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March 24, 2007

Discount drugs for all Oregonians

Expansion of Oregon's bulk-purchasing cooperative for prescription drugs has advanced another step. The House Health Care Committee voted Friday to approve Senate Bill 362, which would allow businesses to enroll employees and include the underinsured in the pool. The bill now awaits a vote of the full House, which would then return it to the Senate for action on an emergency clause.


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Impact fees: bad to the bone

In The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths, I suggested that impact fees might sometimes be a good way for cities to pay for the costs of growth. I have since changed my mind. Impact fees are bad under any circumstances. I was persuaded of this when I reviewed housing affordability in urban areas across the country. I realized that the cost of existing homes closely tracks the cost of new homes. So when government regulations or fees increase the cost of new homes, the price of existing homes also rises.


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Oregon Democrats pull out of Iraq

Oregon's four Democratic House members voted Friday for a bill that would force President Bush to bring combat troops home from Iraq next year. "Today is an historic moment for us all," said Rep. Darlene Hooley, D-Ore. "The Congress of the United States is demanding of our president and his administration something that has been missing for the last four years: accountability."


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March 23, 2007

Ask Lake Oswegans

A grassroots citizen organization continues to tweak a ballot measure aimed at giving citizens more power over city spending. The group, Ask Lake Oswegans, made a third pass at filing an initiative petition Friday, making minor changes and clarifications, some requested by city leaders.


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Ex prison food manager wants job back

The lawyer representing former Oregon prison food purchasing manager Fred Monem said his client should get his job back because his firing was based on "hearsay" information. In a March 8 letter to Oregon Corrections Director Max Williams, lawyer David Angeli wrote that the state violated Monem's constitutional rights by depriving him of due process and firing him based on "hearsay" confidential-witness information reported in a federal search warrant affidavit. Angeli called for his client to be reinstated pending the outcome of a federal criminal investigation.


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There was a hearing yesterday on the House bill to eliminate the CIM and the CAM. Almost completely uncontroversial - everybody agreed that it is time to "move beyond" the CIM. What a difference a couple years makes. I ran for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2002, and one of my main issues was ending the CIM. I was opposed on this issue by every education establishment group in the state.


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Another MultCo deputy falls for woman in jail

A grand jury indicted a Multnomah County corrections deputy who acknowledged developing romantic feelings for a female inmate, the second time that's happened in a month. Alexander Wiese, 40, who resigned in November after telling his supervisor that he had fallen for a county inmate, was booked into jail Wednesday night on a charge of official misconduct and released, The Oregonian newspaper reported.


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March 22, 2007

Sandy Rowe pours a round of Kool-Aid

I take as an article of faith that every workaday journalist who blossoms into the supreme editor of a publication demonstrates at some point an ability to write effectively - if not artfully. Unless they can write, how can they judge and edit their staff's copy?


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New housing tax to finance teacher unions

A new proposal floated at the Statehouse on Wednesday may help solve what has been a decades-old impasse over schools' perpetual shortfall. Rather than targeting only new residential construction to pay for schools - an idea that has been repeatedly blocked by the home-building industry - the new proposal would allow school boards to create a tax on residential, commercial and industrial sales that could collect upward of $500 million a year statewide.


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Hood River County: Arbirtrarily Anti-M37

Advocate accuses county of Measure 37 unfairness

Planning consultant Steven Andersen is urging his Measure 37 clients to file a lawsuit against "arbitrary" action taken by the Hood River County Commission on Monday.

Andersen, the owner of Cascade Planning Associates, said he waited in vain during the regular meeting for the elected body to address a question of legality. He had challenged the county’s decision to double the cost of fees for processing land use applications resulting from a successful Measure 37 claim.


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Portland City Council: Be nice to Iran

Portland City Council passes Iran resolution

The Portland City Council unanimously passed a resolution regarding relations between the United States and Iran Wednesday.

