Finally, Red Oregon.

Again and again, we've hoped for a rightie counterpart to this site. After all, BlueOregon is supposed to be a place for "progressives to gather 'round the water cooler" -- not a place for left-right bashing.

And now, after a few false starts, it looks like there's finally a blog worthy of being nicknamed "RedOregon": OregonCatalyst.com.

This Blog will be the collection of the best free-market and conservative minds, ideas, and commentary in Oregon. Expect a new update every week-day. We encourage all freedom-loving Oregonians to join the cerebral revolution by responding to the daily commentary.

It's organized by Jason Williams - the Executive Director of the Taxpayer Association of Oregon.

Check it out. Discuss.

Other thoughts elsewhere:
Jack Bog: RedOregon
My Very Brain: Conservative Oregonians Get Theirs

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Hey! Bailie should get a regular gig over there. Maybe a weekly column on... oh I dunno.. teacher compensation! Yeah, that's it! A weekly "Teacher Pay Watch" by Bailie! Whoo hoo!

    Just so long as we never hear that one-trick pony here anymore, diverting otherwise interesting threads.

  • (Show?)

    Are we designating people to go be their resident deceivers, inveiglers, and obfuscaters the way they do over here?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Actually, if we are invaded in the future by those like Bailie, I think we should just respond with something like "Go post those comments on OregonCatalyst.com. where they might be interested because we are tired of hearing from you here". And then not respond to a single thing they say--it only encourages them.

  • verasoie (unverified)
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    I'm all for "keeping your enemies close" and staying up on what they're saying, if nothing else than for intellectual honesty (although it's normally so whacko it just reinforces your preconceptions), but let's not give them the webtraffic!

  • The Skewer (unverified)
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    These guys are fooling themselves. But what else is new?

    It's endemic to the blogosphere in general, but the particular species of assface proposing to populate RedfacedOregon hold the winning claim to Irrelevant Dickweed(s) of the Year. They actually prove what sucks about blogs.

    Bogdanski can't see it, as he's utterly blinded by whatever fawning comes his way, but his site is a cesspool for misfits. That has a lot to do with the civic cancer that Bogdanski himself represents. I call it the Douchebag Mutual Attraction Phenomenon.

    BlueOregon does a better job at realism. But a certain poison can't be dodged entirely. Create a forum meant to be thoughtful, and in rush the truly malformed, who seek any little bit of fame they can get. Especially if the format allows them to posit how much they know in contrast to everyone else. (Be forewarned, I am immune to your petty insults, O Nerdiest, O Traffickers in Civil Death).

    Ultimately, if this Quixotic episode means that the swamp is drained of its stinkier elements, then God Bless America. I do not hold out high hopes for blogs, which have all the hallmarks of the 2005 version of legwarmers or pet rocks. May I be proved wrong by a nourishing rain of constructive, online civic engagement. If anyone can do it, Kari can.

    So, up y'all's nose with a rubber hose, kiss my asinine region, and let's get ready to rumble. I've always wanted to evaluate the paramilitary potential of an army of amply-titted, would-be men.

  • (Show?)

    Yo Skewer:

    Thanks for the sophmoric view from on high.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    I checked out OregonCatalyst.com and I must admit I'm disappointed. I expected more in the way of ideas. What I saw was post after post criticizing the state government and elected officials. No solutions. No suggestions. No ideas beyond "government = bad."

    Maybe they need to get that out of their systems before they can be constructive -- or interesting.

  • Bailie (unverified)
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    Kari, Thank you for thinking of me. I am disappointed that very few from "blueoregon" have any knowledge or comments concerning Oregon K-12 funding. Certainly very few (if any) comments have been directed toward a solution to the situation. Since K-12 funding is the single largest segment of the Oregon budget, I expected something from your group.

    Oregon K-12 funding solutions should be centered on what is best for Oregon and the students, not special interests. This topic should not be a "blue/red" political conversation. That is why we are now having the K-12 problems. For those reasons, I'll pass on your advice to head straight for a "red" blog.

