Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

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 general electrical system.  However, it may check electrical contacts within the bulb connection itself to see if the connection can be cleaned and the bulb reseated.  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 first event 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 turned inward for the next 18 months to try to address the problems of their own residents and businesses. That event, the first of an envisioned fifty-two, did not happen.  An event was held in Old Towne/Chinatown in April  2021, for which we were grateful.  Subsequently planned events, however, did not.  A small table event happened at the invitation of Goose Hollow but a bulb changing event didn’t happen until May, 2022, as we must wait for a neighborhood to invite us.  With their knowledge of their people, their geography and their business community, they can lay the groundwork for promotion, business help and volunteers; something we cannot do without them.

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 originally, the pilot program for CNBSeen was intended to function for one year. This would’ve let CNBSeen compare police stops data collection (SDC) reports compiled by the Portland Police Bureau twice for the same quarter to see if the number of vehicle lights related stops in that year fell in the most affected neighborhoods/populations. But that timetable has been reset to start with the Richmond event.  If CNBSeen can serve 500 car between 2022 and 2023, it may be extended into another year.

June 9, 2020

Revised April 10, 2021

Revised May 22. 2022

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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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 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

Oregon2020 – Dacia Grayber

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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 transcript is of the Dacia Grayber interview.

DM – Don Merrill
DG – Dacia Grayber

00:00 DM – I’m Don Merrill and talking with Dacia Grayber she’s a Democrat running for Oregon House District 35 Ms Grayber welcome

00:06 DG – thank you

00:08 DM – Ms Grayber, your campaign kickoff party was less than 48 hours ago

00:10 DG – yes it was

00:13 DM – why do you want to be in the Oregon house

00:16 DG – so dialing it back 20 years I have spent the last two decades working as a firefighter and paramedic in my communities and in that work I’ve had the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, kind of one call at a time and show up on someone’s worst day and make it better and through my career I have had a lot of exposure to all different folks in the world and I have started at sort of inform some of the advocacy that I’ve been working in for the last 10 years whether that is working in opening a houseless healthcare clinic in tigard or testifying down at the state capital for gun violence prevention work so two years ago, I was proctoring the metro fire camp at tualitin valley and I invited then representative Margaret Doroghty to come visit and she did she spent most of the day with us and she said at the end she said you think about running for office and I laughed I was like no way I am not politician there is there’s no way I’m going to do this and here I am in front of you so I have found through the work I’ve done that when you have a brave voice and you stand up for what you believe any show up for your community can change things them to continue working as a firefighter and the opportunity to take that to the next level is really exciting

01:42 DM – you mentioned youre a firefighter you’re also a paramedic with tualitin Valley and rescue and you knew you wanted to be one since you were 10 you say on your website you felt privileged to do what you do so what went through your mind last year when news broke that after nearly 2 decades Congress had finally got around approving the 9/11 fund for first responders that have been suffering from the toxic environment they were exposed with Ground Zero

02:09 DG – I can’t believe it took as long as it did that should have been a bipartisan effort from day one and not only just for first responders I mean we tend to enjoy a lot of public support but there are so many other people that were not under that umbrella that they didn’t have that seem health benefit who lived in new york at the time it’s the same thing that happened in Salem last year when we had folks on both sides of the aisle vote to cut public pensions

02:38 DM – in 2016 CNNMoney reported only 7% of the 1.1 million US firefighters are women the woman featured in the story Aaron Reagan who was a firefighter for LA County said I realized firefighting isnt for every girl but most girls never even consider it to be a possibility in your experience is that true and if girls ask you about becoming a firefighter would you tell them

03:04 DG – it is the best job in in the world and girls are more than capable of that the old adage that women can’t be firefighters is something that’s rooted in misogyny and I think frankly and insecurity because women are incredible firefighters now you do need to have standards for strength and your physical fitness and we absolutely have to have those but when you have a diverse team you are a stronger team and we have found that across the board I’m actually the chair of local 1660s equity and inclusion committee I’ve been that for the last seven years and in the time that I’ve been on that weve more than doubled our number of women that we employ as well as other minorities but I any woman thats questioning and hearing this out there look me up contact me on my website I will get you a ride along and I hook you up with what would be an outstanding experience

03:55 DM – you and your husband who is also a firefighter were featured last year the USA Today story about Oregons paid family medical leave house Bill 2005 which was signed into law by Gov. Brown makes Oregon one of only about eight states in the country to have it your husband was diagnosed with throat cancer and in the story you said at the time this was the beginning of the upside down world we been ever since what did you mean by that

04:23 DG – so he wasn’t sick we have as a benefit to us working for TDFR in our annual physicals and he had for a couple months he’d been snoring and he’s not he doesn’t snore and I thank goodness and he was choking on food but he never felt sick and so I was actually in a meeting talking about banning asbestos while he went for a routine follow-up because our department felt a lump on his neck I get this text message and by the way you should never ever tell your spouse this through text that said don’t freak out looks like I have throat cancer but that was March 21, 2019 and I am proud to say that he is cancer he has no evidence of disease it’s still a long journey ahead but so many things that we had taken for granted so many assumptions just the way our lives were gonna look we were thrown into an upside down world and you know I was already working in Salem as an advocate to testify for this bill based on the work I’d done with a houseless you know we never in a million years thought we’d be in a spot where that same law could have made a huge benefit to us because you know we have FMLA I have sick leave and vacation leave that I’ve accrued but I think always thought um you know were firefighters of public safety there’s got to be some some kind of leave and there isn’t we about the day after he got his CAT scan and a couple weeks before his surgery we went down to Salem when they had the large testimonies and both spoke to the bill and very thankfully that bill passed in it’s exciting because in the future Oregon families don’t have to choose between their job security and caring for their loved ones

06:17 DM – you also testified in support of this year’s house bill 4005

06:21 DG – yes

06:22 DM – which is a gun safety proposal that requires guns to be securely stored you know that proposal was aggressively attacked by gun rights proponents and I’ve talked with several of them and they say people have guns protect their homes and their families and they say in the time it takes to open a safe or undo a trigger lock the burglar who might have a gun has already killed but from your perspective you’ve seen what unsecured guns can do if you get into the legislature how would you find common ground with colleagues who see the issue so differently

06:53 DG -that’s something I feel really wonderful about the relationships that I’ve already built with folks across the aisle so my crew at work is deeply conservative I am a gun owner as well first of all which usually surprises people I keep them in a safe I grew up in kind of a world where I was either in the city or at my grandparents farm I knew how to shoot by the time I could run but I belive that doesn’t impede my ability to be safe and so I find that at the end of the day when we look to finding common ground that’s where we start and one thing I found particularly with gun violence prevention work at we all want to feel safe in our homes we have different avenues to that so how do we work together to find to find that and with this bill in particular what’s been most surprising to me especially talking with folks I work with whoever who are you know Oregon firearms Federation or who are very and I don’t want to say pro second amendment because I’m pro-Second Amendment too we have the Second Amendment no one is coming to take the guns away and no one is looking to remove that amendment at all there’s a lot of misinformation about this bill in particular you know the bill stipulates its first of all it’s not a criminal liability its civil liability and its all within reason so if you choose to have your gun on you in your house and you have a under your control its secured in your control you are not liable they’re not saying that you keep it locked up at all times if if you have it within with, so say you go to bed and you have in your bedside table you accepting responsibility for that same thing folks have been asking you know if I lock my door and someone breaks in and they steal my gun am I liable the answer is no you have 72 hours to report that and if it’s a hunting rifle and is not hunting season the law looks at that as reasonable the last thing I’ll say about house bill 4500 I’m obviously very passionate about it and it’s an issue I’ve worked on for years is that we know from polling if this goes to the ballot it will pass and that the bill that will go to the ballot that is going to be far more restrictive than the one that’s being worked on in the state legislature

