Ka-Boom! More "culture of corruption" from Wayne Scott...

This week's Willamette Week includes an extra-special Rogue of the Week - House majority leader Wayne Scott (R-Canby). It appears that Scott managed to get a law passed that included a nifty little provision that gives his fireworks business a leg up against all of its competitors:

In the 2003 Legislature, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 667-A, a seemingly innocuous bill dealing with nonagricultural operations on land zoned for exclusive farm use.

The bill included an amendment from Scott that lets his aerial fireworks company... operate regularly on farmland instead of needing to get temporary-use permits each year from local authorities....

But the bill applied only to aerial fireworks companies in continuous operation on land zoned for exclusive farm use since Dec. 31, 1986. And Western was the only business that met that standard...

Is it unfair to their competitors? You bet:

Dan Tanner, owner of Tannerite Fireworks, which has operated since 1992 in Lane County, says his business and other fireworks operations should also be able to operate regularly on farmland, instead of needing to get temporary permits each year... Meanwhile, as July 4 nears, Tanner remains as bitter about SB667-A as he was three years ago.

"Anybody that reads it can see it's crooked and rotten to the core," Tanner says.

Meanwhile, Scott's spokesman is living in a fantasy world:

Nick Smith, a spokesman for the House Majority Leader office, says ... "Rep. Scott has never used his public office to promote his business or potentially disadvantage his competitors."

What can Blue Oregonians do to end the culture of corruption in Salem?

For starters, consider supporting Mike Caudle - the Democrat running against Wayne Scott. Visit Mike Caudle's website and read his blog for his pledge to the residents of District 39.


  • anon (unverified)

    In today's edition, Willamette Week got suckered into exposing early, an agenda to embarass Rep. Wayne Scott.

    Willy-Week has got the wrong man for "Rogue of the Week".

    To wit --- some facts:

    SB 667 was introduced by Sen. Kurt Schrader (D-Canby)..... lobbyist John DiLorenzo was responsible for passing it through the Legislature and having it signed by the Governor.

    SB 667 was Sen. Schrader's 2003 take-home bill for his district. Sen. Schrader and Rep. Scott are not political allies, considering Rep. Scott defeated Schrader's wife, Martha Schrader, to earn a seat in the House of Representatives.

    Western Fireworks Co. split into two distinct entities in 1984, when a separate company spun-off to become Western Display Fireworks Ltd, an aerial display fireworks business. They sell the fireworks you see at big shows.

    The companies retail operations, which sold and distributed fireworks for sale at roadside stands, continued to operate until 1994. Wayne Scott and a business partner acquired the original retail business, which became Western Fireworks, Inc.

    There is no financial relationship between Western Display Fireworks Ltd and Western Fireworks Inc.

    In 1985, Western Display Fireworks Ltd moved to a new location on property zoned exclusive farm use and received a temporary permit from Clackamas County to operate and store fireworks.

    Clackamas County received a complaint that the facility was not a conforming use in an EFU zone, and was unable to authorize the use. SB 667 provided WDF a conditional use on lands zoned exclusive farm use.

    SB 667 represented an effort to keep jobs in Canby.

    Rep. Scott supported SB 667 because it helped the local economy of his district. The passage of SB 667 did not financially benefit Rep. Scott in any way.

    Some in the Legislature wanted to re-write the bill so that it applied to other fireworks businesses. 1,000 Friends of Oregon defeated this effort.

    If anything, SB 667 demonstrates the need for the Legislature to examine how Oregon's land-use system affects our economy and job growth.

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    The passage of SB 667 did not financially benefit Rep. Scott in any way.

    OK, so why did Rep. Scott declare a conflict of interest before the vote?

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    Another thought...

    lobbyist John DiLorenzo was responsible for passing it through the Legislature

    That's crap. Lobbyists push bills - but it's elected officials that actually vote them through. That is, unless the electeds are just doing the bidding of the lobbyists without applying any independent thought to the issue at hand.

