Keizer Public Square

Public Square welcomes all points of view. Published submissions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Keizertimes 

A better community


I was very interested and disappointed in the interviews with city leaders printed in the Keizertimes (Feb. 2), and in an earlier interview with Lore Christopher. To the extent individuals expressed specific actions, it was hard to see how they would contribute to improving our community. 

Earning money from outside groups for renting space in City Hall or soon-to-be built soccer fields feels more like a goal for a commercial company than a thriving city. 

I want Keizer to be a great place to live and the focus of our government to be on creating and supporting such a community. Attributes of such a city are places where residents are attracted to gather, enjoying where they live, a location where their needs are met, and where they can undertake activities that they enjoy and improve their lives. I suspect there is a real need in Keizer for a community center and for soccer fields. The goal of our government should be creating and managing such spaces to enrich and meet the needs of our community; not as an effort to fundraise from outside groups. 

Expanding the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) comes up as a common thread. But, I have not heard any justification as to why, when this is not currently needed to meet 20-year housing needs, is this advantageous to the community. Keizer is experiencing significant growth from many new apartment complexes. These are adding significant congestion to existing roadways, increasing the need for road improvements (including sidewalks and crosswalks), and additional parks and recreational opportunities. 

Before Keizer can expand and compound these problems further, it needs a clear understanding of how such growth can occur without further degradation of quality of life in Keizer and residential neighborhoods along Verda Lane, Windsor Island Road, Lockhaven Drive, Chemawa Road and Wheatland Road. Expansion brings with it increased demand for police, fire and other city services so if current city revenues for such services are falling short, the added revenue from the expansion will simply increase the deficit. 

Many seem to be advocating eliminating the parks fee. This is pure lunacy. I wish there were another way, as such fees are not proportional to people’s ability to pay and as such are regressive. But until a funding source that is secure and equivalent or greater can be found, the support the fee provides for our parks is critical. 

On a daily basis, our parks provide some of the most tangible benefit for the quality of life in Keizer. For the livability and quality of our community, we need to maintain, improve, and increase our parks. This will not happen without financial support. It was impossible previously without the funding the parks fee has provided. 

Keizer has been a wonderful place to live. As open land is filled, population and congestion increases, Keizer needs to pull together as a community and work together to support and invest in a city government, facilities, and infrastructure that improves our community for everyone. 

(David Philbrick lives in Keizer.

Politics is Policy


Oregon’s legislators getting together to negotiate a response for better handling the state’s drug problem appears nowadays in the realm of a divine intervention event. In yesteryear, one recalls, leaders of both major political parties would meet after taking an oath to protect and serve all the people of our state to work on plans to address problems, readying them for presentation to Oregon’s voters. But not with the drug problem, or the many other current challenges. 

Instead, the legislators have chosen to disregard unanimity and common purpose, choosing to compete over who’s got the best misdemeanor choice for punishing offenders. 

The GOP will criticize and condemn the plan of the Democrats, while the Democrats try their level best to defeat the Republican proposal. Of course, as of most anything of late that could make a difference and help those persons in need of help, the matter will sink into name calling, oaths of revenge, persons of dastardly ill-fame phoning and e-mailing threats to harm the opposition and their family members, and, not unlike what happened during the recent ice storm to those left outside to literally freeze to death- will instead argue endlessly as to whom deserves the most blame when nothing comes of all the noise, save a frustrated Oregon citizenry. 

Helping persons rid themselves of a drug habit is no easy task as anyone with a habit knows without receiving a sermon on the subject. However, while some drug addictions may be the most challenging among life’s miseries we later regret but find these drug-taking habits so deeply entrenched in body and soul as extremely difficult to discard. Then, also, those who get “hooked” find help is no easy remedy when they want to quit because help is costly and trained professionals are not handy. 

The drug problem in Oregon is real and has captured and controls a whole lot of our fellow citizens. By its number of victims here, attention to it is widely demanded. Any good news about this drug problem is that we know it can be brought under control because we have had an Oregon in the past where a sizeable segment of the population did not need a “fix” to function. We humans have been known throughout our history to find ways to deal with serious threats to civilized living where the old expression, ‘where there’s a will there’s a way,’ have been used to tame and mitigate the problem. 

It’s up to all of us to demand and work toward a brighter future here and that means we must work hard to get along better with a common purpose in saving ourselves and saving America from wrack and ruin. 

(Gene H. McIntyre shares his opinion regularly.

Forget about a second term. Is Biden fit to be president right now? 


