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Oregon House passes 10-year fracking ban

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal

The Oregon House has passed a 10-year ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking…

…The process releases natural gas from coal seams.

Supporters say the state does not have sufficient regulations in place to ensure the environment is protected from the practice…

[According to Democrat sponsor Ken Helm] “If this industry comes to the state, we ought to be prepared with adequate rules to regulate the practice so it doesn’t contaminate groundwater”…

Industry officials say the practice has been used for more than 60 years and is safe…

The current version does not include any requirement for state agencies to undertake writing rules for fracking wells, but that still could happen, Helm said…

We Respond & Your Comments

We’re with ya all the way, Ken Baby. Why would we want Oregonians to benefit from a practice that’s saved natural gas consumers $200 a year between 2007 and 2013?

But why not tell the truth, Ken? You don’t want a 10 year ban. You want an eternal ban. That’s why your bill doesn’t ban fracking “until its environmental safety has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

That’s why you didn’t include writing rules to ensure environmental safety.

Fess up, Kenny – you don’t want fracking any time, any place. And if your natural gas buying constituents in Beaverton have to cough up an extra $200 a year? Well, that’s just their sacrifice for your pet hobbyhorse, isn’t it?


Democrats face business opposition to family leave bill

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Written by Paris Achen, Portland Tribune 

…SALEM — A bill to require 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave would bring Oregon up to the living standards of most other developed nations but represents another financial setback to the state’s business community, said speakers at a hearing…

While many businesses support and offer family and medical leave, the bill is overreaching, said Betsy Earls of Associated Oregon Industries…

The legislation “creates conditions that would make it costly and difficult for businesses — especially small ones — to plan and manage their operations,” Earls said.

The bill, sponsored by four House Democrats, would require a mandatory ½ percent deduction from employees’ pay. Employers would be required to contribute an equal amount. The money would go to a paid leave insurance program administered by the Oregon Department of Business and Consumer Services…

We Respond & Your Comments

First it was mandatory unpaid family leave. Now it’s 12 weeks of paid leave. And 18 weeks at 90% of salary for a new baby. Next it will be 18 weeks for all because it’s just not fair that someone caring for a sick mother should get less than someone with a baby.

Then it’ll be 100% of pay for parents of newborns because babies are expensive and it’s just not fair to burden them with a pay cut.

Then 100% of salary for anyone on family leave because it’s not fair….you get the point.

Here’s the takeaway: Liberals never stop with the last demand, which was only a platform for launching the next one.

A famous ‘60s Hippy radical reportedly screeched, “When they meet our demands we’ll just make 12 more. And when they meet those – another 12.”

Folks, that’s Liberalism. The solution? Fight their first demands.


The Effect of Mandatory Sick Leave Policies…

Thursday, January 12, 2017
  • Maxford Nelson, Labor Policy Analyst, The Freedom Foundation

Mandatory paid sick leave laws are employment benefit regulations that require employers to provide certain amounts of paid sick leave to employees…

Since San Francisco’s implementation of a citywide paid sick leave law.., at least seven cities and the state of Connecticut have adopted similar laws… Proponents of mandatory paid sick leave laws argue that…employees will no longer have to choose between going to work sick and foregoing pay, public health will improve by keeping sick workers from spreading illness at work, and businesses will profit from healthier employees and lower turnover…

This paper is the first to undertake a comprehensive review…of the most significant… studies of mandatory paid sick leave policies. Several important conclusions…emerge from this analysis:

  • Workplace illness does not appear to be a widespread problem…
  • Most firms voluntarily offer paid sick leave benefits without being required to do so by law…
  • Studies tend to exaggerate employer support for mandatory paid sick leave laws…
  • Consumers, workers and employers are all negatively affected by mandatory paid sick leave policies…
  • Mandatory paid sick leave laws do nothing to reduce turnover…

We Respond & Your Comments

Surprise! Paid sick leave laws, ginned up by “compassionate” politicians to dredge up votes, are like most “Progressive” policies (e.g. minimum wage increases). They:

  • Sound good
  • Don’t work
  • Are expensive
  • Hurt the people they were supposed to help.

We encourage you to click on the link here and read the short “Executive Summary,” where you’ll see even more reasons why mandatory paid sick leave laws accomplish nothing but scoring votes for Progressives.


