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June 27, 2018

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As we are very close to becoming a "failed state" I think this Hines column is very timely and right-on. His analysis is even more appropriate for State-level governance as, for example, in the areas of Health, Environment, Energy and several other critical fields.
A dramatic recent example of this is provided by the EPA and that agency's responsiblility for regulating and ensuring the availability of safe drinking water. Even tho they preempted State programs in the late 70's(Sasfe Drinking Water Act) they don't do much, leaving States the tough
job of doing their job.

Rachel Maddow makes a solid argument that the 49 Senate Democrats plus Collins and Murkowski, who would never go for a pro-lifer who will overturn Roe, can block the Trump nominee. I hope so

All too often, adhering to the rules is expected for the majority, but not for the few others. Does the city give a pass to a developer who did not follow the rules before taking out acreage of trees? Does a deep-pocketed corporation have the ability to ram-rod through something that the neighborhood is opposed to? Probably yes and yes. While Salem City Council is promoting policies that make us a more livable city, they also need to ensure that the well-connected plutocrats are not getting a pass to do whatever they desire.

Salem Council is staffed by non paid volunteers. As a result, mostly "true believers" determine what will be. In 2003, Janet Taylor became Mayor and the Swaim led left quickly shifted to the "let's make Salem a Big City" right. The consequences of the change are clear. Our air and water quality continue to decline and gridlock on the roads becomes greater each day. Rents have gone up faster and by larger amounts than they should have so the homeless become greater in number. I could not agree more that "...it's time to take the gloves off...". Development fees should be revised to a point that resembles the true costs to the community while keeping in mind that a few drops added to a half full barrel are not as consequential as the few drops added to the nearly full barrel that is Salem. Council members should be paid and the Planning Commission should have a very limited number of members who gain personally from further development. I see the effort to stop the Costco move as futile. There are no legal impediments to its approval. Also, there may be additional government support because a move will free up a large building that the nearby National Guard can conveniently use when they are required to establish a regional concentration camp (hope that does not happen).

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