Growing Oregon’s next leaders
$5000 per hour prostitutes? We were just barely getting comfortable last week with $4 per gallon gasoline. And why was Silda standing by her man? Back here in Oregon, we read article after article about Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto’s failings. County vehicles speeding to Seattle for steamy personal liasons. Allegations of extramarital affairs. Who’s next? I am sometimes led to believe from reading daily and weekly newspapers, watching television news, and reading internet blogs that we should assume that a large number of our elected officials are sex-crazed, arrogant, greedy, lying, cheating, no good slackers. In reality, like any profession, there are a few bad apples in a basket of many good apples. I am concerned that there is too much zeal to hurt or even destroy people in public life by the press. Negativity and personal attacks are favored over positive, constructive articles. This trend has consequences that are not in our community’s best interest.
Hopefully not to the degree of Spitzer or Giusto, but we all probably have a few personal things that we’d rather not see splattered across the front page. One of our alternative weekly newspapers, especially, has many times gone over the line from journalism to tabloid gossip and unfairly exposed parts of elected officials’ private lives that are not relevant to their character or performance in office. Are the good things that politicians do getting enough copy and air time?
A topic that I have heard repeatedly in the last few years is the need for visionary leadership in Oregon. Who is going to be the next Tom McCall? And I also hear, unfortunately, from some talented people considering elected office: ‘who is going to put up with a 65% pay cut only to risk having their personal life exposed and to be beaten up by the press?’
Oregon needs a new generation of great leaders, we need them now more than ever, and we should strive to create an environment that will attract our most talented people to public service.
by Stuart Emmons
The Oregonian Blog, March 18, 2008