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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Year 2017 in review - 12 years of blogging -- not yet too blind to blog!

Thomas Kraemer selfie photo 2017
PHOTO: I was too embarrassed to ask for help with taking my annual, year-in-review selfie photo of myself. I need help because of my worsening low vision blindness that has made it nearly impossible to use even a simple camera, therefore let me apologize in advance for my photo above that I took of myself in Dec. 2017, which I assume is poorly lit and composed. The reason I was too embarrassed to ask for help with taking it is because friends of mine love to rib me by proclaiming that blogging, by itself, is narcissistic enough without a photo. My excuse for including a selfie photo is primarily to give my friends and family forwarning of how I look, especially as my hair goes gray and falls out, so that they will recognize me the next time we meet. Today, I love to rib my friends back, including those who are real Trump-tards, that real narcissists have moved away from blogging to using social media, such as sending Facebook messages or Tweeting on Twitter, just like the commonly narcissistic celebrities do it along with their favorite celbrity President Donald Trump. In all seriousness, I have never blogged as a way to socialize or for the fame and fortune of it, but I have blogged only as an easy way to create my own digital notebook in the cloud of interesting things I've read online. By writing my notes as Blog posts, on the Google Blogger website, allows me to search my notes with Google, which has amazed me by the things Google can find that I wrote years ago, but had forgotten about. A Google engineer told me why they support my blog for free is because it provides free content to Google and it enables Google to provide better search results for everyone by seeing what real people are reading,writing and linking to in blog posts. I've never put advertising in my blog, which Google will share the advertising revenue with you, but I do the work to produce free content for Google, and in return they store and search my blog for free, which seems like a fair trade to me. The biggest advantage to writing notes in my Blog about interesting things I've read is that I can include hyperlinks to the original pages, as well as full citations to the original paper documents, which can be used to refind things years later when link rot has occurred due to webpages being moved or taken down. A friend of mine has thanked me for doing this because both he and I have used these full citations to find things years after I had posted a blog page with working hyperlinks, which had been later broken. (Of course, he is probably biased because he is a retired professional librarian -- I am similarly sure that my high school teacher, who taught me about the importance of reference notes, would also appreciate it!)

My recent post I hope to resume writing new blog posts (12/15/17), explains why I am so glad to be writing this post in review of last year. In my annual review blog post last year, I asked if I was too blind to blog due to my worsening low vision blindness and paralysis. (See previous post Year 2016 in review - 11 years of blogging - Am I too blind to blog? (12/24/16)) Fortunately, my vision recovered enough to allow me to use the standard low vision accessibility tools that are built-in to the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser and operating system, along with some other accessibility aids needed to compensate for my disability. I first talked about building in accessibility to MS Windows, for HP customers, directly to the Microsoft Founder Bill Gates in the 1980's, which he embraced, and so more recently, I was happy to hear directly from the current Microsoft CEO Sayta Nadella, who explained his personal commitment to providing accessiblity to Microsoft products, given his personal experience raising his two "differently abled" children he has at home.

Unfortunately, as my vision and other physical abilities weaken, even all of these Microsoft tools are not enough, for example, I am unable to see the colored grammar and spell checking flags in MS Word, despite trying out all of the various accessibility settings, and therefore I am unable to proof read my work as I touch type, and so many spelling errors and typos have been creeping into my posts, which I would like to apologize for not being able to proofread and fix very fast.

Despite all of my current physical limitations, I am still grateful to God that I have survived the AIDS epidemic, despite having been living and working in the San Francisco Silicon Valley during the 1980's when the AIDS virus was first discovered, but Republicans, including the U.S. President Ronald Reagan, were politically exploiting AIDS as a reason to discriminate against all gay people, ironically including Lesbian women who later proved to have suffered a virtually zero HIV infection rate. I am similarly grateful to have survived the anti-Communist and anti-gay witch hunts of the 1950's led by the U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy, which help to inspire the modern homophile and gay liberation movements. After McCarthy, I witnessed the movement of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party because they were upset with the Democrats for passing the Civil Rights act and forcing the racial integration of schools in the South. I watched as these new Republicans added their anti-gay agenda to the Republican Party Platform, and almost succeed in passing an ammendment to the U.S Constitution that would have made same-sex marriage illegal nationwide, by trumping state marriage laws in favor of same-sex marriage.

Despite all of my past experiences with bigotry and discrimination, I remain confident today that social justice will always trump bigotry in the future, even though I might not be around to see complete justice in my lifetime because things might even go worse for a while as President Trump and his Republican legislators stuff the U.S. justice system with too many so-called "social conservatives," who are anti-gay theocrats or plutocrats who support only the governmental interests of religion of business.

