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Lawmakers, lobbyists call for changes to Measure 98

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

By Anna Marum | The Oregonian/OregonLive 

Last November…Oregon voters overwhelmingly approved Ballot Measure 98.

The measure promised to get many more students to earn diplomas by allocating $800 per student for career-technical courses, college-credit classes and dropout intervention programs in high schools.

But with the Legislature facing a $1.8 billion budget gap and as some critics point out weak points in the measure, what is delivered could differ…

In her December budget proposal, Gov. Kate Brown recommended allocating just $139 million to the programs in the measure…

We Respond & Your Comments

It passed – 65% – 34%. Who could be against Measure 98? After all, it was “for the children.”

Guv Kate endorsed it. But she and her government buds never thought out:

  • It’s going to cost close to $300 million over 2 years. Where’s that coming from?
  • Small, rural school districts won’t get enough to accomplish any of 98’s goals;
  • It’s going to cannibalize other, established education programs.

Or maybe they did think it out and ignored these and other flaws in 98. Why? For the same reason Oregon AFL-CIO and the Oregon Democratic Party endorsed 98. Any money, no matter how little, that creates education programs creates union jobs.

And union jobs create union dues. And union dues morph into campaign contributions for Democrats.

So it really doesn’t make any difference if these programs are good, bad, or just plain ugly, does it?


Demon Oil’s Gotta Go!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

University of Oregon: Go Fossil Free!

…We call on the University of Oregon…to divest within five years from direct ownership from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds…

University of Oregon students stage mock wedding between UO foundation and fossil fuel industry

By Andrew Theen, The Oregonian/OregonLive

…Divest UO Organizers ended their nearly 10-week protest with a mock theater-style event… 

UO Foundation is on the road to divesting in fossil fuels…

By Diane Dietz, The Register-Guard

The University of Oregon Foundation confirmed Monday that it plans to end its investment in “carbon-based fuel sources.”…

We Respond & Your Comments

In June we showed that divestiture of energy stocks is merely an empty gesture . Today we speak directly to our energy obsessed “Greenies.”…

Hey, Greenies, now that you’ve convinced adults, who should know better, to divest energy stocks, how about you divest some of your stuff you wouldn’t have without demon oil? Stuff like:

  • Cars – even your puny 121 horsepower Priuses. Where do you think electricity comes from? Anyway, my model airplane has more power;
  • Air conditioning – powered by fossil fuels. When you’re broiling next August just remind yourself how righteously green you are;
  • Your precious iphones & iPods. How much oil did it take to manufacture & ship them to you? Divest them and save a polar bear.

It sure was fun lecturing other people about sacrificing for your green obsession, wasn’t it? Now go back to school. You have much to learn.


Oregon Land Board Low-Balls Elliott Timber with Fixed-Price “Bidding”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

By John A. Charles, Jr.

… the Oregon Department of State Lands announced the “fair market value” of 82,450 acres of Common School Trust Lands within the Elliott State Forest as $220.8 million. The number was picked by Roger Lord of the consulting firm Mason, Bruce & Girard after analyzing three different professional appraisals. Proceeds from the land transfer will go to the Common School Fund…

… the Director of the Department, Jim Paul, reiterated that anyone hoping to acquire the 82,450 acres must offer exactly $220.8 million. Any offer above that will be considered “outside the protocol” and deemed “non-responsive.”…

We Respond & Your Comments

Throughout 122 previous issues of Lane Solutions we’ve called your attention to a multitude of government absurdities. But never, ever, have we seen anything this absurd.

Here’s what the Dept. of State Lands is saying: “We’re selling Elliot Forest for $220.8 million. If you want to pay Oregonians one cent more – go fry ice.”

Is this how they’d sell their personal house, car, or even dog? Absolutely not. But it’s your money – so they just don’t care.

Remember this the next time these wizards whine about not having enough money for schools, affordable housing or whatever. Remember it the next time they want your money “for the children.” Most of all – remember it when you vote.


UO students, associate professor urge university to unload fossil fuel investments

Thursday, June 30, 2016

 By Diane Dietz The Register-Guard

University of Oregon student activists made their quarterly approach to the Board of Trustees on Thursday to urge divestment in fossil fuels, but this time they got backup from an associate professor.

