Well, it starts with Governor Kitzhaber's air conditioner story. (Raise your hand if you've heard it before!)
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) loves to tell the air-conditioner story. He loves to tell it so much, in fact, that it has become something of a running joke in Oregon health-policy circles. At this point, even Kitzhaber is in on it. Before he repeats it to me, he says, “I probably shouldn’t bore you with my air conditioner story.”
Here’s the air conditioner story: There’s a 90-year-old woman with well-managed congestive heart failure who lives in an apartment without air conditioning. That’s actually the whole story.
Kitzhaber, a former emergency room physician, sees this as the perfect example of what’s wrong with our health-care system. “A hot day could send the temperature in her apartment high enough that it strains her cardiovascular system and kicks her into full-blown congestive heart failure,” he said. “Under the current system, Medicare will pay for the ambulance and $50,000 to stabilize her. It will not pay for a $200 window air conditioner, which is all she needs to stay in her home and out of the hospital. The difference to the health-care system is $49,800. And we could save that $49,800 without reducing her benefits or her quality of life.”
Is Oregon really going to start buying air conditioners for little old ladies in hot apartments? You bet we are.
I turned in my ballot about an hour ago, running up N Commercial to the Killingsworth Library in the rain (prior to some sprint training, also in the rain). I voted for Micro Dorrow, Tom Koehler and Martain Gonzalez. I voted Yes on the Children’s Levy and the Natural Resources Levy. Those were all easy votes.
Fluoride? I ended up voting from the place I was at when this campaign began: I did not cast a vote. I will be an undervote in the official tally: A ballot that does not vote on a particular issue. I’m not happy with that vote, but I’m also satisfied I voted my principles and my conscious.
This measure should never have been on the ballot. For starters, few voters have the competence to judge on the facts. I know I don’t, and I’ve paid attention. I’ve done research. I’ve listened to both sides. And while I know that fluoride in the water would be of great benefit to our kids, I also believe it will do little good for anyone else and might be harmful to a small number of Portlanders. But in the end, I don’t really know. I’m not a doctor or a scientist or an expert layperson. I do not know. I do not have the competence to make a decision of this nature.
Or would you like me to vote on other aspects of your personal health regime as well?
This measure should never have been on the ballot. I commend Upstream Public Health for their good work on vital health issues, but damn. When it came to this, as a matter of policy and not health, they made every mistake in the public admin book. The City Council was right there with them. The moment the protesters started showing up in force and muttering about initiatives, they should have seen the writing on the wall. Either Mayor Adams and the Council thought the anti-fluoride crowd was small and going to be ignored by the rest of the city, or they weren’t even paying attention. Neither is good, and the end result is bad: a ballot measure that never should have been.
Watch this short (3 min.) video in which small business owners from communities across Oregon -- members of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon -- tell the Legislature why renewing and improving the Earned Income Tax Credit "is the right thing to do."
Today, the House will address HB 2387 on the floor, a bill to put Mark Hatfield in Statuary Hall and replace Jason Lee (the missionary/explorer). I like Hatfield. He was pretty great. I don't get why we have to kick Jason Lee out tho. I feel like this might be a little bit like choosing between Team Edward and Team Jacob.
SB 558 is also on the House floor today. This is the bill applying mediation requirements to judicial foreclosures. This is one of those financial accountability bills that keeps banks from doing an end-run around other consumer laws around foreclosure.
Bills to keep an eye on in the House this week:
HB 2506 which establishing the Task Force on School Funding. This group will examine school funding formulas and make sure to help ensure we're finding the best ways to get dollars into the classroom.
SB 569: Telemedicine bill. Improves health care access in rural Oregon
Bills to watch in the Senate this week (besides the hospital tax situation)
SB 132; Tightens up the requirements for opting out of immunizations.
On Tuesday the bereavement leave bill moving out of committee. A public hearing on cougar management on Wednesday as well as a committee hearing for a bill to require banks that owned foreclosed properties to attend to the appearance of the yard and house.
