DON"T SELL GOVERNOR"S MANSION
A proposal is afoot to put the governor out on the street by selling the governor's mansion, Mahonia Hall, to help pay for services to older people. Say it ain't so. Gov. Ted Kulongoski just took office, and already they are selling his planes. Now they want to also sell his house. What's next? Putting a bounty on Kulongoski's darling bigfoot?
The situation for services to elderly people is dire, true, as sponsor of the mansion-selling bill, Sen. John Minnis, R-Wood Village, knows too well. And Oregon is singing a majorly loud rendition of the budget blues, with the Legislature leading the choir.
When the noise dies down, however, several issues come to mind that make selling the mansion, really just a nice large house, a bad idea. One is where would the governor host dignitaries? Gov. Kulongoski is the number-one salesperson for the state, the guy most responsible for drumming up business and putting the state economy back on a sound footing. The mansion serves both safety and ceremonial functions for the governor, giving him a place to dine with dignitaries and hopefully sell the state's virtues.
Nickel and diming isn't going to pull the state out of its budget blues. Besides, not a penny of public money went into buying the mansion.
How about, instead, that we sell the gold man on top of the Capitol? Pioneers can be honored in some other way, perhaps with a less expensive bronze out front. Selling the gold man could bring in a significant amount of money in an e-Bay auction, and the governor wouldn't have to host dignitaries from under a bridge.
But why stop there? Desperate times require deserate measures. Perhaps the Capitol itself should be on the trading block.
World loses friend
A truly good, kind and gentle man has died. Stomach cancer on Thursday claimed the life of Fred Rogers, the soft-spoken and affable host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'' on PBS.
Rogers was one of a kind. His gentleness and his kindness wasn't an act. Rarely will you find anyone filled with so much joy and understanding. As cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a guest on the Neighborhood, said, "In real life as in the Neighborhood, Mr. Rogers was an extraordinary man. Through music and stories, his caring and wisdom transcended every barrier; his advocacy for children was truly an advocacy for the human race.''
Rogers' goal through his PBS show was to help kids see that they matter and to help them with everything from tying their shoe to learning the importance of manners, sharing and being truthful. And he didn't shy away from tough issues, like dealing with divorce.
The Neighborhood is going to miss Mister Rogers.