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Black Lives Matter (still)

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Driving along McLoughlin Ave as I am wont to do, I often see large groups protestors with flags and signs, expressing their First Amendment rights for conservative values and beliefs. But I rarely see “a” protestor, with “a” sign, expressing their First Amendment rights for progressive values because, I think, they are simply intimidated to be out there by themselves. It’s easier to be in a school of fish than out there all alone.

But some people just have the guts of “Nemo”, from the movie, “Finding Nemo”.

I met such a young woman holding a very large, homemade Black Lives Matter sign as traffic buzzed by one recent Saturday evening. I later learned she was Anna Sanger Reed, the Executive Director of the Western Energy Institute in Lake Oswego. I was so struck by the fact that she was out there, by herself, in a community that she admits isn’t always friendly to her message, that I just had to talk to her. Find our conversation here.

The traffic noise is kinda bad, so here is a transcript.

DM – First of all, tell me your name.
ASR – My name is Anna Sanger Reed.
DM – OK and you live in Milwaukie?
ASR – I live in unincorporated Clackamas county.
DM – So, when I approached you, when I first saw you, one of the things I said was the BLM protests happened, for the most part, last year. A side goal of the BLM protests was to bring attention the fact that President Trump probably should not be reelected, and he wasn’t. So, it is July of the following year and for the most part, the BLM protests have died down. But you are out here on, what is it McLoughlin, no, 82nd …
ASR – 99E, yeah McLoughlin
DM – You’re on McLoughlin, by yourself at 7:30 in the evening on a Saturday …
ASR – On my second to last day of vacation, mind you.
DM – Right, OK so …
ASR – Of a week vacation …
DM – So, how many days have you been doing this?
ASR – This is my very first day coming out here.
DM – OK, so, and you’re holding a BLM [sign]. A very easy to see BLM [sign].
ASR – I just made it. I slapped it together. I got paint all over my wrist.
DM – OK, so the question I have is why are you out here?
ASR – The reason why is because I was driving home from watching my nephew, and I saw the group of people who were holding their American flags. And I saw a flag that said, “F” Biden, and I just felt like, this doesn’t feel the way I want my neighborhood to feel. I want my neighborhood to feel like it’s open and welcome to everybody. And so I made my own sign with my message and I came down here to show it off.
DM – So, I’ve seen the same groups of people. I see them in a lot of places. I’ve seen them down there, I’ve seen them up on Beavercreek Road. It seems like there’s a lot more of them than there are of you.
ASR – Right here, right now.
DM – Right. Why do you think that is?
ASR – I think that it’s hard for people to feel safe showing a non-Republican point of view in this part of town. And it’s one of the things I was a little nervous about buying a house in this area. But the more I just feel that feeling of divide, the more I feel like I can’t really afford to stand aside and not make my voice heard. And so, we have lots of conversations when the election was happening about whether or not we felt comfortable people putting signs in our yard. And it was a really tough decision but …
ASR – Woo Hoo! We ended up not putting any signs out which felt … that made me realize I don’t want to feel like I’m silenced in my own neighborhood. And so when I see other people speaking up, it makes me feel like, Oh, OK we can have a conversation out here where we show our beliefs. And the main reason I wanted to make my sign was because I don’t want anybody driving home from work or driving home from visiting their family and see that and feel like there’s any kind of intimidation or exclusion of a particular group of people, which to me when I see that, um, I know it can be interpreted that way And so I want to also make sure people see my sign, that Black Lives do matter.
DM – Do you feel like you could have a conversation with someone in one of those other groups though?
ASR – Potentially, but I know that I’m not a very skilled debater. You know, I’m not going to throw myself into a situation where I try to represent different groups because I know I don’t have necessarily the right things to say. But what I can do is use what momentum I feel like I can see to build on people feeling included. Just saying this isn’t representative of this community so that I don’t want people to feel like they can’t … you know, maybe people are out here looking to buy a house in this neighborhood. And if they see that, then I don’t want them to feel like they can’t be included in part of our community.
DM – OK, but by saying you don’t feel like you have the tools to say what you want to say or what needs to be said, are you making the assumption that they do?
ASR – I don’t really know. I think, for me, this was one of the first things I realized when I had a conversation bringing this up, it gave me a tool where I could engage. And so, for example, I actually did, when I first got home, in my room, I just said out my window, I tried not to yell but I said it kinda fast, “Black Lives Matter.” And I heard somebody’s voice say, “Not to me.” That just happened like, half an hour ago. And honestly, I don’t know if I would’ve gone and gotten – made a sign if that hadn’t have happened, but to me it was like, no you don’t say that to me in my neighborhood.
DM – Right.
ASR – So, this felt like such a small thing to do. But even just thinking about the individuals who might go past and see it and feel that they might have somebody on their side is really important to me.
DM – So then, how do you go about getting other people on your side who feel the same way? I mean, like I said, you’re by yourself. And the other groups don’t seem to have any problem assembling people who are like minded for them.
ASR – Yeah, well I think earlier when there was a lot more BLM momentum, I know there were quite people out on their own standing on street corners with signs. It’s just that when you saw they weren’t organized doesn’t mean there weren’t individuals on street corners You could look at it that way. I want to make sure … maybe then somebody else thinks, oh, well maybe on another day we can hold our sign up. You know, I don’t think there’s anything to gain by trying to rile them up. See, they’re like a block away. I don’t want to feel like I’m encroaching on their ability to have free speech. But I wanted to have my own message. Did you interview any of the people at the other …
DM – I didn’t even get that far. I don’t even see them.
ASR – Oh wow. Oh, they might’ve left. I decided I was going to be down here until they left, but yeah, there was a whole lot of them there.
DM – And so, let me make sure I understand. You saw them, …
ASR – Yes …
DM – And then, you came out …
ASR – I came home, slapped a sign together. And then I walked down here because I didn’t want anybody to be able to trace my car to where I live.
DM – Right
ASR – So its like I’m still a little nervous about it. So it’s like …
DM – But you purposely came out here, sort of as a direct response.
ASR – What I wanted to do was to have anybody driving this direction, I wanted them to see my sign first so that when they see that, they remember there was somebody that feel BLM is more important than all those messages. And it’s patriotic.
DM – Red, white and blue! I saw that. That’s the first thing I noticed was that it was red, white and blue. Anyway, it was really nice to meet you and talk to you.
ASR – I appreciate you talking to me.
DM – Yeah

Written by Interviewer

July 22, 2021 at 04:07

Posted in Scratchpad

CNBSeen Press Release

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For Immediate Release
April 13, 2021

Don Merrill


PORTLAND – CNBSeen, a non profit with the mission to replace tailights in cars for social justice and public safety, will hold its first event on Saturday, April 24, 2021 in downtown Portland.
The non profit was started by local journalist Don Merrill after the killing of Philando Castile by Minneapolis police in 2016.

“I was working on another big project,” said Merrill, “and saw that I couldn’t give proper attention to both of them. So I put CNBSeen on hold.” Merrill finished the other project in early 2020. After the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police months later, he relaunched CNBSeen.

Merrill said Castile’s killing made him realize the number of people of color in general and black people in particular who are killed by the police after routine traffic stops, many of which involve a burnt out tailight. By September 2020, he had been invited as a guest speaker by a several of Portland’s seven neighborhood coalitions and at the time, had received broad support and promises of cooperation. By partnering with Portland neighborhood associations and auto parts stores, he hoped to bring similar events to many of Portland’s 95 neighborhoods beginning in January 2021. Numerous organizations around the country have hosted tailight clinics, including the “Gimme a Break (Light)” program in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The violence in Portland’s downtown in recent months however, along with the over taxing of police resources, has made some of those neighborhoods pull back and view the idea more cautiously. “I understand why they are hesitant. I think they feel like they’re trying to figure out how to keep their own neighborhoods afloat, and something like this might seem a little too esoteric right now,” he said.

