Another Brainstorm to Destroy Oregon

Cody Hoesly

In the latest issue of Brainstorm NW (Oregon's own hyperconservative, ultraglossy, faux-populist magazine), Jim Pasero (the rag's chief knitter) interviews David Hunnicut, head of Oregonians in Action, the state's leading anti-Oregon outfit.

Pasero, indeed, has as much to say as Hunnicut, asking such hardball questions as: "What is the condition of democracy in the State of Oregon?" and "You take a dim view of the elitism of our planning system?" and "You must be frustrated with the blind stubbornness of our judiciary culture?"

Reading these statements, the conversation appears less of an interview than a joint project to turn Oregon into the good ol' South.  But it's never been in doubt that Brainstorm NW is in bed with Hunnicut, the folks at the self-described "libertarian" (but really just ultraconservative) Cascade Policy Institute, and the rest of the Oregon right-wing political infrastructure.

I hate to help these folks get more press, but this is a vision from the dark Ghost of Oregon Future that may yet come to be.  Hunnicut and Pasero have a wide-ranging discussion, touching on Hunnicut's work to repeal every land use law Oregon has ever passed, to repeal land use laws in several other states (Georgia and South Carolina seem receptive), and to murder the Endangered Species Act.  Fans of Oregon-centrism will be proud to have "the most activist judiciary in the country."  And then there are the attacks on you the voter, your state government, your elected political leaders, your state's history and heritage, 1000 Friends of Oregon, and the Oregonian.

In the end, the Southern ethic may become the Oregon ethic.  It's up to you to decide.  They're not resting on their laurels on the Right.  Will you on the Left?

Comments

  • Becky (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Your perspective is absolutely fascinating and really fairly humorous. Brainstorm, Pasero, and Hunnicut are all viewed by the right wing as being moderates. In fact, last I heard, Hunnicut was a Democrat. I can't tell if this is an intentional smear tactic by Oregon Democrats to discredit the views of these individuals on land use or if you really are so to the left that they appear right wing to you. I do believe their approach to land use is more reflective of the average, moderate Oregonian than you realize. You would do well to find out why people feel this way rather than resorting to attacking these individuals as supposed right-wingers. They really are not representative of the right wing. Many on the left wonder why Measures 7 and 37 passed. That very wonder is the reason why you are not winning in these areas. You do not make the effort to understand the concerns of the majority of Oregonians in these areas; therefore, you are not able to address their concerns so we can all move on constructively.

  • (Show?)

    Considering that old-school Republicans (Nixon, McCall, Hatfield, et. al.) helped craft many of these excellent environmental laws and infrastructure, I'd say, yeah, it is extreme for neocons such as Pasero and Hunnicutt to want to roll back land-use planning as it is in Oregon.

    And I've read Brainstorm NW (purely by accident): the issue I saw featured a multi-page article by Gayle Attebery of Oregon Right to Life. If other issues are any indication, that pub is about as moderate as Phyllis Schlafly.

  • DarePDX (unverified)
    (Show?)

    These Measures past because the average Oregonian believes in their property rights as conceived by Oregon and the US founders.

    These Measures past because a large portion of Portland has had to pull permits from the city.

    They past because many in Oregon can see the schools and police coffers being drained by boodogles via Portland urban renewal process.

    They past because Tom McCall himself would be asking for reform as they hurt many farmers from staying competitive. If it wasn't for wine and urbanites willingly paying above market prices for local organic our ag-sector would be screwed.

    The current system hurts the extremely rural farms and just ensures the exact opposite of what Tom McCall wanted. Wealthy urbanites orginating from outside his beloved state dictating what land can be used for. Don't forget that Tom McCall was very much a Republican motivated by nationalistic love for his state. He sought to protect the industry that defined Oregon at his time.

  • (Show?)

    Cody, I'm pleased to see a post up about Brainstorm NW--especially since I didn't write it. (Reading that rag is bad for my blood pressure.) Although much of what appears in it is outrageously silly, it is still an interesting petri dish of conservative thought in the Beaver State. All I can add to your analysis is: good job.

    Becky, the idea that M37 tacks at all to partisan views misses the point. This is one of the few issues on which enviro urbanites and ranchers and farmers agree.

  • Mildred (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It is laughable when Republicans claim to speak for "the average, moderate Oregonian."

    Last time I checked, Oregonians voted with... well... their ballots. Democrats control every statewide elected office, except one (Gordon Smith) -- that's a 7-1 ratio. Democrats control four of the five congressional seats, three of which are marginal seats. Democrats control the state senate. In a state where Democrats have only a very slight registration edge, John Kerry was leading for the whole election season and ultimately won handily.

