Wayne's World 2: Retribution Runs Rampant

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

By now, you've probably seen or heard the news that GOP majority leader Wayne Scott is demanding (!) an audit of waste, fraud, and abuse in the state police budget. Sure, audits are good – the police superintendent is welcoming one – but let’s be clear about what is going on here.

The short version: Wayne Scott, as budget chair, cut 20 sworn officers from the state police. The head of the state police criticized him publicly for doing so. Since Republicans like to be the "law and order" party, well, Wayne didn't take so kindly to that. So, now Wayne Scott is pounding the table about waste in the state police budget – to distract from one basic fact:

The House GOP cut the state police budget, eliminating 20 sworn officers.

It's just another example of Wayne's World. A world in which political retribution is more important than good policy. A world in which disagreeing with Big Wayne gets you popped in the jaw. It's just like what he did to Representative Arnie Roblan this spring - pure political payback.

The backstory that you won't hear on the local news:

Rep. Wayne Scott has been traveling around the state speaking to chambers of commerce and rotary clubs, and in the course of those talks he has had to defend his leadership’s controversial budget committee actions. Let’s remember that not only was Scott the majority leader, but he also was a central player in budget negotiations with the Senate and chaired the House budget committee.

Lately, it seems that everywhere he travels, Wayne has had to answer criticism for passing a Oregon State Police budget that reduced the number of state troopers—20 to be exact.

But he doesn't take that criticism well. You see, in Wayne's World, the House passed a budget that actually puts more troopers on the road. Not only is Wayne wrong, but it is a flat-out lie.

According to the Budget Report for HB 5167 (the OSP budget), Package 813 eliminated 20 troopers, or in official bureaucratese:

“This package was added [in Scott’s committee] to eliminate 20 sworn troopers, 20.00 full-time equivalent positions…to partially fill budget shortfalls in Service and Supplies in Patrol and other divisions.”

And if the Budget Report isn’t enough evidence, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Office’s “Budget Highlights 2005-07 Legislatively Adopted Budget,” reads, “In addition, the Legislature took several other General Fund budgetary actions. Twenty patrol positions were eliminated.” The summary goes on to explain that the agency was requested by Scott’s committee to “evaluate positions across the OSP to see if staff may be transferred to restore these lost positions.”

And here is where the real dispute emerges. Scott’s committee did pass a budget note asking Leg Fiscal to study whether or not patrol responsibilities could be shifted from the OSP to the county sheriffs (because as we all know, county governments are awash in revenue).

Wayne Scott is angry with the State Police for two reasons.

First, State Police Superintendent Ron Ruecker refused to act like a good soldier and play along with Wayne's idea that 20 positions weren’t really cut. Quoth the Statesman Journal ("Budget funds fewer patrol troopers"):

“But the loss of 20 officers, distributed around the state, is a big problem, the biggest one being the inability of officers to back up one another.”

Second, Ruecker and growing number of public safety advocates have publicly scoffed at the notion of shifting patrol responsibilities to county sheriff departments.

Dan Withers, a retired school administrator from Roseburg and the father of two Oregon State troopers, wrote a column in the Eugene Register Guard:

“When we look carefully at the absurd idea of handing the state police’s patrol responsibilities to county sheriffs, we see that it is completely unworkable and dangerous.”

So, back to Wayne's World:

Ron Ruecker is getting the same treatment that Rep. Arnie Roblan received when he refused to head Scott’s demand to pull back an embarrassing minority report on K-12 funding.

Wayne Scott is leading a personal attack on Ruecker’s reputation, claiming that the Superintendent has logged excessive travel to out-of-state conferences and has mismanaged the agency. And now the trend emerges…

If you don’t go along with Scott, even when the lives of Oregonians and troopers are at risk, you risk having your livelihood and reputation destroyed. Who needs Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney when you have Wayne Scott?

Luckily, like all schoolyard bullies, if you stand up to them they back down. Just like when Scott relented to angry letters and phone calls and allowed the North Bend airport expansion to be funded, citizens should contact his office and let his staff know that we won’t stand silent as he ruins reputations for political payback.

You can reach Rep. Scott at 503-986-1400. Or email him at [email protected]

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    One of my favorite parts of Michael Moore's award-winning documentary Farenheit 9/11, showed two lonely OSP cops patrolling an entire county late one night. Fact is Oregon has the smallest number of state police in America -- less than one officer per 1,000 people. New York state has 50% more officers, for example.

