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Day: February 19, 2016

Kuch sets two GVC records, heads to state

KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald
KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

McNary High School sophomore Marissa Kuch was named the Greater Valley Conference Female Swimmer of the Year at the district tournament Feb. 12 and 13.

Kuch set new conference records in the 100 and 200 freestyle races at the meet and is the only Celt headed to the state tournament.

Kuch won the district title in the 200 freestyle in 1:53.84 and the 100 freestyle district title with a time of 52.11.

Overall, the Lady Celts finished fifth in the GVC with 234 points. The Celtic boys finished seventh with 138 points. South Salem High School won the girls district title. McMinnville High School’s boys dominated in the male events.

Other notable finishes for McNary were: Lizzie Bryant, Kiana Briones, Sarah Eckert and Kuch, fifth in the girls 200 medley relay; Isaiah Holt, Harrison Vaughn, Jake Wyer and Evan Alger, seventh in the boys 200 medley relay; Briones, ninth in the girls 200 free; Kylie McCarty, eighth in the girls 200 individual medley and 10th in the 100 freestyle; Haley Debban, 10th in the girls 50 free; Eckert, third in the girls 100 butterfly; Vaughn, eighth in the 100 breaststroke and 10th in the boys 500 free; Eckert, Samantha Williams, Debban and Kuch, fourth in the 200 free relay; Alger, Parker Dean, Georgio Corrieri and Wyer, seventh in the boys 200 free relay; Bryant, fourth in the girls 100 backstroke; Anjelica Glassey, 10th in the girls 100 backstroke; Abby McCoy, Hannah Corpe, Debban and McCarty, fifth in the girls 400 freestyle relay; and Brock Wyer, Dean, Grant Biondi and Corrieri, sixth in the boys 400 free relay.

Mr. Smith goes to Salem

Brandon Smith (left) said goodbye to Marlene Parsons and other city councilors on Tuesday. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Brandon Smith (left) said goodbye to Marlene Parsons and other city councilors on Tuesday. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

The way Brandon Smith figured it, he would fulfill his term on the Keizer City Council before making his move.

It didn’t turn out that way.

Staying in Keizer until son Keifer graduates from McNary High School this year?

No, not that either.

Smith is moving to Salem soon – as in, he takes possession of a Salem home March 1 – and thus left the city council this week.

Smith announced the evening of Feb. 10 this week’s meeting would be his last. That indeed happened on Tuesday night (the meeting was a day later than usual due to President’s Day on Monday).

“It has been a genuine honor to serve the citizens of Keizer in various capacities since 2005,” Smith wrote last week. “When I ran for council again in 2014, I had every intention of serving a full term. However, life sometimes throws unexpected and exciting opportunities at us when we least expect them, and doing what’s right for my family will always come first for me.

“I am constantly amazed and inspired by the quantity and quality of people who give of themselves for the betterment of this community,” he added. “To my past and present colleagues on the city council, the many people who serve on citizen advisory committees and the dedicated and driven staff at city hall, I thank you and wish you the best of luck.”

Smith, who moved to Keizer more than 20 years ago, first got involved with city government in early 2005 as a member of the now-defunct Urban Renewal Board. In September 2007 he was appointed to a vacancy on the Keizer City Council. He won his election in 2008. For the 2012 election, he initially decided not to run but decided after the filing deadline to run. He thus ran as a write-in candidate but lost to Ken LeDuc.

Interestingly, LeDuc resigned in 2013 after just a few months on council.

After his initial time on council, Smith was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, serving as chair of that board in 2014.

In the fall of 2014, Smith won an election to re-join the city council. He was also the public relations person for the Big Toy play structure project at Keizer Rapids Park, which was built last June.

Smith and wife Krystal both work at SAIF (State Accident Insurance Fund) Corporation in Salem.

“This was not about any problem or anything being wrong,” Smith said Tuesday. “There’s no family or health thing. This was a good thing. We wanted to move to a downtown urban living situation. We had been talking about it for years. I thought we would do it after my council term was done and after Keifer had graduated. This opportunity came to us. It was a short time frame. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

While happy for the opportunity, Smith noted the downside.

“I’m still disappointed about leaving my term early,” he said. “I don’t like that. I normally wouldn’t give up in the middle of a term for any reason. I believe in fulfilling that commitment to the best of my ability.”

Since the next council meeting is March 7, a few days after he takes possession of the Salem home, Smith said he had to resign this week.

“I need to be able to go at a moment’s notice, when our Keizer house sells,” Smith said. “It was a timing thing. The city charter is very clear, you have to have residency to serve. Plus, this is a good time to make a clean break before the budget sessions start.”