09:08 DM – you said on your website that preserving and protecting our wild spaces is essential to who we are but the legislature has had two build this session that expanded the urban growth boundaries around Bend and Pendleton in Pendleton it’s helping to increase housing stock if you get into the legislature how will you address the need for space for people while preserving habitat for wildlife

09:34 DG – great question that’s one of those policies I would need to build out more but I believe that both of those can coexist you know by you know we have in Portland a lot of infill capability here and I know that’s a dirty word to a lot of folks especially in my district people don’t want to hear about infill but as we have more and more people moving here we need to continue to create housing that’s affordable I think we do have a mandate as Oregonians to prevent sprawl into some of these wild places when I say that when I’m specifically referring to are places like any obviously not local to like the Owyhee canyonlands or some of our national park areas or forestland that in some cases it’s been sold off for development you know how we find that balance that’s to be determined and that’s why we have a whole bunch of really well-informed people and planners and and folks in that industry that I would look to

10:35 DM – I used to work for the Department of Interior and so I was around and aware of a lot of controlled burns and I was also around when controlled burns became uncontrolled burns

10:49 DG – me too

10:50 DM – so I want to ask you every year we have a wildfire season every year the state announces controlled burns and sometimes those get out hand so what you as a firefighter what do you say as a potential legislator about how the state deals with of the use of fire to control fire

11:08 DG – we have done such a good job at putting fires out over the years that now we have some of this unmitigated fire growth so I am a fan of using fire to control fire but we have to be smart about how we do it you know we can get into the deep weeds about forest management I had someone the other day say that wildland fires only happen on federal lands and I was like oh I’m here to tell you I went on 3 slash fires at Weyerhaeuser last year I it’s not it’s not just there so we have to as we move deeper into the climate change crisis and you know as firefighters weve had to change our tactics and the way we look at things where I work we used to keep you know in the winter you have your chains on your rig then sometime in June you pull out your wildland gearing you put it on your rig last year we had our first two alarm wildland fire in February

12:06 DM – the Supreme Court is about to hear Louisiana abortion case thats like a Texas case the came three years earlier then clinic doctors not only had to also work in hospital but the clinics had have features of hospitals which of course the didn’t because theyre clinics Texas said they passed a law make abortion safer but critics didn’t believe it on your website you say you will fight any move Oregon makes to restrict a woman’s right to safe abortion are you worried that that Oregon is drifting that way

12:34 DG – I think that and I don’t have the exact numbers but last year there were dozens of abortion restriction bills that were proposed in the house and in the Senate most that were defeated I think with the I’m adamantly pro-choice and pro-abortion access and a know that’s a difficult position a lot of the my union membership is very conservative and Catholic and they are pro-life but I have seen you know both not personally but through friends and family I mean abortion keeps women safe abortion care is healthcare and we know with a Trump administration that even things you know sacred to our values as Roe V Wade are going to be under attack and so I think if we think that were safe in Oregon from that were kidding ourselves and so I will aggressively fight to make sure so Oregon is the only state that has no restrictions on abortion access at this point and I think it’s almost a mandate for us to lead that and to be that safe space for women we have women women coming from all over the country to seek abortion healthcare here and 98 just another thing people get caught up there is no such thing as as full-term abortion that doesn’t exist and we know that 98 to 99% of all abortions happen before 20 weeks and its a difficult issue and I want to see a world where every child is loved and wanted but sometimes there’s health reasons there’s other reasons and and I will hold the line on that we even have to go little further I’ve had experience working with transports from the prison system and our women who are in the prisons who are incarcerated don’t have access to abortion healthcare that’s safe and accessible for them because because of the insurance regulations they have to pay for their own security detail and most of those women who are incarcerated are in no position to do that

14:34 DM – Portland police have started sending crisis intervention team members with officers to situation that in the past have gotten people having a mental health crisis killed rather than helped Do you see that as progress

14:47 DG – the mental health response teams absolutely I have been working with the houseless specifically in Portland and in the Portland Metro area from most eight years now and the majority of my folks were learning all the time like a study came out the other day that over half of our houseless has a traumatic brain injury history but a lot of our folks are have either cycles of mental health concerns are certain addiction issues and when we are sending police in to add to a tense hostile situations things escalate quickly and a lot of these folks don’t understand what they’re proceeding in and I’ve watched and I consider a lot of these folks my friends and I’ve seen them get in a lot of trouble so folks that are trained in mental health response that know how to de-escalate know how to work with different populations and understand where folks are coming from that’s absolutely vital to helping solve our crisis that we have here and to de-escalating the violence

15:49 DM – Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have proposed ways to reduce student debt you say in your website that the cost of higher education is out of control why is it important for boomers & millennial to get debt relief and how will you fight to lower college costs for Oregon students

16:08 DG – I think especially and I’m also speaking as a mom of four teenagers three-year of whom are going to graduate in the next three years were a blended family the cost of higher education is almost prohibitive and even our avenues that we had towards towards reduced costs higher education like community college are getting to the point were a lot of folks are being priced out I don’t know as a state legislator I’m not going to be able to solve free college for all let’s put that on Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders but as far as from the state mandates you know we pass this really sweeping student success act and now I think the next step is to look both before that at pre-K and offering preschool programs and also post secondary so our community colleges and public institutions I think we need to have transparency and accountability in some of the overhead there and then look at ways to to to better fund our state institutions Oregon public colleges are some of the most expensive in the nation and it didnt always need to be that way that goes all the way back to believe its measure 5 where thing started increasing that brings up how you know to of the least sexy words in the state legislature are revenue reform and I think in this state we need to have real honest conversations about revenue reform and how that could benefit everyone by that I mean you know we have some of the largest corporations in the country where 98% of what their business is generating as exports and you know how much they pay on those exports as far as taxes nothing we are we are very low and export taxes I thats I mean toward like the cat Tax they paying right now so student success you had not to pick on them but Nike and Intel and Tektronix and some of those groups at the table crafting those laws because in some ways they could dictate the terms and I think we need its going to take a lot of brave voices standing up and people fear pass-throughs and they fear these companies leaving I work out where Nike is theyre not going anywhere

18:12 DM – in recent years employers have complained that the graduates they’re getting are not able to do the job they need them to do that’s been called the skills gap what if anything do you think you can do to help close that gap before kids graduate to make sure they have a job when they do

18:32 DG – thats awesome and that makes I want to backup a little but that when were having this conversation about higher education we absolutely can’t leave out the trades I work in a trade a skilled trade we have some of the strongest trade unions in the country right here in Oregon so we need to work I know Bolli right now is working on strengthening apprenticeship programs and seen more folks have that route I have you know one of my kids hes he wants to go in medicine he is like fully set on wanting to go premed I’m not sure how were going to pay for that but one of my other kids he doesn’t know what he wants yet but he said he’s incredibly skilled and that’s one of the you know area for him that he may go into the trades and having that as an opportunity so we need to be bolstering and there was a bill passed I don’t remember off the top of my head but to increase funding for trade schools and how we kind of create that pathway I know one of the things we’re doing in the fire services trying to reach kind of lean forward to high schools like with this Portland Metro fire camp program and give people a taste of that in being a firefighter’s outstanding job it’s it’s a great way to provide for your family and well most of our firefighters are coming with some level of college whether it’s two or four years or in some case we have we have folks that have had PhD’s that turnaround and become firefighters cause its a great job so we just need to increase the diversity of pathways and and the skills

