Keizer Public Square

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

Yes, in my neighborhood

Neighborhoods are the heartbeat of Keizer. 

There are distinct neighborhoods throughout the city, comprising households filled with good people, living their daily lives. 

Adding one more activity to a busy family’s schedule is tough to do. However there is one activity that would benefit from increased attendance: neighborhood association meetings. 

Keizer has five recognized neighborhood associations (which are different from homeowners associations), each of which wants to see more people attend their meetings; these meetings are where democracy lives. 

The leaders of all the neighborhood associations want residents to share their opinions on what is happening in their area. It was at the West Keizer Neighborhood Association (WKNA) where a much-requested speed sign on a neighborhood thoroughfare was a main topic for months. The speed sign was eventually installed after reports from WKNA pushed the project along. 

The Greater Northeast Keizer Neighborhood Association (GNKNA) has stayed on top of the safety issue on Verda Lane NE. The city council has heard from GNKNA representatives repeatedly about the need for safer walkways and slower speeds on one of Keizer’s main north-south arterials. 

The Keizer City Council has good relationships with all five neighborhood associations. That alone gives each association credibility and value. That should also be the nudge for Keizer residents to understand that they can be instrumental in how decisions are made regarding the things Keizerites care about in their neighborhoods: traffic, safety and parks. 

By attending a neighborhood association meeting, residents can meet other people who likely share views on how their community should work. The associations assure they communicate with their residents, using social media and group emails to announce monthly meetings and agenda items. 

Attending a ninety-minute meeting once a month seems to be an easy ask for any household. Attendance is enhanced when coupled with opinion sharing. 

Regardless of one’s top concern in the neighborhood, the association holds discussions at their meeting which leads to a consensus that is eventually reported to the city council. 

We think that issues should be first addressed at the neighborhood association level. They can best be addressed when those affected attend a meeting and share their thoughts. 

A decision was made in recent years to hold the association meetings at Keizer City Hall. An effort should be made to return the meetings to their respective neighborhoods, which would make it easier for more people to attend. 

Schools, churches and businesses can be approached to open space for meetings to be held closer to where the people live. 

It is a concern that the same residents attend the neighborhood meetings month after month. A wider range of opinions needs to be solicited. Find out why people don’t attend association meetings in their neighborhood. Overcome any objections by answering the needs of the intended audience— Is a different meeting time and day needed? Is a safe space for kids to play important? 

Here the five neighborhood associations and when and where they meet: 

• Greater Gubser—Keizer Civic Center, 7 p.m. second Tuesday of each month. 

• Greater Northeast Keizer— Keizer Civic Center, 6:30 p.m. first Tuesday of each month. 

• Northwest Keizer—Keizer Civic Center, 7 p.m. third Wednesday of each month. 

• Southeast Keizer—Keizer Civic Center, 6:30 p.m. First Thursday of each month. 

• West Keizer—Keizer Civic Center, 7 p.m. second Thursday of each month. 

— LAZ 

Should she stay or go? 


A recent edition of the Sunday Oregonian contained an article begging to be read. Its title, Three top Kotek aides to leave in shakeup. The Oregonian had its facts straight while no explanation for the surprising departures was provided. The mystery of the matter was soon revealed and thereby directly reminiscent of the abrupt departure of former Governor John Kitzhaber, having to do with the ill-begotten practice of nepotism in the Oregon capitol. 

Although not known to have been mentioned by her during her campaign before last-year’s election, Governor Tina Kotek will bring her wife into the Capitol, ensconce her in an office and, presumably, provide her with activities in the capitol for which she has not be elected to perform any more than that she’s likely state employee hired; yet, over which she’ll likely be granted a measure of circumstantial authority: Her status alone as the wife of Kotek will cloak her in authority level powers and privileges no one else below the governor herself can equal. Meanwhile Capitol employees could be viewed under her command as second in charge. 

Known as nepotism, this kind of action is a narrower form of favoritism, specifically providing favoritism toward family members. Nepotism often gets into the mix of decision-making when family ties influence the processes therein. The ethics of the practice of nepotism focuses on the principle of fairness where family connections take precedence over qualification that are lower than the highest standards, resulting thereby in suboptimal quality outcomes for a voting public having no say in the matter. 

Should Governor Tina Kotek stand her ground on principle or any other point of defense for appointing her wife into the shared role of governing the state of Oregon, proceedings for a recall just could be the resulting intervention by an unpleased electorate. Recall success would show Kotek the door: Nepotism being against the laws, practices and traditions that have governed the state of Oregon for 165 years. Unfortunately, public trust in this leader’s judgment has now taken a consequential tumble, a condition resulting in “red” and “blue” bruises for all Oregonians! 