My favorite news story from last year was published in the OSU student newspaper (see photo and linkes below) because it lifted my spirits when I saw how a small group of gay OSU students were able to start a fraternity in the Greek system on campus -- a system that historically has been violent toward gay men, especially when I was in college nearly half a century ago when I would have loved to have been part of a friendly gay frat on campus. Instead, I was forced to put up with being physically harassed by a college varsity soccer player and fraternity brother, who I was told was doing nothing wrong, at least according to University administrators who blamed me for being openly gay, which "caused" this soccer player to be disgusted by me and cause him to lash out against me in self-defense. This story is just one example of why I have hope for the future, despite the fact that there may be setbacks due to Presidnet Trump and the Republican Party leadership of America back toward social injustice.

Gay Delta Lamda Phi frat frat boys Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez at Oregon State University are interviewed by Cory Zimmerman on a student TV station computer game show circa Aug. 16, 2017

PHOTO: The Oregon State University student-run KBVR TV station (the station's call letters were chosen to match the school's Beaver mascot), is broadcast in Corvallis both online and via the local Comcast Cable TV system and it recently ran a TV show hosted by a gay OSU student Cory Zimmerman that discusses computer gaming, and in one show he interviews two of his gay fraternity brothers, Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez (shown above) who are all are part of a recently colonized gay fraternity Δ Λ Φ (a.k.a. Delta Lambda Phi). See previous posts OSU student TV show by gay Delta Lamda Phi frat boys (10/25/17) and OSU gay frat Δ Λ Φ organized by student Cory Zimmerman (11/3/16) -- note this is the same OSU student I previously wrote about -- see previous post OSU 'I am gay' writing class essay printed as paid advertisement in student newspaper (11/24/15)

I was also glad to see the further development of gay research archives at the University of Minnesota (see below):

Headline 'Tretter Collection makes purchase of Magnus Hirschfeld Li family estate' Jan. 2007 p. 1 cover

PHOTO: cover of newsletter story by Jean-Nickolaus Tretter, "Tretter Collection Makes Purchase of Magnus Hirschfeld Li Family Estate," Tretter Letter, Jan. 2007, p. 1,3 (PDF). See the home page of The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota Elmer L. Andersen Library. Also see The Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany and the Schwules Museum, Germany. Also see previous posts Magnus Hirschfeld, Jack Baker, University of Minnesota and Oregon State University gay connection (1/21/12) and PBS Minnesota LGBT history, Oregon Lt. Col. Pam Mindt donor to U of Minnesota Tretter Collection (12/21/16) Also see University of Minnesota Tretter Collection -- "The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies," University of Minnesota Libraries, Elmer L. Andersen Library accessed Dec. 16, 2017 that includes "Finding Aids - Search the Collections" such as McConnell - Michael McConnell Files, 1965-2014 and Endean - Steve Endean Papers, 1972-2006. The Schwules Museum, 1948-2004, undated that was created by Jean-Nickolaus Tretter. The Spear - Senator Allan Spear Papers, 1937-2010 are of a state Senator that I dated once. I hope to post in the future about the recent retirement of a key archivist of this University of Minnesota collection. I've blogged before about the University of Minnesota Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies, and their publication "The Tretter Letter ". I just reveived the latest issue (Jan. 2018, Vol.13, No. 1 received Dec. 14, 2017 (PDF) not yet posted as of Dec.24, 2017) that reported the University of Minnesota archivist Lisa Vecoli retires and Andrea Jenkins leaves the archives this year.

Below is a list of links to some of my key blog posts from last year.

See my annual reviews of my blog posts from previous years:

UPDATE Jan. 6, 2018 - due to my low vision blindness, instead of risking writing a new blog post, I decided it would be easier to add to this blog post the following, which might be my last letter to the editor of my local newspaper because I am having great difficulty using a computer today.

My local newspaper printed the story by Associated Press New York, "The growing emoji language," Gazette-Times, "The growing emoji language," Dec. 30. 2017, p. B5 (also hosted at BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer, "Will we get a smiling poop emoji? Well, there's a process," posted Dec. 29, 2017) to which my local nesapepr printed my reply:

The Associated Press story, "The Growing Emoji Language" (Gazette-Times, Dec. 30, page B5) correctly linked emojis to Japanese cellphone makers in 1999, but it did not mention how "emoji" icons were inspired by the prior art of "smileys" that were first used in the 1970s by early computer researchers, including a few at Oregon State University and Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis, Oregon, to solve the problem of text messages on early computer networks being misinterpreted because facial expressions were not being transmitted.

