Behind the OEA Endorsement

By Julie Fahey of Eugene, Oregon. Julie is a business consultant and a member of the 2010 class of Emerge Oregon. She observed the OEA convention as a member of the public (not as a member of OEA).

The OEA-PIE convention was held on Saturday in Eugene – by now we all know the major news coming out of the convention (Bradbury won the endorsement), but I thought the BlueOregon crowd might be interested in some observations about the day. The convention hosted candidates from a number of different races, but the main event was clearly the Governor’s race. The four candidates attending were Bradbury, Kitzhaber, Alley, and Lim (no Chris Dudley).

The convention was structured so that each candidate spoke to the entire delegate group for 10 minutes and then fielded questions from the floor for 10 minutes. Delegates also had the opportunity to get personal time with the candidates during smaller caucuses and in hospitality suites.

The Republicans candidates went first. Allen Alley gave a reasonably good speech that touched on government spending and what he learned on his tour of Oregon schools. John Lim was entertaining, though he spent at least 3-4 of his 10 minutes talking about how he would increase tourism to Oregon (odd for an audience of educators).

Nice as it was to see Republican candidates engage with the OEA (and vice versa), the main contenders of the day were obviously Bradbury and Kitzhaber. Bradbury’s speech was full of passion and energy – his central message was that we need to fully fund education in Oregon, though he was pretty light on the specifics of how (other than briefly mentioning closing tax loopholes). Presumably he included more specifics in the written materials submitted to delegates beforehand, and used the speech as a chance to connect emotionally with the group.

Kitzhaber’s speech came across as intellectual, thoughtful, and issues-focused. He was more subdued than Bradbury, but delivered more content in terms of his education priorities (early childhood education; performance-based school funding; revenue reform through shifting from an income tax towards a sales tax). I found one section of his speech particularly interesting – he talked about how “reform” and “performance” are words that can be off-putting since they’ve been used in the past by people attempting to undermine our current public education system. He countered that these words don’t have to be negative – we can reclaim them. In his comments on what reform could mean, he drew extensively from Powerful Learning, one of Linda Darling-Hammond’s books (a Stanford professor, rumored in 2008 to be a possible nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education).

When it came time for the floor debate, several people commented sincerely about how lucky the OEA was to have two excellent candidates to choose from. One of the delegates described his perception that one of the candidates (Bradbury) had been more like the cheerleader and the other (Kitzhaber) like the Head Coach, but overall it seemed that the crowd was favoring Bradbury.

The final vote tally was:

49,448Bradbury
31,607Kitzhaber
3,603No Recommendation
796Allen Alley
97John Lim

After Bradbury’s warm reception, and Kitzhaber’s mentions of “reform” and “performance”, I expected that the endorsement would go to Bradbury. But, I thought the final vote tally might be a little closer. I’m not sure how much of the endorsement was based on Bradbury’s passion and insistence that we can fully fund the QEM and how much was due to the fact that Kitzhaber’s talk of reform may not have sat very well with OEA members/leadership. During the floor debate, one of the delegates said that there can be a difference between a pro-union/OEA candidate and a pro-education candidate.

I believe the OEA endorsed the more pro-OEA candidate, but I think it remains to be seen whether they endorsed the more pro-education candidate.

Comments

  • Christine (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Maybe the rest of the education endorsements will tell who is "pro-education candidate"

    American Federation of Teachers endorsement(AFT)- Bill Bradbury

    Oregon School Employees Association endorsement (OSEA) - Bill Bradbury

    Oh wait let me guess...

    AFT- Endorsed the more pro- AFT candidate

    OSEA- Endorsed the more pro - OSEA candidate

    So maybe OEA, AFT, OSEA and their thousands members do not get education

    Did Novick write this for you????

  • proudOregonian (unverified)
    (Show?)

    When did Blue Oregon become so blatantly pro-Kitzhaber?

