As Above, So Below

Fiascos abound at the federal and local level

During the deafening mayhem of the Boston Marathon, there was a vote in D.C. that stunned people: 45 members of the U.S. Senate caved to the NRA demand that they defeat a bipartisan background check expansion amendment. Put another way, 90 percent of the Republicans voted against it, 90 percent of the Democrats voted for it. This is a measure that polled at 82 to 90 percent support among U.S. voters.

Here in Oregon, things aren’t much different. Senate Judiciary Chair Floyd Prozanski has assembled a compromise package only to see it move forward out of committee by a 3-2 partisan vote. This is with similar polling in Oregon on these measures. The main opposition is the NRA, Kevin Starrett and the Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF), “Oregon’s Only No Compromise Gun Lobby,” according to their website. What does that make the NRA, a tea and crumpet society? Anyway, if you did a poll of Republican and Democrat legislators, and look at the NRA’s contributions — to Republicans primarily — you’ll see the same 90 percent Democrat support for reasonable background checks and 90 percent of Republicans doing the wrong thing and sucking up to the NRA money. Watch for the Oregon gun vote, if it even has enough support to reach the Senate floor for a vote.

This Lane County Jack Roberts-Liane Richardson tango is too weird. First, she suggests a buyout of Jack and his deputy? Really? Then she conditions Lane County’s participation in Metro on Jack’s demise? Really? WTFDSTSI? Well, she obviously thinks she’s worth $175,000 a year? That’s her price tag? Divided by 2080 hours, that’s $84 an hour — so there you go, if she were an hourly employee. But she ain’t. And I haven’t seen her out there recently advocating for 15 percent pay increases for county employees like our deputies, our health-care workers and our road workers. Maybe she lives in the health care insurance world where CEO’s of PeaceHealth earn exorbitantly. Not so much at Lane County, Ms. Richardson.

So, Ms. Richardson, these private sector law firms are going to hire you to do what, exactly? Fire people? That’s a pretty narrow skill set. You don’t need a lawyer to fire someone in the private sector. You don’t even need one to do it in the public sector — if you’re competent!

But I think the person with real egg on his face in this fiasco is Councilor George Poling. The dude has no credibility. If he had even an ounce of common sense he would have recused himself from a discussion that involved giving his county-employed wife a pay raise. Come on, man! It leaves us to ask at the end of the day: Who the hell is Liane Richardson? Why does she deserve a 15 percent pay increase when Lane County’s going to hell in a handbasket? And, by the way, could she get the county union-represented workers the same deal? Probably not.

Whatever you think about County Commander-in-Chief Richardson, Jack Roberts comes out of this looking like an honorable man. I don’t always agree with his politics, but I think he did sacrifice himself for the Metro Partnership’s continued existence. And for that we should thank him. He’ll be back; after all, this ain’t his first rodeo.

Speaking of rodeos, looks like those do-gooder, nanny government types are at it again. Remember the lobbyist legislator leash law? Now they are trying to pass a law prohibiting lobbyists from tripping legislators when they take ’em to the rodeo! Can you believe it? Legislator-tripping is a hallowed tradition in Oregon rodeos. The lobbyists take unsuspecting legislators (usually citified Portland metrosexual Democrats), and get ’em loaded up on that Pendleton whiskey or that Terminal Gravity IPA from Enterprise. Then they tell the unsuspecting legislator to go shake hands with the famous rodeo clown — they convince him the clown is Gov. Kitzhaber and that he paints his face on weekends for shits and giggles — and as they walk out onto the rodeo grounds, the lobbyist sneaks up and snags one of their legs with a rope in order to make them fall.

Now most legislators I know are perfectly capable of falling on their own, tripped up by their tongue or their conscience, without any outside assistance from lobbyists. They don’t really need the help of the lobby: therefore the law is pointless nannyism.