Learning to love Assimilation in Sunriver

Pat Ryan

So me'n The Little Woman head out to Sunny Central on Friday afternoon, spend the night with someSfw4179f friends in Bend and take off for the Saturday breakfast event with Wu and DeFazio. First, however, we get a chance for a drive-by with the Bend Teaparty crew, who have stationed themselves on the circle just outside the Sunriver entrance. We roll the windows down and thank them for their dedication in getting out of bed that early, and they in turn respond with verbal good humor that is pretty much at odds with their signage.

Then it's registration and in to breakfast.  Everybody at my table gets served except me. After two tries, I finally get my ration. At the podium the guys get down to it with a medium dose of boilerplate interspersed with some good discussion as they follow up the speechifying with a Q&A session. DeFazio does not disappoint in the wonkitude department, while Wu actually makes a couple of cogent contributions as well.  I even get a question in at the end to the point that while we love us some state blanketing asphalt bordered by Temples of Higher Booklarnin', could we maybe manufacture some damned Widgets somewhere in there to support all of this useful but expensive infrastructure?

Good and relevant answers from the podium Guys, appropriately addressing some of the Free Trade with the Third World stuff that we've had shoveled onto our heads since at least the middle of the Clinton administration. I also get a "Good question" Attaboy from Ted Wheeler who I've just met and happens to be sitting at our table. 

From here we adjourn to my first (and only) breakout session regarding the DPO relationship with Oregon small business. To get there we have to Cruise The Gut and I run into old friends and enemies, and begin my two day hazing of the crew of 20somethings that Kitzhaber has hired for the weekend. It's also fun to see that Todd Wynn of the Cascade Policy Institute is tabling there as he did at Dorchester.

The panel is Dave Hunt, Christine Chin Ryan (OSBRL) and Nick Blosser (OBA), and for the first time I get a chance to see Bob Stoll in action as moderator. There is lots of Inside Baseball talk about stands taken in the '09 session on the corporate minimum, Rainy Day Fund, and the new personal minimum. Professions of mutual love and respect are the order of the day, and Mr. Stoll keeps the panelists on the Straight and Narrow by demanding strict differentiation between mythology, common wisdom, and the actual relevant facts. Mr. Stoll goes up 50 points in my estimation.

So, off to lunch with Kurt Schrader and Earl the Pearl. I actually get served this time, but it's no improvement. Lunch is truly inedible and all over the hall I see waitstaff hauling off plates of eviscerate remains of alleged sandwiches. I think that Kurt does very well indeed for a New Guy, but Earl as always, either doesn't know or doesn't care what we know about what's going on in DC and his comments seem to be directed to a Junior High Civics class. The Crowd Goes Wild. I go over to the main lodge bar and slam a $20 hamburger.

Afternoon sessions that I peek in on seem to be for people who actually plan on doing something, so after about 5 minutes of sitting next to Mac Pritchard at the DPO database workshop, I slink back to the bar to get down a few pages of my current Science Fiction novel, and exchange salutations with other session slackers.

Evening on Saturday and once again seven of the eight people at my table get served and I get stiffed. I'm so pissed that I actually wave down a server by snapping my fingers for the first (and hopefully only) time in my life, and she brings me a plate of.......er...........who knows. Ron is another guy like DeFazio and Kurt who is both able and willing to speak to us as informed adults. Given his lack of condescension, I actually learn a few things. Back at the table, though, I throw a Fiver on my untouched plate and retire to sulk in the lobby just as Special Mystery Guest Willie Smith begins his moment of Doubt and Faith (with visual aids!) from the podium. Later in the evening some drunk Gen Xers hold a Strawpoll and once again annoint the Once and Future Kingtm for governor, but I'm already back in Bend resting up for the Big Debate in the morning.

On Sunday morning I warn the first Sunriver staffer that comes by the table that having been punked twice on the previous day, I would appreciate  someone putting a damned plate in front of me this time. Of course the staff and my table mates including my wife find all of this pretty hilarious and Uncle Joe Smith advises me to shut up and have a muffin. The MC for the morning is Peter Courtney and I tuck into my slimy scrambled eggs wondering why this guy is seen by all as a Loveable Curmudgeon instead of the R-rated impression that I've had of him since back in the '90s. I try to smile and get with the crowd, but nothing changes.

Finally we sit through the Gov debate, described in detail by Kari yesterday. My sense is that Bradbury is a cheerful regurgitator of '80s Lefty Dogma who has at least one Epic Fail when he asks why mid-sized companies will pay the same coporate minimum as Intel. Hint: They Won't. Read the damned bill Bill.

