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. . . . . Hi, I'm Stephanie Fowler and this is Seven Days. Our topics this week, the Legislature's agenda for juvenile crime prevention and recent developments in Oregon's salmon recovery efforts. Let's meet this week's panel. Lance Robertson covers the environment for the Eugene Register of Guard. Colin Fogarty is OPB's capital correspondent. Haso Herring is the editor of the Albany Democrat Herald and Kristen Gilger is the managing editor of the Salem Statesman Journal. Governor Kitshopper announced today that he's accepted separate plans from all 36 counties in Oregon to combat juvenile crime.
Each county has been asked by the governor to submit its own strategy for spending money allocated by the state. The governor and Republicans in the legislature have proposed giving the counties at least $30 million to implement their plans. Prevention of juvenile crime became a high profile issue after Kinko went on a shooting spree last May at Thurston High School in Springfield. Two students died and 24 were injured. Kinko is also accused of shooting and killing his parents in their Springfield home. Colin, how much is the Springfield tragedy propelling the legislature's current enthusiasm for juvenile crime prevention? Oh, I think it's a big part of it and the fact that there is enthusiasm to do something about it at all is due to Springfield, I think. Advocates of the governor's plan will tell you that they've been working on it since before Springfield, but Springfield definitely gives a sense of urgency. I think in the capital there's a sense that the legislature can't adjourn without doing something about juvenile crime prevention. They have to do something and they all want to get credit for it.
Anybody who thinks about that realizes that the Kinko case really has nothing at all to do with the kinds of problems that we face in terms of violence and school juvenile crime and with prison construction and crowding and all that kind of business. But I guess it's the way we work is that if there's some kind of a publicity event that propels things, people forget about thinking about what really was behind anything. They just take it as a chance to advance their agenda. In this case, it makes perfect sense, even though the connection really isn't there. I suppose to the programs I think that are being sort of crafted and thought of may not have even helped Kinko. Well, he had probably well-meaning parents who looked after him, they did whatever they could. He wasn't in a dysfunctional family, he had none of the problems that are being touted as contributing to juvenile crime. But I think just because it's the kind of case that it is, that it's so hard to figure out what caused it. That that in part is what's propelling the legislature to try to do something about it and the public concern about it.
Because it seems like, well, it isn't going to work just to lock people up. For example, I think it puts the spotlight on prevention. And if you can sort of figure out the Kinko case at all, you look way back in childhood and you look at problems that develop very early. And I think that's partly what's motivating even the Senate House Republicans this time to look at a very, very early childhood intervention. And keep in mind, the governor's plan has a lot of grassroots support. And the reason is, this has been worked on by county officials, by crime experts, by social workers throughout the state. They all have ownership in it. And I don't know if that might, that would have happened so readily and so easily without Springfield, if there is a silver lining to the tragedy. There was definitely a sense of urgency in what they were doing. And it kind of, they coalesced around a common goal in a way that they might not have before. And the press conference today, people were talking about, this isn't about Republican or Democrat, this isn't about turf battles.
And that may be talk, but it's true. It allowed people to let down their guard and compromise when they needed to. What are we talking about, though, in terms of the governor's plan, is it just money or is it programmatic as well? Or is it hard to say because each county is going to do something different? Well, it's very interesting. I mean, it's smacks of governor task force. This was formed by, I mean, it has kitsubbers imprint all over it. It's not called a task force. It's called the governor's juvenile crime prevention advisory committee. But this is how kitsubber works. He forms a task force. It's broad base. Everyone looks at the problem and they come up with solutions. And then they go out and get grassroots support for it. And then they come back to the legislature and they kind of ram it through the legislature and ram it down their throats. It's also Clinton asking a sense that it's right from the Republican playbook and that no one talks about block grants. But that's essentially what it is. It's block grants with strings attached. This advisory committee acts as a check on accountability for the local programs.
They make sure that the program, the money is going to programs that have shown statistical success. These programs have a certain track record. And in fact, they review the programs ahead of time. That's right. And then they also sort of track what happens with those programs. Some of the Republicans aren't very happy about that. I mean, they would rather have something that is less fewer strings. There's a disagreement brewing, too, because the kitsubber plan and many Democrats want efforts to focus on, say, 10 to 17-year-olds, while a lot of Republicans in the legislature want to sort of focus on younger age groups. There's not a whole lot of money in this program, $30 million over two years across 36 counties. It's not a great deal of money. Strangely enough, well, not maybe Strangely enough, but to me as a surprise, it came as a surprise when Representative Kevin Mannix in public in various ways. And in his legislation has said, look, we've got to spend a whole lot more money.