    The amount of revenue devoted to Oregon K-12 funding, is not the problem. The allocation of K-12 revenue, is the problem.

  • Bailie (unverified)
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    Bert Lowry,

    You say,"No solutions. No suggestions. No ideas beyond "government = bad."

    That is interesting, I found the same response here concerning K-12 funding (which shouldn't be politicized). "No solutions. No suggestions. No ideas beyond "Bailie = bad."

    Thank you for the comment.

  • (Show?)

    nah, baillie, what you're disappointed in is that very few here at blue oregon toe your party line. you don't handle disagreement very well -- a true symptom of Terminal Redness.

  • (Show?)

    one annoying thing about the site: there's no Home link! you go to an article, and there's no breadcrumb, no Home button -- clicking the logo at the top does nothing. looks like someone's not got the hang of frontpage, or the web, yet.

    the logo is scary and i have no idea what it means. i'm thinking the vortexy thing is a visual to remind us of the true nature of their ideas: they suck.

    more than that, they have nothing much original to share. but i guess that's what you'd expect a leftie to say. and even if i don't have the stomach to read their "stuff" very often, others here will and they'll be able to keep us apprised of their "thinking" so that we will know what we're up against. just as they know what they are up against: a state turning against their hateful, anti-democratic, destructive politics of hate & selfishiness.

    will they print minnis' concession speech next november? right before they close down their site for lack of readership? i'm thinking quite likely.

  • Carl (unverified)
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    t.a. said "nah, baillie, what you're disappointed in is that very few here at blue oregon toe your party line."

    party line? I watched the Baillie posts and he used info from blue sources. What kind of upside down kooks are you blue people? Seems to me all you do is reject and hide from everything you don't want to hear. With extraordinarily juvenile tactics.

    Most of the issues our State is struggling with are not red-blue but you folks make them that way in order to avoid addressing them.

    bojack.org has far superior discussions on local and state issues than BlueOregon.

    Any new blog that resembles his versus blue will be better than this crazy group.
    Heck you can't even keep the foul language out.

  • LT (unverified)
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    I am disappointed that very few from "blueoregon" have any knowledge or comments concerning Oregon K-12 funding. Certainly very few (if any) comments have been directed toward a solution to the situation. Since K-12 funding is the single largest segment of the Oregon budget, I expected something from your group.

    Yesterday at the Legislative Commission, St. Sen Frank Morse (R-Albany) made a very interesting point. He talked about "the deal"--how most of the budget process in 2005 was done behind closed doors and then bills most members had not read appeared in committee, were voted on with little or no discussion, and then on to the next bill. His point was that it was no wonder the public didn't trust such a system.

    There is no such thing as "blue sources" if by that Carl believes that people who really care about these issues would look at Bailie, say "Oh, NEA and Chalkboard data--must be infallible so I will not ask any questions". Progressives have this odd habit of thinking for themselves and those with any background in statistics know better than to treat ANY data as the revealed truth never to be questioned.

    But in line with what Sen. Morse said yesterday, how about this for an intelligent discussion of K-12 funding? There is a public hearing, well advertised in advance (one Legis. Comm. proposal was for an "intense interim" where there would be public hearings advertised far enough in advance (and maybe on nights or weekends so more citizens could attend). Public testimony is encouraged. Bailie makes a presentation "Here are my NEA and Chalkboard data, and you are supposed to believe it because I say so." Then some school board or local parent group presentations which say "Regardless of what aggregate data say about the state of Oregon, this is the reality in our district". Then groups like Stand for Children or Coalition for School Funding Now make presentations. Then legislators (or others) say "Here is our detailed proposal for K-12 funding, including such issues as dealing with ESL and Special Ed, what to do when such children move into rural districts which hadn't before had to deal with such students, rural vs. urban transportation funding, providing the justification for administrator salaries and job descriptions (in large districts there are several central office administrators below the Supt. level), discussion of school district reserves and how that information is made public, discussion of pay and benefits for all school staff (should there be statewide salary levels for anyone from administrators to assistants? should that take into account the different cost of living in different areas?).