    Which might be exactly what's happening in Wayne's World.

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    If you want Democrats (you know, like Jean Cowan) to win seats everywhere, stick it to Wayne Scott and make him answer for his own indiscretions. As Majority Leader, Scott essentially runs campaigns for their whole rubber-stamp caucus. Every day that he has to spend explaining his own troubling record is a day that Wayne Scott won't be raising money for Alan Brown or Billy Dalto or Al Pearn. It's a day he won't spend writing nasty, silly op-eds in local newspapers--as he's already done here in District 10--either, or helping Elaine Franklin forget that she used to work for candidates who weren't anti-choice.

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    We covered this at LO yesterday, and initially we came to exactly the same conclusion as you and the WWeek: scandalous personal enhancement. After confirming that Scott was indeed the president of WF, Inc., I covered the story.

    The above rebuttal is copied verbatim from the RINO WATCH site, although I think it was written or fed to them by somebody else--perhaps Ms. Visser, an owner of WF and indignant commenter in the online version of the WWeek story. In any case, the first part of what is said appears to check out: Scott is president of Western Fireworks, Inc., but the company being referred to in the bill is Western Display Fireworks. The latter is an "aerial display" company; the former pushes individual fireworks wholesale. The bill specifically references aerial companies.

    I don't know about a financial relationship between Scott and WDF, and his C&Es are clean from contributions from either company (although they could have contributed through a PAC). But WF does call WDF its "sister company," so obviously they're still close. I'd be shocked if WDF didn't buy from WF for their displays, but I have no idea.

    WWeek claimed it was the company Scott was President of; it's not. And the financial enrichment Scott was accused of is no longer sure at all. I really think they need to update that piece at this point.

    All that said, it's a deliberate attempt to enrich a company he is clearly quite close to, exclusively and permanently. Maybe it just should have been the regular sidebar column length. :)

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    Oh, sorry--I did find one new extension of the story; in 2002 WDF was cited by state DEQ for improper storage of fireworks. A year later, they were getting special status to store more.

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    I didn't make it clear above, but one item that wasn't in the Willamette Week story is that Wayne Scott declared a conflict of interest on the bill.

    05/14 (H) Potential conflict(s) of interest declared by Scott.

    The idiotic state legislative website doesn't let you link directly to measure histories for specific bills but just search for 2003's SB 667 on this form.

  • anon (unverified)


    Are you really that naive about the legislative process that you assume everyone who declares a POTENTIAL conflict interest must have an ACTUAL conflict of interest? Smart legislators -- Republicans and Democrats -- (and, yes, Scott is smart even if you don't agree with him) often declare POTENTIAL conflicts. Democrat Senator Verger declares a POTENTIAL conflict on any bill related to car dealers, Democrat Senator Schrader declares a POTENTIAL conflict on bills that impact veterinary science...

    Speaking of the good Dr. Schrader, DVM, I note you didn't mention (nor dispute) the main point of my earlier post which is the fact that it was a SENATE BILL INTRODUCED SOLEY BY SCHRADER, not a House Bill, and it was Scott's nemesis, SCHRADER, who was the actual Godfather for the bill's passage?

    Cat got your tongue? Or is it that the TRUTH has your tongue? Better to stay quiet and sully the reputation of someone you dislike rather than acknowledge the smear "investigation" by WW missed the mark? Guilt by association and insinuation: A core liberal value.

    So just so I get your and WW's story straight: Rep. Scott was so powerful and persuasive (as a freshman legislator) he found a way to convince Sen. Scrader to introduce and solely sponsor a bill and shepherd it through the process even though it benefited only one person -- the person who bested his wife in a race for the Oregon House?

    And, Schrader is so mesmerized by Scott that SCHRADER EVEN CARRIED THE BILL ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE where it received ONLY ONE NO VOTE despite benefiting only Rep. Scott and then, in the House, it received only 12 nay votes.

    And, finally, Scott also duped the Governor into signing into law a bill that benefited only one person.