After having to leave his term early, does Smith foresee making up for it by joining the Salem City Council or doing some other form of public service?

“That is always a possibility,” he said. “There are some other things I would like to do, but at the moment I’m not concerned about that. Our lifestyle is changing pretty dramatically. My son is in the process of making a decision on college. That will be a big transition for us, no kids in the house in the fall.”

Smith noted he knows the president of his new neighborhood association (David Dahle) and knows various people on the Salem City Council and the Salem Chamber of Commerce. He might be willing to be active in the neighborhood association, but not much more, at least not at first.

“Anything I do in Salem will be a way’s down the road,” he said. “Work and family are what I will focus on.”

Smith pointed to a few of his top memories of public service in Keizer.

“The dedication of the Keizer Civic Center (in 2009) and the Big Toy are pretty big,” he said. “They’re right at the top. And the year I was chair of the Parks Board we amended the master plan for Keizer Rapids Park. That was a big deal and brought a lot of people in. The civic center was such a huge project.”

Fixing KLL Park, one field at a time

Clint Holland points to a wall at Keizer Little League Park. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)
Clint Holland points to a wall at Keizer Little League Park. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Clint Holland knows what the fields at Keizer Little League Park look like in prime condition.

After all, Holland is one of the scores of people who used to work on the fields, which at one time were the heart and soul of the city.

The fields have since fallen into a state of disrepair, with various talk in recent years about how to improve things.

Now Holland has a new plan: working with a couple of guys willing to pay for the complete renovation of one field a year.

Holland, a member of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, brought up the topic at the Feb. 9 Parks Board meeting. He also toured the facility on Feb. 16 with the guys he referenced – Tony Cuff and Chris Argue – along with Brad Arnsmeier and city parks supervisor Robert Johnson (see related story, pg. A2).

“It’s sad every time you go out there,” Holland said in regards to KLL Park. “It’s really becoming an old facility. These guys are rockers and shakers. They want to work on one field every year. I’m talking dugouts, sod, better dirt, irrigation and mowing.”

Holland said the first field proposed to be worked on is Field 3, the large one at the top of the facility by the water tank.

“They’ll take the old turf off, put in new turf sod, get rid of the old grass and bring in new dirt,” Holland said. “The fields are becoming a hazard to play on. Last year several kids got injured fielding ground balls. They’ll put in new sod and new dugouts.”

Holland noted he’s been talking with Rick Day about helping with new concrete dugouts. As envisioned, there would be new soil, sod and sprinklers.

“To do the whole project is $43,200,” Holland said. “They want $10,000 in grant money for the $43,200 job. We need to work on those fields and get them modern. There are a lot of problems up there.”

The grant money would be from the Parks Board matching grant program, which has about $14,000 left for the rest of the fiscal year ending June 30.

Jim Taylor, the former city councilor who returned to coaching at the facility last year, noted the city was given a list of needs a few years ago, with a price tag of approximately $500,000.

“Every field out there needs something,” Taylor said. “If they do one field every year, then maybe it’ll be two fields a year down the road if people get involved. I don’t see a downside if we can come up with some money. This is the first time I’ve heard someone come in and say they will do something for a minimal cost.”

Scott Klug asked if the matching fund request would become a regular thing.

“Are we looking at $10,000 this year and on?” Klug asked.

Holland said there would be an annual request, but not necessarily the same amount each year.

“It might be less for some of the fields,” Holland said. “Rick Day will help with some stuff. We want to do it the right way. Each year is different. Any year, you can say you don’t want to (financially support) it anymore. But if you see their work, that’s not going to happen. These are the right guys to do it. There will be a lot of ways people can help with this. Knowing Tony, he’ll bring guys from his farm out to help. That guy does a good job.”

Johnson liked the idea, since Keizer Youth Sports Authority (KYSA) formerly leased the field and KLL currently leases the field and is in charge of maintenance.

“The city doesn’t have the money to put into it,” Holland said. “Here we have guys willing to do it.”

Richard Walsh asked if the people working with Holland would be doing the job KYSA and KLL people should be doing.

“Would they be able to contribute?” Walsh asked of KYSA and KLL. “Aren’t you relieving them of what would be their responsibility?”

Holland noted the shorter leases for running KLL Park has had an impact.

“It has come up many times it’s hard to put in a lot of money when the lease is up,” he said.

J.T. Hager liked the idea of people pitching in.

“The men you talked about, that’s fantastic,” Hager said. “The project is fantastic. It would be good to look at the whole situation out there.”

Walsh said the project sounds good, but noted so do others.

“I think it’s a great project, with fantastic volunteers,” Walsh said. “But I know there are other projects brewing. We have to say no to somebody.”

