Keizer Public Square

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Fire breakfast is May 19

Sunday, May 12, is Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate the amazing women who have taken on the role of raising and forming. 

For years, the Keizer Volunteer Firefighters Association has put mothers front and center with their Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast. 

Not this year. 

The event has been renamed the Keizer Fire Breakfast. Why the change? The volunteers recognized that a number of fire district employees are mothers, too. Those mothers, who are also first responders, spent many Mother’s Days preparing, serving and cleaning up the breakfast. 

The fire district employees who are also mothers should spend that day being honored by their families. From a selfish point of view, many would like to treat their mom to a freshly made breakfast, but they certainly would not begrudge those mothers to be celebrated. 

The Keizer Fire Breakfast will be held one week later, on Sunday, May 19, from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. 

Keizer families should plan to attend the May 19 breakfast. It will be the same menu as usual: eggs, pancakes and sausage. Mothers should be honored every day for all they do for their children and family. 

Millions of cards and flower bouquets will be bestowed on mothers across the country on May 12. Each year, children of every age try to outdo themselves and present their mother with a gift or gesture that leaves no doubt that they are the best mother in the world. 

Families attending the Keizer Fire Breakfast on May 19 can extend Mother’s Day another week. That’s a good thing. 


Data vs. facts


The other day while at the Ike Box coffee shop in downtown Salem, I had the pleasure of encountering a type of person some may have thought went the way of the dinosaur: the climate change denier. 

To set the scene, imagine being in line waiting for the register and having a friendly conversation with someone you met purposefully at the cafe while they also wait in line–for clarity the conversation being had revolves around Oregonian vintners and how they can grow considering fluctuating temperatures in the growing season. 

Now imagine, mid-sentence, a stranger comes up and with a pronounced “um, actually” proceeds to give you every reason you ever needed to not talk to someone in public again. 

Kidding aside, this interlocutor felt compelled to speak, clearly stirred by my rousing telling of vinter issues, to state how, in fact, global warming is a phenomenon that has happened in other periods of time, such as the middle ages and therefore should not be the cause of worry. 

They go on to describe how they felt looking at climate scientists models are misleading and instead “looked at the empirical data.” 

This presents an interesting opportunity to discuss the difference between a piece of data and an actual fact, the main difference being context. 

Data without context is, for the most part, useless as it tells no real story. 

In this case the context here is looking at if something is a regional event vs a global one. 

The medieval warm period was largely the product of a redistribution of heat around the planet which suggests a driver other than greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide. 

According to The Conversation, a multi-discipline academic newsletter, the most likely cause of the regional changes in temperature was related to a modification of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation

When comparing that period of warming to climate change occurring now, temperatures since 2000 are already warmer than at any time during the medieval period. The situation also differs due to the asynchronous warming of that time vs the homogenous and global warming caused by human activities rather than a natural event. 

The point of the story here is that performing your own research is admirable and, in my own opinion, an amazing thing to do. 

The main issue lies in when someone takes the data presented and attempts to either interpret, analyze or reject the conclusions presented and instead create their own, often without the experience needed to do so. 

Doing your own research is great, just make sure you know what you are doing.

Be sure to vote in every election

By Kevin Mannix

Since the 2024 session adjourned in March, things have settled down on the Legislative front, but things are ramping up as we enter an election year, as I am sure you have noticed. I will continue to focus on policy in this column, and for this one, I want to focus on taxes. 

There are important local elections that will be decided in May. In both Keizer and Salem, three city council and the mayor’s seats are up for the voters to decide. The Salem municple elections are in May; the Keizer city election i in November. It’s important you vote. If you are voting by mail, it must be postmarked on or before May 21. If you are dropping it off in a dropbox, it must be in there before 8 p.m. on May 21 to count. 

These local elections matter tremendously. Because of the proximity of the two cities, the Salem and Keizer elections have a big impact on the residents of each city, especially in the area of taxes. 

To illustrate this point, I was recently alerted to the fact that if Salem’s payroll tax passed last year, it would have cost Keizer residents who work in Salem nearly $3.2 million. Keizer residents didn’t get a vote on the tax, but if the tax passed, they still would have paid. Making Keizer residents pick up the tab of Salem’s backward fiscal policies is fundamentally unfair. 

The current Salem City Council voted to cut five police positions while voting to add a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer. On the other hand, Keizer has a fully staffed police department. Budgets reflect priorities, so why should Salem fund their priorities off the backs of Keizer? 

Salem Mayor Chris Hoy’s Revenue Task Force just released their preliminary recommendations on how to raise revenue for the city of Salem. While these recommendations aren’t final, unfortunately, several could have big consequences for Keizer residents and businesses. These include ideas to implement a local gas tax in Salem, a tax on soda, a business income tax, and even an idea to toll the Marion Street bridge. 

