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October 23, 2015


Glad you had that conversation. I agree that's a good thing and something Salem needs more of.

That said, I'm not sure what Mr Venti expected from patrons when he stuck his name and more importantly his business front and center in the anti-mass transit movement. Of course patrons who disagree—like me, for example—are going to think twice about frequenting his restaurants. Why would I support financially the very political movement I oppose? Venti can't claim these are different things—I've got his mailer to prove it.

Ty, good points. Dino Venti tied himself to the Chamber of Commerce campaign against the payroll tax when he allowed his name and photo to be part of a mass-mailed postcard urging a "No" vote.

Since the Chamber has been spreading lies and half-truths about the mass transit payroll tax, it isn't surprising that people in favor of the ballot measure wouldn't look favorably upon Dino's action.

This is what I was getting at when I said:

"The way I see things, when someone gets publicly involved in city politics -- like Dino and I do -- he or she should expect that they'll come under public scrutiny in a different fashion than private citizens do."

Dino told me that he was proud of his citizen activism. That's great. But with public involvement in controversial issues comes criticism from those on the other side. That's simply the way of politics.

Like you said, people look upon a business based upon everything they know about it. This includes direct experience, news stories, word of mouth, and other influences. This is what the concepts of "image" and "goodwill" are all about.

So it is understandable that customers of a business will look differently upon it after they learn something new about it. This is inescapable.

An issue I always think of when discussing such things is, "Who has the most power in this situation?" It is great to be able to be friendly and get along even when having different opinions, but sometimes you have to negotiate based upon an understanding of power. People with lots of money, clout and usually White and male privilege get to decide for others. Ideally, voters with less obvious power can potentially get their perspective and desires known through the ballot box. Unless there is power through justice leadership, organizing and sometimes boycotts, demonstrations and riots, the weaker groups and individuals in our society rarely set the agenda. It is not just a matter of a different opinion if one party has more power in the relationship.

I think the criticism of him is completely justified. Obviously I do not believe that personal attacks have any place in political discourse so I not agree with any personal criticism of Dino Venti.

However, he has chosen to use his business to advertise his opposition to the payroll tax. When you visit Venti's website the first thing that your eyes see is a "Stop the Employer tax" picture. The same is true of Venti's facebook page and when driving by his business you see an anti-Cherriots lawn sign in front.

Dino Venti is using his position as a business owner of a well known local business to promote the No on Cherriots campaign. As such he should not be surprised when people who disagree with him boycott his business or express their displeasure with his opinions.

The obvious comparison is with the Chick-fil-A same sex marriage controversy. In that case I did not agree with any calls to boycott the fast food chain. In that case though the owners of Chick-fil-A did not, to my knowledge, use their business to promote their viewpoint. Dino Venti is very obviously using his business to promote his political opinions. Examples being the website, facebook and lawn signs.

Brian, GREAT to see you with your arm around the great Dino Venti!
And I am so encouragedwith your latest admonition, "We need to do a better job of understanding that while we're often going to disagree with each other on various issues, we can agree to disagree in a pleasant manner."
I couldn't agree more!
So Brian, WHEN can we expect to see a picture of you with your arm around Salem's mayor, Awesome Anna, with a similar attitude?
Soon, I hope!

The thing for those who find fault with a business owner for trying to keep his business open should consider what would happen if their nice put-it-on-someone-else tax passes but the businesses downtown, due to boycotts and now increased expenses, must close.

Business doesn't have the luxury of thinking only of ideological purity. It has to make a profit or end what it's doing. Very few owners of any business can keep doing it at a loss. So I totally get his concern of food trucks that can come and go thereby avoiding upkeep costs and taxes he must pay and his concern at a higher payroll tax to cover the service others need and will avoid paying any fee to get (or so they think). This is so typical of how many think-- get someone else to cover a desired service.

Well, what could happen here is the nice little downtown businesses disappear. That going to improve Salem or make life better for those who wish to come in at no cost?

As a left leaning moderate, I like the idea of buses that work and cut down on traffic (even though as a rancher, I live too far out in the country to ever avail myself of one). I though think those who like the idea should pony up some of the cost not expect it to go elsewhere as a sort of freebie for them. Businesses have to stay competitive; so not all costs can be passed on... They have a firm bottom-line and talk, sweet or not, won't help them cover it.

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