Holland said a formal budget and project application will be submitted in time for the March 8 Parks Board meeting.

Edward R. Stanich

Edward Stanich, 75, passed away at his home in Salem on Feb. 4, 2016.

He is survived by his sisters JoAnn Hilmes of Henderson, Nev.; Darlene Swiggart of Salem; half-brothers Andrew, Ron, Marco and Gene of Washington; and nieces and nephews.

Ed was born in Lewistown, Mont. On July 3, 1940. At an early age he left Montana with his family and moved to Seattle, Wash. Later the family moved to California, where he graduated from high school in 1958. In 1959 Ed enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in Germany. He received an honorable discharge in 1963.

Through the 1970s and 1980s Ed was in the Marion County Sheriff Reserves. He then went to the new Keizer Reserves where he helped get the new Keizer Police Department started.

Ed worked at AT&T and US Bank as a PBX installer for several years. He was an avid bowler in Keizer, Salem and Silverton. Ed was also a prolific poetry writer.

A Celebration of Life is scheduled at Keizer Quality Suites on Saturday, March 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, family requests donations be made to Willamette Valley Hospice, 1015 3rd Street NW, Salem.

Dave Hemphill

D. Hemphill
D. Hemphill

Leonard David Hemphill (Dave), 83, of Keizer, died Jan. 28 after a long struggle with pulmonary fibrosis.

He was born in Los Angeles, Calif. on July 7, 1932 to Mary Comella Hemphill and David Thomas Hemphill. Dave graduated from Marshall High School in Los Angeles in 1950 and began a career at American National Insurance Company. Dave met the love of his life, Glenda, and they were married June 10, 1961. Together they raised three children.

Dave and Glenda moved their young family to Keizer in 1969 and Dave went to work building pole barns. He started his own business, Pacific Metal Buildings, in 1971. He became a member of the Keizer Rotary the same year and remained an active member throughout the rest of his life, including two terms as president. He was also a volunteer firefighter/EMT with the Keizer Fire District. He then became a reserve Marion County Deputy Sheriff, later graduating from the police academy and becoming a Marion County Deputy Sheriff in 1986, retiring in 1997.

Dave is survived by his wife, Glenda; children: Scott (Priscilla) Hemphill of Normandy Park, Wash., Eric (Cheryl) Hemphill of Salem and Melia (Matt) Ratchen of Rathdrum, Idaho; sister, Barbara (Mar) Geurink of Tigard; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. at Keizer City Hall, 930 Chemawa Road NE. He was loved and will be missed by all who knew him. If you wish to make a donation, please consider Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties.

Obama must nominate justice

The funeral for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia hasn’t been held yet and already the forces are out to hyper-politicize the naming of his replacement.

Scalia died last weekend at the age of 79 after serving nearly 30 years on the nation’s highest court. He is being lionized across the spectrum as a giant in the judicial world, a first-class intellecdtual and a never-say-die defender of conservative values.

The United States Supreme Court can boast any number of great thinkers in its history from John Marshall to Charles Evan Hughes to Earl Warren. The Constution calls for the president to nominate justices and the Senate to advise and consent on the choice. The confirming of justices was a fairly routine affair until President Lyndon Johnson unwisely tried to get his friend Abe Fortas approved as chief justice to replace Earl Warren. Fortas’ own shortcomings (and the political calendar of 1968) forced him to resign from the court.

In 1987 President Reagan nominated Robert Bork (famous, in part, for his role in the Saturday Night Massacre of the Watergate Era). Bork was a staunch conservative and Constutional orginalist; he was vilifed and opposed by many groups (and one of only three Court nominees ever to be opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union). His nomination was defeated by a 42-58 vote.

Reagan then nominated Anthony Kennedy who was confirmed by a 97-0 vote in February 1988. By that time the presidential race was well underway but no Democratic or Republican Senator called for a delay to allow for the new president to fill the vacancy.

Fast forward 28 years and the story is very different. Within hours of the announcement of Scalia’s death Republicans (including the six presidential candidates) said that President Obama should leave the  nomination of Scalia’s successor to the next president—to be elected in 11 months and  sworn in two months after that. This is no way to run our government.

Republicans, who sense a victory in the presidential election, see no harm if they demand Obama stand down on naming a justice. During the debate Trump said that the Senate Republicans can use delaying tactics to assure no further Obama appointee sits on the Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the American people should have a say about a nominee. The American people have never had a say about a Supreme Court (or any other federal court) nominee. The public can make speeches, write letters, lobby their member of Congress. The president nominates and Congress considers and votes for or against approval.

