Keizer Public Square

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

Act now and decisively

By LYNDON ZAITZ of the Keizertimes

Everyone knows that government and education are expensive. Quality government, at any level, costs money to maintain, especially with labor.

The same is true for education. If students and their families want quality schooling, there are real costs that come with that.

The city is facing the reality of ever rising costs of operating. The Long Range Planning Task Force held its second meeting this week, preparing to develop the next Keizer city budget.

At every city council meeting recently, the call for new sources of revenue is mentioned. Labor costs continue their upward spiral: wages, benefits, PERS. The cost of goods and services also continue their climb.

The Salem-Keizer School District is working to close a $30 million budget gap at the same time it is negotiating new contracts with its teachers and school staffs. 

This is where the leaders of the school district and the city earn their salary. Leaders can make a case for every expenditure, be they mandated or proposed.

Keizer’s budget writers must listen to the city’s residents on where they want their tax dollars spent. 

Public safety is always issue number one for the commaunity. The war against graffiti is never ending; city public works and park employees spend much of their time cleaning graffiti. Homeowners deal with graffiti on their property. 

The Long Range Planning Task Force discussed video cameras in parks which have been graffiti targets. As one task force member said, cameras can be foiled by a perpetrator wearing a hoodie or other face covering.

A key to reducing property crime in the city is continuing police patrols in our neighborhoods and parks. Increased law enforcement eyes are needed on the streets; that calls for personnel. Police Chief Andrew Copeland runs his department with the resources he has, but it needs a few more bodies out in the field. The community has expressed that this is a priority and city leaders need to do what is necessary to ensure the public feels safe and secure and its concerns are addressed.

A graffiti wall has been discussed at the city committee level. Such a wall (this could easily be a Boy Scout project) can be erected at some of our parks, a palette for taggers and graffiti artists. That is one small, inexpensive step to address the ongoing problem.

At some point soon the city will need to address real cuts in expenditures to fund what the public wants. Baring tax and fee increases, the city will need to get creative when it comes to generating new revenues. 

Measure 110 creates unprecedented chaos


We are now over halfway through the 35-day-long 2024 legislative session and Measure 110 is still the major topic of focus. 

Last month I wrote about the House Republican proposal to fix the most broken pieces of this measure, House Bill 4036. Unfortunately, this has encountered resistance. But additional conversations are underway surrounding reestablishing accountability for those who use dangerous drugs, and pushing individuals into treatment. 

As the legislature addresses Measure 110, I believe it is important to put Oregon’s history with similar measures into perspective. We have had three major drug laws enacted in Oregon that have been blended into our legal and social structure without the strong counter reaction like we have seen with Measure 110. 

First, the personal possession of marijuana was decriminalized in 1973. Years later this change is still generally accepted.

Second, in 1998 Oregonians legalized the distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. Today, this change is still generally accepted.

Third, in 2014 Oregonians legalized the sale of marijuana for any use. This change is still generally accepted, and in fact the State of Oregon now even taxes such sales.

General acceptance does not mean I agree with the above changes, but reflects the opinion of the voters.

Our most recent experience with Measure 110 is different. In 2020, Oregon voters legalized the possession of hard drugs and restructured the use of marijuana taxes for drug rehabilitation purposes. Unlike the three earlier ballot measures, we now see mass resistance and anger over failure of this approach. We see a clear negative reaction by the public and a visible mess in our communities. Seventy-four percent of Oregonians now want recriminalization reinstated, and 77% of Oregonians now want required treatment reinstated. 

Setting aside the merits of the earlier changes in drug laws, I note the dramatic impact on society and the reaction of Oregonians to Measure 110. We are challenged as legislators to respond and repair this situation in which Oregonians voted for a measure that they now want reversed—and rightfully so. 

We have people using hard drugs in our public parks, we have people collapsing from overdoses on our streets, and we have removed the ability for society to intervene. 

On February 20, it was reported by The Oregonian/Oregon Live that fentanyl overdose deaths in Oregon have now grown by an estimated 1,500% since before the pandemic, by far the largest increase in the United States. This statistic is so devastating it is hard to even wrap your head around it. 

While one can attribute several factors to this dramatic increase, I believe all roads lead back to Measure 110. Any legislative solution to this crisis must recriminalize hard drugs and incentivize treatment. 

Anything short of this would be a failure. 