But Merrill points to the recent shootings of Jenoah D. Donald across the river in Vancouver, Washington, Duarte Wright in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the near shooting of Army First Lieutenant Caron Nazario in Windsor, Virginia as the lastest examples of how a traffic stop can have bad outcomes. “A burnt out tailight shouldn’t be an extrajudicial death sentence,” he said. “In this moment of racial reckoning, … and we don’t know how long it will last, I wanted to do something.”

CNBSeen plans to focus on those neighborhoods with a higher number of police stops than the overall city average, according to the most recent Stops Collection Data (SDC) report from the Portland Police Bureau. The SDC shows stops by precinct conducted by both the Portland patrol and traffic divisions. The quarterly report consistently shows that black drivers are stopped much higher numbers across Portland than white drivers. Although events in specific neighborhoods are targeted at people of color in those neighborhoods in the interest of social justice, Merrill said that in the interest of public safety, the event is also open to anyone needing a bulb replaced. “If we don’t have a bulb, the driver could gets a rain check and can get a bulb at a later event.”

The event will take place at the Parking NW lot, 417 NW Couch in downtown Portland between 12 and 5 p.m. Merril thanks owner Al Niknabard and Guardian Parking Management Services for donating a portion of the lot for the event. Everett Street Autoworks will provide bulbs and staff to change bulbs. Covid-19 protocols will be in place meaning drivers need not leave their vehicles or have any physical contact with event organizers. The Old Town Community Association plans on including members of the Public Safety Action Coalition (PSAC) and invitations have been extended to Portland City Council and other elected representatives to support this community initiative. And, members of the Inter-Faith Peace & Action Collaborative (IPAC) will be at the event to support restorative justice, discuss ways to reduce forms of violence and crime, and promote community healing and relations.

“We want this to be a community building event,” said Tiffany Hammer, a co-president of PSAC. “The neighborhoods of the Old Town Community Association are vibrant and events like this show the community we have hope in what can be.” “I want this event,” says Merrill, “to encourage other communities to renew their shared vision with CNBSeen to conduct their own tailight events.”

Those interested in helping CNBSeen, a 501c3 non profit organization, continue its work may donate to its GoFundMe at People are under no obligation to give, “but contributions will certainly be appreciated,” Merrill said.

“It’s not this huge thing. It just this little thing I think I can do, like throwing starfish,” said Merrill.

To learn more about CNBSeen and the April 24th event, visit CNBSeen’s website, There visitors can find links to its evolving Terms and Conditions and upcoming events.


PSAC is a grassroots organization with its primary goals being to help educate, inform, and inspire the general public to become involved in their public safety system and help promote respectful and effective public safety advocacy to elected officials and government agency leadership.

CNBSeen’s mission is to replace burnt out lights on cars in the service of social justice and public safety.

IPAC is a united group of faith leaders, activists, social workers, police officers and community members. We came together beginning in July 2016 to address the crisis of violence on Portland streets, specifically, violence impacting communities of color.

Written by Interviewer

April 11, 2021 at 08:59

Posted in Scratchpad

PLEDGE: The Musical

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Coming to Zoom, Facebook Teams or a Google Meet near you, hopefully sooner than later.

Written by Interviewer

February 2, 2021 at 13:42

Posted in Scratchpad

Projects Everywhere

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The year 2020 goes down in history as the worst year I have ever lived. But it was, in some ways, the most productive. First, I decided in 2019 to interview Oregon politicians in advance of the 2020 election. My purpose was to do what I could to make sure people knew who they were voting for and what their intentions were. So, every month, between January and November 2020, I sent emails inviting politicians running for every level in Oregon State government, as well as independents running for President and candidates for Oregon Secretary of State, to talk to me. I did something very similar in 2014, though that was an off-year election. I just love politics and I love talking to politicians, mostly, because I’m always wondering what will come out of their mouths next. I interviewed about 70 candidates overall. The site got tons of visits and is still getting hits. I’m glad people found it and hopefully, found it useful.

(I don’t understand why this image is so fuzzy. It’s fine in preview.)

Next, after the death of George Floyd, I attended one of the early protest in Portland. It just happened to be the most iconic; the protest and die-in on Portland’s Burnside Bridge. The photo of the bridge over the Willamette River, shot from the sky and full of people, was one of the most powerful images of the entire Black Lives Matter movement. Shortly after that, I decided to revive a non-profit I’d put on hold as I worked on a book about public radio between 2015 and 2019, and self-published in 2019. The non-profit, called CNBSeen, has the mission of replacing burnt out lights on cars. The motivation was to try to bring attention to the crisis of police extrajudicial killing of black men for minor infractions like burnt out tail lights. I started contacting Portland’s 95 neighborhoods in June 2020, and by November, a GoFundMe has raised about $1500. Meanwhile, almost all of Portland’s neighborhood coalitions had shown interest in hosting an event. The plan was to always start the project in January and pilot it through to the end of 2021. The violence, whether in the form of needlessly destructive demonstrations or random shootings that have rocked Portland before and since the election are scary. But I have to push past that and get started.

And finally, referring back to the book, “PLEDGE: The Public Radio Fund Drive”, I always knew I wanted to do something more with it than just have it live between two covers, on a shelf. Ever since the earliest days of first putting pen to paper, I thought the story could be told in a couple ways. One way was through facts, figures, anecdotes, history and research. That’s what the book does. But I realized that I could also dramatize the essential story of the book, which is the day to day struggle an average public radio station faces to survive. With that in mind, and motivated by another book that was transformed first into a script, and then into a musical (The Book of Mormon), I decided “PLEDGE The Book” should become “PLEDGE: The Musical.” I’ve already written it, trademarked the name and copyrighted the script. I’m working with a composer right now to turn song treatments into basic melodies that I can put words to. A local theater group has offered to do a table read, and I’m looking at possibly doing a rough staging in June.

As part of the promotion for the book and the show, I’ve created a real website for a fictional radio station that is based on the fictional radio station in the show; KKAR. On each page, I say, “This is a fictitious radio station.” According to the FCC, the callsign is inactive and the community, in eastern Arkansas that I call Helen sounds like, but isn’t the real town of Helena. The station is one affiliate in a four station network owned and operated by the fictitious, “State College of Arkansas at Helen” campus. The story looks at events within KKAR over a nine day period. The political angst, technical issues, money fights and racial struggles are all a backdrop for the all important, twice annual, KKAR pledge drive. In addition, the show promises a musical score that looks at everything from how the podcast is trying to kill the antenna, to the underwriting vs advertising shell game, to how boomers and millennials see each other up close, to why “bums and losers” isn’t what free riders should be called on-air, but how that’s absolutely how staff see them off-air. The story is a perfect vehicle for the tragic successes and comedic failures anyone who has ever worked at or listened to a public radio station, will recognize.

This is a notice to you that PLEDGE v2 is coming.

Written by Interviewer

February 2, 2021 at 06:35

Posted in Scratchpad

Oh Yes He Did!

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In the article, “The Culture War on Beavercreek Road,” Don Merrill talked with Nigel Bray about his Black Lives Matter sign being cut down by vandals. In response, Mr. Bray said “I’m going to mount a pole on high up in my tree beside the road and hang a “Black Lives Matter” flag.” One day after the article was posted, Mr. Bray was true to his word.

BLM Flag 2

Written by Interviewer

July 30, 2020 at 07:26

Posted in Scratchpad

The Culture War on Beavercreek Road

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By Don Merrill

Clackamas County in northwest Oregon is one of 36 counties in the state. Mostly rural, it had nearly 400-thousand residents as of the 2010 census, making it the third most populous. It’s marked by rolling hills, family farms and seemingly innocuous little country roads that are anything but when it comes to “Black Lives Matter” signs.

