Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekend Wanderings

Posted By on Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 6:06 PM

In between telecasts of the Winter Olympics, I spent much of the past week following the fascinating saga of Matt Wingard's plagiarism.

Wingard, a Republican state representative from Wilsonville, rose to his feet in the House last Friday to deliver some remarks casting doubt on the reality of global warming. No problem with that.

The problem, as Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon found out with a little digging, was that Wingard's speech had been lifted virtually word for word from an editorial in the Washington (aka "Moonie") Times. Chisholm posted a devastating side-by-side comparison of Wingard's remarks and the editorial.

Wingard told Oregonian blogger Jeff Mapes that "he had always intended to put out a press release making it clear where the material came from. He said he didn't put out the release on Friday because press releases tend to get ignored right before the weekend."

Uh, Matt, you didn't have to put out a press release - all you had to do was say at the opening of your speech something along the lines of: "I would like to share with my colleagues a recent editorial from the Washington Times."

But you didn't. You tried to pass off somebody else's writing as your own. That's plagiarism in anybody's book.


Here's an idea whose time has come: The Oregon House on Thursday passed a bill to crack down on owners of foreclosed homes who let them get dilapidated and overrun with weeds, thus dragging down the value of other homes in the neighborhood.

The measure, House Bill 3657, would subject banks and other owners of such eyesores to fines of up to $150 a day.

"The measure, which passed 35-23, was opposed by Republican lawmakers who questioned whether the bill was necessary and warned that it could potentially hurt financial institutions," Jeff Mapes wrote .

Well, hell yes - we've gotta take care of those poor financial institutions.


The front page of Friday's Bulletin had a story and a cool half-page graphic about the expansion of the Redmond Airport terminal.

The story reported that the terminal improvements cost $40 million. According to earlier stories, the total airport improvement project, including additional parking and new roadways, will cost somewhere north of $60 million. The cost is being covered half by revenue bonds and half by state and federal grants. That means 30 million of your tax dollars and mine were sunk into it.

And the Redmond Airport is small potatoes compared to what governments spend on airports and aviation-related services nationwide. The Federal Aviation Administration's budget for FY 2010 is an eye-popping $16 billion.

As an occasional user of the Redmond Airport, I agree it will be nice to have a spiffier, more spacious, more comfortable terminal. But I have to ask: Why do conservatives raise so much hell over taxes being spent on public buses and light rail (used primarily by low- and middle-income people) but never bat an eye over taxes spent to subsidize air travel (used on a frequent basis mostly by relatively affluent people)?

Hmmm, maybe I just answered my own question.


The Bend City Council and downtown merchants are wrestling again with the eternal downtown parking problem. Chuck Arnold, head of the Downtown Bend Business Association, proposed ending free two-hour parking in the lots near Mirror Pond - prompting some merchants to call for his head.

I like the "carrot and atom bomb" solution proposed by Duncan McGeary of Pegasus Books:

"If it's true that the parking garage is always 'half-full,' here's a suggestion: Give the second from the top level to employees [of downtown businesses] for free or for a very, very modest fee. Then fine them a Million Dollars for parking violations."

Dunc admits, "Even that won't work for some dufuses, but you have to ask yourself if ANYTHING would."


Another Ducks football player has run afoul of the law: Eugene police arrested sophomore linebacker Kiko Alonso, 19, for DUI early Satuday morning.

Alonso's arrest was the latest in a long string of unsavory incidents involving the student-athletes of UO Nike. Running back LaMichael James was arrested last Monday on charges of choking his girlfriend. QB Jeremiah Masoli and wide receiver Garrett Embry have been accused of stealing from a fraternity house. Kickers Mike Bowlin and Rob Beard were involved in a street brawl, and Beard was charged with assault. Later, defensive end Matt Simms was charged with assaulting someone he thought had been involved in the fight.

The Wandering Eye is looking into reports that Phil Knight has a team of designers working overtime on a new uniform for next season -- a tasteful number with horizontal black and white stripes.

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