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

Day: December 22, 2017

Field fee increase sparks renewed tension in Keizer’s youth sports

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Left” _builder_version=”3.0.83″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/468-75-Copper-Creek-10-2017.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.copper-creek.net” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36512″ /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Right” _builder_version=”3.0.78″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/468-75-Diagnostic-Imaging-08-01-17.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.salemimaging.com” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36511″ /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The Keizer City Council balked at a request to hike fees $10 per field usage at the Keizer Little League complex during its meeting Monday, Dec. 18.

The request came from Keizer Little League (KLL), which manages the fields under a contract with the city, and drew sharp rebuke from McNary Youth Baseball (MYB), the former Keizer Youth Sports Association. KLL President Brad Arnsmeier said the fee increase was needed to help maintain the complex, especially in light of recent investment in rejuvenating the facility.

“We’re doing our best to rebuild a once-glorious park. The last year the comments have been overwhelmingly positive. We are rebuilding fields and making capital improvement. As we put more money into the fields we want to make sure that we maintain the field,” Arnsmeier said. “It’s not a cheap complex to run and we are proud to do so, but it takes money to do so.”

While the council ended up requesting more information before making a decision, the ask seemed to renew old animosities between KLL and MYB before the meeting was over.

To help make its case, KLL supplied the council with a list of expenses and improvements made during the past year. While expenses totaled more than $15,700 and improvements amounted to $21,700, the list did not include any mention of revenues generated through fees paid by participating families, concession sales, sponsorships or third party field rental. The only income listed at all was the amount paid by MYB last year for field usage, and KLL has been a recent recipient of grants from the Keizer Parks Board and the Rotary Club of Keizer to help pay for the ongoing improvements at the fields.

Even as Arnsmeier started making KLL’s case, the size of the increase met with resistance from Mayor Cathy Clark.

“It’s a variable increase because it is a fixed rate and that cost for the smallest fields is going up by 33 percent,” Clark said.

Under the proposed rate hike, the smallest fields would increase from $30 to $40 per two-hour time slot. The largest field would increase to $60 without the use of lights and to $145 with the use of lights. Arnsmeier said the $10 increase was chosen primarily for ease of accounting.

“Even with the increase, we’re still in line or less expensive than other fields in the Pacific Northwest,” Arnsmeier said. “When you factor in the cost of maintenance has to include what takes place in the off-season. You have to factor in the 12-month process, not just during one week in the middle of April.”

Ryan Walsh, president of MYB, spoke out against the increase.

“We’ve gone elsewhere because we can’t afford (the fees at Keizer Little League Park). We’ve had some community partners that have allowed us to use fields for free and we use those a ton,” Walsh said. “We decided to offer free T-ball this year and gotten a number of sponsors to make that possible. We’re very excited for that, but the revenue is tough to come by.”

Last year, MYB paid more than $5,700 in field use fees at Keizer Little League Park. Prior to the start of the season, MYB’s reserved spots amounting to nearly $2,000 more, but those were refunded when teams found other venues or were unable to convene a game or practice.

“One of my biggest concerns is that third parties using of the field that are offered discounts for the off-season. Maybe we should ask them to pay a bit more than adding it on for our own kids,” Walsh said.

Walsh’s other point of contention was that the fee increase was not discussed during a joint board meeting of the two groups in November, and only found out the council would be looking at the issue because of a phone call from City Attorney Shannon Johnson last week.

MYB board member Josh DeVos added that the expense would be more difficult to absorb given that MYB had already set its registration rates for the upcoming year.

“We decided to move our registrations up and we’ve set our prices for the year already and we’ve worked for months on those costs,” DeVos said.

Walsh said increasing the fees would add another $1,900 to MYB’s planned expenses.

Arnsmeier responded that the decision to ask for the fee increase wasn’t made until a retreat later in November, and tried to put the onus back on MYB.

“The business decision with the free T-ball put them in a bind,” Arnsmeier said.

