On Monday we lost a great, conservative county commissioner and replaced him with a moderate politician. Kelly Minty-Morris was sworn into office on Monday as the next Klamath County Commissioner. Even though the Commissioner seats are now non-partisan, as a Republican Minty-Morris joins two other Republicans in office: Jim Bellet and Tom Mallams.
We see this change from Linthicum to Minty-Morris as an unfortunate setback for conservative values in government. Linthicum continually opposed ballot measures that restricted the people’s liberty and/or raised taxes (which if you think for a moment are one in the same). He fought hard to make government do with less, so that the people could do more. However, the three commissioners now in office (for the next two years) may claim they hold these same principles, but in practice it is far less certain.
Three reasons to worry:
- The County School Bond measure
- The City School Bond measure
- The OSU Extension Service ballot measure set for the May 2015 election.
Concerning the two school ballot measures, Commissioner Bellet was an advocate, while Commissioner Mallams sat on his hands, saying nothing. Mallams was supposedly neutral. But is that what you want in a commissioner someone who avoids tough decisions that directly effect every citizen in the county, or would you rather have someone with the guts and principle to state their opinion? Only Linthicum vocally opposed both measures and made several speaches why these measures were a poor choice for our community. (Note - If you are confused on this — that you think Linthicum hates educating children — then please take a moment to educate yourself by reading this post on the subject.)
About the OSU Extension Service ballot measure appearing on your ballot this May — we can thank Team Bellet and Mallams for putting this little dod-dad up for a vote. You see the proponents of raising your taxes for this “valuable” service could not get enough signatures on their own (meaning they could not get enough citizens to support their cause). In turn they cried to the commissioners, and Bellet and Mallams, who “felt their pain”, put it on the ballot despite an overwhelming majority of the people saying no. You see, these Commissioners apparently know what‘s best for the rest of us. When we say no, they say yes.
Now Minty-Morris joins this wishy-washy crew. Here are a few quotes by Minty-Morris from a recent Herald and News interview:
“I’m going to be like a dog with a bone on improving economic development and the job outlook in our community,”
“I think we need to be singularly focused on improving our economy here,” she said. “Providing more jobs, more economic opportunity, helping our small businesses.”
“I think Klamath County has so much potential. I believe we have everything in this community that we need to be even more successful. It’s just a matter of strategic partnerships and aligning our resources and just getting everyone to believe what many of us know. Klamath County is the greatest place to live.”
Sounds pretty good, right? But that’s what politicians do... they always sound good. It is part of the trade. Now, I do agree with Minty-Morris that the local economy should be a major priority. We continue to have near or above 10% unemployment, not to mention all the underemployment. While other parts of the State have recovered from 2008’s economic collapse, Klamath County is certainly not one of those areas. A quick walk down Main Street in Klamath Falls is about all you need to see in order to understand Klamath County’s economic circumstances.
That said, Minty-Morris is intentionally vague on how she plans to accomplish her goals. While her ideals are noble, the devil is in the details. Knowing a bit of her background and having heard her talk on several occasions, I can say with confidence that Minty-Morris is not a conservative. She may be a Republican, but she is certainly not a conservative. I highly doubt her economic plan involves lessening the influence of government in any shape or form. Instead her plan will most likely involve finding State and Federal programs to subsidize certain economic activities. Her plan could even call for increasing taxes on all to favor a few (that is what the school building projects are all about by the way). I doubt you will ever hear Minty-Morris stand against a school bond measure, or a parks measure, or a airport measure, or a public safety measure, or.... Her economic plan is likely to always involve government as the centerpiece of any “benefit” to the community, and that is just the opposite of how the man who occupied her chair before her operated.
Why am I guessing what her economic plan will be for the rest of us? Why didn’t she just explain it plainly during her campaign? That is exactly what worries me. People going to political office who can spout platitudes without details should worry you as well. We have an entire class of citizens in office that operate that way and are exactly why we are in the economic mess we face today as a community, a state and as a nation.
What exactly Kelly Minty-Morris is will quickly unfold during her next four years in office. But what we know right now is — she is not a conservative. I hope for the best and wish to see Minty-Morris do good things for the community, like lower taxes and decrease regulation (both which would attract new business). However, while I can certainly hope for the best, there is one lesson from history that I understand far too well — moderates and liberals are more often about what is best for their political agenda than the overall well being of the citizens they serve.