On or about Sunday, July 5th, 2020, Nigel Bray repainted his roadside business sign. That would open the door to a philosophical fight between hamlet residents that although full of surprises, according to Mr. Bray, is not over. Not by a long shot.

“That sign was out there on Beavercreek Road for 13 years,” said Mr. Bray, who is a white man. “After the death of George Floyd, I wanted to educate myself a little more.” “I have a daughter who’s a member of the LGBTQ community,” he said. “And after I retired, I thought, ‘I don’t want to be an ignorant white person.'” “So I read some books by white authors and black authors about different subjects like ‘White Fragility.'”

And that led to him change the lettering on his business sign from LiveEdge Woodshop to BLM. That acronym, made infamous in the West by the Federal Government’s Bureau of Land Management agency, has been adopted as shorthand to stand for Black Lives Matter.

BLM 1a

“Then, three days later, I saw that somebody had painted “Trump” on it,” said Mr. Bray. Indeed, by July 8th, the white sign with black lettering had been covered with red spray-paint. They had also spray painted “Go MAGA” on the shoulder of the road. But the day after that, Mr. Bray got another surprise. “Somebody tried to paint over the red paint,” he said. “And somebody else had left a card in a baggie that said, ‘You should’ve known this would happen to your sign. But thank you for doing it anyway.'” “That,” he said, “convinced me that I was on the right track.”

BLM 2a

“In contrast with the more liberal and cosmopolitan Multnomah County to the north, and the more corporate Washington County to the west,” Wikipedia says some citizens of Clackamas county “have espoused a blue-collar, yet conservative political outlook of the backlash mold. It is the headquarters of the Oregon Citizens Alliance which worked to pass a number of anti-homosexual initiatives, and where Bill Sizemore, who championed various anti-government initiatives in the 1990s, had his base before he moved nearly 200 miles south to Klamath Falls, Oregon.” However, says the site, “the county is a very mixed area overall, narrowly voting for Republican George W. Bush over Democrat John Kerry in 2004, but voting for Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain in 2008.”

For Nigel Bray though, the Obama voters weren’t out on Beavercreek Road on the night of Saturday, July 11th. Barely six days after he had repurposed his business sign, someone cut it down.


“When do you think they did that?” I asked.

“They probably did it at night,” he said. “And since I’m a contractor, I’m guessing they used a battery operated circular saw.” The two, 4×4 inch posts that held the sign were each cut from two different directions. “I mounted those posts in concrete,” Bray says. “How they cut it tells me their saw blade wasn’t big enough to cut through the whole post, so they had to come at it from both sides.”

Cutting through them both, less than a foot above ground took time and dexterity. Plus, somebody had to see the perpetrator. But anyone willing to crawl around in the dark, wielding a circular saw next to a busy country road to destroy a sign couldn’t care much about being seen. They clearly have strong feelings about the message of Black Lives Matter. But so does Mr. Bray.

“By defacing my sign, you’ve shown you’re a racist. By cutting it down, you’ve shown you’re a criminal.”

“What are you going to do?” I asked.

“I’m going to mount a pole high up in my tree beside the road and hang a “Black Lives Matter” flag,” he says. The first thought that went through this reporter’s mind was, “Expect the haters that can’t reach it to complain to the county about the flag being a distraction to drivers.” The second one was, “put a camera up there too.”

This stretch of Beavercreek Road, known to locals as running from about Clackamas County Fire Station #10 to Spangler Road (a distance of a little more than a mile), has seen a variety of flying flags over the years, ranging from American to “Thin Blue Line” supporting police to Confederate. If Mr. Bray has his way, a new one will fill the sky in Clackamas County.

“I will not be deterred,” he said.
Don Merrill is a journalist and a reporter. He lives in Clackamas County.

Written by Interviewer

July 28, 2020 at 15:27

Posted in Scratchpad

CNBSeen Terms and Conditions*

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1. CNBSeen will only replace bulbs that are defective as a result of breakage or burnout. CNBSeen will not replace bulbs which are non-operative because of problems related to the vehicle’s electrical system. CNBSeen will not replace bulbs that are part of an integrated electrical assembly. CNBSeen will not replace light covers. If a bulb is replaced and it still does not operate, drivers will be advised to have their vehicle’s electrical system inspected by a qualified technician.

2. Bulbs will not be replaced by personal appointment, at private residences, at places of employment or other non-designated areas. A designated area is a location that has been announced in advance to the general public by CNBSeen through social or mainstream media as a place that, at a certain date and time and for a limited period of time, will service vehicles which qualify for bulb replacement.

3. Qualifying vehicles are exclusively non-commercial, privately-owned passenger vehicles.

4. CNBSeen will replace those lights outlined in ORS 816.010 through ORS 816.370 to include: headlights, auxiliary lights, passing lights, turn signals, parking lights, cowl/fender lights, high beams and “Liddy” lights, unless any of these lights cannot be replaced as noted in #1.

5. CNBSeen offers no guarantee on the bulbs or their installation.

6. CNBSeen will only replace bulbs that are similar and comparable to bulbs being replaced. Similar but not comparable is a replaced taillight that is colored rather than the original clear. Comparable but not similar is an upgraded version of the same bulb when the original will suffice, such as an LED style rather than incandescent, unless the original is no longer available.

7. The service is offered at no cost. Drivers/users may make a cash or in-kind donation if they choose at the time of service, by mail or online.

8. More than one bulb may be replaced on any vehicle. However only one driver per vehicle per day.

9. CNBSeen offers bulb replacement as a public service in the cause of social justice and public safety.

*These terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

Written by Interviewer

June 10, 2020 at 04:20

Posted in Scratchpad

CNBSeen Explained

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Don Merrill seeks to create a non-profit organization in Portland Oregon to enhance public safety by benefiting high-risk individuals most likely to be stopped by the police for improperly functioning vehicle lights. Specifically, those being drivers of color.

Establish a non-profit that reduces the number of discretionary police traffic and patrol stops for malfunctioning vehicle lights by providing a means for which high risk drivers can get those lights repaired at no cost to them. Also, the number of vehicles on the road with improperly working lights is a public safety concern. Those lights, outlined in ORS 816.010 through ORS 816.370 include headlights, auxiliary lights, passing lights, taillights, registration plate lights, brake lights, back up lights, turn signals, parking lights, cowl/fender lights, high beams, “Liddy” lights and reflectors. This non-profit is titled “CNBSeen”.  We have applied for and received federal 501c3 non profit status. We are also registered with the state of Oregon as a domestic non profit organization.

This non profit was first established in Oregon on July 30, 2016.

Initially, we seek to focus the efforts of this non-profit on neighborhoods with the highest number of vehicle related stops by police. Those also tend to be the neighborhoods with the highest percentages of African Americans.  Ideally, as the percentage of African Americans in a neighborhood falls, so does its likelihood as a CNBSeen event neighborhood, until a neighborhood reaches parity as in, when the number of vehicle stops by police in that neighborhood equals the city wide average of vehicle stops by police.  Although we consider drivers of color in those “high-risk” neighborhoods to be our priority, drivers regardless of race or ethnicity may come to a CNBSeen event to have a non working light replaced since this is also a public safety issue.

Discretionary patrol and traffic related police stops are one of the major causes of individuals being ordered from their vehicles, which in turn leads to searches, arrests and violent or lethal force against those drivers by the police. Also, vehicles with inoperative lights are a public safety concern. Also, drivers so stopped may accumulate financial burden derived from successive court appearances and fines accumulation leading to personal hardship including vehicle seizure and inability to pay other bills.

After drivers of color and drivers in high-risk neighborhoods are pulled over by the police, intervention efforts such as CNBSeen have less chance to de-escalate a potentially bad situation. This is why the program seeks to address issues that draw the attention of the police, reduce vehicle profiling and hopefully, avoid violent or fatal interactions between the police and people in these neighborhoods.


