Category: SW Editorial

STOP THE SALEM-KEIZER SCHOOL BOARD TAKEOVER

Having just ousted a conservative majority from the Salem City Council with the election of Chris Hoy in the March special election, the last thing we need to do is to let the extreme right take over the Salem-Keizer School District. That could happen on May 16th if voters are not aware of the threat and do not reject the social conservatives who are running for three seats. We already have one extremist social conservative on the School Board, Marty Heyen, who unfortunately did not draw an opponent when she ran for the school board in 2015. She is married to the Chair of the Marion County Republicans, Jeff Heyen. It was Jeff Heyen who worked hard to recruit three conservative candidates to run in the May 16th election. Since there are only seven members of the Salem-Keizer School District Board, electing three more social conservatives to the school board would constitute a majority. Two of the conservative recruits are totally unqualified for office. Jesse Lippold is running in Zone 3. He also goes by he name Jesse Olsen and he does not even live in Zone 3, but he promised the Marion County Elections Office he would move there before the election. He is 21 years old and has no experience in education. Jonathan Baker is running in Zone 5 and also brings no experience to the job....

Read More

GIVE HIM A CHANCE TO SUCCEED? Give me a break…

In a democratic society it is customary at the end of a hard election campaign for the losing “loyal opposition” to wish the winner good luck and, for the good of the country, utter parting words such as, “If you succeed, the country will succeed.”  In the best of times, one can wonder at the sincerity of such concession speech statements — but credibility is particularly strained following the election cycle that just elected Donald Trump as the U.S. President. Supporters of the winner often exhort constituents of the other side to “Give him a chance to succeed…”  As we observe initial structuring of the new administration, the question is immediately raised:  How should success be defined?  And, in particular, we are driven to ask:  Who gets to define it? We see a President forming a cabinet with (among other things):  a Defense Secretary who reportedly “likes to brawl,” an oil man Secretary of State who has received a medal from the Russians, a Labor Secretary nominee who has aggressively battled any minimum wage, an Energy Department secretary who wanted the agency dissolved, a climate change-denying EPA Director who wants to downsize or eliminate all consumer protection measures, an Attorney General apparently willing to commit perjury, and an Education Secretary in favor of privatizing many schools and ignoring the desperate needs in our once-envied public education system. Observing the...

Read More

Holding the New Regime Accountable

The limits of the press in a capitalist society are well known.  Most mass-market daily mainstream publications, such as The New York Times or, more locally, The Statesman Journal, are profit-oriented corporations dependent on advertising and not inclined to publish criticisms focusing on the system in which they operate.  The same is true of corporate television and the digital media, where systemic critiques of capitalism are marginalized.  While there are many print and digital outlets providing space to radical voices, these are generally smaller, less frequently published outlets relying on subscriptions and donations along with limited advertising in order to survive.  The Nation, Against the Current, Jacobin, and this newspaper are different variations of this genre. Trump’s assumption of power threatens the entire democratic press regardless of a publication’s particular outlook.  Frequently asserting that only he can solve the country’s problems, Trump sees the world in black and white terms and rejects reasoned political debate with respected opponents.  Over the course of the presidential campaign, he assiduously and ruthlessly discredited, delegitimized, and neutralized all of his opponents and, following the lead of his post-Reagan Republican predecessors, relentlessly attacked the federal government, which he called a “swamp,” whose corruption was epitomized by the Clinton family.  Having won the White House and with his party controlling Congress, Trump is not about to abandon his take-no-prisoners approach.   Since the media is...

Read More

SW Endorsement: Vote Chris Hoy for Ward 6 Salem City Council

The long-suffering residents of Salem City Council Ward 6 have many people to thank for ridding them of an ineffective city councilor two years early. The last issue of the Salem Weekly reported in detail how concerned citizens in both Salem and even in Portland became aware of a racist video on Councilor Daniel Benjamin’s Facebook page last November and refused to be silent. On November 23rd Benjamin resigned his council seat in disgrace. The Salem City Council unanimously passed a resolution to censure Benjamin on November 28th after an emotional public hearing, and unanimously accepted his resignation. Had Benjamin not resigned he would have held the Ward 6 seat through the end of 2018. Anyone who watches the Salem City Council would say that in his two years in office he contributed little to the work of the council. He sometimes made disrespectful remarks to citizens testifying at council meetings with whom he disagreed. He once commented that citizens testifying in favor of early recreational marijuana sales looked “glassy-eyed.” He did nothing to improve the livability of Ward 6 which has many of the lowest income residents of the city. We should not forget that in 2014 Benjamin was the hand-picked candidate of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the Homebuilders Association, and the realtors who provided him with nearly all of his campaign funds. But now the...

Read More

ADDRESSING Salem’s HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

Homelessness needs our attention.  It has reached near epidemic proportions in many cities of the U.S.  What do we know about homelessness, its causes and challenges?  What do we know about the elements of most effective community responses?  The vaunted “private market” seems virtually helpless, even though private sector (largely non-profit) involvement and assistance is vital in crafting effective responses.  Powerful and creative public-private partnerships are needed.  Those experienced with the challenges of homelessness know there is no one profile of the homeless.  It is a complex and multifaceted issue.  The needs vary substantially for various cohorts.  The situation can be quite different for single men, single women, families, the elderly, mothers with children, childless couples, the chronically mentally ill, the physically handicapped, veterans, those who have been homeless for many years, and those who became homeless last month due to an eviction or lost job.  Tragically, homeless children are a growing problem.  The Salem-Keizer Public Schools currently count approximately 1,000 homeless children enrolled.  Adding to these challenges is the broad range of difficulties faced by the homeless.  Job loss, health problems, history of abuse and other traumas, substance abuse, mental health issues, including PTSD, problems with the law, and other factors appear individually or in combination to help describe any particular homeless story. Those working with the homeless generally agree that effective measures must include comprehensive and well-coordinated...

Read More

sw-house-ad-for-web-donatepdffinal

sw-house-ad-for-web-donatepdffinal