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Fair and Balanced Discussion from Southern Oregon
Monday, July 26, 2004
My life as a "GC"
I wear a lot of hats in the course of my life, but the one that seems to always challenge me most is "being" (and I use that term loosely) a general contractor-like creature when my parents take on remodeling or additions with time constraints and health that isn't what it used to be. Given my sole previous experience building anything was theater sets (luan or canvas framed on 1x3's is not quite the same as framing a garage or pulling wire through four new rooms), these new forays into making home improvements for mom & dad got me interested in projects in my own home, too. Mostly, those are in the "dreaming" stage, though I did get a floor redone a couple years ago and resurfaced my back patio. Someone who owned the house before me caught the same bug but didn't quite get "plumb", "level", "square", and "permits" as concepts.
So this week, it is erecting (from a poured slab) a new detached garage to replace the attached one that became the master BR in their remodel of LAST year. (Photos will be available as soon as we find the damned USB cable.) Aside from one small foul-up with the initial roof decking (scratch two sheets of OSB), it is going VERY well. Structural inspection should happen tomorrow afternoon, and then I can get roof shingle and siding on and maybe even get a half day of kayaking in at the Bandon Marsh NWR or South Slough NERP during my scheduled time here on the south coast.
I will be dashing back to the Rogue Valley on Weds eve to meet with the Oregon School Employees Association - a group that represents the extremely important staff who support the efforts of our schools by assisting teachers in the classroom, feeding students lunches, driving buses, keeping the buildings cleaned and maintained, supervising our playgrounds, etc... in many districts, these are the first jobs (cafeteria, buses, and custodial, certainly) to get subbed out to private contractors. But I am back to the coast later that night, to wrap up the garage on Thursday.
Sun, dust, and wind are my friends. See you all after Aug 1 and we'll return to wearing out shoe leather en route to getting a new direction for Salem!!
Friday, July 23, 2004
Slow Week Blogging...
...busy week campaigning and living...
Did the Dems picnic this past weekend, also my own house party, some phone banking, some canvassing...
going to the coast to help my folks with a garage for a week, then back and pedal to the metal thru November.
I will blog from Bandon...
Friday, July 16, 2004
Marlyn and Jeannette hosted a house party yesterday - it was good times - County Commissioner Candidate Sue Densmore joined us and spoke, too, but the bulk of the 'stage time' was mine. Some great questions from group and from individuals before and after the main 'speech'.
Looking forward to the Buckley / Doty party on the 20th and tomorrow's County Dems picnic!
Getting inspired by listening to Peter Paul and Mary Dylan cover .mp3s tonight (Come gather 'round people, wherever you roam...)
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Daily Kos || National Sick Day - GOTV!!
RedDan at DailyKos has a great idea - I am endorsing it. Read it here!
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Contract in Medford - Larger classes, no aides
Medford teachers ratify contract
Here's the money quote:
Under the agreement, class sizes will average 27 students in elementary school, 32 in middle school and 35 in high school. The number of classroom aides will shrink from 64 full-time positions to 14. A committee is determining how the aides will be assigned.
Let's see: there are 18 schools in the district... 14 elementary schools. So we are looking at less than ONE AIDE per BUILDING? How did we get here? Why is this conversation even happening?
The answers aren't easy and they aren't popular, but they involve Measure 5 knocking the concept of local control for a loop. I suggest we look back at property taxes and local control, perhaps in exchange we reduce income tax a good chunk?
Wait, did he say raise taxes?
Let's look at this a different way: I got a problem needs fixing, I got a tool box. The problem is particularly suited to using some of the tools and ignoring others (say framing in a door won't require the allen wrench, but get claw hammer and a few shims). We have the same situation here with revenue and budgets - we have the tools, but we resist using them for fear of political backlash. We are trying to solve every problem with a limited toolbox, and some jobs that MUST get done need tools we aren't willing to use.
Oregon needs more nimble funding mechanisms - Prineville needs to be able to respond differently than Eugene, yet with Measure 5 making the Legislature as a de facto school board, it's one size fits all.
It's the best tool for every job is a hammer.
It's 7:39pm, do you know where your dog is...
So back on the 3rd, I found this beast wandering on Highland Ave near the skate park portion of Bear Creek. I corralled her in the Minute Market lot just north of Siskiyou and came home with her, photographed her, sent the photos and details to Animal Control, submitted a Found ad in the Mail Trib and waited. It's been a week. How can someone not miss this gorgeous, soft, sweet dog?
UPDATE - So I filed the "Found Dog" report with Animal Control via telephone on Tuesday, July 6 (first day after this dog was found) - they told me that after a week with no claim, the dog was mine to do with as I pleased... so meet Indy (named both for Independence Day AND Indiana Jones, to go with my other new beast, Sallah). No one has claimed her and I really like her :)
Use the comments section of this post to discuss anything on my issues pages, the recent changes to the site (new photos!), the upcoming Olympics, the mixed emotions of finding stray dogs, or whatever else strikes your fancy...
Friday, July 09, 2004
Note - Originally posted in August of 2003, this is an archive edition "Highlight" from the early days of my pondering the run
In the Mail Tribune Online Edition - Letters to the Editor - August 17, 2003, Nancy and Bob Brousseau of Central Point write:
When the tax-and-spend mindset of an elected official thinks of tax dollars as play money, magically appearing out of paychecks and pockets of working families, then it is time to elect another representative who will have some fiscal responsibility, and to say a big thank you to the representatives who are trying to be reasonable by cutting the fat, not levying more taxes.
I feel compelled to ask a couple of questions and ask that you all out there comment to let me know if I am just out of it...
I gotta go do soccer, but I am curious about this point, so I thought I'd put it out there.
So, the 'fat' has continued to be cut. Medford's teachers are in renegotiation in a non-contract negotiation year with jobs being lost. One of the summer's hot films discusses the staffing levels of the Oregon State Police along a huge stretch of coastline and statewide. I still have to pay to use Day Use areas in the state park system. The on-site clinic at my school shut down and - ta da - access to birth control gone, students were getting pregnant within weeks.
Measure 5 was in Nineteen NINETY and the legislature STILL hasn't figured out a way to replace the revenue lost to localities. Governer Roberts' Conversations with Oregon came closest to addressing the issue and the resulting legislation lost in the House on a procedural vote.
Salem needs change. Salem needs fresh voices, new ideas, and innovative thinkers. The Salem solution for years - for a decade and a half - has been to say the voters have spoken, we have no consensus, there is nothing that can be done... This is about leadership. It's about getting out in front and saying "This is where we are going, this is why, you are all coming with us, and it will be GOOD!" and having the citizens of Oregon respond with enthusiasm, courage, and hope, like the English on St. Crispin's Day at Agincourt.
We can all be heroes for the future of Oregon. Vote in November for progressive voices like mine.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Did some photography stuff today, getting images to work into new walking piece, direct mail piece, maybe as part of a montage in a TV spot, and to add to the website.
Great session (fun - reminded me of my days as a theater major, setting up lights, checking levels, wardrobe changes, etc...) with some of my former students, past and present soccer players - all of whom are part of my much larger volunteer corps - providing environment to get me in my normal 'professional surroundings.'
Not to spoil the magic, gentle readers, but with summer school cancelled and with the ethical issues surrounding actually using students currently enrolled in the program I work for, these shots are 'representative of, but not, my actual work setting'.
the Photographer was great, btw.