Knute Buehler, He’s Too Extreme For Kate Brown’s Oregon

Kate Brown is claiming that Knute Buehler, her opponent in the race for Oregon’s Secretary of State, is too extreme for Oregon.  What she really means, though, is that Knute Buehler is too extreme for Kate Brown’s Oregon.  That Oregon is a place Kate Brown and her political backers, including Governor Kitzhaber and former Secretary of State Bradbury, have spent their entire political careers and billions of taxpayer dollars creating for themselves. And for them, Kate Brown’s Oregon is a very nice place to be.

For example, in Kate Brown’s Oregon the government is totally controlled by career politicians who have classified themselves as public employees in order to take advantage of the public employee benefits they have created, such as PERS and the many benefits provided by the Public Employee Benefit Board.  Those public employee benefits cost the people of Oregon billions of dollars every year. The non-public employees of Oregon, who make up 92% of the state’s population, are required to pay for those benefits but they have no meaningful voice in deciding what those benefits will be or how they will be paid for.  In Kate Brown’s Oregon, the career politicians make all of those decisions.

Kate Brown, Governor Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury realize that if Knute Buehler is elected, the future of Kate Brown’s Oregon will be in jeopardy.  Career politicians will no longer have total control over Oregon’s government.  The possibility that a person who is not part of their inner circle of career politicians might hold one of the state’s highest offices frightens them and it should.  They know that they did not get to where they are today by having independent Oregonians involved in the government.

Just look at the PERS situation.  During the first twenty-five years that PERS existed, 1945 through 1970, legislators were not allowed to join PERS.  The people of Oregon were represented by independent legislators when PERS laws were made.  Through that entire period of time, PERS benefits remained constant.  After working a full career, a PERS member received a retirement benefit equal to approximately 50% of his or her final average salary and the people of Oregon and the public employee each contributed 50% of the cost of that retirement benefit.  But once the Oregon Attorney General ruled that legislators could join PERS in 1971, it took the legislators only ten years to more than double the PERS retirement benefits and to shift almost the entire PERS funding obligation to the people of Oregon.  Then they made PERS funding Oregon’s highest financial priority.  That is why PERS is always paid first and why public services will always be cutback to fund PERS.

Today, in Kate Brown’s Oregon, the majority of legislators, the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and all of the judges are PERS members.  There is not one branch of the Oregon government that gives independent representation on PERS issues to the people of Oregon.  That makes the PERS benefits created by the PERS legislators invulnerable to reform by the people who have to pay for them.   When Oregonians did have independent representation in PERS matters, those benefits never existed.  And PERS is just one example of why Kate Brown’s Oregon is such a wonderful place for Kate Brown and the other career politicians who control it.

That’s why Kate Brown and her political backers see Knute Buehler as too extreme.  If he is elected, they have a serious problem.  It would open the door to the election of other independent persons to statewide office.  In that event, the career politicians who now have total control over the state would lose their power and Kate Brown’s Oregon would come to an abrupt end.

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About Dan Re

I am an attorney who has lived in Bend and practiced law since 1981. In educating myself about the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), I was shocked at how the PERS laws were changed by the legislature, once legislators were allowed to join PERS in 1971, 26 years after PERS was first created. Those changes personally benefitted the legislators who made them at the direct financial expense of the people they were elected to represent. That is wrong and I intend to change it. In 2009, I started a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation, In RE The People, Inc., for the purpose of informing concerned citizens of what happened regarding PERS and other issues of social and civic importance. I then created this blog to further that objective.
This entry was posted in Kate Brown, Knute Buehler, Oregon Governor, Oregon legislature, Oregon PERS and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Knute Buehler, He’s Too Extreme For Kate Brown’s Oregon

  1. Please consider voting for the Oregon Progressive Party candidate, Robert Wolfe. Read more about him at http://progparty.org

    STOP GOVERNMENT INCOMPETENCE

    Kate Brown touts her role as “Auditor in Chief.” She “audited” the Oregon Department of Revenue 3 times in the past 2 years and failed to see any problem with the way the Department was issuing huge undocumented refunds. The Department in 2012 paid a $2.1 million refund to a Salem woman who had never before reported more than $15,000 of income. The folks at TurboTax, not the government, revealed this fraud. The state employees even manually overrode the computer-generated warning about this refund. Now, the government refuses to disclose how many other huge, fraudulent refunds it has paid.

