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Wednesday
Mar092016

Douglas County Commissioner Race Loads Up 


By David Jaques

Roseburg, Ore-Within the last two days of the candidate filing deadline for the May 2016 primary election, the field of candidates for Douglas County Board of Commissioners Position 1 doubled, from four to eight, three of the four newcomers filing on March 8, the last day.

This new development seems to accent the drama over the coming election of the next Douglas County Commissioner, after Susan Morgan was first denied ballot access due to the term limits imposed by nearly seventy percent of county voters, who then sued to have the measure overturned and get her name on the ballot, only to then withdraw from the contest altogether.

Morgan, when citing the reason for her withdrawal, claimed that her candidacy might prove to be a distraction due to the controversial lawsuit she had filed against the county clerk. Others speculated that by her going against the seventy percent who supported term limits, polling likely showed she could not win.

Another candidate, Mark Garcia, also withdrew his candidacy this week citing changing priorities in his business plans, and less than hoped for campaign contributions.  Garcia sent out a press release announcing his withdrawal and his endorsement of Gary Leif, who is running his second time for commissioner. Garcia stated; “Gary has years, even decades of service to the people of Douglas County. He's a nice guy, and he's well respected. He shares my vision concerning the role which limited government can play in enabling private sector companies to create jobs and prosperity. So, for these reasons I give Gary Leif my full and unreserved endorsement to be our next County Commissioner.”

The current list of candidates (in order of filing date) is: Gary Leif (9/10/15); Dennis Rogers (10/26/15); Joel “J.D.” Parks (2-4-16); Victoria Hawks (2/25/16); Nancy “Morgan” Lee (3-7-16); Dale Bryson (3-8-16); Dave Leonard (3-8-16); and Ricky “RL” Roberts (3-8-16).

Gary Leif, owner of Leif photography, ran for the county commissioner seat vacated by Doug Robertson’s resignation in 2013, the seat now held by Chris Boice.  In the November 2014 election, Leif, in a four way race, received 38% of the vote to Boice’s 42% garnering 12,514 votes. Leif is registered republican and a resident of Roseburg.

Dennis Rogers, in his first run for public office, lists “Dispensary Manager” as his current occupation. He has a background in sheet metal and was a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 104. In his filing statement Rogers said he “will bring the power back to the people via limited government, lower taxes and fees, and limited regs and ordinances.” Rogers’ voter registration is listed as “non-affiliated” and he is a resident of Roseburg.

Joel “JD” Parks, also a first time candidate, is a musician, and lists Towing and Recovery Operator as his current profession, and has a background in mechanics. He is a founder of the Heirs of Patrick Henry, Northwest, and has been active in local and regional politics and community affairs. Parks is listed as a “non-affiliated” voter and is a resident of Azalea.

Victoria Hawks, the Principal Broker and owner of Hawks and Company Realtors, is a current member of the Roseburg City Council, and the Douglas County Planning Commission. Her past employment includes owner of The Woodmen Firewood Company, and accounting and bookkeeping services for Douglas Electric Co-Op. Hawks is a registered democrat and a resident of Roseburg.   

Nancy “Morgan” Lee lists no previous political office, though she has served on the Coastal Planning Advisory Committee for the past 20 years, an appointed position. She also lists herself as an Investigator/Researcher into government waste, overreach, and abuse of Federal Agencies, especially those that were detrimental to local ranchers, farmers, fisherman, or loggers. Lee is a registered republican and a resident of the Reedsport area.      

Dale Bryson lists as his current occupation, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at UCC, a position he has held since 2004. As prior experience he lists US Navy Civil Service as a Mathematician and Operations Research Analyst. Bryson received his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from U of O. He is registered as a democrat and is a resident of Roseburg.

Dave Leonard lists as his current profession, Engineer. He was formerly the Public Works Director for Douglas County, and a member of Douglas County Industrial Development Board and the Roseburg Airport Commission. Leonard also served on the Douglas County Planning Commission. He is a registered republican and a resident of Winchester.

Ricky “RL” Roberts, is currently retired and did not provide his previous employment experience in his original filing. He is a U.S. Marine Corps Combat Veteran and listed prior training at San Onofre Nuclear Generating station. Roberts is registered as a “non-affiliated” voter, and is a resident of Roseburg.

The candidates for commissioner, a non-partisan office, will appear in numerous public forums between now and the May 17 primary election. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the total votes cast, the top two candidates will face off in the November General Election.

Wednesday
Mar092016

Trumping reason, logic and truth

By Marilyn Kittelman

Perception is reality, or so the saying goes. That has never been more true than today as evidenced by the Presidential election cycle. And should people not like the perception, they just lie and create a new reality. It isn’t true, but who cares, right?

