Betsy Johnson's self-dealing legislation

Editor's note: Here at BlueOregon, we don't cover all the news that's fit to print - especially since this is a labor of love for all involved. But there's never been a "we missed it" story that's generated as many emails as the Betsy Johnson story. So, two days late and scrambling to digest this complex and multi-faceted story, here we go.

BetsyjohnsonOn Thursday, the Oregonian revealed an in-depth investigation into Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose).

In late 2004, state Sen. Betsy Johnson bought 36 acres of farmland for $635,000 in her hometown of Scappoose next to the airport. Three months later, she sold the land to a developer for a $119,000 profit.

And within weeks, Johnson introduced a bill in the Legislature to promote special airport access for private landowners -- something the developer needed to turn the land into an industrial park catering to the aviation business. ...

Before the deal closed, Johnson in February 2005 introduced SB680, which would have required the state Department of Aviation to promote "through the fence" access at Scappoose and five other rural airports.

"The bill was bad policy because it gave special access to public airports just because a private landowner happened to sit next door," said Ann Crook, airport director of the Klamath Falls Airport. "It's something that other states are avoiding because of security concerns, and it was just stupid to have the state of Oregon to promote the idea."

Of course, it's not just the self-dealing - it's the failure to disclose. From the AP:

Johnson, D-Scappoose, failed to disclose her ownership and sale of the farmland at the time, as state law requires. "I readily admit I made a mistake," Johnson told The Oregonian in an interview at the Capitol. "I am culpable."

Johnson reported the deal to the Oregon Government Standards and Practices Commission after being interviewed by the newspaper. The commission likely will review her failure to disclose her interest in the property. If an investigation shows Johnson broke the law, she faces a fine.

But wait, there's more. Willamette Week reports that Johnson has a long record of working on legislation that would directly benefit her family:

One bill that has raised questions is Senate Bill 30, which passed the Senate last week. The bill aims to ban further development near the Metolius River, whose headwaters Johnson's family donated to the state and near which she owns a 160-acre retreat. Johnson has been criticized by the Bend Bulletin and others because by cutting off further development in the area, the bill will increase the value of her property.

The other bill, SB 807, is a measure sponsored solely by Johnson. The bill would create new taxing districts around rural airports. As The Oregonian reported Saturday, the bill could benefit Transwestern Aviation—a business that Johnson co-founded and that her husband now owns. Transwestern sits on six acres adjacent to a rural airport in Scappoose.

Online, WW also provided a Thursday update.

Of course, Senator Johnson is widely rumored to be a candidate for higher office - and WW reports that she's one of the wealthiest members of the Legislature, which makes this stuff even more curious:

But Johnson’s march toward running for governor, Oregon secretary of state or some other statewide higher office may be complicated by revelations in WW and The Oregonian about bills this legislative session that seem to benefit her. Johnson has also been sloppy in reporting her financial dealings, which state law requires of all elected officials. ...

Curiously, Johnson may be the legislator least in need of sponsoring self-serving legislation. She is a daughter of the late Redmond timber baron and seven-term legislator Sam Johnson. In January, the 56-year-old senator and her sister inherited an estate that probate records valued at nearly $22 million.

Meanwhile, the Daily Astorian reports that Senator Johnson is holding a town hall meeting on Sunday, in Clatskanie.

Discuss.

Comments

  • Red Cloud (unverified)
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    Ya know, I don't think I've every read a conservative blog ever rip into an R; they do everything to excuse or deflect it to us. Must say something about the relative standards of integrity. Keep up the good work.

  • (Show?)

    Capitol speculatation is that these airport stories are being pitched by the troop of lobbyists being paid by the developers who want to build almost 3000 homes and two golf courses within four miles of the Metolius headwaters as an effort to derail SB 30. Timing is everything.

    Westlund, who doesn't oppose destination resorts in general, is sponsoring SB 30 because this development threatens the headwaters and the river.

    USGS submitted testimony saying "In the Metolius River Basin, ground-water pumping most likely will result in diminished discharge at principal spring complexes that occur at the head of the Metolius, along the main stem, along many of the tributaries, and near the confluence of the Metolius and Deschutes Rivers."

    Although the Johnson family still owns property there, including a cabin built by her father in the 30's and the family home built in the 50's, they have a long history of protecting the area including donating the very headwaters themselves for public access.

    Casting aspersions by implying SB 30 is about Johnson land values is ridiculous, she has emotional connections to that land, it isn't about the money. Oh, and her parents are buried there.

