The Oregon Leadership Summit: Ignoring the Obvious

Right From the Start

On Sunday, The Oregonian’s Editorial Board opined that Oregon’s top politicians and the “business community” now see “eye-to-eye” on the future for Oregon:

“Two years ago they couldn’t even stand to be in the same room.

“Today they couldn’t be closer. What a difference 9 percent unemployment, stagnant personal income and a terrifying dread of more of the same make.

“When hundreds of the state’s top business and government leaders gather today and Tuesday in Portland for the annual Oregon Leadership Summit, there is an unusual consensus about the state’s many economic and public-service challenges, and what should be done about them. For the first time in the nine-year history of the event, there’s no new business agenda. Instead, there’s a three-word theme on the front of a 30-page document that is more or less identical to last year’s publication: ‘Time to Deliver’.”

The Oregonian’s editorial might be a little premature given that it was written before the Summitt was actually held.  But, then again, these things are pretty much pre-ordained and follow a distincitve pattern.

The editorial continues:

“And so it is. The Legislature and Gov. John Kitzhaber have set in motion two of the three sweeping government reforms that business leaders have most wanted. A reorganization of education, from early childhood to universities, is taking shape. And a revamping of health care, meant to wring a quarter-billion dollars in savings and slow the runaway medical inflation eroding business and government, is under way.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same. By virtue of my position with then-U S WEST, I was not only a member of Oregon’s major business associations, but was on the executive committee of several of them. Initially, I was surprised by the homogeny of the separate groups’ “priorities” – none of which related to business but all of which corresponded precisely with the “priorities” of the then-sitting governor. During Gov. John Kitzhaber’s initial terms, it was all about funding schools and saving the salmon. During Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s terms, it was all about funding schools and the “green” economy. And, OMG, this year, the returned Gov. Kitzhaber’s priorities are reorganizing education and re-igniting his failed Oregon Health Plan. What a coincidence that the Oregon Leaderhsip Summit has seized upon those priorities also. (For those of you forced to endure an education in Portland Public Schools, that last comment was meant to be sarcastic.)

When I asked about the real needs of business – tax reform, land use reform, regulatory reform – I was informed that Oregon’s future was dependent on “quality of life” and so my concerns, while amusing, were irrelevant. After I suggested that Oregon’s quality of life might start with a job, I was informed that Oregon did not want just any job, it only wanted quality jobs. After that my interest in these organizations quickly waned. And nothing in fourteen years suggests that there has been any change.

Those organizing and staffing the Oregon Leadership Summit are dominated by the officers of Oregon’s major utilities, multi-state banks or other national or international businesses. Most of them are immune from the frailties of Oregon’s descending economy. Many are evaluated more on whether the governor returns their calls than whether the business environment is actually improving. (I remember a conversation with the president of my company who was incensed that the governor would not return his calls and who suggested I wasn’t doing my job. I told him that our agenda and the governor’s agenda were diametrically opposite and that he needed to make a choice as to whether he wanted me to be the governor’s friend or accomplish the agenda to which I had been tasked. He chose the latter and we succeeded – but the governor still wouldn’t return his calls.)

The needs of local businesses continue to be ignored. Even the Oregonian noted:

Of course, that’s not all Oregon business wants or needs. Lawmakers still haven’t summoned the nerve to change or stabilize an income-tax system that loads taxes where it hurts, on investment and jobs. Oregon’s congressional delegation still has not broken the policy deadlock on federal timberlands that has devastated rural areas and now even threatens to bankrupt some counties.”

But therein lies the rub. Oregon has been horsing around with its educational system for over twenty-five years with always the same solution – spend more money – and yet Oregon’s educational achievements vis-‡-vis other states and countries continues to decline. It will continue to cost more and achieve less until control of the educational system is wrested from the teachers’ unions and returned to local communities who are actually interested in the children rather than job security and political power. Mr. Kitzhaber’s solution of transferring responsibility for the state’s education from an elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction –wholly obligated to Oregon’s public employee unions for campaign funds – to an elected Governor – wholly obligated to Oregon’s public employee unions for campaign funds – is the moral equivalent or re-arranging the deck chairs while the Titanic sinks.