Using the Donald Trump phenomena for the sake of example, consider the perception by the majority (according to what the media tells us) that anyone who doesn’t vote for Trump wants Hillary to win. It isn’t true, but after countless hours of free media coverage, as they extol Trumps virtues and quell any who might state the obvious, the majority of sheeple (people who follow along like sheep) started to believe it. And then they repeat it, and thus the perception is that if Trump doesn’t win it is the fault of everyone but Trump.

Let’s consider actual reality for a moment rather than the perception of such. Using Trump once again, it’s a fact that he had four failed marriages, he publically joked about being sexually attracted to his daughter, he not only supported the practice of killing unborn babies, including those murdered just before birth using the barbaric method of partial birth abortion. He commonly uses foul language, is rude, resorts to name calling during debates, and is disrespectful to women. Plus he’s heavily invested in casinos. Those facts aren’t perception, they are reality.

The perception comes in with groups like Christians for Trump. The facts ought to make Christians run for the hills. But in reality, many are frustrated enough with the current leadership, and enjoy listening to Trump spout off things they wish they had the courage to say, that they will create their own justification as to why, as a Christian, they can still support him.

The reality is that Trump isn’t what he, or his supporters, say he is. The perception is that if they really, really wish it enough he will be that guy. And then there is lying.

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel did a live interview this week with people on the streets of California, dozens of them. He asked if they voted in the ‘Super Tuesday’ Primary on March 1. Person after person he interviewed said they voted that day in California. Several described their polling place, the number of people attending, who they cast a vote for, and numerous other details.

One man was asked if he was charged the customary fee to vote. He said most definitely. How much was he charged - $5 or $10? He said $10.

Another was told that they were giving out a lot of swag this year at the polling places and was asked what she got. She replied, “A really nice coffee mug”.

How did one voter like the new hologram voting machine?  While he did like it, he said he doesn’t really trust all the new technology. Another admitted that voting by just blinking his eyes didn’t install great confidence in the system.

Guess what? All of those interviewed lied! They didn’t imply something. They just looked right at the interviewer and lied through their teeth. How do I know that? Because in the world of reality, where I live, the California primary won’t take place until June 7.

By the way… gifts, inducements, and paying people to vote are all illegal, and there is no such thing as a hologram or blinking to vote machines. That didn’t stop any of the dozens being interviewed to lie without remorse to encourage the perception that they had.

Is it any wonder the public supports and overlooks the actions of some candidates who lie and pretend to be something they are not? Voters want someone like them, not someone honest.

There is a fascinating podcast you can listen to on your phone or computer that my daughter turned me on to this week, there is also a book by the same name “Freakonomics”. It’s quite fascinating and explores real life situations and events from an angle you may not have thought of. Much of what they cover helps you distinguish between reality and the media powered perception we’ve been led to believe.

For instance, we are all conditioned to understand that drinking and driving is bad and dangerous. You could kill yourself or others.

So, true or false? If you are at a bar and overserved, it is safer for you to walk home than drive. Did you answer true? Then you would be wrong! In fact, a scientific study proved that you are actually 8 times safer to drive home drunk than to walk home. Say what? Now before I end up with a raft of hate mail, I am not encouraging you to drink and drive, just stating the facts.

And then there’s prostitution. Before World War II if men wanted sex they got married or paid a prostitute. In the 1930’s one in five men lost their virginity to a prostitute. ‘Ladies of the Night’ were paid well. Contrary to perception, it wasn’t increased policing that hurt prostitutes, it was women’s liberation. When women freed themselves of the social stigmas, they began to give away sexual favors for free. There went the need for men to marry or pay for sex.

Women’s Liberation is a “lose, lose” for women.

To take the show a step further, the perception that life was better for women who were liberated, isn’t true. Men are chastised for complimenting a lady, holding the door for her, and even offering to buy her a meal. And then with the “why buy the cow, when the milk is free” ideology, as mom used to say, fewer women and children in this brave new world have the stability of marriage or both parents in the home.

Perhaps when this election cycle is history and we have a new president, one way or the other, we will be able to start once again to appreciate the truth. But until then, remember if you don’t have the right answer, or it’s boring, it’s okay to just make up a more enjoyable response.

Thursday
Mar032016

Lookingglass Principal tells teacher No Beacon at School!

Lookingglass Or- The principal of Lookingglass Elementary School, Oriole Inkster, told a teacher at her school they were not allowed to read The Roseburg Beacon newspaper in the employee breakroom. The teacher who has asked not to be named in the story, was upset with the demand, and contacted their union representative.

