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Blogger Brian
Salem, Oregon
Recent Activity
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I've been a Statesman Journal subscriber for 40 years. Recently I got a notice that my 7-day subscription price will go up from $36/month to $41/month. At first that didn't bother me. Yeah, it's a 14% increase in an economy where inflation is running under 3% a year. And I... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Salem Political Snark
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Today I updated the Salem Can Do Better web page to reflect our new campaign: urging a NO vote on the $62 million police facility bond measure on the May ballot. Because even though the rejection of last November's hugely overpriced $82 million bond measure forced City officials to reduce... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Salem Political Snark
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Woo-hoo! My poignant photo of a citizen's flower memorial placed on a stump belonging to one of the U.S. Bank trees that were needlessly cut down in 2013 won the City of Salem's Tree City USA photo contest. Well, let's say that I'm virtually sure that I won, given the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Not Even Wrong, I'm pretty sure the 5,710 refers to Marion and Polk counties. I've heard a friend who is a homeless advocate cite a 5,000 something figure, and have mentioned this in conversations with her. But I'll check on this. Some Googling shows that there are 21,300 homeless children in Oregon, including 1,120 in Salem. http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/11/record_21300_oregon_students_a.html And this report said there are 13,238 homeless in Oregon: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2016/11/record_21300_oregon_students_a.html So obviously there are various definitions of homelessness, and various ways of counting the homeless. It seems highly believable that there are 5,000 some homeless in Marion and Polk counties, given one definition or another.
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Yesterday I learned a lot about our local homeless problem via a Salem City Club program, "A Profile of Salem's Homeless Population: Our Unique Challenges." Jimmy Jones (Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency) and Ron Hays (Community Resource Trust) presented a lot of interesting information about how many people are homeless... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
David, maybe for natural reasons, or maybe because we now have a younger, quicker dog, ground squirrels rarely are seen at our rural home. But when they were, I found that a Mossberg .410 self-defense shotgun with a spreader that I bought worked much better for me than the pellet gun -- given my minimal shooting skills. With the pellet gun, it was hard for me to hit a ground squirrel. And if I did, to kill it cleanly. With the shotgun I could aim as well as I could, but not perfectly, and BINGO. Dead squirrel. I used bird shot. Also, ear protection. The one time I forgot to wear my ear protectors, I regretted it. So that's my story. We don't like to use poison because we worry that non-troublesome gray squirrels and some other innocent creature would eat it.
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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. Hoy's large margin of victory over the other candidates -- including Greggery Peterson, the "establishment" pick endorsed by current Mayor... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Barry, I've gone through some exercise evolving. About three years ago I discovered the joy of the Streetstrider, an outdoor elliptical bike. It gave me much of the same fun as longboarding with a land paddle -- plus, now I had 8 gears and I could stop easily! So that led me to donate my longboading gear to a Portland skate coalition outfit. They were happy to get it. Now, after three years of Streetstriding, I decided to donate the outdoor elliptical bike to a nonprofit group here in Salem that helps poorer people and the homeless get around on bikes. They were able to sell the Streetstrider. I enjoyed longboard land paddling, but I found that I could get the same amount of exercise and fun through a safer and easier means. I was fanatic about wearing protective gear on the longboard, so I enjoyed being able to hop onto a bike and just take off without having to put on a helmet, knee pads, wrist protectors, etc. Have fun with your longboard. I liked my three years of playing with mine, though I never did feel comfortable stopping at speed.
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A couple of weeks ago Mary Nikas shared this photo in a post on the Salem City Council Facebook page (a private page which isn't associated with the City of Salem). She said: "Photo taken this morning on Oakhill Road in SE Salem. Can we start spending our community development... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Rain, you are refusing to recognize reality. The Newsweek link I shared above correctly says that the CIA and 17 other U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that hackers backed by Russian intelligence organizations hacked into Democratic computers systems and disseminated information in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election. This is a fact. Another fact is that Trump officials/surrogates had interactions with Russians during the campaign. This currently is being investigated by U.S. intelligence agencies and Congress. An independent counsel might even be appointed at some point. This is another fact. Finally, the election was decided by about 40,000 votes in three states that gave Trump enough electoral votes to defeat Clinton, even though she easily won the popular vote by over 3 million votes. This also is a fact. It is impossible to say how many votes were influenced by the Russian intervention into our election, which included fake social media postings by people operating in Russia. For sure, some votes. That's all I'm saying. The Russians aided Trump's election. This is a a fact, and I stand by it. Clinton correctly pointed out, over and over, that Trump would be a horrible president, and this is turning out to be the case. Anyone who didn't vote for Clinton helped elect Trump. This is another fact. I'm proud that I stood up for Clinton. Everybody who didn't has to explain to themselves why they stood by in the 2016 election and didn't try to defeat Trump.
