Is Governor Ted Exploiting a Tragedy?
Posted by Fritoy on April 25, 2007
This is kind of hard to believe.
So here is all of it.
Thanks to Lars via email.
News Release April 25, 2007 State RepresentativeLinda Flores
Governor Political Taskforce Trumps Campus Safety
(Salem) For the second time in a week a college campus in the Portland area has shut down over threats of violence similar to what happened at Virginia Tech last week. "I'm angry and sad that some in the Capitol put politics over public safety," said State Representative Linda Flores (R-Clackamas). She learned this week Governor Kulongoski may have asked for a critical piece of public safety legislation to be pulled from the legislative agenda because he wanted to put together his own campus security taskforce first. Portland Community College Rock Creek campus is closed today after a note was found in a restroom and the Vancouver branch of Washington State University was evacuated last week under similar circumstances.
House Bill 3318 was already on the Judiciary Committee schedule for a hearing long before 32 people were gunned down in Virginia Tuesday, April 17th. A hearing on HB 3318 was set for Thursday, April 19th, but mysteriously cancelled the day before. Now it's rescheduled for Friday April 27th. HB 3318 would reclassify campus security personnel on Oregon's eight public college campuses to give them more training and allow them to carry firearms.
Representative Flores pointed out this scheduling conundrum in a remonstrance on the House Floor. She noted Oregon is believed to be one of only two states which don't allow campus police to be armed. The exceptions are Oregon State University, which has a contract with Oregon State Police and University of Oregon, which contracts with Eugene Police Department.
"It seems to me the time has come that we should allow our college campuses to have the highest level of security possible, especially when some of them have a population larger than some small towns. And not just because of what happened at Virginia Tech, but because it is the right thing to do," said Flores during her floor speech.
Flores learned the day after the Virginia Tech shooting, Governor Kulongoski convened a meeting of several agency heads to talk about forming a "Blue Ribbon Commission" to review security issues at all education campuses across Oregon public and private, K-12 and college. Several stakeholders were listed as possible commission members. The one group not invited to the Governor's meeting last week or listed as a potential member of the new commission is the one representing around 100 Public Safety Officers on all the state university campuses. Mike Silver is a Public Safety Officer at Western Oregon University and is the SEIU Local 503 representative for the campus officers. "We are frustrated and disappointed that those who do this job are not being asked what is needed or what they are encountering," said Silver.
SEIU sponsored HB 3318. A similar bill was unsuccessful in the 2003 legislature. Silver asked, "how long can we continue to say 'it can't happen here'? How much longer do we have to wait until we become pro-active instead of re-active? Do we have to wait until we have an on-campus shooting in Oregon and Oregon citizens die before we are allowed passage of HB 3318?" He added, "it just makes sense to give the first responders at Oregon's universities the training and tools necessary to complete their mission of protecting life and property."
Representative Flores is skeptical as to whether HB 3318 will actually get a hearing on Friday. Monday is the deadline for House Bills to have hearings in House Committees. She has evidence the Governor asked for a delay on HB 3318 because he wanted to make an announcement about his new campus security taskforce and allow some time to pass after the incident in Virginia. "We don't need another taskforce in state government. We need to act now to beef up security at our school campuses in Oregon," said Flores. She has been a member of the House Judiciary Committee for the past two legislative sessions and Chair of the House Education Committee 2005-2006.
Oh and Ted, If you want to get the most out of a food stamp Freddys is not the place to go.