Keizer Public Square

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Get out there—There are things to do

Those who many say there is nothing to do in this town need imagination and an open mind. Spring and summer in Keizer promises a myriad of choices of quality-of-life events. 

Whatever one’s interests, there are plenty of things to do in the mid-Willamette Valley region. Though it would be wonderful if there was no cost of admission. That is not reality. Yet, there are a number of things to enjoy right in our own backyard. 

The Oregon Garden is observing Earth Day next week, with a free day of celebrating the planet. Guests of all ages are invited to grow their environmental stewardship by visiting with environmentally-conscious exhibitors, engaging in educational activities and exploring the Garden in Silverton. 

Coming next month, it will cost nothing to enjoy Shake, Rattle & Roll, the KeizerFEST parade, scheduled for Saturday, May 18. Moving the parade to May will allow local high school marching bands to participate. 

The Keizer Volunteer Firefighters Association (KVFA) will hold its annual spring pancake breakfast with a change this year. Forgoing its traditional Mother’s Day breakfast, the volunteer firefighters have decided to hold the Keizer Fire Breakfast on Sunday, May 19 to allow fire district employees who are mothers to enjoy their day with their families on May 12. The breakfast is not free, but it is a wonderful community event. 

Regardless of a person’s thoughts on art, there is plenty of it in Keizer. Every week at least one resident discovers that the community has an art gallery, a library, a museum and a theater company, all at the Keizer Cultural Center. 

There is no admission charge for the Enid Joy Mount Gallery which holds monthly exhibits of work of local artists, some of which is available for purchase. 

There is also no admission fee to the Heritage Museum, which tells the Keizer story. Though a city only since 1983, there is history here dating to the mid-19th century; a visit to the museum will unveil the people and events that made Keizer what it is. 

There is no shortage of live art in our community, starting with the Keizer Homegrown Theatre at the Keizer Cultural Center, presenting four shows each year. 

Salem-Keizer public schools are known for their vibrant arts programs. For less than $10, the public can attend dramas, musicals and comedies at McNary High School. Most people don’t consider this as an entertainment choice, especially if they don’t have kids that attend McNary. That is too bad. The quality of the shows, from the sets to costumes to music to performing, is high. Shows at McNary are a convenient, inexpensive night of theater. 

It is not only theatrical shows at the high school but also any number of the concerts staged by orchestras, symphonies and choirs. Again, convenient and inexpensive entertainment. 

Oregon Future Natural Resources Leaders is holding it convention, in part, this weekend at Heritage Powerland Park (nee Antique Powerland). For free, the public can attend a number of events on Saturday, April 20, that involve timber and logging. What family wouldn’t enjoy a good, old fashioned log roll? It’s a unique event and it is free. 

By stepping outside one’s routine, Keizerites can discover many events that add to the quality of life in our own little corner of the world. 

Keizer has a museum, a library, a live theater company, 19 parks, a river, lots of nearby agriculture and corresponding roadside produce stands. 

After 40 years as a city, Keizer has grown into its own as a place with culture and things to do. 

We encourage people to go out their front door and explore all that their town has to offer. 

— LAZ 

We didn’t elect Kotek’s wife 


In this matter of state governance, were it not so pathetically sad in its entirety it might offer some comedic overtones. The matter referenced is the one where we have a relatively new Oregon governor who will now bring her unelected-to-office wife into an office of her own in the state’s capitol from which she will, apparently, assist in any number, perhaps all, matters having to do with the managing of the state of Oregon. 

What’s surrounds this matter with an element of not-to-be-missed tongue-in-cheek humor is this: the Democrats in our nation’s capital are aroused to levels of screaming “Danger! Danger” about re-electing to POTUS a man who promises to bring our U.S. Constitution and rule by law to an end. Meanwhile, the already elected Governor of Oregon, a Democrat, has announced that she will bring her spouse in to manage the state of Oregon and, it would appear, doesn’t seem to care much at all whether we like it or not. But even more consternating, no other elected Democrat in state office is saying so much as a “Boo!” about it. That’s when just a short dozen years ago the same wife-bringing current Gov. Tina Kotek, and a great many of her allies in Oregon public office, were all over former Gov. John Kitzhaber for virtually the same behavior. 

The conclusion one is tempted to adopt is that the public office holders just don’t care what their leader does or how Tina Kotek goes about doing it, yet will surrender a great deal to Kotek regardless of its magnitude for ethical, moral or even lawless standards of business by an Oregon governor. Are they afraid of Kotek? Does she have some knowledge about them that would be harmful if revealed to political careers? Are there secrets among them so threatening if found out they will obey her every action no matter what? 

You’d think that the state employees in the state capital would be so offended, outraged or whatever is appropriate to the governor’s wife—virtually taking over the place— they’d go on strike. But, no, nothing from them that indicates any concern about an un-elected official giving them their marching orders every day of work and maybe throughout their private lives and free time activities if they want to keep their jobs. And so the matter goes unaddressed and hovers like a huge flock of birds uncaring about where their droppings fall.