Clint Holland, manager of the concession stand, added that not showing up for reserved times also had an impact on concession sales of up to $120 per empty field slot.

At that point, the temperature in the room grew more heated as MYB representatives clamored to respond. However, Clark cut the conversation short.

“We need to table this. We need info on true costs and I don’t have enough information on the budgets of both organizations. We don’t have enough information here tonight,” Clark said.

Councilor Roland Herrera, who earlier in the evening had backed the request for the increase, walked back his endorsement after hearing from both sides.

“I was a KLL guy, but I’m a bigger Keizer guy. I jumped the gun on this and it has to be good for all the kids of Keizer,” Herrera said.

KLL has about 450 registered players. MYB has approximately 300. The council plans to look at the issue again on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

HOA backs away from sign kerfuffle

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Left” _builder_version=”3.0.83″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/468-75-Copper-Creek-10-2017.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.copper-creek.net” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36512″ /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Right” _builder_version=”3.0.78″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/468-75-Diagnostic-Imaging-08-01-17.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.salemimaging.com” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36511″ /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary Estates Homeowners Association caused a minor neighborhood stir when some residents were asked about religious-themed holiday signage in their yards.

It didn’t take long for some residents to start responding to requests to remove the signs on a social media site, nextdoor.com, and the disagreements grew from there. The board has since backed away from the decision to act on sign code enforcement for this holiday season.

HOA President Ray Straughan said the five-member board was attempting to respond to objections to some of the signs placed on properties within the north Keizer subdivision, particularly when there were not other “Christmas-y” decorations accompanying it. Straughan said an employee of the HOA was tasked by the five-member board with asking residents whether they knew about Convenant, Conditions, and Restrictions that require McNary Estates homeowners to apply for permission to display signs in their yard, but that wires got crossed in the execution.

Some residents were contacted last week regarding signs with messages like “Keep Christ in Christmas” and “Christmas Jesus’ Birth – When God Came to Earth” and asked to remove them while other decorations were not singled out as violations. One resident said that, to her knowledge, no one in the neighborhood had ever been approached to remove signs supporting athletic teams, name plates or other common lawn decor.

Straughan, in a statement supplied to the Keizertimes, said the intention was for all violations of the signs rules were going to be addressed.

In January, the HOA board updated its architectural manual to address “excessive ornamentation,” but the section includes a carve out for seasonal holiday decorations saying only that they must be removed from the property within two weeks after the holiday.

Another section of the CC&Rs, which deals specifically with signs prohibits anything larger 18-by-24 inches without permission of the board.

Straughan said no one contacted board members about their dissatisfaction before the issue ended up exploding on social media and the intent was only to make residents aware of the language in their HOA contract and to survey the extent of the issue within the neighborhood. Since the notices were made by the employee, the board has still only received one request for permission to leave a sign in place.

Asking residents to remove religious-themed signs is contrary to a legal opinion –  posted on the HOA website in January 2017 – on the types of sign enforcement allowed under the law. It was prepared by attorney Kevin Harker.

“McNary has two options: 1) enforce the sign provision contained in the CC&Rs, or 2) amend the CC&Rs to authorize other types of signs. If the Board decides to enforce its current sign provision in the CC&Rs, it must be done uniformly. In other words, there can’t be an exception for certain types of signs (“Bring the Troops Home”) and a prohibition on others (“Jesus Christ is our Savior”),” the opinion states.

The board isn’t taking any further action on the matter, but plans to revisit it in the future, Straughan said.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Lady Celts defeat Sprague in the pool

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Left” _builder_version=”3.0.83″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/468-75-Copper-Creek-10-2017.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.copper-creek.net” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36512″ /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Right” _builder_version=”3.0.78″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/468-75-Diagnostic-Imaging-08-01-17.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.salemimaging.com” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36511″ /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary’s girls swim team went into the break with a 97-47 win over Sprague on Thursday, Dec. 14 in the Kroc Center.

