Boundary Fights, Budget Battles and more: A roundup of the past week's news stories | The Source Weekly - Bend

Boundary Fights, Budget Battles and more: A roundup of the past week's news stories

Lingering tensions surfaced this week between Deschutes County brass and embattled District Attorney Pat Flaherty.

Lingering tensions surfaced this week between Deschutes County brass and embattled District Attorney Pat Flaherty. County administrator Dave Kanner, whom Flaherty had clashed with over personnel issues, including the hiring of Flaherty's chief deputy, Traci Anderson, told county commissioners this past week that he was no longer willing to support a budget proposal that preserved a 16th deputy prosecutor position in Flaherty's office. Kanner said that he was reversing course on the staffing issue because Flaherty failed to provide him with the documentation showing that the position was needed.

The position in question is part of the Juvenile Community Justice Division and one that Flaherty initially proposed to eliminate in order to cut a mandated four percent from the D.A.'s office budget. Kanner agreed to maintain funding for the job, however, after Flaherty said it would result in a reduction of juvenile services. However, Kanner said that without information from Flaherty about the current workload of prosecutors he would not support the additional dollars for the D.A's office. The D.A's office is scheduled to present its budget to county commissioners this week, which could be an interesting meeting. County Commissioners have been caught in the middle of the wrangling between county staff and the newly elected D.A. who is a state employee. At least one commissioner has expressed frustration with Flaherty. Commissioner Tony DeBone who took office in January after defeating Dennis Luke in the primary suggested earlier this year that commissioners ought to reduce Flaherty's pay to show their displeasure with his handling of several high-profile issues. The most notable of which was Flaherty's decision to convene a grand jury to investigate the county's release of information containing personal information pertaining to several of Flaherty's employees. Flaherty eventually halted the grand jury inquiry after Deschutes County Attorney Mark Pilliod issued an apology for releasing the information, which by law, could have been redacted.

Typhoon's Sh*t Storm

Several months after it was revealed that the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) was looking into Portland-based Typhoon Thai restaurants' employment practices, the state agency released its findings this past week and the results were not good. Among other things, the agency claims that Typhoon used the threat of deportation to force its imported Thai workers to put in longer hours for less pay than their American counterparts. According to the state, Typhoon required its workers to move on a moment's notice between the company's restaurant locations, even if it meant relocating. The report also found that some workers were required to do food preparation at home, off-the-clock, chopping and carving vegetables in their free time, according to the state. Those who did not comply with the restaurants requests were threatened with deportation and the prospect of paying their employer thousands of dollars in reimbursement fees for breaking an employment contract. Typhoon owner Steve Kline, whose wife and co-owner, Bo, is a native of Thailand, has vociferously denied the claims brought by the state, which were based in part on two previous investigations of labor violations. Kline said in a press release this past week that both of those investigations were biased and called the BOLI investigation a "witch hunt." Kline also called into question the timing of the investigation, which he said coincides with BOLI chief Brad Avakian's bid for Congress. Avakian has already announced that he will challenge embattled Democrat David Wu.

It Was A Good Try

After months of hand wringing and public missteps related to its new boundary process, Bend La-Pine school administrators conceded this week that the population of Cascade Middle School will be virtually unchanged next year. The news represented a setback for the district that had sought to move dozens of Cascade students to Pilot Butte Middle school in order to relieve overcrowding at Cascade and at the same time bolster the academically challenged Pilot Butte Middle School. The school has one of the district's highest free-and-reduced cost meal program percentages, a key indicator of the population's economic status. However, a grandfather clause allowing Cascade students and their siblings to request a waiver of the requirement, allowed nearly all of the Cascade families caught in the boundary debate to opt out of Pilot Butte, whose population is expected to inch up by roughly 40 students next year. Cascade's population is expected to remain nearly the same in the 2011-2012 school year. Superintendent Ron Wilkinson said the setback is only short term, as the grandfather clause applies only to current Cascade students and their siblings. One parent has appealed the middle school boundary change. According to The Bulletin, Shelly Hall is set to appear before the school board during a formal hearing on the boundary matter on May 24. Hall alleges that the new boundaries, which go into effect next school year, amount to economic segregation.

Election Results

Bend La Pine School Board

District 3

Beth Bagley - 78%

Susanne Flynn - 22%

Position 6 (at large)

Peggy Kincaid - 78%

Kim Page - 22%

Bend Parks Board

Position 1

Dallas Brown - 60%

Dan Fishkin - 40%

Position 2

Scott Wallace - 70%

Foster Fell - 5%

Justin Gottlieb - 25%

Bend Street Improvement Bond 9-83

Yes- 55%

No - 45%