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Blogger Brian
Salem, Oregon
Recent Activity
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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 --... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Salem Political Snark
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Our nation has a reality-denying president in Donald Trump. Among other things that are objectively true, yet not to his tiny mind, he believes global warming is a hoax. The last thing Salem needs is Trumpian City officials who refuse to accept the scientific consensus that global warming is happening,... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Yesterday's approval by the House of the dreadful TrumpCare replacement for the Affordable Care Act made me think: we've got to fight this sort of political craziness not only nationally, but also locally. Understand, I'm not at all denying the need for us here in Salem to support the resistance... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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If you like political underdogs, you should love the Salem Can Do Better campaign I'm leading against the second-try $62 million police facility bond, Measure 24-420 on the May ballot. I just checked. The YES campaign being run by Friends of Salem Police has raised $114,750. The Salem Can Do... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Ken, oops... yes, I did intend to say March. Which I've now said in an edited post. Thanks for catching this.
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Rosemary, seemingly you should be near the end of the window pecking. However, the robins may have two broods. I found this web page that says pecking can occur from May until early August, though like you, we've found that robin pecking can begin in April. http://www.massaudubon.org/learn/nature-wildlife/birds/birds-attacking-windows We have a robin nesting in a bush close to our front door, as happened in the same place last year, but fortunately we haven't had any window pecking.
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Dirty little secrets deserve to be broadcast to the world when this is in the public interest. At last night's City Council meeting I was pleased to play a part in revealing something that the folks at City Hall have been trying to hide as best they could: The main... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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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. Or, as I like to call it, the Billion Dollar Boondoggle. The Statesman Journal has some good reporting on tonight's 5-4 vote... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Last Friday I enjoyed hearing Oregon State Senator Ginny Burdick and Sara Batterby, CEO of HiFi Farms and a founding chair of Women Grow, update a Salem City Club audience about what's happening with marijuana in this state. West Salem Cannabis had a display set up in an adjoining room.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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As reported by the Salem Breakfast on Bikes blog, a new downtown group has been formed -- the Salem Main Street Association. On Thursday the 20th, the nascent Salem "Main Street" project is going to have something of an Open House at the Ike Box. I'm planning to attend the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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I'm a proud citizen activist. Like many other progressives in this town, I do my best to -- no big surprise -- bring about progress in Salem. This takes optimism, positivity, a conviction that people working together can overcome obstacles to change. Every day I have fresh ideas about what... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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In every Oregon legislative session there are some land use bills introduced which make me think, "How the heck did this turkey legislation get hatched?" Case in point for 2017 is SB 1024, which I've heard is supposed to address the affordable housing crisis. Except, it doesn't. Not at all.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
Tom, I've edited the post to make it clear that you ALWAYS ride your bicycle to City Council meetings. I do feel the need to point out something that, you, as an attorney, should be well aware of: as a public official you have now entered into a contract of sorts with Salem citizens. "I will ALWAYS ride my bicycle to City Council meetings." Believe me, watching eyes will now be keeping a close look on you the next time there is a significant snow/ice storm on the day of a City Council meeting. If Councilor Tom Andersen is seen walking or driving to the meeting, he will be at considerable risk of being demoted from his #1 position on the official Strange Up Salem "Who is the strangest of them all?" City Council rankings. (Unless, of course, I change my mind on a whim, like our so-called President Trump.)
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Being the founder of Strange Up Salem -- which has morphed from a regular column in Salem Weekly to a popular Facebook page -- I figure nobody in this town is more qualified than me to take on an awesomely important task: Rank the nine members of the Salem City... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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TO: Kristin Retherford City of Salem Urban Development Director, and Chair, Downtown Salem Streetscape Committee FROM: Brian Hines RE: Thoughts about transforming downtown Salem through a Streetscape Project Kristin, I'm super-enthused about what your Streetscape Committee is doing. Carole Smith, one of the members, has shared her synopsis of the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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Here's another reason to vote against Measure 24-420, the second-try $62 million police facility bond measure on the May 2017 ballot: Building a police facility in the north downtown area (on the old DeLon/O'Brien auto dealership site) goes against longstanding plans for how this area should be developed. Salem Can... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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If this is how ex-Salem city councilor Daniel Benjamin is working on rehabilitating his image after being unanimously censured by the Ciry Council for racial insensitivity on Facebook, he needs to rethink his approach. Below is a video of a recent pro-Trump rally at the Capitol that drew counter-protesters to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
I'm fine with that challenge, Jim. Assuming I'm sufficiently under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or, ideally, both.
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Nationally, politics is really divisive. Less so in Oregon. Here in Salem, we're kind of at a middling state of political tension. Intense nastiness rarely is overt, but under the surface irritations fester. Conservatives, progressives, and everybody in-between (or something else) never are going to hold hands and sing kumbaya... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2017 at Salem Political Snark
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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 Mar 27, 2017 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 Mar 22, 2017 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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