The Real Cost of Building SevenThe Republican Party got a great deal this week at the expense of Oregon taxpayers. They rented the gymnasium in Building 7 for three days: for a rally on Tuesday featuring Laura Bush. These telling details were reported by Salem's Statesman Journal
Chemeketa officials were scurrying Friday to hash out details of when campaign organizers and security would need access to the building, how much of the building may be closed and how classes would need to be adjusted to accommodate the visit.During bush's visit, Public Safety Manager Ken Chichester personally helped enforce the buffer zone established around Building 7: people who were not with the Bush rally were not allowed within 75 yards of the building.
"We're doing everything we can to avoid canceling (classes)," said John Hawkins, executive director of the Chemeketa Foundation.
The rally will not be open to all; attendees must pick up advance tickets or receive invitations.
When Veterans for Kerry arrived to protest, they were driven away.
Besides taken their personal crusade against civil liberties further than ever before, the Republicans have crossed another line: the use of public funds for their private use. The managed to rent the use of the gymnasium for 3 days for 1080 dollars. Besides the inappropriate partisan nature of this transaction, it was a fool's deal for the state of Oregon. Did they consider the real cost of building 7? The state's share of the education of a Chemeketa student is approximately $2500/year, accounting for almost 50% of the real cost: roughly $5000/year. Depending upon how you count the days, the cost per day is somewhere between $10 and $25. Let's be optimistic and assume $15. More than 200 students use building 7 on a daily basis, this is an underestimate also. That's 3000 worth of usage. Additionally, we had a full days use of a department director and at least a full day of other staff members who were, as quoted above, scurrying to make arrangements. This had to cost the taxpayers at least $10,000. As the late Republican Senator Everett Dirksen once said, "A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there and pretty soon your talking big money. So it is with the budget in the state of Oregon - plenty of fat for the corporations and now the politicians. The administrators who allowed this to happen need to be taken to task for malfeasance. This is small compared to an instance that occurred in Chicago 2 decades ago: Mayor Jane Byrne was personally sued for initiating Chicagofest. This case is more clear-cut, since the use of facilities was clearly partisan.
Failure to act on this breach of public trust would itself be malfeasance.
Let's get with it and do our duty.