Spanning the State: Gleek addition

Carla Axtman

As a fan of the TV show Glee, I was practically giddy to discover Gleek Night at Julia's Cafe in Portland. Video clips! Sing-a-longs! Special performances! It's almost enough to make me forgive the return of the rain. I have a secret desire to star in a stage musical, but I'm too chicken to audition. So I may just live vicariously through the fabulous folks at Julia's.

A number of other bright spots are also coming to the fore in Oregon. Even though the dark clouds are once again lingering, there are some reasons to see light on the horizon. So let's Span the State!


Last year, the City of Sisters passed a 3% gas tax to fund city street maintenance. The Oregon Petroleum Association circulated a petition to get the tax on the March 2010 ballot, which they did. To the Petroleum Association's chagrin, voters in Sisters passed the tax. Not to be dissuaded, the Association trotted out their lobbyist, Darth Paul Romain. Romain argued in Deschutes County court that the act of signing a petition was a citizen "veto" of the City Council's act, and that the tax shouldn't go into effect retroactive to when the Council enacted it. On Friday, Romain and the Petroleum Association lost. The decision is expected to be appealed.

The unemployment rate in Malheur County is showing signs of waning. The jobless rate in March of 11.6 percent is down from February’s revised 11.9 percent. April’s estimated rate is 10.7 percent. That would put the county at just below the statewide average of 10.8 percent, and 2.6 percent less than the county’s unemployment rate a year ago.

AAA of Oregon is feeling optimistic about the upcoming tourist season. Hotel reservations in the Eugene-Springfield area for June and July are ahead of last year. Three Rivers Casino in Florence is projecting 3 to 4 percent revenue increases over last summer.

On April 23, serial elitist and intellectually challenged modern day sophist Sarah Palin charged the GOP of Lane County a mere $35,000 for headlining a speaking event in Eugene. Palin's visit netted the Party enough to give their books a $118,000 lift. For context, the Democrats in Lane Co have over $36k on hand. Apparently the Dems don't have to rely on BS from the likes of Palin to fundraise. Go figure.

A letter to the editor of the Woodburn Independent highlights a problem that seems to run rampant at the local government level in Oregon: local elected officials are ignoring citizens and rushing headlong into projects that people don't want. Will a backlash ensue? I guess we'll see.

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    Gasoline taxes place an undue burden on those least able to afford it. While many of the goals progressives hold dear are forwarded by decreased gasoline consumption, it is unfair to rely on gas taxes to supplant revenue lost by the general regression of our tax system until we have inexpensive public transport to assure that quality of life will not be further degraded for Oregon's least affluent citizens.

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    More taxes are not necessary.Whats necessary is a major,major league cut in the size of the bloated state govt.

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      More taxes ARE necessary. Simply cutting spending, especially in a recession economy, is the worst thing we can do.

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      A major league cut, eh?

      Let's hear some specifics. Nearly all of the state budget pays for prisons, education, and health care. So, what'll it be? What's your "major league" cut?

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    Sorry James, but your argument doesn't hold water. Gas taxes are a very small slice of the total paid at the pump (in 2009, the national average of combined local, state, and federal taxes was 45.6 cents per gallon. Oregon's was 43.3 cents per gallon, which is right in the middle).

    Furthermore, Americans pay much less than most European countries per gallon (sometimes 3 times less per gallon).

    Finally James, I am not sure where you live, but Oregon has some pretty good public transit. I would imagine, if you did the math, the price of a monthly transit pass would be significantly less than a months worth of gasoline and car upkeep.

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    Sorry Carla more taxes are not necessary.In case you have not noticed Oregon still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and none of the progressives are doing a darn thing about it and dont care to either which is why i will never ever vote for another democrat in Oregon again.What is wrong Carla with cutting spending on crap like millions of dollars wasted on consultants that should have went into a rainy day fund and non essential state agencies and commissions Carla?Care to talk about that?Btw Carla tell us when is the last time the size of the state govt has ever been cut to the bone?

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      Matthew: A number of very smart and experienced economists disagree with you. As someone who is especially concerned about unemployment, I would think you'd be pretty worried about all those people being laid off of teaching and public safety jobs--thus jacking unemployment even higher and shrinking the pool of people who can inject money into the economy.

      Which consultants are you trying to send to the unemployment line along with them, Matthew? Which "non-essential" state agency employees do you want to put there as well?

