By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Pseudo-reform idea has 'Gobbler' status

All WhatchamaColumns

For decades, there was an entertaining ritual that awarded “Golden Gobbler” status to bills considered the biggest turkeys of Oregon legislative sessions. There’s no word on continuation of that tradition in 2013, but just in case, I have a nomination for the gold.

Past honorees often have been silly little bills that landed with a thud and never saw the light of day. I found one old newspaper clipping, for example, reporting that in 1977, a Portland representative won the prize for his proposal to “send Kelpie the coyote back to a Spray, Ore., family.” (Yes, in 1977, the abbreviation for Oregon was Ore.)

This year’s top nominee — not so amusing but clearly deserving of the award — is Senate Bill 822, the Democratic leadership’s proposal to “fix PERS” in great measure by delaying $350 million in payments from Oregon governmental bodies.

The idea raises lots of possibilities. Maybe we could solve the health care crisis by letting people ignore half of any medical bills for the next two years instead of bothering to reduce the costs of that medical care. With IOUs, of course.

You can add your own absurd comparison to the concept of delay versus actual reform.

There have been calls to bestow 2013 Gobbler standing upon bills involving marijuana and the Columbia River Crossing, gun control and gay rights, drones and increased taxes. As with the PERS plan, those often are serious bills being trashed by passionate opponents, but there are more traditional nominees as well.

House Bill 2077 would make it a Class A misdemeanor to distribute nicotine without a medical prescription. Senate Bill 473 would change the Oregon state flag to include a gold beaver. Those and other proposals will languish in committee and disappear in the heap of legislative history.

One Gobbler candidate would prevent law enforcement from publishing arrest photos on the Internet and set limits on public access to those images. A possible motivation comes from some despicable websites that post photographs of arrestees and remove them only for a fee. Still, it deserves Gobbler consideration, since legislation should address the actual problem instead of creating a new one.

All the contenders for this year’s honors will be known only to those who read the entire mountain of bills submitted. Those legislative wonks, however, will have a hard time topping the idea that the Public Employees Retirement System financial crisis should be solved by telling debtor local governments they simply can pay later.


Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@news or 503-687-1223.


Michael Tubbs Sr

"...."fix PERS"...."

There ain't gonna be no fix'n PERS, not as long as the 800 pound vampire in the room is itself calling all the shots. The insatiable beast won't stop sucking the life-blood out of Oregon until it has collapsed every source possible.

Don Dix

The Public Entitlement Retirement Scam will eat it's young to protect the paycheck -- and out of the other side of their mouth they will pretend they care.

Michael Tubbs Sr

As far as a House Bill goes, Jeb, just which one was it that made it a Class A misdemeanor to distribute cocaine without a medical prescription in the State of Oregon?

Obviously, it should be apparent to anyone but a blinking idiot that products containing manipulated Nicotine, so as to further enhance a tobacco products addictive qualities, is, every bit as harmful as 'crack' or powder cocaine to the human body, if not, more so.

Don Dix

Just yesterday, Tina Kotek (House Speaker), who supports SB882, visited the Republican caucus to explain her version of PERS reform. When asked why she wasn't allowing hearings on any other PERS reform bills, Kotek said, 'This is the only bill (882) the House is going to produce. I'm personally not open to any changes'.

What! Oregon is in financial trouble and the speaker is injecting personal reasons to explain her stand! And this attitude from one who promised 'transparency and collaboration' if elected.

As predicted, the Oregon Demos are frightened by the prospect of losing union election support if they approve any bill that actually resembles any PERS reform. That certainly wasn't the tune back in early November, was it?

Oregon needs legislators that are not manipulated by public unions (or support union-written bills). Left to their own agenda, the unions will consume Oregon's budget until there is no more.

It's that selfish attitude that got us to this point, and the same attitude that will bankrupt the state.

To the unions -- how will you purchase those 'golden parachutes' (PERS) when the account is empty -- steal from one another?

troy prouty

in the article..

"fix PERS” in great measure by delaying $350 million in"

It reminds me of a Federal law in 1954 I believe that allow some companies to pay taxes owned without penalty over a 30 year period. Thus why someone companies pay it off over a 30 year period, the government (lack of funds) borrows money at 7% interest to cover the lost during that period. By the time it is actually paid.. We might even be losing money as a Nation from the deal. not cool..


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