Welcome to the USSR, Oregon

April 09, 2008 11:00 pm

To the editor:

Thank you for your article of April 2. An open and informed dialogue is important if we are to examine change. To that end, might I invite the editor to read the full measure of the text before he begins that dialogue? As a holder of the public trust, and based on your articles of the past, I would think that this new law would cause a great deal of concern in your office.

Our right to privacy is a sacred right and nowhere in the Constitution does it even imply that to participate in the representative form of government established by the people one must abdicate one's right to privacy. Relevant information that would pertain to how your performance might be influenced is essential to "transparent government."

However, this new expanded form goes far beyond that into the realm of personal and private information-gathering by requiring the public official and their spouse to disclose the names of their parents, children, siblings and their spouses, private debts over $1,000 owed to an individual, and real estate holdings to name just a few.

Placing that information on the Web for all to view is just ripe for abuse by a disgruntled individual. Don't we read about identity theft in your very newspaper?

Doesn't it bother you that an agency of the State has been given a blank check to grow itself to an unspecified financial size and that the cost of that has been placed squarely on the back of local, county and public body government?

Doesn't it bother you that a referendum vote of the people in 97 cities and six counties in 1974 to opt out has simply been swept away? If I recall my Declaration of Independence, that is exactly what the colonists railed against. If the public vote no longer is the final say on government, then welcome to the USSR.

Volunteers are the backbone of our local government. Without them, especially in rural Oregon, our communities will fall to the sword of complacency and our form of government will be lost.

Marc Stauffer

Enterprise