To the Point TV Show: February 2010

After a year on hiatus, the political talk show To the point! is back. These are the topics we discussed on the last show. I just checked the website and the shows haven’t been uploaded, but check back in about a week or so at http://www.tothepointtv.org.

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In this photo from left to right: Richard Donin, Matt Wingard, Kelly Jo Horton, Courtney Clarke, Mike Riley.

Panelists for these two shows were:

Richard Donin, Energy and Educational Consultant
Al Young, former Oregon State Legislator
and guest panelists Courtney Clarke, a local business owner
and Jack Ohman, Editorial Cartoonist for the Oregonian

Show 1:
First: International

On January 12th, the worst earthquake in 200 years struck less than 10 miles from the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, turning an already impoverished nation into a pile of rubble. Many have compared the disaster in Haiti to the devastation of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, but you can’t really compare a regional disaster to an entire country in pieces, or can you? When the cameras stop rolling and the celebrities stop raising money for Haiti, will they be able to recover and how long will it take?

Second: National
Toyota Motor Corporation has been criticized for its initial response to the consumer complaints of unintended acceleration in some of its vehicles. In a recent hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee California State Representative Henry A. Waxman, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said Toyota had three responses to the consumer complaints: First, blame the driver. Second, blame the floor mat. Third, blame a sticky gas pedal. Toyota has now recalled more than eight million vehicles world-wide for unintended acceleration, brake problems and other issues. Is it too little too late, and have they damaged the brand loyalty?

Third: Statewide
Oregon voters recently passed Measures 66 and 67, which were supposed to prevent further layoffs in the public school system and fund public services. Since the measures became law some local businesses have closed due to the retroactive taxes owed, and schools are still being asked to make cuts. Did the voters really know what they were voting for, and where did all of the money go?

Fourth: Local
As we sit here and tape this show, the Metro Council is discussing the urban growth boundary, and voting on agreements with the three Portland-area counties to designate which land will be developed and which will remain rural for the next 40 to 50 years. Should Metro be picking the winners and losers, and will these property owners have any recourse if they want to but can’t develop their land?

Show 2:

First: International
U.N. Climate Chief Yvo de Boer recently resigned after four years of leading international climate change negotiations. Some say it was due to the chaos of the Copenhagen summit last year, and the fact that the summit quickly became known as Climate-gate after 1,000 suspicious emails between climate scientists were leaked to the public. Will these scientists ever be able to regain the trust of the global community, and will the world’s largest polluters be motivated to change now?

Second: National
President Obama’s healthcare bill seems to be losing steam, with the recent departure of some supporters on the Democratic side of the aisle. Does President Obama have what it takes to convince the House and Senate to pass some sort of healthcare reform, or has his window of opportunity passed?

Third: Statewide
(I had to write this topic five minutes before the show because the previous topic was outdated by the time I drove to the studio!) We discussed the future of the newspaper industry, given the fact that the Oregonian had laid off 37 people the week we taped the show, and the fact that we had Jack Ohman on the show to discuss the topic.

Fourth: Local
The City of Portland is taking unspent money from the Big Pipe waste-water project, to use for other purposes, such as bike paths. The Willamette Week newspaper has documented other cases where the City of Portland is taking money collected for one purpose and using it for other purposes. Are these the kind of decisions Portland officials were elected to make?

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