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Monday, May 31, 2010

There's a Hole in the Budget - Again

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Gov. Ted Kulongoski gave Oregonians an ugly surprise last week: There’s an unexpected $570 million hole in the state’s budget for the next biennium.

The hole was discovered when the state processed the 2009 income tax returns and discovered that incoming revenue was a lot less than anticipated. Exercising his “allotment authority” under state law, the governor announced he would order a 9% across-the-board spending cut.

Writing on the Blue Oregon blog, state Rep. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) describes the “devastating” effects of the cut on state programs and institutions, including education ($252 million, mostly in K-12), Human Services ($154 million), the state university system ($30 million) and community colleges ($20 million).

Instead of cutting across the board, Republicans want a special session of the legislature to decide what should get cut and by how much. Democrats like Dembrow reject that idea: “I see that process as leading to further uncertainty and unproductive political posturing,” he writes.

I have to go along with the Republicans on this one. True, the legislators would engage in “political posturing” – when don’t they? – and the Republicans would take every opportunity to rub the Democrats’ noses in the state’s current economic and fiscal mess.

But the cuts, especially to our already battered and bloody education system, are so damaging that I think the lawmakers need to shoulder their responsibilities and make the painful choices. I find myself agreeing with Bend Republican State Sen. Chris Telfer, who’s quoted on the Oregon Catalyst site as saying the cuts “should happen carefully and precisely reflecting the priorities of Oregonians, protecting the most vulnerable and investments in K-12 classrooms. That means the legislature must come into session and do what it was elected to do.”

When the current crisis is past, the legislators and the governor (whoever he may turn out to be) need to get real about providing a stable funding source for our schools.

Which makes me think of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Whether the economy is good or bad, under Democratic administrations or Republicans, ODOT never seems to suffer. It always seems to have plenty of money to tear pavement up and put it down again.

Why? Because ODOT has a dedicated source of funding – the state motor fuels tax, currently among the highest in the nation at 43.7 cents a gallon on gasoline. The motor fuels tax generated close to a billion dollars for ODOT in the current biennium. All that money must be spent on state transportation projects; the politicians can’t fiddle with it or raid it for other purposes.

Could a similar source of dedicated funding be created for education? Something small and relatively painless? How about a nickel tax on every book, magazine and newspaper sold in the state?

I haven’t penciled out how much revenue that might produce; I’m just throwing it out there as an idea. But if we don’t do something about education funding, Oregon is going to become known as the state with the most beautiful roads and the most illiterate drivers.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Bend Over, Bend - Here It Comes Again

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Bend racked up another dubious distinction this week: As reported in The Bulletin on Wednesday, we led the nation in declining home prices between the first quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of this year.

Over that one-year period, home prices in the Bend Metropolitan Statistical Area fell by almost a quarter (23.3%). That was the biggest year-over-year drop among all the 301 MSAs in the country.

Elsewhere in the nation there were some signs of a turnaround. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s latest report, eight states plus Washington, DC actually saw a rise in home prices over the year. Nationwide, the year-over-year decline was only 3.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis.

But in Bend the housing market still seems to be plunging toward the bottom – and God only knows when we’ll find it.

So much for the world of reality. We turn now to the current issue of Cascade Business News, whose top front-page story is headlined: “Planning Fee Hikes Issue to be Revisited.”

Last July, acting on the recommendation of consultants, the City of Bend decided to increase building permit charges and other “user fees” that support the operations of the Community Development Department. But now, in response to what CBN writer Simon Mather described as “a growing groundswell of concern,” the city is talking about rolling back the fee hikes.

On Page 5, CBN owner Pamela Hulse Andrews weighs in with an editorial supporting the rollback idea. “One thing is for sure: the builders have to receive some financial breaks if they are to keep building,” she writes.

In addition to rescinding the fee increases, she also seems to call for an “abatement” of SDCs – Systems Development Charges, which builders pay to partly offset the costs of serving their developments with sewers, roads, water mains and the like – “for a period of time to stimulate residential and commercial projects.”

I haven’t noticed any “groundswell of concern” over the fee increases. In fact, I haven’t seen so much as a ripple. But I don’t pal around with the Central Oregon Builders Association and Central Oregon Association of Realtors crowd like Ms. Andrews does, so I guess I don’t qualify as an expert.

However, after observing the bust of the 1980s and the recovery of the 1990s and the boom of the early 2000’s and the bust of the late 2000’s, I think I know something about how the real estate market operates around here. And I think cutting back the fees and/or granting an “abatement” of SDCs not only wouldn’t cure the market’s present sickness but in fact would be precisely the wrong medicine.

