On The Issues

Introduction
Resume
Issues
Summary

An Introduction

‘A New Beginning’ struck me as a theme.

  • It’s new for me personally as this is my first pursuit of an elected office.
  • New, as in looking at things through different eyes and seeking different ways to accomplish good.
  • Perhaps most significantly, new in the sense of seeking a renewal of the Oregon spirit which has been steadily eroding away for many years now.

My personal worldview holds honesty and integrity as fundamental values. I endeavor to be trustworthy and hold to what I say. I tend to be a doer rather than a talker.

My preferred decision-making approach is to hear all sides of an issue and ruminate on what I have heard before deciding; looking for enhancements or holes to fill before finally determining the matter. That said, I can react quickly if the situation requires, using the guidance I received years ago from a former employer, then Corvallis Fire Chief, Gary Hill, which went something like this:

‘In an emergency, one can’t take time to search for the perfect solution; you make the best decision you can based on the information at hand and go forward.’

A Little Resume Summary for Context

It seems right to put a little context in front of the concerns listed below.

I routinely commuted to work on MAX Light Rail for over ten years prior to my retirement in 2017. In addition, I would often bike part of that commute.

I was mentored in sustainable practices by a coworker named Cheryl, who happened to be a highly respected subject matter expert in the water utility industry. A subset of my professional life involved management of my employer’s fleet, of which over half our fuel consumption was from alternative/renewable sources; and we had both electric and hybrid vehicles in specific applications. Our buildings were about 20% solar powered and I was directly involved in a major LEED certified building remodel.

I wrote policies and plans, dealt with risk management, led emergency management, and held the highest level of certification for my aspect of the water industry. Although my employer was one of the largest of its kind in the State, it was still a relatively small agency which meant exposure to a wide variety of experiences.

To the Issues

My initial thought was to get detailed here but, in the end, brevity seemed more prudent.

At the risk of sounding harsh, I think it’s fair to lay the following issues at the feet of our current State leadership which seems to have become a myopic, group-think force focused so narrowly on their idolized political dogma, they have disconnected from the realities of our communities.

What the current leadership has provided and where changes need to be explored:

  • Communities with rampant homelessness
    • Obviously an issue with multiple causes, for which the current State government doesn’t enough care about or else, under the current paradigm, doesn’t know how to address.
  • Grossly oversubscribed roads and highways
    • If one encourages industry to move into the State, it would be nice if the obvious consequences would also be considered. I’m not a fan of the new highways, but there must be an effective way to move goods, services, and people between cities and across the state. For the foreseeable future, that mechanism is on roads.
  • Loss of confidence in the public school system
    • I’ve noticed a trend of people trying to leave the public school system in search of ‘safer’ options. Perhaps the current paradigm isn’t as inclusive as it purports to be.
  • Ineffective and unsafe mass transit
    • Despite the overcrowded roads, the MAX is still a slow way to get between two points despite the billions spent on it. I have observed some of the stations seem to be preferred gathering points for some very seedy people which causes me to question whether MAX might be as much a multi-billion dollar homeless shelter as a service for the everyday people trying to commute.
  • Meaningless environmental grandstanding
    • How much legislative time and money was put into banning straws and requiring a 5 cent fee (hard not to call it a tax since it’s government imposed) on paper bags. Our landfills are already pretty tightly regulated. It’s hard to see how Oregon straws are escaping into the oceans; but if they were, one would think you’d see them sprouting up along the banks of the Columbia first. When the State passes legislation, it would be nice if it were actually meaningful.
  • Regarding COVID-19
    • When COVID was first coming into view I took a conservative approach with my comments. I wanted to support our State government as they worked to sort things out and give them time to get their programs in place.

      Now with some passage of time I’ll be a little more candid. Part of my professional responsibilities touched on emergency management. When COVID broke as the big news item I watched to see how Oregon’s State Leadership would handle it. What I expected to see was Resolve and Determination as they strove to guide a path forward.

      What I saw was Fear and Reactionism. What evolved from there has been chaotic games of moving boundaries, double standards, parroting approaches of other states with different circumstances, and finally weaponizing COVID to cast political blame on others. (When it comes to the blame game, keep in mind that emergency management starts locally and works up, not from the Federal government down)
  • Regarding Diversity:
    • On this issue, coming up with something concise has been a struggle. Every approach I took was looking to be three to five pages; so, I came to this:

      A number of our relatives have married spouses of different ethnicities.  When we are together as family, we think of each other as family, we love each other as family.  It’s our common shared experiences that we focus on, not our skin tones or differing cultural histories.  

      We have had friends and acquaintances of different ethnicities stay in our home, some for extended periods.  Again, it was shared common experiences that brought us together.  In some cases where there have been different cultural backgrounds, the common foundation of friendship created avenues for learning and appreciating new things.

      The current “racial” focus in Portland and other areas seems centered on magnifying differences, which is how you divide and alienate people, not bring them together.

      I’m not suggesting the world is perfect.  I’m simply suggesting that fostering racial animosity tears communities down, where seeking commonality, and encouraging ‘brotherly love’ builds them up.

Although, clearly not an exhaustive list, these are the overarching themes which have caught my attention and I hope to address if I am elected.

Summary

My desire is to be a grass roots representative of people living in our communities of Cornelius, Forest Grove, and Hillsboro along with their immediate surroundings.

Simply put, I believe the pendulum has swung too far in one direction and it’s time for a New Beginning.