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On pot, act means state control

State police confiscated this pot. (It's my stock photo of the stuff.)

State police confiscated this pot. (It's my stock photo of the stuff.)

So we're going to vote on a marijuana initiative on Nov. 4. That's certain. What is not at all certain is that most of us will vote for this measure. Here's why: More than one-third of the people who signed the initiative petition were not voters. When it certified the measure for the ballot with 88,584 valid signatures, it said that only 64 percent of the signatures accepted for verification were valid. It was enough, but just barely. Continue reading

Our sales tax on visitors

Filling the Expo Center would be one added aim of promotion funded by the transient lodging tax.

Filling the Expo Center would be one added aim of promotion funded by the transient lodging tax.

There's something a little unusual about the sales tax on hotel rooms. Unlike other taxes, its main point seems to be to generate more taxes. Continue reading

The Vic Atiyeh I remember

Vic Atiyeh, a man to remember and emulate.

Vic Atiyeh, a man to remember and emulate.

One time in the 1980s, Vic Atiyeh was on a bulldozer at Adair Village. He was there to help launch a new training program for heavy-equipment operators. To give the students experience, they were digging a big hole to create an artificial pond. So when the governor showed up for the ceremony, he sat on one of the machines and pushed some dirt around. I was there to cover the occasion for the Albany paper, and I remember it mainly because of the momentary dread I felt when our photographer, an intern, suddenly climbed on the back of the moving machine to get a better picture. For a second there I thought this might end in a headline along the lines of "Photog maimed in fall off dozer with Atiyeh at controls." Continue reading