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salemander, there are plenty of other sources of information about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. For example, you can read this Newsweek piece: http://www.newsweek.com/quora-question-how-was-russia-involved-election-539180 It is certain that the Russians wanted to help Trump and hurt Clinton. They disseminated controversial hacked emails and engaged in social media campaigns that favored Trump. The only question is how many voters were influenced by the Russian actions, so I stand by what I said. Here's an excerpt from the link above: ------------------- "What the CIA, and 17 other U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded, is that there were several violations of the computer systems used by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign. These violations allowed the hackers to access private emails and internal campaign documents and memos. These were selectively leaked to Wikileaks, who then leaked them to the U.S. media, in an attempt to generate a constant stream of negative news coverage relating to Hillary Clinton and her campaign. The CIA has tied these events to Russia because they were carried out by hacker groups and collectives previously known to U.S. intelligence as fronts set up by Russian intelligence services to carry out cyberattacks while maintaining a layer of deniability between them and the Russian government, and the software used in these hacking efforts matches software previously identified by the CIA as having been developed by Russian intelligence services for launching cyber attacks like this. In addition, the voter registration databases of two states (Arizona and North Carolina) were hacked in September. This was reported by those states to the FBI before the election. Finally, there is evidence (according to the CIA in published reports) that some of these Russian cyber units were posing as pro-Trump users on many social media websites, posting comments that were favorable to Trump or hostile to Clinton, and helping spread false news stories that benefited Trump and/or were harmful to Clinton. This was basically a massive propaganda campaign to influence public opinion in favor of Trump and against Clinton."
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salemander, it is a fact that there was Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election with the intent of hurting Clinton and helping Trump. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_interference_in_the_2016_United_States_elections
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Showing that I'm either (1) crazy, (2) got too much time on my hands, (3) a glutton for punishment, or (4) a dedicated citizen activist blogger (I like this choice!), I just spent two hours of my remaining lifetime watching a Salem City Council work session on its strategic planning... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Last Monday the Salem City Council unanimously approved an Inclusive City resolution after hearing highly emotional, and also highly reasoned, testimony from 45 citizens -- all but two of whom supported the resolution. Person after person talked about the fear being experienced by both undocumented and documented immigrants after Trump... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
The BBB contacted the Oregonian and asked for a response to my complaint. I heard from the Oregonian that they they wouldn't charge me for the premium editions. But I was more concerned that the Oregonian not charge anybody for them. I believe the BBB case ended when I eventually said that my own personal case had been resolved. I guess the BBB doesn't get involved in what would amount to a "class action" on behalf of many subscribers. Since the Oregonian resolved my individual complaint, this seemed to be the end of what the BBB could do,
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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.) Download Resolution 2017-22 Councilor Cara Kaser said she... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I'm a positive guy. My wife often says, "You don't worry enough." (She does much of my worrying for me, like whether I'm eating enough cruciferous vegetables.) So I would have much preferred to say Yes to the second-try $62 million City of Salem police facility plan than No. But... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Don Pedro, Defoe asked me to remove it. But I've just unpublished it, not deleted it. I've asked Defoe if there is a way to republish the comment, maybe with some editing that he might want. Hopefully this will be possible, because I really like his comment also. I was even thinking of making it into a blog post so more people would read it.
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Here's a little 2,000 + word message, which some might call a rant, that I just emailed to Mayor Bennett, City Manager Powers, Police Chief Moore, city councilors, and other City of Salem officials. I'm trying to help them understand why what the City Council seems poised to do about... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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A sharp-eyed citizen who, like me, loves political irony sent me this screenshot of a transaction filed by the Salem Chamber of Commerce's Create Jobs PAC. This is public information available by searching the Secretary of State's ORESTAR system. As noted in red, on January 18, 2017 the Create Jobs... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Along with my Salem Community Vision colleagues, I'm an avid supporter of the plan SCV released at last Monday's City Council meeting for a new $66 million bond measure that includes $46 million for a 115,000 square foot police facility, plus $20 million for lifesaving seismic retrofitting of City Hall... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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[Update: I've gotten a message from City Manager Steve Powers that is reassuring. He says that all police facility options are still on the table for the February 21 City Council work session. Brian, Thank you for your email. Council has not taken the library and civic center/city hall seismic... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Mayor Bennett is going backwards, truth-telling-wise, on the City of Salem's false contention that there is no plan to toll any of Salem's bridges. Friday I blogged about the original falsity in "'Alternative Facts' in City of Salem Facebook post about 3rd Bridge tolls." Regarding the post on the official... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I've been worried that the Trump administration's love of "alternative facts," otherwise known as falsehoods, would creep into other levels of government such as the City of Salem. Well, today that worry manifested as reality in a post about 3rd Bridge tolling on the City's Facebook page. I was deeply... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Are you ready and willing to pay a $1.50 toll each way to cross the Willamette River between West Salem and the downtown area? I'm sure not. But the Salem City Council is going to vote on this at their meeting on Monday, February 13, 6:oo pm, at City Hall.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2017 at Salem Political Snark