Michael Dreiling of the sociology department pointed out that the students are honoring the science they learned in UO classes…

Senior environmental studies major Kaia Hazard — a week away from graduation — carried about 1,000 cards with signatures urging divestment…

Eric Jung, a senior in environmental science, biology and political science, said the university has a chance to “do the right thing” and “improve its image.”…

We Respond & Your Comments

We scratch our heads and ask ourselves “What are these ‘Stewards of the Earth’ hoping to accomplish with divestment of fossil fuel stocks? Would it make any difference to Exxon if every university sold every share?” No.

Here’s what none of these heavy-in-education-but pitifully-light-in-wisdom geniuses has noticed: every time a university sells a share of Exxon, somebody else buys it. All that’s changed is the owner, which has no effect on Exxon. In fact, by divesting, they’re eliminating any influence they might have on the evil entity!

Then we ask if it would make any difference if these Green Crusaders knew their crusade is meaningless. Sadly, we conclude they really don’t care. All they want is to perform the “beau geste” – an act that looks nice, feels good and accomplishes nothing.


Oregon’s new minimum wage will create ‘tough choices’ for public universities

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

   Andrew Theen, The Oregonian/oregonlive The Oregonian

As Oregon lawmakers celebrated passage of a historic minimum wage hike last week, leaders at each of the seven public universities were pulling out their calculators.

Oregon’s four-year universities collectively pay thousands of mostly student workers the minimum wage…

…Minimum wage [increases] will cost PSU [Portland State University] an estimated $2.5 million more during the biennium…

At the University of Oregon…the new wage will cost an extra $432,779 to implement during the 2017 fiscal year alone…

For the Beavers [Oregon State University], the extra wages due to students in the next biennium would be at least $4.8 million…

By the 2019 fiscal year, [OSU spokesman] Clark said, the school could look at reducing the number of student jobs by 650 to 700 positions to cut costs…

We Respond & Your Comments

As much as we hate to see kids lose jobs, especially when universities are raising tuition, we have to ask the kids, professors and administrators, most of whom were probably for the minimum wage hike, “Just what in the (insert your favorite word here) did you think was going to happen?”

It’s still Iron Rule of Economics #1: When you raise the price of something (in this case labor) you decrease demand for it.

We predicted this. Now we extract from our crystal ball two more predictions: 1) This is just the beginning; 2) By July 4 these universities will be begging the Legislature for a minimum wage exemption because “It’s just not fair to the kids.” Wanna bet against us?


Stupid College Courses – Issue 100

Thursday, October 8, 2015

MortarboardDear Mom & Dad: I just love it here at the University of Pennsylvania. Here’s what I’m taking this term for my English major…

“…Wasting Time On The Internet. We spend our lives in front of screens, mostly wasting time: checking social media, watching cat videos, chatting, and shopping…this class will focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature. Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours…”

What’ll it cost you for a year at U Penn for your little darling? $66,800.

We suggest this course: “Wasting Time (& Money) At The University of Pennsylvania”

Read more here >>>


Free community college? Oregon still debating the idea

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

– Taylor W. Anderson, The [Bend] Bulletin

…SALEM — Lawmakers hoping to make community college free for most students got a resounding message from the higher education community during a hearing on the matter Thursday…

Senate Bill 81 was proposed as a way to create a free college degree for low – and middle-income students. The cost to the state is estimated at around $20 million every two years, and aspects of the proposed law could bring in a rush of federal student aid to help carry the program…

Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, has been leading the proposal since 2013. He said critics aren’t considering the likely gush of federal money that would come as a result of the proposal…

…the free tuition would deplete a [community college] budget that is still crawling back after

being cut deeply during the recession…

We Respond & Your Comments

We know – we’ve said it before. And we’re going to keep reminding our Salem brainiacs: NOTHING IS FREE. Somebody (are you listening, taxpayers?) pays for everything that man creates. The $20 million has to come from somewhere. That would be us.

It “could bring in rush/’gush’ of federal student aid?” The key word is “could.” We “could” win the lottery. Ever notice that when a state politico is trying to sell more spending he tends to suggest that Uncle Sugar’ll pick up the tab?

