Month: June 2016

‘Historic’ snag in cow pasture redux

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Public hearings on a proposed rezoning of the area commonly known as “cow pasture” hit a wall in Keizer City Council chambers Monday, June 20. Between the release of the council’s agenda last week and the start of the meeting, city staff discovered that the home and associated buildings on the site are listed in a state database of potential historic sites. Heirs to the Herber family, the current owners, are seeking to rezone the land for apartments. “The city has the obligation to examine the issue and go through the process to determine its historic value,” said Nate Brown, Keizer community development director. The home on the property, located between Chemawa Road Northeast and Dearborn Avenue Northeast along Verda Lane Northeast, is the oldest structure in the city and suspected to have been built around 1890. It is designated as the Pugh-Hall-Savage Farmhouse in state registry documents. While the site has not officially been deemed to have historic value, the documents suggest is merits “elevated significance” given that there are no other sites of national historic significance in Keizer and it meets at least two of the criteria for inclusion on the national registry. Wallace Lien, attorney for the property owners, asked the city council to continue the public hearing on the matter to give his clients time to investigate the...

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Do nothing or do something

We, as a nation, have made a choice on mass gun shootings. We will do nothing. We will send thoughts and prayers. We shake our heads in disbelief. We ask ourselves how this can happen again and again. The massacre of 20 children in Connecticut, the killing of 14 people in California, the murder of 49 people in Florida and the hundreds of other shooting deaths by gun should bring about changes in gun laws—they haven’t. Support of second amendment rights has overpowered any common sense legislation that is backed by a vast majority of Americans. Suggested legislation regarding background checks, waiting periods and assault weapons ban. The latest skirmish is over whether people on the government’s no-fly list should be prohibited from purchasing a gun of any kind. Some don’t want to violate the rights of those who have not been convicted of a crime, only suspected of having terrorist sympathies. As one U.S. Senator said, if a person is a known to have actual terror plans, they would be under arrest;  you can’t buy a weapon when you are sitting in jail. The 1994 assault weapons ban was a victory for gun control advocates, however the ban expired in 2004 and has never been reinstated. Intense lobbying efforts assured that a ban on assault weapons would never see the light of day. Enthusiasts say that semi-automatic assault...

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Security and rights of the USA

Per the news media, Americans supporting the ISIS agenda are not attacking their fellow Americans on a daily basis although their murdering interests and actions have reached a fairly threatening, “Who’s next?” not thereby knowing which innocent lives will be taken during the next club night out, while seeing a movie, by going to a mall, or simply by sitting with work friends to celebrate a Christian holiday. While this writer hesitates to encourage rights infringements, is it not high time for doing more about those among us who show alarming signs of killer-to-be behaviors? For just one among the killers, take the case of Omar Mateen, formerly of St. Lucie County, Florida. His comments on the Fort Hood shooter were so worrisome that his boss, the local sheriff, transferred him from his post at a courthouse.  Yet long before, even back when he was a pre-teen, his behavior was marked by constant outbursts and classroom insubordinations where he could not conform to any school rules. Between 1992 and 1999, he had a record of 31 discipline problems for general school disruptions and specific incidents of physically attacking other students. Documents show that as early as third grade, he was verbally abusive and aggressive during which times he used violence and obscenities. In fourth grade he was known to physically harm other students, talk out in class, and scream at fellow students and teachers. He was moved from school to school but never shaped up to demonstrate anything even remotely resembling socially acceptable behaviors.  In his marriages,...

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Fighters don’t always use fists

By ERIC A. HOWALD Keizerite Thomas Lucas sat in the second-to-last row of more than 700 graduates participating in the Chemeketa Community College commencement ceremony Tuesday, June 14. He had a long wait, but I’d used my press pass to get on the floor of the Pavilion at the Oregon State Fairgrounds where the event was held. Thomas saw me taking pictures of him prior to taking his seat and flashed me a double thumbs-up along with a big grin. I found a chair about 30 feet away from his spot and we passed time trading yawns, funny faces and countdowns of how many rows were left before his turn to walk across the stage. All I could think about was how Thomas shouldn’t be there, but Thomas was defying odds long before we met a little more than a year ago. Shortly before his 19th birthday, Thomas was in Arkansas riding his bike home from one of his two jobs when he was struck by a car, then dragged behind it when the bike chain wrapped around his arm and the undercarriage of the vehicle. He woke up six weeks later in a nursing home. His mental capacity had been reduced to about that of a 7-year-old because of a traumatic brain injury. Thomas was working two jobs at the time of the accident because he was paying...

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Is the gun lobby finally cornered?

By E.J. DIONNE JR. A political crisis is usually preceded by an intellectual and moral crisis. Dominant ideas that once seemed to hang together lose their hold when they are exposed as contradictory and incoherent. Similarly, moral claims made on behalf of a worldview can, gradually or suddenly, come to be seen as empty. Demoralization comes before defeat. This is what happened in the Soviet Union. A corrupt and dictatorial system fell for many reasons, but its demise became inevitable when even those with an interest in mouthing the old slogans and defending the old ideology came to realize that almost everyone around them thought they were extolling bunk. But a crisis can also develop around particular issues in democratic countries. This is what’s happening now to those who maintain an absolutist position in opposing all new measures to limit the use of firearms. The contradictions of the gun lobby’s worldview are not new, but it has taken a terrorist hate crime at an Orlando nightclub to force even the most slavish congressional followers of the National Rifle Association to rethink whether they can continue to resist every effort, however modest, to prevent violence. Those of us who have long favored what we typically call “common-sense gun laws”—including background checks, an assault weapons ban and restrictions on the ability of terrorism suspects and the mentally unstable to buy guns—have...

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