The biggest surprise from Tuesday’s recall election? It might be that a prediction from this corner actually came true.

Two weeks ago, I predicted that all five officials on the Hermiston recall ballot would survive the bid to have them removed from office. Prognostication not being my strong suit in recent years, it was nice to actually hit the mark on one.

The second-biggest surprise may be that the vote was so close. Approximately 45 percent of those who cast a ballot wanted change, and the numbers were even closer in a couple of instances. If there’s a message, it’s that the folks who wanted change can no longer be discounted as a “small group of agitators.”  Nearly half the voting populace can not be described as a “small group.”

As for actual change? While the faces may remain the same, it’s already clear the status quo will not prevail. Change has occurred, and it has been positive.

Hermiston has a City Hall that is beginning to listen to its its citizens. Hermiston’s City Hall is beginning to pay attention to what is happening in and around its departments, and will no longer ignore problems until disaster is at the doorstep.

Perhaps most importantly, Hermiston City Hall is actually discussing and debating the issues instead of governing with a rubber stamp. Transparency is becoming part of the process.

Those are positive results.

No doubt, a recall is a harsh way to send a message. It is possible there could have been a kinder, gentler way.

But now, the city can move forward as it continues to assume its role as Eastern Oregon's economic leader — and with that role, Hermiston can carry transparency as a standard.

That is something all citizens should appreciate.

As for the dire predictions of Armageddon made by those who fear change? They did not and will not occur. Hermiston was not ripped asunder by the recall movement. Neither did Hermiston’s economic base crumble. The invisible economic hand still rules, the city’s credit rating will not suffer in the least, institutions seeking to invest in the municipal bond process will continue to do business with Hermiston and the election will have absolutely zero effect on property values.

In short, the doomsday predictions from those who are afraid of government of the people by the people will go the way of the end-of-the-world Mayan calendar predictions — wrong on every count.

Meanwhile, we had to chuckle at the recent letter to the editor from engineer Brad Bogus, sent at the request of the City of Hermiston.

Bogus took great offense at a recent opinion in this space that Pendleton appeared to have the edge when it comes to the two cities’ wastewater treatment plants. Bogus’ claim was that “truth was the loser.”

Let’s see: Bogus admits that “it is true” that Hermiston’s plant will cost significantly more (about $8 million by our count). He admits that our opinion “rightly commends” Pendleton for its green energy elements, and admits that “all membranes have troubles handling fats oil and greases,” but says that’s not a concern.

He also claims that Hermiston’s plant will remove pharmaceuticals at a level equal to Pendleton’s, a claim that Pendleton’s engineers might dispute. (We’ll leave that up to them — maybe they can duel it out with slide rules at high noon.)

And, Bogus hotly contests our assertion that Kennedy Jenks engineers “assured” the city of funding through a Bureau of Reclamation grant. While Kennedy Jenks “did inform the city of this potential program,” he shifts the blame to Congress for not authorizing the program.

But at a January 2011 City Council meeting, Bogus told Herald reporter Luke Hegdal, “It’s one we believe ...  we will get funds from.”

We’ll stand by our opinion and let the city have its Bogus claims.

A couple quick notes on upcoming events:

• Saturday marks the opening of one of the best events around, Hermiston’s Own Saturday Market. It runs from 8:30-noon on Saturdays in the Hermiston Conference Center parking lot. Good food, great locally grown produce and a host of local artisan displays.

• Also Saturday is the Hermiston Airport open house, with fun things for folks of all ages, including free plane rides for kids. It runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

• The Hermiston High School Summer Basketball Hoop Camp opens Monday at HHS for a three-day camp for boys from second through eighth grade. Cost is $70 at the door. Camp runs from 9 a.m.-noon. For more info, contact Adam Strom at

You may have read about the Tumbleweed Toastmasters on these pages before. It’s a group of Hermiston residents who meet regularly to improve their public speaking skills.

Recently, the Toastmasters took a morning to give HHS students Kelly Chappel and Valarie Hines the chance to practice the speeches they will be presenting at future FFA contests. The Toastmasters offered their advice and some hints for the future. A nice service from the club, and one we’re betting will be replicated in the future.

And finally, a hearty round of congratulations to all the high school seniors who have been picking up diplomas in recent days (or will do so in the very near future).

It’s a great, big wonderful world out there. Embrace the challenge.

Know of something we need to be reporting? A piece of news you’d like to see in the Herald? Drop me a note at or call me at 541-564-4533.

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