Day: June 25, 2010

The Swiss model of democracy

By ROSS DAY As the Keizertimes reported a couple of weeks ago, I was invited by the Swiss government to observe elections in Switzerland on June 13, 2010.  The tour centered around Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, the first such system of its kind in the world.  In fact, Oregon’s (which happens to be the first state in the union to have a direct democracy system) unique system of erect democracy was actually “poached” from Switzerland. The tour was eye-opening for me for a number of reasons.  First, Switzerland’s system is demonstrably different from Oregon’s system.  In particular, because Switzerland’s judicial system is a civil law system, and not a common law system like we have in the United States, when an initiative measure passes in Switzerland, there are no courts available to make sure the initiative petition is actually implemented. Of course, in Oregon, the same argument can be said of our court system, only in reverse.  Even though we have a common law system, the courts often times go out of their way to make sure initiative measures are never implemented. But for me the most encouraging aspect of the trip was the overall attitude demonstrated by the citizens of Switzerland, and the politicians of Switzerland, towards their system of direct democracy. In Switzerland, there are often times as many as four elections a year on initiative...

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Hingston earns SSBC athlete of year honor

McNary athletes and staff were honored when the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club presented its annual Athletes of the Year Awards earlier this month. Megan Hingston of McNary was named the outstanding female athlete of the year. Sprague’s Jeff Kidd won the outstanding male athlete award. Hingston also was recognized as the outstanding senior female track athlete. In addition, McNary swept the awards for outstanding senior baseball player (Zach Moeller) and outstanding senior softball player (Taylor Jones). Jarrett Dunnigan was a nominee for the male athlete of the year award, which went to Sprague’s Jeff Kidd instead. Dunnigan played football and basketball for the Celts. The club also gave special recognition awards to Athletic Director Mike Maghan, who is retiring from...

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Democrats won’t try to pass budget

By DAN CALABRESE Democratic Congressman Sander Levin acknowledges that Washington’s profligate spending “has to stop” but predictably offers no time table as to when this might happen. Want to know how serious congressional Democrats are about getting federal spending under control? Even less serious than you think, as evidenced by the fact that, in 2010, they have no intention of even trying to pass a federal budget. Don’t do it! Yeah, I know, this is a basic, fundamental function of the Congress. As Keith Hennessey, a blogger and former economic advisor to George W. Bush, explains, Congress is supposed to have a conference report on the budget finalized each year by April 15. It routinely misses this deadline, but typically gets the job done by mid-May. It is not completely unheard of that Congress fails to reach agreement on a budget, particularly when the House and Senate are divided with respect to party control. But it’s totally unprecedented for Congress not to even try, and it’s all the more astounding when you consider that the same party controls both houses of Congress and the White House, and that you can bypass the filibuster for budgeting resolutions. It’s not that they can’t pass a budget. It’s that they don’t want to. This is big trouble for the country, for two reasons – the why and the what. What happens with...

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