I still own a paperback book, "Smileys," published in 1993, showing hundreds of examples of what the authors say, "... some call 'emoticons,' which presumably means icons expressing emotions."

The first smiley looked like a smiling face when turned sideways, and it could be typed out using three standard characters, a colon, hyphen and parenthesis, on a standard computer monitor or printer, including the even older electro-mechanical typewriter interfaces.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "OSU had role in emoji rollout," Gazette-Times, Jan. 5, 2018, p. A8 posted Jan. 4, 2018)

(Also Search for previous Gazette-Times Letters to the editor by Thomas Kraemer)

The book I mentioned in my letter Dale Dougherty, "Smileys compiled by David W. Sanderson," O'Reilly and Associates, 1993 was published by a famous computer industry technical writer and it appears to have had many different editions printed aover a number of years that had different copyright dates.

END OF UPDATE Jan. 6, 2018

Friday, December 22, 2017

Comic page homophobe honors George Weinberg who coined homophobia

homophobe comic GT 12/22/2017 p. B9

PHOTO: "I'm a homophobe," declares a character in the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine," to explain why he fears going home for the holidays. It was published on the comic page of the Corvallis Gazette-Times newspaper, Dec. 22, 2017, p. B9, just in time for Christmas. It might just be a coincidence, but this comic strip is a nice honor to George Weinberg, who coined the word "homophobia" nearly half a ccentury ago. (See previous post George Weinberg who coined 'homophobia' died at age 87 (3/25/17))

Frank Kameny, Jack Nichols and George Weinberg riding on Heritage of Pride float

PHOTO: I had the honor of getting to know all of these famous gay rights activists nearly a decdae ago, who are seen above (left to right) Dr. Frank Kameny, Jack Nichols, and Dr. George Weinberg being honored as Grand Marshalls of New York City's 2004 Heritage of Pride Parade. George Weinberg, who is the scholar that coined the word 'homophobia,' died this year at the age of 87. (See previous post George Weinberg who coined 'homophobia' died at age 87 (3/25/17)) - Photo courtesy of Randy Wicker.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Stop the presses! Gay newspaper kills its print edition in Portland, Oregon

Just Out Jun. 2012 cover

PHOTO: after going out of business, Portland, Oregon's longtime gay newspaper came back to life with the June 2012 issue of "Just Out" in a glossy magazine format. (See JO Editor, "Just Out Hits the Stands," blog posted on May 31, 2012 ) and see previous post Just Out is back June 2012 (6/2/12), where I note, "Reports of the death of gay newspapers due to the internet have been greatly exaggerated."

Gay newspapers were critically important to the gay rights movement of the twentieth-century, because around the time of the 1969 Stonewall riot, nearly all publications avoided any mention of homosexuality for the legitimate fear of being ostracized or in some cases legally censored by a court of law for publishing obscene subject matter -- U.S. Supreme Court decisions that are still in effect today say "obscene material" is not protected by the Free Speech Rights granted to citizens by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Fortunately, several other landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions allowed gay newspapers to publish serious articles concerning gay politics, science and medicine, provided they were not "lacking of any socially redeeming purpose."

In the early 1970's, decades before the Internet and the World Wide Web were invented, my first experience with gay newspapers came when my University of Minnesota dormitory Resident Assistant or RA, who happened to be gay, showed me where gay newspapers were sold in a large magazine store in downtown Minneapolis. This is where I first saw the New York City "Gay" newspaper, which was published by the famous activists Jack Nichols and Lige Clark. It is also where I bought my first copy of "The Advocate" newspaper, from Los Angeles, which helped organize gay people across America and it is still being published today as a glossy magazine and an online Web site.

When I was a poor college student in 1973, I was able to scrape together enough money for a subscription to "The Advocate" newspaper, which as a standard practice at the time was mailed to my dorm room in a "plain brown envelope" to avoid censorship or harassment of the recipients, who were often not fully out of the closet.

Yes, it had serious articles about gay politics and science, but the section everybody actually read was "the Advocate Classified" ads, which were printed in a separate pull out section so that you could show the serious articles to your mother. (This section was later printed as a separate glossy magazine, which allowed it to publish more risque color advertisements for gay 8mm movie films, later xxx-rated video tapes or DVD films, and also sex workers who technically were advertising illegal services.)

