Political conservatives lauded, liberals lampooned, at ‘Taxpayer Awards’

See why this program, loaded with barbs and brags – presented live, on the radio – proves that politically conservative folks do have a sense of humor …

Don McIntire, president of the Oregon Executive Club sits with KPAM’s Victoria Taft at the Annual Taxpayer’s Academy Awards show – both live at the Shilo Airport Hotel, and on the air – gets underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In most politically-oriented meetings we attend, politicians and those who are politically liberal take conservatives to task.

But at this event, The Annual Taxpayers’ Academy Awards, held this year on February 6 at the Shilo Inn Airport, it was the conservatives’ turn to take a swipe at people and policies they say are not working in the best interest of taxpayers.

‘Awards’ chosen by ballot
The event’s sponsors, Oregon Executive Club and Taxpayer Association of Oregon, sent ballots out to 10,000 individuals who were asked to nominate candidates for awards such as Wiener Politician, Pork Barrel Project, and Bureaucratic Bungler.

Conservative KPAM radio talk show host Victoria Taft served as the MC for the evening’s ceremony, which was also broadcast, live, from the event. Taft set the stage: “Tonight, we give awards to those most deserving – the biggest bungling politicians and decisions of the year.”

Victoria Taft enjoys roasting liberal policies and politicians at the event.

Pass the onions, please!
Sadly, and understandably, many of the award winners were not present to receive their awards in person. What follows is the opinion as stated by the hosting organizations, not necessarily the opinion of eastPDXnews.com, nor of our sponsors:

Golden Schnoz Award
Best example of government sticking its nose in other people’s business:

  • Foster Parent Gun Rule – The Human Services Department tried to void second amendment gun rights for foster parents who had concealed gun permits.

Pork Barrel Project Award
The best example of government waste:

  • Million Dollar Consultant Mistake – Went to the City of Portland for paying a consultant firm $900,000 to design and implement a study that would save the city money. The consultant came up with only $61,000 in savings.

State Representative Linda Flores sits in with Victoria Taft for a segment of the program.

Bureaucratic Bungler Award
Best example of government regulation, overreach, or bureaucratic mistake:

  • Baby Gabriel goof-up – Not one, but two State of Oregon panels tried to separate 2-year old baby Gabriel from his Oregon foster parents, and send him to Mexico (where he has never been, and does not speak the language).

Wiener Politician Award
The most obnoxious, cowardly, or reckless elected official:

  • Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Jeff Merkley – The two legislative leaders approved an “astonishing 21% budget growth” with the help of $856 million in new taxes and 44 fee increases. To prevent future citizen dissent, they also passed tough new petition regulations making it twice as hard for citizens to petition their government. They sent voters an “anti-property rights ballot measure” (Measure 49) and an “anti-double majority protection ballot measure”, and “wrote their own highly deceptive ballot title”, according to the group.

Singing their praises

Thomas Jefferson Award
Awarded to Oregonians for advancing the principles of individual liberty and limited government in 2007:

  • George Taylor, State Climatologist – In defense of science over politics: State Climatologist George Taylor has made national impact with his demonstrable problems with many global warming theories. Governor Kulongoski has been trying to use a technicality to forbid him from using the title State Climatologist, and left him out of the Governor’s Strategy for Greenhouse Gas Reductions.

Government Innovation Award
Best example of a government cost-saving or successful program:

  • Feds inquire on missing Oregon roads – The Federal Highway Department made headlines when it criticized Metro’s transportation plan. The plan ignored people who drive cars, which was the primary purpose of the plan.

Excellence in Journalism Awards
These awards are chose by the governing official of the presenting organizations.

  • $1 billion can’t cut class size“, Scott Learn & Steven Carter, Oregonian;
  • “Truth And Consequences”, (Measure 49 ballot title deception) Nigel Jacquiss, Willamette Week;
  • 95% of drivers buckle up, so why the tickets?” ($1.5 million grant for non-problem) Ryan Knutson, Oregonian;
  • Are those cranes, or an inventory glut on the horizon?” (Continuing expose on Waterfront Project, for which Brainstorm Magazine accurately predicted in 2003 its fallout), Ellen Lewis, Brainstorm Magazine.

During a commercial break, some of the organization’s elite gather for a photo.

Straw poll skewed
Because the survey’s Presidential Straw Poll ballots were returned primarily in December, Jason Williams of the Taxpayer Association of Oregon said the results didn’t reflect current opinions.

At that time, Republican candidates John McCain lagged substantially behind Mitt Romney (who has since put his delegates in McCain’s camp), and Fred Thompson (who dropped out of the race in January). Tied for last place, not surprisingly for a conservative forum, were Illinois Senator Barack Obama and New York State Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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