By a vote of 4-0, the council passed a resolution to "urge the federal government to seek positive diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States of America instead of escalating tension."


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PPS pays for news stories and placement

Spreading the Good News

It appears that a smaller instance of this questionable practice occurred at Portland Public Schools. WW has learned that the school district agreed to pay $4,000 to a local writer to pen good-news articles and place them in regional and national publications.

WW learned of the arrangement while reviewing old meeting agendas of the Portland School Board. A small notation in the back of an April 2006 agenda outlines the terms of the contract this way: "Contractor will write and research up to two news articles per month for Communications Department, and assist in placement of articles in regional and national media and trade publications." The contract ran from April to July 2006.


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Fake pro-war protester tests tolerance

About 15,000 Portlanders spent last Sunday afternoon rallying against the war in Iraq. I know of only three people who came out to support the war. I know, because I was one of them.

Carrying a Day-Glo orange sign that said, "Osama loves PDX liberals" and "Real Americans don't cut and run," I posed as a war supporter who wandered into a sea of war opponents at the rally March 18 in the South Park Blocks.


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Finance violations filed v. 2 House Democrats

Vance Day, Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, today filed complaints with the Secretary of State and the Chief Clerk of the House regarding illegal political contributions received by Representative Chris Edwards (D-Eugene) and Representative David Edwards (D-Hillsboro).

Over the past few weeks Our Oregon has been actively calling and sending post cards in support of the two Edwards. Our Oregon's efforts amount to a political contribution to both Chris and David Edwards - contributions which are illegal during legislative session.


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Postal pot peddler linked to Lake Oswego

A Vernonia man accused of peddling pot from a mail truck allegedly made at least one delivery to a Lake Oswego minor. Ronald "Rick" Berkan Jr., 46, a U.S. Postal Service worker, was arrested by state and federal law enforcement officials last Thursday on suspicion of dealing marijuana to two teen-agers, one on his Cedar Mill mail route and the other in Lake Oswego.


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Portland's patron saint of narcotics

Statues of Jesús Malverde are selling like hotcakes in East Portland—as well as aerosols, trading cards, and candles emblazoned with his picture. Dressed in his distinctive white suit, with a prominent moustache, he's either the patron saint of narcotics, or the Mexican Robin Hood ... depending on whom you're talking to, and why you're asking. Some people even believe having one of these statues close by makes their stash of drugs invisible—which is just fine, if you happen to be a cop.


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Oregon taxes going up again

Lawmakers look to raise the corporate minimum tax

Lawmakers in Salem are starting over on a proposed overhaul of the state's corporate minimum tax, after plans to link a revamped version of it with a bill creating a new rainy day fund blew up in legislators' faces. The previous plan, which would have required corporations to pay up to $50,000, based on a sliding scale, infuriated the business community and was hastily withdrawn.


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Oregon House pulls troops from Iraq

Oregon House backs troop withdrawal resolution

After two hours of emotional debate, which included one lawmaker reading the names of Oregonians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Oregon House backed a resolution Tuesday urging President Bush and Congress to withdraw troops from Iraq as soon as possible.


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WWeek named spokesperson for The Oregonian

Changes at The Oregonian

Close observers of The Oregonian's power scorecard (the list of top management published on the daily's editorial page) noticed a change over the weekend. Off the list, as one of the paper's three managing editors, is Jack Hart, longtime writing coach. On the list is Michael Arrieta-Walden, whose track record includes a stint as the paper's public editor.


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Oregon Lottery promotes 8th graders' sex

Youth gambling's effects no surprise

The folks at the Oregon Department of Human Services say they are shocked - shocked - by the results of a new study that indicate middle school students who gamble are far more likely to dabble in other risky behavior later in life.


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Oregon newsprint recycler to close

An Oregon-based company that recycles newsprint is poised to close its Pomona operation in the face of rising waste paper and energy prices and dwindling demand for its product. (sgvtribune.com)

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