By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Too many topics to choose just one

Occasionally, exploring ideas for this column ideas reveals too many options to choose just one. Thus, this week’s surplus of topics.

McMinnville isn’t alone in its meandering mission to treat the causes and consequences of homelessness. In March, despite governing in a true hotbed of liberalism, the Berkeley, CA, City Council voted to ban living in RVs on city streets.


Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Leaders in adjacent Oakland worry that a homeless caravan is headed their way. But it will take months for Berkeley to produce a permit system that will help “priority populations” such as families with young children, people locally employed, students at area schools and homeless people who have lived at Berkeley addresses in the past 10 years.

The Berkeley council acted in response to citizen complaints about lax enforcement of existing laws, and risks to public safety and the local economy. Sound familiar?

Next today is renowned New York Times columnist and author David Brooks, who wrote this week about the failure of our social service systems. He concluded:

“The old legacy welfare programs were designed for people enmeshed in thick communities but who had suffered a temporary setback. Today many people lack precisely that web of thick relationship. The welfare state of the future has to build the social structures that people need to thrive. This is one way government can build community.”

The Brooks commentary reminded me of a provocative theory of social services: Give program managers adequate but limited compensation; pay far more to super-competent caseworkers, and allow them authority to cut through diverse bureaucracies to produce lasting solutions for clients.

Jumping now to irony in Oregon politics: When the two major business associations merged into Oregon Business & Industry, the goal was to create unified political advocacy for business interests. But, instead, we have more business lobbies and greater divisiveness than before the merger, and those business interests are being rolled by a legislative super-majority.

Look for the resulting price tag to be passed along in the form of higher prices.

Finally, a closing believe-it-or-not note: You may have read — but I somehow missed — the news bit about John Tyler. He was born in 1790, became our 10th U.S. president in 1841, had 15 children, and his prodigious family tree includes two grandsons who, by last account, are still alive today.

Hard to believe? Look it up! Meanwhile, next time around in this space, I’ll try to settle on just one thing.

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


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