Keizer Public Square

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To the class of 2024

Congratulations, you are a graduate, a title that can never be taken from you.

As you prepare to enter into the next step on your post-high school life, you can revel in what you have lived through.

In your lifetime, the United States elected its first black president (remember Barack Obama?) and the first female vice president, the closest a woman has gotten to the Oval Office.

Your family experienced and survived the Great Recession. Most recently you endured the effects of a global pandemic, a health crisis that closed your schools and forced you to learn at a computer terminal.

With all that you are poised to take your place in the world. Whether your education continues or you enter the armed forces or you join the work force, your life is now your own. You get to make decisions that will shape your life in the near and far future. Your destiny is now in your own hands. 

The advice given by your elders is still very sound: make good choices. Some of the choices you can make that will shape your quality of life are: be nice, be polite and be tolerant. You learned in school that not everyone agrees on everything. If you pay attention to news, your know that is true. Most of you will be eligible to cast your first vote in a presidential election this year, an example of people not agreeing.

You might have been bored in school; most people are bored by school at some point. Those days are gone. You won’t be bored anymore. As a sage television character once said, “Only boring people are bored.” 

Step outside your front door and the world will provide you with plenty of choices. Your school days may be over but the learning is not. Be curious. Ask questions; you should want to know why things are. Ask yourself what you can do about something you don’t agree with.

The world is waiting for you to make your mark. Make a difference in the world by striving to fight injustice, to fight prejudice. Strive to leave the world a better place.

Don’t litter, don’t yell, don’t harsh anyone’s mellow.

It is up to you to continue your worldly education. There is always something new to learn.

Grab life and show it who is boss. 

You are. — LAZ

The anti-chaos candidate?

To the Editor:

This is in response to Marc A. Thiessen’s guest column featured in the May 24th edition of the Keizer Times. Mr. Thiessen writes a column for The Washington Post on foreign and domestic policy. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. He is a Fox News contributor. Politically, his views align more so with the Republican Party. His views expressed in the guest column reflect this. So, let’s delve into his comments.

Mr. Thiessen presents contrasting opinions of the two presidential candidates. Mr. Thiessen’s opinions suggest he would prefer a second Trump presidency. To me, and many Americans, Mr. Trump’s rhetoric is divisive, mean spirited and racist. Too often his message is hateful, misguided and encourages violence as a means to an end. He praises a war mongering dictator like Vladimir Putin. He is unapologetic about his role in the events of January 6, 2021. Mr. Trump, the anti-chaos candidate? I think not.

Mr. Thiessen’s anti-chaos comparison seems rather ironic considering Mr. Trump’s involvement during the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol. Are Americans to believe Trump’s own words on that day, “fight like hell”, are anti-chaos actions? Trump sees the insurrectionist who stormed the Capitol as patriots, despite the physical violence and death that occurred. He was quoted as saying, there were “very fine people on both sides”, after a peaceful protester was killed by a White Supremacist at the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. How can protesters carrying Nazi flags, and chanting White Supremacist statements, be “very fine people”? That is not an anti-chaos candidate.

I do not agree that people were better off during the Trump years. Probably the biggest challenge and failure of leadership occurred during the COVID pandemic. I realize Trump inherited this on his watch, so all of the blame for loss of life, and a failed economy, cannot be his. But, his hap hazardous ideas to combat the virus by ingesting disinfectant, or placing an ultraviolet light inside the body, are dangerous and without scientific merit. A true leader empowers medical and scientific professionals to bring their expertise to bear at a time when it’s needed most.

In closing, and to Mr. Thiessen’s point of who will be the anti-chaos candidate, Mr. Trump has demonstrated through his words, and actions by his followers, that violence can be justified. I have yet to hear President Biden speak of violence as a means to an end. If anything he has spoken out against violence. If Trump is to claim that he is the anti-chaos candidate, it will be yet again another lie based on his track record. My advice; do your homework, read the Trump campaigns, Project 2025 Presidential Transition Project, get the facts, not social media bias, and see which one has a track record of being the anti-chaos candidate.

Gerry Juster / Keizer

Donald Trump is a threat 


I am writing this letter in response to the op-ed piece by Marc Thiessen (Keizertimes, May 24, 2024). A diversity of opinions is necessary for a healthy democracy. The American Eagle can not fly straight without a strong left and right wing, however, the garbage that Mr. Thiessen has written has as much place in our democratic discourse as Nazi iconography does in Germany.

I won’t mince words. Donald Trump is a threat to American democracy and he and his close supporters and advisors are domestic enemies. He is neither conservative, nor Christian. He is a conman, a liar, a thief, a serial philanderer, a racist and a fascist. He is Father Coughlin, not Father Kolbe. He is George Wallace, not Abraham Lincoln. He is James Watt, not Teddy Roosevelt. He is the gangland boss, not Eliot Ness. 

