Month: November 2014

School board: Pension bonds get approval

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes Saving the Salem-Keizer School District large amounts of money by issuing pension obligation bonds was approved at Tuesday’s school board meeting. The bonds will pay down the district’s portion of the state liability of the Public Employees Retirement System. District staff had told the board that the district would benefit by issuing bonds at a lower rate than the 7.75 percent PERS assumed earnings rate if the proceeds earn an average rate of return that exceeds the interest rate of the bonds. The actual payoff amount will be determined by PERS, Superintendent Christy Perry told the board, but she said the district to date has saved over $67.7 million from its 2002 and 2004 bond issuances. PERS has determined that the district’s portion of the liability is $51,450,037, and after consulting financial and legal experts, staffers recommended a maximum interest rate of 5.25 percent. Also at the meeting, the board approved amendments to the constitution of the Oregon School Boards Association and revisions to board policies. Directors showed some concern over wording of a requirement for them to state the reasons for positions they take at meetings, but chairperson Rick Kimball said they should not take the wording too literally. In the Spotlight on Success portion of the meeting, the Parent Club Board of Claggett Creek Middle School was honored as Volunteers of...

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New art coming to River Rd.

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes More public art is coming to Keizer. At their Oct. 28 meeting, members of the new Keizer Arts Commission meeting approved the placement of two sculptures. One of them, depicting a tuxedo-clad man with a staff and top hat, will be placed on a slab at Copper Creek Mercantile (4415 River Road North) by Bentley’s Coffee. The second sculpture, a kneeling fireman, will be placed at Abby’s Pizza (3451 River Road North). No timeline was specified for the placement. The motion for the two placement, passed on a 5-0 vote with two absent, came after commissioners reviewed six submissions by the same artist who previously did the Rejoice at Keizer Plaza. The Keizer Chamber of Commerce Foundation had previously approved the funding for displaying two sculptures, according to Arts Commission vice chair Rick Day. Mayor Lore Christopher, chair of the commission, noted a previous sculpture at Keizer Veterinary Clinic – one of the six submissions – was found to be too provocative. “Everyone thought it looked like a dead baby,” she said. “We got that comment more than once. It was placed on the doorstep. It literally looked like someone had dropped off a baby.” Christopher noted the placement involves a $500 stipend to the artist for the first year, followed by $200 a year after that. “This is the guy who did...

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Thank a politician today

By E.J. DIONNE JR. It’s a mistake to be nostalgic for some golden age in politics when everyone was nice to each other. Such a time never existed. Still, this is a particularly rotten moment to be an elected official, and especially a member of Congress, a body whose ratings are even lower than those of journalists. If you run for office these days, all your mistakes (and some you never made) are broadcast widely in some horrible TV spot. So this Thanksgiving, let’s all express gratitude to our fellow Americans who dare to run for the House and Senate. By way of offering mine, I want to thank a few good people we’re losing to retirement or electoral defeat. Progressives will miss Reps. George Miller and Henry Waxman, both California Democrats. I wrote about Miller when he announced his retirement at the beginning of the year, singling him out as a fearless liberal who’d fight the Republicans at every step, but also work with them happily if something useful could get done. Waxman is one of the smartest members of Congress, and you never wanted to be at the wrong end of a Henry Waxman hearing. My colleague Harold Meyerson listed just some of the things Waxman bills accomplished: They made our air cleaner and our drinking water safer, put nutritional labeling on food, got medical care to...

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