    So, rather than giving Democrats advice on how to connect with voters in Oregon -- by saying patronizing things like "That very wonder is the reason why you are not winning in these areas" -- maybe you should be asking why Oregon Republicans don't seem to be winning anywhere outside the most rural parts of the state.

  • blue (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Brainstorm, Pasero, and Hunnicut are all viewed by the right wing as being moderates.

    ... all of which is nothing more than a sad commentary on how far to the right, right-wing polarity has shifted in Oregon and America. By today's right-wing stadards Barry Goldwater would be a raging liberal.

  • dmrusso (unverified)
    (Show?)

    here is some truth to the "anti-southern" stereotype. While it is true that Libertarianism thrives not only in the South, but also in the West, it is wise to remember that... to my knowledge, Washington, Oregon and California have not gone "red" since '84. For the most part, socially speaking the West Coast stands apart from the Republican Party platform.

    Lest we not forget the history of the Southern Dixiecrats who were so upset by Johnson's Great Society and desegregation that most of them became Republicans "overnight". From the 1970s to the 80s there has been a surefooted shift of the South to the Republicans.

    This is not to say that there are not good hearted, tride and true Demoracts down in the South. We must also admit that the last two Democratic Presidents since Johnson came from the South, Carter and Clinton. Our next Democratic Presidential Candidate might well come from the South.

    Let's not write off the South so quickly. That "Southern Charm" connects with voters more often than "New England Intellectual".

  • Chris McMullen (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Last time I checked, Oregonians voted with... well... their ballots.

    Exactly, and both M7 and M37 won handily as well. Obviously, it's okay with you and Mr. Hosely that the will of the people can be circumvented by special interests groups and an activist judiciary.

    Maybe you or Mr. Hosely can actually refute the claims made in the article instead of merely attacking the supposed partisanship of the magazine and interviewee.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I do believe their approach to land use is more reflective of the average, moderate Oregonian than you realize.

    As someone who once was a Repulblican (of the McCall variety) I am getting really tired of the attitude that the "average moderate Oregonian" has forgotten when that meant Vic Atiyeh, Hector Macpherson, Norma Paulus, Mary Alice Ford, Clay Myers, etc.

    My guess is that anyone waiting in a line while Christmas shopping who said to the other people in line "just out of curiousity, what is your ideology--left or right?" would find more "tired of the polarization, why can't they solve problems?" or "go away, you bother me" attitude than a debate on ideology.

    When people like Hunnicutt get themselves elected to office and show their ability to work on actually solving problems, then they will deserve respect. But I am guessing the not even all Republican legislative staffers look to Brainstorm, Hunnicutt, et. al for political wisdom.

    That questioning the views of a publication or an initiativemeister is a "smear tactic" only shows why so many Oregonians are either registered Indep. or so close to that it explains why David Broder wrote the "pox on both your houses" column recently.

    Repeat after me: Oregonians think for themselves. They are not required to join a "team" and then swear unquestioning allegiance to that "team". Any Oregonian has the right to question the wisdom of any publication or any ballot measure advocate without being insulted.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    OK, a response to a specific in the article: BNW: Is this the most activist judiciary in the country? Hunnicutt: Yes. Look at the patterns of decision is this state, starting with Armatta decision—the decision used to strike down the crime victims bill of rights

    Let's see now. Wasn't that the case where the Supreme Court got serious about the Single Subject Rule? Where Mannix was still in the legislature, broke the proposal up into pieces, and produced a package of individual ballot measures? Weren't they called the "8 pieces of Measure 40" because there was a 9th piece which Mannix couldn't get passed as a legislative referral because there weren't enough legislators willing to put it on the ballot?

    As I recall, the ads on those measures were "vote yes on all" or "vote no on all" and the voters in their wisdom voted the proverbial "6 of one and half a dozen of the other". I remember people I worked with back then (no more down to earth folks than retail staff--more in touch with reality than political types) who were thrilled to be able to vote on the individual pieces.

    What was that crack "to understand the concerns of the majority of Oregonians in these areas".

  • (Show?)

    Chris McMullen--

    It is completely irrelevant whether or not people voted for M7 and M37. After all, those two initiatives were struck down (pending Supreme Court action on 37) as unconstitutional. The people, acting as the legislature, cannot create an unconstitutional statute - any more than the legislature itself can.

    I have no doubt that I could pass an initiative with these goofy ideas: all Democrats get back all their taxes retroactively to 1979, all eateries and taverns are required to give away free beer and ice cream on Fridays, and the state has to build a fence along our southern border to keep out them durn Californicans who want our free beer and ice cream.