    This hardly reads as any kind of significantly insightful, much less un-biased, take on the OEA endorsement. As a relative to many teachers and educators in Oregon, I find it absolutely disheartening that Blue Oregon would take such a cynical view of what is frankly a triumph for Oregon: finally funding education rather than merely paying lip-service to the same status quo pro-education rhetoric we've heard a million times over with no results (ahem, Kitzhaber a la terms 1 & 2)...

    Thanks, by the way, Julie Fahey for telling us what we already know "overall it seemed that the crowd was favoring Bradbury;" obviously, they voted for him. And as for me, I commend OEA for their fine educated choice!

  • (Show?)

    "I find it absolutely disheartening that Blue Oregon would take such a cynical view..."

    Um, whaaaaa?!

    The only person taking a position here is Julie Fahey. Her words are her own and no one else's.

    Publishing a guest column is NOT an endorsement of either the guest columnist or his or her ideas. Our criteria for publishing a guest column is really quite simple: Is it Oregon? Is it political? Is it interesting? Is it timely? Is it well-written? Will it spark conversation? And is it, loosely defined, progressive?

    If we only published blogs that I, or the editors collectively, agreed with entirely - that would be a very boring blog.

  • RyanLeo (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Once you work with the Establishment and allow the Establishment a voice on your website, then the Establishment expects your website to be an automatic plug for their views and their views only.

    "Cynicism" is basically codeword for "why do you allow views who differ from ours (Establishment) to run right alongside ours."

    Cynicism in this context is contrary to the truest belief in free speech where you need all dissenting voices to be aired for the less informed reader to make the logical and optimal choice to form their own opinion.

  • Julie Fahey (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Christine – A commenter on a post a couple of months ago (a former union president) said the following: “OEA is interested in making sure teachers' rights, salaries, and working conditions are protected – and I am darn glad they are there doing that. But improving education for kids is not their agenda and a lot of the public doesn't get it.” The point is that saying what will get you the OEA endorsement doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the best candidate for “education” in Oregon (this is what, I believe, the OEA delegate I’m referencing was trying to say at the convention). Obviously, that doesn’t mean that the OEA or AFT members don’t “get” education… it means that they are going to endorse the candidate that is more aligned with the union’s interests (as of course they should). Which sometimes, but not always, aligns with what’s best for students or what represents effective education policy.

    Anyways, the only purpose of this column was to try to impart a sense of what the day was like at the OEA convention. I, personally, went into the day with a slight bias against Kitzhaber. I have a basic philosophical opposition to someone coming back into an office after having served their time (I’m generally pro term-limits), so was interested to hear what Bradbury had to say. But… I was definitely swayed more by Kitzhaber’s speech, by his ideas/thoughts on education (e.g., more money is good, but it’s not enough), and by the fact that he seems to be open to what academic research and education experts have to say about what changes/reforms are needed. That doesn’t mean I’m going to vote for Kitzhaber – I’m not going to make my decision solely based on what the candidates have to say about education. Neither candidate’s volunteers at the convention had any literature detailing their full platform and the websites are a little light at this point. I doubt I’ll make a final decision until I see them debate. But, on that day, Kitzhaber won out for me, even if Bradbury nabbed the endorsement.

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)
    (Show?)

    " A commenter on a post a couple of months ago (a former union president) said the following: “OEA is interested in making sure teachers' rights, salaries, and working conditions are protected – and I am darn glad they are there doing that. But improving education for kids is not their agenda and a lot of the public doesn't get it.”

    So Julie, teacher's salaries, rights, and working conditions don't have anything to do w/ the quality of education?

    To say that improving education isn't on the OEA "agenda" I think is inaccurate and unfair.

    Who is your candidate?

  • Reality Checker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Why does this quote leap to mind? "Those who can - do, those who can't - teach."

    We don't have any good choices this election season, nationally or at the state level. But we do have a lot of bad choices and the OEA has demonstrated exactly that.

    Unfortunately, from pre-school through grad school, "education" has become the refuge of a lot of people with marginal abilities, but who definitely have control issues.