And likewise healthcare. Mr. Kitzhaber’s vaunted Oregon Health Plan created during his first two terms failed. His second attempt is simply a bigger, more costly version destined to fail in a bigger and more expensive manner. But what the hell, it’s only taxpayers’ money. Even if Mr. Kitzhaber were successful, neither of the initiatives would have any direct or even indirect impact on Oregon’s current economic doldrums or high unemployment.

It is the items that Mr. Kitzhaber and the Oregon Leadership Summit have failed to address that can actually provide the necessary stimulus but which will continue to be ignored. Let’s be clear. Before Oregon can anticipate any realistic economic growth it must do the following:

Revise its steeply graduated individual and business income tax. The tax burden imposed on those who create jobs in Oregon provides a disincentive to locate, grow or retain jobs in Oregon. I have previously proposed a two-tier flat tax system with the elimination of all tax subsidies and most tax deductions.

Eliminate Oregon’s gold-plated retirement system (PERS) and replace it on a going forward basis with a defined contribution plan that requires employees to actually make a contribution before the government matches it. Oregon’s current PERS system has endangered the financial health of every level of government. The current requirement giving PERS payments priority over every other government expenditure is rapidly leading many local communities to the point that legitimate government services, including schools, are sacrificed to pay PERS.

Remove the restraints (mostly land use and excessive environmental regulation) from Oregon’s timberlands to allow timber production and accompanying bio-fuels production. A by-product of this will be to reduce the severity of Oregon’s forest fires through grooming of existing forests and rapid replanting of destroyed forests.

And finally, localization of business regulation. Portland’s far left political community dominates Oregon’s regulatory direction. But what is good for Portland, in most instances, is very bad for rural communities.

If Portland wishes to suppress economic growth in its own environs, let it.  But other communities should have the right to determine their economic priorities without Portland’s interference.  Regulatory requirements can be come a competitive element in attracting, growing and perserving business growth.

 

But don’t hold your breath. Those who can actually force change in Oregon – the businesses dominating the Oregon Leadership Summit – won’t. It remains more important for them to have their pictures taken with the governor, have their phone calls returned, and be invited to the West Hill’s social gatherings than to advance Oregon’s economic well-being.

 

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Gov. Kitzhaber, Gov. Kulongoski, Government Regulation, Health Care Reform, Leadership, Oregon Government, PERS, State Taxes | 75 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Teacherboy

    First of all, I am a professional teacher with certification and TWO college degrees, so I resent the implication that I am fat cat living off the taxes collected from working peoples. I only make about 70K a year and for that I have to teach students for 5 hours each day (total classroom time) for over 175 days! No teacher I know does this for the money. Our union is only there to protect us from the wanton whims of administrators, who are paid more than they are worth and who never actually teach any kids.
    Our brave governor is sticking his neck out for us all – and for that you get mad? Of course we need to re-invent education each and every year so we can always say that the changes we are making will make a difference once we implement them fully, which we never do before the next change. This way we have no accountability whatsoever to students or parents. It is pretty neat how this works.
    And remember, if it wasn’t for the union I might have to pay something for my dental, vision, and health care and I might have to pay something toward my prescriptions and even my retirement, but now I pay nothing for any of these things. However, the low wage I get is what I have traded for the time off and the “golden” benefits as you so ignorantly call them.
    So, before you get all upset at this outstanding man with the tight jeans, just remember, he is a doctor!!

    • K in Corvallis

      $70k a year is a pretty good income.  No, it’s a fabulous income when compared to many in private business.  And you only teach 5 hours per day, 175 days per year?  Are you for real, or was this post just sarcasm?

      • Sol668

        Snarky conservatives on this board, routinely pretend to be liberals, to make rhetorical points.

        I find it sad, that they cannot really argue for their ideas, and instead have to resort to propogating untrue stereotypes as a rhetorical tool. Sad but not at all surprising.

        • Ardbeg

          Who says you have to be liberal to believe a cop, teacher, or fireman shouldn’t make a decent wage!  Yes there are some problems with the unions but I’m not for getting rid of them.  Fix the problem and stop blaming ‘liberals’.  Who has a problem with some guy or gal getting $35 an hour plus medical plus retirement for putting the windshield wiper on in an auto plant?  Well obviously nobody did because both sides signed the deal!  So who do you blame?  The workers or management?  Both signed off!

