Subscribe to get tough, fair journalism seven days a week.
Subscribe today

Month: August 2012

Study could make case for expanded city limits

KEIZERTIMES/File Photo

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Only 7 percent of the Keizer labor force actually works in the city where they live.

A local economic opportunities analysis aims to provide specific suggestions for raising that number – and the final recommendations could conclude that the city simply doesn’t have the available land to make that happen.

Nine in 10 people leaving the city daily to work is hardly uncommon among bedroom communities, said Jerry Johnson, principal at Johnson Reid. His firm is contracted to perform the analysis, with help from a local task force.

“Most places really do aspire to become more balanced between jobs and housing, particularly in a property tax-reliant state like Oregon,” Johnson said.

He explained states and communities with sales taxes are able to capitalize better on residential areas, but that homes tend to need lots of services, but pay much less in taxes than commercial and industrial properties.

The task force’s first meeting was Wednesday evening, after press deadline. Sam Litke, the city’s senior planner, said the study will include recommendations for land needed to shift towards a more balanced local economy.

“At the conclusion of the study, I think there will need to be a discussion of expanding the urban growth boundary,” Litke said. “The regional analysis points in that direction.”

Part of the process is identifying community traits that could either hurt or help in recruiting business.

One obstacle both Keizer and Salem face are a higher rate of people older than 25 who do not have a high school diploma. In Keizer it’s 13 percent, while the state average is just 5 percent, according to the consultant’s findings.

“If I am attracting highly-educated people for a workforce, they’re people who clearly value education and are paying attention to the system for their family as well,” Johnson said, adding such a statistic doesn’t necessarily reflect on the local school system, but can create perception problems.

Johnson said attracting medical facilities is a realistic goal for Keizer.

“While you’re a bedroom community, that’s a sector that orients to where the residents live,” he said. “…It’s viable and plausible while providing great employment and good services.”

Litke said it makes sense not to compete with Salem, but to find a niche.

Check out the entire presentation below.



Jobless number growing

Unemployment in the Salem area rose in July to 9.3 percent.

That represents a 0.3 percent increase from the June rate of 9 percent, and is higher than the statewide seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 8.7 percent.

Some 18,789 people were considered unemployed in a labor force of 198,661 for the month. About 1,146 less people are unemployed than in July 2011, according to the Oregon Employment Department. Total nonfarm employment is up 400 jobs since July 2011. The private sector added 600 positions in that time, with government jobs falling by 200.

However, in the past month area employment fell by 1,200 jobs – much larger than the typical July job decline of about 500 jobs.

In key industries:

• Manufacturing has shed 600 jobs in the past 12 months, but added 1,000 positions in the past month, 800 of those in food processing.

• Professional and business services added 200 jobs.

• Leisure and hospitality also added 200 positions.

• Construction gained 500 jobs in July – a normal occurrence for this time of year. The industry has lost 600 jobs in the past year.

Middle school is key

There are few times as promising as the first day of school. Children entering first grade are aglow with both apprehension and excitement; their parents are proud of their little ones who are growing up.

Teens entering high school are staring their final four years of primary education in the face. Freshmen will have many opportunties at their new school to carve out their own niche, both educationally and extra-curricularly.

The students entering their first year of middle school are a different breed altogether. They are taking their first step of a path that will  transfrom them from child to teenager. The anticpation was palpable as incoming sixth-graders were oriented to Whiteaker Middle School this week. More than 200 kids spent most of the day on Monday learning about the rules and regulations, location of classrooms, schedules, and how to use a combination lock for their lockers.

As exciting as it is for the incoming middle schoolers, it is also a time to realize that this the time when we can get kids hooked on learning. In grade school children learn the basics that are used to build their knowledge in middle school. Middle school is the place to instill, if not a love, then the joy of learning.

Middle school is when kids learn about teamwork and cooperation. Extracurricular activities start to play a larger role in their lives, be it athletics, choir, band or some other activity. We must not forget that their education is job number one.

Children really have only two jobs:  get an education and see how far they can bend the rules.  It’s been that way forever. It is society’s duty to assure that not only do our children receive a quality education, but that they are engaged in that education. Everyone learns in their own way and at their own pace; this becomes especially important in middle school.