The Lady Celts won two of three relays.

Alex Beard, Bella Beard, Emily Alger and Haley Deban placed first in the 200-yard medley relay in 2:03.70. Hannah Corpe, Emily Alger, Lizzie Bryant and Alyssa Garvey then touched the wall first in the 400 free relay in 4:34.14.

Bella Beard won the closest race of the meet, edging Sprague’s Caitlin Evenson 1:15.51 to 1:15.54 in the 100 breaststroke. Bella also finished first in the 500 free in 5:45.32.

Alex Beard won the 100 butterfly in 1:11.01.

Haley Hughes had the fastest time in the 200 IM, finishing in 3:10.95.

Haley Debban set a personal record of 27.09 in the 50 free, which was good enough for second.

“We are finally getting into swimming shape and kids are getting comfortable in the pool,” McNary head coach Casey Lewin said.

“We knew there was going to be a lot of close races on the girls side and there were a couple that we pulled out. That was huge for us. We knew it was going to be close. We went out and swam fast and competed well and took care of business.”

McNary’s boys lost 92-71 to Sprague.

The Olympians won all three relays.

“They had all of their club kids back and they have some pretty fast boys so I knew those relays, we probably wouldn’t be able to get,” Lewin said. “I figured we would be within about 20 points and we were. I’m happy with that. We had a lot more best times on the boys side. They’re finally starting to get there.”

Harrison Vaughn won the 100 breaststroke in 1:13.58. Kyle Hooper placed first in the 100 fly in 1:05.25.

“The biggest thing for us is just been not worrying about who we’re racing and just going out and taking care of our own race, not worrying about who’s next to you because we always race the clock,” Lewin said. “We just happen to do it with other people. We’re getting a lot better at focusing on taking care of our own races and then good things happen from there.”

McNary has two weeks off from competition before returning to the pool on Jan. 2 against West Salem.

“We’re definitely where we should be,” Lewin said. “I’m pleased. I’m excited to see where we’ll be with these two weeks of training. We’re working really hard, like we usually do at this time and kind of breaking the kids down a little bit. We don’t race so we can be as sore as we need to be.”

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Jo-Ann Audrey Rayner

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Left” _builder_version=”3.0.83″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/468-75-Copper-Creek-10-2017.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.copper-creek.net” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36512″ /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Right” _builder_version=”3.0.78″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/468-75-Diagnostic-Imaging-08-01-17.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.salemimaging.com” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36511″ /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]

June 14, 1945 – November 25, 2017

Jo-Ann Audrey Rayner passed away Nov. 25, 2017, at home beside her husband, George, after a lengthy illness.

She was the daughter of Audrey and Joseph Bagg (predeceased), mother of Julie, grandmother of Catherine, Jade and Stephanie, great-grandmother of Emily,  stepmother to Robert (Norma), Debra (Luis), Linda (Mike) and Steven (Sharon), sister of Mike (Sue) of Courtice, Ontario, Canada, and Sean (Lorena) of La Paz, B.C, Mexico and lifelong best friend of Julie Ridler.

Jo-Ann will be remembered by family and friends as loving, caring and generous soul who always thought of others before herself. She will be missed by all who came in contract with her.

Jo-Ann was cremated and she will be buried in Ontario, Canada at a later date. A Celebration of Life will be held at that time.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Thomas E. Morris

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Left” _builder_version=”3.0.83″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/468-75-Copper-Creek-10-2017.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.copper-creek.net” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36512″ /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Right” _builder_version=”3.0.78″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/468-75-Diagnostic-Imaging-08-01-17.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.salemimaging.com” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36511″ /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]

1954 – 2017

A Celebration of Life will be held sometime late winter/spring as the date is to be determined.  Assisting is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Let us control our future

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Left” _builder_version=”3.0.83″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/468-75-Copper-Creek-10-2017.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.copper-creek.net” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36512″ /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Right” _builder_version=”3.0.78″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/468-75-Diagnostic-Imaging-08-01-17.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.salemimaging.com” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36511″ /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]

A modern saying goes: if you’re not growing, you’re dying. It seems to be a guiding principal favored by business, developers and some municipalities. If you don’t have new sources of revenue or new housing tracts, then your organization is on a downward slide.