We planned our for Saturday, January 9, 2021 in the Humboldt neighborhood. But because of the Covid-19 pandemic, unprecedented violence in Portland streets and an over taxed and understaffed Portland Police Bureau, neighborhoods seem to have turned inward to try to address the problems of their own residents and businesses.  This is understandable.  That event, the first of an envisioned fifty-two, was scaled back after covid-19.  It eventually did not happen.  As Portland and the nation weathered multiple upheavals, planned events were scaled back again.  Realistically, considering the extraordinary social and economic conditions Portland is facing, we must wait for a neighborhood to step forward to be the first to hold a CNBSeen event.  And they will likely be nowhere near the number originally envisioned. But we intend there to be some. Our first effort will be out of our own pocket or with the help of a GoFundMe campaign. We expect to get bulbs and volunteering technicians donated from local auto parts and auto service establishments.

Besides foundation grants that CNBSeen may apply for to support the work, funding support for the non-profit could include encouraging users and donors to give according to the PWYW (Pay-What-You-Want) model (though, they are under absolutely no obligation to donate to CNBSeen’s work).

At some point, we want to establish a community education component where drivers, in community spaces, could (1) learn how to replace their own bulbs (if a self-replacement is possible for their vehicle) and (2) receive instruction on the mechanics of a police stop and how to keep the situation from escalating.

The pilot program for CNBSeen will function for one year. This lets CNBSeen compare police stops data collection (SDC) reports compiled by the Portland Police Bureau twice for the same quarter. If the pilot program is successful in reducing the number of vehicle lights related stops in that year, it may be extended to a second year. The goal is eventually serve all of the most affected neighborhoods/populations. The success of the program and our ability to manage that success will determine how rapidly it expands.

June 9, 2020

Revised April 10, 2021

Written by Interviewer

June 9, 2020 at 17:12

Posted in Scratchpad

Oregon2020 – Jack L Esp

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These transcripts are presented to help users quickly find information they are searching for within the interview. Keywords may be searched using the CTL-F function. The software used provides a very rough but phonetically accurate transcription and for the most part, punctuation is omitted. Human speech patterns, being unique, make reading the interview transcript more difficult than listening to the interview audio file. It is recommended that users use the transcript and audio file together. For more information, visit the Candidate Interview Project at

This is a transcription of the Jack L Esp interview

DM – Don Merrill
JLE – Jack L Esp

00:00 DM – I’m Don merrill and I’m talking with Jack L Esp Mr Esp is a Republican who is running for state representative in Oregons 21st District which includes part of Marion County or as Salem residents call it home Mr Esp welcome

00:13 JLE – thank you

00:14 DM – you have some political experience working with former Gov. setting up political advocacy organizations and working with constituencies but you’ve never been elected to public office and my first question is is why now

00:30 JLE – why now for the last several years I worked with Oregon citizens lobby a group that works at the capitol during session meeting once a week there going over the bills talking to the legislature dealing with what’s going on and trying to influence it during that time I’ve noticed that with the current administration the direction of our state is not going in the direction I feel it should be specifically it leaving businesses behind theyre moving out of the state which reduces employment opportunities for the citizens of Oregon

01:08 DM – can you elaborate on that a little bit when you talk about business of moving out of state why do you think the moving out of state what is the state doing to contribute to businesses leaving

01:16 JLE – okay let’s look at Portland here rocking Rogers when they raised the minimum wage to $15 many of the restaurant type businesses just flat had to close they couldn’t cover the difference in the increase so I think were three or four Portland I know rocking Rogers had two or three outlets here that they closed down and shut off the gross receipts tax is going to because it starts started what 15 days ago 14 days ago it’s going to be catastrophic to many businesses inasmuch as it was a tax on the gross not on the net and in some situations it threw organizations into a loss situation right there and several have closed down I noticed norpac out here North of town is trying to sell having trouble what with that was the cause I don’t know but it may have been I know the automobile dealers Association its hitting them very hard because when you’re talking $30,000 cars up to a hundred thousand dollars cars doesn’t take many sales to exceed that $1 million level

02:23 DM – well let me ask you what do you say to people who might present counterargument which is for someone who is living in the portland area or the Salem area utility company requires a minimum payment every month whether you use a maximum amount of electricity or not, same with the water same with the gas food for daily minimum requirements for survival rent when you add all those together transportation and not including anything have to entertain or any kind of Lifestyle enjoyment you have to make a certain amount of money just to be able to survive what do you say to people who say that the the mandatory minimum wage is necessary in order for those people to get by

03:03 JLE – I historically the minimum wage is in positions start up position positions that young people are starting in myself in high school I was working minimum-wage not after I was married they are start up jobs to give prospective employees or current young employees a entrance into a field and a entrance of work experience and work history of their reliability as an employee within the country company I mean and once they get that then they can move up but there has to be a place to start and most of these people are a large percentage still living at home they don’t have alls those expenses you just mentioned

03:50 DM – Lets move on you were born in Billings Montana you moved Oregon when you were six you worked on a farm as a kid you paid your way through school you ended up with two jobs where you say you were able to put your college education work you do a lot of work for the hospital industry including here recently most recently becoming a consultant and along the way worked for the governor on state budgeting laws you joined on the Oregon citizens lobby and you helped create the greater Hermiston area tea party what was it about the tea party that attracted you what was about your life experience up to that point that made you realize that the tea party was where I wanted to put my energies and my experience

04:30 JLE – the tea party was looking at conservative values at keeping the cost government down representing the people not the government too much of our society now is government controlled you look at it in many of the bills that are being passed you can look at it in the actions that are going on that we are leaning more and more to a socialist form of government where the government controls everything

05:03 DM – Let me ask you a question about that about I’m thinking about political candidates for president right now in the 2016 election there was a lot of attention paid fact that Pres. Trump attracted a base but a lot of people in his base also attracted Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist so explain that to me a little bit

05:29 JLE – there are parts of the socialist system their wonderful in fact the social system itself is not bad until the people up above run out of money the basic difference I think is that one side feels that healthcare is a right all people have the right to healthcare the other side says it something you earn you work for now there’s a happy medium there but prior to Medicare and prior to all the socialist medicine we have right now 90 some percent of those people were cared for either by church private organizations or emergency rooms the law in Oregon is anybody with an emergent situation has to be treated in the emergency room by law or hospital lose license urgent care treatment goes to our urgent care centers now once the urgent I think what’s that law started getting enforced about emergency room scene urgent patient or critical patient urgent patients they can refuse I mean nonemergent I think that’s when your urgent care centers came in and broadened this field and that was good but today go to the urgent care out in Kaiser I took my wife there for a follow-up we sat there for over two hours no treatment no nothing we talked to them and we finally left the urgent care is getting just as bad with the federal government saying with all these social programs and everybody has a right to medical care yet the reimbursement by the government for these medical care for doctors is one in the 30s percents uh say that they charge hundred dollars which is more than the charge for a office visit they only get paid $37 I think it is there’s not monetary incentive for young people to go into being physicians you’re only going to get the ones that are really committed to humanity otherwise were getting thousands millions more people into the healthcare system with fewer doctors

07:41 DM – there’s a lot to umpack there and we don’t have time but I want to move on I want to move on sadly I want to move on you worked in the hospital industry for nearly 50 years what was about the work that kept you there for 50 years

07:53 JLE – well some of it was stupidity the turnover in hospital management is was extremely high when I was working there that’s when the stupidity comes from other than that I I enjoyed the work I enjoyed the challenges and felt that I was doing something for humanity yes I’m a conservative but I still have interest in humanity and how things should be

08:23 DM – it’s interesting that you say that so then are you saying that that there is an inate conflict in conservative thought between humanitarian behavior and the market

08:32 JLE – I wouldn’t say there’s a conflict within conservative thought but when the ultra-progressive yes which are usually far right Republicans there too far out there