      If you're hoping to extend the recession another decade, you're on the right track with your ideas. As for me, I'd rather climb out of it immediately.

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    Why should the govt not cut back Carla because all of us in the private sector have had to?Btw most Oregonians like me Carla get no services whatsoever from the state at all.What state services is there such a high demand for because i dont see it?

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      You don't drive on roads at all? You don't have access to police or fire services? Nobody that you care about accesses public school services or higher education? You never access state forests or parks?

      And do you really think it's good for the state to have even MORE people out of work?

      Time to start thinking passed the end of your own nose, Matthew.

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        Actually, I'd encourage Matthew to think with his nose.

        As Willamette Week reported last week, the city of Portland has over 2600 miles of sewer pipe that transport over 68 million gallons of sewage... every single day.

        That's local government, not state, but the point is still a worthwhile one.

        Every time you flush, you use government services.

        Think about your day. You use government services all day long.

        You wake up. You flush (sewer services, ding!). You take a shower (water services, ding!). You eat (USDA & FDA, ding!). You turn on the TV or the radio (FCC, ding!) You get in your car and drive (federal, state, and local highways + consumer protection agencies, ding!). And so on, and so on, and so on...

        Anybody who thinks they don't use government services needs to ponder Somalia - and consider why, exactly, our country is a more pleasant place to live.

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    Ok Kari how about we eliminate the millions of dollars annually wasted by the state on consultants?Lets eliminate olcc and cut Odot at least 50%.Lets start e verifying every person that gets welfare in Oregon including food stamps has a valid social security number and name that matches and if they dont they are immediately cut off all state services.Im sorry if they dont have a name and ss number that matches then even if their kids are legally born here their kids dont get any state services.That there will save millions of dollars.Its simple Kari none of you liberals want to cut anything.All you want to do is grow govt and give services to those who have no legal right to get and no business getting state services.Lets cut pers at least 50% or bankrupt the system.sorry Carla i dont buy the same old tired teachers will lose their jobs extortion scare tactics if schools dont get more money crap either.Im sorry Carla a lot of economists dont agree with what the Blue Oregon crowd including your economics suggestions are either.Im sorry the state did not need to waste 80 to 130 million on consultants for the I-5 bridge project.That money should have went in a rainy day fund.Im sorry Carla crap like consultants need to be cut first.Consultants are fat and waste that the state can live fine without.

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      Which consultants? For which agencies are you referring?

      Your advocacy for "valid social security #s" is all fine and good, but where are you going to find the money to pay for more staff to do it? I was under the impression that you're for sending MORE people to the unemployment line who work in the public sector. You're asking for another layer of government, now.

      Whether you "fall" for the "crap" that teachers will be laid off with these cuts or not is irrelevant. Last year, Reynolds School District laid off 149 teachers due to budget cuts for the 09-10 school year.

      Centennial School District has already laid off 37 teachers this year and will have to lay off more now.

      The Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District has approved layoffs, but hasn't cited their # yet:

      I agree with you on the CRC/I-5 Bridge project spending, but since the legislature hasn't even allotted that money, it's not especially relevant to this discussion. And given the budget shortfall, the money isn't there for it anyway.

      You haven't answered my questions, btw: how does it improve Oregon's employment situation to kick all of these workers to the unemployment line? How does the inability of all these folks to inject money into the economy help Oregon climb out of recession?

      Your only advocacy is to shrink government...for what reason, exactly? How does this help Oregon's economic picture?

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    Carla you liberals keep harping on education and its importance?Well let me ask you this does education even higher education gurantee you a job in Orgeon right now?Their are many people highly educated that cant find jobs in Oregon because our lazy do nothing governor is sitting on his rear end doing nothing about unemployment and hiding from public view.Is that the kind of leader Oregon really needs?You liberals need to get off your education soap box because big deal education dont gurantee you anything or a job in Orgeon anymore.Btw what has all the investment in k-12 and higher ed done for Oregon?It has not brought any more jobs here so get off that education hype soapbox please.

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    How about a legislative special session being called to do some about private sector unemployment?Yeah right fat chance of that happening with democrats running the show.At least if that happened that would be leadership

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    Hey Matthew, remind me, are special sessions free? Will they cost taxpaying folk like me money? I'll take your answer offline.

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      Oh, I found it:

      Someone on your side was crowing earlier this year that it cost taxpayers $35,000 per day. So it costs less when Republicans ask for a special session?

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