These proposals by the City of Salem ignore an alternative approach: find ways to reduce City of Salem spending. 

It’s not just local governments looking at more ways to increase tax collections. Governor Tina Kotek’s Housing Production Advisory Council recently released five ideas on how to raise more taxes to fund the construction of housing around the state. These include: doubling the state gas tax, increasing property taxes, increasing income taxes, increasing payroll taxes and even implementing a sales tax. 

These all sound like bad ideas to me. Increasing taxes on consumers and businesses isn’t the way to make housing more affordable. 

We should reduce restrictive regulations, including speeding up the permit process and reducing permit fees. 

You may have noticed that your utility bill is markedly higher than last year. That’s because PGE raised rates 17% in January to cover the costs of green energy mandates that the majority party in the Legislature passed, three years ago. Pacific Power is also raising rates 17% in response to these regulations. 

The 2021 law requires major utility companies to increasingly transition to more expensive and less reliable forms of energy such as wind and solar, and away from low-carbon alternatives such as natural gas. In a recent article in the Portland Business Journal, energy expert and former Bonneville Power Administration manager Randy Hardy said that in response to the growing demand for power in Oregon, “all the easy stuff has been done. Now we’re onto the more expensive, more difficult stuff.” 

PGE and other major utilities will have to ramp up their transition to more expensive energy. As a result, we can expect utility bills to continue to rise until the Legislature takes action. I look forward to finding ways to combat these utility regulations which impose greater costs on our citizens. 

It truly is an honor to represent this community in the Oregon Legislature. 

The leakage of prestige amid protests is most welcome 


Do not emulate the Chicago politician who said he would not “cast asparagus” at opponents. Do cast aspersions at “elite” (just a synonym for “expensive”) institutions of what is still called, despite an ocean of contrary evidence, higher (than what?) education. 

Parents paying $89,000 for a child’s year at Columbia University might be nonplussed about the university’s explanation of its recourse to remote learning: “Safety is our highest priority.” Clearly education is not. 

Given academia’s nearly monochrome culture, most universities have many infantile adults. These are faculty members who have glided from kindergarten through postdoctoral fellowships. To such professors, the 99.9% of the world adjacent to campuses is as foreign as Mongolia. 

Still, suppose you want to hire a recent college graduate for your business. Suppose one of your applicants attended Harvard while it was becoming an incubator of antisemitic educations. And suppose the other applicant attended a large public university. The public-university graduate is at least marginally less apt to be enthusiastic about Hamas. 

Or suppose you seek a young doctor to join your medical practice. You might reasonably hesitate before hiring someone from UCLA’s medical school. There a recent pro-Hamas guest lecturer in a mandatory course on “Structural Racism and Health Equity” led students in a “Free Palestine” chant, directed them to get on their knees and touch the floor in a “prayer” to “mama earth,” and warned the future doctors against the “crapitalist lie” of “private property.” 

The leakage of prestige from politicized universities is overdue and wholesome. Those schools that once were preeminent and now are punchlines might soon have a bruising rendezvous with real politics, which, unlike the sandbox radicalism of campus playgrounds, can be serious. 

Government policies have encouraged the growth of universities’ endowments, and funded their research, because institutions of higher education have hitherto been considered valuable contributors to the nation’s welfare. 

Wealthy private universities, echoing progressive clamors for more aggressive taxing of the rich, should not be surprised or scandalized if government heeds the clamors by turning its covetous gaze toward their endowments. 

Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute has an explanation of the self-satisfied adolescents engaged in histrionic campus politics: Their clenched fists indicate that they have too much time on their hands. Hess notes that a recent survey of four-year college students found that 64% claim to put “a lot of effort” into school work. But fewer than a third of these toilers in the academic salt mines say they devote even two hours a day to studying. 

In 1961, full-time students studied an average of about 40 hours per week; by 2003, the figure was 27 hours. It is likely fewer two decades later. Time-use data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, from 2003 to 2014, full-time college students devoted an average of 2.8 hours a day to classroom instruction, homework and other educational activities. 

Unsurprisingly, the decline of studiousness has coincided with rampant grade inflation. At Yale in the 2022-2023 academic year, only prodigies of underachievement managed to miss the bounty: Almost 80% of grades were As or A-minuses. 

Back at Columbia (which, when it was King’s College, gave the nation Alexander Hamilton), a revolutionary evicted from university housing is suffering for his idealism. The 27-year-old student in the School of Social Work says he now must find off-campus housing that will accommodate his emotional support rabbit. 

(Washington Post) 

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