Will there yet be a hue and cry from the Oregon citizenry at large? Where are our legal beagles? Stay tuned! 

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

Why the abortion fight will ease into split-the-difference agreement 


Although many participants in it do not recognize this, and some who do recognize it regret it, the intensity of the debate about abortion policy is waning. This is partly because in 2022 the Supreme Court temporarily intensified the debate. And partly because the debate has been modulated by medical technology that has given the abstract debate the concreteness of visual vividness. 

The Supreme Court’s initially divisive decision overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling has catalyzed a consensus, albeit nationally uneven and slowly emerging. The consensus is as blurry as the improved sonogram images that perhaps are helping to catalyze it are sharp: By 15 weeks, it is untenable to talk, as some abortion advocates do, about what is pictured by the sonogram as “fetal material.” It looks like a baby. 

Robert Nisbet, a philosophically sophisticated sociologist who provided intellectual ballast to conservatism in the second half of the 20th century, considered it incoherent for conservatives to make opposition to abortion a fundamental tenet of their doctrine. He said “the major theme of Western conservatism” is “the preservation, to the extent feasible, of the autonomy of social groups against the state.” And particularly the preservation of “the family’s authority over its own.” 

Abortion has been considered an intractably divisive issue because it supposedly was not amenable to the basic business of politics: the splitting of differences. Nisbet noted, however, that “there is no record of any religion, including Christianity, ever pronouncing an accidental miscarriage as a death to be commemorated in prayer and ritual.” This, Nisbet implied, indicates an ancient, durable and widespread cultural tendency to say this: Societies that assert an interest in protecting life before birth are not required, by custom or a settled, articulated logic, to ban all deliberate terminations of pregnancies. 

This month, the Supreme Court of the nation’s third-most-populous state allowed the legislature’s recently enacted six-week ban on abortion to go into effect next month. (Before this, Florida had a moderately permissive abortion law.) But the court also, and perhaps more importantly, approved a ballot initiative that this November might undo what the legislature has done: If the initiative garners 60% support (current polling shows more than 60% support), it would establish a state constitutional right to abortion up to the point of viability (currently understood as 23-24 weeks). 

The Economist says that more than 1 million signatures (150,000 reportedly from registered Republicans) launched this referendum in the state whose 86,000 abortions in 2023 were one-twelfth of the nation’s total. The Economist notes that Florida has been a destination for women from neighboring states with stricter abortion limits: 

“Florida was one of the states that saw the greatest increase in abortions following the Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v Wade. The state’s ban will cut off nearly all access to abortion in the South.” 

Until its recent deepening redness (Donald Trump carried it in 2016 and 2020 by 1.2 and 3.3 percentage points, respectively; Barack Obama carried it in 2008 and 2012 by 2.8 and .09 points, respectively), Florida was the largest swing state. 

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who calls himself pro-life, has said he would sign legislation restricting abortion to the first 15 weeks. Another Republican governor, New Hampshire’s pro-choice Chris Sununu, accepts his state’s 24-week (viability) limit, and especially with each state working out its consensus. At six weeks, many pregnant women do not know their condition; recently, more than 90 percent of U.S. abortions have occurred within the first 15 weeks of gestation. 

If most Republicans would reject a six-week threshold, and eschew an unconservative clamor for re-federalizing the subject with a national abortion ban, the taint of extremism would shift to Democrats. Many of them insist on a right to abortion until birth, when sonograms give a disturbing (one hopes) picture of what abortion would end, and why society can at this point reasonably assert an interest in protecting the visible infant’s life. 

Alexander Hamilton said that because the Supreme Court has neither the power of the purse nor of the sword, it is the government’s “least dangerous” branch. Actually, the court today is the uniquely powerful branch because it lacks the power of the purse or sword, and must resort to persuasive public reasoning. Nowadays presidents and Congresses attempt this rarely, and only clumsily. 

The debate the U.S. Supreme Court fueled two years ago is being ameliorative. North Dakota and South Carolina will continue to differ about abortion, but probably not forever as much they do now. 

(Washington Post) 

Democrats believe abortion will motivate voters in 2024. Will it be enough?


When Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said recently that he was “proud” to have a hand in overturning the abortion protections enshrined in Roe v. Wade, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake took it as a political gift, thinking to herself, “Oh my God, we just won the election.”

It may not be that simple, but as the 2024 race heats up, President Joe Biden’s campaign is betting big on abortion rights as a major driver for Democrats in the election. Republicans are still trying to figure out how to talk about the issue, if at all, and avoid a political backlash.

“A vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is a vote to restore Roe, and a vote for Donald Trump is a vote to ban abortion across the country,” said Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden’s campaign manager. “These are the stakes in 2024.”