You’ve heard this from me before but you’re going to hear it again: The reason the Bend real estate market remains in the crapper is not that building fees and SDCs are too high – it’s that the supply of homes vastly exceeds the demand. The fact that prices here continue to drop, as described above, is proof.

Between the hundreds of houses that were built on spec during the bubble and never sold and the hundreds that were sold but are now in foreclosure, we have a huge glut of inventory. The market isn’t going to turn around until much of that inventory gets sold off and supply comes back into line with demand.

Under those circumstances, should the city really be trying to encourage builders to put up even more houses that nobody will buy?

But I’m trying to talk common sense, and I’ve lived in this town long enough to know that if COBA and COAR want something, common sense goes out the window. When COAR and COBA tell city officials to bend over their invariable response is: “How far, sir?”


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dudley Takes the Lead! (Yawn.)

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2010 at 6:12 PM

There’s a new poll out this week that contains good news and bad news for Oregon Republicans.

The good news: The poll shows their candidate, Chris Dudley, leading Democrat John Kitzhaber by a one-point margin.

The bad news: It’s a Rasmussen poll.

The telephone survey of 500 “likely voters” found 45% favoring Dudley, 44% favoring former governor Kitzhaber, 4% favoring somebody else and 6% undecided.

“Dudley, a former professional basketball player who now works in the financial industry, captured 40% of the vote last Tuesday to win a crowded GOP Primary,” Rasmussen says. Whether it’s accurate to call it a “crowded GOP primary” is debatable; there were a bunch of candidates on the ballot, but only two of them – Dudley and Allen Alley – were serious contenders.

The trouble with putting much stock in a Rasmussen poll is that Rasmussen consistently gives Republican candidates significantly higher numbers than virtually any other polling outfit.

The Daily Kos commented on this phenomenon the other day, claiming that Rasmussen “cares only about setting the narrative that Democrats are doomed” and backing it up with a chart that shows Rasmussen is consistently an outlier among pollsters, typically favoring Republicans by about 5% to 10%.

Even “Rupert in Springfield,” a frequent and solidly Republican commenter on the conservative Daily Catalyst blog, couldn’t get enthusiastic about the poll: “I hate to say it but if you are only up one point in Rasmussen, you are dead as a Republican. I will be stunned, and I mean absolutely stunned, if Kitzhaber doesn't win by five points or better.”

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Deadbeats, Dudley's Dud and Jazz Heresy

Posted By on Sun, May 23, 2010 at 1:52 AM

Oregonians who like to get angry at their state government should aim some righteous outrage at this: According to a story that appeared in Saturday’s issue of The Oregonian, “tax scofflaws and assorted deadbeats” are cheating the state out of $2 billion a year in revenue.

A 2009 report by the Legislative Fiscal Office said the annual amount of uncollected revenue has doubled over the past eight years.

“Accurately gauging how much of those unpaid bills can ever be collected is impossible,” The Oregonian says. “For instance, a felon sentenced to prison and $50,000 in restitution is unlikely to make good on the debt. But with a projected $2.5 billion budget shortfall facing the Legislature when it convenes in January, lawmakers will be looking for cash wherever they can find it.”


Republican governor candidate Chris Dudley was barely out of the starting gate when he made his first serious stumble, incorrectly blaming Democrat John Kitzhaber for making the state go into debt in 2003.

In a speech Thursday, Dudley attacked what he claimed was Kitzhaber’s decision as governor “to balance his final 2001-‘03 budget by putting $450 million on the state's credit card instead of cutting spending. That irresponsible decision has cost taxpayers $71 million a year - and will continue to cost taxpayers $71 million a year through 2014.”

However, as The Oregonian’s Jeff Mapes astutely noted in his blog, “The borrowing that Dudley referred to in his speech was actually approved by the legislature in March of 2003 - several weeks after Kitzhaber left office - and signed into law by Gov. Ted Kulongoski.”

Kitzhaber, in fact, opposed lawmakers who wanted to put the state into debt – especially Republicans, who had a legislative majority at the time and preferred to borrow rather than raise taxes.

I have the feeling that Dudley’s learning curve in this campaign is going to be long and steep.


The Community Life section of Tuesday’s Bulletin carried a strange story about a woman named Sheila O’Malley who has opened a jazz club in LaPine.