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Who says you have to be liberal to believe a cop, teacher, or fireman shouldn’t make a decent wage!

            I’m not sure anyone is saying that. Excessive and decent are in the eye of the beholder however.

            > Well obviously nobody did because both sides signed the deal!  So who
            do you blame?  The workers or management?  Both signed off!

            This is a little disingenuous as it is not a fair trade. Management is essentially forced to deal with the union. They cannot simply just say “we don’t like your deal, you are now terminated, please step aside as you have been replaced with non union workers.”

            Look at what happened to Boeing, they got sick of the union and opened a plant in a right to work state. The federal government held them up for a year over that one and even then they still had to give a sop to the union in Washington.

            Sorry, its not a fair deal when the option to simply take the unions offer, compare it to what you think you could get non union employees to do, and say bye bye union if you decide to do so.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            After all, does anyone want to try and make the argument teacher unionization has improved the quality of our schools? That would sure be a tough one. We are spending way more per pupil now and getting way worse results compared to other countries.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          You are actually complaining about someone making a snarky point rather than actually arguing for their idea? You? Seriously?

    • Ardbeg

      Teacherboy-grow a set, let me give you some facts.  Teachers don’t work 5 hours a day.  Teachers don’t work 175 days a year and teachers (at least most) don’t make 70k a year.  In my community teachers start at 33k a year, which I think is pretty good pay for someone 23 years old but not excessive.  Teachers also have to advance educationally to their masters within 10 years.  Some districts pay for part of that but still, the teacher picks up most of it. To all you OC whinners!  If becoming a teacher is such a cake walk a such a great money maker, then go to college, earn a degree and do it.  It’s true that the top of many payscales for local districts do go to the 70k range but to drag other people down after 20 years of service and the educational level needed is just plain lame.  Yes, I have family in the profession so I’m biased.  But really, you want everybody working for $9 an hour?  How bout discussing how to bring other up instead of tearing others down.

      • 3H

        Actually, 9.00 an hour would be on the high end of what many of them would be willing to pay.  Just ask Joel.

        • Ardbeg

          Yea, but you can’t fix stupid. And there is not point arguing with “stupid” either.  Seems to me half of these folks just want to make outlandish claims and tear others down, instead of talking about the issues or solutions.

      • valley person

        I think you put your finger on a big issue with today’s conservatives. There is a tremendous resentment against educated people, and against unions, so you put those 2 together and you get teachers, who get the brunt of their vitriol. It’s gotten weird.

        • Bite It Loser Boy

          No Doofus – it’s more like there is huge resentment against
          douches like you who “think” they are owed a great living because they earned a college degree somewhere.

      • Steve Buckstein

        “How bout discussing how to bring other up instead of tearing others down.

        In that vein, ever since Warren Buffett has been complaining that he pays a lower federal income tax rate than his secretary, I’ve been advocating bringing her up rather than tearing him down. So, rather than raising his tax rate up to hers (and ours), let’s lower our rate down to his. No one should pay a higher tax rate than the second richest man in American.

        • Ardbeg

          Steve, the tax inequities in our system are only highlighted by the Buffet example but yes, lets try to bring people up.

    • Cpeter2

      So, you make $70K/yr, working barely more than 1/2 time, get a VERY generous and early retirement without contributing a cent to it, and you expect sympathy!?!?!?  You are a very wealthy person, and just don’t (or can’t) appreciate it.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    The phrase is the giveaway. When it is so often stated that the first priority is to “fund education” that’s all the evidence you need to realize our education system is jobs program first, service delivery second.

    If education is deemed paramount, then funding it should not be the first thing that springs to mind. Providing it should be.

    Education should be about educating first, funding second. In other words, the quality of service should be considered first, not how to keep throwing money at it.

    There is one thing we know and can all agree on. Education is well funded. In constant dollars we spend twice as much per pupil on education now as we did in the late 70’s. We also spend more than every other country other than Switzerland.

    If you are spending more than virtually everyone else on the planet, and spending more than you ever did as a nation, then education by definition is well funded.

    So the next time someone tells you their first priority is to fund education, you can read that as clear evidence that person is less concerned with inculcating kids with knowledge than they are with making sure teachers unions are satiated with cash from your wallet.

