Author: Lyndon Zaitz

Pick your battles

Many people have found their political voice at every level of government in America. It is easy to express one’s opinion, especially if it is anonymously on social media. Conversations touching on everything from taxes to schools to the U.S. foreign policy is rife with angry words that leap off the computer screen:  outraged, angry, unbelievable, treason and worse. Either side of any issue its supporters and its detractors. People on both sides of any subject cannot believe that anyone would think opposite of themselves, and therefore are deserving of invectives. It is impossible to read through Facebook  or Twitter on any day and not see the words that people use to show their displeasure on the opinions or actions of others. This poster is outraged, that poster is angry. To what end? Most people know their rights when it comes to speech, religion and guns. Rights are one thing, societal responsibility is another. Even though we have the right to say and write that we are outraged over something, it doesn’t foster understanding, it only hardens people into silos of righteousness. It is our right to express anger at things we don’t agree with; it should be our responsibility to attempt to be part of a solution to the problem at hand. If neighbors disagree and throw verbal tantrums, disinterested spectators can be concerned about the level of...

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Start of the holidays

Next Tuesday is Halloween, which has taken on a larger role in our modern-day culture. Most of the celebrating, especially by adults will presumably occur this weekend. It is inescapable that Halloween is, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of holiday season. Yes, Halloween is a holiday to many people. From now until the Super Bowl, America and Keizer will be marking Thanksgiving, Channuka, Kwan-za, Christmas, New Year’s Day and football’s Super Bowl with parties, events, promotions and sales. A meeting of the Keizer Festival Advisory Board, led by Councilor Marlene Parsons, shows that there is a wide variety of events to enjoy right here in the Iris Capital. The Keizer Chamber of Commerce takes the lead of many events including the Holiday Parade in December and several runs, including the always-popular Turkey Dash early on Thanksgiving Day. As we move into December, the sound of music will be constant as every school has a band/orchestra/choir concert not to mention the appearance at the State Capitol by Keizer  school choirs. There will no reason not to be in the holiday mood. A family-centric and kid-friendly city like Keizer will always provide plenty to do, see and enjoy. For those who love holidays, you are in your time of bliss. For those who merely tolerate the holidays, you mark the season your own way and in your own tradition....

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You, too?

Social media has been filled with posts that say “Me, too,” over the past week or so. That two word message alludes to the fact that the poster had been a victim of sexual harassment. The ‘Me, too’  campaign started after it was revealed that a Hollywood producer had paid out huge sums of money to a number of his accusers. That producer has since lost his company and has been kicked out of some organizations including the one that passes out the Academy Awards. It is good there is a ‘Me, too’ campaign; it brings the issue to the forefront of the  news. It does not necessarily bring it to the forefront of the collective consciousness. There are people who will  harass regardless of public norms. Harassment is, and always has been, a matter of power and control, not about sex. No one asks to be a victim of this behavior. No one invites inappropriate comments and physical touch. And certainly, no one is eager to have their career in the hands of a boss who uses their position to maintain control. Harassment has been part of the human condition forever. If you don’t put out, you’re put out. How does society stem the tide of this type of harassment? As all things, it needs to start at the beginning. We teach our children the golden rule—do unto...

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Distractions in the face of tragedy

While millions of American citizens suffer without power and communication, millions of other American citizens are debating protests by players, coaches and owners of National Football League teams. As Puerto Rico’s 3 million people cope with the devastation that Hurricane Maria visited upon the island last week, President Trump attacks people—who play a game for a living—for being unpatriotic by taking a knee during the National Anthem played before football games. The president said he would visit Puerto Rico next week. Why is the suffering that Puerto Ricans are going through any different than what Texans or Floridians or Louisanders suffered after Harvey and Irma? The country opened its wallets for those states, held telethons that raised millions of dollars, yet, our territory in the Caribbean is left twisting in the wind. Many things have gone topsy turvy in America over the past 18 months. It’s no wonder that we latch onto a secondary story as if it were a matter of life and country. Football players protesting in the way they see best is not on the same scale as millions of Americans suffering from a natural disaster or the fact that in the face of a rising ecnomy, many American still feel unsettled and uncertain of their future. This is especially true when the United States is conducting a war of words with North Korea.  Does turning...

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Cap amenity fee at $25,000

A plan to enact a fee on commercial deveopment to fund public amenities in Keizer is going to get a second, deeper look by the city council. The council was scheduled to act on the amendment to the development code at this week’s meeting. The issue has been continued to the first council meeting in October. The public hearing on the matter will also be re-opened. The public amenities will include landscaping that is up to code for new development and also a contribution to Keizer’s public art program equal to 1 percent of the project’s total worth. Many cities, counties and states have such a provision. In many cities in America a visitor can see lots of public art that is paid for with a required 1 percent contribution.  Keizer’s public art program has become anemic and has yet to live up to its potential. Establishing a contribution program from commercial development is a good way to assure that the public art program is well-funded and continues to add pieces and events to our city. A sticking point that arose at this week’s council meeting was the cost to a developer. The value of a new dental office being built in Keizer Station could be up to $8 million; one percent is $80,000—a large contribution for public amenties in Keizer. Some say there should be more parity amongst...

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