    But it about more than one family's ties to the river. Our office received 600 emails of support and Sisters and Warm Springs have passed resolutions in support. There are a lot more people "invested" in protecting the Metolius than just Johnson.

    I wouldn't be surprised if these other accusations are blown out of proportion as well by those seeking to profit off of the Metolius.

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    Very disappointing to see BlueOregon fall hook, line and sinker for Willy Week's spin -- borrowed from The (Bend) Bulletin, which has had a hair up its ass over SB 30 from the outset -- about Johnson's so-called "conflict of interest" on SB 30.

    SB 30 has a dozen sponsors, none of whom own land near the Metolius. It has won the support of dozens of groups locally, statewide and nationwide. Its supporters have gotten literally hundreds of letters and e-mails in favor of it and a scant handful opposing it. The wesbsite noresorts.blogspot.com has posted more than 250 e-mails from all over the country supporting this legislation to protect the Metolius.

    The Bulletin has set up a straw man in the person of Betsy Johnson to attack SB 30. Don't fall for it.

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    Red Cloud wrote: Ya know, I don't think I've every read a conservative blog ever rip into an R; they do everything to excuse or deflect it to us. Must say something about the relative standards of integrity. Keep up the good work.

    Dartagnan wrote: Very disappointing to see BlueOregon fall hook, line and sinker for Willy Week's spin ... Don't fall for it.

    For the record, I wrote this item. I'd set it aside earlier because it's clearly very complex - and Thursday and Friday were busy days for me.

    In any case, my goal here isn't to "rip" Betsy Johnson. Instead, to merely share what others are reporting - and then give our readers a chance to weigh in.

    Thanks, Stacey and Dartagnan, for the context. Keep it coming. Frankly, I'd like to hear Senator Johnson herself weigh in.

    There's a lot of moving parts here, and I suspect that the story is just getting underway -- and that it'll turn out that some is legit, and some is bogus.

    Stay tuned...

  • Erik (unverified)
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    My involvement here only pertains to SB 30 - so I'll stick to that.

    Stacey and Dartagnan have it right in that the support for SB 30 is broad-based: A dozen sponsors, numerous outdoor and conservation oriented public interest groups, the City of Sisters, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, as well as a general public - not just from Camp Sherman, but elsewhere thoughout Central Oregon, Oregon, and beyond - that overwhelmingly supports SB 30. This is not a NIMBY issue, it's not a Democrat or liberal issue, most certainly it's not a Johnson issue.

    If you remove Johnson from the equation, there is still an overwhelming level of support for this bill. So whether or Johnson has done anything inappropriate (regarding SB 30, I certainly don't believe she has, and regarding unrelated matters I really have no clue) it's utterly and completely inappropriate to call SB 30 into question because of that.

    To (author) Kari, I can certainly agree that this matter needs to be publicly vetted and debated, but as pertains to SB 30 I truly believe that all this talk is the product of a witch-hunt initiated by the Bulletin "and others" who just genuinely hate this bill. Why they hate it so much, I really don't know. If you ask me, that's enough to make one wonder.

    Oh, and check this out: http://www.tsweekly.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1522&Itemid=153

    Bend's weekly newspaper (The Source Weekly) put a new post up on its "Wandering Eye" blog this morning about how the Bulletin published a piece by a guy arguing that the Colson development would not impact the Metolius headwaters, but who neglected to mention to the readers or to the paper (so it seems) that he is a personal friend of the Colson family and has been a paid consultant for them in the past. Talk about a conflict of interest. At least Betsy Johnson declared her "potential conflict" publicly before the senate.

  • RinoWatch (unverified)
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    Red Cloud wrote,

    "Ya know, I don't think I've every read a conservative blog ever rip into an R; they do everything to excuse or deflect it to us. Must say something about the relative standards of integrity."....

    Obviously 'ol Red hasn't ever read RinoWatch. I've taken MANY a Republican (RINO) to the woodshed which has caused me obvious disdain from fellow party members.

    RW is a true Conservative Republican with the "integrity" to never "excuse or deflect".

    In the case of Democrat Sen. Johnson, let me clear in saying I admired her greatly but now am calling for her to resign. I'd feel the same way if we were discussing a Kim Thatcher, for example.....

