Research Thursday, Metro Council will be receiving from staff an annual report on Metro’s Parks and Nature program. Cascade Policy Institute urges the Council reject the Annual Report and demand a revised report that includes details of the program’s skyrocketing administrative costs. In addition, the Council should replace the current members of the Oversight Committee with individuals who have the time, energy, and expertise to provide adequate oversight to the nearly billion dollar Parks and Nature program and Council should provide the new Oversight Committee with the information and staff support necessary for them monitor the Parks and Nature program.
REJECT THE PARKS & NATURE ANNUAL REPORT
In the last fiscal year, Metro spent $42 million on its Parks and Nature program. Yet the annual report provided to Metro Council is only four pages and runs less than 1,400 words with high-res photos making up about one-third of the report. What little information is presented raises more questions than it answers, in particular: Continue reading
“Here, McConnell is trying to prevent the witness from ever testifying, and the public from ever finding out what they have to say…this will be the first impeachment trial in American history in which the Senate did not allow the House to present its case with witnesses and documents.” – House Democrats Impeachment Managers statement, January 21, 2020
After a Progressive Democrat-led House impeachment process that included secret, behind-closed-door meetings that excluded any Republican; that refused to allow Republicans to call witnesses of their choice; that censored Republican lines of questioning; and that Democrat leadership stated upon its codifying vote was “proof positive” and “airtight”, now Progressive-Democrats say they need an opportunity to “make their case”?
The time for “making the case” was during the phase of the process when the case was required to be made. That phase was the House impeachment phase.
The impeachment process draws from the idea of our legal system but it is a political vehicle that only draws loosely from that model. Just as the House is not mandated to present evidence of a specific compilation of impeachable conduct (i.e. they can be vague, as in the case presented against Trump), the Senate is not mandated to apply specific procedural rules or due-process standards during an impeachment trial (i.e. they do not have to satisfy a call for witnesses given that the evidentiary phase of the process was supposed to be satisfied in the House). Continue reading
“All the sportswriters were mad at me that night because they wanted to get to Hank after the game and I closed the clubhouse to everyone but the team and families . . . I stood on a table and said what I thought about Hank, which was that he was the best ballplayer I ever saw in my life.” – [manager] Eddie Mathews
“THE UNDERGROUND IS EVERYWHERE” was a slogan of our 1960s hippies, who were but a mirror image of Russia’s 1860s Nihilists (whose males wore their hair long and the females had short hair (and they had alternative life-styles that shocked the traditionalists). I was at the University of Wisconsin during the days of the “revolution” and posted my own slogans in the Badger Herald – such as “The Underwood is everywhere.” On a manual Underwood I had been attempting to write a futuristic novel about a Red Sox-Atlanta World Series – plus the return of our braves from “foreign entanglements” and “police actions.” It didn’t get finished yet, but who knew that we would be able to post our stuff on the World Wide Web with computers for free (ain’t free enterprise amazing?). In the meantime, I’ve used up about eight of my nine lives, through a series of miracles that I should detail sometime, and I’ve lived to write another day, adding to my 800-some columns. Continue reading
January 26-February 1 is National School Choice Week, the world’s largest celebration of parental choice and effective education options for all children. Since 2011, more than 180,000 independent NSCW events and activities have been planned in local communities across the country.
The landscape of options to meet the learning needs of today’s students is more diverse than ever. These options include traditional public schools, charter schools, private and parochial schools, homeschooling, magnet schools, online learning, and more.
Empowering parents to choose among these options can unlock the unique potential of every child. More than half the states in the U.S. now help families to have more flexibility with their children’s education through educational choice programs like privately or publicly funded scholarships, education tax credits, and Education Savings Accounts.
The Supreme Court on Friday said it will consider whether states may punish or replace “faithless” presidential electors who refuse to support the winner of their state’s popular vote, or whether the Constitution forbids dictating how such officials cast their ballots.
Lower courts have split on the question, and folks are fearful a handful of independent-minded members of the electoral college might decide the next president.
It’s certainly possible that in a close presidential race, just a few electoral votes could determine the outcome. There are only 538 electoral votes that are cast, and these are the only votes that actually and ultimately count in a presidential contest. Three electors in Washington were fined by the state government for not voting for Hillary Clinton, who won the state’s popular vote. Continue reading
Oregon state officials recently celebrated helping the state reach 25,000 registered electric vehicles (EVs) through local incentives and the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. This celebration, however, is a punch in the gut to the state’s low-income and rural residents whose taxes fund the rebates and incentives used to purchase the EVs by predominantly wealthy and urban Oregon residents.
