“Stupid is as stupid does,” the saying goes. A strong example of this is the way people have been voting.
Take the state senate seat, for example. In 2004, the voters elected Doug Whitsett to replace outgoing redneck curmudgeon, Steve Harper. Incumbent endorsements carry a lot of weight, so when Harper endorsed Whitsett and seeded his campaign with $20,000 from his left over campaign contribution treasure chest, Harper bought the campaign for his choice (by law candidates have to spend contributed funds on campaigns, donations to other campaigns, or to a charity). When in office, Harper had proven he would do anything asked of him by the ag lobbyists, so Whitsett also became the favorite of the agriculture lobby, the most powerful and well funded special interest in the region.
Whitsett was a veterinarian to cows for the majority of his working life, but that didn’t stop him and his supporters from spinning his life into alleged experience in business. He also represents himself as a scientist and government expert. Really? Perhaps 40 years with your arm up the ass of a bovine does qualify as experience for the heaps of bullshit Salem policy-maker must wade through, but it hardly qualifies one for anything else to do with business or government. That 2004 election was a simple case if the ag lobby placing someone they could control in office.
This is especially ironic since at the time, agriculture counted and still counts for roughly 5% of the employment in the entire senate district. Agriculture is one of those industry collectives that feels and achieves a great deal of entitlement. With the huge subsidies they receive for growing crops on inherited or mega-corporation land that also receives major tax abatement, of course they have a vested interest in the status quo. You can tell a lot about them by what they don’t talk about. Have you ever, ever heard the ag industry support any other industry? Never.
Yes, food is important, but this isn’t about food. Very little of the country’s or state’s food comes from Senate District 28. The subsidies they rely upon are paid through taxes on other businesses. Back on topic, consider how bad of a decision Whitsett has been. He’s done nothing for the economy. He has failed to reduce the size of government. His experience and interest lies with agriculture, so he has no frame of reference for evertything else that makes an economy function. Ignorance can be costly, and it certainly has been for the citizens he represents, for his pet projects have served to increase the size of government and reduce economic opportunities.
Whitsett was very outspoken against the Citizen’s Power Plant that sought to locate in the Bonanza area behind some hills where nobody would see it. He was deep in the rhetoric against the project along with the rest of the ag lobby. Klamath County, to their credit, was a supporter, primarily for the long term tax income and the jobs it would create, in addition to the increased stability in the power grid. Whitsett and his cronies ultimately convinced Citizen’s Power to abandon the project.
Then guess what happened? Electrical power contracts with farmers expired and electrical rates went up. Should that be any surprise? They had a fine opportunity to use the Bonanza project as a leverage point to ensure lower electrical rates necessary for operational necessities such as pumping water for field irrigation, but they blew it. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
On the subject of water, the Bonanza Power Plant would have drawn water from a deep aquifer, far deeper than the separate, upper aquifer used for irrigation. This water would have been used only for cooling the power plant, after which it could have been filtered and distributed by canal to farmers for irrigating fields, offsetting their reliance upon the canal system that takes water from the Klamath River, which is subject to restrictions on use.
The power project could have contributed to solving two major problems for farmers and ranchers, but they (and Whitsett) were too stupid and stubborn to seize the opportunity.
The only accomplishment Whitsett could count his first four-year term was securing $18 million for the Oregon State Police. He argued in a passionate speech (for him, meaning he opened his eyes a little wider) that they needed the money to stop meth. He said, “This is the most important funding issue before the state legislature this year.” Hmmm. The state patrol is the best way to stop meth? Drug enforcement experts say stopping the production by limiting access to the ingredients used to make it are the priority. Experts also say that money is best spent through investigation and prosecution of meth labs at the local law enforcement level. Interesting.
Whitsett’s speech in favor of the bill that gave $18 million to the state police stated it should be the most important priority for the legislature that session. Really? Extorting money from visitors through issuing speeding tickets stops meth? Whitsett did this at a time when fuel prices were rising, the economy was tanking, no money was being spent on economic development, and tourism was down in part because Californians (our largest visitor demographic) were sick and tired of driving 70 to the Oregon border, then getting speeding tickets from State Police speed traps forcing them to the snail pace of 55 mph. That was the most important issue? The state was running a huge budget deficit and Whitsett had promised to cut state government spending. What happened to that priority?
Getting the State Police $18 million was all he Whitsett accomplished that term, then he was re-elected.
He’s going to be elected again because Klamath loves incumbents, no matter how retarded and asinine they act. The voters can’t see beyond the money that pays for the messages manipulated in the media. Incuments have the most campaign money because they serve special interests. That money buys awareness the way they want voters to hear it. Vote for the candidate with the most money, and you can be sure that the interests of the general citizen are far below the groups that fudn the candidate. Try running for office without money sometime. You’ll get nowhere.
2012 marks an all time low. Whitsett is suddenly in favor of a biomass power generation facility that will burn branches to generate power, filling the air with more particulates. The EPA has already forced sanctions on Klamath County, restricting when poor resdidents can use firewood to heat their homes. They are now talking about banning wood heat completely.
The Bonanza Power plant project would have used natural gas, just like the Cogen. No particulates.
It gets worse. Now it seems Sen. Whitsett’s wife, Gail, will be elected to the house seat. The only thing she’s done is worked in her husband’s office and bred horses for rich people. She’s just as qualified, and just as inept. Stupid combined with arrogance is a very dangerous combination and the volume is about to double. Voters would fare better to elect two of the cows or horses Whitsett probed to office than these two. A cow or a horse would do no worse, while the Whitsetts likely will.
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