In the race for governor of our state, neither the incumbent nor contender has demonstrated the leadership to win our endorsement. We are not discouraging anyone from voting. We urge you to vote. We are putting the eventual winner on notice: You will be held accountable by one of the oldest news organizations in the state, and we expect you to lead us to our potential. We are weary of the lack of leadership we see through the fog of wildfire smoke ruining our summers, damaging local businesses, and most importantly, impacting our health. We’re using our front page to hold power accountable.
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Portland Business Journal
The 2019 Oregon Legislative session is just around the corner, and once again, health care policy and financing will take center stage. The session opens on Jan. 22. Lawmakers will be tasked with filling an $830 million Medicaid budget hole for the next biennium. They may also need to pass legislation related to the Medicaid contracting process, which will unfold starting in January. The state’s 15 locally-based coordinated care organizations are anticipating submitting letters of interest for “CCO 2.0” in February. At the 2018 State of Reform Health Policy Conference in Portland on Tuesday, Republican and Democratic legislators who sit on the House and Senate health care committees gave a preview of upcoming policy debates and their own priorities for health care-related bills and funding.
State Treasurer Tobias Read’s office has asked the Oregon Department of Justice whether the Oregon’s second-ranking elected official, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, can legally delegate his position on the State Land Board. Late Monday afternoon, as WW first reported, Richardson informed his land board colleagues, Read and Gov. Kate Brown, both Democrats, that he’d be unable to attend the Land Board meeting scheduled for 10 am Tuesday in Salem, due to his ongoing treatment for brain cancer. Right after receiving Richardson’s email Monday afternoon, Dmitri Palamteer, the chief of staff for Treasurer Read, sent a quick email to Matt DeVore, the Oregon DOJ lawyer who advises the Land Board. WW obtained the email through a public records request. DOJ spokeswoman Kristina Edmunson declined to share her agency’s response to Treasury’s query, saying it is protected by attorney-client privilege. (Palmateer says his agency will make the response public when it is received.)
This week, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters recorded a $250,000 contribution from its national affiliate, by far the largest check the organization’s political action committee has ever received. OLCV executive director Doug Moore says his group will spend the money on a digital campaign highlighting shortcomings his group sees in Buehler’s record. (On OCLV’s legislative scorecards for his two terms in the House, Buehler got failing grades, although he was among the highest scoring Republican House members.)
The District 8 race for the Oregon Senate pits an incumbent with a lengthy political resume against a pair of political newcomers making their first bids for public office. Sara Gelser, a 44-year-old Corvallis Democrat, is seeking a second four-year term as the state senator for District 8, a politically diverse district that includes the Corvallis and Albany areas. The seat was in Republican hands before Gelser wrested it from Betsy Close in 2014. Prior to that, Gelser served from 2005 to 2014 as the District 16 representative in the state House. She was first elected to public office in 2000, when she began a six-year stint on the Corvallis School Board. In the Nov. 6 election, Gelser faces two opponents: Republican nominee Erik Parks and Bryan Eggiman, the Libertarian candidate.
Republican Shelly Boshart Davis said two issues have stood out as she campaigns door-to-door. “I’m amazed at the encouragement I am receiving and that includes how many comments I’ve heard from people who want me to continue the bipartisan leadership that Andy was known for in Salem,” she said. “And Andy has helped open my eyes to the severity of our foster children’s programs and the need to support those who work in the system, as well as foster parents. The need is amazing.”
After hearing what her constituents have to say, Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon, D-Woodburn, believes one of the most important issues of the day is affordable health care. She is seeking her second term representing House District 22, focusing on issue such as education, small businesses and protecting seniors. Her Republican challenger, Marty Heyen, has served on the Salem Keizer School Board since 2015. Heyen, a stay-at-home parent with an IT background, is focusing her campaign on improving education, senior citizen welfare, health care and the economy. Alonso Leon had about $47,100 on hand for her campaign as of Oct. 16, according to campaign finance filings. Contributors include Oregon AFSCME Council 75, Oregon Nurses PAC and the Oregon Education Association. As of Oct. 15, Heyen’s campaign had raised about $23,000, according to filings. Most contributions have come from individual donors. House District 22 covers a wide swath of the Willamette Valley, including northeast Salem, Gervais, Brooks and Woodburn.