Programs include two rebate programs through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, a federal tax credit, and local utility rebates (though local utility rebates generally tend to target businesses and the 2019 Nissan LEAF). For example, a consumer could use between $7,500 and $10,000 taxpayer dollars to purchase a new 2020 Tesla Model 3, which currently sells for $39,999. In fact, 24% of the EVs registered in Oregon are Teslas.
These incentive programs may shave a couple thousand dollars off the consumer cost of EVs and plug-in hybrids, but their prices will likely still be too high for those with lower incomes. Purchasing an EV also isn’t a viable option for many residents living in rural counties due to a lack of EV infrastructure. Continue reading
Oregon’s Corporate Activities Tax went into effect New Year’s Day. Nine times, Oregon voters have rejected a state sales tax. But this year we ended up with something much worse than a sales tax, and voters had no voice in the matter.
While it’s called a “corporate” tax, the name is misleading. The steep new tax is assessed on all businesses in Oregon – even partnerships and the self-employed. The 0.57% tax on sales is triggered once a business hits $1 million in revenue. Even worse, the CAT is a new tax that is imposed on top of state corporate income taxes already paid by many Oregon businesses.
One million dollars in sales may seem like a lot to a legislator, but many small businesses such as restaurants, auto repair shops, and consulting firms can easily generate $1 million in sales a year. A typical convenience store has about $1.5 million in annual sales, which would result in an increased tax liability of $5,000 or more. Continue reading
In 1926, an Oregon school controversy made it all the way to the nation’s Supreme Court. But the issue on the table wasn’t teacher pay, proper curriculum, or student safety. Oregon had outlawed private schools in a discriminatory effort to remove Catholic education. But in the landmark ruling Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the Court recognized that “The fundamental theory of liberty… excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only.” Families have a right to choose how they educate their children.
Later this month, the Court will consider another landmark education case, Espinoza v. Montana. Montana’s tax credit scholarship program, which enabled families to send children to the private schools of their choice, was struck down because some participating students attended religious schools. That decision removed options for all children, but disproportionately affects the children of low income families for whom private school tuition is at best a major sacrifice and at worst an impossibility. Continue reading
Homelessness is reaching epidemic proportions in America. On a single night in January 2018, there were 552,830 people experiencing homelessness in the United States. Slightly more than 1/3 of them – 35% – were unsheltered individuals.
Government policies clearly have something to do with the problem. According to HUD, California has more than half of all the unsheltered homeless people in the country (108,432), with nine times as many unsheltered homeless as Florida, even though its population is only twice that of Florida.
The states and jurisdictions with the highest rates of homelessness have all been governed for decades by Democrats: New York, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, and Washington, D.C., which has a homeless rate of six times the national average.
Los Angeles is awash in 50,000 homeless folks. San Francisco is being overrun with people who sleep in doorways and attack strangers with no provocation. The City by the Bay just lost a $64 million high-tech conference because conferees don’t want to have to navigate piles of human waste on their way to dinner. Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington are likewise up to their earlobes in the problem. Continue reading
Ecofascists have been unable to contain themselves in the wake of the catastrophic wildfires that seemed to be burning up the entire country of Australia. At least 27 people have been killed and 2000 homes have been destroyed as bushfires have burned more than 25 million acres, an area larger than South Korea. Substantial rainfall is not likely for months.
Remember all the agitation over the fires in Brazil? Australia’s wildfires have dwarfed them, with its burnt terrain more than twice the extent of the terrain ravaged this year by fires in Brazil, California and Indonesia combined.
As I write, there are more than 130 fires burning in New South Wales, with more than 50 of those not under control. In Victoria, 240,000 Australians have been told to leave their homes, even though they have no place to go. Losses are estimated at $3.4 billion.
And without exception, global warming is blamed as the culprit.
“Make no mistake. The tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based,” said eminent climate scientologist Russell Crowe.
“Australia is committing climate suicide,” blared a headline in the New York Times.
“When one country faces a climate disaster, we all face a climate disaster,” bleated Cate Blanchett at the Golden Globes on Sunday. Continue reading