The reason the classified ad section of "The Advocate" newspaper was so popular in the 1970's was because it included classified ads from real people across America who were seeking pen pals or contact with other gay people in their hometown. Similar ads in local gay newspapers were also a major source of revenue for thier publishers. Today, internet social media sites, such as Facebook, have replaced the need for this function.

Until the invention of the World Wide Web in the early 1990's, I still received, in a plain-brown envelope, the printed copies of the Portland, Oregon gay newspaper, "Just Out." (It later became PQ or Proud Queer Monthly). When "Just Out" started posting their articles and a PDF copy of the printed paper online, I started reading it mostly online because it was a hassle to pick up a printed copy in cities distant from Corvallis. Consequently, I was not overly surprised by the publisher's announcement that PQ would no longer be available in a printed form and available only online in the cloud:

"Brilliant Media LLC is excited to announce that Proud Queer Monthly and El Hispanic News will both be fully transitioning to web as of November 2017. El Hispanic News has been printed and distributed in the Pacific Northwest since 1981, and Proud Queer Monthly was added to the Brilliant Media family in 2012.

"We are proud of our legacy in the world of printed media, and it is with great affection and respect that we say goodbye to our print run; but, like many other publications in today's media climate, we have decided the time has come to prioritize the vast opportunities digital content offers over the tradition of ink and paper. . . ."

(Quoted from Staff, "Brilliant Media Announces Digital Transition," PQ Monthly posted Dec. 7, 2017)

I vividly recall how after the World Wide Web was invented in the early 1990's that the dream was to go all paperless with print publications. However, since then I have seen the dream shift to a more nuanced one, where the printed newspaper and magazine formats are still used, but to publish only the material that can take advantage of each type of media -- paper or the cloud. In fact PQ as part of their going digital plan announced it will still be publishing paper books with their best content.

I was also amused to read about the electrical engineering college background of the owner of Portland's gay newspaper, because it explains why I have always loved her logical analysis of things:

"Owner Melanie Davis talks about the history and future of Brilliant Media LLC -- as Proud Queer makes its transition to web: When I moved to Portland, Oregon in 1992 from Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend Portland State University, my objective was clear-secure a job and get my electrical engineering degree. While searching for a job I distinctly recall my grandmother Clara Padilla Andrews (former Secretary of State of New Mexico), who had moved here with my grandfather after her term ended, sharing with me that a local bilingual newspaper called El Hispanic News needed a sales person. I connected with Juan Pratts who founded the publication in 1981, and he hired me on the spot.

"Back then, we were printing black and white with few pages in a tabloid format. It was Juan's goal to grow into a four-color broadsheet printing format, because in his words, "then our community will be taken seriously." Back then industry dictated who was a "real newspaper" . . .

"For some years El Hispanic News produced and published the "Official Pride Guide" for (gay) Pride NW, making sure to include in our marketing budget funds to insert the Pride Guide into other racially diverse publications like The Asian Reporter and The Portland Observer. This made the Pride Guide wildly successful, and many mainstream Portland publications are still vying each year to outbid each other to produce the "Official Pride Guide" for Pride NW. . . and took the opportunity to launch PQ (Proud Queer) Monthly, a publication whose mission is to ensure "Every Letter & Every Color is Represented," in February of 2012. . . .

"I am thrilled to say that with the support of our readers and advertisers, effective immediately El Hispanic News, PQ (Proud Queer), and Tankside will be 100% digital. Secondly, we are also happy to announce we are in the process of publishing annual books that will reflect each media outlet's best content. Each book published will have a revenue sharing model built into it that will directly benefit each contributor. As you all know, I am a firm believer that the road to equality is equity!"

(Quoted from Melanie Davis, Owner, Brilliant Media LLC, "From the Owner," posted Thursday, December 7, ?2017)

Friday, December 15, 2017

I hope to resume writing new blog posts

Note from Thomas Kraemer: "I hope to resume writing new blog posts for my personal 'Tom's OSU blog' page after I recover from some additional death of neural cells in a dispersed area of of my brain (as observable in a MRI brain scan of the posterior cerebral artery or PCA region). The brain death is being caused by indeterminable reasons and doesn't have any established cures or treatments, but it has physically disabled me further and worsened my low vision blindness to a point where Web surfing and writing blog pages has become almost impossible to do, even when using the good accessibility features built into the Windows Operating system and in some standard Windows internet browsers."