  • Joe12Pack (unverified)
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    As one of the few regular Blue Oregon readers with some level of objectivity (No Party Affiliation), I'm glad to see that you (finally) made note of this perceived transgression by one of your own. The silence was becoming deafening. Could it be that Ted Piccolo dragged you out of the closet with his blog post that made mention of your lack of reportage on the subject?

  • Jesse B. (unverified)
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    Having no previous context of SB 30 whatsoever, reading these excerpts they seemed slightly suspect. They didn't mention the environmental concerns of developing next to a river.

    Seems pretty important to the context of the story. Some of this other stuff is pretty disconcerting thogh. We'll see where it goes.

  • George Seldes (unverified)
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    OK, let's do precisely that --- let's remove Sen. Johnson from the equation by having her donate the tainted proceeds to a worthy charity---something dealing with global warming would be appropriate, since the bill promotes air travel.

    If she was a Republican, we'd be outraged---well, she's not a Republican, and that's too bad, she sure acted like one in this case.

    They always say "it's not about the money." OK, great, it's not about the money. Show us: donate the profits to a good cause.

  • Oh the Oregonian (unverified)
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    The Oregonian (and the Willy Week) clearly doesn't know the whole story or, more likely, doesn't care to hear the whole story.

    I'm sure they would side with the Queen of Hearts if they ever walked through the Looking Glass when she said, "First we get the verdict then we have the trial."

    Shameful, lazy, shock, pathetic, so-called journalism.

    Sad, just sad.

  • LT (unverified)
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    So, is this about "first the verdict, then the trial", is it about a legislator doing something which looks stupid, or is it about the Metolius River?

    This isn't the first thing a legislator ever did which looked stupid.

    However, having read Stacey's piece (working for a legislator who represents that area), I dimly recall something from the 1970s. The legislature had passed some sort of bill about the Metolius and perhaps about development. After Sine Die it was discovered there was some sort of glitch in the wording, causing an unintended consequence. The result was a one day special session to fix the wording.

    One of the strengths of blogs is supposed to be people reading something like the above paragraph and doing further research, even if the topic is too old/obscure to be online and requires old fashioned library research.

    This doesn't sound like Duke Cunningham, it sounds like someone who could have benefited from the new training efforts the Ethics Comm. (or whatever they call it now) plans to do with a larger budget and more staff.

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    Joe12Pack wrote... Could it be that Ted Piccolo dragged you out of the closet with his blog post that made mention of your lack of reportage on the subject?

    Sorry, no. I haven't read NWR's coverage yet. Seriously, I've been really busy the last few days - there's no conspiracy-theory here. Just been slammed.

  • George Seldes (unverified)
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    Wait a minute, how do you get:

    This doesn't sound like Duke Cunningham, it sounds like someone who could have benefited from the new training efforts the Ethics Comm. (or whatever they call it now) plans to do with a larger budget and more staff.

    out of

    Johnson, D-Scappoose, failed to disclose her ownership and sale of the farmland at the time, as state law requires. "I readily admit I made a mistake," Johnson told The Oregonian in an interview at the Capitol. "I am culpable."

    ?

    The land sale was in 2004 and the rule was in place then. She admits it was a mistake. So what the hell does this have to do with new training and staff for the Ethics board? What do we need with more training and staff for an Ethics board if someone doing what she did simply gets to say "oops" and pay a fee that's equivalent to a parking ticket?

    If she wants to show that it was a mistake and not a Duke Cunningham/Abromoff deal, then she should give up the extra proceeds, beg forgiveness from all Oregonians, and start recusing herself from votes on things that benefit her and her husband.

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    ...and start recusing herself from votes on things that benefit her and her husband.

    Unfortunately, that's not constitutional in Oregon. All legislators who are present on the floor, they must vote. You literally cannot abstain, you can merely declare a conflict of interest.

    Personally, I think we should change the law so that when you declare a conflict, you can then abstain -- in fact, I'd argue that you must abstain if you have a conflict.

  • Observer (unverified)
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    ... Unfortunately, that's not constitutional in Oregon. All legislators who are present on the floor, they must vote. You literally cannot abstain, you can merely declare a conflict of interest ...

    There's a simple way around this - when a bill comes up for which a legislator has a conflict, just leave the floor for the vote - its a little cumbersome, but if you really care, you leave and don't vote. We should expect more from our elected representatives - Republican or Democrat.

  • But what's with those glasses Betsy? (unverified)
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    Legislating the issues one knows from ones daily life is not new. Prosecuters work on crime. Teachers work on education. Farmers work on agriculture.

