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New York Times columnist and Yamhill resident Nicholas Kristof is dipping his toes a little deeper in the Oregon governor race. On Oct. 12, he formed a political committee and registered with the state’s OreStar campaign finance system. Much like his political platform, there’s not much to gather from this move, other than he’s calling himself Nick, he’s planning to run as a Democrat and he’s working with the Portland political consulting group Imperium Political Strategies. According to OpenSecrets, a campaign finance transparency website, in 2020 Imperium worked with Milwaukie Mayor (and former photojournalist) Mark Gamba’s failed primary challenge to Congressman Kurt Schrader.

• School District 4J Interim Superintendent Cydney Vandercar is right in directing staff to stay away from school board meetings where some board members insult them publicly. She is directing the board questions to staff members to be answered within a day and a half and returned to the board apart from a meeting. Vandercar is in a tough place, but this is the best way to establish mutual respect between the staff and the board. We know folks like Gordon Lafer ran as reform candidates, but even in today’s political climate, isn’t it possible to make changes and rock the boat on a school board without spilling blood? Per the Oct. 8 Register-Guard story, Vandercar said: “There are a number of reasons for it, but the one that matters most to me was that there was a power differential between the board and staff, and when staff and workers aren’t treated with courtesy and respect as the expert professionals they are, it puts them in a poor position. The board’s words have a deep effect on our work.”

• A kicker isn’t just a football player. In Oregon, it’s when the state has too much revenue and returns money to its residents. Because of its $1.9 billion surplus, the Oregon Department of Revenue has a nifty calculator on its website that shows how much you could get back when you file your 2021 state taxes next year — head over to Oregon.Gov/DOR. Of course, we wonder what sort of shape Oregon would be in if it would use that money for social services, K-12 or infrastructure. 

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