The political landscape has changed over the last six years. In 2008 we saw Barack Obama become our first black President — or in politically correct terms — our first African-American President. It used to be that if Republicans held a majority in the House, the Senate or the White House we could be assured that left-wing agendas would not go through. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. Many of the old-guard Republicans are really Democrat Light. Some other names used are RINO (Republican In Name Only) as well as Establishment Republicans.
These Establishment Republicans have been on the hill for quite some time and have grown accustom to the cushy lifestyle afforded to members of Congress. They spend far more time in DC that in their districts or states. Their number one goal: get re-elected. However, they also know much of the the electorate is busy with their own lives and forgetful. Therefore they can often say one thing in their district and states and do the opposite in DC.
For example, does anyone know what amendment failed to pass Congress that drastically effects everyone's life in the United States? That would be the Amash-Conyers Amendment of July 2013, which would have prevented the National Security Agency from using the Patriot Act to collect phone records of individuals who aren’t under investigation. In other words, if passed, this amendment would have stopped the NSA from spying on American's without a warrant. In plain English it would've stopped the U.S. Government from violating the 4th Amendment.
Today the Herald and News reported that the Klamath Community College Bond measure failed 55% - 44%. This is good news for all Klamath County businesses. However the fight is not over. There are other bond measures looming in the not too distant future: City Parks, Airport and Public Safety to name a few.
It is not that I am against any of these things. What I am against is the fact year after year public employees get raises, irregardless to the economic circumstances around them. For the most part they have total job security and health and retirement benefits that an entrepreneur can only dream about. This model is unsustainable. When the government continually asks for more money, it is because their budgets are gobbled up more and more by payroll and benefits rather than on the programs they promise to deliver.
If you think I am wrong, tell me why in 2001 (during a recession) the county could afford to keep county jail pods A, B and C open but today they scrap by to keep just two open? If you look at the salary and benefits costs between 2001 and 2013 you would be amazed at how much more we citizens are paying for less service. And it isn't just the jail — it is every part of government.
Don't forget to vote. Tomorrow is your last day to turn in your ballot for the Klamath Community College Bond measure (18-92). We urge a No vote and here is why. At this point, any vote for a NEW tax, no matter what is for — public safety, public parks, the airport, schools, college improvements — is a statement that you agree that government doesn't have enough money and it needs more. Yes, it is that simple. It also affirms the belief that government officials do not need to make tough choices about their current budgets, they just need to raise more money by taxing us higher and higher.
What Dr. Gutierrez wants to do with new programs at the community college is probably a good idea. However, instead of asking the tax payer to give the college more money, he should make the same choices that the rest of us have to make — re-prioritize how KCC funds their programs to get what he wants. It is not that the Community College doesn't have any money. And it would be foolish to think that any form of government is using all the dollars they do have most efficiently, If you don't think so, you should learn how much Dr. Gutierrez and his staff take home each year. It is nearly 3x the average salary in the Basin. If you overspend on yourselves, then you don't get to cry that you don't have money to expand the college to what you want to do. This government got-to-have-it-all mentality is why the Basin's economy is in the tank. The more you take from the private sector, the less wealth there is to create new wealth (the private sector, not the public, is the one that takes real risks with capital and makes more wealth to the benefit of the community).
Today, Klamath County Commissioner Dennis LInthicum announced his bid to represent the 2nd congressional district in Oregon. According to Linthicum's press release:
Dennis Linthicum was first elected to County Commissioner by unseating fellow republican and four-term incumbent John Elliott in 2010. Linthicum announced on September 17th that he was forming a congressional exploratory committee.
Klamath County Commissioner Dennis LInthicum launched an exploratory website today. The site is a simple one page website that aims to collect feedback from voters on whether he should run and if so what issues are most important to people in the district.
On September 17th Linthicum announced he was forming and exploratory committee in order to decide whether the challenge eight term incumbent Greg Walden.