It should be a never-ending mission to work to maintain a child’s enthusiasm for school from the first day in middle school right through graduation from high school.

The kids at this week’s Whiteaker Middle School orientation (called Wolverine Camp for the school’s mascot) were attentive and eager. Boys and girls alike were eager to answer questions about themselves. They were attentive to the directions of teachers and the principal Laura Perez.

Next week kids will enter middle school life. Wolverine Camp is designed to make the transition from grade school easier. Today they are children; by time they leave in three years they will be teenagers. If all of us grown-ups do it right those kids will also leave wanting to learn more and more.   —LAZ

Unbiased review of film available

To the Editor:

It is amazing to me how many people are ready to believe what they want to believe.  For a relatively unbiased report about Obama: America 2016, I suggest that you read the Washington Post August 24 critic’s review of this 1 1/2 star “infomercial for the far right.”

Art Burr
Keizer

Black Tornadoes will be first test for refreshed Celtic team

Grant Taylor attempts to drag down running back Brett Hildebrand during an offense/defense scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 25. (Photo by J&H Photo)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

On Friday, Aug. 31, Isaac Parker will find out if all he’s been hearing about is true.

“I keep hearing that they’re gamers,” said Parker, McNary High School head football coach. “They might underimpress you at practice, but they have a good knack and feel for game situations. Some kids that might blend in during the week can really shine during the game.”

The Celtics square off with the North Medford High School Black Tornadoes in Medford for their first contest of the season.

Parker admits his offense looked a bit squishy during a offense/defense scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 25, but he’s got a lot of faith in new quarterback Hayden Gosling (6-1 170), a junior.

“He wasn’t at his peak in the scrimmage we had last week, but he was upfront and said he had the cobwebs and the jitters out and he was ready to go,” Parker said.

Gosling didn’t play last year but was part of an undefeated Celtic freshman team.

Fans should expect a revamped offensive scheme when the Celts hit the field. Parker is attempting a shift to a run-first offense that will look and feel much different than the passing game that has long been a Celtic standard.

“A successful play in the past was a 20-yard pass and a successful play in the new offense might be a five-yard run,” Parker said.

Last season’s go-to running back Cody Bond has been moved to wide receiver and Brett Hildebrand will likely be the team’s workhorse in the new scheme.

While the offense is still fine-tuning it’s plays, Parker said he’d be willing to put his defense out on the field against just about any team in the state.

“Defense wins championships. We’ve got great players at each level and not a lot of places where there’s holes,” Parker said.

Junior Garrett Hittner, one of the fastest sprinters in the Central Valley Conference, will likely be a force to be reckoned with on defense this season.

“My hope for this first game is that we just go out on that field and execute the play we have well and that will give us something to build on,” said Kelly Cowan, Celtic senior lineman.

Across the field, the Celtics will face a refreshed Black Tornado roster and a new-to-the-program head coach, Mike Mitchell.  The Tornadoes were winless in 2011 and had to grapple with their former head coach resigning under accusations of resume-padding.

The Tornadoes are starting a sophomore at quarterback, Troy Fowler (5-10, 158), who was part of an undefeated team as a freshman. Medford lost nine offensive players and seven defensive players in the offseason and returns two on offense and four on defense.

Medford runs a multiple offense that will run two and spread five meaning the Celtic defense will have its work cut out for it. Playmakers for the Black Tornadoes are likely to be Fou Polataivao and Tyler Baird on the offensive and defensive lines and running back Evan Hisey on offense.

As for Parker, his plan is taking each day and each game in stride regardless of the outcome on Friday.

“Right now we’re focusing on one opponent at a time,” Parker said.”Our goal for the next four games will be building our playbook to be ready for CVC games.”

The ‘Hugo Rule’ for youth councilors

To the Editor:

I am a proud graduate of McNary High School, class of 1997, having attended all four years.

I was the first president of the multicultural club, bilingual writer on The Piper, officer of FBLA, member of Peer Helpers, had a brief stint on student council, and I also volunteered outside of school.  One of my teachers was former State Representative Vic Backlund.

For part of my high school career I was undocumented.  I am now a U.S. citizen.  It took me 10 years, but I am proof that formerly undocumented folks can in fact become U.S. citizens!  Being an undocumented immigrant is a legal status.  It is nothing like having an incurable illness.