  • Bob Clark

    I attended Portland Public Schools’ long range facility planning session last evening, and Portland Public Schools (PPS) is very committed to the governor’s top down centrally planned education model.  The latter should be of no surprise as it is only natural for PPS leaders to want to run an even more central and vital organization.  But the rub I see is such a top down approach tends to become a one-size-fits-all educational offering when parents and their children want and would do better with a more diverse educational market offering.  There are some statistics bearing this out as PPS “capture” rates have been in decline for a decade and more.  The one-size-fits-all model is probably not in tune with today’s student population.  It worked pretty well educating baby boomers, as this generational surge was fairly homogenous.

    The status economic Policies of the Democrat Party regime is not hurting the Portland economy nearly as much as the rural communities of Oregon.  In fact, Democrat policies seem to want to turn rural Oregon into Portland Metro’s park like play ground (for those who can make use of these parks or who get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing the rest of the state is largely producing moss).  I would aim the push against the status economic policies towards lowering barriers to economic growth in rural communities outside of the Portland-Salem-Eugene corridor. 

    • Sol668

      Here’s an idea, we’ve been fighting the “timber war” since the early 1990’s maybe its time rural oregonians took some personal responsibility for their utter failure, and found jobs that don’t involve raping our environment for a living, and STOP blaming everyone but THEMSELVES….

      • Rupert in Springfield

        So Clinton brokered a deal, the Northwest Forest Plan, the environmentalists sued because that still wasn’t good enough for them, and now you are blaming those hurt by the environmentalists actions?

        Way to go sport.

        • Sol668

          So much for “personal responsiblity” its all the environmentalists fault huh? odd I don’t need handouts in the form of access to PUBLIC lands for my living, why are the socialists in rural oregon “entitled” to a living off resources we all share?

          • Bite It Loser Boy

            And please tell us all what you plan to do with all those trees out “there” schmuck! Oh – you have no clue do you? Are you aware trees can be harvested; and there will be lots more there in 20 years. Or did you also fail biology too?

          • Sol668

            Well do we want tree farms or forests? 

            I happen to think that forests have an intrinsic value beyond what you can make cutting them down and shipping them off to china for processing.

            Point being, why are you rural socialists, intent upon handouts?  We don’t owe you a living..off our public resources, the gauling sense of entitlement is just remarkable.

            I don’t make my living off public resources, why should you?

          • jim karlock

            Sol668 (what a strange name!)—I happen to think that forests have an intrinsic value beyond what you
            can make cutting them down and shipping them off to china for
            processing.

            JK:—You bet they do!
            They should be milled right here is Oregon. Was that way before the green idiots go control of Oregon with their pseudo science and pure BS.

            Thanks
            JK

          • valley person

            Where trees get milled is a business decision Jim. It has nothing to do with conservationists.

          • valley person

            I don’t know how you did in biology, but you failed forestry. Outside of hybrid poplars, which are crap as wood, it takes 40 years or ore to grow a commercial size tree, and that is on a very good site, which higher elevation national forests are not.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >I don’t need handouts in the form of access to PUBLIC lands for my living

            I’m not sure what you need, but I think unsticking your caps lock key would be a good start.

          • Sol668

            oh somebody didn’t want to address the question did they? Petty sniping won’t make you any less irrelevant in this state Rupert, and you are irrelevant. However,  an explanation as to why you think rural oregonians are entitled to privately profit off resources we all share, would be helpful.

          • Ardbeg

            Companies pay the government (leases) for the right to harvest timber.  The government (that’s us) doesn’t just give it away for free.  With some reasonable regulations concerning harvest practices…..logging is a renewable resource.  Thems just the facts

          • valley person

            Ardberg, it depends. Most timber sales on federal lands in Oregon returned a “net” to the taxpayer (us,) but the Forest Service used some creative accounting to achieve this, like amortizing road construction costs out hundreds of years and counting payments to Counties as net value (private industry would call it a tax). Now, many of these same roads are being closed or ripped out  because there is no maintenance money, and unmaintained they are a big problem for streams, which they tend to wash into.

            On most national forest lands, particularly in Sarah Palin’s Alaska, federal trees are sold for pennies on the dollar. Long story on that one, but basically the feds agreed to give trees away to entice the timber industry in.

            I used to work for the Forest service, so have some first hand knowledge on this topic.

