Month: July 2010

In Washington, ‘disclose’ means stifle

By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR5175, also known as the Disclose Act, by a 219-206 vote. “Disclose,” you see, is an acronym for “Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections.” The measure’s author, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., also happens to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — so you know that the bill has nothing to do with helping Democrats retain their seats. (Just kidding.) Two Republicans voted for the measure; 36 Democrats voted against it. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it deserves to molder. This bill may have passed largely unnoticed, but if the Senate passes HR5175 as is, with its provision to activate the law in 30 days — conveniently in time for November’s midterm elections but before the Federal Election Commission would have a chance to draft careful rules — voters should see this as a blatant attempt to rig the system. Proponents want you to think that the bill fills in gaps created by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent controversial Citizens United ruling that lifted restrictions on independent political advertising by labor and corporations. They just want special interests to disclose their funding of independent political campaigns. Disclosure, after all, is one of those happy-face ideas in American politics. But it’s not that simple. For one thing, the measure bans independent...

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Spending is the way of things

By DAN CALABRESE Washington doesn’t know what to do. When someone, somewhere, wants money, Congress sends it to them. Whether by tax hike, borrowing from the Chinese, printing more money, hook or crook . . . Congress allocates money. Budgeted, non-budgeted, an “emergency” measure – it makes no difference. Fish swim. The Lions lose. Congress spends. It is the natural order of things. Armageddon? Until Thursday, when enough Republicans (and one Democrat) became momentarily serious about fiscal responsibility and refused to send another $16 billion to the states to aid in balancing their budgets and extend expiring unemployment benefits. Across the nation, stunned governors “warn” (as the Associated Press puts it) that they might have to reduce their payrolls. Unemployed workers face the shocking prospect that their benefits might actually expire on the expiration date – and they might have to find a different source of income. For governors like Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, the dependable extension of this federal money is like the check from your parents that arrives in the mailbox of your college dorm. Spent too much on partying last week? Thanks, Mom and Dad! Who’s up for pizza? Of course, Mom and Dad just put their own groceries on the credit card, but that’s of no concern to you. It’s inconceivable that Washington will ever stop exacerbating its own fiscal irresponsibility to cover that of...

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Sasaki makes himself expendable

By HERB SWETT For the KEIZERTIMES A Keizer resident who is not often in the news locally has been more conspicuous in Gervais and Willamina. He is Sam Sasaki, until recently part-time city manager for both these towns. But he has that position with Gervais only, because he budgeted himself out of the Willamina position. The Colorado native was city manager of Newport for 14 years before briefly retiring. Willamina hired him in 2006 and Gervais in 2007. Financial difficulties in Willamina caused him to cut his own position out of the budget, and he left his post last month. After serving in the Army in Vietnam, Sasaki went to work for the city of Greeley, Colo., as the planning director. He then was assistant city manager for six years and city manager for four. What brought him to Oregon? “The job in Newport.” Sasaki had visited Oregon’s south coast, but the trip to Newport for the interview was his first to the central coast. His desire to live by the ocean made him willing to take a pay cut by working for a much smaller community, but he knew summers caused Newport’s population to swell to 35,000 to 40,000. It was a clear day in September 1991 when he got onto Highway 20, which became a narrow road past Eddyville, but once he went over the hilltop just...

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Volcanoes say thanks on Fourth

By LANCE MASTERSON Of the Keizertimes Ten months of planning comes down to one night of celebration at Volcanoes Stadium on Sunday, July 4. Patriotic Night, as it’s being called, is the Volcanoes’ way of saluting those who have served in the U.S. military, past and present. Jerry Howard, the team’s senior sales executive, said he began organizing this event in October. One phone call led to another, he added, and the next thing you know 18 honored guests and 18 organized groups were confirmed participants as of earlier this week. “It just kind of snowballed,” said Howard of the response. “I’d be talking to someone about participating in the event and then that person would say you know who you really should talk to is …. Or I’d have people calling me asking if they or their group could participate.” The highlight of an evening otherwise filled with highlights, could be when 50 men and women are inducted into the U.S. Army. “They’re going to join the Army at home plate,” said Howard, who will escort Col. Leonard Law to his designated spot so that Law can administer the “Oath of Enlistment.” Testimony to Howard’s efforts are filed in a binder he carries with him. The binder, which is some three inches thick, contains contact and biographical information on every honored guest and organization. He has most of...

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Visit scenic Pintler Loop

By G.I. Wilson For the Keizertimes Montana’s Pintler Loop Drive is one of the Big Sky Country’s gems, and gems have special meaning to the Pintler. A long day’s drive from Keizer can get you to Drummond, where Montana Hwy 1/Pintler Loop Drive leaves I-90, some 50 miles east of Missoula. We would not recommend you make this drive in one day. There are far too many scenic options along the way. Jo and I fuel up at Drummond.  It is mid-afternoon as we head up Hwy 1 for today’s destination, Philipsburg, 26 miles away. We are in cattle country. Grasslands are dotted with herds of black Angus. Hundreds and hundreds of black dots scattered across the green spring landscape. We gain elevation as we wind our way up Flint Creek drainage. Flint Creek is known for hefty brown trout.  Our literature from Montana Tourism says to watch for moose feeding on stream-side willows, but mid-afternoon is not a good time to see feeding wildlife. The most apt description I have seen of Philipsburg is: an old turn-of-the-century mining town, coming into its second boom, tourism. Main street has one stoplight. (We learn later it is the only stoplight in Granite County.) We check into our hotel for the night. The Broadway Hotel was built in 1890 and restored/remodeled in 2003. Owner, Sue Jenner, gives us the grand tour;...

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