Friday, February 6, 2015

Local Newspaper The Oregonian Calls for Governor's Resignation [UPDATED]

Gov. John Kitzhaber (source: Fox News)
In a surprising development, the editorial staff at The Oregonian, Oregon's largest-circulating birdcage-liner, is asking that recently-reelected Governor John Kitzhaber resign from office, over the scandals concerning his and his fiancée's apparent unethical conflicts of interest.

Via Fox News:
Kitzhaber, a Democrat in his fourth term as governor, has been under attack since revelations that his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, was being paid to lobby on behalf of the clean energy industry while at the same time holding the title of Oregon's first lady and filling the role of unpaid policy adviser in the Kitzhaber administration. The Oregon Government Ethics Commission is investigating whether Hayes' consulting work was a conflict of interest, but the Oregonian says the evidence is clear.

"Whether through gross inattention or complicity, Kitzhaber has broken faith with Oregonians. His career in Oregon politics is one of great accomplishment, but his past success does not excuse the mess he has made of the office with which Oregonians entrusted him. He is now less a governor than a source of unending distraction," The Oregonian wrote.
(emphasis added)
KGW reports both how much Cylvia Hayes made from her unscrupulous side work, and also how the "jobs" were lined up:
The call for resignation follows an earlier Oregonian report that associates of Kitzhaber helped create jobs for Hayes, work that influenced state policy on energy.

Her calendar shows Hayes held the paid posts simultaneously as she served as an unpaid energy adviser inside Kitzhaber's office, The Oregonian reported.

One of the jobs paid her $5,000 for five months after Kitzhaber started his third term. A current Kitzhaber aide, Greg Wolf, was key in creating the position and in suggesting Hayes take the job, the newspaper reported.

The second was a two-year fellowship created by Dan Carol, a Kitzhaber campaign advisor who later joined his staff. It paid $118,000 over two years.

The Oregonian reported that both jobs involved foundations and organizations with direct interest in state policy making.
And in a move that surprises precisely nobody, Gov. Kitzhaber responds that he's not going anywhere (via the same Fox News article):
"I'm not going to consider resigning," said Kitzhaber. "I was elected by the people of this state to do a job, and I intend to do it."
This whole mess is shocking for several reasons, not the least of which is that Gov. Kitzhaber was re-elected despite these scandalous concerns, but also that The Oregonian editorial staff endorsed his campaign!

If this were happening in any other state, the ironic schadenfreude would be delicious. But because this is my state, I weep for our future.

[UPDATE:] A "prospective petition" has been filed to recall Gov. Kitzhaber, and needs to gather at least 220,000 signatures in 90 days. As petitioner Arin Marcus says, "Two hundred twenty thousand people in Oregon are upset with the governor so it shouldn’t be that difficult." The election was pretty close, so I'd say there's a lot more than that. The hard part will be finding them all and getting them to sign in time.

If Gov. Kitzhaber resigns or is recalled, the Oregon Constitution says he will be succeeded by the Secretary of State, which in this case is Kate Brown, a Portland-area Democrat. I'll admit I don't know too much of her personal political leanings, but: She's a Portland-area Democrat (Strike 1); she's a career politician, holding office for more than half her life (Strike 2); her educational background is in Environmental Conservation, Women's Studies, and law (Strike 3); and she's received various awards and distinctions from groups like Basic Rights Oregon (LGBT-rights advocates), Oregon Commission for Women, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and the Oregon Psychological Association (Strike 4?). It's a safe bet that gun owners' rights aren't high on her priority list, but maybe we'll get lucky and she won't be a fully-committed anti-gunner [*snerk*]. [/UPDATE]

Stay safe.


  1. Any idea what caused the The Oregonian's sudden rush to ethical governance? After all, the Gub's lapses were well known before the election.

    I love it when the Lefties eat their own.

    1. No idea. I can only speculate that perhaps one or more of the Gov's (or his fiancée's) illegal/unethical dalliances suddenly hits a bit closer to home than expected, too close for comfort.

      What follows is pure speculation; a.k.a. bull$#!+, but plausible bull$#!+. Take it with a grain of salt (and preferably, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila):
      The big scandal involves so-called "clean energy". A well-known side-effect of "clean energy" is that the cost of energy skyrockets, as "clean energy" sources produce less and increase scarcity. "Traditional media" (i.e. newspapers) readership is down since the saturation of Internet news, so their profit margins - and corporate survival - are razor thin as it is, and I'd imagine a substantial portion of their overhead is the energy used by their computers, networks, and printing/collating equipment (which for a newspaper the size of The Oregonian, has got to be a HUGE electric bill). What happens to the newspaper - and by extension, its editorial board - if all of the Gov's "policy advisers" (who are also "clean energy" corporate insiders) push "clean energy" policies that double or triple the cost of that energy?

  2. She's not a good choice at all and Kitzhaber clearly should not have been elected to a fourth term, and power really does corrupt. He did some stuff even before being governor that I totally disagree with, since I used to write about the Oregon Legislature and I think now it's obvious why term limits are important.

    1. Right. I just can't say this enough about the Kitzhaber/Haynes scandal: None of this is news. It was ALL known before the election. Luckily, he IS term-limited now. Two terms too late, but he's term-limited now.

      As to how/why he got re-elected: call it voter apathy (they don't care), voter laziness (they can't be bothered), or electoral pacifism (they don't get involved). I discussed it here, but the sum-up is that nearly 1/3 of the legislative seats up for grabs went uncontested. The incumbents owned the field, either because the parties wouldn't put up a candidate, or the voters stayed home or chose to stick with the devil they know rather than risk a new devil they didn't. Unacceptable, says I.