    Not unlike the political arena, if one just takes a long honest look at the sordid freak show that Salem and DC have become.

  • Reality Checker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Neither candidate’s volunteers at the convention had any literature detailing their full platform and the websites are a little light at this point.

    Haven't been paying attention to politics the last few cycles, have we? This has become the norm and politics has become all about the cult of personality. Best way to get attacked by the supposed "reality-based" cultists is to call out their darlings for lack of moral and intellectual substance in campaign appearances, on their political websites, in their campaign literature and in their glad-handing media appearances.

    Politics in Oregon and DC has become all about the cult of the personality in this time when we see more communication does not actually lead to more enlightment.

  • Megatron (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Julie, name one organization that has done more to protect education in this state than OEA. Go for it, we'll wait while you come up with some phony stories about the chalkboard project or something...

    OEA has spent millions fighting people like Bill Sizemore and Russ Walker and their efforts to gut education spending. Kitzhaber's "platform" is meaningless unless our schools actually get close to the money they need. It seems pretty obvious from this piece that kitz is going to run a campaign about "standing up to the union," a major slap in the face to the men and women who've dedicated their lives to teaching our kids. No wonder they endorsed Bradbury.

  • (Show?)

    I thought the piece was right on. Bradbury does indeed have passion and enthusiasm-bless him for it. But if OEA, AFT and OSEA truly think the only aspect that needs addressed in public education is funding, then they are either in denial or woefully tone deaf.

    Teachers do incredible work under stressful, inadequate conditions in many schools across this state. There are many, many wonderful schools and teachers. But its not working for enough of Oregon's kids to continue in a one size fits all model.

    Just as the GOP is the party of "No", the OEA is beginning to sound like the labor group of "No". No to new ideas. No to creative solutions. No to partnerships that are outside the issue of funding. It doesn't mesh with what I hear from many neighbors and friends who teach in schools. That they don't appear to get it, is distressing.

  • (Show?)

    Joshua - I'd tend to agree that OEA has done a great deal to keep K-12 education funded, but Julie is absolutely correct when she points out that any organization's first obligation is to its own members.

    Frankly, I am disappointed by the reports I've heard about some of the underhanded tactics that Bradbury's campaign took part in during the OEA convention, and I don't like seeing any candidate promise something -- an additional $2 billion in education funding, for example -- that anyone who has followed the state's budget knows he won't be able to deliver on.

  • (Show?)

    Julie, were they over 80,000 voting delegates at the convention so that each delegate got one vote? Or was some other voting system used? If so, what?

  • Elizabeth (unverified)
    (Show?)

    OEA failed to endorse Ben Cannon over the weekend, thus rendering itself insignificant.

  • richard (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Oh well golly, the OEA protects education?

    Is that what they do, Megatron?

    Not hardly. It's the OEA who kills every attempt at genuine reform and progress including Chalkboard.

    Instead of improving education they spend their millions stacking the deck at every level with politicians who protect the union's interests. Interests which chronically are at odds with student interests.

    Preserving the status quo OEA death grip on public education is the only union objective.

    Playing that off as defending our school against bogeymen is sleazy politics in action.

    The OEA parasite has infected the ODE, COSA, OSBA and every school board.

    While Kitz would never be "standing up to the union," Bradbury was perceived as being slightly more energetic in advocating the most money for education without any regard for how it's spent, authentic reform or progress in general.

    THAT is the perfect fit for the UNION.

    Teachers on the other hand are far more concerned about education than their political union hierarchy.

    Pick your issue and the OEA is on the side of poor performance. From ESL to lousy math programs there's no detriment the union won't sustain if it means they benefit somehow.

    Even if it's merely protecting their puppet politicians from embarrassment for having perpetrated failed programs the union will obstruct reform.

    The union heriarchy itself ,with their millions from teacher paychecks, has long been a left wing democrat machine used to support other arenas, far from education, in the liberal agenda.