    It might pass, but it wouldn't be constitutional. It wouldn't even be a good idea.

    Just because some idiot - who apparently didn't bother to hire either a lawyer or even a proofreader - managed to raise a bunch of money, collect a bunch of signatures, and get 50% of the vote doesn't mean that the initiative is a good idea, good policy, or constitutional law.

    It just means that the people got snookered by an idiot who was wasting their time and his money.

  • Chris McMullen (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Sorry Kari, doesn't fly here. The claim made by Mary James that M37 is unconstitutional is sketchy at best.

    Basically she said the State of Oregon has the right to and responsibility to regulate land. You go right ahead and point out exactly where the Oregon Constitution grants the state the undeniable right to regulate land.

    And what about the double standard? It's okay for a city to force density on a suburban neighborhood, but not okay for a person to use his property as it was originally and legally intended?

  • Mildred (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Chris McMullen--

    First, ditto to Kari.

    Second, the initiative process is flawed because voters can't be expected to have the expertise that legislators have. When facing complex issues, like land-use laws, they don't necessarily understand what they're voting for, and they can't be expected to do a sophisticated cost-benefit analysis. Thus, ballot measure results just aren't a very good gauge of how public opinion would mediate policy questions if voters were more informed.

    Take this example: Let’s say I commissioned a public opinion poll to ask voters if they think landowners should be compensated for regulations that decrease their property value. Undoubtedly, a majority would say yes.

    Now let’s say I commissioned a second poll to ask voters if they think cell phone companies should be able to come into any residential area and build a large cell phone tower in the middle of the neighborhood on a residential lot. Next question: If prohibited, should we have to pay the company for its millions of dollars of lost profits? Or say I asked if a land developer should be allowed to buy a mobile home park and displace all of the residents -- mostly senior citizens who have lived there for decades. I think we all know that most respondents would say that this should not be allowed.

    Like I said, ballot measure results just aren't a very good gauge of how public opinion would mediate policy questions if voters were more informed. (I’m not saying more informed voters always vote liberal -- I’m just saying that we can’t predict how they would vote if they were more informed.)

    By contrast, candidate election results -- particularly in the case of sweeping trends (as in, the Democrats' dominance of Oregon elections) -- are informative as to which party does a better job "connecting."

  • jrw (unverified)
    (Show?)

    As someone who once was a Repulblican (of the McCall variety) I am getting really tired of the attitude that the "average moderate Oregonian" has forgotten when that meant Vic Atiyeh, Hector Macpherson, Norma Paulus, Mary Alice Ford, Clay Myers, etc.

    Yay!

    Someone who actually remembers what things were like back in the 70s and 80s.

    I think many "average, moderate Oregonians" are still out there. I'm related to a few. And my take is that they're getting a bit fed up with the choices.

    In my experience, many of those who claim to speak for the "average, moderate Oregonian" are anything but the average, moderate Oregonian and are pretty much right-wing shills. They started playing this game back when Ronald Reagan got elected and their playbook hasn't changed since then. End result--instead of focusing on what works for the common good, they end up focusing on the "I got MINE" mentality.

  • Bill (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Chris--

    As for the so-called "double standard," last time I checked, Metro Councilors were elected by BOTH the city AND the suburbs. The city isn't imposing density on anyone.

    Also, for the record, a "double standard" is generally the practice of taking the same principle and applying it differently on a different set of facts. For example, arguing in favor of "states' rights" on the matter of setting abortion policy, but against "states' rights" on the matter of physician-assisted suicide (as many of our Republicans friends do) would be considered a double standard.

    On the other hand, the non sequitur you proposed -- "It's okay for a city to force density on a suburban neighborhood, but not okay for a person to use his property as it was originally and legally intended? -- is NOT a double standard. There is no common principle being applied in a contradictory way. You just mention two different things. It would be like me saying, "How can you possibly defend liking apples, when you just said you don't like pizza." Umm...

    So, in answer to your question: yes, it is OK for a metropolitan area to decide it wants to pass land-use laws (including zoning ordinances, environmental regulations, and urban-growth rules); and, yes, it is also OK for the law to limit the way individuals can use their private property.

    By the way, not only is it OK for the law to limit people's use of private property for the common good; it is also OK for the law to limit people's use of their liberties for the common good. Traffic laws, for example. If you think we should pay people when government inhibits their right to use their land, why shouldn't we also have to pay people for their time when we make them stop at red lights?