    Are your Democrat friends in the Senate, House and Governor's office really so dumb and incompetent that they allowed this to happen? Or could it be that the WW story just doesn't add up the way you hope and dream it should?

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)


    Wow, I'm suprised that last retort didn't result in this entire thread disappearing.

    But really, folks, this "story," as inaccurate as it was, came from the Willamette Week and was written by yet another new stringer or intern fresh out of Boston University. Since when does the WW care about vetting facts? And who the hell in Canby even cares?

    Nigel Jaquiss is the only reporter at WW worth reading and (maybe) believing. With Jim Redden (and now Nick Budnick) writing for Pamplin's Tribune, WW Editor Mark Zusman has brought in young fresh legs like Angela Valdez and now Andra Brosy, whose ambition is exceeded only by their willingness to spin a story whether true or not.

    I guess I should have declared a POTENTIAL conflict of interest here, too. I love Red Meat.

    • Wes
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    FYI, Senator Ginny Burdick was the only Senator to vote against 667-A, just as she was one of only three who voted against the special interest giveaway known as the Pollution Control Tax Credit in 1999.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)

    Ms. Brosy failed miserably to get the facts straight.

    She wrote "The bill included an amendment from Scott that lets his aerial fireworks company..." Yet if you only go so far as to read the summary of SB667 as introduced you see its single purpose was always the variance to be granted to "An aerial fireworks display business". How could a reporter fail to check that fact of record?

  • anon (unverified)

    I'm not clear... on exactly what the issue is with someone storing fireworks at this location. He's not doing any shows from there, is he? Is it strictly storage, so he's paying taxes and permit fees on an otherwise useless pile of muddy dirt? Isn't this the company that has employees and pays employer taxes to the State of Oregon? And isn't this the company that puts on shows across the US, and has the largest show on the West Coast for the 4th of July? Well heck yeah, let him move to Washington or somewhere nearby... we can use the notority up here as well as the money. I see a bunch of petty arguing, and I thought women were bad.

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    Wow, I'm suprised that last retort didn't result in this entire thread disappearing.

    Nope, we don't do that here. Not even when people accuse me of being stupid.

  • Fireworks Manufacturer in Oregon (unverified)

    Scott says that his company is not an aerial display company. This is not the truth. You see, he sells 1.4G (class C) and his sister company sells 1.3G (Class B), HOWEVER, class C comes in a variety of products, the majority of which are aerial fireworks. I've been trying to gain land use approval to store the 1.4G fireworks that I manufacture, in my ATF and State approved bunkers (magazines) for over 10 years, and it can't be done in this state according to the OSFM. They have been using this whole "land-use" law (H1B2 Occupancy) which simply can not be met...all this time, and then when Western was exposed to have been in violation of it as well......they went and passed a LAW which exempts ONLY THEM from the impossible rules. Unless you have tried to be in the business in this state, you really can't quite grasp the corruption in this state. These so-called elected officials are so good at masking the wrong-doing that the general public has no clue what is going on behind the curtains. I've spent over 40 thousand dollars and puchased $400,000.00 worth of land, just to try and be in compliance, yet the OSFM and Western contact all zoning officials and put the kabosh on it before you can get your business off the ground. I'm not the only one. There are hundreds of would-be companies who have tried...and they have all failed. If you move out of state, you can obtain a license in a timely fashion, but why should a person have to move out of their home state to operate a small business? Here's one thing you can take to the bank: Scott knew exactly what was going on, and pushed the crooked bill through, using a pawn from the Dem party to try and prevent a biased appearance. It wasn't 1000 friends of Oregon that prevent others from operating. It's Scott, and everyone in the industry knows it. We need to group together and file a huge class action suit, but the technicians in Oregon are too afraid of the wrath of Scott to come forward. Is this America, or a dictator state? You can come to your own conclusions. If Scott sues WW, (which he will not) I guarantee that a whole lot more will come to light, and the rats will flee from the burning, sinking ship.

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