    Today's Democrats would have little chance of winning elections without the support from teacher unions and the other public employee unions.

    The collective extremes of policy making we get from the union politicans undermines far more than just education.

    We get the full monty of progressive lunacy.

  • Bob Baldwin (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Sal Peralta Frankly, I am disappointed by the reports I've heard about some of the underhanded tactics that Bradbury's campaign took part in during the OEA convention,

    Specifics, please.

    and I don't like seeing any candidate promise something -- an additional $2 billion in education funding, for example -- that anyone who has followed the state's budget knows he won't be able to deliver on.

    So what, as Governor, does Kitz have to run on as a record? That's a key point here: Kitz has the advantage/disadvantage of a record in the office. His promises have to be measured against what he actually proposed (noting the R leg may have killed it) during his terms as Gov.

  • Bradbury won all three, and won big -- for good reasons (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Underhanded tactics? That's a vague, unsubstantiated charge. Kind of sounds like sour grapes.

    Maybe Bradbury gave a strong, sincere speech, and OEA members evaluated his record, and Kitzhaber's (with his track record of proposing weak budgets for education that the Republican legislature always had to increase), and made a sensible choice and endorsed Bradbury.

    And if you don't like seeing a candidate promise something they can't deliver on, what exactly do you think of Kitzhaber's revenue reform via a sales tax? Think a sales tax is going to happen? How many years do you want to waste re-learning that while schools remain underfunded?

    Educators heard a lot of talk about process from Kitzhaber, and reform of a model (the QEM) that was created by a commission actually appointed by Kitzhaber when he was governor, and they heard talk of a sales tax, long a non starter in Oregon politics. It appears they concluded that if Kitzhaber were elected governor, there'd be little actual action and a whole lot of talk.

    I think what the OSEA president stated in endorsing Bradbury is a pretty clear rejection of Kitzhaber's positions: ""It is clear to us that Bill Bradbury understands our schools and our students need support today - not sometime years in the future."

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Joshua - I'd tend to agree that OEA has done a great deal to keep K-12 education funded, but Julie is absolutely correct when she points out that any organization's first obligation is to its own members."

    What I'm saying Sal is that the OEA's membership obligations go hand in hand w/ the quality of education. The way Julie framed it, intentional or not, gives the perception that this is not the case. The fact is that the quality of teacher's benefits/salary etc. are directly connected to the quality of our teachers, which is of course directly connected to the quality of education.

  • Theresa (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Underhanded tactics might include things like Bradbury supporters wearing buttons that say "merit pay? no way!" suggesting Kitzhaber supports merit pay, which he does not. There were also Bradbury supporters telling people that Kitzhaber supports merit pay, despite the fact that he has said over and over again that he does not support merit pay.

  • OEA Observer (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "Kitzhaber’s speech came across as intellectual, thoughtful, and issues-focused."

    An "issues-based" speech is WORTHLESS if the candidate's record indicates that he has no intention of following up on those issues.

    I was also at OEA (for the vote). A friend of mine was one of the delegates who ended up supporting Bradbury.

    The thing that struck a lot of people about Kitzhaber's speech was his blatant ignorance of his own record. Yes, it was issues-focused... but the delegates knew he was BS'ing them because he kept on contradicting his OWN record.

    First he badmouthed standardized testing... without any regard given to the fact that he brought us CIM/CAM in the 90's.

    Then he talks about how he's kept money in the public K-12 system... without mentioning his support of non-certified charter schools.

    Then he talks about working with OEA to keep kids healthy (leveraging his health credentials!)... but everyone knew that he was a no-show on Measure 50.

    In fact, his entire appearance belies the fact that he's flat-out said before that collective bargaining is not a part of his education plan.

    Is it any wonder that he lost?

    yeah, he knows how to put together an intellectual speech. But the OEA is smart enough to see through his patter and ask, "Has he been walking the walk on this or is he just telling us what we want to hear?"