08:46 DM – when you say ultra progressive you meant ultra conservative

08:48 JLE – no I meant theyre called progressives they

08:51 DM – far right conservatives are called ultra-progressive

08:56 JLE – I know it sits wrong with me too but that’s how it is and they arent for the people most conservatives are for the people and but their for it in a different way than the liberal is

09:11 DM – okay you you met a lot of people didn’t have healthcare considering the problems Americans have Americans have had with the millions of people who don’t have access to affordable healthcare what would you do to solve that problem

09:25 JLE – well 30 years ago and today are two different situations today our main problem is the lack of qualified physicians to see people all these new people have been brought on to healthcare through the social programs I ran into some physicians that I didn’t feel were competent to be doing what they were doing maybe theyre rushed through school maybe they thought it going to be a lucrative particularly I don’t know but the biggest thing now is that were short on physicians uh theyve change the laws recently to where a nurse practitioner is almost a physician and can treat totally on her own their own it isnt all women the physicians assistant he’s reviewed by a physician but the physician doesn’t oversee everything to answer your question directly physicians we need more physicians and to do that we need the government to start paying a fair share. Im gonna throw something at you you havent asked for but when I did that study in 2005

10:40 DM – this is the study we were talking about before the interview where you brought together on your experiences and looked at I think like nearly 60 hospitals

10:47 JLE – 57 of the 58 in Oregon and combined them and looked at their bottom line and this and that and the thing that jumped out to me was the fact that of their gross charges they wrote off over 50% due to these contractual adjustments mostly Medicare and Medicaid

11:08 DM – so it sounds like youre saying the hospitals arent making any money either

11:11 JLE – those 57 hospitals had a bottom line of 1.7% at 57% write off 50 some percent right off means that if everybody paid fair share billed charges hospitals could cut their rates in half Overnight and keep the same bottom line

11:30 DM – and why can’t everybody able to pay their fair share do you think

11:33 JLE – Medicare Medicaid reimbursement Medicare like I said his paying hospitals around 50% theyre paying doctors and lab ancillary services in the 30s well who’s paying the difference the people and insurance companies that don’t have contracts reducing charges

11:54 DM – ok we need to move on you support or you’re a member of number right-leaning organizations including restore our Constitution got your six firearms liberty Oregon and conservatives dog libertarians about that last one

12:09 JLE – the what

12:10 DM – conservative dog libertarians

12:12 JLE – I’m not a member that I have no idea what it is so

12:14 DM – it was one of the organizations that you showed that youd supported on your facebook page

12:21 JLE – ok Im not I mustve been under a different name

12:26 DM – ok well the point I want to make I think sometimes people dont see the connection between conservatism and libertarianism so I was going to talk about a little bit about how their similar but how theyre different

12:40 JLE – this is changing daily yearly back when I was a young man that was after the covered wagons the Democrat party represented the workingman the Republican party represented those little more comfortable now over these years the Republican Party is moved down to representing the workingman more than the uppercrust the Democrat party has moved to socialism are actually called the Democratic Socialist party

13:16 DM – youre saying the Democratic Party in the United States is actually called the Democratic Socialist party

13:22 JLE – in many cases and at one time my information is that it was originally called the Democratic Socialist party now they are turning more and more to socialism what you want to call it that healthcare for all and all these programs that the Democrat candidates are talking about are all leaning towards towards the socialism socialist attitude the Republicans have not gone that far yet that’s the big difference that I see in the two parties

13:55 DM – I saw on your Facebook page that you support suicide prevention efforts the the VA’s is about 20 veterans a day commit suicide in US last April Northwest news network reported that suicide is the biggest cause of death in Oregon jails meanwhile Salem’s homeless problem is national news what do you think are the conditions that make people take their own life and speaking from your own experience what do you think needs to be done to help reduce the suicide rate

14:28 JLE – probably on the top that list is the fact that Oregon has closed nearly all of his mental health facilities throughout the state there’s very few left these people need help they need most of all somebody to talk to you mentioned the homeless problem 30% of those people want off the street but they’re on there because of drugs alcohol or a minor mental problem they need help to get off the streets I know of a personal instance where an ex drug addict got back on drugs was on the street he was lucky his family got behind him and he got into one of the social programs in Oregon he is now and has been for over a year a security guard at Intel he’s one of that 30% suicide I think in my opinion can follow the same route but they need access to help our VA program I don’t think is fulfilling that need as much as it could and that’s why we have so much high such a high rate in our ex servicepeople for the other 70% of homeless I’m asking anybody that has the answer to let me know

15:49 DM – tomorrow the joint session of the judiciary committee will start hearing on a new a new gun legislation in the capitol Although the hearing will only allow invited testimony the website advance liberty asks members to make a strong showing do gunowners feel the legislature isnt hearing them or seeing them and that’s why they want supporters to pack the hallways

16:11 JLE – dirct answer yes because our legislature for the aboth state and national for extended period of time have been trying to get control of the guns you look at every socialist regime across the world thats one of the first things they do get control of the guns the Second Amendment flatly says they need those guns to protect themselves against government it doesn’t say anything in there about the Indians the criminal its specifically states to the government now I think it goes beyond that to criminals and stuff and protection at home but the gun control is a liberal wish list on top of it

16:59 DM – so can I ask you a question so I I read through the legislation I read through the proposed legislation and and and as I’m sure many gun owners have too and I’m also sure many of those gunowners many of those same gun owners already use trigger locks lockboxes but I saw on another website that the goal was to fight everything in the proposal including even the wording of the bill’s title is is it that opponents may think some of the ideas are good and even use some of the ideas themselves but they just don’t want to be told to do it

17:36 JLE – I can’t speak for anybody besides myself but I think that is part of I’m a gun owner I’m a concealed weapon permit own carrier I can carry I don’t like how they address

17:51 DM – just out of curiosity are you carrying right now

17:52 JLE – no I am not if I go to the state capital I’ll be carrying

17:56 DM – why just out of curiosity just curious why youre not carrying for this interview but you would be carrying if you walk into the state capitol

18:02 JLE – Because the state capital is more ready target for the people that are OK I’m going to say unstable is best word I can get what I don’t see where anybody unstable is going to come in here they dont even know were meeting for one thing if they knew I was having a political interview that would up the odds but not that much

18:24 DM – right I just always assume concealed carry means you carry because you can also time

18:29 JLE – I carry when I feel I need to I carry it when I go to church how many of these attacks have been in churches so that’s how I look at it but these you referred to the way these some of these bills are written take the assault weapon ban part of it number one they can’t define an assault weapon number two they tried the bill last bill started at five round magazines went up to 10 when they presented okay I have a 1920 something 22 17 round magazine its an assault weapon its illegal I have a 9 mm pistol stock is an eight round magazine next is a 17 round magazine that’s an assault weapon OK locking safe at all times what goods that gonna do you at 3 o’clock in the morning if somebody breaks into your house with a gun and you have to say hold it a minute while I go and unlock my safe and get my gun

19:31 DM – a lot of what I’ve read on conservative blogs and websites blame Democrats and Progressives for for almost all the problems the country is facing right now and you know we don’t go through it because I’m sure most people know what’s on the list but do you think that’s true I mean is there anything you think conservatives and liberals can agree on I mean I know its a broad question but anything

19:55 JLE – yes no group is 100% wrong on either side or 100% right I’m not right all the time but there are times if we sit down and talk we can say yeah you got a point that I haven’t thought yeah well we can do this we can do that and we can I’m not saying compromise cause I’m not a person for compromising that much but educating and listening is what is missing and what we need to do is listen to the other side talk to them talk through these problems some people you’re not going to get to change at all you know they’re dead set in their thought

20:41 DM – like the ultro progressive you talk about

2042 JLE – the ultra progressive the ultra liberal it’s like the old saying don’t confuse me with facts my mind made up but yes there are places where we can come together I an idea that I don’t like that someone else has I sit down and talk with him and they point out some things you know that’s not a bad idea maybe we can change it a little bit this way but through that dialogue and I think that’s what our legislature should be doing they should be sitting down and talking their differences out