Since Roe was overturned in 2022, voters have pushed back by approving a number of statewide ballot initiatives to preserve or expand the right to abortion. Support for abortion rights drove women to the polls during the 2022 midterm elections, delivering Democrats unexpected success. For many people, the issue took on higher meaning, part of an overarching concern about the future of democracy, according to AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 94,000 voters in the midterm elections.

Democrats have since worked to broaden how they talk to voters about the Supreme Court’s decision, delivered by a conservative majority that included three justices nominated by Trump, and what it means for people’s access to health care and their personal freedoms.

The Biden campaign is launching a nationwide political push centered on Monday’s 51st anniversary of the 1973 decision that codified abortion rights. Vice President Kamala Harris, the administration’s chief messenger on this, will hold the first event Monday in Wisconsin.

Focusing on abortion will not be a silver bullet for Democrats. The economy, foreign policy, immigration and inflation are major issues, too, as is concern about Biden’s age as he tries to overcome low poll numbers. Many voters are simply turned off by the prospect of a likely 2024 Trump-Biden rematch.

Still, Democrats believe abortion will be a key motivator for base voters and help expand their coalition. Biden aides and allies point to recent elections that have overwhelmingly shown that, when voters can choose, they have chosen to safeguard abortion rights.

The issue isn’t vanishing from the headlines anytime soon, either. The Supreme Court will decide whether to restrict access to medication prescribed for abortion and to treat other reproductive issues. And there is an ongoing stream of stories about the impact of abortion bans, such as the mother who had to sue, then flee, her home state to end her doomed pregnancy.

Democrats spent decades trying to calibrate their message, always defending the right to choose while also making overtures to voters who are conflicted about the issue. President Bill Clinton’s mantra was that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.”

But the loss of federal abortion protections has been a catalyst for a broader and bolder message about abortion and reproductive rights after the historic setback from the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe.

“We know that if we talk about this issue as a fundamental freedom, we are able to resonate across demographics — older voters, younger voters, people of color, folks in rural areas,” said Mini Timmaraju, head of Reproductive Freedom for All, formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Biden aides said the strategy is to let the president be who he is — an 81-year-old Catholic man who doesn’t use the word abortion much, preferring to talk instead about the issue in the context of personal freedom.

The White House often frames the fight as part of a larger battle that involves book bans, voting rights and other social issues. For more aggressive talk about abortion and how the ripple effects of the decision are affecting maternal health, there’s Harris.

Timmaraju said those “different messages resonate with different parts of the electorate.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Democrat and vocal advocate for abortion rights, said it would be good if Biden spoke more forcefully on the topic.

“I think people want to know that this is a president that is fighting,” Whitmer told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “To use maybe more … blunt language, maybe that would be helpful.”

Since the high court overturned Roe, roughly 25 million women now live in states with some type of ban in effect. The impacts are increasingly felt by women who never intended to end their pregnancies, yet have had emergency medical care denied or delayed because of the new restrictions.

According to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, among Democrats, nearly nine in 10 say abortion should generally be legal. Four in 10 say it should be legal in all cases, and nearly half say it should be legal in most cases.

As for Republicans, the topic was largely absent in the lead-up to this year’s Iowa caucuses, a remarkable change in a state that has long backed religious conservatives vowing to restrict the procedure. Part of the change is because Republicans achieved a generational goal with the overturning of Roe. But it also underscores a fear among Republican candidates and voters alike that vocalizing their desire to further restrict abortion rights might be politically dangerous.

“I am calling the time period we are in now ‘the new fight for life,’” said Benjamin Watson, a former NFL player who is now an anti-abortion advocate. “Roe is done, but we still live in a culture that knows not how to care for life. Roe is done, but the factors that drive women to seek abortions are ever apparent and ever increasing.”

Overall, opinions on abortion remain complex, with most people believing it should be allowed in some circumstances and not in others. About two-thirds of U.S. adults say abortion should generally be legal, but only about one-quarter say it should always be legal and only about 1 in 10 say it should always be illegal.

Trump has waffled on the topic. During a recent Fox News town hall, he expressed support for limited exceptions and criticized state laws that ban abortion after six weeks. But he also has promoted his own role.

“For 54 years they were trying to get Roe v. Wade terminated, and I did it and I’m proud to have done it,” he said.

The Biden administration is nearing the limits of what it can do to preserve access to abortion absent congressional legislation. In the immediate aftermath June 24, 2022 Supreme Court decision, the administration quickly tried to flex its regulatory muscle to fight back against Republican efforts to severely restrict abortion. Many efforts have been challenged in court.

Biden had invited states with robust abortion access to apply for Medicaid waivers that would help pay for women to travel for the care. But so far, only California has applied to unlock federal money for the effort.

The top U.S. health official, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, is on a three-day East Coast tour to talk with doctors and medical students about access to abortion and birth control.

“This is the beginning of an effort to reach out to all Americans,” Becerra said, and “say to the American people how important it is that we stand up at a crucial time.”

(AP News)

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

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