Hey, if the New York Times can do it, then Salem Political Snark sure can follow in those hallowed journalistic footsteps. So here's our very own Year in Review.
I picked a blog post from each month. This led to some tough choices when several posts caught my eye in the same month.
For example, I had to pass on "'Illegal signs are trash.' Which is why they make Salem look trashy." Also, the related "'Jesus Loves Strippers' sign gets Salem hot and bothered." And I would have liked to share "Salem Weekly needs to survive. But how should it change?"
Oh... guess I was able to share these. Anyway, here's the Top Twelve 2017 posts by month. I've included an excerpt from each post.
The rally and following march through downtown Salem was the most inspiring political event I've ever been to. And that includes Barack Obama's 2008 campaign stop in Salem... A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. So rather than blab on about why the Salem Women's March was so freaking fantastic, I encourage you to take a look at a web page I made about the event using Adobe Spark.
Citizens strongly support Salem "Inclusive City" resolution. Conservative city councilors, not so much.
I hugely enjoyed watching a passionate parade of people testify in support of an Inclusive City resolution at last night's Salem City Council meeting. (An "Inclusive City" is a lot like a "Sanctuary City," but not quite, for reasons I'm unclear about.) Councilor Cara Kaser said she counted 45 people who testified. I'm pretty sure only two opposed the resolution... The conservative city councilors -- Mayor Bennett, Brad Nanke, Jim Lewis, Steve McCoid -- pretty clearly were boxed-in by the overwhelming citizen support for Salem becoming an Inclusive City. As noted above, mostly their comments were along the lines of "This doesn't change existing City policies, but I'll vote for it anyway."
How will Chris Hoy's victory affect the Salem City Council?
It was a happy night for Salem progressives yesterday. Chris Hoy won the special election for the Ward 6 City Council seat left vacant by Daniel Benjamin's resignation last year... It's going to be fascinating to watch how dynamics on the City Council change after Chris Hoy takes his Ward 6 seat in early April... the tension that has existed between a left-leaning citizenry being led by a right-leaning City Council should begin to lessen. Of course, this likely will mean that increased tensions will be evident between the five progressives and the four remaining conservatives on the Council.
Salem City Council votes 5-4 against Third Bridge
Elections matter. Beginning in 2014, five (of nine) Salem city councilors have been elected after vowing to oppose the Third Bridge, also known as the Salem River Crossing.... The Statesman Journal has some good reporting on tonight's 5-4 vote to reject an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Department of Land Conservation and Development that would have helped move the Third Bridge forward.
Yesterday Salem voters approved a second-try $62 million police facility bond measure. This is a good time to recollect how citizen activism led by Salem Community Vision (and Salem Can Do Better, an offshoot formed to oppose the first-try bond measure) prevented bad police facility ideas from being implemented -- which made possible the better plan approved by voters. Here's the "headlines" of eight citizen activism accomplishments.
Climate Action Plan an absolute must for Salem City Council
This is one of my biggest gripes about Salem city government: the folks at City Hall are followers rather than leaders. We have a crappy mass transit system compared to other big cities in Oregon. We're the last major city to allow ride-sharing and "tiny houses." Our bike/pedestrian infrastructure sucks. And we're the only large city in the Willamette Valley to not have a Climate Action Plan. Hopefully the enthusiasm for a Climate Action Plan shown at last night's Strategic Plan open house will spur the Mayor and City Councilors to adopt climate change mitigation as an additional long-range planning goal.
Salem can't tolerate this. "Tough guys" trying to take over a neighborhood association meeting, pushing people around and creating an uproar. I've gotten two reports of how supporters of the Salem Bridge Solutions group that wants the Third Bridge billion dollar boondoggle built disrupted last Monday's meeting of the West Salem Neighborhood Association.
Legal ruling deals the Third Bridge a huge setback
This is a great day for Salem. The billion dollar boondoggle known as the Salem River Crossing (or Third Bridge) got a big defeat in a ruling by the Land Use Board of Appeals. Congratulations to the eight petitioners and E.M. Easterly, who joined in their appeal. Also, kudos to Salem attorney John Gear who argued the appeal... the fact that the City of Salem's approval of an Urban Growth Boundary expansion needed for construction of the bridge is now deeply in doubt means that the Third Bridge, if not dead, is critically wounded.
Because the Trump administration has a head-in-the-sand approach to global warming, cities like Salem have to help fill the federal void when it comes to the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions... Fortunately, today I learned that Salem is making good progress on having a citywide Climate Action Plan -- thanks to the efforts of our local 350.org chapter, 350 Salem OR, and supportive city councilors such as Tom Andersen, Cara Kaser, Sally Cook, Chris Hoy, and Matt Ausec.
Here's why Salem needs a genuine downtown association
Salem no longer has a downtown association. We need one. What happened at last night's City Council meeting is only one of many reasons why... I watched last night's City Council meeting via CCTV. What bothers me is the resemblance of what transpired yesterday with what happened back in 2013, when the City Manager started acting as a downtown association. Once again, funds to promote downtown are being doled out by the City Manager.
The writing is on the wall as regards the eventual demise of the Salem River Crossing, a.k.a. Third Bridge. Or rather, the writing is in the form of a motion to be made by Mayor Chuck Bennett at next Monday's City Council meeting to form a Council task force "to evaluate options for reducing traffic congestion and improving vehicular mobility around the Marion and Center Street bridges."...Since five opponents of the Third Bridge now make up a majority on the nine-member City Council, planning for a new bridge is going nowhere fast. Hence, the staff report on Bennett's motion has some face-saving language that, nonetheless, essentially says the Salem River Crossing isn't going to die quickly with a bang, but slowly with a whimper.
Yesterday I learned about the upcoming Womxn's March by coming across a Salem Resists Facebook post, a group I heartily support. A woman had questioned whether it was wise to use Womxn when other upcoming marches around the country use Women... It'd be better if the event echoed the successful 2017 Women's March by having the same name. Then include mention of "Womxn" in the promotional materials, explaining that this word is viewed as more inclusive by some people. Also, change the date of the event to Saturday, January 20. That way all the publicity around the Women's Marches in Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities can help generate interest in a Salem march on the same day.