafia means YOU are not being represented. YOU are being an useful idiot.
House District #14. Chris Edwards. This should be a Republican seat. This is still Bethel-Danebo and Clairmont, isn't it? Decent people with decent jobs. North Eugene High School. Barney knew how to teach basketball, back in the day. You've been stuck with some of the worst representation in the history of the state. Don't remember who your legislator was back in the '70's and '80's? 'Course not. Back when Labor meant work, you voted for Democrats. Now that Democrat means Socialism, you should ask yourself if this is what you wanted and do you want it for your children? 'Course not. Find a Dem that believes in work or get a Republican. You can do better.
House District #16. Sara Gelser. She's cute. She's never run a business. She's cute. Cuddley. Adorable. How does she vote? For the people who pay the bills in Corvallis and Philomath, this should be a no-brainer. Tony Van Vliet was a great representative. He could talk the babble stuff with the long-hairs on the University campus with a sense of humor. He believed and voted for substantive improvements in our state's education system. Working with Mary Rieke the state was able to make some transformative changes in our state's school districts. Now we worry about whether or not Global Warming is going to be taught to enough children. It's time to move away from indoctrination back to education. But I don't think you can find a Democrat in Benton county that would stick his/her neck out. The status quo is good enough.
House District #21. Brian Clem. Ha! Another brutal victim of Gerrymandering. It took a lot of pencil work to find a way to create this district. If they did this kind of thing to South Boston schools they'd still be protesting school bussing. But in Oregon, you get cut off from your neighbors, from the folks you meet a school plays and concerts and you never know it. Good luck. You've been disenfranchised and you never even knew it.
House District #22. Betty Komp. I don't have any argument with Betty Komp. I know that she is disturbed by a lot of what she sees and has seen in Salem. If they hadn't drawn the district the way they did, she'd probably be a lot more forceful in her opposition to a lot of the plans drawn up by the Portland Mafia. As is, she represents a rural district that has been sliced into the two major towns of a rural district. It's unfair to her and her constituents. But, that's Oregon for you.
House District #27. He worked in the Clinton administration. He's got a job as a "product developer" for NIKE. Which you'd expect for a guy with Bachelors degree in Politics and Economics from Willamette University as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington. Which reminds me...isn't there a NIKE employee on the governor's Global Climate Change Group? This job couldn't be a placeholder, could it? I mean, a product developer for a company that makes sports shoes. What's next, Ping Pong shoes? An undeveloped niche? Tomorrow's profit center. NIKE's a big company. They deserve their own representative. And it's a company known for throwing some serious cash around. You milk that cow. You don't think steak.
House District #28. Jeff Barker. Lucy's got some 'splainin to do.
At the top of this page I mention the debacle of the "new train line" running through Beaverton. This guy has constituents who are being and have been screwed by the state and Metro.
When traffic gets even worse in Beaverton, put fliers out pointing out who your state representative was when all this nonsense when into place. But, the guy has never had a job outside of government work. So, perhaps this is all understandable. Guys who never have to worry about making a payroll never worry about it when they're in charge. Just ask Hugo Chavez. Eh?
House District #29. Chuck Riley. Smart guy. If he was in a district that represented people from the same community, this guy would probably have been a real thorn in the side of Governor Ted. But, again, gerrymandering has taken the urban centers out of rural communities and created a spaghetti string district that divides neighbors and separates community interests. In terms of getting elected, this is a "D" district. In terms of representing the people with investments in and around his district, this again is a case of silent disenfranchisement.
House District #30. David Edwards. This guy is "doable". Find a Republican who can talk about "central plannning and central planners" and the beauty of Planned Highway Congestion, crowded neighborhoods and stupid light rail, and you have a winner. Point out the billions being spent on a stupid trolley in downtown Portland. Talk about stop and go traffic between home and anywhere. Oh, and add that "they" want you to use a bike. Rattle him a little and he gets tongue-tied. Ask for efficiency? He'll talk about increasing the role of government.
House District #31. Brad Witt. This district and House District #32 are examples of destroying the character of a community to ensure electable districts. They couldn't even draw the whole of Columbia county into the district because this would destroy their plan to split the population of Clatsop county down the middle. The problem Representative Witt has, again, is that his voice is limited the way the voices of Chuck Riley and Betty Komp are limited. By removing a community identity, these guys are forced to "go mainstream" since the mainstream narrative thread is what is propelling the Democrat party forward. Smart Growth? It's BS to folks in Clatskanie and Ranier. Ranier used to have one of the nicest high school campuses in the state until the Smart Growth people got in there and turned Trojan into an empty shell. (No pun intended.)
