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Day: May 9, 2014

Path cleared for mural art in Keizer

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

When it comes to city government, “easy” can be a foreign word.

On Monday, Keizer City Councilors unanimously agreed to establish a Keizer Arts Commission as well as a Public Art program, which covers guidelines and rules for both public murals and art to be put on display at the Keizer Community Center.

The process began last summer when Mayor Lore Christopher worked with the Keizer Arts Association to get a mural up on the west wall of Keizer Florist, located at 631 Chemawa Road NE.

KAA members established a timeline for the project, with plans for the mural to be done this August. An artist was selected last year. A tea party fundraiser for the mural is taking place this Saturday, May 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the KAA classroom in the Keizer Heritage Center at 980 Chemawa Road NE. Tickets are $15 each, with mural artist Colleen Goodwin Chronister the guest speaker.

Back in December, city attorney Shannon Johnson recalled an earlier conversation about the mural issue.

“The mayor asked me, ‘It would be no problem, right?’ Actually, it is,” Johnson said at the time.

After several months of work, the problem has finally been resolved. Johnson said the new Keizer Arts Commission would look at public art and mural requests. The commission would have the authority to make requests comply with city rules.

As proposed, art on display at city hall would be covered up to $25,000, with the city having a $1,000 deductible per occurrence and a premium of about $300 a year. Placement of art at city hall would be a five-step process, starting with the artist submitting a letter of request and ending with arrangements being made for the return of the artwork.

Placement of a mural in the city would also be a five-step process, also starting with a letter of request being submitted by the owner or tenant of the building where the mural would be displayed. Once an art easement is obtained from the property owner, the commission would manage the creation of the mural to ensure it complies with the approval.

Johnson noted the trust being instilled in the KAC.

“You don’t have to be art critics,” he said. “But we’re putting a lot of faith in the commission.”

Johnson said art could be on display up to 60 days, a limit Christopher sought flexibility for.

“Can we put in 60 to 90 days?” the mayor asked. “We’re starting to get attention. With 90 days, it’s four times a year. As we get more demand in the future, we may want to limit displays to 60 days, but 90 days for now.”

Johnson noted the commission would get going quicker if councilors appoint the initial six members.

“I’m appointing me to this committee,” Christopher said. “Between the six of you, I need (five) additional names.”

McNary duo vie to get a Fiesta’s motor running

Riley Zandol and Ben Manwiller qualified to compete in the Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition Friday, May 9. They are one of only 10 teams to qualify statewide. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
Riley Zandol and Ben Manwiller qualified to compete in the Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition Friday, May 9. They are one of only 10 teams to qualify statewide. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

When he was younger, Riley Zandol heard all about working in the McNary High School auto shop.

“My dad talked about working on his Firebird here. When I got to high school, I signed up for shop classes as soon as I could,” Zandol said.

In addition to carrying on that legacy, Zandol and classmate Ben Manwiller will assume roles in another one this week. The pair will travel to Gresham Friday, May 9, to take part in the Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition. The Celtic duo is the third McNary team to qualify for the statewide contest in four years.

Zandol and Manwiller’s written test scores cleared the bar for entry to the larger competition where they will race against the clock to correctly diagnose and repair a deliberately “bugged” 2014 Ford Fiesta SE. They are one of only 10 teams to do so statewide.

“In the written test, we were given problems and had to come up with a possible diagnosis, but there were also some easier things like definitions,” Manwiller said.

A combination of an online written exam and hands-on competition scores determine each state’s championship team. The state champs move on to nationals and compete for scholarships and a chance to learn about and work on race cars with top engineers.

The qualifying tests, which were conducted by McNary teacher Mike Melting, will be a far cry from the hands-on competition.

“When we work on the car everything has to be 100 percent original from the factory. There can’t be any ruffled carpet and trim has to be in the right spots,” Zandol said. “We have two discs with all the service manuals on it, but it’s going to be a test of what we know rather than what we can look up.”

“Our goal is just doing it right as fast as we can,” Manwiller added.

Both seniors spend most of their school days in shop classes. Manwiller hopes to enlist in the Coast Guard and work on boat engines while Zandol is headed to Wyoming Technical Institute with plans to become a diesel engine mechanic.