The Finance and Revenue Committee will move the bill to adopt Measure 85's corporate kicker diversion to the general fund early. It will go to the Joint Tax Credit committee so that lawmakers have flexibility to deal with this year's likely corporate kicker.
Last week, Governor Kitzhaber offered the Republicans a deal - a "grand bargain", to use the latest political term-du-jour.
The Republicans keep saying they won't consider more revenue unless Democrats offer up more PERS reform. So, the Governor offered them more PERS reform -- and the Republicans... inexplicably turned him down.
Over a few pitchers of fine Oregon craft beer this weekend, a few folks came up with this top 10 list.
(Remember the R's top ten earlier this year? Yeah, the bar is low.)
Top Ten Reasons the Republicans Won't Deal
When we said we wanted a Day of the Cowboy, we didn't mean the one in the Governor's office.
By Maria Smithson of Charlotte, North Carolina. Maria is a native Oregonian and a longtime national campaign operative. A proud mother of four Democrats, she is currently Political Director of True Blue NC.
The Daily Curranthoodwinked us good here in Liberal Land. In a satirical article, they announced you intend to move to Eugene, Oregon to escape the impending Biblical-proportion destruction of Minneapolis thanks to your fab new gay marriage law. Gullible me! Fell for it! I forgot you, Michele Bachmann, never make idiotic public comments without careful thought!
However, the Eugene move idea has merit.
The hometown that raised me in her bosom is the perfect place for you to escape Armageddon. Imagine you, Marcus, and all five kids living in such a dynamic community, one that embraces all people. That image is, in a word, magical!
Just in case no one slowly-and-carefully explains that you did not actually say you’re moving to Eugene, and you continue packing-up the U-Haul to head West, a few suggestions on making new Oregon friends and truly embracing Eugene, your new Promised Land:
The Saturday Market: Its logo is a huge rainbow. Your little kids will love that! Imagine swimming in a sea of pink- and purple-clad individualists celebrating diversity, peace, and tie-dye organic cloth diapers. FYI, a big theme at the market is protecting the environment. Hurry, you can run for a seat on the Saturday Market Board, and share your keen wisdom on all things environmental. Especially this brilliant kernel you spouted in 2009: "Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn't even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas!" Wow. Prepare for greatness, Michele! They will LOVE you! And your Press Secretary can rest easy, there are NO CORNDOGS at the Saturday Market. But watch out for Rita's Burritos! Marcus will have a whole new reason to sleep on the couch, and it won't be his usual Gladiator Film Festival on late night TV.
LEZ DANCE! Now that you've made it out of Minnesota by the skin of your teeth, you won't be wasting precious hours prepping for God's pesky destructive wrath. You and Marcus will have scads of free time. Take up ballroom dancing! At Lez Dance! Seriously, if you want to be 100% surrounded by the real Eugene women's community, spend your nights at Lez Dance. SO MUCH more fun than Junior League! And I suspect you will be thrilled to learn Marcus proves an excellent ballroom dancer! No "two-left-feet" on Mr. Bachmann! Am I right? He's no Tom Delay!
YEPSA's "Transformation/ Metamorphosis" Art Exhibition: A family event "dedicated to showcasing the infinite interpretations of transformation in relation to sexuality and gender." It would be brilliant if Marcus were one of the judges! With his expertise helping vulnerable children navigate gender and sexuality, trust me, his involvement would be THE BOMB! His very presence will evoke quite the dramatic and passionate response! I promise!
The Women's Polyamory Reading and Discussion Group: A book club. The classic way to make new girlfriends after a big move. You know, Michele, some people say book club friends are friends for life! I think it's the intimate sharing, noshing, and general female bonding that goes down. No doubt a Michele Bachmann "no-nonsense-Midwest-casserole", complete with bacon bits and crumbled GMO potato chips on top, will be a HUGE hit on your first visit to Eugene's Women's Polyamory Reading Group. It meets every other Tuesday. How perfect! The same nights Marcus watches those pesky Mad Men re-runs!