20:01 DM – one more question on education a few years ago report out that accused PPS of purposeful discrimination in the process that seemed to send kids of college detention more often which affected their schooling and ultimately got the more detention and in adulthood more jail time a lot was made of this school to prison pipeline do you recognize this problem in PPS and and what would you do to address it statewide

20:24 DG – I think that that has been a problem in PPS I think were waking up to that on on a statewide level I think one of the most important things we can do if you go if you look at that percentages of teachers who are people of color indigenous theyre very low they don’t have folks that reflect them in the classrooms and that’s a problem so thats one of the proposals that I would love to explore more especially working with different groups of teachers and speaking of higher education where almost like an AmeriCorps program if you have of students of color who want to go into teaching they get either some cost abatement or sponsorships and they go to a public institution to get their teaching degree but then they commit to a certain time of teaching in Oregon’s public schools that’s been done in other states very successfully and I think it could help increase the diversity here and you know it creates more culturally conscious education just from the ground up

21:27 DM – 320 years and one month ago Oregon’s Cascadia subduction zone ruptured

21:37 DG – oh you’re in my Wheelhouse now

21:28 DM – and triggered a 9.0 earthquake seismologists say is one of three chance have another 9.0 earthquake in the next 50 years much of the transportation and infrastructure west of the Cascades may be destroyed if that earthquake comes do you feel either Oregon government or its citizens are doing enough to prepare

21:55 DG – (laughing) did I write this question for myself uh no were not but we’re working on it I think you know we are the only developed and I should say nonindigenous not looking back to indigenous times but modern European settler area in the in the world that hasnt experienced their own natural disaster when someone brought that up to me it was Dr. Chris Goldfinger at OSU I was like OMG she’s right so we don’t have that sort of collective consciousness in this state of oh my gosh that the ground the ground gonna shake and everything gonna get really bad we need to be funding shake alert and every year the legislature makes some noise about it but nothing I mean right now with the walkouts that are happening thats some legislation that staying there and that’s legislation that could save literally millions of people we need to come up with ways that are culturally informed and work with our our communities our more marginalized communities on seismic retrofitting that’s doesn’t displace people and we need to bolster our road systems because so my background um I have a background in emergency management and homeland security but I’ve done a lot of work on my and also the public safety commissioner for OSSPAC which is the Oregon seismic safety policy advisory commission and Don it’s bad I think you know it’s not gonna be like a movie like what was it San San Andreas with the rock where the grounds gonna open up and bridges are gonna collapse but were gonna see it’s not so much like what will happen at the time we will have you know several thousand deaths is what the models have shown in the city it’s what will come months and months out we are sitting in Portland on outside of this tsunami hazard at the coast were sitting in one of the greatest hazards in the state and that’s the uh the fuel station the fuel farm down on the river there none of those tanks at this point were built to withstand more than a 6.0 earthquake we are working thru OSSPAC we’ve made recommendations were were trying to sound the alarm but it’s hard to get people to care about something they can’t see or they don’t have some memory of

24:17 DM – I wanted to I would ask you about cap And trade Oregon Republican’s walked out of the legislature yesterday again because of cap And trade despite Democrats saying it was a very different bill from the one they said made them walkout last session as someone who believes in climate change what do you think it’ll take to get your conservative colleagues to agree with some version of cap And trade

24:40 DG – you know I don’t know because I looked at some of the amendments that were brought forward I know they’ve been meeting with folks at the coast some of the millworker at GP the Steelworkers on the concerns could those are a lot of the communities that are feeling the input having those conversations bringing bringing those folks to the table to help craft the legislation I frankly feel like the bill as it stands probably isn’t strong enough to make a really big difference if we were really in it be be bold on that we would be looking at carbon taxing but given what were seeing right now that’s not gonna happen some of the concerns I’ve heard you know one of that guys I work with his son owns a small business and they use diesel and he feels like you know his son in his trucking business is going to be punished more than some of these really large corporations so making sure that when we craft this legislation were looking with an equity lens at this and making sure that it that we don’t have exemptions for certain groups so I I don’t know a lot of the specifics one of them specifics I saw most recently was a buy Oregon provision which I thought was pretty neat so you know when we look at things that are coming up like Southwest corridor and building new infrastructure there then instead of buying or steel from overseas or from Canada were buying it from Oregon made suppliers and and that’s one way you it keeps those folks in business it’s reducing our carbon generation from shipping things from all over the world there is there’s a lot of win-win there and I think that labor has a really strong voice in this and help craft this and so do our industries that are being impacted on it

26:25 DM – you you have relatively new Facebook histogram and Twitter accounts you also have a LinkedIn account and webpage if you get into the legislature will you keep those accounts open and use them to connect with your constituents

26:38 DG – so I I have Facebook since 2008 but I have a Dacia Grayber, my official Dacia Grayber for state representative absolutely I have found in the last six months or less probably last two months I’ve had hundreds of new friends wanting requests and at a certain point we saw how it started being used in politics but I will always keep an open channel not only that I am committed to being out there I’m with different organizations people know who I am and I will continue to do that and be an open door

27:11 DM – on your Facebook page you said the campaign trail is inspiring and exhilarating even but it’s also exhausting often lonely it seems to me to politics and preparing for the political life might test you just as strongly as firefighting ever did are you and your family ready for it

27:28 DG – what I meant by that post is I am one of the few people I know who’s running for office who is continuing to work full-time and that is because my family we don’t have the option I can’t take time off I can’t like oh I’m going to go down to half time or take a leave of absence for this this is about bringing working family voices to the legislature cause and and not to diss anyone whose there we have wonderful people there but a lot of folks are either retired or there independently wealthy or they have the ability to to flex their work

28:02 DM – this is my last question why should Oregonians vote for you

28:05 DG – because I I’m brave and determined enough and I am I am an Oregonian I’m one of them I’m not somebody beholden to special interests I’m not someone who decided to do this is a vanity run my run is informed by the work that I do every day with everyday Oregonians and I see pathways to making things better my whole campaign we have a hashtag that I don’t know if we invented that we use #redefine possible and that to me is what this whole thing is about and what my service in the legislature will be where were not just doing business as usual we were trying to bring disparate voices to the table to come up with new meaningful solutions that are inclusive of everyone it’s about being you know and I recognize I may be wildly idealistic in this but I also you know I’ve survived in a career that wasn’t very welcoming the women for two decades whatever I may experience in politics bring it on

29:06 DM – Dacia Grayber is a Democrat she is running for Oregon House District 35 Ms Grayber thank you very much again

29:11 DG – thank you Don

29:13 DM – I’m Don Merrill thanks for listening

Written by Interviewer

March 3, 2020 at 17:21

Posted in Scratchpad

Oregon2020 – Charles Rand Barnett

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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 transcript is of the Charles Rand Barnett interview.