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

OSU student TV show by gay Delta Lamda Phi frat boys

Gay Delta Lamda Phi frat frat boys Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez at Oregon State University are interviewed by Cory Zimmerman on a student TV station computer game show circa Aug. 16, 2017

PHOTO: The Oregon State University student-run KBVR TV station (the station's call letters were chosen to match the school's Beaver mascot), is broadcast in Corvallis both online and via the local Comcast Cable TV system, recently ran a TV show hosted by a gay OSU student Cory Zimmerman that discusses computer gaming, and he interviews two of his gay fraternity brothers, Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez (shown above) who are all are part of a recently colonized gay fraternity Δ Λ Φ (a.k.a. Delta Lambda Phi) that says it "focuses on creating a space for men of all sexual orientations and gender expressions to have the traditional Greek experience on campus." During the TV show, the frat brothers emphasize that just because they are chartered as a "male-only" fraternity in order to fit within the traditional Greek system on campus, they would be happy to consider accepting frat brothers of any biological sex or intersex, who sincerely identified as being male or did not want to identify as being one of the traditional binary gender categories. I know well a gay FTM (female-to-male) person who would have loved to have been part of a gay male frat in college, but was rejected from many male-only college educational classes because colleges routinely rejected admittance to all-male classes, based on the student's female birth certificate, depite the fact that the student had lived life as a man since birth. Amusingly, during the interview, one fraternity brother remarked how his frat brother next to him was such an "old" man to be 24-years old, compared to the typical 18-years-old college freshman. They also joke about how the video game "Daddies" they were reviewing has a name and content with nothing about gays or sex in it, but they still found it funny because they fantasized about the stereotype of a hot masculine top daddy as often seen in gay porno videos. Their discussion made me laugh because my first relationship with a man occurred with a guy who was 26-years old, when I was merely 18, and at the time I thought this "older" man was so old and mature, and he inspired me to match his maturity, but today when I see anybody below 50 years old they look very much like an immature baby who I would never have any interest in having a relationship with! The boys also describe thier love of drag performances, which gay history shows has always been poular with gan men. When I came out in the Stonewall era, drag was not appreciated by many younger activists, who dismissed it as being an artifact of an older generation of gay men from a former era when gay men were forced to stay in the closet. They also rejected it because they wanted to make the political point that gay man are like all men and therefore deserve equal rights, without being treated as second-class citizens like women were treated unequally in 1969 before Stonewall and the Women's Liberation Movement was successful. Today, both men and women have achieved equal rights, and the theatrical art of drag is still popular amongst most gay men today. I am finally able to appreciate it! For more about this gay OSU frat, see OSU Office of Student Life, Center for Fraternity And Sorority Life Web page, "Delta Lambda Phi," accessed Oct. 21, 2017 and OSU DLP website plus their DLP Facebook page for social media contact with the Delta Lambda Phi Colony - Oregon Facebook page. Also, my see previous post OSU gay frat Δ Λ Φ organized by student Cory Zimmerman (11/3/16)

I accidently ran across the above gay student TV show while channel surfing cable TV one day, but I was also able to find it on the student's Youtube channel version they mentioned during the show -- see below:

VIDEO: "Delta Lambda Phi Plays Dream Daddy || LGBTQ Representation," OSU KBVR TV posted Aug. 16, 2017. This OSU student run KBVR TV station program is available on Comcast Cable TV and online. The show's description says, "Join us as we sit down with Chris Hands and Ryan Lopez from the LGBTQ+ fraternity here at Oregon State University -- we talk about gay representation in games and pop culture while we play Dream Daddy." Delta Lambda Phi is the gay fraternity at OSU.

Monday, October 23, 2017

OSU Queer History Month 2017 and OSU library copy of my history

An Oregon State University student newspaper story by Sydney Sullivan, "OSU celebrates Queer History Month," OSU Barometer, posted online Oct. 16, 2017, says, "According to Cynthia Konrad, director of the Pride Center, Queer History month has been celebrated since the mid-1990s and was built around National Coming Out Day, which occurs on Oct. 11.. . . The events this year at OSU will be hosted by and in collaboration with numerous groups including, LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network, the Ettihad Cultural Center, the Women's Center, the OSU Queer Archives, the Rainbow Continuum student organization and the Pride Center, according to Konrad. . . Queer History Month should also be set apart from Pride month, according to Lucielle S. Balls, a community organizer, drag legend and queen of the beaver 2012. . ." I will have more to say on the history of student drag performances in a future post. (Also see previous post OSU students support drag, gay marriage and anti-gay newspapers (10/25/12))

The student newspaper story also says, "Natalia Fernandez, curator and archivist of the Oregon Multicultural Archives and OSU Queer Archives, works with the OSU archives towards conserving queer history for future generations." She also says, "The OSU Queer Archives is one small part of the broader history of Oregon and of queer history in the United States. Our vision is for OSQA to highlight the stories within the university and its local communities and to also be a reflection of statewide and national issues and themes." Since its establishment in the fall of 2014, OSQA has strived to highlight LGBTQ+ stories already within the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center. The OSQA oral history collection alone has over two dozen interviews and counting. (I'll have more to say about the OSU Oral History Collection in a future post.)

