OR-Sen: Ferrioli embarrasses himself (and the rest of us by association)

Carla Axtman


Oregon Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli doesn't cotton to foreigners offering legislative advice.

When Louise du Toit, a singer from South Africa living in Greece, wrote the John Day Republican asking him to oppose a bill sponsored by Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, that would remove wolves from Oregon's endangered species list, Ferrioli whipped out this reply:

"Are you kidding? Why do you expect that input from [European Union] residents make any difference at all to me? I'll be supporting Dr. Whitsett's bill (he is a VETERINARIAN). By the way, perhaps I should be writing to EU ministers to stop bailing out Greece. Clearly it has become a haven for morons.

So maybe Ferrioli just doesn't like folks from outside of Oregon meddling in our state policy. That must be it, right?


Apparently it's fine as long as the out-of-staters have the potential to drop a crap ton of money into his campaign coffers:

Opponents of a statewide ban on plastic checkout bags said Tuesday they will push for an alternative measure that would promote recycling and prohibit Oregon cities from banning plastic bags.

The plastics industry stepped up its efforts to defend its product as the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee listened to arguments about the proposal.

Plastic bags are popular with consumers and can be recycled into pipes, storage containers, flower pots and other products, said Mark Daniels, vice president of sustainability and environmental policy for a Hartsville, S.C.-based company that recycles plastic bags.


Other opponents of a ban said consumers should be able to make their own choices, and they said reusable bags are dangerous because they can collect bacteria from meat or the trunk of a car.

"We shouldn't necessarily be arguing about the benefits of paper vs. plastic," said Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day. "We should be arguing about how do we keep Oregon's food supply safe."

So besides Ferrioli floating the ridiculous argument that reusable bags are bad for the food supply (seriously?), he has no problem being on the same side as a guy from the South Carolina based plastics industry.

In other words, Ferrioli is more than willing to listen to you if there's a buck to be made. Otherwise, you're just a do-gooder moron.

There are a number of state senators on the GOP side of the aisle who I disagree with on policy but I know they're respectful and reasonable enough not to act like Ferrioli has. He's a petulant embarrassment not just for the GOP, but for our state.

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    It warms my heart and just makes me darned proud to know Oregon is represented by such wise, charming, thoughtful statesmen as Ted Ferrioli.

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    Outlandish and highly publicized comments from elected officials do real harm to a state's image. I'm from Maine, and all of the good work done by Margaret Chase Smith, Ed Muskie and others has recently been overshadowed by racist, tasteless comments by a newly elected, Tea Party-backed governor.

    I can see the impact on the faces of people when I say I'm from Maine. Nowadays I get more frowns since the new gov has been making national headlines for the stupid things he says.

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    While I think he could have expressed himself better. I don't think we need input from outside countries especially when it comes to wildlife management. We invented the current methods that the world attempts to model, and overall it works.

    We don't need foreign citizens telling us how to manage our country just like I don't think we need to try and force foreign countries to bow to our will.

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      I don't have any problem necessarily with Ferrioli not wanting to have input from someone outside of Oregon on issues of policy. But he was a total jackass about it. And why is it okay to accept input from the South Carolina plastics industry but not this? It's ridiculous.

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      you presume that national borders matter when it comes to the natural world. those who live in a place do not own the lands, the water or the creatures therein. they temporarily lease the right to habitate that area and use, responsibly, the resources found there.

      our stewardship of the lands we live in is not only for the future, as many are fond of saying without actually meaning it, but for the rest of the world. why should a few ranchers in Eastern Oregon have the primary say in the wolves' fate? because they want to grow some cows out there? there is no economic right that trumps the health of the natural world. and there is no right that gives any person absolute power over the natural world.

      if it takes an "outsider" to remind an arrogant lawmaker of that fact, so be it. if a woman in Greece cares enough to communicate with an Oregon state Senator about this, she should be welcomed to the conversation. her perspective counts as much as those of Ferrioli's constituents. this isn't about taxes or local regulations; this is about how Oregon cares for a resource it does not own but stewards on behalf of the entire planet.

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        "her perspective counts as much as those of Ferrioli's constituents"

        Well, not actually in any practical way. She doesn't have a vote here, so her opinion is exactly as important as the opinion of any of several billion humans on the planet that don't live in Oregn I guess.

        This is about an ongoing battle to reintroduce a species that was hunted to extinction a century back. Just like the barred own/spotted owl argument is about the culling of a successful niche replacement species.

        None of it's pure play about "nature" however defined.

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        There are over 100,000 wolves in North America, their world population is not at risk of extinction from a few being removed in E. Oregon.

        A "few ranchers" in E. Oregon do not have the fate of wolves in their hands. This issue has been in court continually over the last 4 years. The "environmental" organizations that worked to re-introduce the wolf into the lower 48 states agreed to a set of guidelines and then have decided that the population must now be close to 3,000 per state, and include virtually ALL of the lower 48. The original agreement was 250 per state in 5 states. They have lied and continue to use "move the goal line" politics. I can't blame rural ranchers and residents for being fed up.

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    This issue goes deeper than just a Greek woman or Ferrioli. The problem is with policies regarding wildlife in Oregon.

    While I'm not against the reintroduction of the wolves, it's clearly obvious that state agencies and environmental groups often push agendas without including the local communities and people most affected. (I'm certainly not suggesting this happens all the time, but it's happened enough.)

    A specific example: Here in Prineville, steelhead were reintroduced into the Crooked River. The city, county, irrigators, farmers, ranches, etc., were never included in the conversation, and it was a situation of move forward, ask for forgiveness later.