    Suggestion that people debate the specific proposal, and that individual school administrators and school board members have more voice than "the COSA lobbyist says" or "the OSBA lobbyist says".

  • Bailie (unverified)
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    LT, You seem to take pleasure in denigrating the data from NEA and the Chalkboard Project. Fortunately, the data is consistent from every source I have observed in the last three years. I would appreciate anything you might have to the contrary.

    The suggestions you make, have taken place in many different formats. I'm sure they will continue. The Oregon K-12 funding problem won't be going away soon. As you suggest, discussion is important. A political solution most likely, will not happen. The politics of K-12 funding is precisely the reason we have the K-12 mess. Special interests control our politicians. Unfortunately, special interest concerns are for their members and not aligned with what is best for Oregon K-12 and the students.

    You say, "Then some school board or local parent group presentations which say "Regardless of what aggregate data say about the state of Oregon, this is the reality in our district".

    That has been done on many, many occasions in the last year. The problem is a statewide problem, however. The special interest groups will/do crush any local effort for change. All to the detriment of Oregon K-12 and the students of Oregon.

  • Bailie (unverified)
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    t.a. barnhart,

    You say, "nah, baillie, what you're disappointed in is that very few here at blue oregon toe your party line."

    I don't have a party line when it comes to education, do you? What are your suggestions? More taxes (which ones?), reallocation of revenue? Laying off more teachers? Cutting more programs? Cutting more school days? What?

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    That weblog is deader than Lee Atwater's political career!

    The lead article had two comments in two days... versus 50-60 comments plus for a good posting here at ol' blueoregon.

    As my father used to say, "Better dead than red!"

  • Jay Bozievich (unverified)
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    Brett said 'No solutions. No suggestions. No ideas beyond "government = bad."'

    Brett, my post today presented factual data about the damage our state's minimum wage laws have done to employment of teenagers and young adults. I include a solution to the problem at the close of my post. Why not address the either an alternative solution or refute the data instead of lying about the site?

  • Bailie (unverified)
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    Jay,

    Numbers paralyze the people on this blog. Charts? Forget it. Logic? No, that doesn't work either, especially if numbers are involved.

  • Dan Newth (unverified)
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    Blue Oregon has a lot of intelliigent readers. We see straight. We talk simple. We look for solution not spin. Why should we see red?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Great post, Dan.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Bailie says Blue Oregonians do not have logic.

    But there is this quote: You seem to take pleasure in denigrating the data from NEA and the Chalkboard Project. Fortunately, the data is consistent from every source I have observed in the last three years. I would appreciate anything you might have to the contrary.

    Here's the part that bothers some people: they don't think just because a blogger talks from their own point of view, the rest of us are required to accept it as the revealed truth, as in "Fortunately, the data is consistent from every source I have observed in the last three years. "

    There are lots of interesting legislative campaigns developing for the next year, Bailie. Instead of acting like a broken record here on Blue Oregon (where we don't really care what you have observed, you are just another blogger--not the king high priest of statistics) why not get involved in a legislative campaign? Find a legislative candidate who agrees with your interpretation of statistics. Then, we can have an open public debate (is your specific proposal to open all public employee contracts? or is it that whenever any contract comes up for renewal it must be negotiated to the Bailie standard because no one else really understands public employee compensation? If you were to be magically appointed public compensation czar, what exactly would you do beyond vague statements like "public employees have too high a compensation level when that money could go into the classroom"?).

    But let's have some actions statements rather than just telling us we must believe your statistics because you believe of them, period, end of discussion.

    The PERS debate in the 2003 became a debate between the Macpherson Plan and the Richardson Plan. The Macpherson plan got more votes. But each of those plans was more specific than any Bailie posting on this blog.

    Let's see some open public debate (that means talking in public, not just blogging). Let's see some concrete proposals.

    But I just don't see how statements like "Numbers paralyze the people on this blog. Charts? Forget it. Logic? No, that doesn't work either, especially if numbers are involved." win any friends or influence anyone to support a specific proposal.

    Maybe specific proposals are too much work and insults are more fun?

