10 Nov

Kitzhaber can deal with his ethics problem, and he has to

The first thing John Kitzhaber needs to do to get ahead of his ethics problem is something he’s already done: Declare that in his second term, Cylvia Hayes’ consulting business will be shut down.

It might not be entirely fair, but at this point the governor’s got problems well beyond fair.

The administration also needs to respond quickly to a pile of document requests from the media. And it would be good if getting to see public records somehow didn’t cost newspapers and TV stations several thousand dollars.

None of this is crippling, or likely to cast a shadow over Kitzhaber’s next term. He has just been re-elected, if by considerably less than seemed likely a month ago. His Democratic Party seems to have increased its control of the legislature, and when the next session starts, Cylvia Hayes won’t be the central issue.

But there are things the governor can do, and different attitudes he could take, that would help his image with Oregonians and cause them to forget this problem a little faster. There’s no evidence Kitzhaber did anything wrong; he shouldn’t act as if he has something to hide.

And soon, Kitzhaber could have a major public relations opportunity:

After all, everyone loves a wedding.

NOTE: This commentary appeared on KGW-TV, 11/8/14

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