And he has a bill, I think, that costs for spending more than $100 million on intervention programs and various kinds of programs in the county at the local level. To deal with problem families, somehow, to try to get the children before they even get to school. Now, as you say, the governor's program deals mostly with people in the, or he is aiming at juveniles in the range of 12 to 17, something like that. What he's talking about is to try to intervene with young people who miss school a lot, for example. And others who are using drugs, others who come from families that somehow don't work, others that belong to gangs, that somehow just to intervene in some way. And there are various programs at the county level with mentors and with other kinds of things that have proven some success. Well, research shows that it's less costly and generally more effective, the younger you start with the kids. And it's interesting, because Jean Dürfler and the Senate said, something like, in my opinion, you have to write off a generation of kids. When asked about this, which is sort of an astonishing thing to say, but what he's saying is that there are limited amounts of things that you can do with kids in that age group.
He's proposing more money for programs like Healthy Start, where it's pre-birth, where you go in and they send people into intervening and talk with mothers and then follow kids. Until about the age of five. But you're absolutely right. And I think that what Republican leaders are very wary of is getting into a big fight about, well, which kids do you target? I mean, it's kind of a silly argument. Well, we need to focus on 11 to 18-year-olds. No, we need to focus to zero to three-year-olds. Well, they're both kids. They both matter. Yeah, it's a silly debate. Except there is, and there's very little data-driven research. I mean, there are a lot of trolls and anecdotal surveys. There's very little research in this area that really can be counted on its valid. And most of the valid research, and there is no lot, does indicate what Kristen said, and that the most effective time to intervene and prevent problems later on, is... At the same time, I think it's hard to argue. You should write off a whole generation.
Well, I think some people are saying what we really need to do is not divide this age group versus that age group. And it seems to me that Republicans are saying this a little bit more vociferously than the Democrats at this point is we need to look at a continuous prevention, intervention, and treatment all the way through. But you've really got to focus a fair amount on early childhood. And on families, not just kids. And the earliest time to get a family is when a kid is younger. Not when a kid is already disaffiliated from his family at age 14, 15, 16, and alienated. Because you need to use a systemic approach if you're really going to help a child. And most of this money goes for older kids. I think it was only like 3 million in Kitsoppers plan that was targeted for very early ages. It's safe to say that we're going to see money coming out of the legislature for all age groups of kids. It all depends on which. I mean, the governor came up with this figure of $30 million, but $30 million doesn't really mean anything. And my joke about is that he should have said $29.99 and would have made a sound cheaper.
But there's a lot of room. And we might see it go down to $25 million or $20 million for kids 11 to 18. And the Republicans will want to give more money to kids younger. I think that they're all in agreement that they have to do something about kids. That is really the fundamental difference here. And it's really kind of, I think, a nationwide recognition, suddenly, that after this wave of getting tough with criminals, boot camps, and all this other kind of stuff, we realize that that is only half of it. I mean, sure, you've got to lock people up and they've done something bad because you shouldn't want to do it again for a while. But everybody realizes, and we've said this here, and in every forum that discusses that sort of thing, that is everyone realizes that by the time you lock people up, it's kind of too late. What's surprising is that now you're hearing that from people like Kevin Mannix, who you have not heard that from before. And now he's even talking about he might consider a second look kind of program for juveniles who are locked up under measure 11, supporting a lot of money, a lot of money in early childhood intervention.
And I think it's encouraging to see that happen. In terms of measure 11, they're talking about giving judges more leeway in terms of assessing the individual circumstances of each child's case instead of this mandatory road, regardless of that. And that also applies to some of the other bills that are working their way through the legislature now in terms of what happens when a kid gets caught with a gun in school, I'll acquit kinkle. And one of the proposals that I think the Oregon Youth Authority supports is that judges do have more leeway in those cases as well to decide, well, are we going to hold the kid what happens to him? But did they already have, I mean, I thought that the concern about this mandatory, the holds regarding kinkle wasn't held. And there is, there's already is an opportunity for discretionary hold and it wasn't used so that the safest way to handle that is to have a mandatory hold and really the different with psychiatric evaluation and the real debate in the legislature should it be 24 hours. Well, there's also the debate about judges having the discretion.