  • Bailie (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mildred,

    Interesting question, "Or say I asked if a land developer should be allowed to buy a mobile home park and displace all of the residents -- mostly senior citizens who have lived there for decades. I think we all know that most respondents would say that this should not be allowed."

    Why can apartment owners do it all the time by kicking out apartment dwellers so as to sell the apartments as condos? At the same time you suggest that mobile home park owners would not have that right.

  • Mildred (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Bailie,

    Re-read my post. I said most of the public, in response to a polling question, would say that kicking a bunch of senior citizens out of their homes should not be allowed. I was not defending that view for myself.

    M

  • Michael "the Lib" (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Regardless of who is what on the political name calling list the whole idea of land use laws to protect land has and is something of a scam. It would seem that most people think we are protecting farm land used for growing table products and nothing could be further from the truth. The most important crops in Oregon are nursery stock, grass seed for (golf courses probably), Christmas trees (sorry Holiday trees) and a few other products.
    Then there is wine. A major product necessary for human survival. For this we get some of the highest cost housing in the country and since we pay our mortgages to out of state mortgages bankers we are depriving the local economy of money and subsidizing the banking industry. And we wonder why low income people are so bad off in Oregon. The state is being drained of money because of this scam. M.W.

  • kandie (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The Cascade Policy Institute is "libertarian but really just ultraconservative,"....????????????

    does that make any sense????

  • Bailie (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mildred, I was just curious how you arrived at that conclusion/opinion? I didn't know if there was an actual poll which had been taken, or just your opinion.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)
    (Show?)
    <h1></h1>

    I doubt the distraction has staying power.

    I see the overprinted unsold copies of Brainsteam stacked in the free rack outside the lcoal convenience store. And no takers even at that price.

    Some number of gullible voters before this year are newly wiser to the neo-con lying, especially as neighbors and friends feel the dying. The funeral photo in the paper: How many of those faces voted 'conservative' then? How many do now, with Iraqmire? Oh, and there are indictments, and bawling TV confessions, and Republicans going to jail. Things change. The neo-con kneejerking points here and in Brainsteam, even Stevie B. and his neo-con flunktank -- the whole hate-on-society that neo-cons have been puking out as 'politics,' increasingly appears in more people's view as knee-slapping stupid, then sadsack, then pathetic, then indictable crime and treason.

    Uh, National Guards are dying. GM is bankrupting. Weyerhauser is bailing. Did I mention National Guards are dying from neo-Republican lying ....

    Finally, ultimately. the oil runs out. The industrial age ends. Some numbers show it coming within three years -- before the '08 ballots are marked. Googling 'peak oil' brings the blogosphere the news.

    Pretty much a paradigm shift comes with it, brain-ready or not. People die without oil products. Compare what you think now of the following policy you may not have heard of, with what you think of it in '06 and '07 and (if we get there) '08:

    Venezuela voters are implementing a national policy for food-growing land, where individuals own land, free to develop it, rights of privacy and proprietorship on it, standard individual property rights except they can't sell it. The government sells it. (Like the U.S. sold Oregon's O. and C. lands to private parties?) You can buy land and own land. You just can't sell it.

    Sounds 'funny' now, doesn't it ...

    Maybe the oil on earth belongs to all the people on earth. Maybe capitalists' psycho-selfishness regarding land, and water, and air, (and food, and survival -- rich: yes, you & me public: no), is what got us into the mess in the last four generations. This mess where people -- and a lot of them us -- die. That topic has staying power.

    <h1></h1>
  • Ron Ledbury (unverified)
    (Show?)

    There once was a thing unique to contracts for land, it was the right of a buyer to demand specific performance; as in that land is unique and I want it.

    Suppose I purchased a "right" (whatever) from the government to a buildable lot, any lot, any where, within the territorial boundary of the government entity? That is, we could treat land as a fungible commodity.

    You can view the two notions above as opposite ends of a spectrum, regarding classic notions of property.

    If you superimpose the arguments by OIA and 1000 Friends, as to M37, against them it is clear that OIA has gone much further down the road to commoditizing the right to build and further removed from "property rights."

    There has been a role reversal, but with all the chatter about ditto this and ditto that I guess it is an irrelevant point here.

  • paul (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Cody:

    North Carolina. Lived there for 10 years.

    Better funded K-12 schools. Better funded state run higher education system. Liberal abortion laws. No lottery because it's bad for poor people. Creative public private partnerships that have paid tremendous dividends (Research Triangle).

    Yesiree, those Southern boys sure don't know how to run gummint, do they. We do it much better out here ...

connect with blueoregon