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Thursday, April 29, 2010

AG Finds No Crime in Bellotti Contract

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 11:50 PM

 

Oregon Attorney John Kroger announced today that his office will not be filing criminal charges against the University of Oregon over its handling of the dismissal of former football coach and athletic director Mike Bellotti, who was given a roughly $2.3 million severance earlier this year by the school. Bellotti was working without a contract at the time of the generous payout. In a press release issued Thursday morning, Kroger said the university had exposed itself to “substantial legal risk” by allowing Bellotti to work without a written contract. Because of that legal risk, Kroger said it was not unreasonable for the school to settle the matter. Bellotti left the school to take a job with ESPN after the university’s new president Richard Lariviere informed him privately that it would be cutting ties with the popular coach turned AD. Lariviere has subsequently said that the university needed someone with more business experience than Bellotti to run the school's athletic department (aka cash cow). Hmmm. Maybe it's time to pick up the Swoosh Phone and call Uncle Phil.


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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

City Council Race Adds Another Candidate

Local business owner to run for Bend City Council

Posted By on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 10:20 PM


While most eyes are on the primary with the May 18 election fast approaching, there is already some preliminary jockeying for the three Bend City Council seats up for grabs in November. Local businessman and BendFilm board member Scott Ramsay was the latest to announce his intention to run. Ramsay said in a press release that he had filed preliminary paperwork with the state to run for the seat currently held by former mayor Oran Teater who recently announced that he would not be seeking re-election this fall. Teater was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Chris Telfer after she was elected to the state Senate where she now holds the seat vacated by the late Ben Westlund.

For his part, Ramsay said he has long been vocal about his political views and decided to run for council thanks in part to the encouragement of current City Councilor Jeff Eager, who is a family friend and has worked as an attorney representing Ramsay’s businesses that include the Sun Mountain Fun Center and the variety shop Casarama. Ramsay describes himself as a fiscal conservative with an open mind who expects government to accord itself with the same kind of responsibility and restraint that society expects of individuals.

However, he added, “I certainly wouldn’t call myself a thundering conservative in all realms.” 

As far as a platform, Ramsay said he believes the city needs to do a better job of creating a positive environment for business that will help grow our local economy and sustain our tax base.

Ramsay has a little bit of practical experience to draw upon when it comes to the city’s business friendliness. His plan to redevelop the corner around Casarama at Division Street and Revere Avenue was stymied by the city, which, according to Ramsay, demanded $600,000 to $700,000 worth of adjacent road improvements just to break ground.

It’s still a few months before candidates can officially file petitions to run for city council, but the race for Teater’s seat is already taking shape with Downtown Business Association Executive Director Chuck Arnold having already announced that he will be seeking the seat. Other seats in play in November include that held by Mayor Pro Tem Mark Capell and that of Jodie Barram.

 


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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Showdown With Dr. No (wilderness) on the John Day

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 12:17 AM

The latest Central Oregon wilderness lands bill took a step forward today clearing Sen. Ron Wyden's public lands subcommittee in a development that could set the stage for another wilderness showdown with Sen. Tom Coburn, aka Dr. No, the Nebraska Oklahoma Republican who held previously held up the Badlands designation and has thrown up procedural roadblocks on all wilderness bills over what he says are unfunded costs, but look to us just like more petty partisanship.

The Cathedral Rock/Horse Heaven Wilderness would create a pair of new federally designated wilderness areas along and adjacent to the John Day River, opening up thousands of acres of new lands to the public while moving other public parcels into the hands of private landowners. The move, if successful, would address the historic "checkerboard" ownership patterns in the John Day area where public and private lands are often intermingled, leading to conflicts between users, notably hunters who reportedly sometimes stray from public lands onto private parcels including a Christian youth ranch located on the former Rajneesh Purim outside the tiny town of Antelope.

In all, about 16,000 acres would be included in the new wilderness area, including 9,000 acres along and immediately adjacent to the John Day River, which although accessible only by the river would open up additional camping and hiking options for boaters along the popular stretch of river.

While it's unlikely the proposal will come up for a vote of the full Senate because of Coburn's parliamentary maneuvering, it is likely to join other pending wilderness legislation in a yet-to-be-introduced omnibus public lands bill similar to the one that passed with the Badlands and Spring Basin wilderness areas.

"There's a couple of things that have happened in the last year that are building momentum for that (omnibus) package," said Aaron Kilgore, the wilderness coordinator for Oregon Natural Desert Association, the Bend-based conservation organization that helped broker the deal with the BLM and adjacent private landowners, including Bend's Bill Smith, of Old Mill fame, whose family owns a large ranch on the John Day.


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