“The program we have here is just great,” said Manwiller. “I could leave school early, but I choose to stay here.”

Melting said Manwiller is one of the highest achieving students to come through his program at McNary.

“Ben is almost always here for the production work we get at the shop. Riley really came into his own once he got his own car. We can only teach so much, part of it is the students having their own vehicles to work on and tinker with when they break down,” Melting said.

Melting had student teams representing the school in the competition in 2011 and 2012. Lack of interest on the part of students in 2013 may have been the only thing that kept the Celtics from a four-year showing.

Porter’s to reopen

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Denny (left) and Lisa Graue have bought Porter’s Pub at 4820 River Road N from Dave Thomas and hope to have a grand re-opening on the weekend of June 6 to 8, with a soft opening in time for next weekend’s Keizer Iris Festival. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Closed since January, Porter’s Pub will be back soon.

New owner Denny Graue hopes to have the bar at 4820 River Road North ready for a soft opening on May 16, the same weekend as the Keizer Iris Festival. He is hoping for a formal grand opening somewhere around the weekend of June 6 to 8.

“We’re trying to coincide the opening with (Iris Festival),” Graue said. “Maybe we’ll open for a little bit. That would be a good time for us to get a feel for the community.”

Graue and wife Lisa moved from South Carolina to Salem three weeks ago, but this isn’t their first experience in Oregon.

“I was looking at the Keizer/Salem/Portland area for a bar. We drove around in December,” said Graue, who has lived most of his life in Arizona. “We knew this was the area we wanted to move to.”

When the Graues looked at Porter’s Pub at the time, then-owner Dave Thomas informed them it wasn’t for sale.

“Three weeks later I got the call it would be for sale,” Graue said. “I knew a friend of his and had stayed in touch. Dave felt he wouldn’t be able to do it any longer.”

Graue said he started the purchasing process in March and finalized it three weeks ago. He was eager to move to the Northwest, selling off a bar in South Carolina at the same time.

“I was kind of surprised to get the call,” he said of Porter’s. “But it fit our time frame perfect. I’m a West Coast guy. I’m a big sports guy. I watched the Blazers the other night. On the East Coast it would have been over at 1:30 a.m. The West Coast is where it’s to be in sports.”

Porter’s Pub will be one of two former Keizer eateries the subject of public hearings for change of ownership and liquor license applications at the May 19 Keizer City Council meeting. The other is Caruso’s Italian Cafe on Inland Shores Way, set to re-open soon as Delaney Madison Grill. Caruso’s closed last April, but a “sale pending” sign has been out front in recent months.

Graue noted he’s operated bars for about a dozen years – including one in Belize for a year – and has a clear preference in what type of bar.

“We’re going to make it more of a sports bar,” Graue said of Porter’s. “I was leaning towards that. We’re putting in more TVs across the front, 17 around front and five more around the bar. It’ll be more of a sports bar. I try to convert everything to that. I’m a big sports guy. I’ve always been a sports enthusiast. A sports bar is the easiest way to bring people in.”

Shortly before Porter’s Pub closed in January, Thomas had put together a donut shop next door. Like the pub, that building has been closed. Graue won’t be doing anything with that building.

“My understanding is all the equipment is gone,” he said. “I don’t know anything about doughnuts, other than eating them.”

Graue said Thomas had lost his lottery machines, but the new owner is working to bring them back.

“We will eventually have a lottery,” Graue said. “I’m hoping in the next three or four months everything will be approved.”

The Graues moved in their RV and have already come to like the area.

“We liked it right off the bat,” Graue said. “The people are very friendly. The size of Salem-Keizer together offers a lot of opportunities. It has a good feel. It’s not too big and it’s not too small.”

Graue noted he and his wife will be working together and he’s hoping to keep some of the former Porter’s employees.

In addition, he looks forward to giving back to the community as he’s done with his previous bars.

“We’d like to embrace the community, and we hope they embrace us,” he said.

City gets two, cops get one new employee under proposed budget

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C. Eppley (KEIZERTIMES/File)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

City leaders are no longer waiting for the economic conditions to improve.

