Conservative News & Commentary

Apr 21, 2012 — by: G.W. Washington
Categories: Government

Friday's Herald and News had questions and answers from the four Klamath County Commissioner Position #3 candidates. The question that grabbed the front page head-lines had to do with the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and asked why a candidate was for or against the agreement.

Both Cheyrl Hukill and Todd Kellstrom stated they were for the KBRA and gave their reasons. However, what is more important to understand are the principles used by Hukill and Kellstrom to build their answers. By understanding their principles, then one can predict how either one will behave given any kind of issue. Principles do not change with issues, but are consistent from one issue to the next. Without principles candidates waffle all over the place, saying almost anything that seems to gain them political favor.


Cheryl Hukill’s Comments:

Cheryl HukillHukill said she supported the KBRA because the settlement represents Klamath River Basin stakeholders coming together to determine solutions.

“If the courts do it, there's a winner, there's a loser," she said. “I want to see where people can work together and be an example to this nation on a very difficult issue.”

The water issue is key to agriculture, which provides 4,000 jobs in the county and represents $300 million to the local economy, she said.

“Local people with a local problem for a local solution,” she said. “Is it perfect? No. But it is a foundation of people working together on a problem we have here in the Basin, which is water.“

 Mrs. Hukill Principles:

  1. Work together
  2. Avoid the courts
  3. Avoid winners and losers

Todd Kellstrom’s Comments:

Todd KellstromKellstrom said he is favor of the agreement because of the work people put into it over a five to six year time-span.

“I'm a guy that would rather do that, work together, than perform the status quo of adjudication that is just going to continue itself and further divide our community,” he said.

Collaborations like KBRA have allows the Klamath Tribes and people like himself to bridge a cultural gap and come together, he said, adding, “That's better for our community as a whole.”

Mr. Kellstrom's Principles:

  1. Hard work
  2. Work together
  3. Avoid the status quo of adjudication

What is fascinating are the principles that were omitted — but certainly implied — and are very much part of their answer. If the KBRA moves forward here are a few other principles that get added to their list by default

  1. Tax-payers in general aren't considered a “stakeholder”
  2. Tax-payers in general will pay for all the agreements made by the stakeholders.
  3. Impacting the general public with a decision made among stakeholders is not a problem.

The first item is evident by the fact that the KBRA was written behind closed doors. There was never any public input, only those who were considered stakeholders. This is fine in and of itself. Where it becomes a problem is the actions found in the second principle. The Mazama Tree Farm purchase is not done with stakeholder money, but taxpayer money. The cost to remove four dams along the Klamath River are not done with stakeholder money but taxpayer money. The third principle is self-evident given the first two.

Now that we have all the principles on the table for these two candidates' answers, let's see how well they hold up if we apply them to another issue our county faces: the election of Klamath County Commissioner Position #3. Using their principles, the four candidates should stop their campaigns and begin working together over the next several weeks, non-stop. After tens of hours (maybe even 100), they should announce the following:

“We have decided that Jim Bellet will be the Republican nominee this year for Commissioner Position #3. We have worked very hard together, for several weeks, on this issue and have determined Mr. Bellet is the best candidate to be Commissioner. By making this decision, we will avoid any future lawsuits. At the same time we can avoid creating a winner and three losers. Finally our decision changes the status quo as we will now have a new commisioner for Position #3. In order to compensate the others for their hard work, Klamath County will pay Hukill, Kellstrom and Jefcoat, from the general fund, $1,000/month for the next four years. This is an agreement the stakeholders can all live with and we know this will serve our community best.

Notice the statement above uses all of the same principles that Hukill and Kellstrom used to advocate for the KBRA.

  • Working together
  • Avoid the courts
  • Avoid winners and losers
  • Hard work
  • Avoid Status Quo
  • Tax-payers in general aren't considered a “stakeholder” (implied by their decision)
  • Tax-payers in general will pay for all the agreements made by the stake holders (implied by their decision)
  • Impacting the general public with a decision made among stakeholders is not a problem (implied by their decision)

The question then is whether these are good principles for KBRA. We can see they don't work for the republican nomination process and therefore we can determine they are poor principles for the KBRA — or for any other decision. Hukill and Kellstrom have measured the political winds and have landed on the side that causes them the least amount of grief. The reasons to justify this decision, however, are just sillytalk.

Note: Jim Bellet was the only one of the four candidates to understand the core issue and give a real solution to the problem the KBRA tries to resolve: we need more water storage.

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