A kick in the pants to local politicians who pushed rural politics to the forefront of the regional news cycle last week, and not in a way that should leave voters feeling democracy in our little piece of the heartland is functioning at a high level.
In Grant County, actions by an elected leader raised questions about priorities and judgement that are startling. Longtime Sheriff Glenn Palmer first announced he was going to resign. Then, Palmer announced he was withdrawing his resignation.
Palmer should be no stranger to regular readers. His politics took center stage three years ago when he publicly showed support with the armed militia who overran the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
The longtime sheriff has encountered at least nine ethics complaints in recent years and faces a new one from a former Oregon State Police trooper.
Palmer says he now will seek re-election — for a sixth term — even as controversy swirls around him.
Palmer and the elected county leadership need to step back and reevaluate just exactly what are the priorities in a democracy and what is the best choice for voters.
A kick in the pants to Malheur County elected and appointed leaders regarding an inquiry into whether a local newspaper, Vale’s Malheur Enterprise, broke laws by seeking answers from Greg Smith, the county’s economic development director.
At least one county official inquired with the local sheriff if the Enterprise was breaking harassment laws by asking Smith for answers for a story. The Enterprise reporters were doing what all reporters across the nation do: seeking answers to inform the public. Thankfully, the sheriff of Malheur County determined no laws were broken, but the entire episode should leave a sour taste for voters and journalists across the region.
A tip of the hat to former Pendleton native Kris Jerome who kicked off his own publishing house — Dark Tidings Press. Jerome wanted to become a novelist but wanted more control over his art. Based in Albany, Jerome’s business is a classic example of American ingenuity and business acumen. We wish Jerome all the luck in his new endeavor.
A tip of the hat to Pendleton resident Donna Murdock who, after coming across a burglarized home, decided to form a neighborhood watch group along Northwest Johns Lane. The group has now expanded to include nearly 90 families. Murdock’s insight and sense of community are clearly visible and she deserves kudos for her effort. While police are the first line against crime, all of us have a responsibility to ensure our neighborhoods remain safe.