    So, if scientists can split an atom, I'm sure BIG WAYNE can find some waste in one of the smallest state police budgets in American history.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    One of my favorite parts of Michael Moore's award-winning documentary Farenheit 9/11, showed two lonely OSP cops patrolling an entire county late one night. Fact is Oregon has the smallest number of state police in America -- less than one officer per 1,000 people. New York state has 50% more officers, for example.

    So, if scientists can split an atom, I'm sure BIG WAYNE can find some waste in one of the smallest state police budgets in American history.

  • Jon (unverified)

    wow, hell hath frozen over....

    a subject with Kari on the same side as Lars Larson...

  • (Show?)

    Jon, since I don't listen to Lars, could you enlighten me? Is he coming out against the bad-boy behavior of Wayne Scott?

  • Jon (unverified)

    He was coming out against the lashing at Ruecker. And the story was brought to Larson as being initiated by complaints from "disgruntled employees." I beleive that idea came from a caller.

    Larson's premise was that Ruecker is being audited because he was allocated a certain number of administrative positions, but he didnt use the positions as were approved by the Legislature.

    Basically Larson said that the Legislature should get off Ruecker's case because he is doing what he can with the money allocated to him.

    I havent heard him mention Scott specifically, just "the Legislature".

    Just for kicks, I sent Larson a link to this article...

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    As one who likes to keep the little red needle on my speedometer well to the right of the "80" when making frequent trips back and forth on I-84 between Portland and Umatilla, I have mixed feelings about this whole thing. How about we replace the officers that were cut, but increase the speed limit on I-84 to 75 while we are doing it?

    Just a thought.

  • Robert Harris (unverified)

    Wayne Scott = Tom DeLay

  • Winston Wolfe (unverified)

    Scott more slimily!

  • (Show?)

    to clarify the f911 reference, I believe it was ONE OSP, traveling the entire length of Oregon's coastline...part time.

  • Maroon Oregon Lurker (unverified)

    The F911 report on the Oregon coast was misleading. Though the coast was underpatrolled for my liking the local communities had law enforcement. It was the areas between towns (mainly the parks) that didn't have officers. 911 would have contacted law enforcement in the area.

    It was a grim scenerio, not as grim as Michael Moore portrayed.

    Also - wasn't that the part of the state that Al Gore got popped for speeding by a state trooper within a year of F911 coming out. A real coinkydink don't you think. I found it funny, only two troopers on the entire 350 mile coast and Al Gore speeds past one.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Scott narrowly beat Martha Schrader in a district which includes very Democratic Oregon City. Although I am happy to see the effort going into defeating Karen Minnis, defeating Scott is just as important and maybe easier to do, if the resources are committed. Doug Neeley got very little help last time.

  • Little Red (unverified)

    Well-done Kari and very enlightening. Another enlightening piece of this story the public and media is unaware of is why Andy Olson a former member of the Oregon State Police would make these allegations and also request an audit of the budget? Coincidence? Concern for the department? I think NOT.

    Only a few weeks ago the Oregon State Police Budget Director was relieved of duties due to incompetence, failure to attend budget meetings and carrying on an alleged affair with a member of his staff.

    Now add this piece to the picture. Remember when the legislature failed to pass the Oregon State Police budget resulting in pink slips for many of the members of the Oregon State Police. A very troubling time when one would expect understanding and compassion from all of the leaders of the organization, especially from the direct supervisors of the members and families affected. Rather than offer support former Lt. Andy Olson chose to attend a Rotary Meeting during work hours because he disagreed with what was happening. Pink slips were delivered to his own officers by a District Supervisor.

    Many employees would be terminated for such a callous act of insubordination. Andy Olson was not terminated nor was he demoted however, he did receive a lateral transfer to another office for 6 months. Returned to his position in Albany and retired shortly thereafter. Apparently he still hasn’t gotten over getting caught in the act of being himself and is now using his elected “power” to seek revenge.

    Finally, who would know better than Andy Olson in regards to department policy and the misuse of taxpayer dollars? Contrary to department policy former Lt. Andy Olson spent over a year commuting to the McMinnville Patrol office each day in a State owned vehicle.

    By connecting the dots a bigger picture emerges and not a very pretty one for Andy Olson.

  • Josh (unverified)

    Actually Al Gore got nailed by a trooper on Highway 26 on the Sunset Highway in Clatrsop County and he was very polite, driving by himself and paid the ticket without fanafre. The War on OSP is disgraceful. We have barely 300 troopers when we had more than 700 on the road 25 years ago. We need more state police on the road, as detectives, and in the crime labe, and YES the legislature has been pretty awful to the State Police (but not Sen. Betsy Johnson!)

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