GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
The Bend Bulletin
State campaign finance reports filed through Monday show Gov. Kate Brown has raised about $11.3 million. Her Republican opponent, state Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, has raised about $7.4 million. The record total of about $18.7 million tops the $17.7 million raised and spent in the 2010 governor’s race won by Democrat John Kitzhaber over Republican Chris Dudley. The totals do not include money raised and spent by outside groups that are running ads against candidates.
Dennis Richardson, Oregon secretary of state and first in line if the governor can no longer serve in office, has cut back his schedule as he deals with brain cancer. His performance at an August meeting of the State Land Board raised fresh questions about his condition. Joining by phone, Richardson struggled to participate. When asked at the beginning of the call if he could hear, Richardson stammered for a couple seconds before a staffer jumped in. He was then silent for 18 minutes.
Gov. Kate Brown and House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson took to the Capitol steps Monday morning to publicly support Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, both of whom have alleged U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them years ago. Brown and Williamson were joined by dozens of lawmakers, mostly women, to take a political stance on sexual assault, as part of the greater #MeToo movement. The walkout took place on the opening day of September’s Legislative Days, where lawmakers from throughout the state convene at the Capitol to prepare for the 2019 Legislature. The walkout was short and silent, lasting about four minutes.
Monday morning in Salem, Gomberg testified before the House Interim Committee on Economic Development & Trade about two bottles he recently purchased in local stores: a 2016 Elouan “Oregon” pinot noir and a 2017 “Willametter Journal” pinot noir that is also made by Copper Cane. Gomberg said Elouan’s “Oregon” Pinot Noir’s packing case implies an “Oregon Coast” American Viticultural Area — a geographical area recognized by the federal government for the quality reputation of the grapes grown there — that doesn’t exist. The box does, however, list three real Oregon AVAs, the Willamette, Rogue and Umpqua Valleys, and portrays them as nested within, and therefore subordinate to, the fictional “Oregon Coast” area. “I may not be an expert on wine,” Gomberg said, “but you don’t have to be one to know we don’t grow pinot noir grapes on the Oregon coast and Oregon hasn’t been a territory since 1859.
Brown is on pace to break the all-time fundraising record for an Oregon governor’s race set by Republican Chris Dudley in 2010. Dudley raised just under $10.5 million in his battle with Democrat John Kitzhaber, who raised $7.5 million. Kitzhaber won that race by 22,000 votes.
Portland Business Journal
The bosses have not yet introduced facial recognition technology at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. But from her perch behind the front desk at the pink neo-Moorish palace overlooking Waikiki Beach, Jean Te’o-Gibney can see it coming. “Marriott just rolled it out in China,” enabling guests to check into their rooms without bothering with front-desk formalities, said Te’o-Gibney, a 53-year-old grandmother of seven. “It seems they know they will be eliminating our jobs.”
Through the new app, users will be able to verify wins and losses for scratch-its, draw games and Keno. For the lucky few that scan a winning ticket, the Lottery says the app will feature “built-in excitement” for an “enhanced experience.” In presentation materials, the Lottery also noted the app includes “mitigation of buyer’s remorse in the form of the good things lottery dollars do for their area of the state displayed via geo-targeting for a non-winning ticket.” The app also features “responsible gaming tools” to facilitate “responsible” and “sustainable” user-base growth. There is a set of tips on responsible play and best practices available, a budgeting and timer tool, and a cost-of-play calculator to show the potential long term financial effects of regular playing.
The Capital Press
A “perfect storm” of high demand and increased production carried the Oregon wine industry to significant economic growth in 2017, according to an annual study by the University of Oregon Institute for Policy Research and Engagement. The latest Oregon Vineyard and Winery Report shows the state added 92 new vineyards and 44 new wineries in 2017, while expanding planted acres from 30,435 to 33, 631 — a 10.5 percent jump. Total sales grew to more than $550 million in 2017, up nearly 4 percent over 2016. Though in-state sales saw a slight decrease from 593,192 cases to 579,155 cases, domestic sales outside of Oregon rose from 1.8 million cases to more than 2 million cases, and international sales exploded from 65,515 cases to 94,351 cases, bringing exports back to levels last seen in 2014.