Nothing especially strange about somebody opening a jazz club, even in LaPine. But this one – named “Jade’s Jazz Lounge” after the avatar O’Malley uses on the Second Life fantasy website – is described as “alcohol-free” and “family-friendly.”

Rank heresy! Jazz is an art form that traditionally has blossomed in smoky, boozy venues where one would never dream of taking a child.

O’Malley sounds like a nice person and I wish her luck. But an “alcohol-free, family-friendly” jazz club … man, that is just SO wrong!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

All the News That Fits Their Agenda?

Posted By on Fri, May 21, 2010 at 7:18 PM

The voters gave The Bulletin and the Source a smack upside the head on Tuesday, rejecting their and our editorial recommendations to re-elect veteran Deschutes County District Attorney Mike Dugan and instead replacing him with Patrick Flaherty.

The Source’s editors took the rebuke calmly and quietly. The Bulletin’s editors … well, not so much.

In an editorial yesterday, the paper accused Flaherty of mounting a “smear campaign alleging a sexual discrimination problem in [Dugan’s] office,” saying he “did nothing to discourage the unproven rumors about sexual discrimination in the District Attorney’s Office. In fact, he encouraged these rumors himself.”

Did Flaherty run a “smear campaign”? For an accusation to be a “smear” it has to be untrue or unsupported. Were the allegations of sexual discrimination in the DA’s office lies, or nothing more than “unproven rumors”?

Well, as Al Smith used to say back in the 1920s, let’s look at the record. And there are plenty of records to look at.

As a Source investigative report shortly before the election revealed, there appeared to be considerable substance to the sexual discrimination claim. Former Deputy DA Mary Jo Mongan, complained to Dugan about intolerable abusive treatment by her supervisor, Jody Vaughan, who was in charge of the prosecutor team that handles misdemeanor cases. Mongan received a $125,000 settlement to go away quietly. Four other young female deputy DAs quit while Vaughan was heading the misdemeanor team. (She no longer does.)

There was nothing secret about all this. The settlement paid to Mongan was a matter of public record; the Source easily obtained a copy of it – and The Bulletin could have obtained it just as easily – from the state Department of Justice.

In fact, incredibly, Dugan told the Source that The Bulletin actually has had a copy of the settlement for months. Further, the Source story reported, “Documents released recently by the Department of Justice, copies of which have been provided to The Bulletin, the Source and KTVZ, include accounts from other attorneys [from Dugan’s office] detailing the harsh treatment that they had received from Vaughan … ”

Why did The Bulletin sit on this story? Why did it fail to print anything about the sexual discrimination issue even after it was brought up at a League of Women Voters candidates’ forum in April?

Bulletin Editor John Costa didn’t return a call from Source Managing Editor Eric Flowers seeking an explanation, and I’m reluctant to speculate. But based on the paper’s handling (or, rather, non-handling) of the story as well as the whiny post-election editorial, I sense a haughty attitude of “the news is what we say it is.”

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Keep an Eye Out for Dark-Horse Dudley

Posted By on Wed, May 19, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Wow, what a weird election that was.

In Deschutes County, voters tossed out a district attorney who'd been in office for two decades (Mike Dugan), rejected a bond to expand the jail, gave the boot to one county commissioner (Dennis Luke) and kept another (Tammy Baney). In the gubernatorial primaries, Democrats chose a former two-term governor and Republicans chose a former NBA basketball player.

That last outcome - the victory of Chris Dudley, a former journeyman center for the Portland Trail Blazers and other teams - is the weirdest aspect of Tuesday's results for me. Two years ago, hardly anybody in Oregon except veteran Blazers fans knew who Dudley was. Now he's a major-party nominee for governor.

It happened in spite of Dudley's meager resumé (he's never held a public office, not even so much as a school board seat, and never before showed much interest in seeking one) and the fact that -- as anybody who's attended his events or watched his TV spots can testify -- he is not exactly Mr. Charisma.

One thing Dudley did have going for him, in a big way, was money - about $1.3 million of it, which is roughly $300,000 more than John Kitzhaber collected.

How did Dudley the political unknown manage to amass more campaign cash than a two-term former governor who's been around Oregon politics for decades? Well, it didn't hurt that he knows people with deep pockets - very, very deep.