After several years of either staying even or cutting positions, the proposed 2014-15 budget presented at Tuesday night’s Keizer Budget Committee meeting calls for the addition of three new positions.

That was one of the top topics of conversation as city manager Chris Eppley presented the $36,534,600 budget.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first of at least three, with additional meetings set for May 8 and 13. If necessary, a fourth meeting will be held May 20. All meetings start at 6 p.m. in council chambers at Keizer Civic Center.

The three new proposed positions are a computer forensics person for the police department, a code enforcement officer and an information system technician.

“While stable economic indicators continue, the city is mindful to ensure that all increases in service level are sustainable into the near future,” Eppley said. “We are not into the business of offering services that are not sustainable long-term. That leads to making cuts down the road, which erodes public confidence.”

The tax rate is staying at $2.08 per $1,000 of assessed value, while property tax revenue is expected to increase 2.7 percent. Charges for services are expected to go up 6 percent, which includes a proposed 4.5 percent water rate increase and a 5 percent sewer rate increase.

Wages for the 93 current city employees are projected to increase 2.5 percent, for an overall increase of $500,000. Providing the same level of health and welfare benefits to the employees will increase about 12 percent.

A notable change in the budget is the debt obligations dropping from $9 million this fiscal year to $4 million next year, primarily due to a $3.7 million principal payment on Keizer Station Local Improvement District debt.

Eppley noted the extra funds come after years of tight budgets that resulted in some layoffs and positions not being filled.

“Everyone took on a little bit more work,” he said. “That takes a toll on staff.”

Eppley said city leaders use “moderate” assumptions in terms of budget projections.

“The city believes this is the appropriate balance between mitigating risk and allowing the city to provide a responsible level of service,” he said.

Eppley also shared a hiring plan for the next five fiscal years. In addition to the three projected for the coming year, he would like to make three more hires the following year. Two of those new positions would be police officers, while the third would be converting the current limited-duration community center coordinator position into a full-time job.

“That coordinator position really needs to become a full-time position,” Eppley said. “That’s been an incredible add, both to our capacity and to customer service.”

After a year of no additions, Eppley would like to see one officer added in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years.

Police chief John Teague said forensic investigations currently get farmed out to other agencies, with a long turnaround time.

“We need to have that in-house,” said Teague, noting a detective currently splits time between detective duties and forensics. “We can gain one-third to one-half a detective back by bringing this position in.”

Adding a second IT person to help out Bill Hopkins – the wrong name was mentioned in an April 25 article – has been discussed at length lately and was so again on Tuesday.

“This is a $30 million organization with one IT person,” mayor Lore Christopher said. “One! No other organization does that. If the IT system goes down, we’re dead in the water.”

Support for Barbara Jensen for Dist. 25

To the Editor:

Rarely is one privileged to publicly endorse a candidate for office who stands out as a fine example of public stewardship. That person is Barbara Jensen, who is running for the atate representative in District 25.

I have known Barbara professionally, and personally, for over 25 years.  In the workplace, Barbara’s work involved oversight of highly complex systems. She was always diligent, and resourceful, while modeling a strong work ethic. She has a wealth of knowledge on many issues. She has taken that knowledge and skillfully applied it in many different scenarios.  She rose to the highest levels of management where she routinely brought people together to solve problems.

Having worked in the Legislature, I know a state representative must be versed on many issues to be effective. I trust that Barbara will meet the challenges of the office with energy, integrity, and a can-do attitude. She has a sense of humor; she is gregarious; and above all, she is kind.  If elected, her constituents will be impressed with her commitment to the office, and in turn, they will be extremely well-served.

Sandra C. Herring
Salem 


To the Editor:

I both trust and support Barbara Jensen to represent House District 25.  I’ve known her over 40 years; she’s lived in Keizer most of her life and remains active in the community.  She supports pro-life, gun rights and traditional marriage but is an active listener who would represent District 25 citizens.