DM – Don Merrill
CRB – Charles Rand Barnett

00:00 DM – I’m Don Merrill and I’m talking with Charles Rand Barnett Mr Barnett is running as a Democrat for the 3rd U.S. House district against Earl Blumenauer Mr Barnett welcome

00:13 CRB – Thanks for having me out today Don

00:15 DM – I noticed that you don’t have any political experience but did serve in the Navy when you were in the Navy would you do

00:22 CRB – I was a jazz trombonists in the Navy for seven years

00:27 DM – okay so you joined to be part of the Navy band

00:28 CRB – correct I auditioned

00:32 DM – so so so what was it about music that that made you decide that’s what you want to do in the military

00:37 CRB – it’s just what I what I had been doing for my schooling years

00:45 DM – right

00:46 CRB – I I learned just jazz music in Portland from thera memory trombone from Mark Walters and Jack Quinby

00:53 DM – okay so have you done any musical work since you got oout of the Navy

00:59 CRB – I’ve done a lot of recording actually I was frustrated in the navy not having enough creativity I guess so I got out of the Navy and did a lot of recording it it didn’t lead to financial success so I retrain myself as computer programmer while living on the streets of Seattle

01:19 DM – I want to talk about that about you living on the streets but I want to ask you you lost to Earl Blumenauer two years ago with 1.6% of the vote what do you think is going to be different this time

01:32 CRB – I don’t know I just hope to bring the climate change message forward winning the election I mean I want to do this job I’ve I thought about it a lot I I I want to be leading the climate change conservation effort on a national level anything I can do to bring that cause forward and talking with you here today is bringing that cause forward so

02:03 DM – OK we might get into specifics about that on Twitter at least a few people seem to know of you and your platform one-woman tweeted that she thought you were a single issue candidate she said she thought that you wanted to reduce driving by letting people telecommute more so are you for driving less or are you for telecommuting more

02:25 CRB – I’m for driving last actually I am a fairly one issue candidate climate change is a is a pressing issue we have excellent upward mobility in our society there are social protections I think things are going pretty good in this country things can always be better but you know if if climate change werent an issue you know I’d say let’s just consume all we want you know we’d all have McMansions and yachts or whatever but the reality is the the world is limited and were pushing up against these limits hard climate change is a pressing issue in in in mind my point of view

03:08 DM – OK you say on your website that you were homeless for four years you see the problems here in Portland then in Salem and Eugene with homelessness if you were elected to Earl Blumenauer seat and it becomes your seat how would you fix that

03:25 CRB – well what worked for me to to get out of homelessness was a HUD voucher through central city concern got me off of the streets I used the HUD voucher for almost 2 years and then I was employed and on i made a good living since then but you know we have freedom in this country and were free to fail on too you know and you can help someone out that you can’t make someone learn you can’t in in a free country you can’t make people work you know I do believe in raising the minimum wage I do believe in social protections but there’s limits to how far we can go with that I lived in a car I lived in my Geo Metro for a year and a half and then I lived in a van for a year and a half before it was just hopeless trying to find money to put gas into a vehicle and when I left my vehicle was like sky above me it was summertime when it when I left my vehicle to live on the streets full time you know living in a car a car is like a mini house you know it’s actually you know besides driving around it’s it you know you’re saving energy by living in the car as opposed to running your heater in your house all the time as long as you’re not driving very much which some of the time I was driving quite a bit it’s a pretty bad situation to be in know I was my only skill was being a jazz trombonist in I’m not a very social person I didn’t know how to get into that after I left the Navy so I had to retrain myself in the public libraries while and I didn’t study a lot in library but I spent a lot of time in library out of the elements with my paperwork in learning trigonometry and and from a book from the library and using library computers to do some experiments with computer programming and it’s quite a story you know

05:44 DM – so much so much to unpack there my gosh the first thing that struck me was when you said you arent a very social person but youre running for a US House of Representatives seat

05:56 CRB – it is very contradictory you know social media I assume a lot of candidates these days are using social media I don’t use any social media you know I like to disconnect I’m just up in my studio with my keyboard my mechanical keyboard typing away in thinking about issues I consume a little bit the news but not a whole lot

06:21 DM – so you’re computer savvy your just not social media engaged

06:24 CRB – yes I I I I dont like Small talk is not my thing you know you

06:30 DM – so the other things I wanted to to to touch a little bit is there seems to be a lot of different kinds of political ideologies running through you. There seem to be libertarianism which is do what you are free to do as long as you don’t necessarily mess up anybody else’s life there is progressivism which is climate change is is important we need to pay attention to it there just seems to be a lot of different things going on in you how do you reconcile all of that

07:00 CRB – I call myself a fairly moderate Democrat I’m fiscally moderate I mean again it goes back to the homelessness issue yes we we need to have these social protections but theres only so far we can go that were going to bankrupt ourselves if we give every homeless person a house for free and then what they do you know so

07:26 DM – right I read that you’re on the fence about the idea of universal basic income and for those don’t know universal basic income is an idea where the government or some entity gives citizens a basic living income and now that they don’t have to worry about making a living working they can use that money to achieve whatever they personally feel is the highest best self

07:50 CRB – I think societies ultimately going to wind up there its going to knockout a lot of lower-level jobs and how do we pay for it I mean it if if robots are doing all this work then there’s then it frees people to do other things with their lives theoretically it should lower the amount of work that everyone does but you you have to do something with your time so what you do it if if if a semitruck driver loses his job to automation then all of a sudden instead of being behind the truck he’s at home heating and cooling his house driving around his neighborhood looking for something else to do spending more energy than he was in the truck so automation can create more problems Creating a whole bunch of robots there’s a carbon footprint for every robot this automation can make things better but if were not conscious about making the conservation effort it could just wind up being worse we haven’t made a savings then

08:58 DM – youre also an unfunded candidate now the these days campaigns are all about money besides interviews like this how will you get people know who you are

09:07 CRB – I’ve distributed 2000 or 20,000 mailings this year I I’ve I’ve spent $17,000 of more my own money and as I put skin in the game I’ve created a political platform it’s on my website I’m a writer

09:23 DM – and what what’s your website

09:24 CRB – 4040 in 4040 is about 40% of people driving 40% less by working from home it’s good I believe in public schools and children being socialized like that but we should we need to trim our margins you are outsourcing our pollution problem were the highest consumers in the world in the history of of know life in the universe we have some serious margins to trim I think if we took this my platform seriously I think we could reduce carbon our carbon imprint in the United States by 10%

10:03 DM – well now that were talking about reducing the carbon footprint I want to ask about cap And trade

10:09 CRB – I don’t I don’t really believe in cap and Trade to me that’s getting around the issue of really making a savings you know I mean how we can how to stop using carbon you know if if you put it in your tank you’ve used carbon you know it doesn’t matter what industry money is floating around there you know finding other alternatives know a lithium battery and cobalt and you know it’s it’s all movement it’s all activity reducing activity to me is more important than playing some financial trick

10:50 DM – okay will then let’s let’s talk about something else related to the environmental footprint now you have said in the past that you cant really speak to agricultural issues until you had more information about them so do you have more information since you wrote that