House District #32. Deborah Boone. Major achievement. Planning for animals in disasters. No, seriously, that was her big thing in the last session. Nobody noticed, but now we're going to have a central planning agency to make sure the doggies and the kitties and the birds and the horsies and the cowsies are planned for in an emergency. Because pet owners and ranchers--I guess--are just too stupid to be relied upon. This made major water in teh Animal crowd. I met and talked with one of these Animal people in Cannon Beach last winter. Oh, yeah, baby, for the right circle of friends this was a big one. For you and me and the guys who rely on animal stocks for their bread and butter? Look out for another reason for Big Brother to tell you how to run your life. "I'm from the Government? I'm here to help you." If the Republican who ran against her last time had half a brain he would have won. He was so bad, I voted for her.
Clatsop county has some major economic advantages. Splitting the representation in the Oregon House between North County and South County has been a terrific blunting force. But the Port of Portland is a major player in determining outcomes when it comes to marine resources...and wouldn't have it any other way.
House District #33. Mitch Greenlick. Another smart guy. The only smart guy problem I have is that when you present them with a problem they get involved in trying to solve the problem. He's been co-opted. He doesn't even know it. He's doing what people elected him to do. Solve problems. My problem? Government doesn't solve these problems well. But you give a guy a stick and tell him to beat a dead horse, don't be surprised when he comes back asking for a bigger stick. A Republican could beat him. Just talk about commute times, congestion and Smart Growth. And the fact that Portland is going down the Bankruptcy Hole.
Solving problems is great. Accountability for your solutions? Meh.
House District #34. Susan Bonamici. Between the light-rail fiasco and Smart Growth congestion, holding her accountable to the voters for her decisions should be a no-brainer. There's nothing wrong with her resume. She got bored being a mom. Great place to be. Raising funds for worthy causes. Great place to be. Try running a business with "a great place to be". This one should be a pick-up.
House District #35. Larry Galizio. His resume is all you need to know. Smart Growth? Excellent idea. And don't forget, because of him, Tigard now has two off-leash dog parks. This guy's not even a moving target. Empty words and phrases when you dump onto the I-5 everyday...let people know that the reason why it takes twenty minutes to pick up Johnny at grade school 3 miles away. Like, they're gonna build a light-rail spur between your house and Johnny's school.
House District #36. Mary Nolan. Abortion, environment, education. Boiler-plate. But didn't at least part of her district used to belong to Phil Lang? Ms. Nolan needs to learn that if given a choice, people would prefer parking and highways to Smart Growth. Did you know most people in her district have never heard of Smart Growth? Talk about the billions being spent on a railway between Beaverton and Wilsonville. Wilsonville, the Destination of the South! If you're on Council Crest you wanna get to work. You don't want the City to go Bankrupt. You're educated and would love to vote for a Republican who isn't tied up with this Abortion/Pro-Life dichotomy. Betcha Guiliani carries this district.
House District #38. Greg Macpherson. LO is a snitty community, but they aren't dumb. Are they ready to admit that things aren't getting better? States provide fundamentals. Like, how can I get there from here? Mary Rieke never stroked the voters. Stop talking about spending more money on things "we don't need" and make sure teachers, communities and people have the tools to make things work. BTW, I've heard that GM may have some surprises coming up. We'll see.
House District #40. Dave Hunt. Just saying House District #40 brings back some great memories. Starting back in 1975, House District #40 was represented by one of our state's great men, David Frohnmayer. Of course, back then Lane county had some great legislators; Mary Burrows, Dave Frohnmayer, Bill Rogers and George Wingard. It had some real stinkers, too. But back then the stinkers were more "laughable". Anyway, I digress. After the latest round of gerrymandering, the New District #40 is in Clackamas county. How the mighty have fallen.
There's something about the Republican party in Clackamas county that I haven't liked for, oh, say, 30 years. Maybe I'm wrong. But the central committe has always seemed to be populated by people willing to "draw the line" without worrying about electability. Maybe it's justified? They have some great leaders. State Senator Roger Beyer. State Senator Larry George. Representative Vic Gilliam, Representative Jerry Krummel, Representative Scott Bruun (who is also one of the few CFO's in the Legislature), Representative Wayne Scott, who is also the House Minority Leader, Representative Linda Flores and Representative Patti Smith. All I'm saying is, go to one of their central committee meetings. It will be coming up next year. Just go. It'll open your eyes.
