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I am William S. U'ren and I am dead. I was once a big noise in Oregon politics, an activist back in the days when Republicans were called progressive and there was an actual Populist Party. The history books say I am largely responsible for things like the initiative, referendum and recall here, as well as the direct election of US Senators. I ran for governor, once, when William Howard Taft was the Republican president, and I lost. Then I retired from politics and, thirty years later, I died. And almost everything I accomplished has been turned on its head and against the very people it was meant to help. Enough is Enough in Oregon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

number 41--and drowning

Wednesday June 10, 2009 and the Oregonian is reporting that a little boy died and his sister was saved by "good Samaritans" while the official emergency response--from Portland Fire and Rescue--took 30 minutes to lumber to the scene in the David Campbell, a boat built in 1927, and not built for the mission into which it was pressed that night. Part of the delay had to do with a slow speed of the craft--a quarter of the speed of a boat stationed on Hayden Island that responds to such incidents in that neck of the river--and part to do with the necessity to raise the Steel Bridge to let the big old boat through. Another boat--stationed with the Campbell but out of service for repairs--could have cut 7 minutes or so off the trip.

Now, understand, the Sheriff's Department has a separate rescue capability--with craft faster and a lower profile, not requiring the raising of a bridge between here and there and capable of making the trip at 39 MPH. But, because of "budget cuts" those faster, shorter boats are not on duty at the time of night these children hit the water.

Oregon ranks #41, according to the US Census Department, in state and local tax paid, per capita. Yeah, for all the times you've been told that you are overtaxed here in Oregon you are #41.

In Bill Sizemore talk, that means you are in the 9th "best" state and local tax situation in the country.

Congratulations, Oregon.

Thanks, Bill.

To all the the other costs of being in that exalted class of the "top" 20% for local state and local taxation add the death of one little boy.

But it's not just keeping the Portland Fire and Rescue budget "reasonable" that you could connect to this benefit conferred on you by the tax bashers, if you cared to pick up a pencil.

The "reasonableness" of the budgets of the several agencies that fall into the definition of "mental health" here in Oregon is also responsible for this boy's death and for whatever is the ultimate fate of his mother--sick enough to have pushed him and his sister off of the Sellwood Bridge.

There are probably a number of other underfunded parts of your social, governmental and economic infrastructure you could connect to all this--and plenty of other unfortunate victims you could put on the other side of the ledger. Most of them just die out of sight.

But it may be a comfort to know that whatever was not available to help this wretched woman there will be a prison cell available for her--with no wait list or exemption for a pre-existing condition.

Look around at everything else the lack of which is considered "reasonable"--acceptable--in exchange for your "great" tax rate here in Oregon.

Of course, there is always room for improvement. After all, Oregon business taxes are rated #2 in the country by an advocacy group that skews its numbers so as to make such taxes seem as high as possible in its propaganda.

Imagine how great you'd have it living here in Oregon if your state and local taxes were the second lowest, per capita, in the country!

Makes me glad I'm dead.

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