11:03 CRB – you know I I keep on trying write a food article on my website and it I find that it’s very subjective I mean I think that we have a serious problem with nitrogen runoff and people that are close to me that are really passionate about this UN report that we only have 60 years of topsoil left I personally don’t think the the the the work organic farming can scale to the amount of food that we need in society but you know it it it takes like 17 times the amount of vegetable feed to to feed livestock to come up with with meat you know so you know eating less meat to me is a huge part of the agricultural piece of this puzzle you know mandating that people eat less meat is ridiculous, but being a national leader and on being elected to Congress with a message of conservation and talking on websites and and and talk shows about eating less meat and why that’s important and getting that message out and putting a face in a voice behind the message instead of it just being some commercial on TV you know conserve your trips take your bags to the store I mean I do these things you know but it’s good to put a face to this whole message

12:31 DM – so I get the impression that you feel it individual efforts arent as effective as a governmentwide program

12:39 CRB – it should be organized you know we should be working together I get the feeling that people like me that are trying to conserve on a daily basis were just doing our own thing and were not organized you know I mean there’s a lot of people that are against the idea of climate change does it even exist you know a lot of people say aoh no that’s just silly stuff you know so were only goin to win over so many of the people but you know 40 60% of the people in this nation do believe that there’s a problem and all those people need to be organized with a national leader you know it should be led from the White House but you know we obviously don’t have that right now and we hear our national Democratic candidates talking about climate change like were going to buy our way out of the problem by building a whole bunch windmills and all that I have an extensive energy article where I crunch some numbers on my website about energy and and wind power and

13:40 DM – you also talk a lot about science you you answered some questions for balletopedia And one of the questions they asked you were some your favorite books and one of the books you reference was a trigonometry book science seems to be very important you now what you make of the trend that seems to be people turning away from science and turning away from experts and I think the anti-vaccine campaign would probably be the best example of that

14:06 CRB – you could say science is technology we use science to come up with technology technology is all based on power really you know can we invent our way out of climate change by making a better you know we have been getting better were the the world that used work on horses and burning wooden fireplaces I still burn a little bit of wood in my fireplace you know of

14:40 DM – right but I think there’s a difference between what you’re talking about and what people don’t want to rely on experts are talking about to say that the world moves faster because we dont have people who make buggy whips anymore me that’s different than saying I don’t want your beliefs about technology to tell me how I should take care of my children or I don’t want your beliefs and climate change to affect the possibility of my job going away

15:05 CRB – everyone’s concerned about their job I mean that’s a personal thing I’m concerned about my job you know I I’ve had to put my campaign on hold so I can get more paid work everyone’s concerned about their personal thing here but you know this really doesn’t lean towards a libertarian idea here where uh where what I’m doing is affecting what other people are doing and what everyone is doing here is using a lot of energy on it it’s it’s going to impact everybody here you know maybe not this decade but in a few hundred years were going to have a major problem because what we’re doing today and theres just simply a better way to do things you know

15:45 DM – so that makes me think of the recent change that city of Portland enacted where now every single-family lot can have duplexes fourplexus some housing advocates or even not pushing for 8 plexus surely that’s an energy-saving efficient use of resources that you champion

16:04 CRB – well you see I know this is a very interesting issue personally I like my house I I I’ll I like tending to the yard I like having some space around me and not being crowded in sure there’s there’s this dream that we can can save a lot of energy by all been living close together making these plexus and all that and I’m for that you know I I’m for I for freedom basically you know that people should be able to do what they want with their plexus or whatever but I I think I think our suburbs are our greatest asset in this country honestly it’s it’s the driving that’s killing things

16:46 DM – okay lets move on you also said that you had started having some drinking problems around the year 2000 and that brings up a lot to talk about

16:57 CRB – I have my dad was a recovering alcoholic so I’ve I was introduced that from a very young age I was drinking in the Navy and and wound up kind of binge drinking I’m a very lightweight drinker I get sick a lot I transitioned over to using marijuana in the end my Navy time and that pretty much killed cured me of the alcohol problem and then being homeless and poor solved me of the marijuana problem and I basically haven’t gone back to any of that I must admit I’ve been drinking a little bit lately I havent drank in years and I’ve been enjoying drinking a little bit a little bit of wine and even a little bit of whiskey lately. But I can tell my liver doesn’t doesn’t want to go back to that I was I was diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease 10 years ago because I was drinking soda pop and it took a lot of effort to lose 40 pounds

18:03 DM – 40 seem to be a very significant number in your life

18:06 CRB – it does I keep on running into it h

18:09 DM – OK so with regard to the drinking how do you think that the city and the police need to treat people with alcohol and addiction problems I mean drug court seem to be somewhat successful I talked to judge Donahue in Corvallis a couple of days ago and he presides over a drug court that he says has been very successful in helping people transition from whatever their drug or alcohol problem is to being more productive members of society so what you think about what the city and the police could do

18:46 CRB – well first of all I I I do believe in balance you don’t have to be a teetoltaler to balance the equation if you’re being productive in society your spending time being productive and that’s time that you’re not drinking what the city can do about it I mean again I I I I I’m pretty libertarian that when it comes to that people should be allowed to do what they are doing but you know there is a public problem there where you start infringing on other peoples I don’t know you do want a drunk coming up to you pissing on the streets and you know being obnoxious we do have a certain right in this society to be protected from obnoxiousness I’m going for a national position here there’s a lot of local issues here that you know I I

19:47 DM – but theyre issues that are similar to issue cities around the country dealing with

19:54 CRB – it’s an issue yes I think a lot about all these other issues you know I I like to think I’m fairly well-rounded politically

20:04 DM – I want to talk about employment for second know you also said that you think it’s illegal or it should be illegal for employers to require employees to necessarily have college degrees so for what types of jobs are you talking about because you are a science literate person some jobs obviously require higher-level of skills than others

20:28 CRB – yes I I you know I I I believe that people should be able to self educate themselves out of lower-level jobs obviously in the lab training that you get in an institution can’t be replaced in a lot of jobs you know but a lot of jobs can be a lot of these engineering jobs you can just crunch the numbers on a desk you know I mean I often thought when I was living on the streets that I could the educate myself into being an architect I don’t I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t self educate yourself into being an architect can you get an architectural job with the self education background I don’t know should it be illegal you know I put that idea out there how serious I am more about about even the 440 bill being passed mandating that employers allow their employees to work from home I mean it be great if we didn’t have to have laws to enact that kind of change you know

21:454 DM – I get the impression too from looking at your website that you believe things in a person’s life should proceed in the kind of order like Social Security priority over free educational or climate change and organic farming over healthcare

22:00 CRB – I believe in Social Security I mean it it’s alarming news that you know my generations Social Security benefits can be cut by 25% 25% I mean that the social protection that we need you know what mean that’s you know

22:19 DM – so of if you were elected to the U.S. House before you would pursue anything regarding free education you would first make sure that Social Security was secured

22:26 CRB – I think so yes

22:28 DM – and before you would focus on healthcare you would make sure that work toward climate change and and more efficient organic farming were in the works

22:39 CRB – I do agree without yes I I I think healthcare I mean you know it’d be great if we had single-payer system I really I really think that’s a good idea but you know I think were distracting from the issue of climate change by saying that we want action on climate change and action on healthcare and other actions I I think I think climate change really needs to be the top issue and everything else is secondary thing

23:14 DM – I want to talk a little bit about the international stage just for a second you seem to be in favor of tariffs why is that
23:20 CRB – I came up with the political theory 6 years ago that I I I felt that immigration that people should be more free to come and go from country to country but that the products should have borders I mean our money has borders and the products passing over those borders I mean it if we want it if we want a stronger economy here it it does make sense to have borders for products not people