Due to my worsening low vision blindness and disability, I have been unable to meet with Cynthia L. Konrad, director of the OSU Pride Center, as I have done with previous OSU Pride Center directors, however, I recently was able to send her an email request to update the two history pages on the OSU Pride Center website, so that they will both link directly to the OSU Library page that has a link to a PDF copy of my OSU history, instead of these two pages pointing offsite to a webpage that might change or even disappear in the future. Specifically, the two pages are -- "Our History" and -- "Welcome to the Pride Center! About Us" -- only one of the pages links directly to the OSU Library page below:

Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," printed to PDF from in 2010 permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives @ OSU

My history documents the first gay student group at OSU to be formally recognized by OSU administrators, which was formed in 1976 and has been continuously running under different names since then. It focuses on the history of queer students and staff located on the Corvallis Campus of OSU, but it also mentions activities in Corvallis and elsewhere to provide a historical context. It is not meant to be a history of Corvallis as some people have mistakenly thought by reading the short histories on two OSU history pages above.

See previous posts:

The Oregon State University Cultural Resource Centers ( accessed Oct. 23 2017) list the following Centers:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Voters should be wary OSU enrollment can decline as well as grow

headline 'H-P executive predicts 700 new jobs' Gazette-Times Aug. 8, 1974, p. 2

PHOTO: Hewlett-Packard's plans to build a handheld computer research lab and calculator manufacturing plant in Corvallis is described in a newspaper article by John Atkins, "H-P executive predicts 700 new jobs," Gazette-Times Aug. 8, 1974, p. 2. (See previous posts Don't Cali-fornicate Oregon and HP annexation history (6/14/12) and Apple demolishes old HP site in Silicon Valley to build 'spaceship' headquarters (3/17/16))

The local newspaper story by reporter James Day, "Corvallis annexation policies discussed," Corvallis Gazette-Times, Oct. 10, 2017, p. A3 posted Oct. 9, 2017 as "Economic development board backs annexations review", prompted me to write the following letter to the editor on the history of annexation laws in Corvallis, which is the small college town where the main campus of Oregon State University is located:

Some of the proposed changes to the requirement all annexations to Corvallis be approved by voters could reestablish the problems that made taxpayers angry enough to demand it in 1976.

After World War II, Corvallis quickly doubled in size and real estate developers were allowed to profit greatly, while sticking taxpayers with the bill for inadequate public services, such as sewer, water and streets.

It all came to a head in 1975 when Hewlett-Packard built a research lab and manufacturing plant in Corvallis, ironically just a few years before growth stalled out during President Reagan's administration due to high interest rates and declining enrollment at OSU after the Baby Boom Generation graduated.

The recent doubling in OSU enrollment has again led to growth problems in Corvallis, such as the lack of affordable houses, but voters should be wary that enrollment could drop again in the future, and the problems associated with unoccupied dwellings are even worse.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis faces growth issues," Gazette-Times, Oct. 17, 2017, p. A8 posted online as "Corvallis faces issues with growth" also see Link to previous Thomas Kraemer GT Letters)

Over four decades ago, I recall my OSU graduate school thesis advisor, who had lived in Corvallis since the 1940's, complaining about the problems with growth in Corvallis after World War II, and how other citizens actively supported the 1976 annexation law that required all new annexations be approved by voters. In fact, an old boys club of real estate investors were stymied by the new law and they were forced to pay for the costs of growth instead of the public. Even though the City of Corvallis has doubled in population over the last 40 years, developers have been forced to plan their new subdivisions to be compatible with the the city's growth plan. This has led to a much nicer city. The decline in OSU enrollment at OSU in the 1980's led to unoccupied dwellings. I saw how absentee landlords would often leave them to rot or attract sketchy tenants who probably raised the crime rate in sleepy Corvallis. Adding to these problems was a downsizing of Hewlett-Packard before personal computers and inkjet printers sales took off in the late 1980's.