(Kevin Mannix (R) represents Oregon House District 21. He can be reached at the Capitol by emailing Rep.KevinMannix@ or by calling 503-986-1421.)

Super Tuesday demands to be heard


Donald Trump’s handlers handled him well Saturday night, Feb. 27. By sending him out for his victory remarks minutes after South Carolina’s polls closed, they prevented him from emitting the sort of long, bilious snarl that was his response to hearing, immediately after he won in New Hampshire, Nikki Haley’s feisty vow to continue competing.

After basking in the adoration of South Carolina’s officialdom, arrayed behind him like third-graders singled out as teacher’s pets, Trump departed before he learned the fact that the high voter turnout had foretold: His win was less “gigantic” than he had promised. In November 2016, he carried South Carolina with 54.9 percent and in 2020 with 55.1. On Saturday, in a primary in which mostly Republicans participated, he received only 59.8 percent.

In the state that has the nation’s most rapidly growing population, the two places where the electorate most resembles the nation’s are Charleston and Columbia. There, Haley received 62% and 58%, respectively. It is likely that a significant number of Trumpkins value the prospective satisfaction of defeating Joe Biden more than the immediate fun of being tribal together. They might yet recognize that Trump vs. Biden would be a close call, whereas Haley vs. Biden would be a landslide for the former, with down-ballot consequences that might produce Republican control of Congress. 

Brookings Institution scholars William A. Galston and Elaine Kamarck write at the Progressive Policy Institute that in the 17 elections from 1920 to 1984, 10 winners achieved a popular-vote victory margin of at least 10 points, and five achieved at least 20 points. In the nine elections from 1988 to 2020, no winner had even a 10-point victory margin. This year, Haley probably would achieve such a margin. And it is highly probable that Trump would lose the popular vote for a third time.

Furthermore, it is pertinent that in 2020, women outvoted men by 4 to 6%. According to the AP VoteCast survey, women favored Biden 55% to 44%; according to Edison data, 57% to 42%. Women provided Biden’s narrow margin of victory.

Like cold pizza washed down by flat beer, Trump, who once upon a time was edgy, is the epitome of staleness. Pity him: It is difficult to be transgressive when there are no remaining norms to transgress. Being an acolyte in the Trump cult used to be thrillingly naughty, a rude gesture against the Republican “establishment.” Now even the least alert Trumpkins must notice that he is the party’s establishment. Only one Republican member of Congress (South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman) publicly supports Haley. For most of the rest, who call to mind Theodore Roosevelt’s scrumptious description of spines carved from bananas, his whims are commands (regarding Ukraine, the border, the budget, etc.).

They might not understand the significance of the low ceiling above the hard floor of Trump’s support. Analyst Charlie Cook says Trump’s approval numbers while president moved within a narrow 15-point band: His highest Gallup rating was 49%, and his lowest was 34. Of Trump’s nine elected predecessors (excluding Gerald Ford), those with the smallest range between highs and lows were John Kennedy at 27 points; Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Barack Obama with 31-point spreads; Ronald Reagan with a 32-point range; Bill Clinton with 37. The widest spreads were Jimmy Carter (47), George H.W. Bush (60) and George W. Bush (65). Trump was comparatively frozen, and, unlike all those predecessors, constantly below 50%.

What Cook calls “the full-blown tribalism” that has made Republicans and Democrats “virtually monolithic” in their support of presidential nominees and presidents of their parties is of recent vintage. And is not forever, because nothing is.

Republicans (and others eligible to participate) in the 46 states not yet heard from might experience a mind-opening excitement if on Super Tuesday (March 5) Haley continues to provoke Trump’s annoying insistence that their opinions are nullities, given his inevitability. If so, his handlers will be hard put to contain his off-putting petulance that constantly threatens his tenuous hold on his composure.

The political air is thick with the theory that Trump’s nomination is something to be anticipated with certainty and accepted philosophically. He is, however, a blimp filled with two lighter-than-air gases—the charisma of wealth, and an aura of invincibility among Republicans. He has lied ludicrously about the former; Haley can continue to dissipate the latter.

On Aug. 11, 1951, the Brooklyn Dodgers led the New York Giants by 13.5 games with more than two-thirds of the season gone. But the Dodgers experienced the World Series sitting on their sofas.

(Washington Post

Contact Keizertimes Staff:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

SUBSCRIBE TO GET KEIZER NEWS — We report on your community with care, depth, fairness, and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more.