This decision is wrong on so many fronts:  This is clearly about immigration—the councilors found out about Hugo’s status and are wanting to make sure they don’t appear to cater in any way to undocumented people.  If, as the article implies, only U.S. citizens will be eligible for this non-voting position, Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) are being discriminated against. They are eligible to become U.S. citizens after a minimum of five years, but yet won’t be given the chance to learn about their adopted homeland.  It forces the city’s community partners to screen for citizenship when they find a “diamond in the rough.” What incentive would they have for supporting someone who will be turned away because they are not a U.S. citizen, but only a legal permanent resident, a resident with a work permit, or undocumented?

I have wonderful memories of Keizer and of McNary.  Unfortunately, I also experienced racism at McNary from well-respected members of the community.  This decision has brought back all the wrong memories for me.

Levi Herrera-Lopez
Salem

Dust Devils can’t stir up win

Volcano shortstop Stephen Branca stretches for an out at second base during a game with the Dust Devils Tuesday, Aug. 28. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

The Volcanoes reached the .500 mark for the second half of the 2012 season by edging the Tri-City Dust Devils 4-3 Tuesday at home.

Tri-City scored first, Salem-Keizer tied the score at 2-2 in the third inning, each club scored a run in the fifth, and a solo home run by Chuckie Jones in the sixth gave the Volcanoes the win. Tyler Graham was the winning pitcher in relief.

The first score of the game was a bases-empty homer by Miguel De Leon in the second. In the top of the third, Rossell Herrera led off with a double to center field. Starting pitcher Joe Biagini struck out Tom Murphy, but Francisco Sosa singled to left, where Kentrell Hill bobbled the ball, allowing Herrera to score. Biagini retired the next two hitters.

Ron Jones led off the Volcano third with a walk. Hill drove him home with a double to left and went to third on Brown’s deep fly to center. Mitch Delfino hit into a fielder’s choice, and an error by Herrera at shortstop allowed Hill to score.

In the Dust Devil fifth, Dillon Thomas led off with a Texas League single to center. A wild pitch sent him to second, and Herrera hit an infield single that put Thomas on third. Murphy drove in Thomas with a sacrifice fly to right.

Hill led off the Volcano fifth with a single to left on a three-ball, two-strike count. He went to third on a double to left by Delfino and scored when Mac Williamson hit a sacrifice fly to center.

Matt Graham pitched the sixth for the Volcanoes, allowing one single but striking out the other three batters. He became the winning pitcher when Chuckie Jones homered in the bottom of the sixth, hitting the scoreboard above center field. The home run was off Chris Dennis, who became the losing pitcher in relief.

Mason McVay pitched for Salem-Keizer in the seventh and eighth, loading the bases in the eighth with two out but getting Yafistel Roja to ground out.

In the Volcano eighth, with Josh Slaats pitching, Stephen Branca led off with a single to right and reached second on a sacrifice bunt but got no farther.

Tyler Mizenko pitched the top of the ninth and set the Dust Devils down in order, attaining his 13th save.

Tom Trebelhorn, the Volcanoes’ manager, said, “Biagini stayed tough, and everything worked out OK.” Asked why he relieved Graham after the three-strikeout inning, he said he wanted to get to the seventh with McVay, and “Graham was the bridge.”

Chuckie Jones said it was a fastball that he hit over the fence. He observed that with Joe Rapp and Matt Duffy on the disabled list, everyone was trying a little harder.

Graham, asked about the recent improvement in Volcano pitching, said, “The guys are just getting acclimated.”

A crowd of 2,157 chose the ball game over the Republican National Convention.

Neil Armstrong

To the Editor:

It’s been said that records are there to be broken, unless, of course, you’re talking about a first. In aviation, we have such firsts at the Wright brother’s first powered flight, or Charles Lindberg and his solo flight across the Atlantic to Paris. And Neil Armstrong putting the first footprint on the moon. That one “small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” will stand forever.

Many of us remember those TV pictures from that July day in 1969, and most of us are still awed by that event. We felt great pride in our country and in the people who made that event possible. That’s why last Saturday’s loss of Neil Armstrong has been so keenly felt.