21:17 DM – this is sort of related to the Oregon legislature has been having get along problems of its own whether it was sexual harassment accusations that caused Senate President Peter Courtney to remove Sen Jeff Kruze’s door in 2018 or Sen Brian Boquist warning OSP to send bachelors if they try to bring him back to Salem after he and other lawmakers walked in 2019 the atmosphere here hasn’t always been collegial do you feel collegiality is important to get people’s business done or do you think stirring the pot a little bit sometimes keeps things interesting

21:56 JLE – interesting is the wrong word in my mind I don’t think we can agree on everything all the time were going to have friction from time to time and that is good in my opinion we need to have opposition to these bills because if they just go through theres gonna be a Bunch of ill fought matter in them if their opposed and discussed and worked out theyre going to be cleaner bills and better for the population

22:23 DM – that leads me to this if you get elected you’re going to be in the state capital and legislators tend to listen to their constituents first which is what gets in trouble with colleagues because they tend to lean more toward local issues than to coalitions that try to get state business done how will you balance the needs of the state and the needs of people who put you in office

22:52 JLE – interesting question I you havent mentioned but I ran a year and half ago against the same opponent I was with the Salem Republican women they asked me to come talk to them and I opened up with the statement that realize that those of us or those of them that are at the state capital we are not only representing the peak constituents in our district were also representing the entire state of Oregon and that just got a few mouths dropped open I’ve never heard that before the point is my prime constituents prime concern is to listen to his constituency and then see how it applies to the entire state you can have a constituency that was made up and I’m just gonna tap Nike again, of 80% because theyre so large of the constituency works for Nike and they want a Bill that’s great for Nike but would be devastating for the rest of the state now do you support that kind of bill see thats the question that they have to face and they have to answer that my answer is in a case like that I try to make this pleasant as I could for the constituency been afraid I’d have to go for the whole state

24:13 DM – last may the statesman Journal reported that Salem city managers recommended putting $700,000 to support homelessness program for the city’s 1800 homeless this past November the paper said the city spent more than $5 million on police and fire services dealing with the homeless and in December the city Council voted to prevent the homeless from what it called public camping in public spaces the ban dispersed them throughout the city with no real place to go meanwhile a promised warming shelter is not up and running you’ll be certain serving the state but youll also be accountable to your constituents how will you show them your dealing with this very local problem of homelessness

24:58 JLE – that problem is one I touched on earlier the first thing they say get rid of the 30% that we can help get them back up in productive your questions really dressed in the 70% how are we going to deal with those people now this dispersing them they were down there in front of arches on commercial liberty at payless or riteaid they all moved there that block is solid homeless tent to tent As of two days ago the government throwing money at it is not the answer the government doing a plan first is the answer like I said to you earlier you give me an answer now be happy to get take it

25:53 DM – It’s kind of tricky subject though because of the timing is the problem because while you study the people still suffering

25:59 JLE – yes but you can’t put a dead stop to everything some things take a period of time to work through instantaneous results is not very practical well maybe maybe some temporary housing and I mean temporary where theyre identified theyre given X number of days to get through a program if the programs provided at the end of that X days theyre out that my solution to most social problems their a hand up not hand out

26:38 DM – what do you bring or what do you lack that you think gives you an edge over experienced politicians

26:46 JLE – what do I bring is the common man’s background I’m not a rich person fact last time I ran I had a whole $1281 to spend on my campaign and I got 37% of the vote were my opponent spent $74,000 so I’m a common man a workingman I’ve been out in the public Brian Clem will be finishing his 14th year with this term as state representative hes a career politician I will not be for a couple reasons but I will serve one or two terms and that’s it now Brian and I have a few differences if you look on my website Jack Esp for Oregon 2020 .us on that link or on that website I believe I put Brian’s voting record if not contact me and I’ll be sure to get as I have posted of how things he has voted for that I would definitely vote against and one thing he voted against that I would’ve voted for he is much more liberal he is antibusiness anti-gun for two quick ones

28:01 DM – is there is there anything that I havent asked you that you want to mention before we finish

28:07 JLE – yeah I’ve got a little personal grudge on the way the Oregon school system is running is being handled Oregon spends more than the national average per student they have one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation were already spending more why are we throwing another $1.2 billion a year at the school system when they don’t even know what theyre going to do I would recommend in that rather than just throw more money at it which seems to be the Democrat answer to many problems such as homeless like you mentioned earlier why dont they do an actual study analyze the Oregon school system how it works what it’s doing and compare that the top two or three in the nation and see what the big differences is

29:08 DM – well Mr esp I really have enjoyed this conversation I’m don merrill I’ve been talking with Jack L esp Mr. Esp is a Republican who is running for state representative in oregons 21st district which includes much of marion county and much of the state capitol Salem mr. esp thank you for your time

29:25 JLE – youre welcome

Written by Interviewer

March 4, 2020 at 10:25

Posted in Scratchpad

Oregon2020 – David J Smith

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This is a transcription of the David J Smith interview

DM – Don Merrill
DJS – David J Smith

00:00 DM – I’m don merrill I’m talking with David J Smith Mr. Smith is running for Oregon House District 13 he is a Republican and hes here in the studio with me this morning Mr Smith welcome

00:11 DJS – thank you thank you for having me

00:14 DM – I guess the first question I want to ask you sir is why you want to run for public office

00:20 DJS – one of the primary reasons I decided run was the burden of property taxes on senior citizens I wrote a petition had the petition approved by the Secretary of State only to find out that I wasn’t going to be able to get 112,000 signatures for approval and it was a task that would require 500 soldiers out in the field gathering signatures for me so I got really frustrated and I spoke with a person who’s in the house legislature and he convinced me to run so thought I would try this approach bring my petition to the floor and see if I can get that approved with a vote in the House and in the Senate

01:03 DM – you are a Republican where would you put yourself on the political spectrum

01:12 DJS – I’m in the middle on some social issues and I’m conservative on many other issues I’m not far right and I’m not in the middle-of-the-road on issues like spending and taxation I’m close of the middle-of-the-road a lot of social issues

01:35 DM – close middle-of-the-road of the right side of the political spectrum are close to the middle as in a moderate

01:44 DJS – moderate

01:45 DM – okay we know moderates are an endangered species in our political climate right now

01:50 DJS – yes they are don’t want to be heard by either side if youre speaking about certain issues and youre going to infurate one-sided and then you speak out youre going to infuriate the other side so it’s it’s a hard place to be sometimes

02:05 DM – what is on the mind of your constituents I mean can you tell me about them and what do you think are some of the biggest issues facing them

02:10 DJS – I believe that the seniors 65 and older 60 and older are really worried about the state of the nation and the state of the state of Oregon when they talk to me they reflect ideas that the moral ground that they grew up in this communities they a grew up in are being attacked the Constitution is under attack our rights and our liberties are being nibbled away a little bit of the time until all of a sudden we dont recognize the place where we were raised

02:53 DM – when you say they feel like the moral ground is being attacked what you mean by that what do they mean by that

02:59 DJS – if you look at what the far left is been proposing over last two or three years it’s at a level of almost what we would consider growing up as deviant behavior we know which bathroom to use we know what’s right and wrong to suggest sexual behavior like pedophilia should be accepted Ive heard that argument from the far left things like that were just it’s wrong and and there just has to be areas where things are just plain wrong and unacceptable

03:36 DM – I want to talk a little bit about some of the issues that have been dominating the short session of the legislature one of them is is is cap And trade Oregon legislators have walked out over cap And trade legislation and I want to know if you can explain from your perspective why cap And trade is such a contentious issue

