A new group called Common Sense for Oregon is making a nice little splash for itself by giving the Oregon Department of Corrections its inaugural "Oregon Fleece Award" because the agency includes soda pop in its prison meals.
I wrote about the fuss kicked up by the group for Tuesday's editions of The Oregonian. The agency says it is reducing the soda available to inmates but Common Sense says that isn't good enough. Whatever the case, this isn't good news for local distributors of Coca Cola, which has the exclusive Oregon prison franchise. But I'm wandering off point.
My curiousity is now focused on Common Sense for Oregon, whose executive director is attorney Ross Day, who has worked frequently with the property-rights group Oregonians in Action.
In addition, the Common Sense board includes two well-known conservative activists: Kevin Mannix, former legislator and gubernatorial candidate, and Russ Walker, who heads the Oregon chapter of FreedomWorks.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have a very collegial relationship with Ross Day. I think his politics are generally whack. He thinks the same of me, I suspect. But we set much of that aside when we talk and have found some nuggets of common ground.
I think it's great that these guys are exploring Oregon's prison system budget to look for unnecessary or frivilous spending. But frankly, I wonder if it wouldn't be a better use of their (and everyone else's) time to take a hard look at sentencing guidelines and how we deal with non-violent offenders in this state.
I suppose it won't happen as long as Mannix is on the team. Which is what leaves 'common sense' in the dust, unfortunately.