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|Friday, December 14, 2012|
BY LINDA BAKER
One of the people I interviewed for my recent story on the 2013 business agenda was Mark Nelson, the influential Salem business lobbyist whose long and eclectic client list includes the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company, beer maker Anheuser-Busch, Koch Industries, and Oregon Head Start.
Unfortunately, most of our conversation ended up on the cutting room floor. So I’m sharing a few excerpts from our interview here, in which Nelson weighed in on Gov. John Kitzhaber’s health care and early childhood learning agenda, the future of Oregon Head Start and the inner workings of that mysterious entity, the Oregon Committee.
"If you watch the governor’s plans, they all fit a pattern: consolidation of money, all under control of governor. In 1989, Kitzhaber came up with the Oregon Health Plan. The original plan was to insure everybody, but he couldn’t make it happen. The Coordinating Care Organization (CCO) is the same program, just regurgitated but it’s got a lot more oomph because of Obama care. The end game is the same: consolidate everyone’s health care in one place.
The next session you’re going to see CCOs created for Medicaid expand to all public employees and teachers and from there to the private sector, because you have the health care exchanges coming in on the other end.
So it depends on your view of the world whether this is a good idea or bad idea."
Early Childhood Education and Oregon Head Start:
"It’s unclear what the governor wants to do with Oregon Head Start. They cannot answer the question: Are you going to budget Head Start? What I believe he wants to do is set up a system in which you have multiple providers providing services to low-income children expanded to 200 percent of poverty level. So he’s going to create ‘regional hubs.' Remember the CCOs. There’s very little difference. Someday, you’re going to see the early child learning hubs and CCOs come together. Mark my words.
What we believe he should have done and we asked him to do is this. Whatever early learning programs they put together the base should be the poorest of poor and people with disabilities. Those two populations have to be protected and they’re not."
"What Kitzhaber wants is to eventually increase the renewable portfolio standard. He would like to see it go up.
The wild cards are PGE and Pacific Corp. Right now, industry and those two are working together. But when Kitzhaber went to them on the RPS and said 'what do you want?' they abandoned industry and joined the environmentalists. That’s how the RPS was passed. So far, especially PGE, there have been entreaties to both of them.
I think he would like to remake the Deparmtent of Energy. You now have the Department of Energy and Public Utility Commission and DEQ and Fish and Ag and Wildlife. I think he would rename it but again consolidate it."
The Oregon Committee:
"It’s not so mysterious. Basically, it’s made up of most business organizations and people who represent businesses and it was born out of two the tax Measures 66 and 67, which business lost. That’s when we got organized and went to the political side.
The whole purpose was we didn’t have enough money to lay it out like peanut butter. Rather, we’ve come in and picked those seats we thought we could win. It wasn’t Republican vs. Democrat, although by definition business-friendly legislatures are primarily Republican.
Everyone spends their money individually. We have an enormous amount of research we do to see what races we can win. We have a whole bunch of criteria, including voter registration, quality of the candidate, quality of staff, and the nature of district. Then we pick our races and say, ok, Nelson how much money do you have, I say 'X," and we go around the room. They’re about 40 different people and we meet once a week.
The issue is if organization can translate into more clout to change things."
Mark Nelson’s varied client list:
"I don’t have any criteria for clients. I won’t take on any pro-life position as client. Philosophically, I’m not there. I fire clients periodically."
Linda Baker is managing editor, Oregon Business.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
BY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.
Monday, July 07, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.
Friday, August 22, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
When business intersects with family, a host of situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.
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