Day: December 23, 2016

Real news and real local

By DON VOWELL Merry Christmas, Keizertimes. As a community we are lucky to have such a healthy and civic-minded weekly paper as a vital organ.  Our family has lived in Keizer for a little over 30 years.  By a sort of contented default we’ve slowly learned to believe this is home. And Keizertimes is our hometown newspaper.    I’m only familiar with Salem and Portland newspapers but if they are representative of how other towns are served by their local papers it only emphasizes how uniquely fortunate we are. We are trained to believe that shareholder profit is the be-all/end-all of every corporate endeavor.  That is turning the Salem paper into a pale imitation of its former self.  The editorial page now appears only sporadically.  Maybe that matters only to a few, but it is the only means of conversation that includes both the people that produce the paper and those that read it. Editorial statements and opinions also give you some insight into those who have the privilege of choosing what news you get to see each day. A major portion of column-inches in the Salem paper is given over to USA Today, a Gannett insert. It seems like reliable reporting but also seems like removing the local editors’ choices as to what story might be relevant to local readers.  And the deadline pressure of being printed off-site...

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Enough revenue, not enough backbone

From the Capitol By Bill Post As we come to Christmas, I greatly hesitate to write about politics in this column but feel I must address an important item with the upcoming 2017 legislative session. First of all, when it comes to the governor’s budget we need to remember it’s not a budget but rather a wish list.  On her wish list Governor Kate Brown writes that we will have a $1.7 billion shortfall in the next biennium. The truth is, we have a windfall of state revenues, to the tune of an 8.5 percent increase over the last biennium (and that’s after a 14 percent increase in revenue in the previous biennium, making a total of 22.5 percent increase in revenue since 2013). The problem is she “wishes” she could fund all of the items in her budget which is what has led to anxiety for many over the cuts she has proposed which include education, health care and some psychiatric and corrections facilities. The reality is we have more than enough revenue.  We just don’t seem to have a control on where to spend it. There will be cries for more revenue in the form of cutting interest deductions, raising taxes on what you eat, drink, smoke, wear and more. On top of that, a transportation package will require a gas tax. Remember, the legislature is the...

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Christmas story: A child and a movie

Cute stories about American children and Christmas are seemingly endless.  One to add has come to the attention of my wife and myself during the past week. It is planned that a certain granddaughter will spend Christmas Eve with gramma and grampa. That’s the night, of course, during which tradition promises that Santa Claus will visit each child’s home with presents, leaving them to open on Christmas morning. We have a gas fireplace that would be difficult to traverse for even a mouse, much less a bag of presents.  Granddaughter is not to be deterred in her belief of a visit by Santa. She has already explained to her mother—in no uncertain terms—that she does not want to sleep in that room.  Why?  Because she does not want to get in Santa’s way or startle him by waking up when he’s in the middle of a special delivery. She says she must sleep in a room with a door that shuts tightly. She simply does not want to disturb Santa at work and also does not want to see or hear anything among the presents that would spoil a total surprise at day break.  This little girl, this pre-school child, has mastered the particulars for making certain Santa and presents from his North Pole workshop will get to her and a chuckle for us. When granddaughter’s wishes were passed along to me, I thought of her mother and our other daughter’s childhood fantasies about Santa...

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