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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 20, 2003 12:01 AM. The previous post in this blog was Like I said (only better). The next post in this blog is A year ago tonight. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Priority item

Just ask the members of the Legislature, and they'll tell you how busy they are. Busy. busy, busy. So many important, difficult issues. No time for anything but the most crucial matters.

Making sure their own relatives can take gifts from strangers appears to be too momentous an issue to pass up, however.

Yesterday, the Legislature passed a bill that relaxes the ethics rules that apply to legislators, and other public officials, in the state. The vote in the House was along party lines, with all the Democrats voting no. The earlier vote in the Senate, however, was something like 24-5.

There's a lot of smoke being blown about how this bill just conforms to what some Marion County judge said in a recent case, but stripped of the malarkey, it does all of the following, and more:

1. Lobbyists and other interest groups could pay for relatives of public officials to accompany the officials on "public business." Currently, such gifts are limited to $100 per relative per year.

2. Public officials and their relatives could accept unlimited gifts from individuals with no "perceived legislative or administrative interest." Currently the $100-a-year cap applies here, too.

3. Cities, counties and state agencies could make their own rules about personal use of cell phones, frequent flier miles, and other perks. Currently there are uniform statewide regulations about this.

Coupled with the new bill is a major de-funding of the state Government Standards and Practices Commission, which is the state's primary ethics enforcement agency. Already largely toothless, this commission just had its last bicuspid knocked out with new budget cutbacks. They're a done deal.

We're still reeling from revelations that our legislative solons like to take trips to resorts on thinly veiled vacations and charge them to the taxpayers. Now they'll just have the lobbyists pay. And they'll take the spouses along, too.

People in Oregon are so naive when it comes to corruption in politics and government. They're just convinced that it can't, and doesn't, happen here. As if somehow the Beaver State had a grant of immunity from the vices of human nature.

Yeah, right.

Earth to Salem: Giving or taking a bribe is not free speech.

As of Monday, Governor Ted was saying he'd sign the bill. After it made front-page news in the Tuesday Oregonian, however, he said he wasn't sure what he'd do.

I'll tell you what you should do, Governor. Show some backbone and veto this sleaze.

UPDATE, 8/23, 5:02 pm: For what it's worth, the editorial board of The Oregonian totally agrees with me.

Comments (2)

HTML Error
You have an artifact left over from your blog move.

1) Go to http://bojack.blogspot.com/.
2) A link there will send you to (not the new blog) but a page on the new site. This page is http://bojack.org/index.htm (the index.htm is important).
3) On that index.htm page, the “My weblog” link will send you back to http://bojack.blogspot.com/.


There are 2 possible fixes for this:
1) Change the link on http://bojack.blogspot.com/ to point to http://bojack.org/, and not http://bojack.org/index.htm., or
2) Change the “My Weblog” link to point to http://bojack.org/, as opposed to http://bojack.blogspot.com/.

Enjoy.


PS: Is there anyway you can set the comments script to not remove my HTML markups?
It seems to kill my formating additions (bold, paragraph, ordered lists, etc.) and instead add the hyperlinks.

I've reset my MT preferences to allow HTML markup in comments -- at least until I find out that's a bad thing.

As for the link to the old blog, that was the whole idea. The post was, at the time, telling readers to go back to the old blog, because there was nothing yet on the new one.

I'm going to leave it that way for now, for historical value. It's an artifact, but a good one.




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