For a city some think that means it will no longer be a desirable address or that business will no longer come knocking. That could be true if a city did absolutely nothing to grow—no new permits, no new subdivisions, no devlopment. But that never happens.

Expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) has been a talking point for years in Keizer and Salem. The cities share one boundary which is key because the 1970s era law that oversees land use in Oregon states that each UGB needs to have a 20 year supply of land for residential and commerical uses.

By most measures Keizer has filled in its part of the shared UGB. Salem has plenty of land inventory in its southern and eastern areas. Unused land inventory in Salem is not the only impediment to expanding Keizer’s boundary—other municipalities are able to weigh in on any expansion discussions, namely Marion and Polk counties as well as the city of Salem.

A regional forecast prepared in 2012 by ECONorthwest concluded Keizer would need space for some 2,800 homes by 2030 to meet projected demand, including 1,710 single-family and 1,177 medium and medium-high density housing units.

That kind of expansion and development runs right up against one of the gems of our region—the rich soil that fuels Marion County’s agriculture. As one travels north of Keizer on either River or Wheatland roads they are met with acres of land that has been farmed for generations. Thousands of acres of Oregon agricultural land has been rezoned for residential or commercial uses of the past two decades. In our area, Willamette Valley’s farms are as productive as any in the world. The reality is that that land is less valuable for its agricultural uses than its developed uses.

How will the city broker any agreement between those who want to retain the area’s agricultural heritage and those who want to bring that land into Keizer and develop it? No major project is undertaken in Keizer without public hearings. Residents will get the opportunity to weigh in on any propsosed expansion and development of Keizer’s urban growth boundary.

The question that needs to be answered by residents and leaders is what kind of city does Keizer want to be. Should we do all we can to maintain the quaint small town feel many people think our city exudes and plan for our housing and commercial needs within our current border? Should we be a city that moves with the times, expands and develops into the land north of the city? Or, do we do nothing and let market forces determine what Keizer becomes?

It has long been our belief that those who plan for the future also control the future. City planners and leaders need to plan for the future at the same time as considering the concerns of current residents. Traffic in Keizer has been at the top of issues that perplex citizens.While we don’t have Seattle or Los Angeles traffic problems, in our neck of the woods traffic is an issue whether one is driving one mile or 20. That concern would surely grow with zig zaggy development.

We are smart enough to realize that more housing brings more people and more people brings more traffic. The city would be transformed for the better if new residents were able to work in Keizer. Working where one lives reduces the need to drive. Planning for future transportation systems will be critical to future development in Keizer. Thankfully Cathy Clark, Keizer’s mayor, is knowledgeable of and intimately involved with regional transportation issues—the city has a very big seat at the table.

All of Keizer’s municipal issues have been solved somewhere in the world—we need only look past our exceptionalism and accept that someone else may have solved a housing, workforce or transportation problem. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Maintaining Keizer’s special aura is important to those who call this city home.

Will Keizer die if it doesn’t grow?  Not immediately, but just like a plant, if it has stopped growing it will age, become brittle and eventually collapse and rot away.

It is the duty of leaders in both the public and private sectors to assure the viability of the city for current and future residents. That should include A.) expanding the Urban Growth Boundary in a swath 1000 feet wide along Interstate 5 between Keizer Station and Quinaby Road and zone it exclusively for light industrial and office—that will mean jobs for Keizerites;  B.) zone the River Road corridor for mixed used development—retail below, housing above; and, C.) promote improvement and use of public transportation.