In an effort to prevent House and Senate Democrats from gaining a supermajority in the legislature, Wallan’s campaign has been fortified with a $5,750 in-kind contribution from the No Supermajorities PAC, $3,626 from Promote Oregon Leadership and $7,000 from campaign funds of Republicans running in races in neighboring districts. The Committee to Elect Mike McLane alone pumped $5,000 into Wallan’s campaign. McLane, the House majority leader, represents District 55 which includes a tip of northern Jackson County, along with Deschutes, Crook, Klamath and Lake counties.
Anthony Smith, state director at the Oregon chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, said that a non-controversial fee increase likely would pass even with a supermajority requirement. And Smith thinks such a requirement will force legislators to work together to reach a consensus on the more controversial fees — which he would see as a positive change. “More debate, more consensus, more coalition building is probably a good thing for the state,” Smith said. Meanwhile, state Sen. Mark Hass, chair of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee, opposes the measure because he thinks tax policy shouldn’t be written into the Constitution. He said including fees in its provisions could affect the overall budget process. Budget bills often include fee increases. “I think it’s not out of the question, it could have an effect,” Hass said. “Now you’re giving decision-making on day-to-day operations to a small group of people, 12 to 13 people, on a fee, whether it’s necessary to a particular group or to run a state agency.”
The Trump administration may move to rigidly define gender as a fixed status determined biologically by the genitalia a person is born with, reversing Obama-era policies that granted federal recognition to transgender individuals, according to a Sunday report from The New York Times. The paper said it obtained a memo detailing how the Department of Health and Human Services plans to create a legal definition of gender. The definition would be implemented under the Title IX law, which bans discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs, the Times reported. The HHS memo said that gender should be defined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable,” the Times said. A person’s gender would be strictly male or female and it would be unchanging.
It’s good news for renters — though perhaps a bittersweet moment for the landlords out there. The price of rent in Portland, Oregon has declined 2.7 percent on average over the last year, according to a report by Zillow, the real estate website. Zillow’s experts found declines in annual rental prices in more than half of nation’s 35 largest markets, but the Rose City lead the way — with the biggest decrease between September 2017 and September 2018. Seattle ranked second, with an annual decline of 2.2 percent. “Rents remain high by historic standards, but September’s modest annual decline in rents should ease some of the pressure pushing higher-income renters to buy,” Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas said in the report.
Guns just don’t belong at Portland State University, according to the school’s leaders. PSU administrators were so concerned about the presence of dangerous weapons on campus that they apparently canceled an event planned by the Portland State College Republicans club. The dust-up began after the collegiate members of the GOP invited local radio host Lars Larson to broadcast live on campus during club programming on Monday, Oct. 22. A producer with the nationally-syndicated program and a student organizer informed PSU that Larson planned on bringing a concealed firearm to the campus event, which celebrated the beginning of Second Amendment Week. Nevertheless, a Portland State University policy bars all students, event attendees, workers and contractors from possessing firearms on campus, regardless of whether they have a concealed carry license. The policy approved in 2012 contains carve-outs for law enforcement officers and allows the school chancellor to make “temporary exception” based on “good cause or necessity.” “PSU has a very strong interest in preserving the safety of our campus community and in applying our policies uniformly,” wrote Cynthia J. Starke, general counsel for the school, in a letter dated Oct. 17. “We are requiring you to affirmatively state that you do not intend to and will not carry a firearm on PSU’s campus.” Larson apparently did no such thing. He says the College Republicans even lost access to funding because of the consternation.
A group of about two dozen staff members at Bertha Holt Elementary School say complaints of sexual harassment and bullying by a fellow employee were ignored by the school’s principal for several years — and they want to know why. That’s according to a letter written to the Eugene School Board and presented to board members Wednesday night by two Bertha Holt workers. The letter was signed by 22 employees at the school. In the letter, school employees said they brought their concerns about the alleged behavior to the principal several times over “an extended time period,” but that the “offensive behavior continued unchecked.” The letter, which does not identify the employee, the principal or anyone else by name, states that the situation was “further complicated by conflicts of interest with high-level district administration charged with enforcing sexual harassment and bullying policies.” The principal referenced in the letter no longer works at the school. It’s unclear for how long the alleged harassment and bullying took place.
