Monday, March 3, 2014

Encore posting: McNary Field: Home of the Salem Cargo Cult

As Salem continues cutting services that benefit ordinary folks while shoveling money at developers and the well-connected, it's worth revisiting this old LoveSalem post:

If Salem needs cash so desperately, the place to find it is the airport, as in selling it to private investors for them to operate or put to other use, as conditions dicate.

The airport is currently a tax drain on the city and occupies good, centrally located and well drained land that gets plenty of sun (and, yes, rain) -- perfect for a group of investors to take over, continue to run as an private, civil aviation airport if desired and, more importantly, to start using all that safety-buffer space as farmland as well. 

Because the airline industry is cratering. The sooner Salem admits that there will never be scheduled commercial service to Salem again, the sooner the airport can be privatized and put on the tax rolls to become a tax generator instead of a tax drain. 

Between the price of jet fuel (kerosene, from oil) and the onset of prices on carbon emissions, the bottom line is that that air travel --- one of the most energy intensive human activities --- is going to be less and less a part of our lives in the years to come and it will certainly never be a mass activity for the middle class, as it was for a while. 

Salem's leadership seems to be either unaware or in denial about all of this, but the physical facts on the ground will trump any amount of psychological denial. The only question is how many planes will we attempt to build out of cedar planks before we give up our denial and admit that those years are over:

The most widely known period of cargo cult activity, however, was in the years during and after World War II. First, the Japanese arrived with a great deal of unknown equipment, and later, Allied forces also used the islands in the same way. The vast amounts of war materiel that were airdropped onto these islands during the Pacific campaign between the Allies and the Empire of Japan necessarily meant drastic changes to the lifestyle of the islanders, many of whom had never seen Westerners or Easterners before. Manufactured clothing, medicine, canned food, tents, weapons, and other useful goods arrived in vast quantities to equip soldiers. Some of it was shared with the islanders who were their guides and hosts. With the end of the war, the airbases were abandoned, and cargo was no longer dropped.

In attempts to get cargo to fall by parachute or land in planes or ships again, islanders imitated the same practices they had seen the soldiers, sailors, and airmen use. They carved headphones from wood and wore them while sitting in fabricated control towers. They waved the landing signals while standing on the runways. They lit signal fires and torches to light up runways and lighthouses. The cult members thought that the foreigners had some special connection to the deities and ancestors of the natives, who were the only beings powerful enough to produce such riches.

In a form of sympathetic magic, many built life-size replicas of airplanes out of straw and created new military-style landing strips, hoping to attract more airplanes. Ultimately, although these practices did not bring about the return of the airplanes that brought such marvelous cargo during the war, they did have the effect of eradicating most of the religious practices that had existed prior to the war.

Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay

Re: Our Oregon Capitol Update: Closing Time

Sen. Betsy Johnson claims she opposes HB 4143 because it changes the rules on corporations "in the middle"

That means she didn't support reducing PERS pensions for state workers, right???
Cause it would be wildly hypocritical to cut pensions for already- retired workers but then oppose making Wrongdoing corporations like BP pay the full amount of judgments because it's a "change" in midstream.

Our Oregon News
March 3, 2014

Legislators are headed into their final days of the 2014 session. They must adjourn by Sunday, and many speculate Sine Die will land closer to Wednesday or Thursday. Some big questions remain, including whether the Senate will pass the Legal Aid bill that corporations want so desperately to block

Our Oregon's got you covered with the most important goings-on to start your week.

Click the link to jump to the section you're most interested in. Or read 'em all and be the smartest person in the breakroom at lunch:
Results from Last Week
What's Happening This Week

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Last Week

Oregon House Republicans voted Monday evening to remove Rep. Julie Parrish (R-Tualatin/West Linn) from her leadership post as Deputy Leader for the House Republican caucus. Rep. John Davis (R-Wisonville) will take her place.

Some have hinted that it was no surprise that Parrish was the only member of the Republican leadership to lose her seat (excepting Wally Hicks, who will retire this year.) Rumors in the building suggested that House Rs had plans to specifically target Parrish, though later chose to hold an election for all of the leadership positions instead.

Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) later stated that the election was a direct result of Parrish's primary recruitment efforts.

► Both the House and Senate have now passed SB 1524, which would create a study on the viability of providing free community college for all Oregon high school graduates. The bill is lauded as a smart first step to addressing the growing problem in Oregon, where soaring tuition has become a signficant barrier to higher education opportunities for many Oregonians. 

This Week

► Economic fairness and consumer protection advocates are waiting to see if the Senate will pass HB 4143, which would direct uncollected proceeds from class action lawsuits to Legal Aid of Oregon. This would end Oregon's unfair practices that led corporations to underpay their legal settlements, and will instead provide legal representation for low-income Oregonians. Unsurprisingly, powerful interests have responded by trying to shut down support for the bill and Republicans are paying heed

The Senate will hold its third hearing and likely vote on the issue tomorrow (Tuesday.)  Get involved here, by signing the petition calling on the Oregon Senate to support the bill.

► The Senate will also vote on HB 4054, which would fix the driver card ballot measure title by providing a more accurate description of what the law would do. These efforts are backed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, so that voters have a clear understanding of what the law would do. The bill has already passed the House.

► The Oregon House has stalled on SB 1531. The original bill proposed to provide local governments with specific regulations over medical marijuana operations in their own jurisdiction, while still preserving protections for patient access.

Now, proposed amendments would let local governments ban medical dispensaries in their area, causing concerns about patients' access. House leaders fear that the amended language goes too far, and would not pass the Senate when it went back for review. 

► A bill to improve the integrity of Oregon's initiative system heads to the Governor's desk, after being passed in the House this morning.

The bill (SB 1504) expands restrictions on petition circulators, adding election violations to the list of factors that prohibits one from working as a paid petition circulator in Oregon.

OUR OREGON  |  |  503.239.8029


Breaking News

Outside the Legislature, policy changes through the ballot have been underway for months.

Today, two attacks on working people - Initiative Petitions 1 and 9 - were withdrawn from the ballot by chief petitioners.

This is great news for Oregon workers, who will not have to face a major, multi-million dollar attack from out-of-state corporate interests. While the Koch Brothers and ALEC are moving these anti-worker laws around the country, Oregonians won't have to face that threat this year.



Must Reads

Rival Oregon tax and union ballot measures won't go forward, Gov. John Kitzhaber announces (via the Oregonian)

Oregon's Senate Republicans can't deal with progress or innovation (via the Oregonian)

Final week agenda thinning (via the Register Guard)


Our Oregon is Oregon's progressive coalition, working for social and economic justice and fighting to protect Oregon's priorities.

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