During the last six regular sessions of the Oregon Legislature, I have had the honor and privilege of serving with Marla Rae and Jon Chandler — two of the most profanely funny bipartisan lobbyists in the business — as a judge in the Golden Gobbler Awards honoring the worst bills introduced each session. This party has been around forever, hosted by Pamela Jones, Mark Nelson and his lobby firm, Public Affairs Counsel, at their beautiful home on the Willamette. Mark invites legislators, staff and lobbyists, and the price of admission is a sense of humor and a bill that should not be. Four frozen rock Cornish game hens and a frozen turkey were the prizes. And yes, the lobbyists have to report themselves to the Oregon Ethics Commission.
Sen. “Pretty Boy” Floyd Prozanski got an honorable mention for SB 461, his bill to permit Oregonians to get a replacement drivers license if they dislike the photograph on their license. We accused Floyd of running for some as-yet unidentified statewide office and attempting to solicit the vote of every female in the state. And Sen. Brian “Spyman” Boquist got recognition for SB 176, his bill to outlaw Sharia Law in Oregon. Why, you might ask? Even former Gov. John Kitzhaber got a game hen for his pre-session filed HB 2401, which creates an excise tax on wild bird feed. Since former turkey, Cylvia Hayes, was unable to be there to accept the bird, we sent it to that hyper-vigilant guard at the Deschutes County Dump.
However, the winner far outdistanced its opponents. Hidden deep within the bowels of A-Engrossed Senate Bill 298 was one of the scariest unforeseen consequences hidden in a seemingly innocuous proposal which could have wreaked havoc for generations of Oregonians! On its face, its relating cause seemed like mere window-dressing: It simply changed the name of the State Board of Massage Therapists to the much sexier and elucidating State Board of Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers! But it contained this poison pill: ORS 687.011(4)(b) now specifically excludes high-velocity, short-amplitude manipulative thrusting from the definition of “massage.” Now, unlike you, I’m not sure what all that means. But I think we may have inadvertently just outlawed twerking!
Speaking of turkeys, you got any birdseed left for those two snake oil salesmen, Obama and Wyden, and their latest attempt to fast-track a Trans-Pacific Partnership plan? As much as I like these guys, they are once again dead wrong on trade, just like they were on NAFTA. What’s with this sucking up to corporate America at the Nike campus over another bad deal? Remember 20 years ago when Uncle Phil changed his corporate logo from “Just Do It” to “Just Screw U” and stopped supporting Oregon athletics when the UO, under pressure from its students, faculty, local human rights groups and unions, joined an international oversight group to examine labor practices in Uncle Phil’s far-flung factory empire?
And what exactly did NAFTA get us after 20 years? According to the Huffington Post: One million U.S. jobs lost, a $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada and growing income inequality. Uncle Phil and the other off-shore manufacturers created their own sham oversight commission. Ironically, 20 years later, Nike just reported that its own commission announced that over 30 percent of Nike’s foreign plants are out of compliance with wages or workers rights issues. And now you want us to fast-track this current dog?
Speaking of dogs, are Oregon Democrats the luckiest people in the world, or what? Not only did we have Art “Urine Specimen” Robinson take over the Oregon Republican Party and run against Peter DeFazio (again), and Dennis “I Wear a Motorcycle Helmet So You Won’t Recognize Me” Richardson run for governor last year: We now have the prospect of Sid Leiken running for governor next year! You remember Sid, don’t you? County commissioner, former Springfield mayor and oh, yeah, used to be a Democrat? Ran against DeFazio a while back? Oh, this is not going to be any fun at all. However, I’m just here to help!
Of course, the first thing you do if you’re a candidate is you find out if people remember you and if they like you or not. The fancy technical name for this exercise is “polling.” Now, if you’ll remember, Sid is an expert on polling. Should come as no surprise; it turns out Sid was raised by a pollster: his mother. At least that’s what he told the ethics commission when he reported his campaign finances. Stay tuned.