The New Guy, Steve (HP) Shields, is pretty good on the issues and on the details too, but we don't learn enough to make any judgements on viability. Hope he continues to hang with the crew regardless of the primary outcome. Could provide a useful perspective for  progressive policy wonks.

The Once and Future Kingtm is whipsmart, artistically pseudo-confrontational, charismatic and allegedly inclusive. He absolutely wins the debate. Hands Down. Now we'll see if he's serious with his closer about how he's going to listen to good fact based and relevant input regardless of his current postion or his opinion on the source of comments.

Given his record, I have reason to doubt this alleged open mindedness, but he did offer a website (mentioned by Kari yesterday) on which we can all test his commitment. I'll be interested to see what kind of input and response the site generates.

So Anyhow, we cut out after the debate and stop in for my wife's first visit to Kahneeta on the way back to Portland. We order lunch at the lodge. I get served. The food is edible.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I can honestly say that I have never had worse food served to me at a large gathering. I have pretty low standards for what comes out of a kitchen when 300 people need to be eating at the same time, but this crap out did my low standards.

    Does Kahneeta have a large conference facility?

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    Kahneeta has space for up to 300 for a meeting....OEA has held several events there with few issues of which I'm aware. Definitely worth looking into next time around.

  • (Show?)

    Pat,

    I am confused by what you mean by "epic fail" and "read the damn bill Bill".

    For starters Bill used Nike as an example and not Intel.

    Secondly - we have read the bill and per our good friends at the Oregon Center of Public Policy it says: "Second, Measure 67 institutes a new minimum tax for C-corporations based on a sliding scale tied to Oregon sales. The sliding scale starts at $150 for corporations with less than $500,000 in Oregon sales revenues (30 cents for every $1,000 in sales). For corporations with $500,000 or more in Oregon sales, the new minimum tax will be no more than $1.50 on every $1,000 in sales and will be capped at $100,000 for corporations with sales of $100 million or more (i.e., less than $1.00 for every $1,000 in sales for companies with sales of more than $100 million)."

    Key word here is CAPPED at $100,000. Our language could have been more specific in saying that a medium size corporation and Nike will be taxed at the same RATE above $500,000 which is what we implied when he said they would pay the same amount. In fact for every dollar they make above $100 million they actually start paying a LOWER rate than a medium sized corporation.

    Third - you seemed to miss Bill's point entirely which is that Washington State has a similar tax with no caps and was rated as a much friendlier state to do business in than Oregon. This is an issue of basic fairness and paying your fair share. Bradbury believes there should be no cap. Do you?

    Finally, it would be good to remind folks of the actual results. http://www.oregonpoliticos.com/

    Kitzhaber defeated Bill Bradbury 39% to 36% by a margin of 7 votes. Clide Drexler came in 3rd.

  • (Show?)

    Key word here is CAPPED at $100,000. Our language could have been more specific in saying that a medium size corporation and Nike will be taxed at the same RATE above $500,000 which is what we implied when he said they would pay the same amount. In fact for every dollar they make above $100 million they actually start paying a LOWER rate than a medium sized corporation.

    1) Arguing for no cap is valid and worthy of debate. In fact it was debated and tested by House Leadership, and they made a tactical decision to not fight that battle. 2) The tier structure adopted, does not have a one-to-one correlation between levels of sales. Never did. What I heard in the room sure sounded like he was saying that some mid-sized C-corps would pay the same amount as corps with sales over $100m (the only group that will pay $100k). I'd be happy to admit error in the face of an actual transcript. Until then my comment stands.

    ...you seemed to miss Bill's point entirely which is that Washington State has a similar tax with no caps and was rated as a much friendlier state to do business in than Oregon. This is an issue of basic fairness and paying your fair share. Bradbury believes there should be no cap. Do you?

    No. I didn't miss his point. That argument too, is fraught with peril. Washington's corporate tax structure is very different from ours in a lot of ways and grabbing that one slice to make an argument doesn't cut it in the Critical Thinking department.

    Bradbury believes there should be no cap. Do you?

    I beleive that intelligent and informed legislators should move as far as they can in the direction of equity without the whole package going down in flames and no farther.

    Do you? Does Bill?

  • todd wynn (unverified)
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    Pat,

    It was great meeting you at the conference. I always love a healthy engaged conversation.

    I also enjoyed the conference and plan on being back again.

    Todd Wynn

  • (Show?)

    It comes down to the words "rate" or "amount" but that is quibbling in my humble opinion and implying he made an "epic fail" or "didn't read the bill" is far from accurate and frankly disrespectful.

    Bill was unequivocal in his support for the Measures as written and will be campaigning for them.

