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Welcome to the Silly Season

The election is drawing near

“Truth is stranger than Fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” — Mark Twain

This issue of EW comes out 10 days before Labor Day and 10 weeks before Election Day. 

This period marks the bell lap in a presidential race that has been mindboggling. For example, some of the elderly in our Hot Air Society appear seriously confused about Donald Trump’s recent hiring of Paul Manafort (who resigned Aug. 19), crackpot Stephen Bannon and former Fox News creep Roger Ailes. They don’t know whether to cheer or boo. 

Ultimately, they all agreed that moves like this make Vladimir Putin look statesmanlike — even atop a horse without a shirt. Hopefully Hillbillary will keep a low profile.

Here in Oregon, we can only hope that Trump’s patterned bumptiousness will dampen Republican and conservative turnout. We can only hope that Republican women, Latinos and Muslims will reject his rhetoric. On the other hand, the NRA and Christian conservatives hate Hillary Clinton enough to motivate their base. That the religious right continues to abide with Trump is baffling and comical. 

Who woulda thunk these sanctimonious self-righteous types would support a guy who describes his biggest success during the Vietnam era as not contracting venereal disease? 

In Oregon, the outcomes of our so-called “down ticket” races and ballot measures are going to set the table for the next biennium. Putting aside the U.S. Senate race between Ron Wyden and Faye Stewart as a foregone conclusion, I truly believe the governor and secretary of state races could turn based on turnout. The same is true in state legislative races and the ballot measures.

Oregon faces serious financial challenges in the 2017-2019 biennium. To maintain state government at its current level requires an additional $2.7 billion, and projected revenue only will have grown by half that amount. Oh, and did I mention that PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) rates just increased dramatically for the next biennium? The result: tuition increases, cuts to K-12, social program cuts for seniors and the disabled; you know the drill. Absent a 6 percent supermajority in the House and Senate, there will be no tax measures put forward to fill the gap.

How about Ballot Measure 97? Previously known as Initiative Petition 28, it would charge certain C corporations a 2.5 percent tax on gross annual sales of $25 million or more in Oregon. It’s a gross receipts tax. Instead of relying on volatile personal income tax revenues to fund schools, Oregon could follow Washington’s example for more stable school funding.

There’s plenty of money being spent on this measure. The No on 97 campaign had raised $5.5 million by the end of July. The Yes on 97, mostly public sector unions, had raised less than half that. It’s anticipated that $30 million will be spent by the time this is all over. Welcome Koch brothers!

We all know moving a tax increase is an uphill climb in Oregon. I spent 10 years in the Oregon Legislature without a gross receipts tax proposal being given a vote. So, you can either pass a ballot measure or elect a legislature with 36 votes in the House and 18 in the Senate to pass a gross receipts tax. And a governor who’d sign it into law. Kate Brown has endorsed Measure 97; her opponent opposes it.

The R-G recently asked: How can we fix Eugene? Being your humble county mouse, I would offer a modest proposal. Keep in mind, mice have no respect for rules with which they disagree, and they abhor spineless politicians. I’m not sure if you human beings can actually use my proposals because they may violate some of your current laws. 

You should recall or just fire the Lane County Commissioners and the Eugene City Council, or at least ask them to resign. For two years these clowns have demonstrated a level of incompetence that drives common-sense voters up the wall … if one ever gets built to drive up.

Both bodies lack the capacity to integrate their separate schemes into one logical plan and move forward. I don’t think you could construct a full spine out of the entire bunch! Two years? 

Meanwhile the price doubles on their bids! The public is aghast. And this ain’t no Podunk East Jesus backwater county in Mississippi … this is Lane County — hub of the hip — a model of good public policy and management and translucency and logic. Not so much. This is the bullshit that drives white male geezer Democrats up the wall to cynicism. Stay tuned.