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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Local politics - jail should be built with record low bond interest rates

Tom's FBI fingerprints in collage - Old Dell PC (top) replaced by HP workstation

PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) my scrapbook collage seen in the background of this photo includes a copy of my fingerprints that were taken by the FBI in order to obtain the U.S. Navy's top secret security clearance. (See middle right of collage and previous post Still alive after 'upgrade' to Windows 7 HP Workstation and Dream Color Monitor (1/26/14))

Tours of the existing Corvallis, Oregon Benton County jail are being offered as part of a local political campaign to get voter approval for a new jail. (See newspaper article by Bennett Hall, "Tours offer inside look at jail," posted Jul. 28, 2014, which says, "The Benton County Jail was built in 1976, replacing a facility that dated from 1929. It had room for 27 inmates and was intended as a stopgap measure, designed to last only until the state built a system of regional jails.")

Reading the above newspaper article brought back old memories that I shared in a letter to the editor supporting the new jail:

In 1977, Oregon State University administrators directed me to the then new Benton County jail for fingerprinting by the FBI so that I could obtain the U.S. Navy's top secret security clearance required to be employed as a graduate research assistant on my thesis advisor's project concerning digital sonar signal processing.

Amusingly, to enter the jail I had to ring a doorbell on its blank concrete sidewall and was greeted by a surprised jailer asking me why I wanted in!

The jail looked shoddily built, even when it was new.

Delaying construction of a new jail will likely cost taxpayers more money because historically low interest rates are expected to rise on government bonds issued to build it.

Coincidentally, many Corvallis retirees might buy these new-issue bonds to receive double tax-free income that is fairly safe from default.

Thomas Kraemer, Corvallis

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: After all these years, it finally might be time to build a new jail," Gazette-Times, July 30, 2014, p. A9)

Critics of the new jail like to point out that jail officials have been very secretive concerning how many beds are actually needed. For example, see the letter by C. Hollis Jackson, "Letter: No one has yet offered any real justification for a new jail," posted July 24, 2014.

A more liberal and humanitarian perspective was given to support the jail in a letter by Max Mania, "Letter: Tour was an eye-opener about the need for a new county jail," posted Jul. 23, 2014.