Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spanning the State--"Batty" Edition

Congressman Greg Walden made a stop last week in his home district town of John Day. This would go as unnoteworthy most of the time, except that the local paper reported something interesting:

Sharon Livingston, a rancher in the Long Creek area, noted that at least five lawsuits are pending over grazing in the region, a trend fueled by environmental groups with deep pockets.
Walden said he favors a "loser pay provision" to curb the onslaught of such lawsuits. Citizens should have the right to reasonable appeals, he said, but the law should be stricter on litigation process.
He noted that the Healthy Forest Restoration Act takes a positive step to address such trends. It provides that parties have to be substantively involved in the planning process to have legal standing in an appeal.
Walden said it drives him "batty" when some group comes in from the outside and stops the implementation of action approved through the local and regional processes.

How ironic, given that the Western Governors Association had already developed a forest management plan prior to Bush and Walden shoving the Luntz named "Healthy Forest Restoration Act" down our throats. The Guvs in the west weren't allowing enough timber cuts, so Bush/Walden stepped in and usurped the locally developed, bipartisan plan and installed their own. Batty is as batty does, eh Greg?

And now, let's get away from Walden hypocrisy for the moment and Span the State!


Many Oregonians may be unaware that there were a large number of Chinese immigrants who came to Oregon starting around the time we became a state. A symposium held in Baker City this weekend seeks to teach locals and others interested in this part of Oregon's history about the cultural heritage of these people.

The paper in Coos Bay conducted a little experiment to see if they could find out how public the records really are when it comes to finding out how much local officials make. Here are their results.

Author and journalist Greg Palast will be in Eugene this Wednesday to peddle his new book Armed Madhouse as well as discuss the probability that the 2008 election for the presidency will again be stolen. Palast's visit will be hosted by friend-to-LO Brian Shaw of KOPT radio.

Rep. Patti Smith (R-Corbett) has her knickers in a twist over the hearings for Measure 37. In a very one-sided piece by the Hood River News, Smith boo-hoos to an unnamed writer that not enough hearings are being held on plans to fix the law. Smith also decries the speed of the process--failing to note that because of M37s own time constraints on local governments, legislators must work quickly. This article probably could have been written faster if they'd just let Smith do it herself. There are no quotes from any of the Democrats working this bill and nothing from any pro-fix-37 figures.

And speaking of M37, Stimson Lumber Company's twenty-one Measure 37 claims are about to come before the Yamhill County Commission. The claims total almost 8,000 acres of forest land--or about 12.5 miles. The company says they plan to turn the acreage into home sites.

This week's Willamette Week Rogue demonstrates something oddly amiss at the paper. Their choice of Rep. Tina Kotek (D-Portland) for allowing the name "civil unions" to be replaced with "domestic partnership" on HB 2007, passed earlier this week. While its arguably a political move on the part of Kotek and Basic Rights Oregon to buffet support for the law should it go to the ballot--it escapes me as to why this is a bad thing. "Domestic partnership" is the same thing as "civil unions". All of the rights and responsibilities are the same. If it makes it easier to uphold passage to change the name cuz it sounds nicer, then why not? Equal rights for gays and lesbians is at issue here--and that should be the focus. There are some in Oregon (in very powerful and well-funded circles) who don't want to see this happen in any way, and they have some sway. These newfangled notions of personal liberty and freedom for all citizens are going to have to be spoon fed to some of our fellow Oregonians. If we have to do it with a little sugar to get it down, so be it.