Anyway, District 40. Dave Hunt. This guy was elected Majority Leader. So when you're voting to repeal property rights or to put a tax on cigarettes into the state's constitution, remember, this is the guy who made is possible. When you're stuck idling on the freeway, remember, this is the guy who made it possible. When you look at the billions being spent of a twice-daily train between Beaverton and Wilsonville, remember who made it possible. When the state's SCHIP initiative gets passed and your find out the funding isn't there and your taxes go up, remember who did this to you. Is Dave Hunt gonna have some funds? You betcha. This is the Leftie finger up the nose to Clackamas county. Should he get re-elected? Ha! This is a guy who thinks building a healthy economy means more government money. Would you vote for him?
House District #41. Carolyn Tomei. Wasn't this Wally Priesty's district in the '70's? This neighborhood would have benefitted most from the Mount Hood freeway. At the time, this district was a mix of blue-collar/middle-low income and an elitist set of thinkers from Reed and Eastmoreland environs. How's the 99 working today? Smart Growth? Gimme a break. There are lots of folks around Kellogg Creek who would love to be able to get to their boats and work within minutes. Increasing density drives the value of their homes down. The next time you run down to the Acropolis for lunch, remember her commitment to light-rail. Obviously the Dems think she's in a safe seat or they wouldn't have made her the poster child for light-rail. Actually more busses would make sense. But they're not sexy. They're cheaper and more efficient at moving a lot of people quickly, to and fro. But, they're not sexy. You want to move commuters off the streets? Give 'em busses. And lots of them. The voters will love you.
House District #42. Diane Rosenbaum. Ethics and Rules in the Oregon Legislature is an oxymoron. For the first time in Oregon history the decision to have an "emergency" session was made before the past session ended. This is a violation of our state's constitution. But, when you're in charge of Ethics...anything is possible, neh?
First things first. Take a look at a map of her district. Take a look at the map of Representative Phil Barnhart's district. The thing I want you to look at is the shape of the district. Now take a look at Betty Komp's district. Or Chuck Riley's district. See the similarities and the differences?
Diane Rosenbaum's district approximates Phil Barnhart's district in shape, more than it does Betty Komp's district or Chuck Riley's district. At first blush one might be tempted to say that my accusation that Phil Barnhart's district was a victim of malicious gerrymandering might not be supported by the shape shown on these maps. Aha! This is one of the egregious errors allowed by the reviewing body. (Hmm. Who could that be? And who appointed them?)
But a closer look at Barnhart's map shows that while the shape approximates that which would would be conceived of as a "normal district", if you examine it one fact pops out: In Barnhart's district all the population has been spread on North/South East/West poles as is physically possible by the map makers. There's a lotta land there, but any votes from the nearest cities to the folks that live there have been stripped out: Lebanon, Sweet Home, Springfield and Junction City. So folks who send their kids to school in those towns have no common cause with other parents in the school district. What was the old dictum? Divide and conquer? (Machiavellian? In Oregon? Watcher Mouth!)
Then compare the extent to which this "block" approach has been avoided by Komp's and Riley's districts. Nothing but urban...in a rural area. My kids go to school with your kids, but you've got a town job and I've got a real job. Are real communities being served by this type of gerrymandering? I don't think so. I don't think you think so. Gerrymandering isn't about representation. It's about electability.
So why this rant when talking about House District #42? In the history of Portland, in the history of Oregon, has this district ever elected a Republican? Wasn't Phil Brady it's rep in 1939?
Wasn't Ward Cook it's representative in 1955?
Was it Jim Chrest's in 1977?
In other words, hasn't this district been profiled as being safe for Democrats? Yeah. Sure. And hey, there's nothing wrong with having a solid community with solid community beliefs however crazy as they may be. Ms. Rosenbaum may be a perfect fit for this community. And, she has delivered. They are spending billions to bring a "trolley" to the East Side. You wanna know where your tax dollars are going? Right into Speaker Pro TemporeRepresentative Diane Rosenbaum's district. Deliver the pork? No bad. Good job, Ms. Rosenbaum.
Any chance for change here? Phht.
House District #43. Chip Shields.