          • Ardbeg

            VP-I respect that but I’ve worked in the ‘cut em down industry’.  My point was companies cant’ just go cut for free and that a well managed forest can serve most sane persons interests.  Plus it provides for a decent living for a lot of folks.  Pennies on the dollar can be argued from different perspectives.  The Gov still owns the land and the jobs/taxes provided by logging can make or break a community and a state.  Plus, trees grow back and can be leased again.  Take the wacko’s out of the equation (tree huggers verse ‘cut everything in sight, it will grow back’) and the forest industry has the opportunity to provide a lot of the things this country needs right now.  I like to hunt, hike and mt bike so I love the roads loggers put in.   Otherwise it useless land.  I also love to fish so I want habitat protected.  All of those requirements can be met with solid planning and realistic regulations.  It can be a win-win no matter what your political persuasion.

          • valley person

            We aren’t 180 degrees apart on this. Where we differ might be that I’m in favor of setting aside a sufficient amount of land from logging and road building to conserve species and habitats that don’t adapt to logging, particularly  short rotation clearcut logging.

            Regulations help, but protected areas are also important. 

          • Ardbeg

            Careful, people agreeing on OC might cause a nuclear event. 
            You said ‘sufficient amount of land’ to be set aside.  This is where we
            would expect our representatives to determine the subjective nature of the
            word “sufficient”.  Getting the R’s and D’s
            to agree on anything is a tough call in today’s political climate.  Which is too bad?  I bet I could bring my ‘cut’ attitude and you
            could bring your ‘buffer’ attitude and we could come to a reasonable compromise
            (I know, compromise is a 4 letter word today). 
            Too bad our politicians can’t agree on ANYTHING!now days.

        • valley person

          Not correct Rupert. Environmentalists for the most part went along with the NW Forest plan. It was the timber industry that sued, particularly on the BLM lands. The ush Admin agreed with the timber industry, but Obama reversed the Bush decision.

          The Forest Service has been cutting trees under the NW Forest plan ever since it went into effect, and where the FS stayed out of old growth trees, environmentalists have left them alone. 

          I’ll say to Sol that the timber wars, on federal lands at least, are long over, and the environmental side “won,” if you consider saving the last 10% old growth winning.

          Don’t mistake a few ongoing skirmishes for a war.

          • Sol668

            10%? thats optimistic to say the least! You’d have to count every tree 80 years old to reach that number.  An 80 year old tree isn’t old growth IMHO. 

            The timber war may be over, but as this article demonstrates, the efforts of the right to pit rural oregonians against urbanites, to scapegoat the falling standard of living everyone not in the 1% is enduring thanks to RW policies is only heating up.

            Let the race to the bottom begin!

          • valley person

            No Sol, its not optimism. Its the best available data from the Forest Service Pacific NW Research Station.  About 10% of remaining forests in Oregon and Washington are in an old growth condition. This is defined by combining age, structural complexity,  and other features. Depending on your reference point, somewhere between 25 and 75% of all forests at any given time were old growth. So we are at about 40% below the lowest level of OG prior to Euro-settlement.

            There isn’t much question that the rapid decline in logging on federal lands hurt many rural communities, who’s economic options are limited. But they were hurt much more by mechanization and  downward pressure on blue collar wages everywhere.

            As they say in Canada, “a feller buncher does the work of a bunch of fellers. ”

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >where the FS stayed out of old growth trees, environmentalists have left them alone. 

            Wrong. Environmentalists sued to block logging after more than a few forest fires a few years back, the Biscuit fire for one. Environmentalists constantly sue on the basis of Salmon habitat, not old growth. The idea that they have only sued to block old growth logging is such a non starter its not funny.  

          • Sol668

            Again why are you entitled to private profits from public lands?

          • valley person

            You are mixing apples and oranges. You started by claiming environmentalists have sued over the NW forest plan, which they mostly have not while the timber industry has. You then move onto suits over projects that have little or nothing to do with the NW forest plan.

            There is an ongoing suit against the state and timber industry with respect to pollution from logging roads in the coast range. This is about salmon and water quality, but has absolutely nothing to do with the NW forest plan which does not apply to state and private lands.

            Can you can show where environmentalists sued over the NW Forest Plan, which is what you claimed? 