    This has caused a lot of angst for our local community, and forced the city to sign onto a study that cost them thousands of dollars at time when the city didn't have the money to spend. Of course, if they didn't, they were facing the possibility of a lawsuit if anything happened to the fish. That's because the city discharges level 2 treated wastewater into the Crooked River, with the blessing of DEQ. The water is clean, but does have the potential to change temperatures a bit. While it's not enough to impact the natural habitit of the river, it can affect the fry - which the city could be liable for.

    Prineville also sits in the Crooked River Basin, which doesn't have the groundwater capacity as the Deschutes River Basin. The City of Prineville would like to reallocate water from Bowman Dam (60,000 acre feet is unallocated), and transfer those water rights (about 5,000 acre feet) to municpal use so the city can meet state requirements for buildout of its UGB.

    Again, the steelhead have complicated matters because environmental groups are worried about stream flows and adequate water for fish. (Because the water is reallocated, and transfered as water rights, stream flows don't change.)

    Thankfully, Wyden, Merkley, and Walden are all supporting efforts to solve this problem.

    I've always been sensitive to environmental policy, and being a good steward of our lands. But this, and the wolf problem, are prime examples of the state pushing environmental policies without fair and appropriate representation and feedback from those most affected.

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      Respectfully, I feel like you're missing the point here Jason.

      It's absolutely reasonable for Ferrioli to disagree with this woman on policy. Your points about local input are also valid and important--but they're also missing the point.

      Ferrioli's conduct here is the issue. Not only is it hypocritical, it's utterly childish. He's in a key leadership position in our state--and he's acting like a petulant fourth grade bully.

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        Then it should also be fair for you, Carla, to point out to T.A that he's missing the point.

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          I could have pointed it out when you were off-topic too Dominic, but I didn't. I'm not interested in policing the thread per se. Jason is making some important points that I think are valid and should be noted as such. I'd also like to hear his thoughts on the actual topic this post covers.

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            If as the author of the article you're going to make it a matter to point out someone as "missing the point"/"off topic". Even when the discussion is of a topic involved in the issue. It should be done to those that attempt to agree or disagree with you. Sorry, but that seems no different then the double standards you pointed out about Ferrioli.

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              I didn't see you making valid points, even while they were off-topic. So I didn't feel the need to address them. I agree with T.A. to an extent--but I don't see the need to police the thread, as I stated.

              Jason made what I think are relevant points that should be acknowledged. That's what I commented the way that I did.

              If you find that hypocritical..then so be it. I find it bizarre that you'd even go there.

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            Since I was off topic...

            I'm in complete agreement with you about how Feriolli handled himself. It was highly inappropriate.

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        I agree with you, Carla. Your post made me think of these other issues - which was probably a bit off topic.

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    By the way, please don't misconstrue my comments to be anti-government or anti-environment. That's not it at all.

    I have a lot of respect for the work our state agencies and environmental groups do - and many of them are good and fair people.

    I just think there needs to be a better balance between the needs of people and the environment - with better collaboration. We all win when this happens.

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      Nor, I. I enjoy the "majestic" image of the Wolf. The problem is too many organizations feel the Wolf should be at any cost.

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      So you think we have been protecting the environment, conserving natural resources etc., just too damn much? Hmm? If so, you are demonstrating a stunningly disconnected understanding of the environmental destruction that has been taking place.

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        Just a reminder...there's no use in baiting me or asking questions. I was serious when I said I'm done responding to anything you have to say.

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    This is at least partly about a deep lack of curiosity about the rest of the world that is almost virtue for many conservatives. What could they possibly have to learn fro someone outside the U.S.?

    How many conservative "morons" who know almost nothing about the rest of the rest of the world will insist that the U.S. is the most awesome country in existence? GWB's ultra thin passport comes to mind.

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    I watched the entire hearing from my home in Medford and noticed that the Senator was there representing himself as a member of a national tea party group. He and the plastic companies have one argument, that people will die from recycling paper and cloth bags. When asked how many persons had died from using paper and cloth bags, no one could site an incident. Senator Dingfelder conducted one of best hearings I've observed in a long time. She also invited persons who had come farthest from Salem to testify first.

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    Regarding conservatives embarrassing us. While Ferrioli certainly is an embarrassment to Oregon, American conservatives are a world-wide embarrassment to the nation. People look at the U.S. and see that the most popular conservatives are people like the Moron Queen Sara Palin and see us electing "morons" like GWB 2X.

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    What's next? Conservative calls to outlaw canvas/reusable bags?

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    On a side note, regarding NOT embarrassing Oregon. Portland was ranked first in public transportation by U.S. News. Congratulations people!

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      Yeah. We placed two slots ahead of New York City and five ahead of San Francisco. Riiight...

      Tri-Met's pretty good, but if you believe we've got the best public transit in the entire country, I've got a 12-lane bridge over the Columbia for sale, real cheap ...

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    I don't see how PDX can be ranked above SF on public trans as SF is built-up claustrophic small space and PDX, even to this day, has less density than does Los Angeles. Which translates into residents of PDX taking a lot more trips by car than do residents of SF, I'd bet. Especially in the outlying areas of PDX- east of Gateway, for example. The car traffic out here is overwhelming. Sure doesn't look like America's #1 public trans city, out here!

    My times in SF I don't recall any areas of that city with overwhelming surface street traffic (except maybe Van Ness Ave) and public trans in all areas being used to the maximum.

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    The Good Senator started his harangue by noting that he was not a member of some global village. Judging from the wheat fields and barges going down the Columbia, I suspect that more than a few dollars flow into his district from exports to Asia. He might want to reconsider whether he's in a global village or not. (I tried and could not find any export data by county for Oregon. :-(

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