  • Barbara (unverified)
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    I have been to many blogs but none have more condescending narrow-mindedness than this Blue beast. The group thinking and corralling of the discussion is not a good thing. Despite your lofty self images.

    And telling each other how smart you are is very left.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Isn't this post about the "Red Oregon" blog? I think we've gotten distracted. Maybe that's Baillie's intention. Personally, though, I think he's just a little unhinged. There's a quote I like from Winston Churchill. It's this:

    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Jay:

    You're absolutely correct. You post on unemployment does have data and thoughtful suggestions. And it's much more the sort of thing I was hoping to see over there.

    I'm sorry I painted you with the same brush as the other contributers. Maybe your article wasn't up yet. Or maybe, since the first five paragraphs (everything above the "read more" line) were about how wrong Kulongoski is and how bad Oregon's employment is, I prejudged the rest of the article.

    At any rate, I appologize.

  • Bailie (unverified)
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    LT, Thank you for your comments. You say, "Let's see some open public debate (that means talking in public, not just blogging). Let's see some concrete proposals."

    Your suggestion to having a political solution to this problem is interesting. Our "leaders" have been searching for a political solution for years, to no avail. Special interests rule the process and the players.

    I have presented my views on the subject (as you say, over and over). I have asked for suggestions for solving and identifying the K-12 education funding problem. Obviously, this has been a very one-sided discussion on this blog. I would welcome any suggestions you might have. This situation has been at the forefront (and deteriorating rapidly) for several years. What are the solutions from your (or anyone's) point of view? Do we raise taxes(which and how much?)? Do we continue to compensate K-12 employees at among the highest levels in the U.S., while sacrificing additional teachers? Do you (or anyone here) recognize that there is a funding problem? If yes, what was/is the cause of the problem? Is the union influence on funding, consistent with the best interest of K-12? Would Oregon be better served with at least 5,000 additional K-3 teachers, full programs? The answer is yes, so how do we get there? Do we take revenue from healthcare (etc.) to pay for schools?

    I happened onto this blog with the anticipation of a significant number of people presenting specific suggestions and solutions. In the couple of months here, I have heard nothing except remarks. These remarks basically are/were "how dare you present any ideas about K-12 funding on blueoregon". K-12 funding is the most significant part of the Oregon budget, why is the discussion suppressed?

  • (Show?)

    barbara, thanks for dropping by to tell us of your moral superiority. i hadn't realized you even existed, and now i know you are better than me. two birds with one stone, you are the aces, ain't you?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Your suggestion to having a political solution to this problem is interesting. Our "leaders" have been searching for a political solution for years, to no avail. Special interests rule the process and the players.

    Bailie, you say you happened upon this blog looking for specific solutions. I would humbly suggest you went about that the wrong way. Had you asked "Hey, anyone have a solution for this problem?" you may well have gotten a different response.

    Is "discussion suppressed" simply because Blue Oregonians do not discuss the topic on the terms you set? For instance, must we all debate statewide statistics when this last legislative session wouldn't debate statewide health insurance for school employees? Is every teacher in every district paid the same? Is the ratio of teacher to administrator pay (does any district administrator make twice as much as the highest paid teacher? 3 times as much? )the same in every district, or is that a statistic you don't have and we shouldn't ask about?

    But instead you imply all 90 legislators are ruled by special interests, anyone who doesn't agree with your quoting of NEA and Chalkboard statistics had better spend their spare time coming up with alternate statistics to convince you or they are at fault, and just generally acting as if it is the role of Blue Oregonians to do your bidding.

    Sorry, but in my world such people are ignored, not provided with alternate suggestions.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    Kari wrote: Hey! Bailie should get a regular gig over there. Maybe a weekly column on... oh I dunno.. teacher compensation! Yeah, that's it! A weekly "Teacher Pay Watch" by Bailie! Whoo hoo!

    How about giving him a regular thread? Link it off the top of the page, and treat is as an open thread.

    Bailie has a valid point: school funding NEEDS to be looked at, and closely, and not just by conservatives. By US as well. So why not give him that spot in the sun and let him go about his business there?

