Day: February 12, 2016

Lottery bill to benefit veterans

By Paul Evans Oregonians serving with the 116th Air Control Squadron recently received a warm, well-deserved welcome from family, friends, and neighbors at a demobilization ceremony at Camp Withycombe (Clackamas). Even as we celebrate their homecoming, we should take a moment to reflect upon the ongoing challenges our veterans face upon return. These men and women deserve a soft-landing—a thoughtful reintegration into our communities. Some of our returning hometown heroes are coming back to a supportive environment; some are not. And thousands of veterans from previous eras struggle to survive. Our veterans deserve access to education and employment assistance, mental health care services, affordable housing and transportation. Too often our veterans are forgotten despite the impacts of service upon their lives. During 2015, the Oregon Legislature made a significant investment in outreach adding close to $1,000,000 more for County Veterans’ Service Officers and established a dedicated position for women veterans’ coordination. We also established a task force for identifying ways to help the growing number of incarcerated veterans. This year I am sponsoring legislation supporting a 3 percent set-aside of Oregon Lottery profits for unlocking opportunities throughout Oregon to capture federal funds so many of our veterans have earned but are not yet receiving. The goal is to develop a fund for leveraging potential partnerships that could help us secure as much as $4 billion in dedicated veterans’ assistance...

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Trump’s authenticity is a lie

By MICHAEL GERSON   When the Watergate tapes were released, some Americans were dismayed at the many “expletives deleted” that Richard Nixon employed in private conversation. But as historian Stephen Ambrose pointed out, Nixon had insisted that even the milder words “hell” and “damn” be deleted from the transcriptions, creating the false impression that his language was saltier than it actually was. “If my mother ever heard me use words like that,” Nixon explained, “she would turn over in her grave.” No inner check constrained Donald Trump from using the F-word during a presidential campaign rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “We’re gonna have businesses that used to be in New Hampshire, that are now in Mexico,” he told a crowd, “come back to New Hampshire, and you can tell them to go [bleep] themselves!” Many people, particularly the ones unburdened by knowledge of economics, will respond, “Hell yeah!” We are a culture conditioned by cable television, which has made the language of sailors, mobsters and New York real estate developers available to any digitally literate 11-year-old.  This, after all, is the way “real life” sounds. Let us hope not. In real life, expletives are often used as a form of aggression or cruelty. A co-worker who tells you to Trump yourself is usually being unpleasant. A co-worker who does this every day is often creating a hostile or demeaning work...

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Keizer joins homeless initiative

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes After months of planning, the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative is ready to begin. During last week’s Keizer City Council meeting, the Keizer members of the task force were approved unanimously. Mayor Cathy Clark has had conversations in recent months with Salem Mayor Anna Peterson as well as Marion County Commissioner Janet Carlson. Thus, it’s no surprise Clark will be one of five Keizerites on the task force, which has its first meeting next Wednesday, Feb. 17. Polk County will also be represented. Joining Clark on the task force will be councilor Kim Freeman, Patty Ignatowski, Verena Wessel and Shaney Starr. Clark has also asked Keizer police chief John Teague to serve on the technical advisory team. “We recognize we have homeless members of the community,” Clark said. “As a result of Commissioner Carlson, mayor Peterson and myself having conversation, we thought it would be good to have conversations to address these issues. It’s not a one city or a one county issue; it’s something we need to solve collaboratively. We will have technical advisors like Chief Teague with a wide variety of information, to get to very complex issues. “This just came from meeting with other leaders,” she added. “We will work together to find what pieces we need to put into place to make housing secure for these people.” The Mid-Willamette Valley Community...

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Real action not lip service for schools

The Keizertimes recently reported that Salem-Keizer Schools superintendent Christy Perry received high marks from the school board for the 2014-2015 school year. The board looked at student performance against state averages, graduation rates, dropout rates, English language learner performance and growth in the percentage of schools that show above-average growth compared to similar Oregon schools. Apparently there was nothing about special services to homeless youth, new, innovative learning improvement ventures, or other demanding educational and social issues that nowadays fall into the lap of public schools. It was noted, too, that she worked for staff compliance with district policies while also paying attention to “small areas” of non-compliance.  She had performed these tasks and reported them “regularly” to the board.  Further, she established “excellent relationships” with the board and community partners.  The board did not blame her for lower academic scores as she “has done an admirable job of moving and maintaining academic scores.” Are these matters not assumed in the list of basic responsibilities assigned Oregon’s public school superintendents and how much flexibility for failures are there? Of course, news items about any superintendent’s success, somewhat rare these days from dropout land, are welcome. Meanwhile, the board members who chose her will continue to pat themselves on the back for making what they apparently believe was a notable choice.  However, what typically follows from these assessment sessions is what anyone else would view at best as a business-as-usual performance, deserving a standard cost of living adjustment (COLA).  Unfortunately for us taxpayers, what usually...

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