23:51 DM – you know its very interesting because that is exactly the opposite policy we have right now with the USMCA making the free flow of money across the borders of North America practically frictionless meanwhile the Supreme Court has just the the trump administration has just proposed a modification of its the plan that it introduced last year to increase the number of countries where people have to be restricted from entering the United States

24:22 CRB – that’s correct him and the tariffs that the trump has been proposing here and and and and and and enacting how successful have they really been I mean you know does does a manufacturing center in Asia a factory for the world makes sense I mean I I can get behind that idea maybe it does make sense to have a unified world factory in in shipping everything over I haven’t crunched all these numbers but maybe that does make some sense when it comes to our personal economics I think manufacturing at home makes sense if they’re producing everything and were just giving them all our money for these products in all that bad for our economy but you know in the big scheme of things efficiency is you know you want efficiency

25:20 DM – do you feel the same way about the intellectual property because a lot of conservatives and liberals democrats and Republicans have been giving the president tepid praise for his hard line against China and the way China has more or less been brought to heel for how it’s been stealing American technology

25:42 CRB – yeah I I follow a little bit about that it must be hard to be in China and maybe just someone on the on the line seeing all these technologies and machines being used I mean how can you help but not steal them or use them I mean there are just like this is this is a steering wheel on a car all cars have steering wheel so you know we see this in our factories all the date everyday why wouldnt I use this technology on my own now so

26:12 DM – that reminds me something you said earlier you were talking about the deficit and debt do you feel the deficit spending is important because as a lot of people do because it helped grow the economy and or and and the American economy will always recover from deficit spending or do you feel that the country has an obligation to live within its means

26:30 CRB – I think the U-shaped curve of the debt to deficit I mean deficit to our debt to GDP the U-shaped curve from World War II to now I think it’s significant you know if interest payments all all this you know the interest payments could be a burden you know you know I don’t know I believe in in in lowering the deficit yes it’s out of control

27:07 DM – okay so I got two questions left but one question is sort of like related to everything we’ve talked about so far you said that you are single issue candidate but we’ve talked about a bunch of issues do you feel like you need to expand your palette

27:21 CRB – I care about all these other other issues I think about them a lot but I think climate change and and having a national conservation effort that’s organized behind an individual I’m trying to be that individual because I don’t see that in our society I don’t see it an individual going for a national role like this with the conservation effort if if there were presidential candidates talking about conservation right now I be totally behind them but right now I I’m I’m pretty dissatisfied with with goings on in our national politics so I’m trying to be that conservation voice

28:01 DM – were you happy back in the 90s when Al Gore was that candidate we you happy with with the leadership he was providing are you going

28:07 CRB – its a shame we didn’t get al gore you know wow it wouldve been a different world if we would’ve gotten Al Gore

28:14 DM – are you so then are you running in the model of Al Gore

28:18 CRB – no I get the feeling from Al Gore that the that he’s more towards the side gonna build our way out of the problem I more on the conservation side I think that you know were using a lot of resources in this company in this country and the you know I think we can seriously trim our margins without with without changing productivity

28:44 DM – okay this my last question why should people Oregon vote for you

28:50 CRB – it’s a vote for this conservation message plain simple we hear a lot about climate change in the news it’s it’s becoming a pressing problem we need to vote for this kind of thing you know I’m trying to be a voice of of reason in this movement that it’s not just up to the government’s to solve our problems

29:15 DM – alright mr barnette thank you very much for talking I really appreciate it

29:20 CRB – thanks don

29:22 DM – I’m Don merrill been talking with Charles rand Barnett Mr. Barnett is a candidate for the third U.S. House district thanks listening

Written by Interviewer

March 3, 2020 at 01:23

Posted in Scratchpad

Oregon2020 – Bob Neimeyer

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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 transcript is of the Bob Neimeyer interview.

DM – Don Merrill
BN – Bob Neimeyer

00:00 DM – I’m don merrill and I’m talking with Bob Niemeyer’s mr neimeyer is running for Oregon House District 35 in Tigard Mr Neimeyer welcome

00:08 BN – thank you

00:10 DM – on your website you have a statement titled why Run where you ask whether certain outcome that you describe as negative in Oregon were intended by Democratic lawmakers and you make a distinction between lifestyle and life for Oregon residents can you explain what you see as the intentions of the left and and talk about the difference between your definitions of life and lifestyle

00:34 BN – Ill start with the difference between life and lifestyle learning to me having a lifestyle basically has no tomorrow whatever you do that day is all that matters to you day by day and having a life means that you plan ahead and intended to do other things down the road such as build a career or have a job or something like that that extends much much farther than whatever you can manage to get a hold of in one day like a heroin addict I mean they live literally a lifestyle of whatever it takes to get their day taken care of they do it all over the next day very much like what’s going on in our legislature whatever they can do for one year to get away with and doesn’t really matter

01:28 DM – one of the things you have said on your website that you want is you want the removal of the emergency clause from the Oregon Constitution

01:35 BN – yes completely taken out

01:36 DM – why is that first of all explain what the emergency clause is and then tell me why want it removed

01:40 BN – well emergency clause is something that goes back clear to the starting of the state I can understand how they would have done that in 1859 given the looming civil war and the need for an extra northern state on the north side and when I first started all of this stuff back in 2014 I was on the side of the emergency clause because I could see how it could be something that was actually necessary should there be an event that would require us to shell out a bunch of money for the earthquake

02:19 DM – earthquake thats what I was thinking too

02:21 BN – yes if the big what happens were not going to want a bunch of people to say we’re going to do a referendum to keep the Oregon from spending the money on lets just say coos Bay because theyve got a lot of damage to fix but then again whos gonna say they don’t need the help that’s what convinced me that the emergency clause has to go today it it’s a political weapon at this point to force things onto the the people that in many cases is what you don’t want

02:52 DM – if I understand the emergency clause it is a provision that allows a bill that becomes law to be enacted immediately rather than waiting for the beginning of the new calendar year or after a 60 or 90 day period

03:07 BN – But it also prevents people from doing referendums against the removal or stoppage of the passage of a law

03:14 DN – and that’s bad why

03:16 BN – because if there’s no way to undo something that the legislature has done then there’s no buffer against the legislature doing whatever they want

03:30 DM – how often do you feel the emergency clause is is used unjustifiably

03:34 BN – easily half

03:37 DM – give me an example of where you think it was used unjustifiably

03:39 BN – I have to think it has been a while since a forced something that nobody wanted on us I don’t have an example in the back of my head right now

03:54 DM – OK when we talked in 2016 you wanted a constitutional convention convened to remove the role of the U.S. Congress to ratify amendments article 5 was a hot concern at the time you said that’s what the framers intended for the states rather than the Congress to have a say over whether or not amendments became a part of the Constitution

04:21 BN – I want the convention where the states can create constitutional amendments outside of Congress we very much need to do a few very critical things such as term limits for instance I don’t know that I necessarily agree with the balanced-budget amendment because I think that would actually go the wrong way but it may take that in order to get Congress to stop wasting money the term limit thing should apply to all three branches of government I mean we already have on that prevents the president from doing two terms more than two terms but that I think that that should apply to Congress and it should also apply to the courts

05:11 DM – so the Supreme Court justices should not serve for life

05:13 BN – I don’t think so

05:17 DM – you said on your website representatives who are underpaid are tempted to take funds from other sources

