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Apr-27-2010 16:15printcomments

Can We Love Oregon's Next Gov?

Shunning Rhetoric, Seeking Reality.

Kitzhaber and Bradbury
Kitzhaber and Bradbury

(SALEM, Ore.) - The Campaign for Governor is heating up, but are the voters getting the cold shoulder? In this year of voter fury and a sense of futility, conducting campaigns "like usual" may backfire like an auto exhaust.

Scrutiny of past screw-ups will cost a price. Promises to transform must be subject to transparency. The state of the economy since the 2008 Meltdown will mean the electorate is anything but solid. Volatility is the order of the day. Professing empathy on a given issue is given less weight in the scheme of things.

Most voters I've talked to are fed up with promises made and later unkept. So I'd ask our aspirants for CEO of the State: If you fail to keep half your promises by the end of your first year, are you willing to resign?

This is the age of added suspicion of sweet deals between lobbyists and those who govern. Let's inquire: Can we count on you to tape every lobbyist contacting your office and have that transcript put online?

All of us aware that the budget gets squeezed tighter when a Recession occurs. But we also worry if the proposed cuts reflect the public's priorities. Maybe a candid question like this one is long overdue: Can your office publish a ledger comparing budget cuts planned and campaign contributions from those affected?

Finally, we all grow excited about candidate debates (and the bait cleverly deployed by each side). Often those asked questions turn them aside and go off on some tangent. Or else fill the air with platitudes. Thus I pose this challenge to our gubernatorial hopefuls: Will you permit a public polygraph reading to record the veracity of your answers in any and all forthcoming debates? If not, what disclosures do you most fear?

If this is the age of Reality TV, we can well afford to shed the fantasy world associated with elections. Are you listening, Mr. Pinocchio???

=========================================== Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address:

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Hank Ruark April 27, 2010 4:31 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks for clue re sure-sign of politician-pander, B.L.: Simply watch proboscis proceed outwards...

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