The list of big ($10,000 and up) contributors to the Dudley campaign, as reported by ORESTAR, the secretary of state's office's on-line campaign finance database, reads like a Who's Who of Oregon business and industry. A few of the heavy hitters:

  • Phil Knight, a total of $100,000 in two $50,000 chunks (plus another $15,000 from Nike Inc.)
  • Peter Stott, CEO of Crown Pacific Corp, $10,000
  • Harry Merlo, controversial former CEO of Louisiana-Pacific, $10,000
  • Dan Harmon, chairman of Associated Oregon Industries, $10,000
  • Chris and Edward Maletis, owners of Maletis Beverage, a total of $25,000
  • Timothy Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, $10,000
  • Stimson Lumber Co., $40,000
  • Larry Wilson of Alpha Broadcasting, which owns five radio stations in Portland, $50,000
  • Kent Craford, CEO of Seaport Airlines (and also policy director of the Dudley campaign), $10,000
  • Broughton Bishop, chairman and CEO of Pendleton Woolen Mills, $10,000
  • Harold Schnitzer, developer, $10,000
  • And from out of state: Jeffrey Loria, art dealer and controversial owner of the Florida Marlins baseball team (named one of the "Greediest Owners in Sports" by ESPN), $50,000

Although Dudley has a lot to learn about giving stump speeches and presenting himself on TV, the Democrats would be stupid to underestimate him. In a year when anti-incumbent fever is running high, his political inexperience could be turned into an asset. He's a fiscal conservative, but doesn't carry a lot of social-conservative baggage that would alienate moderates. (For example, he's pro-choice.)

And having a bench stacked with multi-millionaires and billionaires who are willing to keep writing five- and six-figure checks won't hurt him a bit.

UPDATE: Looks like the Democrats aren't taking Dudley for granted -- they've already put up a website called Dudley Dolittle that makes fun of his lack of credentials and his vague, platitudinous positions on the issues. It features choice bits from Dudley's radio and TV appearances.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Walden Defends the Right to Pollute

Posted By on Fri, May 14, 2010 at 6:56 PM

If you want to get conservative rural voters riled up, nothing works better than warning them of an impending “government takeover.”

The 2nd District’s own Rep. Greg Walden understands the tactic well, and he’s using it to muster the troops against legislation that would clarify the federal Clean Water Act.

Passed in 1972, the act gives the federal government authority to prevent pollution of “navigable” waters in the United States. For the first 30 years of the act’s existence, “navigable” was interpreted broadly. But a couple of Supreme Court decisions since 2001 have held that it applies only to major rivers, lakes and other truly “navigable” waterways.

In practice, that means polluters only have to go upstream to a point where a waterway isn’t “navigable” and they can dump gunk into it without fear of federal action.

“Because of the Supreme Court decisions, companies have spilled oil, carcinogens and bacteria into the lakes, rivers and other waters without being fined or prosecuted,” Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told the Washington Times.

Clean Water Action, a group that supports reform of the act, claims that the water supplies of 110 million Americans are in danger if an amendment to the Clean Water Act backed by Oberstar and other lawmakers of both parties isn’t passed. “In just one year more than 500 enforcement cases have been dropped by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department” because of the new, more stringent interpretation of the act, its website  says.

But Walden and other conservative members of Congress, mostly from rural areas, are ganging up to try to kill the amendment.

In a press release earlier this month, Walden invoked the bogeyman of a “federal takeover” of the nation’s water – not just once, but four times. The amendment, he said, amounts to “an unprecedented federal government takeover of water in Oregon, from ponds to irrigation ditches, that would put the federal government in charge. … This is [a] top-down Washington, D.C.-driven federal takeover of our water rights.”

Of course, the Clean Water Act amendment isn’t a “federal takeover” of water, any more than the very limited health care reform legislation passed by Congress is a “federal takeover” of health care. It would simply clarify the federal government’s power to stop people from polluting water supplies, a power it exercised for 30 years.

Walden’s scary rhetoric is dishonest, and I’m sure he knows it. But raising the specter of oppressive “big gummint” and pretending to be bravely battling against it always plays well with the GOP’s hard-right “base.”

Clean Water Action urges people to contact their representatives in Congress to urge them to support the Oberstar amendment. It would be pointless to ask Walden to support it; his mind is made up. But it might be fun to ask him to explain why he’s supporting the right to pollute over the right of Americans to have clean water. E-mail him here.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

We're No. 35 (and That's a Good Thing)

Posted By on Thu, May 13, 2010 at 6:32 PM

The Daily Beast blog has ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia in order of corruptness, and Oregon came in at a respectable – well, pretty respectable – 35th place.

The Beast looked at data going back a decade and weighed five factors on a per capita basis in determining each state’s rank: public corruption (convictions of public officials), racketeering and extortion (organized crime convictions and investigations), forgery and counterfeiting, fraud (arrests for false statements or documents) and embezzlement.