Inkster, when asked, did not deny the teacher’s claim, but refused any further comment. Winston-Dillard School Superintendent, Kevin Miller would not return calls to clarify exactly what took place and what the district’s response to the unusual action on the part of one of their school principals would be.

A representative of the OEA teacher’s union, Bob Sconce, would only say, “The issue was resolved without me doing anything” and added that it was “Done and over with”.

A local Douglas County business owner has, for the past three years, paid for a weekly subscription to be sent to all public schools in Douglas County.  The publication is part of an effort to provide educational resources to all public schools for the benefit of the students and faculty.

The program has been a great success and has received numerous praises from the academic community.

Why Principal Inkster chose her course of action, by attempting to censor what the teachers can read on the school premises is not known. The Beacon will continue the investigation into what the outcome of the incident was, and if a clear direction for the future has been given to teachers at Lookingglass Elementary School.

Thursday
Mar032016

Burglar Picks the Wrong House

Roseburg, Or- An Oakland family was the victim of a burglary on Monday, February 29, at their home located at the 5700 block of Goodrich Highway just outside of the Rice Hill area. Kayla Wehe, a Real Estate broker with Cutting Edge Real Estate got a ride to work that morning because she was unable to drive due to surgery on her ankle the week prior. She left the home about 8:30 am about an hour after her husband Tommy had taken their daughter to pre-school and their son to work with him. 

Tommy arrived home from his morning’s work earlier than usual, at about 10:15 am. That’s when things started happening pretty fast. Then first thing he noticed was his dogs were making a ruckus over something. He then noticed a strange car parked in their driveway. As he approached the late model Toyota Matrix he asked the stranger getting out of the car, “can I help you?” 

The young man, who looked to be in his twenties, responded that he was looking for “Melanie”, to which Wehe said there’s nobody here by that name, nor did the previous owners have anyone by that name.  What was really strange Wehe said was that the guy initially just stared at him blankly, with no expression, when informed nobody was here by that name.  Then he said “the guy was acting really nervous” and said “he was shaking quite a bit”.

Wehe said his car was blocking the man’s retreat through the second of their two gates, so he told him to use the turn around to back to the main road. He then watched as the car went around the corner but never re-emerged, so he went to investigate and the man had got out of the car and was heading back from the Wehe’s front porch, where he apparently had stashed some more “loot” which he was preparing to steal. When Wehe asked him what he was doing now, the stranger asked “could I trouble you for some water?” Wehe told him no, and that he needed to get going. That’s when he noticed the guy was wearing his wife’s Cutting Edge jacket.

Wehe then retrieved his gun from his car and ordered the man to sit down on the floorboard of the car he came in and that he wasn’t to move until the cops get there, having called 911 dispatch. He told 911 that he caught the man stealing and that he was holding him at gunpoint until they get someone out there.

Dispatch called Wehe back immediately and asked if she had heard a child in the background, to which Wehe said yes, it was his young son. Dispatch told him “you need to get away from him immediately!”

Within 3-4 minutes Wehe said there were three marked Douglas County patrol units in his driveway. When he saw them pull up, he put his own gun away and explained to the first deputy that he had held the man at gunpoint until they arrived. The deputy ordered the suspect out of the car and cuffed him and read him his rights before placing him in the back of the patrol unit.

It turns out that Kevin Mark Blair, age 30, was driving a stolen vehicle, the 2015 Toyota, and that he was also wanted in connection with at least two other burglaries in Linn County. The D.C. deputies asked Wehe to identify some of the items in the car that belonged to them, including some pain meds his wife had been given for her surgery the week before.

Blair admitted to scouting out their place for several weeks before his burglary. He has been lodged at the Douglas County jail on charges of; First Degree Burglary, Theft in the 3rd Degree, Possession of a stolen vehicle, Unauthorized use of a stolen vehicle, Unauthorized Possession of a controlled substance, and Criminal Trespass 2nd Degree. These are in addition to outstanding warrants from Linn and Lane counties, according to information provided by Douglas County law enforcement to Wehe.

When asked if he was rattled by the intruder, Wehe, a  Navy veteran, who was a firearms instructor, just smiled and said “not really” and that he was all times comfortable with the situation. He said “this guy picked the wrong redneck”. 

Wednesday
Feb242016

Predicted: Oregon Will Lose 62,700 Jobs Due to Minimum Wage Hike

Photo: Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/Newscom
by Leah Jessen

Oregon state legislators, acting despite the concerns of business groups, have passed a geographically based increase in the minimum wage. Two of the state’s business leaders, speaking to The Daily Signal, say they’re worried about what comes next.