    Just becauae she's a rural pilot you can't fault her for having an interest in hobby airfield access.

    Just because she thinks the Metolious is beautiful doesn't mean she can't help preserve it.

    It's easy to see the mud.

    It always important to look at what's underneath.

    And always more important to take a look at the mudslinger.

  • Observer (unverified)
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    "Legislating the issues one knows from ones daily life is not new. Prosecuters work on crime. Teachers work on education. Farmers work on agriculture."

    Someone clearly doesn't seem to get the essential difference between a legislator as a representative of the people and the roles in our society of the other professions. But then, that view is representative of THE problem in this state and on this blog where a lot of folks are clueless enough to believe campaign contributions are THE ethics issue, and campaign finance reform being THE ethics reform we need? I don't see a campaign finance issue being the overweening issue at the core of the unethical behavior here --- and there is clearly egregious unethical behavior here --- does anyone else?

    If Johnson wants to pursue her private economic and her mix of anti-development and pro-development causes, she should quit the Legislator and go for it. The fact she hasn't, and all that follows from that, is the unethical behavior.

    THE ethics problem in Oregon is that a lot of the people we elect, and many of the folks who run this blog, have the mistaken belief that a citizen Legislature is the place they go to selfishly get things done for them and people like them. For the most part these are the most mundane of selfish things, and that is true from what I've seen across the political spectrum. This is most true in the battle between nutty anti-development and nutty pro-development advocates.

    The inherent corruptness of the belief reached the point of absurdity recently when the politically appointed Government Standards and Practices Commission slammed their own professional GSPC staff and outright refused to sanction Potter for the Blazers' ticket affair. He undisputably broke the gift ban law. Rather than carry out their obligations under the law, the political appointees on the GSPC corruptly violated the law themselves and endorsed Potter's argument, which in fact was that such corruption by our elected leaders actually is OK if the goal is to benefit interests and people with which they agree.

    Other than Johnson's technical violations of Legislature rules by failing to disclose or recuse, if you are one of those people who approved of what Potter did, and the GSPC failure to uphold the law, on what basis do you disapprove of what Johnson has done? Or do you approve of what Johnson has done --- at least if she hadn't gotten caught --- because her pattern of acting in her self-interest actually furthered interests you like such as SB 30?

  • Observer2 (was Observer) (unverified)
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    In one of those funny coincidences I had this last comment about ethics problems and the citizen legislature ready to go with the name "Observer". I had not noticed somebody had also used the name "Observer". Please be clear that there was no intent to mislead or confuse, it was just an oversight. So that previous post should be from "Observer2".

  • Blue Dog Oregon (Jim) (unverified)
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    I am not that familiar with the legislation in question ( will learn more about it and then blog about the whole issue on Blue Dog Oregon ) but I think, as others have written, that it's important to separate Johnson's behavior from the bill.

    Regardless of the merits or demerits of the bill, Johnson's behavior clearly was wrong, and she's admitted as much herself. WW can hardly be accused of doing a "smear job" by reporting on behavior she herself admits was wrong.

  • (Show?)

    If your orientation is toward good government, you support a party because you think they will govern well. If your orientation is power, you tirelessly promote one party and ignore transgressions of your own. BlueOregon's orientation has always been toward the former. I actually think it's the bigger view--many in the GOP have held the latter view, and it got them run out of office in'06. Good governance is good politics.

    Part of the issue is that we only post, at most, about five articles a day, which means we're by no means comprehensive.

    Anyway, if Betsy has acted above board, now's the time to hear it. Otherwise, her interests are at conflict with the Dems and the people of Oregon.

  • Red Cloud (unverified)
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    Seems to me we've got two issues here.

    The first is the airport deal.

    The Metolius is another story. SB 30 is a good bill. The Metolius story ought to be follow up on by Willyweek or someone. The connections with Colson (may his soul find an appropriate repose) would make for an interesting investigation. Colson, his elder-care homes (that he dispossessed his late self of) and his expansion into resorts and shopping centers has a good investigative story line.

    Jeff's comment about one's orientation expresses the sentiment of my earlier post.

  • Observer2 (unverified)
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    "that it's important to separate Johnson's behavior from the bill."

    Very true. However, that doesn't mean the only case is that Johnson's behavior was unacceptable and the bill is good.