“Some states show particular prowess in one area of corruption or another,” The Beast noted. “New York leads with racketeering and extortion, Delaware is tops in embezzlement, while the nation’s capital leads the pack in public corruption.”

Interestingly, seven of the Top 10 are southern or southwestern states: Tennessee (#1), Virginia (#2), Mississippi (#3), North Carolina (#5), Florida (#6), Nevada (#7) and South Carolina (#9). Rounding out the Top 10 are Delaware (#4), Pennsylvania (#5) and Oklahoma (#10).

Reassuringly, Oregon ranked dead last in terms of public corruption. It also came in 28th in racketeering and extortion, 38th in fraud and 36th in embezzlement – but, strangely enough, it ranked No. 2 for forgery and counterfeiting.

The least corrupt states are in New England, the Intermountain West and the Corn Belt. The Bottom 10, in descending order, are Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Illinois (a bit of a surprise there), Wyoming, Indiana, Montana and New Hampshire.

I’m proud – well, semi-proud – to report that my native state, New Jersey, did not live up (or down) to its reputation for ethical turpitude: It ranked 21st, scoring high on public corruption and racketeering but fairly low on the other categories.

TOH to local blogger Jack Elliott for spotting this news.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sizemore to GOP: "Unity, Hell!"

Posted By on Wed, May 12, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Bob Tiernan, the Oregon Republican Party chairman, invited all the Republican aspirants for the governor nomination to a "unity lunch" on the Thursday after the primary.

Bill Sizemore's response, in essence: "Shove it."

Jeff Mapes, The Oregonian's political blogger, got hold of a copy of Sizemore's e-mail reply to Tiernan's invitation. It's such a classic display of childish petulance that it deserves to be reproduced in full:

Dear Bob,

Thanks for the pep talk and the invite. In the final analysis, I am not sure whether it matters whether I make the event or not, win or lose. If by some miracle I win, I doubt very much that the [Chris] Dudley machine would support me even for a moment. They don't have much use for conservatives. Besides, this whole unity thing is probably a rather unilateral kind of unity, if you know what I mean, and depends very much on who wins the primary.

Furthermore, as chair of the Republican Party you have taken every public opportunity to run me down as a candidate and as a person since the day I announced that I was running. Your behavior has hardly been becoming of a Party Chair and has not particularly endeared me to the Party. If I attended your luncheon, I would have to pretend to be positive.

Finally, I am not so sure that your unity luncheon is a proper place for someone with so many of those legal issues you always like to bring up to The Oregonian. It might be better if your candidate was not tainted by any connection to me, so I think I will skip your unity luncheon. If I won the primary, you'd probably cancel it anyway.

In view of all his legal problems, Sizemore's probably right when he says the GOP would be better off if it wasn't associated with him.

But I'm having trouble understanding why he thinks Chris Dudley and his team "don't have much use for conservatives." Dudley supports tax cuts for business and increasing timber harvests, among other classic conservative positions. I guess to qualify as a conservative in Sizemore's book you have to want to burn all members of public employee unions at the stake.

How much damage Sizemore's attitude will do to the eventual Republican candidate is hard to predict, but it can't help. In spite of all the scandals surrounding him, Sizemore still has a hard core of followers. And the Republicans are going to need every vote they can get if they want to have any chance of knocking off Bill Bradbury or (more likely) John Kitzhaber in November.

Sizemore's behavior is one more example of the split between the right wing and the extreme right wing that's bedeviling the GOP all over the country. Early this month the Tea Party gang tossed out Bob Bennett, a four-term Utah senator, for committing such unpardonable sins as working with Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden on a health care reform bill.

I don't know who said this, but he or she was very smart: "A growing political movement is busy welcoming converts, and a dying political movement is busy purging heretics."

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

And We Have Indoor Plumbing Too

Posted By on Sat, May 8, 2010 at 5:49 PM

According to Net Applications’ May 1 report, Bend ranks fifth in the nation in iPad ownership – a fact that seemed to completely flabbergast Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune magazine.

The five US market areas with the heaviest concentrations of iPads are, in descending order: San Francisco, CA; Grand Junction, CO; Santa Barbara, CA; Honolulu, HI, and Bend, OR.

“Bend what?” Elmer-Dewitt writes incredulously.

“Yes, Bend, Ore., a city 82,000 souls nearly 200 miles from the nearest Apple Store that seems to give lie to the notion that iPad fever is a condition that affects only Apple diehards in large metropolitan areas.”