Special counsel Robert K. Hur, in a devastating 345-page report on his investigation into President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, concludes that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials.” But that is not his report’s real bombshell. Far more damaging is the picture it paints, in explaining Hur’s decision not to prosecute, of Biden as suffering from “diminished faculties” and “significant limitations” on his memory. So much so, the report says, that jurors would be unlikely to convict Biden because they would find him “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” 

Most of us can judge Biden’s mental fitness only by his many struggles in public appearances—most recently forgetting the name “Hamas” while trying for about 30 painful seconds to articulate the state of hostage negotiations, referring to his recent meeting with a French president who died in 1996, and claiming to have discussed the Capitol riot with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died nearly four years before it took place. 

We are left to wonder: If the president is this diminished in public, what is he like behind closed doors? 

Well, the special counsel office’s report draws back the curtain and shows us. Based on its review of dozens of hours of recorded conversations between Biden, his ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer, and “on our direct interactions with and observations of him” during interviews with Justice Department lawyers, a deeply troubling picture emerges a man who at times seems incapable to conducting basic conversations. 

“Mr. Biden’s memory… appeared to have significant limitations,” Hur writes, “both at the time he spoke to Zwonitzer in 2017, as evidenced by their recorded conversations, and today, as evidenced by his recorded interview with our office.” The recorded conversations with the ghostwriter “are often painfully slow, with Mr. Biden struggling to remember events and straining at times to read and relay his own notebook entries.” 

“In his interview with our office, Mr. Biden’s memory was worse,” Hur continues. Biden “did not remember when he was vice president, forgetting on the first day of the interview when his term ended (‘if it was 2013—when did I stop being Vice President?’), and forgetting on the second day of the interview when his term began (‘in 2009, am I still Vice President?’). He did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died.” 

The report adds that Biden’s “memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him,” adding that “among other things, he mistakenly said he ‘had a real difference’ of opinion with General Karl Eikenberry, when, in fact, Eikenberry was an ally whom Mr. Biden cited approvingly in his Thanksgiving memo to President Obama.” 

Hur concludes that jurors would likely find “Mr. Biden’s apparent lapses and failures” in sharing classified information with his ghostwriter in 2017 “consistent with the diminished faculties and faulty memory he showed in Zwonitzer’s interview recordings and in our interview of him.” 

As a columnist without a medical degree, I am in no position to diagnose Biden, and neither are most Americans. But we see what we see—how his gait has stiffened and his ability to answer simple questions has declined. Which is why multiple polls show that 76 percent of American voters believe Biden is too old to effectively serve another term as president and 54 percent say he no longer has “the competence to carry out the job of president.” 

That was based on his public appearances. But the special counsel’s description of his private interactions raises these concerns to Defcon 1. If the president is this confused in his meetings with Justice Department lawyers, how bad are his interactions with world leaders or his meetings with his own national security officials in the Situation Room? During the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, Biden falsely claimed that none of his military advisers had recommended leaving a residual force of 2,500 troops, only to have those military leaders testify that they had in fact given him that advice. Did he lie, or did he simply not recall what they had told him? Which is worse? 

A few weeks ago, much of Washington was outraged by a defense secretary who failed to disclose a serious medical condition and undermined the military chain of command. Well, now we have reason to be concerned about the man at the top of that chain of command. 

Biden’s news conference last week, in which he angrily defended his mental acuity (“I’m well-meaning, and I’m an elderly man, and I know what the hell I’m doing”) only made things worse. He referred to President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi of Egypt as the “president of Mexico” and claimed the special counsel never said that he shared classified information when Hur’s report said he “disclosed classified materials.” 

In trying to rebut the report’s assertions, Biden pointed out that his five hours of interviews with the Justice Department across two days came as he was “managing an international crisis.” The first of the interviews came one day after Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel—and the special counsel’s report said Biden displayed “diminished faculties and faulty memory.” Can Americans afford to have a president with diminished faculties managing an international crisis? 

The president’s closest aides protect him, and foreign leaders wouldn’t publicly reveal any concerns about their discussions with him, for fear of damaging relations with the United States. But the special counsel has shown us Biden behind the scenes. If the president is “struggling to remember events” during his “painfully slow” interactions with others, how can he effectively conduct diplomacy or make decisions on matters of peace and security? 

There are wars raging in Europe and the Middle East; U.S. forces are under attack in Iraq, Syria and the Red Sea; the risk of war in the Pacific is growing; and rising numbers of people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list are trying to slip into the United States by illegally crossing the southern border. And apparently the commander in chief dealing with these overlapping crises is a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” 

We’re now beyond concern about whether Biden is fit to serve a second term; we should be concerned about whether he is fit to finish his first. 

(Washington Post