Herald and News
It has been an honor to serve as your State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives for the past two years. My goal is to give southern Klamath and Lake Counties a strong voice in Salem and to promote rural Oregon values. I am pro-life, pro-liberty, pro-Second Amendment, pro-small business, pro-hydropower and pro-agriculture. I have been nominated to represent the Republican Party of Oregon, the Independent Party of Oregon and the Oregon Libertarian Party for the general election in November. The Oregon Legislature is one Democrat away from a super-majority in the House and in the Senate. This would give Democrats total control over all policy as well as the ability to create multiple new taxes to fund their goals of utopian socialism, while further burdening all Oregon taxpayers. It is important to vote this November. We must send a message to Salem that they have enough of our money. New majority leadership is required to solve the problems our state faces. I urge you to vote Republican from top to bottom on your ballot. Also vote yes for Ballot Measures 103, 104, 105 and 106 to put restraints on the Portland politicians that desire to take away more of our freedoms in southern Oregon and place mandates on our way of life.
Herald and News
If you’ve taken a glance at your election ballot for Klamath County that should have arrived in the mail late last week, you’ll notice that beside the big, important races, there’s eight ballot initiatives, measures or petitions. The Herald and News Editorial Board sat down to review the measures and ticked off up or down votes on each of them. Of course, don’t take our blanket word for it, read the ballot measures and pros and cons for yourself. But here’s how the edit board came down on those issues.
The Bend Bulletin
Working hard should mean you can afford to live in your community and keep a roof over your head. But in communities throughout Oregon — and particularly Central Oregon — rent and housing costs have gone up much faster than wages, and people and families are struggling to make ends meet. Here in our area, we’re still experiencing a huge shortage of homes that people can afford to either rent or buy. Measure 102 is a small change to our constitution that will allow local communities to respond to the housing crisis.
The Bulletin Editorial Board
Better known as the Clean Fuels Program, Baby BETC is designed to reduce the “carbon intensity” of Oregon’s motor fuels by 10 percent between 2015 and 2025. Lawmakers passed the underlying legislation back in 2009, but the program wasn’t fully implemented until the beginning of 2016, thanks in large part to its bewildering complexity. Carbon intensity, the heart of the program, is a measure not only of the global-warming gases produced by a fuel’s consumption, but also of those released during its production, transportation and storage. Thus, two gallons of gasoline, ethanol or whatever may have different carbon intensities depending upon their heritage. The law gradually reduces the acceptable carbon intensity of road fuels. As it does, importers of the fossil fuels most of us put in our cars and trucks will find themselves increasingly on the wrong side of the state’s global warming ledger. To maintain compliance with the clean fuels law, they’ll have to buy more and more credits generated by businesses and other entities that produce and sell low-carbon fuels, most notably electricity. The cost of buying the credits is passed along at the pump. This is, of course, a gas and diesel tax by another name. Instead of using the proceeds to pay for roads, though, Baby BETC transfers the money to low carbon-fuels industries and other “credit generators,” including public transit districts and even state agencies such as the Department of Administrative Services.
The Bend Bulletin
As a lifelong registered Democrat, I am voting for Cheri Helt, Republican candidate for House District 54. Having worked in the Oregon State Elections Division, and as a lobbyist at our State Capitol, the biggest successes I’ve seen have been brought about by moderate, consensus-building legislators — regardless of party affiliation. Central Oregon has sent some of the best of these community and legislative leaders to the House and Senate over the years, including Lynn Lundquist, Neil Bryant, Ben Westlund and many others. Their ability to reach across the aisle to find real, workable solutions for Oregon’s challenges has served us well. Cheri Helt is a leader in the same mold, and should receive your vote in November. Endorsed by the Independent Party of Oregon, she is an inclusive and moderate candidate who believes that the best solutions come through consensus and collaboration.