Elmer-DeWitt notes that the concentration of iPads is determined on a per capita basis, so that “one iPad in Bend … is the equivalent of 112 iPads in New York City.” But he’s still astonished that this unknown (to him) Oregon backwater made the top five.

“Still, it's hard to imagine large numbers of Bendites making the three-hour drive to Portland to queue up for Apple's latest invention,” he writes. “If you live in the area and own an iPad, we'd love to hear how you got it and what you're doing with it.”

A number of Bendites responded to that question in fine form. My favorite answer came from “Paul,” who explained: “One came down on an ox cart from the Cascades with the Indian traders. I defrosted it by the campfire. I use it to kill rock chucks so there is food for dinner. Do you have any idea how incredibly naive your statement sounds?”

I guess the Fortune story just shows that, despite all the publicity (good and, lately, bad) that the place has gotten, Bend, Oregon – or “Oar-a-GAWN,” as they’d pronounce it – is still The Middle of Nowhere for those high-falutin’ East Coast media types.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Poll Sends Mixed Message on Spending and Taxes

Posted By on Fri, May 7, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Oregonians agree their state has a financial problem, but they don’t agree on what to do about it. In fact, some of their opinions contradict each other.

That seems to be the message of a survey done by the polling firm of Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall Inc.

The telephone survey of 600 Oregonians found that 43% think the state is on the wrong track, 39% think it’s headed in the right direction and 18% don’t know.

Two-thirds of those surveyed think the legislature is going to have trouble balancing the next biennial budget, but they’re deeply divided on how to handle the problem. One-third favor a combination of budget cuts and tax increases, another 33% favor cuts only, and 25% favor tax increases with no cuts.

“You could say there is more tolerance for tax increases than budget cuts,” pollster Adam Davis told the Portland Tribune.

However, when respondents were asked whether they preferred a society with lower taxes and less government services or a “European model” of higher taxes and more services, the lower-tax option was preferred, 52% to 39%.

Then again, when asked about changing the state’s “kicker” law, 53% said they’d favor diverting half of the kicker money into a state reserve fund. “There’s support for reforming the kicker, but it’s very soft,” Davis said.

Bottom line: Oregon politicians aren’t going to get consistent guidance from voters as they grapple with the state’s budget problems – at least if this poll reflects reality.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dudley Backs Arizona Immigration Law ... We Think

Posted By on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Chris Dudley thinks Oregon should consider adopting a draconian anti-immigration law like Arizona’s – or at least that’s what he seemed to be saying when he appeared on the Lars Larson show the other day.

According to a transcript posted by Kari Chisholm on the Blue Oregon site, Larson asked Dudley whether “when the cops run into somebody that they think that they have reasonable suspicion to believe is illegal, should they … find out whether the person is [illegal] or not – and then take them into custody or not?”

Dudley’s response: “If they have reasonable suspicion, and I think that is probably the key word here, is, uh, then I think they should be able to, to look into that – um – and I, and that’s, uh – it’ll be int … – obviously the courts are gonna take a look at how the Arizona law has been written. I – uh - have looked at it, but the courts will decide whether it’s, uh, constitutionally, uh, um, uh, whether it works in that regard, and if it does I think it’s, uh - it’s something that we could look at … ”

You can listen to the audio here.

Another aspirant for the Republican nomination, former state legislator John Lim, says he’s in favor of Oregon adopting the Arizona law. But Dudley’s chief rival, businessman Allen Alley, has said he opposes it – despite which he’s been endorsed by Oregonians for Immigration Reform, largely because he supports the “E-Verify” program to make employers screen their workforces for illegal immigrants.

OIR had harsh words for Dudley, charging that heclearly supports continuing the tradition of turning a blind eye to the issue. If you scrutinize his major contributors, it is not hard to understand why he takes that stand.  Dudley has, on numerous occasions, expressed support for businesses that rely on illegal workers.  Dudley has no clear strategy of how or even why he should discuss the issue of illegal immigration.”

Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t have any problem with Oregon giving police the power to stop people they “reasonably suspect” of being illegal immigrants, as long as they do a thorough job.

After all, it’s not just Hispanic-looking people who might be illegal immigrants. White-skinned, blue-eyed blond people could have come here illegally from Sweden – or Germany or Russia or England or Canada, to name just a few places. And people who look Asian might be illegal immigrants from China, South Korea or Japan.

What the hell, the only way to be sure we round up all the illegals is to have the cops stop everybody they see, make them produce their papers and do a strip search.  

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