  • Julie Fahey (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Megatron – I just want to be clear that I don’t really think that Kitz is “standing up to the union” – e.g., he was against merit pay (but he didn’t rail against it quite so vehemently as Bradbury). I took away from his speech that it more that he was proposing some ideas which might seem a little “out there” to the audience (e.g., performance-based funding), but that he wanted to make that point that “reform” and “performance” don’t have to be bad words. I guess that could be construed as “standing up to the union”, but that’s certainly not how it came across in his speech, at least to me.

    I also want to be clear that it’s not like I think that the interests of OEA and “education” are diametrically opposed. There are certainly plenty of issues where the interests of the union line up with the interests of students (e.g., if there was higher pay profession-wide, presumably we’d be able to attract more and better teachers to the field). But, at the end of the day, as Sal said, the “OEA’s first obligation is to its own members” (as well it should be). So, for example, I would expect them to go to bat for a teacher that a school wants to let go for under-performance and to advocate for teacher tenure, even if those things might not be in the best interests of “education”. I would also expect that the union would evaluate an idea like performance-based funding primarily based on whether it will be a good thing for its members. I’m not judging OEA negatively for that – that is the whole point of a union (well, one of them anyways). Someone needs to advocate for the point of view of teachers in these discussions, and I'm glad the OEA is there to do it.

    Dave Porter – There were about 300-350 delegates at the convention, and approx. 85k votes total. My understanding is that each delegate got a certain number of votes for their local (I’m not 100% sure how the vote allocation is determined).

  • David (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Theresa, What do you think "performance-based funding" is, if it's not some form of merit pay? Schools are 80-85% people. That is, 85% of a school budget goes to pay and benefits for employees, they don't spend money on a lot of other things, supplies, books, facilities costs, etc. Are 15%, 20% at the highest. So, if you link funding for a school or school district to the performance of the students, then, by extension, funding for teacher and employee salaries are linked to performance or 'merit.' Either in the form of pay cuts v. pay raises, or in the form of staffing levels. Either way, that sounds an awful lot like merit pay or pay for performance.

  • Megatron (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Oh, so Kitzhaber is vehemently opposed to "merit pay" but wants to implement "performance-based funding." I get it now.

    Oh wait. No, I don't.

    Oregon's teachers are smart enough to see through the electioneering BS.

  • Theresa (unverified)
    (Show?)

    David, Teacher pay is based on a contract so it wouldn't go up or down.

  • David (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I am well aware of that. So, in the short term the only option is staffing levels (layoffs). In the long term, if school district funding is based on performance, then contract language will inevitably follow, or possibly be forced to follow if, in any "performance base funding" program were to include changes to collective bargaining law or specific language affecting teacher pay. However, conveniently, these specifics are left out of Kitzhaber's proposals. How would one implement "performance based funding" without affecting teacher and employee pay?

  • (Show?)

    What a great piece--thanks, Julie. I knew even as I was reading the post that it would elicit a raft of invective--and of course it did. Having represented the AAUP in bargaining last session, I was shocked to see the level of hate directed at unions. C'est la vie. The anti-union types are almost uniformly never going to be pursuaded that the activities of unions are anything but the work of the devil. So it's never worth spending a lot of time in deep discussion with them.

    But as to this business about Kitzhaber bias, I don't see it. I haven't decided on either candidate yet (though I'm leaning in Bill's direction), and this piece seemed perfectly balanced. I certainly couldn't predict who Julie's going to vote for based on it. It offers opinions throughout, which gives me a sense of what happens--and that's a good thing. Newspapers are required to report these events in such bland, non-controversial fashion that you have no idea what actually happened. That's not what we want to see here.

    Julie did a nice job.

  • (Show?)

    If we only published blogs that I, or the editors collectively, agreed with entirely - that would be a very boring blog.

    And one with very few posts!

