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Whisnant Refuses To Recognize Damage to State from ALEC - Process Now Nationally ExposedOp-Ed by Henry Clay Ruark Salem-News.com
Every Legislator Informed In Detail at Session Just Ended BUT NO Action Underway to End Any Reliance On ALEC-Flawed "Models"
(SEASIDE, OR) - Oregon's first annual-session Legislature --"a short-termer with many promising results" as one departing legislative leader described it-- is now firmly inscribed in both history and consequences.
I know that phrase "many promising results" now strikes exceedingly strong emotion --most certainly NOT laughter !-- in most citizens fully aware of reality today and its overwhelming flood of negatives in both the written and the unwritten record.
In Oregon, sometimes it seems more within-the-unwritten record rather than right out in the public eye, where Constitutionally it surely and certainly should be for any assembly making laws that undoubtedly shape and solidify the very pattern of our lives.
It appears that even so fundamental and vital AND essential an action as allowing a well-supported proposal for law-change to "come to the floor" for the really thorough rest-of-the-process is somehow, sometimes, being denied in open hearing, even to those voters who felt so intensely and fought so hard to bring about the kind of hearing our democracy deserves, must have, and will preserve at all costs.
One major reason is the kind of goop and garniture and gross "other stuff" that has rubbed off on Oregon's "honest, open, democratic legislative dialog, discussion, debate and decision" from "the ALEC-process".
One "negativity" continuing unabated is the absolute refusal of Rep. Gene Whisnant to recognize that ALEC-process "models" for Oregon legislation have become a weapon now deadly for any legislator --dangerous to handle or use, doomed to destruct and destroy any proposal they touch, and flying in the face of Oregon's own longtime pioneer tradition of "She Flies With Her Own Wings !"
Can you imagine any one of our honored state legislative pioneers allowing a known corporate-interest/lobbying representative to sit in on the basic process of recognizing Oregon need, developing legislation to fill that need, and actually participating in the "dialog, discussion, debate and final decision" constituting that fundamental process ??
No matter in what format or how well separated from actual cash transfer...
Yet that's precisely what has been allowed to happen in recent years, with the corporate-interest representative paying lush dollars for a seat at the table where fundamental development of Oregon laws takes place.
It is not by happenstance that this strange departure from longtime recognized and fundamental parliamentary procedure and protocol has occurred; and the situational impact has surely been facilitated by that lush payment (and extremely lush fees and entertainment !) in ALEC-process sessions heavily occupied by our more fundamentally conservative legislative members.
Are those possibly still active in ALEC-process now more informed and perhaps somewhat more reluctant to participate in ALEC protocol and process ?
They are surely now more aware than they were before the recent first annual session took place, since a whole list of bill proposals was submitted to rigorous analysis on the basis of admittance by sponsoring legislators that it had been derived in part --sometimes even motivated-- by use of an ALEC-generated "model". (Unless, of course, they simply undertake to ignore any effort to make sure they really know the score, and who is winning...)
Since NO ACTION re ALEC-processs used by legislators for proposing new law for Oregon has been taken --even though under striking open and provocative discussion in these columns --AND NATIONALLY !!-- before the short-session EVEN opened-- let me now repeat that challenge --once again and precisely as preceded our whole series on ALEC.
I addressed open, public, broadly circulated challenge to Rep Whisnant right here in the pages of Salem-News, one of the nation's leading alternative daily newspapers.
It was addressed to Rep. Whisnant since he's the Oregon state chairman for ALEC, has led all activities in operating ALEC as a process, and has an exceptional Air Force record for strong,even diplomatic, achievements --from a Pentagon base, no less-- in managing and directing AUDIOVISUAL activities, including combat camera work and fundamental primary training --and therefore cannot but have established an open and solid record as a communicator of proven skills, accomplishments and virtues.
But the only response-received was a short article he authored for "Inside ALEC", the ALEC magazine, and an answer to a complete and strong summary story re ALEC in the Eugene WEEKLY.
My Op Ed pointed out his immediate reluctance to discuss detail and to complete his record, surely due the public under these circumstances, re the continuing uses for ALEC-process by the legislators and the state he serves.
Since then we at S-N have continued with a whole series --presented in two groups, as a matter of fact-- on ALEC, and with cooperation by Richard Reid of Salem we have sent each and every one of them produced to each member of the Legislature, during and just after the short session.
SO LET'S GO, REP. WHISNANT !!
Once again I seek from you a simple answer to a very simple question --of your own making.
In the Eugene WEEKLY. In answer to their query as to why you chose to support ALEC, you stated you though "ALEC was better" than the two others available, neither of whom uses the same process obviously open to dismaying distortion.
Just tell me, sir:
WHY IS ALEC BETTER, as conducted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, than two other nationally-recognized sources ?
National exposure of the entire ALEC process and operation --still growing in scope, coverage, details, depth of exploration, and key examination by national groups, famed magazines, and many local-channel Internet organizations-- NOW demands your answer right here within Oregon to those citizens you serve in their legislature --even more than was the original case when I offered you full opportunity to explain why "ALEC was better".
______________________At age 94, Hank continues to define, dissect and delineate the most serious issues of our time, and then summarize some of the solutions, seen from that long-perspective and sources discovered over those decades. At 21, Henry was Aroostook Editor for the Bangor, Maine DAILY NEWS, covering the upper 1/4 of the state. In the ‘40s, he was Staff Correspondent, then New England Wires Editor at United Press-Boston; later Editor for the Burlington, Vermont 3-daily group owned by Wm. Loeb, later notorious at Manchester, New Hampshire UNION LEADER for attacks on Democratic Presidential candidates.
Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.
He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 650 written since then.
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