    However, it may be the case that both Johnson's behavior was unacceptable and the bill represents a lot of collective bad behavior in terms of a lot of people viewing and using the Legislature as the place to get things done for them and people like them. (I'm not expressing any judgement on SB 30 here --- which on the surface sounds reasonable if those whose various economic and non-economic personal interests are benefitted most bear the burden most --- only commenting on the proposition.)

    I'm betting that's the hard thing for people here to grasp who believe their Federal/State representatives are supposed to be their mouthpieces, rather than tempering agents whose job description actually is their oath to uphold the Federal/State Constitution. That job description is that they are sworn to uphold the common good. And that frequently should include telling constituents and interests they most identify with that what those constituents want is not really in the broadest public interest. True political leadership is achieving a better overall result that doesn't give any of the diverse selfish interests across the political spectrum in our state what they want to the inequitable expense of others.

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    There's a simple way around this - when a bill comes up for which a legislator has a conflict, just leave the floor for the vote - its a little cumbersome, but if you really care, you leave and don't vote.

    On many issues where the votes are close, legislators may request a "call" which means that, unless excused, they must be present and vote--basically it's a roll call first and then a vote. SB 30 was voted on under a "call of the Senate."

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    Very disappointing to see BlueOregon fall hook, line and sinker for Willy Week's spin..

    On the contrary, it’s nice to see some objectivity from a “progressive” website that normally can’t bend over and grab its ankles quick enough anytime a Democratic Party issue or candidate walks by! Even if they were several days behind the curve.

    Here’s a tip of the hat to KC and the other cyber-Fuhrers at BO. Keep up the good work.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    The non-disclosure of her land sale followed by SB680 to raise the value of that land was not a "mistake." What fumes me is that she refuses to admit wrongdoing, and that the governor is publicly defending corruption because it's by a member of his own party. We must not defend corruption in our party, we have to attack it as ruthlessly as we would corruption by anyone, else we just sully our own reputations.

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    "The connections with Colson (may his soul find an appropriate repose) would make for an interesting investigation."

    Amen, brother (or sister). But since Ponderosa Land & Cattle Co. LLC is not a publicly traded corporation it would take some Seymour Hersh-caliber investigative reporting to find out who the investors are.

  • Dave Mitchell (unverified)
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    Red Cloud, On what planet did you get the impression a conservative blog never rips into an R? Especially when it is so extremely wrong. I really want to know how such a veiwpoint forms. What's more is your claim is very true right on on BlueOregon. I'm surprised Kari didn't label this thread, "First Democrat Legistator in Oregon history has ethical lapse" "excuse or deflect it to us" ????
    Red Cloud, where do you get this crap? How about just one example of any excusing or deflecting by a Consevative blog? Your imaginary world says something about your standards.

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    Oh c'mon Dave.... I don't believe we've missed covering a single Oregon Democratic legislator who has gotten in ethical trouble. We covered the Lobbyist Luau in Maui; we covered Kelley Wirth's troubles; and we covered this thing.

    Can you point to a single example that we've missed?

  • alice (unverified)
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    If Ms. Johnson is the "smartest, all powerful" legislator, I suggest she should be held to the same standards as her constituency. Because, as the "smartest, all powerful" legislator, one can expect she would have a greater. understanding of the law and should have known she was not following the rules, imho. It is not an unreasonable expectation to anticipate even more diligence in FOLLOWING the law from all lawmakers. It really is that simple. Who amongst anyone here would be so lucky to "get off" with an "ooops and a semi-sincere apology"? I'm sick and tired of lawmakers holding the public they serve to a higher standard than they hold themselves.

  • Jean (unverified)
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    Betsy Johnson is a Dem in name only... a "pro-business Dem" well "pro-her-business Dem."

    Before coming to the Senate she was the Vice President of Legislative Affairs for the Oregon Pilot's Association (read high placed lobbyist.)

    She is still lobbying, and with great success it appears, for a select group of people with an expensive hobby. Wouldn't it be nice if all of us could have the state defray the costs of our past times.

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    Red Cloud, You really need to get out and read more. I know one blog that has "ripped" an R. On my blog I called for the resignation of AG Gonzalez a long time ago. I called for the resignation of Rumsfel wayyy before it was cool to do so. I have been continually dismissive of Wayne Scott. And there are plenty more.

    So in light of you being that far off base on something as simple as that... I wonder how many other comments of yours are riddled with erroneous information.

    Kari, I noticed a comment about "me?" goading you on for something. I'm not sure how to take such a comment, however for the record I am or was not intentionally trying to goad Kari on to anything.