          • Ardbeg

            So who are mad at?  The huggers or the courts that ruled in their favor?

    • Steve Buckstein

      Bob, yes, it’s no surprise that PPS leaders prefer a top down model. They should love the Governor’s new Oregon Education Investment Board – until it turns on them and decides that some other educational niche is more deserving of scarce public funds than PPS.

      I point out the dangers of this new Board in my commentary:
      The Oregon Education Investment Board – Top Down on Steroids
      http://cascadepolicy.org/news/2011/12/06/the-oregon-education-investment-board-top-down-on-steroids/

  • Sol668

    Odd that for all conservatives whining, about the poor poor wealthy who are always so punished here in oregon

    that….

    Forbes ranks us the 9th best state in the union for business

    http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mli45ggdd/9-oregon/

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Odd that for all your whining you didn’t take the time to notice that last year we were ranked 6th in the same survey. Not exactly going in the right direction. When you have a state with some of the highest unemployment in the country, you’d better be doing a hell of a lot better than that.

      • Sol668

        I’m doing fine! Thanks for asking!  The failure of rural oregon, is certainly dragging us all down, perhaps its time you stopped blaming everyone but yourselves, in a state which consistently ranks in the top 10 for business in the nation.

        But lets be realistic, this is about destroying the unions, killing what few decent jobs are left so those on top can enjoy unfettered political/economic and social dominance

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Oh I’m definitely all about destroying public employee unions. They have abused their privilege for far too long. Time to get rid of them. I see no reason why the rest of us should pay for their fat cat salaries.

          • Sol668

            How sad, that you call the few working americans left that have a pension, decent pay and working conditions “fat cats”…but not surprising, in the most inequitable america in history, the only people conservatives don’t think are overpaid are the 1% at the top..they are of course “entitled” to ever greater profits on the backs of declining wages/benefits for workers

            Personally I like paying a middle class wage to our state employees, I’m proud to work for a union company that does the same.

            Evidently you want NO ONE to make a decent living but the money men at the top…and thats just sad

      • valley person

        My God Rupert, from 6th to 9th? That is the complaint? Get real.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          When you continually have one of the worst employment numbers, and are heading in a downward direction, yep, I’m pretty real. Wouldn’t brag about being dropped three slots.

          • valley person

            On unemployment we are headed in a downward direction, which I would think is a good thing. On 6 to 9 in Forbes, its not really relevant to anything.

          • Sol668

            I believe the unemployment rate dropped to 9.1% from 9.5% last month…this seems like the right direction

          • Saul666

            It dropped because of seasonal jobs and people who are no longer counted because they stopped looking for work.  I know that things like statistics are tough on you undeclared fourth year sophomores, but at least try to have a clue.

          • 3H

            At this time last year it was 10.6% so we are showing improvement from last year, yes?  

          • valley person

            The private sector has added 36,000 jobs in Oregon since 2010. To the extent net job growth is flat, its because of public sector layoffs and unfilled vacant positions.

            Our last year job growth rate is 13th best among all states.

            Some of the slowdown in people looking for work is likely due to people aging and retiring, reflecting our aging population.

  • valley person

    This is to Ardberg way up above on the issue of “sufficient” conservation.

    Its a scientific as well as political question. And the sciences of landscape ecology and conservation biology are unfortunately young and fraught with uncertainty, much more so than in climate science, which at least has physics on its side.

    The Northwest Forest Plan was believed to be sufficient by most of the scientists who worked on forest conservation issues back in the 90s. But stuff happens, and the expansion of the bard owl, an introduced species into spotted owl habitat has made that conservation system, or any system probably inadequate for that species.

    My own formula, based on over 30 years experience in conservation, including design of timber sales and a limited facility with a chain saw (small trees only thanks,) is that we should have a 3 part system, one part wild (no commercial harvest of trees, but managed with prescribed fire and to keep invasive species out,) one part “extensive” forestry (long rotation, low road density) and one part “intensive” forestry (short rotation, high efficiency tree farms). How much of each is a good question. I’d start from where we are today. I wouldn’t trade back any reserves until the extensive forests prove they can do as good a job at species and water conservation.

    Politics of course intrudes on negotiated deals. But they are possible when and where we reward politicians who take the chance on problem solving rather than posturing.

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