This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 4, 2003 2:47 PM. The previous post in this blog was Blessing in disguise. The next post in this blog is Rake that muck. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, April 4, 2003

Learning to like the Gov

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski gave a speech today at a large luncheon event for the business law side of the school at which I teach. I had a front row seat for this, and came away energized to do some things to help make Oregon a better place.

Expect less from government was an obvious message. Work together with other Oregonians, even the ones you don't agree with. Promote the state everywhere you go. Be as optimistic as you can. But stand up and complain when the stripped-down system is eliminating programs that are worth fighting for.

"There are people protesting budget cuts in Salem every day," the governor noted. "People from all parts of the state are complaining that we're cutting important programs on which their communities depend. I'd be disappointed if they weren't."

As for getting started with some remedies, Kulongoski promoted his plan to raise more than $100 million a year by doubling our (ridiculously low, in my view) vehicle registration fees and increasing vehicle title fees. That revenue would enable the state to float $2.1 billion of bonds to fix its aging transportation infrastructure, particularly crumbling freeway bridges over the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers. That's a few thousand jobs right there.

He's also promising to cut bureaucratic red tape that adversely impacts business, but at the same time maintain land use and environmental standards. That's quite a juggling act, but at least he's hearing both sides.

I've never been a big Kulongoski fan -- "holding my nose" is how I unkindly put it when I voted for him last fall -- but you've got to admire him for taking the job. His heart is in the right place. He's more of a deal man than his predecessor was, which is really needed now in place of the gridlock we've witnessed in Salem recently. And what the new governor's saying makes a lot of sense.

"I need your help," he repeated several times.

I'll try.

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