Day: March 25, 2011

Budget priorities

The city of Keizer’s budget season is right around the corner.  The city’s Budget Committee, comprised of all seven city council members and seven citizens have the daunting task of doing more with less. Recent reports about declining electric and natural gas franchise fees are a sign of the times.  It is expected the city will receive about $110,000 less than projected. Susan Gahlsdorf, the city’s Finance Director, cited a mild winter, the recession and people “doing without,” for the decreased fees. Unless—not until—the economy starts to grow at a healthy clip, everyone has to acknowledge that the only way to provide the services the public expects is to cut other areas of the city’s budget to the bone.  That’s not a popular consideration.  But is there much of a choice? The General Fund Long Range Planning Task Force, comprised of the Budget Committee members, recently rated their budget priorities over the next few years.  Coming in at number one was to fill the vacant police officer positions.  Public safety always rates high when citizens are asked what their civic concerns are. Policing in Keizer was addressed at the first Town Hall  last month and will be the topic again at the second Town Hall on Tuesday, March 29, 6 to 8 p.m. at the civic center. Number two and three on the task force’s priority list deals with...

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An appreciation

One of filmdom’s greatest stars has passed away.  Elizabeth Taylor died this week at the age of 79.  For decades she was known as the world’s most beautiful woman—her violet eyes mesmerized her film fans (and seven husbands).  She was tabloid fodder for years on end; she got the kind of press today’s starlets can only dream about. Her millions of dollars worth of jewelry, her health problems and her many marriages were only part of her story.  Elizabeth Taylor was a star not just because she was famous, she was a star because she delivered the goods in her film roles. Fans will have their favorite Taylor films:  “Cleopatra,” “National Velvet,” “A Place in the Sun.”  Critics can rightly dismiss some of her lesser work, but it was her performance in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”  for which she entered the pantheon of great actresses.  She earned her second Oscar for the role that made her look like a frumpy, boozy, overweight shrew. Over the past 20 years she was known more for her philanthropic work on HIV/AIDS.  It was her name and her involvement that brought the awareness of that scourge out of the shadows.  She raised millions of dollars for research and care. Elizabeth Taylor may have looked like a millionaire Goddess, but she was a real person who enjoyed life to the fullest.  Film history...

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Concealed gun licenses

To the Editor: Re: Letter to the Editor, Keizertimes, March 18: I appreciate hearing Kathleen Pool’s concerns about my legislation, House Bill 2792,  to allow Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHL) from other states to be recognized in Oregon. In her letter to the editor on March 18 she mentioned not every state has the same concealed carry laws and she mentioned something about comparing it to accepting drivers’ licenses from other states. Which we do now in Oregon. Yes, each state is a little different in the requirement to get a concealed handgun license, just as they are a little different in issuing drivers’ licenses. However, one thing is consistent; people who apply for and receive handgun licenses in all states have proven themselves to be responsible, law abiding individuals and we should welcome them to our state. Oregon is one of seven states that do not recognize CHL’s from other states and it makes it very difficult for people who travel a lot. With this new CHL recognition law we would not only encourage more visitors to Oregon, but CHL holders from our state would also be welcome in other states who would now recognize Oregon’s CHL. Kim Thatcher State Representative District...

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Libyan policy is foreign to me

By ROSS DAY I have never been one to worry too much about foreign affairs.  As politically involved as I have been over the years, foreign relations to me has always been, well, foreign.  I suppose my view of world politics has always been more of an isolationist’s view – we have enough problems here in America, why are we worried about the goings-on of other countries? I don’t know if you have been following the events in Libya or not, but for the first time since the United States deposed Saddam Hussein in Iraq, I find myself suddenly very interested in the United States’ foreign policy. There are a number of different storylines to the “Libya situation” that do not make much sense to me.  First of all, consider this: the first country to launch a major military intervention into Libya to protect the rebels was France!  This is the same country who resells its guns by proudly declaring “These guns only dropped once!” And then there is the reaction to the United Nations resolution authorizing a no-fly zone by the United Arab Emirates – also known as U.A.E.  This small country has suddenly decided that Libyans are in desperate need of “humanitarian aid,” and is sending in supplies for the Libyan people.  The timing of the U.A.E.’s decision to help the Libyan people could not be more...

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Flunking the citizenship test

By L. BRENT BOZELL III Anyone who’s ever seen Jay Leno do one of his “Jaywalking” segments on NBC, asking average Amercians factual questions, knows there are far too many Americans who know next to nothing about just about everything. They can’t name our first president or don’t even know what the phrase “Founding Fathers” means. Ask them to name our current vice president and watch the brain waves flat line. Newsweek magazine recently announced its disgust after it offered the government’s official citizenship test (the one we require immigrants to pass before being naturalized) to 1,000 Americans. Thirty-eight percent of the sample failed. Newsweek worried in its headline: “The country’s future is imperiled by our ignorance.” The magazine was careful enough to report that civic ignorance isn’t new. One study found the yearly shifts in civic knowledge since World War II have averaged out to “slightly under 1 percent.” But it worried that today’s interconnected world is “becoming more and more inhospitable to incurious know-nothings—like us.” It’s easy to get discouraged with the results. Sixty-five percent couldn’t figure out that the Constitution was penned and adopted at the Constitutional Convention; 63 couldn’t identify how many justices were on the Supreme Court (nine); and 73 percent couldn’t identify that communism was what we opposed in the Cold War. Current national leaders aren’t so well known: 29 percent could not...

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