Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sunday Whiparound--Dialup Blues Edition

Time for the Sunday trip around the state. Carla will be back tonight, and meantime I'm still spitting out the goodness from the humid climes of bayfront Virginia via dialup. Often the whiparound has some feature stories or items of strict local concern, but there's a pretty good slate of hard news out this weekend...

Grant Gallaher, the Baker City USPS worker who unfortunately lived the stereotype and went postal on his supervisor last April, agreed to waive appeals in exchange for a life sentence and a minimum 35-year stay in prison. Pretty quick justice out there, I'd say--getting a solid sentence without a long trial and the worry of continual appeals is great work for the prosecution team (and I'm generally sparing with praise for prosecutors).

Out La Grande way, the Foster Gulch complex of fires is threatening to take a big leap forward, with 40 mph winds expected and only about 20% containment as of yesterday. Let's hope if the governor sees firefighters on their way back from fighting the fire, he'll thank them instead of berating them.

In other fire news completely across the state, an accidental causeway fire at the Port of Astoria highlighted a major deficiency in emergency preparedness--the fireboat is permanently out of commission. Putting aside for the moment the crazy idea that a shipping port would have no fireboat, this is a national security issue in some ways. Astoria is a historical point of vigilance, given its status as an entryway to both the West Coast and one of its major waterways. I don't sit around worrying about North Korea or China lobbing missiles and staging ground attacks, but if there is anywhere in Oregon that is a strategic location for that kind of thing, it's probably Astoria. To not have the ability to counter fires near the water is stupid, stupid, stupid--get these people some DHS funds, stat!

The small-town recalls continue--this time it's Douglas County Commissioner Marilyn Kittelman. Opponents were close to having the needed signatures to place the recall on the ballot {reg possibly reqd}. It doesn't look like a big scandal; opponents just seem sick of her. For the other side, you can read the response here {pdf}.

And finally, a wire story from AP Oregon discussing Ron Saxton's appearance before the GOP state convention, in which he and they tied their kite strings firmly to the crazy TABOR scheme for destroying state government. Saxton is still hedging on whether it makes the ballot, which makes no sense--it's not like the text will change between now and then. Either he supports it or he doesn't, and if he doesn't he's a pariah in his own party. Listen:
"Government has got to get control of its spending," said Lee Golder, a GOP delegate from North Bend who strongly backs the spending limit.


One of the leading backers of the spending limit, Russ Walker of FreedomWorks, on Saturday called those assertions "scare tactics." He also said the Republican Party's endorsement would help build support for a new spending limit for the fall campaign.

"The average guy knows that government is not spending his tax dollars wisely," said Walker, who was at the GOP convention.
Have a great Sunday!