(Gene H. McIntyre shares his opinion regularly in the Keizertimes.) 

Fighting the phone-warping of Gen Z doesn’t require government intrusion 


Children are like trees, only more trouble. Winds that bend young trees expand the tree’s roots on the windward side, firmly anchoring the tree. And winds strengthen the wood on the other side by compressing its cellular structure. This growth dynamic, called “stress wood,” is a metaphor for the intelligent rearing of children, who need wind—the stresses of pressure and risk-taking—to become strong and rooted in the social soil. 

Jonathan Haidt says a social catastrophe has resulted from the intersection of two recent phenomena. One is the “safetyism” of paranoid parenting, which injures bubble-wrapped children by excessively protecting them from exaggerated “stranger danger” and other irrational anxieties about the real world. The other is parental neglect regarding the “rewiring” of young brains by extreme immersion in the virtual world. This has been enabled by the swift, ubiquitous acquisition of smartphones, granting children something that is not, Haidt argues, age-appropriate: unrestricted access to the internet. 

With his just-published The Anxious Generation, Haidt hopes to demonstrate that Johannes Gutenberg’s legacy—movable type, mass literacy: books—still matters more than Steve Jobs’s devices. Haidt, a New York University social psychologist, encourages dismay about what has happened since, around 2010, smartphones became common accoutrements of children at vulnerable developmental ages. Haidt: “Children’s brains grow to 90% of full size by age five, but then take a long time to wire up and configure themselves.” 

High-speed broadband arrived in the early 2000s; the iPhone debuted in 2007. Since about 2010, social media companies have designed “a firehose of addictive content” for Gen Zers (born after 1995) who are often socially insecure, swayed by peer pressure and hungry for social validation. Gen Z became the first generation “to go through puberty with a portal in their pockets that called them away from the people nearby and into an alternative universe.” 

Phone-based childhood displaced play-based childhood and its unsupervised conversing, touching and negotiating the small-scale frictions and setbacks that prepare children for adulthood. Fearful parents, convinced the real world is comprehensively menacing (and worried about o v e r b r o a d “child endang e r m e n t ” laws), will not allow their children to walk alone to a nearby store. But they allow their children unrestricted wallowing in the internet, especially social media. 

The results, Haidt says—sleep deprivation, socialization deprivation, attention fragmentation — produced “failure-to-launch” boys living protractedly with parents, and girls depressed by visual social comparisons and perfectionism. Soon college campuses were awash with timid, bewildered late-adolescents. After their phone-based childhoods (Haidt calls social media “the most efficient conformity engines ever invented”), they begged for “safe spaces” to protect their fragile “emotional safety.” 

Haidt recommends “more unsupervised play and childhood independence,” “no smartphones before high school” and “no social media before 16.” There is, however, a “collective action” problem: It is difficult for a few scattered parents to resist the new technology’s tidal pull on most of their children’s peers. 

Techno-pessimists should avoid the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy: The rooster crows, then the sun rises, so the crowing caused the sunrise. If smartphones vanished, schoolchildren would still be spoon-fed anxiety and depression about (if they are White) their complicity in their rotten country’s systemic racism, and (if they are not White) their grinding victimhood, until we all perish from climate change. 

Haidt’s data demonstrating a correlation (the arrivals of smartphones and of increased mental disorders) suggest causation, but remember: Moral panics about new cultural phenomena – from automobiles (sex in the back seats) to comic books (really) to television to video games to the internet—are features of this excitable age. 

Although Haidt is always humane and mostly convincing, his argument does not constitute a case for government trying to do what parents and schools can do. They can emulate Shane Voss. 

In Durango, a city in southwest Coloradao, Voss, head of Mountain Middle School, acted early, and decisively. In 2012, he banned access to smartphones during the school day. The results, Haidt writes, were “transformative”: 

“Students no longer sat next to each other, scrolling while waiting for homeroom or class to start. They talked to each other or the teacher. Voss says that when he walks into a school without a phone ban, ‘It’s kind of like the zombie apocalypse and you have all these kids on the hallways not talking to each other.’” 

Soon Voss’s school reached Colorado’s highest academic rating. This local experience constitutes a recommendation to the nation. Recognize the potentially constructive power of negation: Just say no. 

(Washington Post)