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Our view: Tips and kicks

Published on January 25, 2018 12:01AM

Last changed on January 25, 2018 10:16PM

■ A tip of the hat to John Brenne, who dedicated more than half his life to the position of Pendleton city councilor.

Brenne, 73, died unexpectedly on Monday.

From the beginning, Brenne was an advocate for the elderly and low-income constituents. During his first campaign in 1978, he rallied for access for disabled citizens to public facilities and low-cost public transportation for seniors.

As councils and mayors came and went, Brenne kept winning the seat and serving in the volunteer position. Along the way he gained the respect and admiration of many of his colleagues, many of whom remembered not only his integrity and principle but his deep understanding of the issues facing Pendleton.

■ A tip of the hat to the new Umatilla County website, a cleaner and more direct portal into the inner workings of the local government.

For starters, it puts agendas and minutes of the Board of Commissioners front and center. The bi-monthly Wednesday meeting typically doesn’t draw much of a crowd, but the decisions and actions are worth review by any citizen paying taxes in this county.

There’s also a link to video from recent meetings, in case you want to hear the testimony for yourself.

A drop-down menu at the top of the page will direct you to all the important information the county maintains — from the jail roster to election results to daily burn restrictions — and scroll all the way to the bottom to peruse the current and past budgets.

All this makes it easier for a curious citizen to get an answer on matters of government.

Our one criticism is the mobile display. While the main page looks just fine on a smartphone, getting to specific pages like election results, most wanted lists and more, have no direct link.

It appears the site is a work in progress, and we applaud the effort.

■ A kick in the pants to the already contentious politics of a gubernatorial campaign taking a toll on the upcoming legislative session.

Knute Buehler, a state representative from Bend and the likely Republican candidate for the governor’s race, has asked Kate Brown, the current Democratic governor, to put off campaign fundraising during the six-week session beginning Feb. 5.

After all, Buehler must follow an Oregon House rule that prohibits fundraising while the body is in session, and he’s just hoping to keep the playing field level.

Brown’s campaign manager Thomas Wheatley snapped back, according to The Oregonian, saying their camp wasn’t interested in taking advice from Buehler, who himself was accused of a ethics violation in 2013 for not disclosing $12,500 received for work done on a Bend hospital board. The manager also mentioned that Buehler has plenty of money already — $500,000 from Phil Knight.

According to The Oregonian, the last short session was a profitable time for Brown; she raised $222,000 toward what ended up being a winning campaign.

We wish there was a way to better separate money and politics, campaigning and governing. But in the current climate, we’d settle for a little more civility and fair play.


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