I mean, there are actually three bills and Peter Courtney's bill is 72 hour hold. There's another one from, is it more set, who was, is like a 48 hour hold. I mean, there's, there's a bunch of those, but one of them is judges discretion. But it requires the kid to go to the judge, which didn't happen, doesn't happen now. The key to that is a lot of local community, especially the counties don't have a whole lot of money to do that kind of thing. Yeah, especially in rural. Yeah, in, you know, in, in Mal here in, in Hardee County, they don't even have a place to put the kids. No, it isn't that why, let me just bring this up because you brought up the, the difficulty of, of detention in eastern Oregon. And isn't that why these, the governor's plan has separate plans for each county because in eastern Oregon, I think they said, at least some counties would use their prevention money for more detention. And the key to it, local control is absolutely key. I mean, Republicans love that and, and the governor loves that too and so do the counties. The counties have control over what they do. It's, it's not just in, in rural areas, I think Lane County would get something like 2.8 million or 3 million out of this, this money.
And I think a million of it would go to just maintaining like 10 beds or 20 beds. All the counties have that need. So everyone's got that need. Well, in some of the counties, some of the counties benefit from the, the youth prisons are the youth detention centers, correctional facilities, as they say. That the Oregon Youth Authority was authorized to build by the last session of the legislature and they've built them. One of them is an Albany, one on the North Coast, one on Grands Pass, one on East Rowing, there's one other place. And those have had an effect in trying to, in actually reducing, at least in some cases, the, the rate of juvenile crime. The thinking is that because there's some deterrence and then there's some prevention of people who are incarcerated. The thing about the, about the policy of, or the requirement of having kids be detained for either 24 or up to 72 hours, if they bring a gun to school or a weapon to school, is going to, you know, might, might backfire sometime when we, when this thing is enacted. And some kid brings, brings a paring night by mistake in the lunch box because it was in the lunch box from the weekend picnic.
And then has to be, I mean, you know, brings, in a, inadvertently brings this paring night to school with our lunch. Notice is that in our lunch box when, at lunch and says, teacher, I got, I'm sorry, but I brought this. She gets reported to the principal, she gets yanked out of school, she has a psychological evaluation for something. The laws that are being considered don't apply to anything other than guns. Well, there are, for example, little plastic guns about an inch long that are attached to key rings or something of that kind. And sooner or later, one of those things is going to, going to result in one of these absurd decisions. Which is why it would be nice for, for all these bits of legislation to have some kind of flexibility for school of principals or school authorities, or even judges or juvenile authorities to apply so that they don't, you know, go overboard on some of this stuff. I don't know, I think that having no wiggle room has a value. And I know it's tough on people who get caught in a situation like you described.
But, I mean, I have kids in middle school and high school. And I know that it sends an unequivocal message. They understand in a way that they wouldn't understand if there were exceptions that you can't bring this kind of stuff to school. No wiggle room is fine, but there has to be some prudence involved here. Kids understand the difference between trying to harm somebody and inadvertently bringing some kind of a knickknack to school and it was left in their pocket. I think there were some, the New York Times reported on a number of instances in school districts around the country that had these so-called zero tolerance for guns and weapons and some drugs. And they talked about instances where, you know, when when girl had some ad bill and an eight-year-old brought her grandfathers pocket watch that had a chain with a little pocket knife attached. And she was an honor student and the school policy was a suspender for ten days. And they said, yeah, it's unfair.
But most of the schools felt that the benefit of the zero tolerance was worth whatever difficulty these cases. Here's a gray area. This week we had an incident with one of the middle schools in Eugene. A kid brings two handguns to school. He thinks twice about it. He voluntarily walks into the principal's office and he surrenders the handguns, says, I made a horrible mistake. I brought these because I was afraid for my safety from an adult, not someone at school, but an adult outside of the school environment. It was a very sorry, this was an awful thing to do. Well, should that kid got a school for a year or whatever the mandatory is going to be? No, and I don't even think that's the problem when you have these sort of issues. But I don't think what Oregon is considering is zero tolerance. I mean, in the purpose of the detention or the 24-hour detention, whether 48, 72, is not punitive. It's protected.
