Day: November 20, 2015

Parks district not a slam dunk

To the Editor: So, some members of the Parks Advisory Board are considering forming a Parks District. Why? They say “to stabilize park funding,” but what they really hope for is more funding and more autonomy. Parks board member Richard Walsh and city councilor Marlene Parsons seem to suggest that competing with other general fund programs such as the police department is somehow unfair. There are few citizens that would put parks ahead of the police needs. Walsh used examples of competing with the water and sewer departments. This is misinformation in the extreme. Both Walsh and Parsons know the parks do not compete with water and sewer. They never have. The parks board would soon find out there are many duplicate administrative costs, now borne by the city, that they would have to cover before one additional penny is spent for the betterment of the parks. Costs such as an administrator, a secretary, field workers, a furnished office, heat, lights and water, insurance, legal support, annual audits, and the list goes on. The cost of a special election to establish the district would be an estimated $30,000. There is a funding solution if the parks board is up to it. That is to first convince the city council and then the general public that more money is needed at this time for the parks. That would mean more...

Read More

The marketplace chooses winners

By JOHN MORGAN I am a specialist in community development working with cities all over the state. I also served as Keizer’s Community Develpoment Director from 1990 through 1998. I have some particular understanding in both how corporations make location decisions and in how local government operates. Therefore, I finally have to step in to short-circuit the belief city governments pick the stores that locate within a community. It seems many people think the Keizer City Council or staff will choose who goes in the vacant Albertsons/Haggen building, or at least will actively market the building. I am afraid it does not work that way, nor should it. Cities only regulate private market decisions through zoning restrictions, and only proactively engage in market decisions in extraordinary situations. Cities will get proactively engaged in the context of a major redevelopment of a substandard district. This is a classic role of urban renewal. Even in Keizer’s major urban renewal efforts for the River Road Corridor the focus was on creating a more attractive business district not on the city becoming a developer. There was the rare exception of a small delegation of business leaders and me talking with the folks at Shari’s to encourage them to locate in Keizer, which was successful. You have to look to projects like Salem Center, where the city of Salem bought out that whole block...

Read More

Foreign policy brought to you by Facebook

By DON VOWELL It seems sad how little encouragement it takes to return me to this page. A long-time friend at church asked why I have been absent so long.  I told her it was because I realized that I’m an idiot. Not going so far as to deny that, she did say she sometimes agreed with things I had written. Good enough. Let’s continue on.  My new premise is that we are all idiots to some degree. See, you’ve already found something with which you can disagree. Facebook has been a major contributor to my growing belief that I am only one among many in a crowd of idiots. Somehow any restraint shown in face to face conversation is jettisoned in Facebook commentary. My Facebook “friends,” of whom I know much about, are similar to me in many ways. Most of us have the standard American high school education, perhaps with some college thrown in, have stable income, a decent living space, and the security of American freedoms as protected by the most able military ever seen.  Despite our common origins each of us believes we have the answers, hostile to any bold enough to disagree.  I’m not sure how we all became so singularly brilliant. Not for the first time, I recommend humility. If you are contemptuous of compromise that implies belief that you are right, others are wrong.  There are more...

Read More

Don’t feed the Islamic State narrative

By MICHAEL GERSON  As careful as we should be in drawing lessons from tragedy—and there is something particularly disgraceful in mounting a political soapbox at a funeral—the horrors experienced in Paris demand a renewed dedication to the prevention of future horrors. Islamic State terrorists have goals beyond a blood-drunk love of carnage: to discredit the Syrian refugees (whom they hate) and to encourage the perception of a civilizational struggle between Islam and the West. They are currently succeeding in both. What are the elements of the Islamic State’s strategy? Sunni terrorists have fought in local civil wars across the Middle East—exploiting the tribal politics of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and Sunni resentments against a petty Shiite despot in Iraq, and a civil war against a brutal, Iranian-sponsored despot in Syria—to gain a territorial foothold and raise the black flag of global jihad. They are stoking religious conflict between Muslims and Christians in order to attract recruits, including from Western countries. And one way to encourage the appearance of civilizational conflict is through spectacular acts of murder that somehow (horribly) appeal to a Sunni Arab sense of historical disempowerment. This raises a serious, medium-term prospect for the terrorists: to gain in morale, territory and recruits until they have the nonconventional capabilities to sabotage the great Western advantage and vulnerability—the global economy. Consider the effect that a radiological or biological weapon might...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2