It is always a heavy lift for a city to change development and zoning codes,but if Keizer is to control its own future, it must not be afraid to plan for tomorrow and 20 years from now.   —LAZ

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Christmas in the land of Muhammad

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Left” _builder_version=”3.0.83″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/468-75-Copper-Creek-10-2017.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.copper-creek.net” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36512″ /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Right” _builder_version=”3.0.78″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/468-75-Diagnostic-Imaging-08-01-17.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.salemimaging.com” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36511″ /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]

By GENE H. McINTYRE

Christmases from my childhood were quintessential American events.  Each year could have served as scenes for Norman Rockwell and were wonderfully memorable. Of course, there was a fresh-cut noble fir, the plethora of ornaments, silvery icicles, and plenty of lights inside and out with cutouts in the front yard, including a manger scene and Santa-on-sleigh with Rudolph and eight other reindeer.

Nevertheless, there came a year when it was rather difficult to return home for Christmas.That occurred because the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) hired me to a job requiring relocation to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.  My job entailed joining a group of other Americans with the objective to convert the workforce from mainly expatriates (foreigners) to Saudis (nationals), a challenge that proved ambitious by work ethic incompatibles but was granted anyway, the “old college” try.

As readers may imagine, it was a monumental undertaking just to get ready to depart for a long stay in the Middle East. The details could literally fill a book, including inventorying everything we owned and organizing the items into two piles: one pile to Los Angeles for “permanent storage;” the other, a smaller pile, for use in Saudi Arabia.  Incidentally, one of the toughest events occurred at the send-off in PDX terminal, a gathering of family and friends during which time my mother was inconsolable with parting tears that caused a welling-up even on my pretentiously macho façade.

We could take the most needed of things, mainly clothes and personal effects, with us. Those items filled suitcases and five foot lockers and accompanied us to eight days of ARAMCO orientation in Houston.  They then boarded with us on an ARAMCO jet along with other hires on a flight that stopped in Paris and then Dhahran.  My first impression of the place was a glance out the plane’s window as it banked in final approach and, looking down at a barren desert, I thought I’d probably make a terrible mistake.

We arrived in early March with the weather already sizzlingly hot and assigned temporary housing at North Camp, metal units located outside Dhahran in the open desert alongside a population of scorpions. While the ARAMCO orientation had been enlightening, it did not even come close to preparing my wife and I for a place as shockingly different as Saudi Arabia. Not to labor the challenges and difficulties of such a foreign destination as different from Oregon as anywhere in the world, the short of the story is that we survived multiple trials and tribulations exampled by daily first-of-five-calls-to-prayer in summer at 4 a.m. that used bullhorns from atop towers, 12-year-old Saudi boys who could barely see over steering wheels driving full-sized Buicks and Mercedes sedans, and the stick switching on  legs by mullahs, Islamic protectors of the faith, reminding women not dressed to Islamic standards to over up any exposed skin.

Then there was Christmas. We were discouraged from taking anything the Saudis believed made by Jewish-owned businesses but we were not advised regarding our fake tree, collection of lights and ornaments my wife and I had collected during the decade we’d been together before leaving. It took about two months for our items by ship to get there.  Well, low and behold, when our stuff arrived, not one Christmas-related item was among our things.  They had all been confiscated by the Saudi government.  My wife also lost her sewing machine which was made by Sears; the wooden desk into which it had been built arrived empty.

Two matters of good news: we had made a list of everything we sent so the full costs were reimbursed by ARAMCO.  Humorously and hypocritically, Saudi businesses in nearby Saudi cities sold the confiscated yuletide items back to ARAMCO employees (we never found our own stuff but that of other Americans).  It was our first time away from a Christmas celebration that we missed most but made the best of it by socializing with other American families who joined us in song and celebration. There was a small, unmarked, barren building known secretly as a “church” inside Dhahran where, without fanciness or fanfare, a Christmas service could be enjoyed. The Saudis ignored us as long as we were discreet and honored their rules, true even for swimming attire as we had our own American pools.