03:57 DJS – the climate change argument has not been settled regardless of what the left says to think that they’re going to save the planet by raising money and stealing money out of your pocket and taxes and more taxes and more taxes what are they going to do with that money and how are they going to resolve what their argument is that we have too much carbon in our atmosphere I just don’t accept that and it makes me skeptical there was an old saying when I was going to the universe you Oregon that I love my country but I fear my government well I still fear my government I don’t trust them Ive seen more examples of failure spending incredible amounts of money than I’ve seen success so it’s hard for me to trust government doesn’t seem to be in their agenda

04:52 DM – some of the people who support balance budgets for the federal government and transparency in government budgeting believe that that’s probably the best way to bring some accountability back to finance and fiscal responsibility issues how do you feel about that

05:15 DJS – governments supposed to work for us government of the people by the people and for the people they’re supposed to serve us not rule us and when Jimmy Carter was president he changed the way that budgeting took place and it’s been messed up ever since were supposed to have a budget every year on schedule on a certain date and now they roll it over with a six-month extension six-month extension keep doing that and it just add to the percentage or whatever they call for inflation but they never actually sit down and analyze the budget and try to figure out where the wasteful spending can be cut I think transparency is absolutely imperative and if you really want a government thats accountable I think term limits for congress is probably the biggest answer

06:06 DM – I’ve read on some right leaning websites that there is an interest in returning to the gold standard because people say that the American currency is a Fiat currency and it needs to be based on something that is actually tangible so what are your thoughts about that

06:26 DJS – I understand the argument they print as much money as they need and every time they print money the value of the dollar goes down it has to be based on something tangible it should be a right now the only reason that the dollar bill is an exchange of currency is because people accept it but its based on nothing other than good faith whether its the gold standard or another standard I think there should be something built into the economy where you have a trust in the dollar you’re holding it used to have a silver certificate used to have a gold standard I’m not sure I would return back to those things because precious metals are not in that great abundance but I think something to be figured out

07:16 DM – are you a supporter of Pres. Trump

07:20 DJS – yes I am

07:21 DM – is he running the US government the way you would like to see Oregon state government run

07:25 DJS – that’s a big question whether hes running the government the way I would like to see it run or he’s doing things in in government that I might be oppose the thing that I like about Pres. Trump the most is that we have an ingrained a level of corruption from people both parties it is not Republican or Democrat or libertarian or anything else but these parties have created little fiefdoms in their bureaucracies youve got people in government that of been there for 30-40 years they live by lobbyists and their money coming into them theyre prostituted themselves basically to keep getting reelected that’s a system that doesn’t work for people it doesn’t answer the questions of the needs of the individual and their families it doesn’t answer the needs of social justice or anything else it’s it’s it’s bad and if hes going to clean this what they say clean the swamp I’m all for that I look at what he’s been able to accomplish in the economy especially in foreign foreign affairs and in trade everything that is done is been a plus a benefit to the American people if he had the anti-Trump movement Democrats along with him it’s amazing what he couldve under undertaken and solved and problem we wouldn’t have to worry about things for a long time

08:58 DM – its interesting that you say that because I seem to remember the same thing was said about Pres. Obama and if the Republicans that people accused of being obstructionist to him had also been behind him the way you or others feel that Democrats should be behind Pres. Trump there is no limit to what we can accomplish so I want to ask about that I know that there’s a lot of contention in the legislature both in the state legislature and in the federal government and the argument is that no matter what is proposed the other side is going to shoot it down do you think that the issue is communication that the argument is if you don’t agree its simply because I haven’t explained clear enough or do you think it really is because the views are so different that there could never be any a room for compromise

09:54 DJS – let me go back to what Obama did growing up take the civil rights movement my generation is the generation that allowed progress to be made in civil rights the protests Martin Luther King and always these different events where people were protesting and marching if my generation hadn’t considered those justice and looked at them in a positive way they never would’ve happened the old generation that were in power before us would’ve shut that down it it never would’ve taken place my generation took on the civil rights movement we worked with all parties involved to make it a better place I think that if if you allowed thoughts to be exchanged that we could of made a lot more inroads Obama comes along with thing are actually improving and creates a division in our society turning people against the police turn people against each other dividing us into small groups and the contention just got worse and worse and worse I just think that as a group now we are at each other at odds and basically is an old term called loggerheads and were not gonna budge and theyre not gonna budge so I don’t see a lot of improvement or change taking place that would benefit the country

11:30 DM – so leading on to that I was talking to another candidate recently and they talked about how one of the problems in the Oregon legislature is that there is a Democratic supermajority and Republicans are in a super minority and so are you saying by saying that you know were loggerheads that there is no possibility of any kind compromise

11:57 DJS – there’s no need to compromise if one party is ruling they don’t have to compromise you shove whatever they want through the process and that’s what it is it become law you have a Democrat governor who is willing to sign just about any bill that comes your way and Republicans are anybody else not just Republicans but anybody with a different idea or a different proposal they don’t get any consideration whatsoever it’s just gone

12:27 DM – when I hear you it almost sounds like a combination of hopelessness and anger

12:31 DJS – its both its hopelessness because you can’t talk to people any more the political discourse is not friendly and if you have an idea that doesn’t mean it’s a good one and Democrats seem to think that every idea that they spill out must be the best idea ever in mankind and when we get a pass this and were gonna do this were gonna tax this really get that if you disagree with that then youre painted as the bad guy they call you names you all these horrible things that people don’t want to be called

13:06 DM – do you believe Vladim Putin influenced the 2016 election and do you believe the Russian government is trying to influence the 2020 election as some of America’s intelligence agencies are warning

13:17 DJS – the only personal exposure I had to that was on Facebook I saw people posting various articles on all kinds of the political issues and all of the sudden they have Russian names once the election was over those names disappeared whether it had any effect on the vote I doubt it whether it had any effect on people’s opinions I doubt it it was entertaining and fun to read and you might respond to a few of them but no I don’t think so I think there’s always been a contention trying to one up each other since the Cold War that’s not going to stop and if they can interfere with us or tilt us a certain way make us look bad theyre gonna do that we do that to them as well

14:06 DM – so is that a yes

14:08 DJS – but to a its it partly it’s a yes it is not just a blatant okay yeah they did this I don’t necessarily believe that they went out to decide who the president was going to be they went out to create chaos if anything I don’t think they wanted Hillary and I’m not sure they wanted Trump but they had to make a choice between one of the other so I think they just wanted to create chaos and confusion within the of the voting bloc of our country

14:44 DM – US attorney Billy Williams announced that trump administration was sending special-teams to arrest undocumented immigrants normally states rights would be paramount to state legislators but there is a sometimes fear that letting the government put his nose under the tent can lead to more federal control and less state local control you mentioned something earlier about your think I we don’t use of the government we have at our disposal something like that do you do you have any thoughts about possible federal encroachment or or mission creep stemming from these teams at the president wants to send it to sanctuary cities

15:23 DJS – immigration was something thats been abused and was supposed to be solved when Ronald Reagan was president he allowed eight or 10 million something like that people to get citizenship and Congress was supposed to pass some laws that would fix the immigration laws at that time and they refused to do that after they got their part they didn’t want to pass the laws to fix the system and it has been going on ever since it cant continue it’s at that boiling point where something has to happen and the federal government has immigration laws and theyre supposed to be enforced at the local level and state level youre supposed to cooperate with the federal government if that’s a law and theyre accepted by all 50 states the states that are throwing up sanctuary issues and and basically there thumbing their nose of the government saying we don’t have to obey those laws I think their wrong if you want to protect the people and that’s the main main issue that government has is the security of the people then you’ve got to be able find out who’s in your state whose in your city and if they’re great people fine their great people maybe maybe we don’t have to go arrest them and do all these things but in that mix of people there’s also a lot of really bad people and bad people need to either leave the country or they need to be put in jail because they’re not here to be nice they’re here to hurt people and make victims out of people every day of their life