    I am actually curious to read the input folks have on that issue, but frankly, all of it is spread out all over the site. Localize it and lets work towards a solution that would work for everyone.

  • Bailie (unverified)
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    JJ Ark, You are correct. This should not be a red/blue topic. It is important.

    LT,

    You say, "Is "discussion suppressed" simply because Blue Oregonians do not discuss the topic on the terms you set?"

    I would be eager to discuss this on any term available. I put out my conclusions, and data supporting my conclusions. It is an extremely important topic for this state. I thought there would be people interested more in the topic, than being critical of the topic (or me).

    You say, "Had you asked "Hey, anyone have a solution for this problem?"

    I have asked in every way I could think. I'll try what you suggest. Hey, anyone have a solution for this problem (K-12 funding)?

    You ask, "For instance, must we all debate statewide statistics when this last legislative session wouldn't debate statewide health insurance for school employees?"

    Again, if we follow the lead of the Legislature on this, we are in trouble. Was there a deal made between OSBA and OEA to keep off each others turf? That debate got real quiet, real fast.

    You ask, "Is every teacher in every district paid the same?" No.

    You ask, "Is the ratio of teacher to administrator pay (does any district administrator make twice as much as the highest paid teacher? 3 times as much? )the same in every district, or is that a statistic you don't have and we shouldn't ask about?"

    This discussion should be inclusive of all K-12 employees as I have previously said. The data stating Oregon K-12 employees are individually compensated the 8th highest of all states in the U.S. doesn't single out teachers. It is significant that, just the volume of teacher compensation is the driving force of every budget.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Again, if we follow the lead of the Legislature on this, we are in trouble. Was there a deal made between OSBA and OEA to keep off each others turf? That debate got real quiet, real fast.

    Now here we have a basis for discussion. First, I think it was a mistake for various public figures of all persuasions to have said in the 2005 session "the House will never debate any change to taxes or the corporate kicker, do anything but add more tax cuts, so why should we ever even discuss the topic publicly?". I think it was wrong for the Senate to debate civil unions (which they knew would face an uphill battle in the House)and pass that but never debate school funding or tax reform publicly. In 2003, it was a mistake for HB 2978-2982 to be debated several times in committee and work session (to change collective bargaining) with no companion package to evaluate the work of school administrators. Are not unionized public employees and school administrators both paid out of tax dollars? Should they not be evaluated by similar standards? Or is it the position of the state of Oregon that school administrators can do no wrong and deserve to earn "what the market will bear" but every unionized employee deserves to have their every action scrutinized and not earn any more than those who despise all unionized employees think they should earn?

    I don't think there is an OSBA/ OEA alliance. I think people familiar with both organizations would laugh at that idea.

    I think there was an alliance between 3 people: Karen Minnis, the OSBA lobbyist, the COSA lobbyist.

    Minnis had that press conference to announce the "Speaker's school plan" which was basically "51% of the personal income taxes, take it or leave it, but how dare anyone ask detailed questions about it".

    Call me any name you want, but I think the ideal school funding debate would be 2 or more proposals in written form so people could read and debate them, and well advertised open public hearings so that people who might have differing views could debate their views out in the open. Blogs are not open public debates because they are not face to face and by definition people without Internet access or people who don't like blogs are not included.

    I do not believe that school board members yet to be elected when Speaker Minnis had her press conference with the OSBA lobbyist and COSA lobbyist standing beside her took an oath to uphold the agenda of OSBA when they were sworn in as school board members. I do think electing new board members (as Salem did this year) DOES have an effect on the process, esp. if they insist that information such as school district reserves is available to the public.

    I think that COSA and OSBA might have been worried about the proposal for statewide health care for school employees--wouldn't that have financially impacted one or both organizations?

    But here is a tantalizing detail for Bailie or anyone else who knows a Republican state rep to investigate: In a conversation with a staffer for a Republican House member earlier this year, the staffer said something to the effect that the member she worked for was angry that the press conference (Minnis, COSA and OSBA lobbyists) had happened BEFORE the "Speaker's school funding plan" had been presented to the caucus. If that is true, then the problem is not confined to statistics about school funding, the problem is the process.