    "Goad" him? Yah maybe in a needling your side kind of way.

    Yip Yip

  • George Seldes (unverified)
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    There's a simple way around this - when a bill comes up for which a legislator has a conflict, just leave the floor for the vote - its a little cumbersome, but if you *really* care, you leave and don't vote. On many issues where the votes are close, legislators may request a "call" which means that, unless excused, they must be present and vote--basically it's a roll call first and then a vote. SB 30 was voted on under a "call of the Senate."

    Well, that's easy then--the Senate is in charge of excused absences, yes? I mean, a lot of Senators miss a lot of votes for this and that. So whenever someone has a conflict, they request an excused absence for the vote and leave the floor when the vote is called.

    Let's stop pretending that elected officials don't have a choice about not voting on matters where they have a conflict of interest. They do.

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    Let's stop pretending that elected officials don't have a choice about not voting on matters where they have a conflict of interest. They do.

    More to the point, let's change the rules so that when they declare a conflict they are prohibited from voting. Much simpler, and much cleaner.

    If they were simply excused, then they'd never declare the conflict - which just hides the truth.

  • Red Cloud (unverified)
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    Well, Cayote and Dave, you may be right.

    The reason I guess I don't spend much time at such sites is that most of the "dialogue" there is in the form of the foaming rants you display here. Sometimes your guys are so bad even you have to jetison them. The other reason I don't spend much time at such sites has to do with the spinning and deflecting that goes on. At least here I can find out why commentators think the way they do.

    The articles are intended to engage and show an intellectual depth and an ability to respond to the evidence rather than forcing the evidence to respond to the preconceptions. I find myself far more often here thinking, "oh, I hadn't thought of it in that way," which I really don't find elsewhere. I'd rather be engaged than trashed.

    So, I guess my original posting reflected a bias of mine toward substance rather than spiel.

  • Red Cloud (unverified)
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    Well, Cayote and Dave, you may be right.

    The reason I guess I don't spend much time at such sites is that most of the "dialogue" there is in the form of the foaming rants you display here. Sometimes your guys are so bad even you have to jetison them. The other reason I don't spend much time at such sites has to do with the spinning and deflecting that goes on. At least here I can find out why commentators think the way they do.

    The articles are intended to engage and show an intellectual depth and an ability to respond to the evidence rather than forcing the evidence to respond to the preconceptions. I find myself far more often here thinking, "oh, I hadn't thought of it in that way," which I really don't find elsewhere. I'd rather be engaged than trashed.

    So, I guess my original posting reflected a bias of mine toward substance rather than spiel.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Kari -- I look forward to the day when you delay comment for two days on a front-page, above-the-fold Oregonian article about the ethical lapse of a GOP legislator. At that point your excuse that you were busy will hold some weight.

    As for being "required" to vote on bills where you have a conflict of interest, why haven't the Dems put forward a bill to change this (or referred a constitutional amendment if that is required)? Why haven't liberal bloggers insisted that we change this before now? Insiders have known about this bizarre "requirement" forever, and the only reason for not changing it when we took over is that the Democratic leadership thought they might somehow benefit.

    Corruption has no place in our party, and we must speak twice as loud against it when it is discovered.

  • 上海数据恢复 (unverified)
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    OK, let's do precisely that --- let's remove Sen. Johnson from the equation by having her donate the tainted proceeds to a worthy charity---something dealing with global warming would be appropriate, since the bill promotes air travel.

  • pterodactyl (unverified)
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    Johnson's SB 807 is yet another giveaway to the aviation industry. The Port of Portland has been trying to shove general aviation out of PDX and onto the smaller airports like Hillsboro. Hillsboro is more interested in corporate and air cargo than GA so they're trying to shove it out to the rural airports. Mike Applebee (Apple Valley Airport) and Tom Stark (Starks Twin Oaks) along with others only see $$$ signs and are all for it. They figure that the country bumbkins can barely organize a turkey shoot, that there will be little opposition. That's not necessarily so as seen by the group NAAVE's efforts to stop the expansion. Washington county hearings officer Dale Herman and LUBA have both denied the Apple Valley expansion. Albeit on a technicality (The activities that occured in 1996). Betsy Johnson was helpful in providing information to assist in stopping it although it might seem that she only wanted to squelch the competition (helicopters). I believe that if she were to become govenor, that aviation interests would have a hay-day with tax breaks and funding. The skys would be filled with rich boy's toys and the back yard bar-b-que will become a thing of the past.

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