Editor's note: Like those great old timey radio shows, we're taking the unprecedented step of running the following letter in two installments. If you just can't wait for the dramatic conclusion go to tsweekly.com, Letters. You Luddites will just have to wait another week.
Somewhere in the middle of a big state, the good citizens of a small town have fallen asleep at the wheel and have unknowingly gone back to the future...
"Councilor Meager? This is Dewey Cheatum. You remember me? I head the group of builders and developers who just got your eager butt elected to the city council."
"Oh, yes, hello sir. How can I help you?"
"Well, we seem to have a problem here and I need you to do something about it. You see, in this last election our political action committee - Oregonians Wanting Everything Developed - gave a whole bunch of money to you and 3 other candidates to gain control of our city council. And as you know, while we couldn't pull off the inside straight, we did get 3 of you elected."
"Yes sir. That's right. And I know I speak for Councilors Speckman and Spleene when I say we couldn't have done it without you!"
"You're God damn right you couldn't! But owning 3 councilors out of 7 doesn't really get us anywhere, does it boy? That's why me and the fellas at O.W.E.D. want you and Speckman and Spleene to put that 4th guy we funded on the council too!
"Well, that might be difficult, sir, because ever since your pal Smellfur left for Salem, we've got ourselves a split council, 3 to 3, and it appears we're deadlocked. Speckman, Spleene and I are, of course, supporting your guy, but the other 3 councilors have seen through O.W.E.D.'s plan to stack the council and have dug in their heels behind another candidate - some guy who works for our state's environmental quality office or some nonsense. Me and a few other councilors think we should just flip a coin, pick one, save the city the time and expense of an unnecessary election, and move on."
"Are you crazy, boy? Flip a coin? Leave this whole thing to chance? Listen here son, before me and my developer pals were O.W.E.D., we were called P.A.I.D. - Pour Asphalt In Deschutes - and P.A.I.D. spent thousands and thousands of dollars to control this council! We all didn't get rich by betting on 50-50 odds, do you hear me? If ya like, I'll put it in simple terms... even though P.A.I.D. is now O.W.E.D., P.A.I.D. definitely paid so now O.W.E.D. is definitely owed! You got that, boy? We want that 4th seat!"
"Well, maybe at the next meeting our block of 3 could dig in our heels and refuse to flip a coin, then the city would have to hold a special election in May, and O.W.E.D. could cut more checks, again plaster the town with signs and billboards and buy that 4th seat?"
"Now you're thinking like a good 'ol boy! I like it; leave nothing to chance. But you better make this happen, son! I know you see this council as a stepping-stone to get your eager butt to Salem, and then eventually to take over Smallden's seat in Congress. You're ambitious, I'll give you that, but it's also a fact that you'll never get to where you wanna go without O.W.E.D.'s help! Now, goodbye."
[After the next day's council meeting, where Meager, Speckman and Spleen mysteriously had a change of heart, refused to agree to a coin toss, and now support a special election]
To be continued...
Dean Warner, Bend