Senator Elizabeth Warren said it exactly right about McConnell’s view: the people did have a say on Court nominations when they re-elected Obama in 2012 by more than 5 million votes.

If Scalia had died one or two years earlier none of this would be an issue. Let the process work as the Founding Fathers wrote in the Constitution. If politicians don’t like the system they can try to change it via amendments but that is unlikely.

President Obama said this week he will fulfill his duty and name a nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat. He is doing what Scalia so often said government should do: heed the Constitution’s intent.

Obama is right; obstructionists are wrong.     —LAZ

Thanks for your kindness

To the Editor:

To the gentleman who found my bank card, I would like to say “thank you” for going out of your way to return it to my bank.  As fate would have it, I was frantically searching for my card today when I realized it was missing. At that moment, I received a call from my bank that it was there, safe and sound. Thank you, I love a happy ending! Yet another reason why I love living in Keizer!

Audrey Butler
Keizer

What Keizer loses

Tuesday’s city council meeting was the final one for Brandon Smith. He submitted his resignation last week; he is moving to Salem, making him ineligible to serve on the body.

Smith has served twice on council. He was appointed to a vacancy in late 2007 and won the seat in his own right in the 2008 election and served until early 2013. He commenced an unsuccessful write-in candidacy to retain his seat against Ken LeDuc. Smith ran unopposed for the city council in the 2014 election.

Though always true to his political and ideological leanings, Smith was an unabashed supporter of everything Keizer. That’s evident in his resume of service on a wide number of commissions, committees and task forces. His chairmanship of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board was important because it brought about the matching grant program that allowed the community to improve parks if it raised half of the cost of a project.

Smith was at the forefront of a move to create stable funding for Keizer’s many parks. Discussions are on-going about a parks district or other options.

Brandon Smith was not a showy politician. He quietly worked on the tasks at hand; he asked insightful questions at council meetings and didn’t accept as final any answers he did not agree with.

What Keizer loses with the loss of Brandon Smith from the city council is a resident who knows his own mind and wants what is best for the city and its residents and is willing to, politely, do what is necessary to achieve that.

  —LAZ

Replacing Scalia will take epic effort

By MICHAEL GERSON 

A public official can fight to expand the power and prerogatives of his office with skill and cunning. Defending the prerogatives of other officials, in another branch of government, is done only out of principle. Justice Antonin Scalia spent a career in America’s judicial aristocracy defending representative democracy. He wanted courts to play a limited, supportive role, interpreting texts produced by representatives of the people. If new meanings are required —as they often are, in a varied, progressing country—then it is the people who need to provide them.

“Do you think the American people would ever have ratified” the Constitution, Scalia asked, if they had known that “the meaning of this document shall be whatever a majority of the Supreme Court says it is?” On issues such as abortion rights, he said that judges “vote on the basis of what they feel,” which amounts to “the destruction of our democratic system.”

The reaction of judges who enjoy a starring role in American government was, and is, negative. Which is unsurprising. Progressive judges have an interest in making their private moral intuitions the law of the land, without the inconvenience of having to persuade their fellow citizens. If judicial decision-making involves the interpretation of evolving standards, this gives tremendous influence to the interpreters. Progressives generally like this approach because it has secured progressive outcomes. But, as a political theory, there is nothing particularly liberal about it because it grants immense political power to a small self-serving, self-dealing elite.

Here is Scalia: “The non-originalist judge who decides what the modern Constitution ought to mean—perhaps by applying his favorite principles of moral philosophy, or perhaps only by applying his own brilliant analysis of what the times require—escapes the application of any clear standard, by which we may conclude that he is a charlatan.”

In exposing this scheme, Scalia—the strongest of Catholics—was thoroughly Protestant in his disposition. He viewed the advocates of a “living Constitution” in much the same way that Martin Luther viewed the Roman Catholic priesthood—as a class maintaining its power through mystification and the claim that only it can interpret sacred texts. Scalia argued for the plain meaning of texts, available to everyday people. A priesthood of citizens. And Scalia did spark something of a reformation, inspiring a generation of judicial originalists who have gained serious influence in academia and on the bench.

The question “Who judges?” is also the question “Who rules?” Scalia, the brightest judicial light of his time, wanted the representative branches to rule.

And so how is the legislative branch likely to respond to a Supreme Court vacancy as consequential as the one Scalia’s death creates? Not well.

In the plain meaning of the text of the Constitution, appointing “judges of the Supreme Court” is a presidential power. And Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 76, asserts broad presidential discretion in exercising this authority and sets out narrow grounds for the Senate to reject nominees.

