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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Radio Nowhere

Awhile back - around Christmas time - I agreed to participate in a radio discussion about PERS on KBOO. The time has arrived and I will be on with Frank Goulard, a PCC Math Professor, to discuss PERS and other retirement issues tomorrow night (Monday) March 31. The show airs live from 6 - 7 pm. The show allows for call in questions and either Frank or I will be happy to take questions germane to our discussion. I don't have much of a feel for the show or its format, but I've done many radio call-in shows before, especially in my former life as a college professor with a research interest in human evolution. These impromptu sessions can lead to some interesting discussions and frequently get into some hot debates. If you are interested, the show airs on 90.7 FM Portland, 91.9 FM Hood River, 100.7 FM Willamette Valley. If you want to read more about the show, check here under "Fifth Monday".

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Where Am I?

OK. I'm in Southern California visiting relatives and friends. Tonight we went to dinner at a local hangout. During dinner two celebs walked in. I wouldn't have recognized either but my daughter, who has radar for such things, spotted both immediately. The first was Fran Drescher, who is reputed to star in some program called "The Nanny". I didn't recognize her. But the second star radiated appeal. She was Scarlett Johansen, who showed up in sweats, a ponytail, and glasses. I was quite surprised at how tiny she was. There seemed to be some business transaction taking place - something about a script. We tried to overhear as much as we could, but it would have been too tacky to have listened too closely. My daughter did *not* try for a photo or an autograph, as we explained that stars are entitled to their privacy too. Nevertheless, they do hang out, just like regular folk. All I can say is that we were dressed more nicely than any of the Hollywood types in the restaurant. So, any guesses as to the restaurant where we ate? It is famous, although you have to keep up to have noted this one.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Many The Miles

It is time to take the show on the road. Spring break approaches and the family is skipping out of Dodge City for the first time in almost 6 months. This is, I think, the longest stretch we've been in town without a break in more than twelve years. Even when my wife was post-surgery, we managed to get out of town several times after the first three months. Everyone in the house has cabin fever and so we're off to a big city to play, see museums, and generally have a good time. If we're lucky, the weather should be good too. That was an important consideration. After living in Oregon for nearly 40 years, I have to confess to being a bit rain-weary and cranky.

I leave (on Friday), with the expectation that nothing will be decided on the PERS front. There is no news leaking out of any source. Indeed, the most exciting thing to happen in the past two weeks was the series of deleted comments from last week's post. You know it is time to cash in your chips when that becomes news fodder.

I took delivery of my Mini today, so if you see some bearded guy driving around in a white Mini with black racing stripes, that could be me. Hopefully, this will reduce my frequency of visiting the local neighborhood Chevron station. Those $50 fill ups were getting to be really old. Now the SUV will be reduced to hauling dog and larger groups of people or for road trips. I'll happily take 37 mpg for awhile.

I don't plan to post anything in the next week unless some *real* news about PERS shows up. Things are so slow right now that there hasn't been a new post on OPDG for about 3 days. That is close to a record. Hopefully we won't die of boredom before Judge Kantor makes some decision -- any decision.

Friday, March 14, 2008


My last post, "The Walk", was intended as a non-news update. Surprisingly, it generated a series of interesting comments concerning the timing of the Arken ruling. There was a fair amount of give and take and some information passed back and forth in the comments. Unfortunately, the original commenter has decided to remove all the comments and has left the post looking a bit odd. I have a pretty good idea why the comments were removed, although I don't plan to share my suspicions publicly. Suffice it to say that the commenter bet on an early June resolution of Arken/Robinson and then offered some guesses as to why this might be the case. I have no idea whether there is any substance to the guess - when Judges issue their rulings still is a real mystery to me, a non-legal person - but it seemed to me that the person making the guesses was in a better place to know about this than me, who depends on rumor, back-channel communication, and educated guesses. I also guessed that the commenter was trying to get me to ease away from my prediction of a ruling as early as the end of next week. I'm not ready to do that, although the thriller of real information contained in the previous series of exchanges has gotten me to rethink whether Judge Kantor is in a position to release that early. He may be way too behind the 8-ball at this point to get the ruling issued that soon.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Walk

Will be somewhat slow for a while. In the game of dog versus man, the dog won. Sometime soon now, I will be having some torn cartilage removed from my knee. This resulted from a chance encounter with our 80 pound "puppy" who collided with me at full-speed. Kneedless to say the least, I visited the orthopedist this afternoon and he gave me the bad news. Not that this was a surprise. I've known the knee was a mess for about a month, but it is always sobering when you finally get the news. Fortunately, Jim knows how to fix these problems, and my Czechoslovak trainer is slavering at the opportunity to work my "upper body" (god knows it needs help).