17:00 DM – I’ve talked with several candidates and then read that some folks on the right feel that all of the problems in government because of liberals like liberals believe all the problems in government are because of conservatives what is it that the left of the understand about the right and what is it that you think the right doesn’t understand about the left

17:17 DJS – if I if I consider government and and the social arena that we all live in it’s on a pendulum for a few years it swings way over to the left and once that gets to be too extreme people kind of push back in the pendulum start to swing back to the right and when the right gets too extreme that it swings back and the best place for government and people to be and 90% of us live in that area is in the middle but we’ve been in the far extreme left for a while now eight years with Obama was very far to the left in many areas and people are fed up with that they’re pushing back

17:58 DM – so where do you feel the pendulum is now

17:59 DJS – I think it’s on the way back toward the center there so much anger on campuses and universities you’re not allowed to express your opinion if you want to go home with all your teeth you you better be quiet

18:18 DM – I want to ask a question about PERS real quick the public employee retirement system is some say bankrupting the state other say that state has a contractual obligation to pay people no matter what the legislature just made some changes to PERS which it hopes will have some kind of effect on the deficit for the state what do you think about the way the state has handled the PERS issue

18:45 DJS – it’s been a disaster I don’t have a problem with somebody making millions of dollars a year we’ve got football coaches and university presidents and people who make a lot of money I don’t think the PERS was ever designed to support their millionaire lifestyle when they retire it’s like Social Security it’s there to help you along whoever negotiated the contracts to allow these people to make $50,000 a month in retirement and then go to work as a sportscaster for the networks and make another four or $5 million a year that was insane things like that shouldn’t happen to my understanding that right now were about $27 billion in the red were not generating enough revenue to maintain that do you realize how many guys out there holding of flag on a highway make their contribution to their retirement how many of those guys is it take to filter off enough of their retirement to make one payment of $50,000 a month to one individual that’s just wrong it doesn’t make any sense now what are they going to do about it is been taken to court the court said that as a contract you have to honor the contract but juggling money from one program to another so you can find excess money and funnel it into the PERS account thats madness

20:20 DM – there was a recent show of support in Salem in an effort to kill legislation to require guns to be more securely stored or to have trigger locks so I’d like to ask you what do you think that in of such requirements I mean do you think that they have a good basis in that theyre intent is to help keep people safe especially children who can be curious or do you think that infringes on gun ownership rights

20:45 DJS – I think the intention was there in writing I think that it’s an infringement on the Second Amendment there was a little part of the second amendment into this language quotation mark shall not be infringed because they understood at the time they wrote that that having lived under British rule and so on that those rights could be taken away anytime they wanted to they wrote that in so that it could not be taken away and every time they come up with an idea one state I read yesterday theyre going to put a 35% tax on buying ammunition another state wants you to put a lock on a on firearm or put it in a safe and if a person needs that weapon because their family is under assault how long does it take to open the safe load the gun and protect your family theyre are all dead by then and I guarantee you one thing the only thing police can do at that point is bring body bags the Second Amendment is there there we’ve got 300 million people in this country we’ve got half of them that own guns and they’ve never used them in a violent way we’ve got a few people who’ve had to use them and they’ve saved lives because they were willing to shoot the bad Guy some of these people that have opened fire in a in a shopping mall or a restaurant they went in there with bad intentions and luckily on some occasions there was an individual there that was able to stop it and he could only stop it with his own firearm anybody that is taking gun rights away arent taking it away from the bad guys they’re taking it away from people who’ve never done anything wrong

22:34 DM – when people think of homelessness they they think of of problems in Portland or Eugene are here in Salem but I wanted to ask if you’ve noticed the same kind of homelessness issues in Lane County and if you won the House District 13 seat how would tackle it

22:53 DJS – by think there’s three categories of homelessness there’s a the family and her husband and wife and kids maybe the fortunes turned against them they lost their job they couldn’t make rent payments bad things happen maybe have medical issues and their broke theyre out on the street living in a car I think those people should be given every hand up that they can get then you’ve got people who were basically mentally ill they been diagnosed as mentally ill they may be harmless but theyre mentally ill they have a separate problem of their own we used to have hospitals and and facilities to take care of people that really had a hard time living within society they need all the help they can get but in a different way then youve got the third group theyre drug addicts theyre alcoholics theyre people who wander around from city to city they make victims out of people every day to support their habit and if I had my way I would just force them either into one of two things either go into rehab or spent some time in jail and dry out the hard way

24:07 DM – well you know the last two categories of drug addicts alcoholics and then mentally ill veterans make up a large group of those people

24:14 DJS – yes it does

24:15 – DM – so and I know that Oregon has veterans court they also have a lot of facilities because the states very conscious of of trying to take better care of veterans

24:27 DJS – we’ve always had hobos and bums we’ve always had these wandering souls that travel up and down the coastline all the way back into the dustbowl days that’s not new what is new is the liberal idea of allowing people to shoot up on the street throw needles in the sidewalk drop their pants and then go to the bathroom in front of your business or in front of your kids these thing have changed that’s all a new experience for this homeless issue I think its wrong we’ve had morals we’ve had rules when I worked in San Francisco right out of college I would up on the 8th floor on the corner of post and kerney and there were dumpsters in an alley and I would see bums homeless people drug addicts whoever they may be going to the alley drop their pants and go the bathroom and they did it in private and it was like that’s what they do okay you have to go someplace to go the bathroom restaurants are not gonna let you in Macys isnt gonna let you in to use their facilities that’s what they did now because of liberal ideas theyre are right out in the middle of the sidewalk I saw a video on YouTube where these people were sitting on the sidewalk in a nice sunny day a little French type of table the guy walks right up in front of them drops his pants and goes to the bathroom that’s wrong I don’t care what you say that’s wrong

26:07 DM – a lot of legislators are using social media to reach their constituents and and supporters do you have any social media accounts

26:17 DJS – I look at FB once in awhile and I have a twitter account I don’t look at it that’s it you know I I pay attention to the news I read my papers in and I try to stay current on all the events that I can social media can be a weapon or it can be a blessing

26:41 DM – so if you got the seat would you use social media to stay in touch with your constituents

26:45 DJS – I might yeah I might you know I think that the more you can find out what your your constituents want within in the area that you’re serving the better you can be at it and I have my own ideas that’s not necessarily the ideas of of my constituents in my in district 13 so the only way I can do that is to tell them how I feel and ask them for comments on how they feel exchange ideas

27:15 DM – running for political office is expensive it’s stressful it’s time-consuming how has your family reacted to your decision to run and are they ready for the rigors of political campaigning

27:27 DJS – my family is diminishing because were all getting old and my family is proud of me for what Im doing my friends are proud of me for I’m doing because I’m stepping up I I understand it’s expensive I can I can receive donations on my website David Smith for Oregon and even if you could send a dollar that would help every little bit helps but right now I’m I’m trying to get organized I’ve never run for office before it’s a new experience for me and I’m sorting through the things it kind of superfluous and trying to get down to the things that are absolutely necessary and roll my sleeves up and get to work

28:18 DM – this my last question why should Oregonians vote for you

28:23 DJS – Oregonians should vote for me because my opponent in this particular race has been in office since 2007 she is a solid Democrat she’s voted 98.4% of the time for whatever the bill was in the Democrat agenda that’s not her district her district is not 98% Democrat so I think there is a huge percentage of people in my area that are not getting represented I’m sure she’s a nice lady and I couldn’t speak ill of her but I think it if you roll over a few people now and then and get rid of career politicians you’ll find that people serving the country serving the city serving the state will do much better job and I intend to do a better job

29:16 DM – okay I really appreciate take the time to come and talk to me thank you

29:21 DJS – thank you for having me

29:23 DM – I’m don merrill I’ve been talking with David J Smith Mr. Smith is a Republican he’s running for Oregon House District 13 thanks for listening

Written by Interviewer

March 4, 2020 at 06:00

Posted in Scratchpad