Ballot language for liquor vote OK’d

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

   Kristena Hansen, The Associated Press

…The state Supreme Court on Thursday approved the title language of a November ballot proposal that would allow grocery stores to stock their shelves with distilled liquor across Oregon…

Oregonians Against the Takeover — a coalition formed by the Associated Liquor Stores of Oregon [and] Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors…argues liquor costs would soar as they have in Washington state…

It also says the measure would create a gaping hole in revenue for many public services…

“Oregonians will have a clear choice this November: A yes vote will blow a hole in state, local and mental health budgets, while corporate grocers make big profits,” Ryan Frank, a coalition spokesman, said in a statement Thursday. “A no vote will preserve a system that Oregonians believe works and has allowed Oregon’s craft alcohol industry to thrive.”…

Handing things over to the free market means the state either gives up that revenue entirely or it comes up with a way to preserve it through a new tax…

We Respond & Your Comments

Let’s look at these reasons for not privatizing liquor sales:

  • Liquor costs would “soar” – just like in Washington. They “soared” because government just had to replace lost revenue with new taxes. That’s because…
  • Government can never do with less money. Taxpayers always can. Maybe some lost alcohol tax revenue should be replaced. What we object to is the knee jerk reaction that every tax dollar lost must be “paid for” with new taxes.
  • “Corporate grocers [would] make big profits.” Get it? Only Oregon liquor stores and beer and wine distributors are entitled to make big profits off the liquor monopoly.
  • It would jeopardize the Oregon craft alcohol industry. So we’re supposed to pay more for our cocktails to protect some guy cooking up rotgut in his bathtub and calling the swill “craft.”

Government and liquor peddlers resist privatizing Oregon liquor sales because the state and its booze suppliers have a nice little monopoly going – and they’re not about to give it up.


To Drill or Not to Drill? That is the Question

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Leave Arctic oil untapped

Let the next generations balance need and risks

The Register Guard editorial

…Exploiting the fossil fuel resources of the Arctic involves several types of risk, all of which should deferred until better judgments on technical, economic and environmental issues can be made…

The economic risks are also large…The resources of the Arctic are the patrimony of every American, and leasing exploits them at a time when oil prices are low.

…Shell clearly expects prices to be higher when Arctic oil production ramps up, but Americans also should play a long game and realize that the longer the oil stays in the ground, the more valuable it will be in terms of income from leases and royalties…

… The Shell project would lock in decades of Arctic oil production at a time when the United States and the world are awakening to the need for a steep reduction in fossil fuel consumption…

We Respond & Your Comments

Listen up, Shell Oil execsYou’ve ignored the basic economics of oil exploration and production! But thank heaven The Register Guard is setting you straight on:

  • Economic risks of exploring in the Arctic
  • Judging when oil should be extracted for maximum profit
  • Failure to account for future reductions of fossil fuel consumption

But before you plug up those exploration holes, bring your ships back to port and fire all those MBAs whose projections sent you on that fool’s errand up north, click on

Here you’ll learn that declining Alaska Pipeline production is causing West Coast imports of foreign oil to skyrocket and that the only way to secure a safe, reliable, affordable supply of the energy Oregon (including The Register Guard) needs to grow jobs is to drill in… the Arctic.

Maybe those guys and gals at Shell aren’t so dumb after all.


Oregon to test pay-per-mile idea as replacement for gas tax

Thursday, July 23, 2015

– AP, By Gosia Wozniacka

…The program [“OreGO”] is meant to help the state raise more revenue to pay for road and bridge projects at a time when money generated from gasoline taxes is declining across the country, in part because of greater fuel efficiency and the increasing popularity of fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars.

Starting July 1, up to 5,000 volunteers in Oregon can sign up to drive with devices that collect data on how much they have driven and where. The volunteers will agree to pay 1.5 cents for each mile traveled on public roads within Oregon, instead of the tax now added when filling up at the pump.

Some electric and hybrid car owners, however, say the new tax would be unfair to them and would discourage purchasing of green vehicles…

The OreGo program is projected to cost $8.4 million to implement…

We Respond & Your Comments

We’re not taking sides on OreGo. But we do want you to anticipate this program’s unintended consequences…

  • A big reason people buy green cars is that they save on gas taxes. OreGo will decrease or eliminate these savings;
  • Green cars are mostly affordable because of government subsidies (that means the govt. takes your money to give to people who buy green cars). So will government goose lower sales of green cars by increasing subsidies with more of your money?
  • Or will government let the price of green cars rise as demand falls, thus decreasing green car sales and increasing sales of gas cars that release more carbon?
  • The more that sales of green cars decrease, the less the value of OreGo. So in the end will Salem junk it and just raise the gas tax for everyone?

Please join us in thinking through these “sounds-good-costs-millions” programs and anticipating what the real results might be.



One For the Good Guys!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Really this is one for one very good dentist – Dr. Cedric Hayden.

Last year we featured Dr. Hayden in a three part series about his attempts to rotate his mobile dental clinic among rural Lane County cities and provide free dental care to the needy. He and his brother Matthew had already funded it with $200,000 out of their own pockets.

Unfortunately, not one city wanted it. According to Dr. Hayden, while city governments thought it was a great idea, they just didn’t want the clinic on their streets. So he shipped it to Chuuk, Micronesia, which desperately needed and wanted it.

Fast forward one year…

Now it’s Republican Representative Cedric Hayden, who sponsored House Bill 3139, which mandates that cities must allow nonprofits to set up temporary mobile clinics on private property. With the help of like minded Oregon legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, both House and Senate have passed HB 3139.

Please join us in congratulating Representative Hayden for his generosity, persistence and commitment to doing something for those in need instead of talking about it.