I wish I brought you other news, such as the outcome of Judge Kantor versus Arken or Robinson, but alas, the Courthouse is quiet for the nance. I'm still betting that we'll have a decision before the end of next week. Otherwise Judge Kantor will have to go away for Spring break with these millstones hanging around his neck.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Beat It

The various unions involved in the PERS Coalition are slowly beginning to turn the screws on Greg Macpherson. Both SEIU and OEA have now told Macpherson to "beat it" and have endorsed John Kroger's candidacy for Oregon Attorney General. I can't imagine AFSCME, OSPOA or any of the other unions endorsing Macpherson either. Hopefully we will see the last of Macpherson after May's primary. As a longtime resident of Macpherson's district, I won't be sorry to see him go either. There are several highly qualified candidates seeking his seat in House District 38. If you wonder who Greg Macpherson is, then you weren't paying attention during the 2003 Legislative session when Macpherson helped Governor Kulongoski perform an autopsy on a still-living patient - PERS. Go Kroger.

Comin' Around Soon

While I haven't heard anything substantive about Judge Kantor's week off, I do know that the Arken/Robinson cases have been in violation of UTCR 2.030 for some time now. According to Oregon Trial Code Rules, matters under advisement for more than 60 days can draw attention, and matters under advisement for more than 90 days can provoke more than just attention. Thus, it isn't surprising to me that Judge Kantor finally took a week off to get Arken/Robinson under control. If he truly made his decisions this past week, then Greg Hartman is being quite generous in his assessment that he expects a decision within the next two months. To be sure, if Kantor has made a decision, it is more likely that we should see a decision in the next few weeks, as all Kantor would be left with doing is dictating the case, having it typed, proofread, and issued. I doubt that will take several months.

I've also heard that Judge Kantor held a telephone conference about the White case - another case that has been "in the works" for about 3 years now last Friday. That might account for Hartman telling OSU employees/retirees that White was "on" in August. It seems to me that if White is finally going to be heard, then the whole question of the "settlement agreement" is now back on the table. I *think* that is good news for both actives and retirees.

On an unrelated front, my Mini Cooper has now made it to US shores and might show up in my driveway before the end of the month. If my luck with ordered cars holds true to form, it will arrive about the same time I leave for Spring Break. Nevertheless, it can't come too soon now. Gas prices have hit $3.85 in my neck of the woods and that SUV of mine is mighty thirsty. It would be cheaper to put Grey Goose Vodka in the tank. Of course, my Mini, like all of its BMW relatives, runs only on premium fuel. You can't have everything.

In true form, my friend Jim sent me the latest IKEA catalog item to save me money before my Mini arrives. With IKEA, the basic idea is that by assembling the furniture with simple tools, you can save yourself some money. In homage to money saving, here is IKEA's way of buying a car:

And here are the tools needed to assemble it:


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Let It Happen

Nothing new to report on the Judge Kantor front. No contradiction to my last report, although OSU sponsored a talk with Greg Hartman and Paul Cleary. During this talk, Hartman said he hoped for a decision from Judge Kantor in the next two months - safely within my source's predicted timeframe - while Cleary, the PERS executive director, trash-talked window retirees for sucking at the public trough (or so says an attendee). In the meantime, Dawn Morgan is busy talking to Corvallis retirees, but I haven't heard what she is saying. Dawn is not one of my favorite people.

Hartman doesn't speculate what will happen if Kantor rules in favor of retirees, and Cleary acknowledges having set aside a sizeable sum of money for "future litigation". Sounds to me like PERS is covering its bets. But Cleary cautions that the decision as to whether to go forward with appeals rests with the attorneys "...and the employers." Hartman thinks that, whatever happens, Kantor will encourage the Supreme Court to take jurisdiction and bypass the Court of Appeals.

All of this is premature. No ruling yet, but stay tuned. If my source is right, we should be seeing a ruling in the "real soon now." Maybe Judge Kantor would like to get a Spring Break too. His wife is a school teacher.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Second Hand News

I've heard from a reliable source that Judge Kantor has asked to be removed from all other cases next week so he can finish up his rulings in the Arken/Robinson cases. If this is true - and I have no doubt that it is - we may have a decision much sooner than anticipated. Let's all hold our collective breaths and hope for a decision by week's end.