As a former Department of Education employee, I had several opportunities to work with Barbara.   I found her to be organized, collaborative, selfless, direct, sincere and accessible.  She consistently demonstrates strong work ethics and family values.  Barbara is a stickler for process and accountability, receiving national recognition for programs that exceeded expectations.  With her 35 years of IT management experience and diligence to process, I believe, tax-funded debacles like  Cover Oregon can be avoided.   She worked tirelessly promoting Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive legislation honoring the legacy of WWII men and women.    Imagine, Monica Wehby in the Senate and Barbara Jensen in Oregon’s capital.  The possibility of that dynamic representation was the tipping point for this four-decade Democrat to switch party affiliation.  I trust few and endorse fewer.

My candidate is Barbara Jensen.

Terry Nicholson Berry
Keizer


To the Editor:

As the president of a company doing business in Oregon I believe Barbara Jensen is the best candidate for House District 25.

I attended a fundraiser for the World War II Honor Flight organization and Barbara was there working to support their cause.  I then watched as she wrote the legislation for Senate Bill 832 designating the second Sunday in August as a day to remember those who participated in the victory that ended WWII.  She shepherded her bill through the Senate and the House with bipartisan support and stood behind Governor Kizhaber as he signed it into law.  She has a natural way of presenting her conservative ideas in a collegial and non-confrontational way that brings all sides to the table to find workable solutions.  She has years of experience working in procurement for the state where she protected our money as if it was her own.  I have watched our state waste half a billion dollars in the last few years on useless ventures such as theColumbia River Crossing debacle and the Cover Oregon disaster, both of which could have been avoided with her oversight.

Patrick Leamy
Welches

Support for Bill Post for Dist. 25

To the Editor: 

Bill Post is just the sort of candidate we need in the State Legislature. I enjoy discussing issues with Bill because he considers all the options and can see the different sides.

I know that he represents my values and the way of thinking that will move Oregon back in the right direction.

The hardest thing about trying to make our business successful in this district is the burdensome regulation and taxes. All the fees that small businesses have to pay really hinder our ability to expand and hire more people. We need a thriving economy so that everyone, not just me and my business, can be successful.

Mitchell Teal
Salem


To the Editor:

I am writing to support Bill Post for the Republican primary in House district 25.  Bill has served his community for decades and has established a strong reputation as a conservative Republican.  He believes in the Constitution and freedom through limited government and will be a powerful advocate for reform.  As a journalist, he has demonstrated a passion for finding and reporting the truth about our government.

Moreover, his opponent, Barbara Jensen, has a long record working on failed state information technology projects.  Her involvement in such spectacular debacles as the state data center demonstrate that she is part of the very problem we need to fix.  Further, her political record to date has been one of apathy.  Her record of voting has been so lax, her registration was deemed inactive.  She is simply not the right person for our community or our Republican Party.

I urge your readers to support Bill Post for House district 25.

David Gulliver
Salem


To the Editor:

I have been closely following the Republican primary for House District 25 between Bill Post and Barbara Jensen. The job of every citizen is to sift through all the rhetoric in every election cycle and choose the best candidate.  This can be a very difficult task.  But the more I looked into both candidates, I decided to support Bill Post, because he is someone that I feel we can trust.

Even before Bill had aspirations for political office he was working for the community. He has held politician’s feet to the fire for five years on his talk show.  I know he stands for conservative values, but more importantly I know he genuinely cares about District 25.  Bill has coached local Little League and is active in his church teaching an adult Sunday school class. This shows me that Bill acts on his beliefs and doesn’t just use the title of Christian to garner votes.  I know Bill well enough to know that he will continue doing these things whether he gets elected or not.

Now why is Barbara Jensen really running in this primary?  Because when you look at her voting record, she has voted so infrequently that her voter registration was deemed inactive. Voting is one of the most important duties of a citizen.  And especially easy in Oregon since the ballot is mailed to your house.

When I recently watched the Statesman Journal Editorial Boards, I was shocked to see Barbara Jensen sing Governor John Kitzhaber’s praises. She says he has “great vision, reaches into the future” and “has been here three terms continuing to serve.” As a conservative Republican this really bothers me knowing his involvement in Cover Oregon.  I want a conservative to represent me and I don’t trust Barbara Jensen to do that.