Visit the site at Dennis2014.com
According to OregonLive.com, Congressman Greg Walden issued the following statement on Monday about the KBRA:
Finally, we now know where Mr. Walden stands. The KBRA/KHSA has been the defining issue in Klamath politics for at least the last four years. It is how three County Commissioners were replaced (who were pro KBRA) by unknown challengers (all opposing the KBRA). It is the issue that has elected two State Representatives and a State Senator in the Klamath Basin..
SEPTEMBER 17, 2013
KLAMATH FALLS, ORE. - Today, Constitution Day, at the Klamath County Commissioner’s Weekly Public Meeting, Dennis Linthicum announced his intention to explore pursuing the U.S. Representative position in Oregon’s Second District.
“After talking to the people of Klamath County and surrounding areas, I’m convinced that those in the 2nd District of Oregon are looking for leadership and strong, Constitutionally conservative values,” Commissioner Dennis Linthicum said before the meeting. “Our economy is struggling and, at the county level, I see every day how individuals, families and businesses are impacted by bad policies and tone-deaf regulation. My goal with this exploratory effort is not to turn away from Klamath County’s issues, but to be able to represent them, and other counties in the 2nd District, in a more substantial way at the Federal level.”
It’s sad when the country is going south and everyone can see it going south. What's worse is when the people you elect to congress continue to play “politics as usual” with the voters. Last month, Congressman Greg Walden had a four weeks to spend in our district to meet with the people. Most people call these types of a meeting a “Town Hall” — where the Congressman gets to say a few words about his activity and then field un-scripted questions from voters. It’s about the only chance most voters get to interact with the elected representative.
While Mr. Walden did spend six days touring eight cities central and southern Oregon, he did not hold any Town Halls. Instead his schedule was filled with only meeting particular groups who were going to get something from the Congressman or predictably going to give him positive headlines from the local media. After looking through this list, ask yourself if YOU were invited to any of these meetings?
Lack of Leadership
My Dad used to say that you can often learn more about a man by observing what he doesn't say rather than what he does say. Our country is in peril and Mr. Walden spent his time in the district not only meeting with people who were welcoming to his visit but also only on topics where he looks good.
When our daughter returned from the campground restroom she tried her best to tell us what she had just seen and heard. It took a while for her giggles to refrain into intelligible words and I must say that along the way her breathless laughter became really, really contagious. Just like the majority of U.S. Senators and media types when the current president speaks, we had no clue as to what we were so convulsively happy about. But that lack of wisdom did not quench our giddiness.
What had actually happened was that as she neared her destination she detected both male and female voices enthusiastically arising from the ladies side of the outdoorsie facility. Upon cautiously entering, therein she discovered two twenty somethings busily fidgeting to get just the right long lens, tripoded, really nice camera shot in the gloomy incandescent toilet room light. As it turned out though the subject was a large plastic spider. Yet to the environmentally sensitive superior and fair minded city folk it was an amazing and possibly undiscovered spidey species.
I knew instantly what she was referring to as there was a matching obviously plastic representation on the fellow’s side. I was wishing that I had been the one to think of that prankish deception. Those in attendance were surprised if not unconvinced that I was not the perpetrator.
The most divisive issue in Klamath County is the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement. You will be hard pressed to find someone who either doesn't know anything about it or doesn't have an opinion about it — well except Congressman Greg Walden.
In both 2010 and 2012, three county commissioners were not re-elected because they stood for the KBRA — Elliott, Switzer and Hukill. They were replaced by three commissioners who stand strongly opposed to the KBRA — Linthicum, Mallams and Bellet. State Representative Bill Girard was elected in 2010. He was anti-KBRA. His 2012 replacement, Gail Whitsett is also publicly against the KBRA, while her opponent was a big supporter for it (he lost). Then there is the State Senate seat held by Doug Whitsett — and as you guessed it — he too is against the implementation of the KBRA.