Fallout for Ferrioli: from the hometown paper

Carla Axtman

Senator Ted Ferrioli's (R-John Day) embarrassingly stupid (and hypocritical) ranting email has raised the hackles of many Oregonians. In large part, I expect Ferrioli was writing off the criticism because like the recipient of the email that was the catalyst, he considered the naysayers just a bunch of do-gooders who had no say over his reelection.

Until now.

Scotta Callister-Editor, Blue Mountain Eagle-John Day

E-mail casts poor light on county

A heated e-mail from Sen. Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) to a wolf advocate in Greece last week sparked howls of protest and eventually elicited an apology from the senator to people of Greek descent, wherever they reside.

It also made it pretty clear that this county should never appoint Ferrioli to be its Minister of Tourism.

The uproar began after the senator got an e-mail from a woman in Greece, urging him to oppose an Oregon Senate bill that would remove wolves from the state’s endangered species list. Ferrioli shot back that he supports the bill, but added that “perhaps I should be writing to EU ministers to stop bailing out Greece. Clearly, it has become a haven for morons. Go away!”

In these parts, some folks might empathize with Ferrioli for his concerns about yet another outsider trying to dictate how we ought to live, work and play. And clearly, wolves are a hot-button topic here, where ranchers rightfully worry about their livelihoods and even their safety with the reintroduction of these predators.

But this fuss really isn’t about wolves. It’s about civil discourse. Labeling an entire nation “morons” wasn’t the senator’s finest moment. It seemed particularly bombastic given some of the recent history of his home county. County residents earned broad respect last year when they rebuffed a neo-Nazi hate group, dashing the redneck stereotype that this kind of name-calling perpetuates. And who can forget the Idaho Power guys who partied in a local bar last year, and questioned – in loud, rude terms – the intelligence of Grant County residents? Their comments didn’t sit too well with local residents then; now one of our top elected officials takes just such a swipe at an entire nation in an e-mail.

Callister puts Ferrioli's actions into incredibly important context. Residents in this part of Oregon rightly bristle when they're referred to in unflattering terms or stereotypes. In one careless, stupid and unnecessary action, Ferrioli takes aim at undoing all the work that's been done for the hard-earned good reputation of this part of Oregon.

Callister goes on to say that rather than berating the woman in email, Ferrioli ought to have invited her to their extraordinarily beautiful part of our state and let her see firsthand the struggles of those whose livelihood is potentially damaged by wolves. While they may have in the end had to agree to disagree, at least he could have shown off the region and highlighted its many positives.

When the hometown folks are taking a stand against the actions of their long time state senator, that's a hard smack.

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    If a politician is a jerk and can't get along with people (or just doesn't feel like it), then every enemy they make is a liability to the interests of their constituency.

    How do you even get elected if you aren't nice to people?

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    Good to read that people in Greece are aware of the state of our state's wolves.

    How many wolves are there in Oregon? I've read that the total number is 14. And, a total population of 14 is not endangered, under any definition?

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    Ferrioli used to be my senator, I'm sorry to say.

    The mistake Carla and those leaving comments seem to make is they think Sen. Ferrioli actually cares about what happens to his constituents or how they are perceived by the rest of the state. The only constitutent Ferrioli cares about is his former employer, Malheur Lumber. You want to see just how much Ferrioli cares about his disproportionately impoverished constituents, just look at his voting record.

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    I don't know that Scotta Callister counts as a "hometown folk". She only recently moved to Grant County, before that she was the editor/publisher of the Keizer Times, and not a very good one at that. If I was Ferrioli, I wouldn't concern myself about the opinion of Callister, she's probably about as in touch with the people of Grant County as I am.

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    What's all the fuss about an "outsider" telling us how to live, work or play? Loren Parks does it all the time. And the SCOTUS blessed it with their decision in Citizens United.

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    Hello? We are the United States. We stick our nose into other countries' business all the time and tell them how to live, work, play.

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