Larry R. George
Salem


To the Editor: 

I am writing this letter to urge the voters in Oregon House District 25 to vote for Bill Post in the Republican primary.  I have known Bill for 15 years and know him as a man of strong principles and unquestionable integrity.

As a man of faith, Bill acts on his beliefs. Bill believes in protecting unborn babies, stands for government reform and holding the line on taxes.  He will work to protect our constitutional rights.  He works well with people and will place the welfare of District 25 voters ahead of personal interests.

When he says, “He will fight for the values that make Oregon special, so that our children and grandchildren will be able to pursue their dreams for years to come.”  I believe him.

Bill is the right choice to be our representative from District 25 to the Oregon House and I ask the voters to join me in marking their ballot for Bill Post.

Yvonne Testerman
Keizer


To the Editor: 

My dad and mom came out of the Great Depression where they learned to count every penny and share with neighbors. They passed that on to me and later as an adult, God taught me to love the poor of our world. I did that by founding North West Medical teams, also known as Medical Teams International, in 1979.

Jean and I passed on these same things to our children. One of them is now running for state representative for District 25. Bill Post is our son and we are very proud to see him want to serve the people in his district and our state. While working with me at Northwest Medical Teams, he helped establish the Mobile Dental Vans that now cover Oregon and other states helping people who cannot afford dental care. He did a great job and was a quick learner in organizing.

When you vote for Bill, you will be getting someone who knows how to budget and recognize when state government is wasting our tax dollars. You will not get a polished speaking politician. You will get straight and honest answers to questions. If you have listened to his talk radio show for the last five years, you know I am right. He will bring his faith, his love of people, his integrity, his devotion to the unborn and to family values. Oregon needs someone like my son, Bill. Give him a chance to show you what I mean by electing Bill Post.

Ron and Jean Post
Dallas

Campaigns ignore the people

By DON VOWELL

Let’s entertain a fantasy.  Let’s keep 2014 election campaigning limited to issues.  There are enough things to fix that we should not accept the dumbhead partisan attacks as legitimate campaigning.  The trouble with politicians is that they treat everything politically.  We need some statesmen.

There was a wonderful piece by David Sirota over the weekend that addressed this problem.  He talked about pending Colorado legislative proposals to gain some local control over “fracking,” a procedure used to extract natural gas from shale.  A public health study showed some evidence that it creates health problems, including birth defects.  Of all the political comments he quoted, none of them mentioned health problems or the hurt done to a family by birth defects.  Each of them callously crowed, according to their party loyalty, about how this would damage the opposition in the next election.  That is what legislation is about these days.  Any possible harm done to citizens of Colorado is a secondary issue, if an issue at all.

We’ll get it here in Oregon.  We have two Republican senatorial candidates who hope to win the primary election by showing that their dislike of “Obamacare” exceeds that of their opponent.  Why?  If either managed to win Jeff Merkley’s seat would they march off to Washington hoping to repeal the Affordable Care Act?  Tell us.

Again, this shouldn’t be about red state/blue state.  The ACA was a cumbersome attempt to improve access to health care for millions of Americans.  The most expensive per capita health care system in the world was not reaching nearly fifty million people.  Surely we don’t consider that “the good old days.”  In 2006 Massachusetts mandated health care for all citizens.  Since then the death rate for those under 65 decreased by three percent.  If we applied that rate nationally it would amount to 17,000 lives.

Rather than debate legislation that could save 17,000 lives we are asked to consider Benghazi as an election issue.  Bad things happen in the world’s badly governed places.  They are not caused by partisan politics and won’t be prevented by partisan politics.  The twin towers were destroyed in New York, despite some warnings that terrorists were considering the use of planes as weapons of war.  That doesn’t make it George W. Bush’s fault.  It was solely the work of terrorists.

Other pundits gravely assure us that this election will be about the economy, regardless of these circus sideshows.  It’s not clear to me whether the economic meltdown of 2007-08 was the fault of Republicans or George W. Bush, but it is clear that our collective memory has failed us if we long to return to those policies.  It’s not even clear to me how to assess the economy.  The Dow is near an historic high, we have reduced foreign entanglements some, unemployment levels are too slowly shrinking to “normal” levels, yet I share the general public dissatisfaction with the way things are going.  Middle class America suffers from stagnant wages and increasing cost of living.

