WEB - EDITORIAL - Ted KulongoskiImagine if you oversaw a department, but had no money with which to run it.
That's the challenge faced by the state office of the rural policy advisor.
Under Gov. Ted Kulongoski's proposed budget, the rural policy advisor has no money for such needs as travel and stationery. Also, under the proposed budget, there is no money except for the policy advisor's salary, according to Crook County Judge Scott Cooper.
One of the bigger questions is how can the advisor travel to rural parts of Oregon - such as Crook County - if there's no allotment for travel expenses.
Some ideas that were apparently presented included having counties pay for the advisor's budget or industries. But then some environmentalists rightly questioned the ethics of the advisor getting advice from industry representatives.
There's another question that legislators need to ask. Jim Azumano was appointed as the rural policy advisor. His family has the Azumano travel agency in Portland. While we have no problems with Mr. Azumano, we wonder if there were not, in any of Oregon's 36 counties, someone with a more rural perspective.
We hope for a couple of outcomes. First, that the Legislature find the money for the advisor's department. It doesn't have to be a lot of money; just enough to allow him to conduct day-to-day business. Second, we hope that in the future, the governor chooses a highly qualified candidate from a rural - emphasis on the word "rural" - area to serve in the capacity of rural policy advisor.
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