We all know that if you want more of something, in this case students, – subsidize it. If you want lots more, make it free. Lots more students = lots more cost to taxpayers.

Sen. Haas (Dem – Beaverton) may believe that “free” tuition is a great idea. He also knows that his “generosity” will turn into votes from students and their parents. It’s up to us to demand that we’re told the true cost of this before $20 million turns into $40 million turns into $60 million and yet another failed government program.




What Sacrifices are They Willing to Make?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

 Jeff Wright, The Register-Guard

In an unprecedented letter, all 16 Lane County public school district superintendents on Thursday asked Lane County legislators to reject the “woefully inadequate” K-12 school funding budget proposed for the state’s 2015-17 biennium.

The letter was released on the same day that the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee approved a $7.3 billion spending plan in a party-line vote. The two-year budget proposal would be a 9 percent increase in state aid for schools.

The Lane County superintendents’ letter contends that schools in Oregon “need at least $7.5 billion to add full-day kindergarten and remain stable with current programs and class sizes…

We Respond & Your Comments

OK, Mr.  & Mrs. Superintendents, we hear your desperate cry for a 9% increase on top of the $1 billion increase you got last year.

And to the many teachers who echo your deep concern we respond “We feel your pain.”

Now we have just one question for these dedicated educators who would have us sacrifice more of our earnings “for the children”: How much of your PERS benefits are you willing to sacrifice “for the children”?

We eagerly await your response.


Gee, Mom & Dad – Looked what I learned at UO this year for your $24,405!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bread 101

How five professors teamed-up to create a course exploring the science and culture of bread.

BY BONNIE HENDERSON, BA ’79, MA ’85, Oregon Quarterly

Simple carb. Staff of life. Sacrament, mitzvah, the very body of Christ. Prisoner’s rations. The highest expression of the baker’s art. Irritant, allergen, toxin…No surprise, then, that when five University of Oregon professors…met last year to kick around ideas for an interdisciplinary life science–humanities honors college colloquium organized around one foodstuff or another, bread quickly emerged as the obvious focus…

A Hallmark of Civilization

Jennifer Burns Bright, Literature Scholar and Food Writer…

You’ve heard it said that bread is the staff of life? As a humanist, I seek to investigate that in different ways…

Does it mean that, because we bake bread, we are civilized?…

We Respond & Your Comments

So UO pulled together five profs at a UO average $104,900 each per year to teach kids, according to the eight page syllabus for “Bread 101”, such essentials as “Describe the terroir of wheat/bread” and “Compare and contrast the biodiversity of yeast within a bakery…”

In case you’re wondering why tuition’s skyrocketing and grads can’t get jobs, maybe it’s because kids take doughy courses like this one taught by half a million bucks’ worth of profs.

As part of UO’s quest for academic excellence, we look forward to these advanced courses:

  • Cauliflower, 1066 & the Norman Invasion – A Postmodern Analysis
  • Reconsidered – the Role of Belgian Waffles in the French Revolution
  • Kumquats, Charlemagne & Gender Studies – A Holistic Approach

It’s all gonna look great on these kids’ resumes. Right?


Free Community College? Here’s How That Might Work In Oregon

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rob Manning OPB

Many in Oregon likely sat up and listened recently when President Barack Obama made this announcement in the State of the Union:

“I’m sending this Congress a bold, new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero!”…

Oregon can’t wait for Obama to get something through Congress, said Mark Hass, chairman of Oregon’s senate education committee…

We Respond & Your Comments

As we’ve said before, nothing is “free.” Somebody pays for everything. If it’s a government program we taxpayers pay every cent of it. We’ll now add that you can’t change the “cost” of anything unless you’re the provider of it. A thing costs a seller of it what it costs. Only the price changes.

Here’s another iron rule of economics: If you want more of something, subsidize it. What Sen. Hall wants to subsidize is tuition.

We saw this movie with four year college tuition. Federal and state governments subsidized it through scholarships, grants and loans. What happened? Colleges, knowing they could get tuition bucks from government entities, hiked tuition prices to the moon.

We guess Sen. Hass (D-Beaverton) wants to see the same movie again, this time starring community colleges. We guarantee that the ending will be the same. And very expensive.