Category: Oregon

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Circular Fire Arguments

The Eugene  Register-Guard editorial board discussed the impact of forest fire suppression on the Oregon State budget and some mechanisms for mitigating this impact. No surprise that this is their big suggestion: A longer-term approach would be to address a primary reason firefighting costs are so high — the buildup of flammable material in many forests. Thinning, debris removal and controlled burns all can reduce the volume of tinder. Such treatments are expensive, but so is fighting fires. Sorry, the buildup of flammable materials is not primary. First, the high cost of firefighting is due entirely to the fact that they...

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Why Keep Public Salaries Secret?

Well, I can’t think of any good reasons. As long as these entities and their employees want to pretend that they are public servants then they need to walk the talk: transparency! But, in today’s Eugene Register-Guard you will find this as the quoted key reason: “I could see people being upset,” Barnhart said. “Some people don’t want their spouses to know how much they make. This is going to make it available for the world to see. I don’t know what kind of liability we have for their privacy.” Help me with this, please! Some people do not want...

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Dog Days In Salem

vickie walker introduced legislation to allow dogs in the state capital (as if there aren’t enough already) and, surprisingly, not everyone agrees with her: One lawmaker who told her he wouldn’t support it was Rep. Wayne Krieger, R-Gold Beach. “I have three dogs and I love them, but I don’t want dogs under my seat, peeing on the wall or leaving mangy hair everywhere,” he said. “This is the Capitol. It’s not a doghouse.” Ya know, if this is krieger’s understanding of dogs I certainly feel sorry for the three he owns. Perhaps he needs a visit from pet protective...

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Thieves in Eugene?

The Lane Transit Authority thinks it has a problem with riders who do not pay full fare: Drivers have estimated that 2 percent to 5 percent of riders get away with an invalid fare, although one said recently that the number can be 15 percent to 20 percent on a busy day. Really, though, even 20% greatly understates the problem: After a recent review of operations, Lane Transit District has decided it will look into the problem of “fare evasion” — riders who don’t pay enough in fare, unknowingly or on purpose. ….. A payroll tax on local businesses provides...

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Not Good News for the People of Oregon

The Oregon legislature is going to have an off year special session. No good can come of this unless they do the unexpected and ban such sessions or spend significant time revoking previously passed legislation. Legislatures tend to spend their time passing legislation, you know, they think they know best how the rest of us should live our lives and spend our money. Unfortunately, most of this legislation consists of patchwork fixes to previously passed legislation. One thing we know is that they will not be doing is the people’s business. The people do their own business, voluntarily, with each...

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Representative Government?

This year Oregon residents learned a bit about the hollowness of the implementation of representative government: Seven legislators went behind closed doors to decide how to spend billions of state tax dollars. They also chose what legislation — from state Lotto games to sex offenders — would move and what would get squished. The lid was clamped so tight that lawmakers complained they were getting only scraps of information about deals cut between House and Senate leaders — deals that involved some of the most significant bills on the docket. You will probably not find much different in Washington, Idaho,...