    The most recent Measure 30 now goes into history like the previous Measures 30 (unfunded mandates measure in 1996, for instance). So, if we can drop "The voters have spoken on Measure 30" (and the implication that hidden in the Measure 30 text was the admonition "should petitioners prevail, no discussion of the tax code is allowed in the 2005 session") from the debate, that alone will make for more intelligent discussion. As Justice Linde said at the most recent Legislative Commission meeting, the fact that a measure passes does not mean it is engraved in the capitol marble never to be discussed again.

    If we could have some intelligent debates on school funding (what should be funded, is it possible to fund schools and still respect already agreed upon contracts and if not why not, where is it written that revenue can never be discussed but tax cuts are always a virtue, what about statewide decisions on such things as health care or pay and evaluation for administrators as well as teachers or whatever anyone else wants to discuss) then we might actually get somewhere.

    But I gotta tell you, this attitude that somehow the Coalition for School Funding Now, Stand for Children, and OEA are all in some kind of alliance and there is no internal disagreement---or that all who are concerned about school funding have an attitude that OEA is infallible, is BALONEY! I am one of many who want a serious discussion of school funding but could not begin to tell you all the times I have disagreed with OEA, OSBA, COSA. They are large organizations, and we have the right to question anything they do from their campaign season activities to their legislative lobbying activities.

    Same for Chalkboard. That is a valiant effort. But anyone who adopts a "Chalkboard says it. I believe it. That settles it." attitude is not a person engaging in an intelligent debate.

    I have been involved in aspects of this since long before there were home computers and blogs. My aunt retired as a public school teacher in 1967. I remember a variety of attempts to solve school funding in Oregon. I recall the debates over whether there should be a statewide minimum pay for substitute teachers (at the time it passed that minimum was something like $100 per day, with a half day minimum so that rural substitute teachers were not driving for 90 minutes one way just to teach for one or 2 hours) and that barely passed. I recall the "safety net" proposal, and all sorts of other proposals.

    I just don't think "if only we would pay our teachers less, there would be more money for the classrooms" is an answer to all that.

  • Bailie (unverified)
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    LT, We are in agreement concerning much of what you said, especially the first part.

    You say, "Same for Chalkboard. That is a valiant effort. But anyone who adopts a "Chalkboard says it. I believe it. That settles it." attitude is not a person engaging in an intelligent debate."

    I agree, but the data presented to the Chalkboard Project by ECONorthwest are not fabricated. It comes from a variety of solid sources which are consistent.

    You say, "I just don't think "if only we would pay our teachers less, there would be more money for the classrooms" is an answer to all that."

    I have never suggested paying teachers less. I have said, that over the next 15 years, the rate of individual compensation increases must slow significantly. If they don't, Oregon K-12 will badly deteriorate for employees, as well as students.

  • dmrusso (unverified)
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    This commentary is WAY OFF topic.

    I thought that we were supposed to be celebrating the creation of RedOregon?

    I think that it is funny that some conservative bloggers call people on this site closed minded. Sort of like "the pot calling the kettle black". I once had a teacher call all her students arrogant, when the irony was SHE was arrogant. We often attack personally what we most fear in ourselves. I am certainly not alone in this faux pas.

    However this site is primarily for liberal and progressive bloggers so arch conservatives shouldn't be all that suprised to find resistance to their ideas. Likewise, I think that real "blues" are different enough to keep things interesting and the discussion is important.

  • mrfearless47 (unverified)
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    bailie writes:

    "I have never suggested paying teachers less. I have said, that over the next 15 years, the rate of individual compensation increases must slow significantly. If they don't, Oregon K-12 will badly deteriorate for employees, as well as students."