05:24 BN – I personally believe that the legislature should be paid about the same as whatever a schoolteacher more or less about $60,000 a year but I also have got this other thing that I intended to publish as well in the website that I’m calling independent contractors the whole idea behind that is that they only receive money. They don’t get benefits they don’t get health insurance they don’t get anything but cash And they have to go pay their own taxes buy their own health insurance do everything had that people outside of the legislature do

06:08 DM – it sounds like you want to bring the legislature closer to the people that they serve

06:12 BN – yes right now I think there’s an awful lot of qualified candidates out there who just wont do it because it just gonna cost too much

06:22 DM – if the legislature continues to underpay legislators in and some are found to take funds from sources that compromise their role as a legislator should their punishment be lessened or eliminated or strengthened like what should happen

06:36 BN – I think they should be thrown out of the legislature

06:46 DM – so there is no excuse for it but what youre saying they shouldn’t have to suffer that kind of of of under underpaying

06:53 BN – underpaying gives them the excuse and when somebody has an excuse its an awful awful easy to look at other ways

07:02 DM – the US Supreme Court has just allowed the president to expand the list of countries that can have their citizens restricted from coming into the US if you were elected to the Oregon house would you work to introduce a version of of measure 105 which is the repeal of the state sanctuary law 61% of Oregonians voted it down 2018 would you work to bring it back from some version of that back

07:26 BN – I think sanctuary anything should be totally against the law they had no business risking the people of this state for sanctuary Multnomah County for instance has got an awful lot a crime out there and it’s all due to illegal aliens I know that right now that’s more or less about 85% of the crime that’s committed in Multnomah County is all being done by illegal aliens and they put them in jail and let them go again and they can’t keep them they can’t call up ice just doesn’t make sense to me why anybody would think that that sanctuary is good for the bad apples, if you will of the illegal aliens that come here

08:18 DM – you said our education system is being destroyed by

08:20 BN – completely destroyed by PERS

08:25 DM – you said our education system is being destroyed by PERS it it’s a connection that I’m not sure people always make can you tell me what you see that connection as being and since PERS is a problem that only seems to be getting worse how would you fix both problems

08:41 BN – well first of all they should have taken advantage of the fact that the federal government was creating things like 401(k)s or SEP’s for self-employed people and said okay were going to have you contribute to your own retirement and we’re going to get out of it had the state of Oregon discontinued PERS and told everybody that we have to put your 6% even if we give you a raise of 6% it goes into 401(k)s that we no longer have that accumulation of debt to the PERS program that we would be out of hock right now and that’s just from 2004 if we do that right now it’s probably going to take about 15 years to get to the same situation but it’s going to take time and we just have to got to stop giving away future benefits for nothing in in the PERS program

09:47 DM – so if you get to the Oregon house what you wanted to work for that

09:53 BN – exactly that discontinue it and and right now apparently I can’t say this for totally sure but apparently the governor is the one who actually can decide whether or not it can be discontinued there is no law per se that gives her and forces her to continue to give away retirement benefits now I’m not totally sure but I believe that the legislature could say we’re going to give everybody a 6% raise and that has to go to 401(k)s and be done with it I would like to also say that the vestment in the PERS program should take 10 years and what I would like to see it is an additional 3% from the state matching funds for you every year that you’re working towards your vestment you would basically get 10% of that 3% so that a person’s vestment in the system would ultimately wind up with 9% being of your pay being donated to your 401(k)s that you have control of in the banks and you can see that deposit that you have that you own rather than saying that I’m just gonna hope that the taxpayers are going to pay my retirement the rest of my life

11:27 DM – you supported hunters and and their clay pigeon device and and showed off your own golf ball device because you’re an engineer

11:38 BN – that’s right the last time I showed you the clay pidgeon thrower

11:43 DM – so being an engineer is in your DNA how how will you apply that kind of scientific method thinking to the squishyness of politics and the Oregon legislature

11:54 BN – things have to make sense to me theres no excuse for anything that that doesn’t make complete sense for how it start to finish and if you look at the cap And trade thing there is so much of that it just doesn’t make sense to me about why they’re doing it who is getting the money turning carbon into a commodity item based upon what the government does theyre creating an atmosphere that would to me be something easily turned into absolute total corruption

12:33 DM – well since you want to get to cap and trade lets talk about cap And trade

12:34 BN – okay

12:35 DM – Oregonians are really concerned about their environmental footprint the governors made cap And trade a priority you say cap And trade is a waste of taxpayer money but when what the US should be doing is developing clean technologies and exporting them to countries that are as dirty now as the US was 30 years ago but when a lot of those technologies that the US pioneered were being developed people said the development was hamstringing the American economy and the the manufacturing industry those countries might ask why should we pay the US for expensive technology when older technologies are working for us now just like they worked for you then

13:12 BN – well okay back then I believe they should pay for it now if they are actually in the mode of quote unquote saving the planet then we should be developing that technology and giving it to those countries that are necessarily making a mess of the environment

13:31 DM – give it to them

13:32 BN – yeah I mean how much aid do we give to other nations how much weapons do we give to other nations that they’re not paying for but the government bought them from the people with the taxes and stuff like that why can’t the government buy that technology from us and give it to a nation which is in really a mess that needs to be cleaned up cap and Trade the money that they take doesn’t have any direction where its gonna go they have no intention of dedicating that tax money towards anything that makes sense why tax if youre not going to do anything with it related to preventing the use of carbon there is nothing in the bill that says that that money is going to be used for either roads or for paying down PERS or for one iota of anything is just a big pot of cash thrown at the legislature to do whatever they want and you know perfectly well that under the current leadership that’s exactly what’ll happen

14:37 DM – the city of Portland is proposing to widen the I-5 lanes around the rose quarter to reduce clogged traffic Vancouver wants to restart talks with Portland over bridge to replace the defunct Columbia River Crossing idea that field a few years ago and of course there’s a lot of talk about toll roads but trimet is expanding bus and light rail service because it thinks that’s the answer to many of our traffic issues you oppose light rail

15:10 BN – completely

15:11 DM – so how do you fix the congestion problem not just im portland, I mean throughout the state throughout the western side of the state anyway

15:16 BN – why cant those businesses that have all those people coming into them be allowed to be out in McMinnville just as easily as portland why don’t they just go out there and spread out across the state to someplace else in and be able to have their employees have some space around the outside of them not have to deal with getting on a light rail system and spending a good deal of time trying to get to their job

15:45 DM – for a business to to just up and move out to McMinnville and all of its employees then have to move to to McMinnville or some other community I mean that’s that is not only hardship for the business on the assumption that you reducing traffic congestion but youre also asking families to move asking them to change their surroundings asking to change everything mean it seems it seems like a big ask

16:11 BN – yes but then look what happens to wherever they put in a light rail system it’s very specifically known that a lot of businesses fail because the light rail is too close them they put that light rail into Tigard for instance there is about 800 businesses that are going to have to move just because of that and I know two or three of them very specifically they are going to be wiped out because they they have to move 700 employees to someplace and then there’s no prospect of where anything actually go

16:52 DM – I want to talk a little bit about basic minimum wage in Portland for someone or in any city for someone have utilities they need to pay a monthly minimum even if they don’t use any of it for next and none of it average rent for a single apartment in portland is among the highest in the country basic food to meet minimum nutritional needs for one person is no less than hundred $200 a month out-of-pocket healthcare means getting sick or hurt and no way to get yourself the care you need if youre not making enough money plus to get around town let alone have any kind of social life means people have to have at least to trimet bus pass