House District #44. Tina Kotek. Socialist. The Whole Bonanza. Smart Growth. Whatever nutty program to come down the pike. Never saw a solution she didn't like. Taking her on is going to be a gritty affair. Just remember, you can't keep crying wolf and expect the villagers to come running, time after time. Attack early. And keep it up. Her record is indefensible. The City of Portland is verging on bankruptcy. The state has asked for more responsibility than it can afford. Basic transportation needs aren't being met. And increased unionization of basic rights--your child's education--has moved taking care of our kids from being the goal to a by-product. But North Portland is fertile ground for change. And where is the Interstate Bridge project going to be next year?
House District #45. Jackie Dingfelder. I know too many people in the Alameda district to believe that a smart, competant Republican couldn't cruise this district. Want to talk about the "housing bubble"? This district wakes up looking at the interest rate. Find anybody with a banking/financials background and you'll walk to the finish. It would also help if you believed in jogging and playing some hoops at Grant Park. Take Smart Growth, bad streets and highways, municipal bankruptcy and lay this one in, baby. She's toast.
House District # 46. Ben Cannon. Boobie. District in transition. Gentrification. Same as House District #45. Did I mention door-to-dooring? Don't be mawkish. Let the other side be mawkish. I's and R's worry about wealth.
House District #47. If you've ever gone hunting with a good tracker you're always amazed out how easy it is to find your prey. Jeff Merkley has his fingerprints all over the place. Gentrification cuts both ways. You can attack the man. But, he's gonna stand up and defend every decision he's ever made. The right guy to beat him is living in this neighborhood right now. When was the last time you went door-to-door looking for your candidate? This guy is not looking for you. You need to be looking for him.
House District #48. Mike Schaulfer. Didn't I pick strawberries in Happy Valley? Representative Schaulfer is a union guy. The district has no problem with union guys. Have you done polling on immigration? Oh, I'm a racist. Yeah. Why the unions have backed union busting illegals is beyond me. Rank and file? They're okay guys. Leadership? Keep sending in the checks. This guy is redeemable.
And that's it.
What's it going to take to get over this death-spiral in Oregon? The Democrats have a two vote advantage over Republicans.
Two votes. And I've given you, what, 25 Democrat seats that are "do-able"?
There are some very smart men and women in the Democrat party. And just as we saw the Republican party dominated by evangelical/anti-abortion activists in the '70's, the Democrat party is being beleagured by a socialist/anti-productivity activist wing in this decade. No rational home-owner in Northeast Portland is going to accept the Smart Growth vision of more bicycles. And without adequate transportation, those folks are going to see the value of their homes decreasing. Measure 15 anticipated what's happening in Multnomah county. There is some chance that a "tame" State Supreme Court might find a reason to change the meaning of Measure 15. But, unlike New York City, Portland really shouldn't look for a federal bail-out. State Treasurer Randall Edwards may be taking credit for stuff that's going to boomerang in the next few years. By the way, is he running for re-election? No? Hmm.
The state is on the cusp of disaster. Which has followed Kulongoski around like an albatross during his entire career. When he showed up in 1975 people wondered where and how high his star would rise. With President Bush's veto of SCHIP financing, the crown jewel of Governor K's career as a politician will end on another disastrous note. His recent comments about finding a way to give illegal immigrants legal identification are going to further diminish his legacy. Driving an ill-conceived energy policy will boost costs of production in the state which, combined with higher corporate taxes, will further push away investment in the state. What has been amazing is the coterie of accomplices which have accompanied this governor on his unsated rush to create the nation's first eco-dystopia.
There are those, on both sides of the political divide, who are smart enough to have questioned the goals and ideology of the governor. But if you, like I, live in a small town, you know that the trappings of the office do, in fact, change the nature and character of the man. A guy you used to have beers with is now having cocktails with the Government Relations Director of Nike. Have you been to the Nike campus? Man. It's cool.
If you don't have a strong character, you'll fall for anything. Hans J. Morgenthau once wrote about the difficulty of "swimming against the tide". If you've ever read Marcus Aurelius you know how much he struggled against taking the advice of people who gave him the O'Rielly view. Populism is no replacement for intellectual rigour.
So, that's my take on the state of the state. We're voting for things we shouldn't be, and voting for people who shouldn't be running. But I guess that's the way things are everywhere, neh? To read the Oregonian or listen to Portland radio or Portland TV you'd think the entire state has gone Lefty. It hasn't. Just two votes in the Oregon House.
Got work to do. The State paying for a Railroad Line between Wilsonville and Beaverton. How many people in Wilsonville wake up wondering "How am I getting to Beaverton today?"
Youdda thunk somebody in Salem would have asked this question. Two votes.