    OK. Well, this is going to happen naturally in the PERS arena as a large fraction of Tier 1 members will retire; that will lower system costs significantly. That leaves two other areas to target - rising health care costs and salaries. The health care piece could be handled by making individuals have to bear some fraction (say 10%) of the actual health care premiums. So that leaves salary increases. But the teachers can hardly be expected to accept a zero sum game, which is actually a losing game. If health costs continue to outstrip the general rate of inflation, the increases in health care outlays for both employer and, potentially, employees will rise in tandem with health care inflation. If salary increases were limited only to the overall increases in CPI, teachers will fall further behind and would, I expect, leave the profession (at least in Oregon) or not choose it as frequently as they do now.

    So, if nothing were done further with the retirement system, costs will decrease naturally over the next 15 years and would meet your requirement for slowing the rate of increase in individual compensation.

    The rest is subject to negotiation, how willing the school boards are to endure a strike, and how willing the public is to endure a strike. While I'm not suggesting I would want this, if everyone is so hot to slow the growth of individual compensation in the K-12 budget, somebody is going to have a grow a spine and take on the teachers' unions straight away. The public is going to have to accept whatever the short term consequences will be. A couple of really long and unpleasant strikes with teachers not getting anywhere near what they want would probably take care of this problem quickly. In the meantime, I don't think the public has the stomach for a long and nasty teachers strike and so the Boards - strong-willed or not - don't have the public backing they need to force one.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "Take on the teachers union" but not take on the power of COSA or OSBA?

    I would like to see individual school board members and individual school administrators on the topic of whether the lobbyists for COSA and OSBA ever consult with them, much less represent their views. But of course, that remark doesn't fit the "all OEA's fault" mentality.

  • LT (unverified)
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    dmrusso, I agree with you. I also think that not only Blue Oregonians but lots of others (like the people who were in my research/elem. statistics class and in some of the other college classes I have taken) would not find it closed minded to deconstruct one or two sentences. For instance,

    I agree, but the data presented to the Chalkboard Project by ECONorthwest are not fabricated. It comes from a variety of solid sources which are consistent.

    ECONorthwest is made up of consultants (at least one of whom I think has worked in government) and their names are listed here

    ECONorthwest is made up of consultants (at least one of whom I think has worked in government) and their names are listed here http://www.econw.com/personnel.html

    Individuals who recognize any of the names can form their own opinion of any or all ECONorthwest reports.

    Secondly, online dictionaries are wonderful things. Here are the definitions I found for "fabricate" and "consistent"

    · Main Entry: fab·ri·cate · Pronunciation: 'fa-bri-"kAt · Function: transitive verb · Inflected Form(s): -cat·ed; -cat·ing · Etymology: Middle English, from Latin fabricatus, past participle of fabricari, from fabrica · 1 a : INVENT, CREATE b : to make up for the purpose of deception 2 : CONSTRUCT, MANUFACTURE ; specifically : to construct from diverse and usually standardized parts

    · Main Entry: con·sis·tent · Pronunciation: k&n-'sis-t&nt · Function: adjective · Etymology: Latin consistent-, consistens, present participle of consistere · 1 archaic : possessing firmness or coherence 2 a : marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity : free from variation or contradiction --a consistent style in painting

    My only point is that in the world of serious debate, there are no "accepted statistics" (yes Bailie, I think anyone who did a Blue Oregon comment search would discover a comment where you said "these are accepted statistics" as if they were the revealed truth, not to be questioned).

    A columnist who makes no apologies for supporting progressive Democrats once said in an interview "That is why we are different from the current Republicans--we are sent talking points by groups which we seldom if ever would repeat without changing them into our own words and adding our own thoughts, whether that is a strength or a weakness is open to debate".

  • Bailie (unverified)
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    Fearless47,

    We are not too far apart in the assessment of the situation. Unfortunately, we (Oregon) will probably be railroaded into an ugly situation with economic forces colliding. These forces are too little revenue, trying to feed ever increasing contract commitments. It is happening now, and will get worse (for about 10 years) before it gets better. The significant number is the 23 percent (29 percent for those which pay employee contribution, also) of salary for employer contribution to PERS in 2007. That is 2.5 times what it was just 4 years ago. That is a debilitating amount. I just got off the phone with a school board member, who said their district would be experiencing layoffs, program cuts and large class sizes to accommodate this PERS contribution.