  • cobber (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Delegates get one vote per $5 donated by their local. Anyone who donates $5 or more to the People for the Improvement of Education PAC can be a delegate, but each local has a chairperson who casts the actual vote. As a delegate at the convention, I heard all four governor candidates speak. Kitzhaber is not for merit pay, or at least I didn't get that. He believes that schools should be funded based on performance with more funding going to underperforming schools in order to get them where they need to be. Bradbury's campaign, in my opinion, was not underhanded, but they did pass out some literature that was not pre-approved attacking Kitzhaber's record. I believe one of the rules of the convention is that you support your own candidate without attacking the opponent. I may be wrong. While my delegation cast its votes for Kitzhaber, Bradbury is certainly a qualified candidate for governor and has proved time and again that he is a friend to education. OEA does care about its members' rights as has been stated time and again here, but do not discount them when it comes to what is in the best interest of students. The Chalkboard Project does not reflect what is accepted in education circles (outside of OEA)as best practice. OEA is concerned with best practice inside the classroom as well as being an advocate for employee rights. It is a truly democratic organization that is transparent not only for its members but for the public. I don't know too many organizations that can make that same claim.

  • Julie Fahey (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Megatron - I said that Bradbury was “vehemently” opposed to merit pay (i.e., he was extremely passionate in his denunciation of it). Kitzhaber was just "opposed". I don’t have all the details on what Kitz really means when he says “performance-based funding”. I actually thought what he said in the speech was that poorer performing schools should get more funding (which cobber in the comment above seems to think as well), but that’s not what people traditionally mean when they say performance-based funding, so I’m not completely sure. He did say that in order to get additional funding, schools would need to make the case for it (why you need it, what you’ll spend it on). I tracked down his education plan online afterwards, and it wasn’t totally clear about how he would see performance-based funding working (the intro does include a bunch of the points he made in his speech, if anyone's interested).

    Cobber – thanks for the info on how the vote allocation is determined (also on the anti-Kitz literature – I picked up that there was some controversy about that at the very end, but I didn’t know the whole story). I was thrilled to have the opportunity, as a member of the public, to get to see these guys in action at the convention. Not to sound too cheesy, but it really did feel like democracy in action. So, yeah, the transparency of OEA and their process, and the fact that it was open to the public really was admirable.

  • (Show?)

    Teachers are intelligent, thoughtful and informed on events taking place in the world, so it has disappointed me that they, as the OEA, did not support bills to develop more Mandarin programs or to pay for sending high school students to study abroad in the 2009 sessions. They will have opportunities to support such bills again in the 2011 session.

  • Steve Buel (unverified)
    (Show?)

    If Kitzhaber is swayed by educational research and reform ideas then he is not the education candidate for sure. Educational research is pretty much worthless (cant' get control groups or control the variables) and the reform movement has been very destructive of public education in general. Fool me once ... well, I was never fooled the first time.

  • Bruce Scherer (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The OEA Facebook page has video excerpts from Bradbury's speech that many comments here have referenced.

  • Rose Wilde (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Glad to see another Emerge Oregon poster creating some interesting conversation! Look me up in Eugene, Julie, I'm EO '09 alum.

    I can't say whether what is good for OEA is good for education, but I bet 80% of the time it is (at least). I am in SEIU (represents mostly public employees and publicly funded workers) and what is good for SEIU is mostly good for the State of Oregon and all its people, but even I know it isn't 100% of the time.

    What about for working people? No, I couldn't promise that either, but as a SEIU delegate to our own PAC, generally the good of working people is the frame of reference that I use in my political evaluation of candidates. But not 100% of the time. However, since most of us are low to moderate income, it generally works out that way.

    On another note, I've been reading some really awful, toxic crud in the comments portion of the Register Guard. Almost as bad as the negativity I've read above. An effective democracy has to be based on respect and willingness to question and accept challenges to your own point of view.

  • (Show?)