In aviation, we say that when a pilot dies that they have “gone west.”  What that means is that if you climb to the right altitude, and travel westbound at just the right speed, the sun never sets. Neil Armstrong was one of the few who had to actually slow down to match that critical westbound speed. He was a hero who’s name shall never be forgotten.

Wayne A. Moreland
Keizer

Ryan: Pro-growth supply sider

By LAWRENCE KUDLOW

In the weeks since Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, the entire Republican Party has been rejuvenated. Gov. Romney himself has been re-energized. After losing ground in the polls this summer, he’s once again drawn even with the president. Wisconsin is now in play. Even senior voters in Florida have signaled heavy approval of Romney-Ryan.

I know vice presidents are not supposed to be so influential. Political scientists say the top of the ticket is what matters. But Ryan is disproving that.

And yet I hear and read some grousing from conservative supply-side colleagues that Ryan is no longer the Jack Kemp, supply-side-growth guy he once was. Instead, they say he has become a root-canal Republican who obsesses about entitlement debt bombs and deficit reduction. They say he’s wedded to the Congressional Budget Office in a kind of budget-austerity, Stockholm syndrome.

These charges are completely false.

On the eve of the convention, I had a lengthy interview with Ryan. Over and over, he talked about the need for economic growth through supply-side tax reform, spending restraint, deregulation and entitlement fixes.

Previewing his convention speech, Ryan said, “We have to show the country that we have a pro-growth plan to get people back to work, to get this economy growing again.” He said, “We want to get back to the American idea (of an) opportunity society with a safety net; (a) society of growth, opportunity, of upward mobility.”

This is Ronald Reagan. This is Kemp. This is growth, not root canal.

The congressman said Team Romney, with a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut, is aiming at an average growth rate of 4 percent over the next four years. “If we can do that,” he said, “which we think we can with the right economic-pro-growth policies, we can get 12 million people back to work.”

Ryan opposes crony capitalism and corporate welfare. He wants Washington out of the game of picking winners and losers. He argues that if President Obama raises the top tax rate on small businesses to over 40 percent, it would kill growth and jobs. He argues in supply-side fashion that lowering tax rates and plugging loopholes will produce more income, not less.

At one point in the interview, Ryan summarized the Romney-Ryan position: “Pro-growth policies, energy policy, regulatory reform, tax reform and spending cuts.” As I have said before, I believe the Mitt Romney platform is the most conservative Republican policy since the Reagan era. Paul Ryan bolsters it.

Ryan also said this: “Let’s get the size of government back down to where it has historically been: 20 percent of GDP by 2016.” In other words, significant spending restraint. This is pro-growth, too.

Supply-side mentor Art Laffer has been arguing for years that lower spending as a share of gross domestic product is essentially a tax cut to grow the economy. In fact, with a 20 percent reduction in marginal tax rates, and significant spending restraints, it’s the most powerful economic-recovery tonic possible. And let’s add to that: The Romney-Ryan plan will slash the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent—a monumental growth measure.

Depending on how fast the spending comes down, I calculate that Romney could lower the spending baseline by as much $1 trillion in his first term. This, along with economic-growth incentives and upper-bracket loophole-closers, will pay for supply-side tax cuts without raising taxes on the middle class. In fact, this tax reform will drop middle-class tax rates near 12 to 20 percent — a significant reduction from current law.

This comprehensive view of growth incentives and deep spending cuts completely counters the false liberal argument that somehow middle-class taxes have to go up. With a comprehensive growth plan, middle-class taxes go down.

Ryan expressed dismay at the latest CBO recession forecast concerning a possible rollback of the Bush-era tax cuts. But he said the first order of business for the Romney administration will be to fix the tax cliff and avoid another recession, which would be devastating to America’s psyche.

Finally, Ryan summarized his monetary strategy in two words: sound money. He said, “We want to pursue a sound-money strategy so that we can get back the King Dollar, as you say it, Larry.” Indeed, the Republican platform committee, hopefully with Romney’s backing, is including a gold-commission study that would put much-needed discipline into Fed policy.

So let me say this to my skeptical supply-side friends: I don’t see one whiff of evidence that Paul Ryan has departed the pro-growth model. Flatter-tax reform, spending restraint, deregulation, bolstering entitlements —this is all from an updated Reagan-Kemp playbook.  And it’s a playbook that’s going to win another big election.

(Creators Syndicate)