    Kate Brown’s ads claim that her audits have “identified $180 million in savings” or that they have “found $180 million in savings.” She also claims to have “saved” $64 for every $1 spent on auditing. These are all phoney numbers. Her auditors have merely suggested to agencies that they do things diffently in a way that the auditors think might save money. Kate Brown is not enforcing her suggestions, and there is no proof of any savings even if the suggestions are sdfsdfsimplemented.

    As the Associated Press reported on October 24: “In some circumstances, the secretary of state can have the state withhold 10 percent of the money owed to local governments if they won’t correct problems identified in an audit, or she can recommend that the governor withhold pay from state officials who drag their feet.

    Brown acknowledged that she couldn’t say exactly how much money was saved or recovered as a result of her audits, but she said her office has stepped up efforts to follow up on recommendations.”

    RESTORE DEMOCRACY TO OREGON; GET BIG MONEY OUT OF POLITICS

    In November 2006, Oregon voters enacted Measure 47, which established the nation’s most strict system of limits on political campaign contributions and expenditures. It also requires political ads to fully disclose the names, businesses, and amount contributed by each of the campaign’s 5 largest donors, right in the ad itself.

    When Oregon voters enacted limits on political contributions in 1994, Secretary of State Phil Keisling enforced those limits and defended the law in court. But Kate Brown refused to enforce Measure 47 and attacked it in court. Still, to this day, no court has found any part of Measure 47 to be unconstitutional. So campaign spending in Oregon continues to skyrocket. Total spending on campaigns for state and local offices in Oregon increased from $4.2 million in 1996 to $57 million in 2010. Candidates for Governor in 2010 spent over $20 million. Winning a contested race for the Oregon Legislature now typically costs over $600,000, sometimes over $1 million.

    The Oregonian (4/6/2010) reports that spending on Oregon legislative races is the highest per capita of any state, except New Jersey.

    Kate Brown “has been silent on campaign finance reform and otherwise largely invisible,” says Willamette Week (5/25/2012). In 2008 she smashed the record for Secretary of State campaign spending ($1.2 million), taking contributions as high as $135,000 from a single union and over $116,000 from lawyers and lobbyists.

    TAKE BACK THE INITIATIVE PROCESS

    Kate Brown has erected huge barriers to grass-roots use of Oregon’s initiative process. Her adoption of ridiculous Mickey-Mouse and unnecessary clerical requirements means that her office discards a large portion of volunteer-collected signatures and over 40% of all voter signatures. Under her rules, with very few exceptions, only big corporations and unions have enough money (about $500,000) to put a measure on the Oregon ballot.

    The Result: In 2000-02, pre-Bradbury/Brown, there were 13 progressive measures on the Oregon ballot, including guaranteed school funding, banning profits on dead utility plants; elderly home health care services; background checks for buying guns at gun shows; single-payer health care system; nation’s highest minimum wage; and required labeling of GMO foods.

    In 2008-10, with the barriers in place, there was a grand total of 1 progressive measure on the Oregon ballot (governing medical use of marijuana).

    While Kate Brown’s arbitrary “directives” result in throwing out nearly half of all voter signatures on statewide petitions in Oregon, the average signature validity rate over in Washington remains at about 85%. Is that because of “fraud” in the Washington system? No, it is because Kate Brown has discarded hundreds of thousands of valid Oregon voter signatures, making it very difficult to qualify measures for the ballot and thus enhancing the power of the lobbyists and her other big funders.

    Kate Brown claims the “highest grade” from the “Ballot Initiative Strategy Center,” which is a private, union-funded organization, the same unions that fund Kate Brown’s campaigns.

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