To its credit, ARAMCO provided good salaries, health care, housing and schools; Saudi Arabia provided extreme heat and, with few exceptions, a fairly hostile society that makes every Christmas in Keizer formerly taken for granted but a whole lot more appreciated nowadays.

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Tax plan takes swipe at little guys

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Left” _builder_version=”3.0.83″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/468-75-Copper-Creek-10-2017.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.copper-creek.net” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36512″ /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Post Ad Right” _builder_version=”3.0.78″ src=”http://www.keizertimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/468-75-Diagnostic-Imaging-08-01-17.gif” show_in_lightbox=”off” url=”http://www.salemimaging.com” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”36511″ /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text]

By LAWRENCE KUDLOW
& STEPHEN MOORE

Republicans are supposed to be the party that cuts the job-killing capital gains tax, not raises it. But because of a quirk in the Senate-passed tax bill, the tax on capital gains may go up — and for some types of long-held assets, fairly substantially.

Most members of Congress don’t even know of this stealth capital gains hike. Here’s the story: At the start of the year, Republicans promised to reverse the near-60 percent rise in the capital gains tax under former President Barack Obama — a hike that helped bring investment rates to historic lows. The GOP plan was to eliminate the Obamacare 3.8 percent investment-tax surcharge on capital gains and dividends?. That repeal never happened. But now, the Senate tax-reform bill proposes to raise several billion over the next decade by changing the rules on how stocks are taxed.

It would require shareholders to sell their oldest shares in a company before their newest purchased ones. The older the share, the larger the taxable capital gain. This is called the first-in, first-out accounting system.

Consider this example: Let’s say you bought 100 shares of Apple stock in 1998 at $100 a share?, and then you bought another 100 shares in 2008 at $300 each. If you were to sell 100 shares at $500 a share, you would have to “sell” the oldest stock and pay a $400 per share capital gains tax, versus $200 a share under the current law.

Now, this accounting change may actually make sense, except that the gains on long-term stocks are not adjusted for inflation. So on many sales of long-held stock, as much as half of the reported and taxable “gain” is due to the compounding effect of inflation. The actual capital gains tax paid could more than double for many stock and asset sales.

Therefore, the Senate rules would require millions of Americans to pay taxes on phantom or illusory gains. That is patently unfair and would discourage the very long-term investment that economists and politicians agree that we need.

If you were to give us $1,000 today, we would be glad to give you $1,500 25 years from now, because inflation is likely to run ahead of that pace. Believe us —you haven’t made a $500 profit on this transaction. But the government thinks you have.

There are other huge inequities in this new policy. Under the Senate bill, there’s an exception for mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other institutional funds. They would continue to apply the tax treatment under current law.

So get this: The little guy who wants to buy and sell stock on his own has to pay the higher capital gains tax, but the big investment funds have a more generous set of rules with lower taxes. Huh?

The mutual-fund industry convinced the Senate that conforming to the new rule would be too complicated. That’s good news for Fidelity Investments and Vanguard. But what about Joe Lunchbucket? This new rule is complicated for him, too. This law is going to nearly force small investors to purchase stock through the big fund managers—and, of course, pay their fees.

Most important, this is bad for the economy. The higher tax penalty on investment would discourage people from buying stock or investing in small startup companies in the first place.

This would also exacerbate the lock-in effect of the capital gains tax. History shows that when the tax on gains is higher, Americans are much more reluctant to sell their shares and pay the higher tax. This benefits old, established companies like Boeing and Microsoft but dries up capital for smaller, fast-growing firms that could be the next-generation Apple, Google or Uber.

In other words, this stealth capital gains tax contradicts the entire purpose of an otherwise prosperity-generating tax bill. We want lower business tax rates and investment tax rates to get more growth, more jobs and higher wages. A backdoor capital gains tax would accomplish the opposite.

(Creators Syndicate)

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]