    You say, "If salary increases were limited only to the overall increases in CPI, teachers will fall further behind and would, I expect, leave the profession (at least in Oregon) or not choose it as frequently as they do now."

    I don't understand that statement. There are only two states (CA and AK) West of the Mississippi, that have higher salaries than Oregon. All of the rest are considerably lower, with benefits not close to Oregon's. In our district we have a very large number of applicants for each teaching job.

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    It's sort of interesting that BlueOregon, which is pretty well vilified here and on Jack's site for its voice-stifling, both posted a welcome to OregonCatalyst and hasn't weeded out the negative comments on this thread.

    But perhaps that's the most damaging kind of retort!

    In seriousness, I look forward to the site as well. Welcome!

  • mrfearless47 (unverified)
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    bailie queries:

    "There are only two states (CA and AK) West of the Mississippi, that have higher salaries than Oregon. All of the rest are considerably lower, with benefits not close to Oregon's. In our district we have a very large number of applicants for each teaching job.

    You're talking about those nasty average salaries, which have as much meaning to me as PERS average benefits. The average tells us absolutely nothing (zero, nada, zilch) about the distribution of salaries around any measure of central tendency. I would submit that IF the data were broken out to the point where one could extract a median and each of the deciles, you'd find that the starting salaries in Oregon are not higher than those in California or in Washington, even though the overall average may well be. I also don't have any clear sense of teacher demographics statewide or by district.

    If you want to argue from averages, you'll find it tough sledding with me (as you've already discovered). I don't care whether the chalkboard project, ECONorthwest, OEA or anyone else provides the numbers. I'm not arguing over the validity of the numbers; I'm arguing that they're not meaningful because they're the wrong numbers to be looking at. As the PERS data so clearly illustrate, the average retiree benefit is about 30% higher than the median retiree benefit.

  • mrfearless47 (unverified)
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    "It is happening now, and will get worse (for about 10 years) before it gets better. The significant number is the 23 percent (29 percent for those which pay employee contribution, also) of salary for employer contribution to PERS in 2007."

    You probably don't want to get into a pissing contest with me over PERS. Those rates you quote were based on forecasts from the 2004 system valuation, which did not factor in the Supreme Court's decision in Strunk or the City of Eugene settlement. PERS has already salted away $1.8 billion in reserves, zeroed out the gain-loss reserve (which stood at -$2.6 billion at the end of 2002), and will recover another $1.6 billion after implementing Strunk and City of Eugene. In addition, PERS has replaced its actuarial firm of 30+ years with a new firm which may recommend that PERS use some of the reserves to underwrite some part of the anticipated rate increases for employers that might go into effect on July 1, 2007.

    Also keep in mind that ONE of the very significant reasons that PERS rates are going up so much right now is that the employers have been "paying as they go", deferring some of the expenses until the future. Unfortunately, the future finally caught up with the employers.

    Finally, keep in mind what the Supreme Court actually said. It said that the contract REQUIRES PERS to pay Tier 1 regular accounts at no less than the assumed rate (whatever PERS decides that will be), but the court also added something that wasn't at issue in the case. They followed that sentence with the note that the PERS Board was not obligated to pay out any MORE than the assumed rate. As a result, no Tier 1 member will ever see a penny more than the assumed rate credited to his/her Tier 1 regular account. So PERS automatically creams off the excess above 8%. At the same time, the benefits in force reserve (the account that PERS uses to pay retiree benefits) is structured so that every dime of excess beyond the assumed rate goes to fund any COLAs retirees get (limited to a maximum of 2% per year or the CPI, whichever is less), and ALL the excess is credited to the employers to reduce their rates.

    Taken all together, I'd be really surprised if the rate increases come anywhere near what was forecast in 2004. The rates will go up, to be sure, but the increase will be significantly less than the numbers you're floating around.

  • mrfearless47 (unverified)
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    make that "employers have NOT been paying as they go" in my previous post.

  • dmrusso (unverified)
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    I am wishing Ballie and sain holiday season. Anti-Anxiety pills work wonders!

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