Top 10 Oregon Catalyst 2014 stories

NW Spotlight_thb

by NW Spotlight

As 2014 comes to an end, here’s a look back at the ten most popular 2014 Oregon Catalyst stories. Counting down from number 10:

10. Are Oregon firearms background check records purged after 10 days? NoDuring testimony before the Oregon Senate Judiciary in February, the Director of the Oregon State Police Identification Services Section testified that they keep the information on approved firearms background check transactions for 10 days – and that after 10 days the information is “purged.” Anti-gun Sen. Floyd Prozanski accused Kevin Starrett, Director of the Oregon Firearms Federation, of being a “conspiracist” when Starrett questioned whether the claim about 10 days was true. Turned out Starrett was right.

9. In opposition to Jackson County Measure 15-119 GMO banSen. Doug Whitsett wrote that “Measure 15-119 [the Jackson County GMO ban] should be rejected because it will artificially increase both the cost of production and the retail cost of food products. It should be rejected because it serves to unfairly penalize non-organic growers for producing safe, nutritious and affordable food products. It should be rejected because it represents an affront to our free market economy.” Whitsett noted that despite media-fueled alarmist claims, the “compelling body of evidence proves [Organically produced and “GMO free” food products] have no measurable advantage in either nutritional value or food safety.” Aided by high voter turnout in Ashland, the GMO ban passed by a wide margin in May, but enforcement is being delayed pending the outcome of a lawsuit. A statewide GMO ban (Measure 92) was narrowly defeated in November.

8. DMV seeking end-around of your Measure 88 NO voteMike Nearman, who was recently elected to the State Legislature from House District 23 (Dallas), wrote on how the Oregon DMV “is consulting with the Oregon Attorney General and the Governor’s office” to see if they can issue drivers’ licenses to “the approximately 64,000 illegal aliens living in Oregon,” based on President Obama’s November amnesty announcement. The attempt to issue drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens would be a slap in the face of the November 4th vote on Measure 88 – where “nearly a million people voted to deny driver cards to illegal aliens” – “by a nearly two to one margin.”

7. Poll: Driver card measure 88 landslideA poll run for the Taxpayer Association & Taxpayer Association of Oregon-PAC accurately predicted the outcome of the Measure 88 vote more than two months before the election. The poll found that 67% of Oregon voters rejected issuing driver cards “without requiring proof of legal presence in the United States” (NO votes) and only 27% supported it (YES votes). The final official vote results on Measure 88 were 66% NO votes and 34% YES votes.

6. Vote NO on Ballot Measure 89Sen. Doug Whitsett advocated for a NO vote on Ballot Measure 89 because Article 1, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution already guarantee women, and all other citizens, equal rights under the law. Sen. Whitsett was also concerned that “the measure may be construed by future Oregon courts to mandate the State to pay for abortions.” The Oregonian Editorial Board and the ACLU agreed with Sen. Whitsett’s recommendation for a NO vote, but Measure 89 passed 64% to 36%.

5. Dissociative Tendencies of President ObamaOregon Catalyst’s longtime weekly contributor Larry Huss wrote on President Obama’s dissociative element: what “occurs between what he says and what he does contemporaneously, between what he says in scripted remarks and unscripted responses made contemporaneously, between what he says is fact and what he knows is fact, and between what he says and what he claims to have said.” A few of the examples Larry gave: “[Obama] told Pope Benedict XVI that he would do all that he could to minimize abortions while contemporaneously sending his delegates to a United Nations conference to urge unrestricted abortions as a basic human right” and “Mr. Obama denied that he had called the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) the ‘junior varsity team’ despite repeated televising of him saying precisely that.” Leading to his conclusion, Larry says Obama’s “acts go well beyond the expected, but still deceitful, utterances of most Washington politicians. There is something pernicious about it.”

4. Oregon U.S. senate poll results! Who’s ahead & why – A poll conducted for the Taxpayer Association of Oregon PAC in early May found that candidate Dr. Monica Wehby was leading the Republican Primary race with 42.9% to Rep. Jason Conger’s 22.3%. Wehby won the Primary with 50.0% of the vote. Conger got 37.6% and Mark Callahan came in third with 6.8% of the vote. In the November General election, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley defeated Dr. Monica Wehby 55.7% to 36.9%.

3. Kitzhaber’s Cover Oregon cover up: Run John, run!Back in January, KATU asked Gov. Kitzhaber some tough questions about the Cover Oregon disaster – especially about his having been warned in an email by former state Rep. Patrick Sheehan ten months before the web site launch date about problems with Carolyn Lawson and with the project. Unaccustomed to the media actually doing its job, Kitzhaber bolted from the interview. His running from the tough questions did not gone unnoticed. The Huffington Post ran an article with the headline ‘Oregon Governor Walks Out Of Interview Over Questions About State’s Health Care Website.’

2. Vote NO on Ballot Measure 87Sen. Doug Whitsett advocated voting NO on Measure 87 because it intentionally blurred the line of separation of powers. Measure 87 proposed to amend the Oregon Constitution to allow state court judges to teach in state universities or to serve in the Oregon National Guard, and it proposed allowing school employees to serve in the state Legislature while also being paid by universities or school districts. Sen. Whitsett pointed out the “separation of powers clause” in Article III, Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution strictly prohibits persons from being employed in more than one branch of government at the same time, and that it was written for good reason – to avoid potential conflict of interest. The YES votes prevailed – Measure 87 passed 58% to 42%.

1. Mark Kelly goes shooting after testifying on gun controlMark Kelly, the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, came to Oregon to testify in favor of additional gun control. Kelly testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in support of Sen. Floyd Prozanski’s “universal background check” bill. Republican Sen. Betsy Close got Mark Kelly to concede that the man who shot his wife (Gabby Giffords) in 2011 had purchased the gun legally after passing a background check – which really called into question why Kelly was even at the hearing. To follow dubious relevance with seeming hypocrisy, Mark Kelly then left the hearing and went shooting at the Portland Police Bureau Central Precinct Range! His presence at the range was tweeted by the Portland Police Bureau and then later deleted – but not before Oregon Catalyst got a screen shot of it.

Rounding out the Top 20 (out of over 550 new columns/articles in 2014):

11. Oregon state agencies support sex ed conference that promotes meth use

12. Time for Oregonians to learn the facts about marijuana

13. The slippery slope of gun control

14. Call for independent investigation of SAIF CEO firing

15. Wehby concerns: An Open Letter to Republicans

16. Cylvia Hayes: troubling and disturbing attitude toward marriage

17. Stockton bankruptcy: Calif PERS may be on chopping block

18. ODOT wants to tax you per mile

19. Feds admit fault for Bandon mosquito infestation

20. A way forward for Oregon Republicans

Note: Ranking was determined by number of hits the article received – not the number of Facebook “Likes”