    He was using the cap on alternative minimum as a way to illustrate that equitable and fair taxation can actually be good for our business climate and that Oregon actually lags behind our neighbors in this area.

  • (Show?)

    It comes down to the words "rate" or "amount" but that is quibbling in my humble opinion

    Glad to hear it since you're the one that felt compelled to use both terms in your intial rebuttal.

    and implying he made an "epic fail" or "didn't read the bill" is far from accurate and frankly disrespectful.

    I think that "frankly disrespectful" pretty accurately sums up my general attitude toward politicians that I see being either high handed or sloppy with the facts in communication with the proles.

    I like Bradbury personally, and admire his determination in the face of overwhelming physical and political odds, but he's been a big boy for a long time now, and I'll continue to call 'em as I see 'em.

    I ain't anybody in particular and have no power base. No elected official will suffer from blowing me off whenever they feel like it and many do every time I see 'em. In the above post I took shots at a whole bunch of people, and will continue to do so.

    Readers of delicate sensibility will ignore my rants just as I do with posters and commenters that I find uninteresting, boring or repetitive.

    Ain't the InterTubes beautiful that way?

  • (Show?)

    "I ain't anybody in particular and have no power base."

    Bull. You're a power player.

  • Alex Tinker (unverified)
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    Pat,

    Good meeting you at the conference. Appreciate your post.

    Disagree very much that Kitzhaber dominated the "debate" - in fact, I felt that Bradbury came across a little stronger, and that the audience responded accordingly. (Kitzhaber wasn't interrupted with applause once..)

    The straw poll did give Kitzhaber a nominal victory, but it was a narrow one, and included the votes of at least a dozen (if not two dozen) volunteers/interns attending the conference on his behalf. Seems that under those circumstances, 83-76 was actually a victory for Bradbury.

  • KenRay (unverified)
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    Good and humorous article. Much more informative than a dry one or the kool-Aid flavored kind.

  • (Show?)

    As for the Pat/Jeremy argument above, I'm hoping that someone videotaped the gubernatorial debate. (And if so, we'll post it here at BlueOregon.)

    But I heard the same thing that Pat did -- that Bill said a medium-sized corporation and Nike would "pay the same". My contemporaneous liveblog notes:

    "The ballot measure doesn't go far enough on the alternative minimum corporate tax. Right now, the minimum is capped at $100,000. So, if you're Nike or a medium-sized small business you pay the same. That's not fair."

    A liveblog isn't an exact transcript, but I'm pretty sure that sentence is right. As to whether he meant "rate" or "amount", the immediately previous comment was about the amount ($100,000).

    I remember being pretty surprised by it, and thinking "A company with $100 million in sales is a pretty big 'medium-sized small business' no matter what they're selling!"

    No matter. It was the first all-candidates public forum, and there are surely kinks to be ironed out in everyone's public presentations.

    I'm quite confident that Bill knows what he's talking about and isn't trying to deceive or confuse anyone.

    We've got a long way to go, folks. And we're all going to be much happier if we apply generous amounts of benefit-of-the-doubt around here.

  • (Show?)

    Disagree very much that Kitzhaber dominated the "debate" - in fact, I felt that Bradbury came across a little stronger, and that the audience responded accordingly. (Kitzhaber wasn't interrupted with applause once..)

    I agree with you and Jeff Mapes that Bradbury was a favorite in the room, but I'm arguing on the merits of the actual content, grasp of both state political realities and the facts, and the introduction of additional relevant comments made by the three of 'em.

    I'm not commenting on audience "quality" or bias. Just on my opinion of who met my own standards of professionalism for the particular job. By those measures, Bradbury came in last.

    I really really didn't like my own conclusion, but there it is.......

    <hr/>

    No use in my commenting further on the straw poll, other than to metion in passing that in most cases, Clyde is spelled with a "Y".

    I blame the British for that one.

  • (Show?)

    As for the Pat/Jeremy argument above, I'm hoping that someone videotaped the gubernatorial debate. (And if so, we'll post it here at BlueOregon.)

    Curious that the DPO didn't video tape it. I recall in 2005 there were videos of every major speech posted on the website soon after.

  • Rachel (unverified)
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    Pat, Glad you finally found your real calling. Resort food critic!

    I don't think the gub debate was a fair stick to measure any of the candidates. It did prove that they can all read from their notecards. I wonder if Lynn Peterson is rethinking her decision not to run.

    The field is still wide open -- a nice opportunity for DeFazio...hmmmmmmmmm.

  • (Show?)

    Pat,

    Because of my silly commitment to my school district to teach, I was unable to attend the DPO. You made my day with your comments...it was almost like being there.
    The OEA holds our convention at the Red Lion Jantzen Beach and has some pretty decent food.