The Associated Press
Over the first seven months of the year, there were 96 price hikes for every price cut, the AP found. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the administration’s point person for efforts to lower drug prices, conceded in a recent AP interview that it will be a while before drug prices fall. He noted the complexity of the medicine market and its incentives for drugmakers to boost prices so they and middlemen make bigger profits.
The Bulletin Editorial Board
Let’s say you care deeply about the environment, have lots of money to spend and don’t think the Oregon Department of Justice has enough lawyers working on related litigation and policy. Would it be OK if you paid the state to hire more lawyers to work on your issues? It would be like government for hire. People or corporations with big money could influence state enforcement and prosecution. Look at what happened in Oregon: Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced earlier this year that former Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick would serve as a legal fellow from the NYU State Impact Center. “As a Legal Fellow, Novick will work as an Oregon Special Assistant Attorney General on legal cases related to clean energy, climate change and the environment,” the AG’s announcement said. What the announcement did not say is that the position is funded indirectly through Michael Bloomberg, who wants to see more legal action taken to protect the environment. Think of it this way: What if Bloomberg or somebody else wanted to push for more use of coal in Oregon or relaxed gun laws? Would buying government time and energy be OK then?
The Portland Tribune Editorial Board
Two years ago, opponents of Ballot Measure 97 — including the Pamplin Media Group editorial board — argued forcefully that it was wrong for public employees unions to write tax law through the initiative process. In the end, voters agreed overwhelmingly with that position when they rejected the proposed 2.5 percent gross receipts tax. Now, in 2018, some of the groups opposed to Measure 97 are using the initiative process to try to create tax policy of their own. Measures 103 and 104 have more basis in reality than did Measure 97, but we still believe the ballot box is no place to decide complicated fiscal issues.
The Oregonian Editorial Board
In 48 other states, Joshua Horner would have never been convicted of sexually abusing a minor. His four-day trial in 2017 ended with only 11 of 12 jurors believing that the Redmond man committed the sex-abuse crimes that prosecutors alleged. Almost anywhere else in the country, that lone juror’s doubt would have been enough to hold off a verdict and force prosecutors to bring a stronger case to prove his guilt. But because Horner was tried in Oregon, one of only two states in the country where a defendant can be found guilty by a nonunanimous jury, the holdout’s vote didn’t matter. Horner was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison. That could have been the end of the story. But luckily for Horner, both the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Innocence Project took a closer look at his case, as Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Emily Cureton reported. After the appeals court ordered a new trial and the Oregon Innocence Project discredited key testimony from the victim, the Deschutes County district attorney dismissed the charges against Horner and apologized for using “untrue evidence” against him. Horner, who spent 18 months in prison, is now a free man.
The Bulletin Editorial Board
Schools are, by definition, set up to teach students. Meeting graduation requirements or taking tough courses do not mean students learn all a school has to offer, even if they attend full time every year. It shouldn’t mean they’ll be allowed to quit once they’ve got the requirements met. Instead, it should mean districts both expect and encourage those students to explore new, perhaps untried, areas of learning.
President Donald Trump is making good on his pledge to escalate the trade war with China by imposing tariffs on US $200 billion of Chinese goods. The Chinese government, for its part, is already retaliating with new taxes on $60 billion of American imports. If you’re curious why China’s sanctions don’t match Trump’s, there’s an easy explanation. As a number of commentators have correctly pointed out, Beijing is running out of American products to target. Americans bought $375 billion more stuff from China than the Chinese bought from the U.S. last year, which means Trump has a lot more to punish. While this may mean that China’s leverage on trade is limited, it doesn’t mean that Trump can easily win this confrontation. That’s because China has many other ways to retaliate, such as dumping its considerable holdings of U.S. debt or making it harder for Trump to get a nuclear deal with North Korea. In these and other areas, Beijing has enormous leverage. This has led some to suggest that the trade war may soon turn into a “new cold war.”