The schools have them. But I don't think that we can any longer consider our kids innocent or our school safe. We did a survey after the thirst and shooting through the paper in our schools in Salem, Kaiser, and we had about 1,200 responses. More than half of the students reported that they had seen weapons at school. Most of those were knives, but 11% reported that they had seen guns at school. I mean, that doesn't make me feel safe about our schools. But the fact of the matter is, if you look at the numbers, the numbers show that there has been less violence in schools. Or there is less violence in schools than a lot of other places. And the incidence of shootings in schools has gone down in recent years. Right, I mean, the perception of danger. The perception of danger in part of our job would be, is from time to time, to clear some of these things up. You would think. Right, and the real danger to kids is accidental shootings in their home from firearms. Well, it's important to say that youth crime is going down. But it's also important to say that crime experts will tell you that the best predictor of youth crime doesn't have anything to do with policy or how much money the legislature allocates, but demographics.
And the economic status of the kids and whether there is an after school program. And we may be just spitting in the wind here. But I think that the legislature feels and the governor feels like they have to do something. Well, it makes certain, it really makes sense. I mean, you can't simply keep locking these people up. Just the money and the lives lost and wasted and all that kind of stuff. And if there's even a half a chance that you can reach half or a quarter or an eighth of them and try to divert them from that kind of life, it sure makes sense. Well, and it makes economic sense. You know, just this week, I met a kid who went through a program in Portland. A kid, she was 17 or 18 years old and the program was called Save Our Youth. And here's a kid who was on her way to crime that gotten in a fight at school, charged with assault, assault spent eight days in jail. And her life was on track to being a drug dealer, to being violent, to being, to maybe dying in gunfire sometime down the road.
And yet here's a program that helped her get out of that and her life is completely changed. And you look at that, you say, all right, well, statistically this may not be the norm. We might not be able to save every kid, but you look at that and it's incredibly powerful. And if the legislature can do something, if the governor having a press conference that asks for $30 million can prevent that kid from ending up in jail or dead, it's going to serve us all well. Okay, we're going to have to move on to our second topic, but I hope we come back to this one at some point because I think it's really important. Last, actually this week, the state of Oregon dropped an appeal of a federal court order to list coho salmon as a threat in species. The court battle started last summer when a judge ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service could not accept Oregon's voluntary salmon plan as a substitute for the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this month, the governor took the symbolic step of signing an executive order, instructing state agencies to make preservation of all salmon species in the state a priority. Lance, who's happy about the state's decision to drop the appeal and who's not?
Mainly environmental groups and fishing groups. They've been saying all along through this process. They're happy about this. They're happy that these have been dropped. They've been saying all along through this whole process that the governor's salmon rescue plan can work in conjunction with an Endangered Species listing. And it appears that that's what we've got right now. So it's going to have to go that way. Who's unhappy about it? Well, I think the timber industry is unhappy. Although you don't really hear much. You didn't hear much from them when the state and the federal government dropped their appeals. But they're unhappy. I think they were more unhappy before the Oregon plan had a chance to at least get started. I think now some of the threat of what might happen. As long as they feel like the Oregon plan is going to go ahead. They're all these dire predictions about how awful it was going to be when the Coho were listed under the Endangered Species Act.
And it really hasn't happened now. That doesn't mean there might be some major effect. But the federal government's given every indication that they'll let the Oregon plan go ahead. Right. And the Oregon plan becomes the official recovery plan that's required under the Endangered Species Act. That's exactly right. And the absolute rule was that this law secreted in the meaner heck of a lot to anybody. That's why it was dropped. The Endangered, that is the threat and listing, what have been imposed no matter what. Even if the state and the agency had won the case. And even if they had won the case, some recovery plan would have had to be in place. And we already have one. Well, and one of the reasons for dropping it was that there was a threat that Oregon's salmon plan. The salmon plan could be declared inadequate in this. And the governor had to sort of look at that possibility and see if he could live with the Endangered Species Act.
And that goes beyond Oregon. Excuse me for a minute. But that goes beyond Oregon. Does it not? Because I think at the lead of Governor Kitsabi, a number of Western states are now considering using both the actual... The actual elements of the Oregon plan and that model of local community-based projects to deal with environments. Not only that, but all the way to say Maine. I mean, the state of Maine is modeling a program similar to that. But now there will be some money to support at least the Northwest programs with Clinton pledging $100 million for... Was it California, Alaska, Washington and Oregon? Well, whether it's going to be any actual money is something else. He pledged, you know, the man pledged to everybody. I know, the man pledged to $2 million for... But you may have read in Newsweek that he actually pledged to spend in various ways about 150-some percent of the surplus. Well, I'm trying to... But that's another topic already.