The problem you’ll not hear about in any “Campaign 2014” is the never-ending movement of America’s wealth to the already wealthy.  It’s not such a surprise given that laws are made by men of wealth.  If every piece of legislation is viewed as a campaign issue then that legislation is likely to be tailored to those who finance campaigns.  Maybe we are nearing the time when red states and blue states agree that legislation should benefit citizens, not election outcomes.

(Don Vowell lives in Keizer.  He gets on his soapbox regularly in the Keizertimes.)                                      

Sterling should not lose his team

Should readers have accepted the prevailing conventional wisdom on the case of Donald T. Sterling, they may not wish to read any further because this columnist takes exception to it.  I disagree with what the Clippers’ owner had to say in his prejudicial rant, but I do not agree with the punishments the NBA has decided to try to impose.  Why?  Because, to employ an old cliché, the punishment does not fit the crime.

Let’s be candid and realistic about this.  It’s hypocritical and naïve to think that there are not other NBA team owners, coaches, team members and staff who do not hold untoward opinions about minorities and, yes, about whites, too,—no better or more respectable  than Sterling’s.  In fairness, if people such as Sterling are thrown to the disapproving masses, shouldn’t all nasty negatives be recorded and presented for public review?

One of the principals in this case invites questions.  Among contributing factors, there’s contradictions where V. Stiviano says she’s not Donald Sterling’s mistress, simply an employee hired to serve as the L.A. Clippers’ archivist; yet, she occupies a front row seat for Clippers’ games, right next to Sterling, inviting the skeptical mind to wander widely into romance musings.  It’s reported, too, that Sterling gave V. Stiviano a $1.8 million apartment and several super-luxury automobiles.

Is it remotely possible that Donald Sterling’s remarks about Earvin “Magic” Johnson were inspired because he thought Johnson was making a move on his “employee”?  Perhaps the taking of photos with handsome, famous men like Johnson by  Stiviano was calculated to play on Sterling’s emotions.  Could it be that Stiviano conspired to gain a greater commitment for herself from Sterling?

Ten NBA owners, known as the league’s advisory committee, held a conference call last week to discuss the termination of Sterling’s ownership of the L.A. Clippers.  It unanimously agreed with new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to end Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers.  Silver also banned Sterling from NBA games for life and fined him $2.5 million.

More dust up in the NBA’s efforts to toss Sterling out of the game may be futile by way of the Sterling family trust.  That trust can, of course, be changed so that he is taken out of Clippers’ ownership and his wife becomes the sole owner.  Even though the estranged wife, Rochelle Sterling, has not been a darling to California minorities, what happens if she’s the sole Clippers’ owner?  Meanwhile, Sterling has a reputation for not backing down; in fact, he’s well known for using his billionaire financial resources to defend himself in court and you know what money means in America.

 Sterling has a reputation for egregious sentiments and remarks about minorities but those statements did not apparently make much difference to the very wealthy NBA basketball icons who did not stand up for their brothers and sisters who were poorly treated by Sterling and his estranged wife.  No, it required a racial insult leveled at a rich black guy to get the NBA “greats” to demand extraordinary punishments for Sterling.

It may or may not be noteworthy that while Sterling was in a housing discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department and has spent millions to settle a similar lawsuit brought by a fair housing group that accused him of trying to exclude blacks, Latinos and families with children from renting apartments he owns, he has given at least $1 million Sterling bucks to 10 high schools in south and east Los Angeles where minorities are the majority, plus 20 charities across Los Angeles County.  His gifts to Jewish organizations also count in millions of dollars.

While this opinion piece argues that millions upon millions of Americans hold views like Sterling’s and express them every day, that does not make them right or okay.  What the American society should do about this bad habit is to dedicate our heads, hearts and language to purging racism from our thoughts and spoken words instead of making one American a scapegoat for a national disgrace that knows no boundaries by race, religion, political affiliation, economic status and U.S. sub-cultures:

Sterling’s likely to fight the sanctions, as he should; we should all battle racism.

 (Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)