Our view | A tip of the hat, a kick in the pants

tip of the hat to local lawmakers who continue to make town hall meetings a key part of the way they interact with their constituents. We’ve made the case for the importance of town hall meeting with lawmakers often on this page and in this space because we see such gatherings as a crucial component to democracy.

Local residents will get another chance to give feedback on Feb. 21 when U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley will hold a town hall meeting at the Pendleton Convention Center.

Such events can be easy to dismiss and skip. Voters shouldn’t do that. The best way to raise awareness of a particular issue is to speak directly to our elected representatives. The town halls also give our elected representatives a chance to hear from voters. In effect, a town hall creates a platform for the kind of two-way communication so important to the health of our republic. So, if you can, attend Merkley’s town hall session. Hear him out and give our senator feedback.

A kick in the pants to the individual or individuals who unlawfully killed a bighorn sheep ram in Wallowa County near the remote town of Troy recently. The Oregon State Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the culprit or culprits and offering a $1,000 reward.

The game animals in our region are a resource for us all. When someone poaches an elk or deer or bighorn sheep it damages the entire fish and game system many of us utilize every year. There is, in short, no justification for poaching an animal like a bighorn sheep.

A kick in the pants to Oregon lawmakers who on Thursday added a key set of amendments to a controversial climate change bill. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1530, is designed to limit the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. The basic fact that is missed with the entire greenhouse gas emission limit controversy is it shouldn’t be before lawmakers in the first place. The proposals deserve and should be placed before Oregon voters for a final decision.

A tip of the hat to the Senate committee that sent Senate Bill 1506 to the Senate floor with a recommendation that it be approved. SB 1506 removes the governor’s authority to hire and fire the public records advocate. It gives that responsibility to the Public Records Advisory Council. The legislation also allows the council to elect its chair and vice chair, rather than having the advocate lead the group. It also authorizes the council to take stands on legislation, and to ask lawmakers to propose bills on its behalf. The committee, rightfully, dismissed the drafted amendments that would have undercut provisions assuring independence for the advocate and the council proposed by Scott Winkels, a lobbyist for the League of Oregon Cities.

A tip of the hat to the city of Pendleton and the city council for their decision to immediately start repairs on infrastructure that was damaged in last week’s flooding. Usually, spending — in this case $50,000 — by lawmakers should be carefully reviewed by voters, but this is a special case. Recovery from last week’s flood should be quick and precise and the city council should be praised for addressing the problem fast.