Thursday, November 5, 2009

City Boards & Commissions: Applicants needed now

After seeing the City Council majority's disdain for actual public participation and its shabby, shameful treatment of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on the Minto-Brown easements sellout, it's tempting to ignore this notice about boards and commissions vacancies. But if there's anything Salem needs more than for good people to get more involved, I don't know what it is, so here's the announcement.
The [Salem] Boards and Commissions Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday, November 17th, at noon, to reappoint and appoint members. I am asking for your help with recruiting for new applicants.

Listed below Current Boards and Commissions vacancies -
  • Airport Advisory Commission (1)
  • Citizen Advisory Board (1)
  • Citizen Budget Committee (1) - Ward 5
  • Citizen Police Review Board (1)
  • Downtown Advisory (1) - Business Owner within the Downtown District
  • Housing Advisory Commission (4) - Senior, Social Services, Housing, Development and Finance, and (1) recommendation from the City of Keizer
  • Housing and Urban Development Advisory Commission (3) - Housing, Neighborhood Association, Human Rights
  • Human Rights and Relations Advisory Commission (7) ... 1 is for a student/youth
  • North Gateway Advisory Board (1)
  • Salem Library Advisory Board (1)
  • Senior Center Advisory Board (3) - At large
  • West Salem Advisory Board (1) - At large
The Boards and Commissions website has been updated with current vacancy information and applicants can apply on-line or print off the form and mail it in the City Manager's Office, 555 Liberty St., SE - Rm 220, Salem, Oregon 97301

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Linda Cate
Mayor and City Manager's Office
503-588-6255 x7269

Graffiti isn't cool. Call 371-GANG to report tags

Graffiti on a European train.Image via Wikipedia

Salem has a real problem with graffiti. Whole books can be written about the social pathology that graffiti represents and the futility of trying to leave it to the police to resolve. Salem seems headed down that track, which is a perfect setup for a vicious cycle of graffiti crackdowns and flareups as testosterone-poisoned young males on both sides of the equation get into a classical primate dominance contest with everybody the worse off and lots of collateral damage all around.
Incidents of graffiti have significantly increased over the past three months throughout Salem, with the past week being particularly busy. Thankfully, in most cases property owners have been compliant with rapid removal. In some cases the Graffiti Abatement Team has responded to the area and removed graffiti, only to have it get tagged again within a matter of days. While this high volume of calls has created some delay in the response time of the Graffiti Abatement Team, we ask for patience from the public as we work very hard to catch up on calls, and we also ask for your vigilance in reporting and removing graffiti in a timely manner. If you do remove graffiti, please remember to take a photo first and send it to Also, remember that graffiti is a crime. Please report in-progress crimes immediately by calling 911 and report suspicious activity.

Our community has been very aggressive at keeping graffiti in check, and we want to thank you for being our partner in fighting crime and not allowing the vandals to win!

Graffiti Hotline: 503-371-4264

Sgt. Doug Carpenter
Salem Police Department
Crime Prevention Unit
555 Liberty St SE #130
Salem, Oregon 97301
503-588-6050 ext 7030
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Nice short summary on the need to rebuild the trains

Salem Oregon train station nightAmericans are great for killing things and then wanting to "preserve" the remnants of the things killed. Thus we have beautiful restored stations serving an emaciated and crippled rail network. Image via Wikipedia

James Howard Kunstler, from the foreward to "Waiting for a Train."

Since then, train travel in the United States has become a pretty bare-bones affair. Amtrak has become the laughingstock of the world. Most Americans now living have never even been passengers on a train -- for them it's as outmoded as the stagecoach.

The final three-decade blowout of the cheap fossil-fuel fiesta led to the supremacy of the automobile and the fabulous network of highways that provided so much employment and so many real-estate development opportunities. This is all rather unfortunate because we are on the verge of experiencing one of the sharpest discontinuities in human history.

We're heading into a permanent global oil crisis. It is going to change the terms of everyday life very starkly. We will be a far less affluent nation than we were in the 20th century. The automobile is now set to become a diminishing presence in our lives. We will not have the resources to maintain the highways that made Happy Motoring so normal and universal.

The sheer prospect of permanent energy-resource problems has, in my view, been the prime culprit behind the cratering of our financial system for the simple reason that reduced energy "inputs" lead inexorably to the broad loss of capacity to service debt at all levels: personal, corporate, government. It's quite a massive problem, and it's not going away anytime soon, which is why I call it "The Long Emergency."

There are many additional pieces to it, including very troubling prospects for agriculture, for commerce, manufacturing -- really for all the "normal" activities of daily life in an "advanced" civilization.

I think we're going to need trains again desperately. Among the systems in trouble (and headed for more, very soon) is commercial aviation. In my opinion, the airline industry as we know it will cease to exist in five years.

Combine this with the threats to our car culture -- including resumed high fuel costs and the equal probability of scarcities and shortages, along with falling incomes and lost access to credit -- and you have a continental-sized nation that nobody can travel around.

Rebuilding the nation's passenger railroad has got to be put at the top of our priority list. We had a system not so long ago that was the envy of the world; now we have service that the Bulgarians would be ashamed of.

The tracks are still lying out there rusting in the rain, waiting to be fixed. The job doesn't require the reinvention of anything -- we already know how to do it. Rebuilding the system would put scores of thousands of people to work at meaningful jobs at all levels. The fact that we're barely talking about it shows what an unserious people we have become.

Rebuilding the American passenger-railroad system has an additional urgent objective: We need a doable project that can build our confidence and sense of collective purpose in facing all the other extraordinary challenges posed by the long emergency -- especially rebuilding local networks of commerce and relocalizing agriculture.

There's been a lot of talk about "hope" in our politics lately. Real hope is generated among people who are confident in their abilities to contend with the circumstances that reality sends their way, proving to themselves that they are competent and able to respond intelligently to the imperatives of their time.

We are, in effect, our own generators of hope. Rebuilding the American railroad system is an excellent place to start recovering our sense of purpose.

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