17:33 BN – I believe those are $84 a month right now

17:36 DM – right but if you add all that up that’s more than anyone could make in a job that pays the federal minimum wage so what would you say to those people you know some of them your potential constituents who can’t get by without a mandatory minimum wage

17:52 BN – I got to ask what caused all of this stuff to be so expensive in terms of rent and things like that what has the state done that has caused rent to go up so high like for instance one of the key reasons that a lot of of places have not been built has to do with a whole bunch of the Oregon’s regulations for construction if you start out building a house now you will pay somewhere like $25,000 just to the city to go get it all proofed and if you are building an apartment complex paying $40,000 and in fees just to build one apartment complex it is the starting the amount of money you have to shell out has almost nothing to do with anything but regulation that just all wasted monies sent to the government for whoever has to handle it

19:04 DM – how you feel about the the city Council’s recent decision to make all single-family lots in Portland buildable for duplexes and triplexes some housing advocates even want 8 plexes that we that would help reduce the housing shortage at least

19:20 BN – it won’t reduce the cost of building it. You go out there lets just say you have two pieces of property and two houses on it and I can fit an eight Plex on there for rent how much is it gonna cost to get the permits to do exactly what the city wants you to do for instance

19:40 DM – okay lets talk about another piece of that of that scenario healthcare I had read on your website that you oppose single payer system

19:53 BN – okay thats being kind I’m totally 100% against a single-payer because there is absolutely no form of competition the other thing about single-payer is that there’s still taxes involved with it I know a lot of companies that make medical devices in fact that diabetic Lansing is a medical device the company that manufactures a lot of our parts pays a good share of taxes on the fact that they taking material and molded it and ship us parts just because of various different types of regulations and certifications that we have to live by because it is a medical device I mean okay there some that’s necessary but it shouldn’t cost as much as as their paying theyll still get taxed for their income tax or something like to go spend money that they earned at the company they pay taxes on that money they spent but getting that product from very beginning all the way to the patient if we were to take out all of those different areas that taxes can be taken out of the system and basically recycled that the government has all this money that can be put into healthcare is really been filtered out in that process if that were stopped the cost of healthcare go way back I’d like to see that type of thing put into place just because why should the government be taxing something and virtually everybody uses

21:42 DM – looking at your website I saw an article on the separation of church and state and I thought it was very interesting you compare the heavenly structure gods word reaching down to the flock and the human government structure and you seem to be saying there is no separation of church and state because the founders pattern the human structured government after how they saw the heavenly structure structured by God so if that’s true

22:11 BN – oh no I I say that is the separation

22:14 DM – that is separation

22:16 BN – that is the separation there are two things to believe in where you have God’s word the Bible and things like that then God and then the church and then the pastors or whatever you call them and then the flock and then the citizens at the bottom and then there’s in the United States states government there is the Declaration of Independence the Constitution the government as defined by the Constitution the elected officials that are running the government and then the political parties who are supposed to be stewards of the Constitution and then there’s people

22:55 DM – so you’re saying there parallel not overlaid on each other

22:58 BN – correct they are two separate columns of of things to believe in if they were one then you wouldn’t have a chance to at all to choose which God you wanted to believe in and the government could tell you which God you wanted believe in which is something that happened you know when King George was in charge of England I mean he made one church one nation type of thing and he could have unlimited control I put them at the same level I tried it to draw that thing where each one had the same importance over the top of the citizens

23:40 DM – but you’re saying there is a separation of church and state

23:41 BN – there is a separation and that’s what the founding fathers gave us when they created the Constitution to support the Declaration of Independence

23:48 DM – and and to avoid the creation of a national church a national religion

23:53 BN – that’s right

23:54 DM – okay

23:55 BN – then there’s the right now there’s a more or less a big old monster right in the middle thats trying to control both sides you know what is sharia law all about that literally mixes both of those together and look what that entire system has done sharia law is something it isn’t necessarily a Muslim believe there’s a lot of people that believe that the government and the religious things should go together and I look at many things that that the Democrats and the Republicans are trying to do as stewards of the Constitution and what I’m seeing is the Democrats not wanting to obey the Constitution they would rather have total control outside of the Constitution to me that is pushing towards having a religion if you will where you have the combination of the two that Monster in the middle

25:06 DM – I want to make sure I understand what is the monster in the middle

25:08 BN – when you have people in government who really do believe they can do anything that they wanted doing government and there’s no limits the Constitution is something they should avoid that’s the the monster that were seeing welling up right now particularly with everybody uses the the term deep state those people are all operating outside of the Constitution because they don’t think that the Constitution should be standing in their way

25:41 DM – you told the wilamette week a story last year about a machine called a sticker

25:50 BN – oh that was about my grandfather

25:52 DM – what is a sticker exactly

25:54 BN – see all of the molding thats got little curves to it and fancy different things a sticker is a machine we take a square block of of wood and run it through and it will cut the profile onto it its is got a spinning set of blades theyre razor-sharp and grandfather ran that sticker for pretty much about 10 years and they kept him doing it because he was so good at and he never lost a finger to me like I have woodworking equipment metalworking equipment prototyping equipment and I did something stupid and got my finger lopped off my fear was I would be letting them down my grandfather my father not so much losing a finger

26:44 DM – I wanted to soft of extend that to you in office sounds like what you’re saying is the standard that you have yourself are very high do you think that any those fears would follow you into office I mean not wanting to take a wrong political decision not wanting to make a wrong ruling

27:06 BN – that isn’t so much of fear as much as the taxpayers of this state are giving you tax dollars and you’re supposed to be stewards over that money and youre supposed to handle it properly and do what you’re supposed to do and right now that is not happening I’m actually disgusted with what they’re trying to do in Salem right now

27:31 DM – is there anything else I havent asked you that you want to mention

27:33 BN – youre doing pretty good another thing that sickens me is a use of the police fire and schools as bargaining chips to get people to get tricked into spending more money on taxes because when you you tug on that kind of of heartstring or something like that thats aggravating and that’s that is

28:04 DM – you just clenched your fists

28:07 BN – yeah I think that that bothers me more than anything else is them using a person’s well-being his safety do this for the children type of thing to extort as far as I’m concerned tax money away from the taxpayers

28:27 DM – this is my last question this is your third [fourth] run for office in six years you ran for the U.S. House District 1 2014

28:36 BN – yes

28:37 DM – you ran for governor ran for governor to complete the term of john kitzhaber but lost to bud pierce in the primary with 70% of the vote in 2016 you ran for House District 35 and 2018 and and lost Margaret Doherty with 32% of the vote she is not running this time

28:54 BN – correct

28:55 DM – your running for that seat again Oregonians seem a little cool to your candidacy why should they vote for you

29:02 BN – I believe that their tax dollars should be protected and used the way they’re supposed to be used not the the way they’ve been used

29:12 DM – well mr Niemeyer I really appreciate you taking the time to come and talk to me thank you

29:15 BN – thank you for having me the I really appreciated it youre my first interview this time and I’ve been holding out to make sure that you got it

29:24 DM – I’m Don merrill and I’ve been talking with Bob Niemeyer Mr Niemeyer is a Republican he’s running for the Oregon house in district 35 mr neimeyer thanks for talking with me

29:27 BN – thank you for having me appreciate it

Written by Interviewer

March 2, 2020 at 13:19

Posted in Scratchpad