    Bradbury's been promising teachers $2 billion to fix everything, but that money does not exist. it's not in tax credits, it's not in efficiencies, it's nowhere. what was disappointing about the OEA's endorsement was not who they chose but why: the lack of reality in their decision bodes ill for the future when proposals are made to fix things that are wrong with our schools. we need a number of structural and academic changes, but if teachers think the problems boil down to money, progress is going to be hard to come by.

    it's always easier to believe in sugar daddies.

  • money does help, T.A..... (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The problems don't all boil down to money, but adequate funding sure would help. I see a principal and a staff of hard working, dedicated teachers at my child's elementary school doing their best -- they aren't the problem. They are highly professional and routinely engaged in seeking the best classroom eduational practices. I just don't see any crisis requiring that they be reformed. But, the fact is, they dealt with budget cuts (AGAIN) last year and three educational assistants were cut.

    I don't envy the principal's position. The choice was either to cut teachers (and increase the size of classes to an unacceptable level) or cut educational assistants (and reduce the amount of services provided to kids needing extra help to an unacceptable level). No matter how you spin it, some kids are getting less attention this year, and that sucks.

    We ask a lot of our public schools. Many of the students in need of extra help on "IEPs" (individual education plans) at my child's school were once in private schools, but got sent packing because the private school could not provide the services those students needed. With so many kids already behind at early grade levels -- some English language learners, some with developmental issues -- those educational assistants are sorely missed.

    If there's a better long term investment out there, I don't see it.

    The fact is, talking about more studies and commissions to revise the education model etc., as Kitzhaber would have us do, won't provide services to these kids now or next year. And I don't think talking about a sales tax, as Kitzhaber is doing, is in any way realistic, either.

    Not only is a sales tax a non-starter in Oregon, period, but if you dig back a little you might remember that back in the 1960s and 1970s, when sales taxes were mulled, the majority of Democrats opposed a sales tax as an unfair tax on the working class (i.e. a stock broker with a six figure income in Lake Oswego is going to pay the same amount of tax over the course of a year as a minimum wage store clerk in outer SE Portland when each of them buys toilet paper -- unless you think the stockbroker craps seven times more).

    Does anyone else see the absurdity here? A two term former governor, who couldn't work with the legislature and left office declaring Oregon was "ungovernable", wants us to believe he's going to fix our revenue system with a sales tax....when Oregonians have rejected a sales tax by enormous margins over and over and over (and over and over and over) again.

    And, just curious, is this an issue Democrats want to give Republicans for the November election -- a nominee talking sales tax?

    Maybe there's a lot more reality in the OEA's endorsement of Bradbury over Kitzhaber than T.A. would care to see.

  • Reality Checker (unverified)
    (Show?)

    First he badmouthed standardized testing... without any regard given to the fact that he brought us CIM/CAM in the 90's.

    Except that the OEA strongly supported it in 1991. And except that it actually was Vera Katz who conceived and sponsored the childish, inane CIM/CAM system as Speaker of the House.

    Like I said, there are no good choices this year. OEA Observer's less-than-accurate comment here, as an example of the arguments being made for an incompetent like Bradbury, is further proof of that.

  • (Show?)

    The problems don't all boil down to money, but adequate funding sure would help.

    Absolutely, positively, no doubt. The question is: where does the money come from?

    If there's an easy $2 billion to be had under the couch cushions, I'm all for it.

    But I don't think that's true, and it does no one any good to pretend that finding that much revenue will be easy. Serious, specific proposals (and a plan for achieving them) are the name of the game here.

    This sounds so much like the single-payer advocates two years ago. I'm all for single-payer, too, but if you can't find 15 votes in the Senate (much less 51 or 60), there's no point in pretending it's a serious proposal for the immediate future. Long-term? Sure. Now? No.

  • rdurig (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari quote "The question is: where does the money come from?" The bill in right now that require schools to be funded by March.

    If you want to put schools first.

    Then fund the schools first!.

    <h2>Let the other programs fight for the crumbs.</h2>
guest column

connect with blueoregon