I believed that, despite all of our differences, Americans would see Trump for who he is. But based on our history—Native American genocide, slavery, eugenics and the American Nazi Party—and Trump’s election in 2016 and his support in 2020 and 2024 show how naive I was. But even I am shocked to read, as Marc Thiessen writes, that we should get past the January 6th insurrection because it’s fading from our memories. Aside from the fact that there is an entire right-wing media and political ecosystem that has downplayed and denied the seriousness of this horrible event, we must remember that it was the only successful domestic attack on our Capitol and our government. And it was led by Trump and his minions for whom democracy is an impediment to their aims.

Marc Thiessen wants us to believe that Donald Trump is an economic genius when all he did was inherit a robust, if uneven, economy from Barack Obama and promptly used it as an excuse to cut taxes for the wealthy. He undermined regulations—directly and indirectly through his judicial appointments—that disproportionately hurt lower and middle-class Americans. 

Marc Thiessen wants us to believe that Donald Trump is a foreign policy genius who kept us out of wars and would have prevented the wars in the Ukraine and in the Middle East. In reality, his foreign policy consisted of befriending oligarchs and autocrats while denigrating our allies. Like the American Nazi party of the 1930s, he is cozying up to evil people and has repeatedly shown himself to be Putin’s useful idiot.

Marc Thiessen urges Trump to run as the anti-chaos candidate while ignoring all of the protests and divisiveness during the Trump administration. If you truly want a candidate that is anti-chaos, then the only choice is Biden. You don’t have to like everything he has done, I too wish we had a president that didn’t support everything in the status quo—billionaires getting handouts while the lower and middle-class struggle, neoliberal economic policies that favor Wall Street over Main Street, environmental destruction for short-term economic growth, a budget that spends over a trillion dollars a year on the military and Medicare/Medicaid while other important programs struggle and Americans still can’t get affordable, high-quality health care. But it is impossible to ignore that Biden is the only pro-democracy candidate of the major parties.

Trump is not the person to fix any of our problems. Instead he will continue his policies that will benefit his cronies, undermine democracy and make us weaker. And Benjamin Franklin will get his answer when he said in 1787 that we have a republic, if we can keep it.

My uncles fought Fascists in Europe and the Pacific. I call on all Americans, but especially conservatives and Christians, to reject Donald Trump and those that pledge fealty to him. His presidency was, and his candidacy is, an insult to American democracy, conservatism and religion. 

(Mike DeBlasi lives in Keizer.)

Why I was on Dr. Phil


As spring turns into summer, we are all looking forward to warmer weather, but I am also looking forward to House Bill 4002 going into effect in September. 

As a refresher, HB 4002 will recriminalize hard drugs and set up a program in which to get people struggling with addiction into treatment. I had the honor of sitting on the committee that produced this piece of legislation and was proud to support it. 

It is not a perfect bill. It is a compromise among Republican lawmakers like myself, police, sheriffs, District Attorneys from around the state, addiction experts, and Democrat lawmakers.

Shortly after the bill passed, I was invited to go on Dr. Phil’s show and talk about the bill and the disaster Measure 110 wrought on Oregon’s drug situation. Senator Tim Knopp from Bend and Malheur County Sheriff Travis Johnson joined me, as well as several other advocates and Oregonians who were directly impacted by the legalization of street drugs. 

The episode aired on May 31; you can find it on my Facebook page.

Kerry Cohen joined us on Dr. Phil’s show, and she told the story of her son, Griffin, who two years ago died from fentanyl poisoning. Investigators learned that he bought these pills through Snapchat, where a lot of young people are finding drugs right now. 

Griffin, who was only 16, thought he was buying oxycodone from a dealer he found on Snapchat. The pills were in fact all fentanyl. Drug dealers like this need to be brought to justice for the deaths they are causing on our streets. 

Sheriff Johnson described how, under Measure 110, and some misguided court opinions, law enforcement was not able to charge someone for drug dealing even if they had all the hallmarks of drug dealing (the drug itself, scales, packaging equipment, large amounts of cash, etc.), unless law enforcement physically witnessed the person making a deal. 

That is why HB 4002 included revisions to our laws to crack down on drug dealing that led to the death of Griffin. I can only hope that recriminalization of hard drugs will prevent these unnecessary deaths in our communities.

I am running for re-election to ensure we build on this important work. I have made it my mission to stand up for the victims of crime. In the 1990s, that included writing Measure 11 to ensure the most violent criminals got serious jail time. Now, it includes advocating for young people like Griffin, and those on our streets struggling with addiction. We need to make sure that we do not just treat drug abuse as solely a criminal problem. As I said on Dr. Phil, we need to make sure we combine accountability with the compassion of care and treatment. That included returning law enforcement into the equation. Measure 110 acted as if law enforcement had no role to play in getting people help. That was a wrong approach, and by allowing law enforcement to intervene, we can address addiction and prevent deaths. 

I hope to continue this work with another term in office.

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

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

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

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