Read More Here >>>


Will Mr. Geranium Sue Mr. Dirt? And Will He Get Punitive Damages?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Do plants have rights? GMO fight returns to Oregon with Benton County vote

Molly Harbarger | The Oregonian/OregonLive 

The battle over genetically-modified food has returned to Oregon, despite attempts by politicians to stop county-by-county bans…

Measure 2-89 would create a framework to stop farming that uses genetically-engineered plants or any seeds patented by corporations…

The Oregon Legislature in 2013 prohibited ballot measures and local governments’ GMO bans. While Jackson County’s was grandfathered in, a measure that passed in Josephine County was stymied. But backers of the Benton County ban are using a different tactic.

Measure 2-89 would give rights to natural resources themselves – bodies of water, soil, trees…

If passed, Measure 2-89 would allow the soil, water, plants and other natural resources involved in the production and distribution of food to be plaintiffs in lawsuits — though residents of the county would assist in filing the suits…

We Respond & Your Comments

Just when you think you’ve heard it all…when activists agitate for your pooch to have human rights and sue you if she doesn’t like her treats, when jailbirds sue for color TVs, when a moron who changed his name to “Jack Ass” sues Viacom for producing a show with the same name. But wait…there’s more.

Now we have Oregonians who want to grant rights to plants, soil and water. We can see it now. We can hear the bailiff announcing “The court of the honorable Judge Pasquale Pretzelhonk will now come to order. Comes before the court the case of Mr. Geranium vs Mr. Dirt, in which plaintiff Mr. Geranium demands injunctive relief for damages arising from defendant Mr. Dirt’s failure to allow water to drain to plaintiff Dirt’s roots.”

We join you in wondering what comes next.


The other side of the affordable housing equation: Editorial

Thursday, April 17, 2014

– The Oregonian, April 5, 2014

The discussion about affordable housing in the Portland area is evolving in important ways as new voices and new ideas emerge…

All of this is encouraging…But housing prices are rising again and various factors – from green-building requirements to system development charges, to prevailing wages to land values exert upward pressure.

Victor Merced  has looked at the affordable housing equation from a number of angles – as a senior program officer at Meyer Memorial Trust, director of housing and community services for Gov. Ted Kulongoski and now as executive director of Hacienda Community Development Corp. He’s convinced that lowering the base cost has to be part of the conversation. A partial list of ideas: build more modular homes; loosen green-building requirements for affordable housing; release projects from the prevailing wage…

Our Response & Your Comments

To their credit, The Oregonian’s editors echo a constant complaint about government: That it causes the very problems that it then taxes us to solve. We could point to the housing crisis, the proliferation of guns, and the increase in the uninsured thanks to Obamacare.

The problem: government too often insists on achieving diametrically opposed goals.

Some government agencies want more “affordable” housing. Others want more green energy. But demands for green fuel raise the cost of housing. Some want limited development. That also drives up the cost of houses. Ditto for “living wages” (whatever that means).

Achieving a balance between opposed goals means that some agencies will have to give up  money and staffing – the mother’s milk of government – to other agencies. Bureaucrats don’t like that.

And the temptation is for government to take the easy way out and say, “OK, let’s make everybody happy by giving both sides more. We’ll just raise taxes.” And the beat goes on – and on.


We’re From the Government – We’ll Say Whatever We Want

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Salem Statesman Journal March 6, 2014

Over the protracted sobs of her mother and maternal grandmother, a Marion County Circuit Court judge Thursday today found no reason to reverse a decision made in January to reunite a 6-year-old girl with her father (Alfonzo Pantoja) in Mexico…

Grandmother Kerrie Lechuga argued that Pantoja’s Salem police record and a domestic violence conviction made him unfit to parent her granddaughter in a foreign country. Lechuga’s own daughter, Gloria Segura, has an admitted methamphetamine problem, is on parole and does not have custody of “Susana.” The child has been living with a foster family in Salem…

…(Judge Jamese Rhoades) acknowledged that sending the child to live in a foreign country might not seem like a perfect solution, but just because it’s not what the child is accustomed to does not make it unhealthy or unsafe. (emphasis added)

Our Response & Your Comments

Forget that this story touches on immigration. Our point is that government will use any argument to justify what it needs to justify.

Think about the last time you read about why we couldn’t deport a child to another country. The argument probably was “America is all she’s known. She grew up here. She doesn’t speak (insert  language).” Sounds reasonable. How come it doesn’t apply to the little girl in Marion County?

Because “public servants” will say what they need to say – no matter how contradictory.

Remember when ObamaCare would create jobs? Now it’s causing people to lose jobs. But that’s OK – because they’ll be free to write poetry, start a garage band or otherwise “pursue their passions,” say those in charge.

Remember when ObamaCare wasn’t a tax? At least until the Administration saved it by testifying to the Supremes that it was a tax.

Our point – ignore the, uh, “fluid” arguments and use your common sense to decide if a government action is good or bad.