Jason Brandt, president and CEO of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, said he expects “significant, unintended consequences,” adding:

We are deeply concerned about the impact it will have over the next seven years on the cost of food, child care, and other staples that are important to working families.

Brandt said he expects Oregon will lose about 62,700 jobs as a result.

The legislation will hike wages based on geographic location: inside Portland’s urban growth boundary to $14.75 an hour by 2022, $13.50 an hour for urban counties, and $12.50 for rural counties. The minimum wage will rise from the current statewide $9.25 an hour.

“There are very real consequences for these types of huge policy changes, so we’re very concerned,” Anthony K. Smith, Oregon state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, told The Daily Signal.

The state’s House of Representatives passed the bill Thursday with a vote of 32-26, following a five-hour debate, The Oregonian reported. The previous week, the state Senate debated six hours before passing the bill, known as Senate Bill 1532.

Much of the discussion was about “real versus hypothetical,” Smith said.

“When we’re talking to our members that are small businesses here in Oregon, these are not hypothetical,” he said. “These are things that they have to adjust to immediately in order to stay in business. Unfortunately, the reality of a bill like this is that everyone goes into crisis and survival mode.”

Small businesses, Smith said, have “real considerations” to take into account as they move forward:

They’re not going to be talking about ‘What do we do to expand? What do we do to hire more people?’ They’re going to be making some very difficult decisions, none of which are going to help them grow. They have to decide whether to reduce hours for employees, raise prices on customers, make a reduction in their workforce, relocate their business, or maybe even close their doors.

Brandt observed: “It’s really a combination of three things: raising prices, reducing hours, and looking at what layoffs may be necessary given the increase in labor costs.” 

Democrats in the state legislature argued that the minimum wage wasn’t enough to allow someone to be self-sufficient, the Statesman Journal reported.  

“Minimum wage increases aren’t really a political problem; they’re a math problem,” Brandt counters, noting that the typical restaurant owner has a 4-percent profit margin.

“When labor costs shoot up double digits, something absolutely has to give,” he said.

Brandt points to research and examples to Oregon’s north, in Seattle, where restaurants have had to close doors. Seattle’s minimum wage is set to rise to $15 an hour.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, came out in support of the bill, endorsing the measure before it passed and saying she would sign it.

“I started this conversation last fall, bringing stakeholders together to craft a workable proposal; one that gives working families the much-needed wage boost they need, and addresses challenges for businesses and rural economies presented by the two impending ballot measures,” Brown said in a prepared statement Thursday. 

Moving forward, based on the economic study that we had conducted and based on where Oregon currently is … what we’ve done in the legislative process is signed up to really be on the bleeding edge of the minimum wage debate, where we don’t have a lot of information that really is relevant about what is going to happen in Oregon. We don’t think that Oregon should be a state where we experiment and gamble with the state of small businesses.

With higher minimum wages, unintended consequences may include workers losing perks and benefits and problems arising in workplace cultures, Brandt said.

He said workers may have to deal with wage compression issues—where the employee has worked hard for years to get to where he is, then finds himself back making close to minimum wage.

Smith, the spokesman for independent businesses, said the change is shortsighted:

When we’re looking at these types of huge pieces of legislation that impact so many people, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and not look back at where we’ve already been. I think we have enough evidence here, just by looking back at what’s happened here in Oregon over the last 14 years, to say that arbitrarily moving numbers and increasing numbers doesn’t actually solve problems.

Any kind of gain that a worker gets in their salary is a temporary gain, because the labor market and the cost of living will adjust—because that’s how market forces work.

In 2002, Oregon voters passed Measure 25, which required the minimum wage to be adjusted for inflation each year based on the Consumer Price Index.

At the time, Smith recalled, proponents made bold statements that it would take politics out of the issue and that Oregonians who worked full-time wouldn’t have to live in poverty.

“Here we are 14 years later, and this is a highly political, contentious issue, and it didn’t solve our poverty problem,” Smith said. “Now here we are again debating this, and people are saying the exact same things and making the exact same arguments.”

Two ballot initiatives, proposed by 15 Now and the Raise the Wage coalition, also seek to raise Oregon’s minimum wage. The proposals call for increases to $15 an hour and $13.50 an hour, respectively.

“The biggest takeaway is that it’s more important than ever to have a bipartisan plan to make sure that we are opposing the measures that are still slated for the ballot in November,” Brandt said, adding:

Republicans and Democrats really need to stand together in saying, we have made our decision about minimum wage and it’s time to start unifying the state as opposed to dividing it with ballot measures that frankly are very extreme.

© 2016 The Daily Signal/ Heritage Foundation