All of which now means little. The nomination system is broken beyond recognition. And yes, it is Democrats who started it. The nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court during the Reagan years set the pattern—in ideologically decisive nominations—of war-room style campaigns involving opposition research and public defamation. As far as I can tell, there is no going back.

President Obama’s task is further complicated by exceptionally bad relations with Congress. Most Republican leaders can (and do) relate stories of snubs and disdainful treatment by the president. He has no chits of goodwill to cash.

And the political pressures on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all go in one direction: to delay and delay, without even a Judiciary Committee vote. If McConnell allows a decisive change in the Supreme Court on his watch, conservatives will ask: What good is having a Senate majority anyway? The revolt against McConnell would be broad, and include much of the Republican presidential field.

Obama will attempt to change this dynamic with an appealing and/or exceptionally qualified nominee. Could the Iowan leader of the Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, really oppose an Iowan? Could the Senate refuse someone who it approved for a lower court by 97-0?

It will not matter. In part because the Supreme Court has assumed such a large role in American life, a decisive shift in its ideological composition would be an event of massive political consequence. And no one will be bringing the Federalist Papers to this knife fight.

(Washington Post Writers Group)    

Put more effort into CTE for students

Some of our state legislators will get into something that has complex features and then over-simplify it for the sake of political gain.  A classical example of such a matter is a guest opinion in another newspaper by Republican Senator Ted Ferrioli of John Day who wrote glowingly but without a word about the historic shortcomings regarding career and technical education programs (CTE) for Oregon high school students.

He began reasonably enough when he wrote that in spite of low graduation numbers and poor school outcomes, it’s important for state political leaders to want to bring about investments for improvements in Oregon’s schools. Wisely, he doesn’t want to see another task force devoted to this matter; rather, he seeks budget allocations  for programs that have, mostly in other times and places, proven their value.  These are career and technical education programs or CTEs.

Ferrioli reminds readers in his piece that the state’s Department of Education reported recently that CTE students in Oregon are 15.5 percent more likely to graduate from a high school in four years time than their fellow students, without CTE involvement. This information should surprise no one who has been in Oregon public education for a while as this statistic could have been borrowed from report after report on the value and importance of career and vocational education as long ago as the 1970s if not decades before.

Unlike schools in most European nations where academic and vocational-technical schools are separately made available to those with proven, tested aptitude leanings in either direction. Our high school students are not so well directed.  Here it’s been found by attempt after attempt to install them all over the state, too many Oregon parents have resisted nearly to the “death” any effort to separate their child from others who are college-bound until they are hit over the head with a figurative hammer that their child is not interested in an academic college education. That alternative-minded child should have been trained during their high school years in a skill or trade that could lead to a well-paying job that provides a living wage.

Another factor is that Oregon is generally unwilling to put the dollars necessary to build career and technical programs with cutting edge facilities, instructors, administrators and working relationships with the world of work. The students who do attend can appreciate significant learning outcomes, have a chance to move from a learning center, as Ferrioli writes, “prepared for real family-wage jobs in today’s workforce.”

At the end of the last century I worked as executive director to the state council on career and vocational education.  The council was populated by 16 gubernatorial appointees from education, relevant state agencies, business and industry, with its main task to identify and assess all career and vocational education programs in Oregon’s high schools and community colleges. It was a difficult task at best because the Vocational Education Division of the Department of Education did not appreciate a group outside its walls assessing its successes (and-—horrors—-its failures). Furthermore, although I testified before appropriate committees of the Oregon Legislature, with information the likes of which Ferrioli references, the distribution of state monies always came up wholly to what my council and I, with hard evidence in hand, advocated.

I hope that the Legislature supports funding for CTE programs all over the state.  We’ll see whether Salem-Keizer School’s CTE program succeeds–; if it remains marginal as has been CTE in Oregon, while the principal (not from a voc-tech background) wanting to present success, have the ability to improve on inadequacies or hide behind the modern day bureaucratic slight-of-hand that so often characterizes our public school management operations circa 2016.

Meanwhile, too, when it comes to jobs like those in construction, maintenance, repair work and agriculture, so many workers now are of Hispanic/Latino origin.  Because many of these jobs require dirty hands, long hours and exposure to the elements, too many American youth don’t want them and will instead resort to crime, marijuana sales, a government handout, etc.  Unless this challenge can be dealt with in ways that encourage a change for young people born here, who aren’t driven by their parents for status fulfillment, these many jobs will continue to be filled by newcomers from Central America. Hence, a grand redesign of our high schools with as much vocational as academic opportunity could make a huge difference.  If Ferrioli is sincere, he’ll rally his associates and the governor around a secondary school consequential make over.

(Gene H. McIntyre’s column appears weeky in the Keizertimes.)