No, let's not go there. But the point of it is... We strain yourselves. The point of it is that Mr. Clinton has promised money to almost everybody. And in this connection has promised some kind of help to the Willamette River. Now it's promising help to fish and all that kind of stuff. Now there's a new program called Landslake. There's a slogan a week, as you know, and the program a week and some kind of an approach a week. But whether it's something actually ever happens nobody knows. Well, I think it's clear that... Correct me if I'm wrong, Lance. But it seems like the courts really drove a wedge between the state and the federal government by declaring the listing. And it seems like the Clinton administration is trying to come closer to the states and trying to defer to the states and saying, OK, you know, we've gotten a lot of the blame. We've gotten a lot of flack for all this stuff. The states have a better track record. Let's let the states develop a better track record. They have a better relationship with local people. People are not so conspiratorial about the states. And it just eases the tension a lot more in the Clinton administration once that to happen. Yeah, and one of the effects of a listing may be this $100 million pledge.
I mean, people had been saying, even before the listing, hey, if we get a listing, maybe we can get some money out of the federal government. Of course, the money, by the way, $100 million is for four western states. It's not that much. It's $25 million for, and they're, well, $25 million a year. I mean, this was $30 million, originally, $30 million. The governor has to ask for a lot more and whether the North Western members of Congress, especially in the sense say, well, that's a pretty good deal. We're going to approve that money. But what you're seeing is people like Slade Gordon, the senator from Washington, who fought like hack to prevent a listing and to prevent, think programs like this from taking effect, suddenly saying, hey, we don't, we would like more than $100 million. We want $200 or $300 million. The interesting part is that Lance said, as you know, about $3 billion has been spent so far as I recall, on the restoration, on various efforts to make, to restore salmon populations in the Columbia River Basin, not on the coast.
And here, and we have more money going down that road, down that river. And the question is, when is something ever going to get better? Now, you know, there are people who think that no matter what we do on the rivers, where all this money is being spent most for the most part, we really can't affect a whole lot, because what's really affects the salmon returns is ocean conditions. And what we really need to worry about is how many, how many smalls get down the river in the first place, from wild stocks and from the hatcheries and so on. And nobody seems to know that. At least that's why I understand that. And it's also not an issue where you spend money and six months later, you know that it's working. I mean, you've got a life cycle of it. But we have been spending money for 15 years. You've been spending a lot of money. And what, what, what, really nobody really talks about is you will not know. Nobody will know whether any of this stuff is working in the long run for maybe 50 years. I think it's how the money is going to be spent. I mean, a lot of the three billion that you mentioned, a big part of it was loss of revenue from not being able to generate as much power. And so they've kind of fiddled with the books a lot there, but I think they're going to have to look at how are they going to spend that money?
Are they going to spend it on restoration programs? Are they going to have a big bureaucracy where a lot of people are just hired to do the research? And how much difference is the executive order going to make? Does that change anything? Does it actually create any changes on the grant? Well, it expands the original coho plan to the entire stage. So instead of just, this is one of the things that it does. Instead of just focusing on coastal coho streams, it expands it to the Mount River and to Eastern Oregon. And some environmentalists and fishing groups have criticized it for not going far enough, for just simply, I think it's the standard it sets is adequate escape. And they would like harvest also, plus is that fair? And some of the real hard decisions have yet to be made. I mean, forest practices, there's going to have to be some real hard decisions made over the next year or two. And in that case, as in others, we have another task force to look at this stuff.
And, you know, essentially, what the governor's executive order said was that survival of these fish is the number one job of all the state agencies, which comes as a big surprise to a lot of taxpayers who thought that the high resolution was supposed to work on roads mostly. And that kind of thing. You're absolutely right, Hassel. Okay, we'll see how that plays out right at time right now. Kristin Gilgur, Colin Fogarty, House of Haring and Lance Robertson. Thanks for joining us this week on Seven Days. And thank you for watching. Good night. Good night.
Seven Days
Legislature & Juvenile Crime; Coho Update
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Host Stephanie Fowler and guests discuss Legislature & Juvenile Crime and update on Coho
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Seven Days is a news talk show featuring news reports accompanied by discussions with panels of experts on current events in Oregon.
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1999 Oregon Public Broadcasting
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Guest: Robertson, Lance
Guest: Fogarty, Colin OPB Radio
Guest: Hering, Hasso
Guest: Gilger, Kristin
Host: Fowler, Stephanie
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