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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Democrat Bill Bradbury's desire to expand the number of debates in October between himself and Republican incumbent Gordon Smith in the race for the U.S. Senate is understandable.

The challenger in a political race often benefits from several debates. Bradbury would be given additional exposure and would have a greater chance of highlighting the weaknesses or shaky voting record of the incumbent.

Smith, who is completing his first six-year term in the Senate, understandably does not want to expand the debate schedule. Why should he face a repeated grilling on how he's done in Washington while Bradbury benefits from more exposure?

The six debates Bradbury is proposing — five in Portland and one in Eugene — is much too weighted toward Oregon's largest cities. Smith has offered two: Oct. 21 in Portland and Oct. 23 in Medford.

The people of Northeast Oregon should have the benefit of seeing the two candidates up close and personal. McKenzie

Theatre on the Eastern Oregon University campus would be an excellent location for a debate. If several debates are scheduled, why not hold them at all the state universities in Oregon?

That way people in all parts of the state would have a chance to see how the candidates address the issues of their region. They would not have to rely solely on getting their impressions of the candidates by watching them spar on the synthetic, somewhat

impersonal medium of television.


Latte lovers unite! Some Seattle residents want to tax your favorite breakfast drink, the caffeine-laden espresso. A 10-cent surcharge per cup would raise $7 million to $10 million for child care programs in the city of Starbucks, but the initiative won't be served to voters until Sept. 16, 2003.

Opponents claim the tax unfairly jolts one product, like a coffee shop that serves only decaf. Proponents see the tax as mocha money for quality day care.

That's a noble cause, worthy of sufficient government funding. But a separate tax? That opens doors to other luxury taxes, from a computer tax to a cell phone tax. And this proposed tax is only on espresso drinks, meaning a regular cup of drip coffee will be 10 cents


Seattle doesn't need another layer of bureaucracy. Java drinkers shouldn't have to shoulder the burden of a city's day care needs. In the year before the vote, hopefully the city will come to the rescue and find more money for child care. In the meantime, enjoy that dark-roasted blend — it could be your last tax-free drop.


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