  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)
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    Good piece!

    I like the assimilation observation, it is very appropriate. But the Borg were recent rewrites of Dr. Who's Cybermen, who made their screen debut in 1966. I mention that because I think if you use the original Cybermen as a metaphor, it works even better.

    The Borg subsume the person's personality. The Cybermen assimilated by physically implanting the person's brain in the cybersuit. They required a real brain, still functioning as such, but totally subservient to the collective, to actually make it work. And that's the point about Dems and progressives. They can't just swallow us up Borg style. They realize they need that spark of intellect...but they want it totally subservient to the collective.

    I think a lot of progressive have the hope that, like a character in the latest Dr. Who take on the Cybermen, that the spark survives, and, at a key moment, the person acts on their original character.

    I still say it's just life in a non-parliamentary democracy.

  • steve (unverified)
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    I had an excellent lunch at the Sunriver Lodge this summer, so they are capable of producing good food, but maybe not in bulk. Perhaps the head chef is a wingnut? Maybe we need to get one or our folks in the Dorchester kitchen, possibly to add some fresh-harvested Alsea mushrooms to the salads for a certain meeting.

  • rw (unverified)
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    http://www.frankejames.com/

  • John Silvertooth (unverified)
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    Thanks for confirming nothing has changed in 25 years-

    The question: "Does Kahneeta have a large conference facility?"

    Yeah and they can put out the food- excellent.

    Slots work on same principle as legislature- stick enough money in and may get something back.

  • (Show?)

    AFT-Oregon holds it's annual convention at Sunriver, and the food has never been a problem. I don't know what happened between the last time I was at Sunriver in April and what was allegedly described as "food" last weekend, but I have to agree, it was the worst I've ever had, not only in Oregon but even in Wash DC. where rubber chicken is king....

    Aside from that, Pat great post, I'd would have talked to you over there at the bar on Sunday, but you had your nose in a book and I try and not to bug folks who are deep into books as my wife keeps reminding me when I bug her. :)

  • (Show?)

    but you had your nose in a book and I try and not to bug folks who are deep into books

    Well, yeah. I in turn, thought you were pretty busy too.......but novels fill the spot in my life that heroin fills for a junkie, so interruption doesn't bother me much as long as the book is close at hand and I can return to it when the threat of cognition rears its ugly head.

    They've always served a strategy for dropping out of any "real" situation in which I find myself. Keeps me from having to interact, and allows me to manage ADD through avoidance.

  • (Show?)

    I was unable to attend the Summit. This may be the most entertaining report on the event in existence.

    One thing I always count on from Pat: he calls it like he sees it.

  • JJ Ferguson (unverified)
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    Posted by: Carla Axtman | Oct 20, 2009 2:32:37 PM

    I was unable to attend the Summit. This may be the most entertaining report on the event in existence.

    One thing I always count on from Pat: he calls it like he sees it.

    So do you. It's just that Pat isn't looking up...I'll leave it at that. True progressives should probably learn to let Pat be their voice. He covers all the points, gets the attitude in too, and has found a camel that can fit through the needle's eye. Maybe naive, but I think more from him would mean less of the comments you don't like to read. Problem is, he's pretty disgusted too at some of those times, no?

  • Urban Planning Overlord (unverified)
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    appropriately addressing some of the Free Trade with the Third World stuff that we've had shoveled onto our heads since at least the middle of the Clinton administration

    You mean the part about not using free trade barriers to ensure higher prices for Americans and increased starvation and misery in various third world nations such as Bangladesh?

    Is that what you meant, Pat?

  • (Show?)

    You mean the part about not using free trade barriers to ensure higher prices for Americans and increased starvation and misery in various third world nations such as Bangladesh?......Is that what you meant, Pat?

    You seem to have hit the nail on the head UPO. While I care about every falling sparrow, I care most about the sparrows immediately sutrrounding me.

    Are you aruing that we should let the "Bangladeshis" build all the Barbies for $.02 per day? If so, the end result as I see it is that the Walmart greeters will also soon be making $.02 per day, and when that day comes, who will buy the danged Barbies?

    I'm from the Henry Ford School. Whoever builds the Widgets should make at least enough to buy Widgets.

    <hr/>

    As a welder and heavy equipment mechanic, the wages of my peer group have been circling the drain for about thirty years, and we're getting sick and tired of trying to live on repeated refrains of Kumbaya.

    <h2>The "economy" goes up, the "economy" comes down, but none of that crap raises or lowers the boats of what was once the Blue Collar middle class.</h2>

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