Taverns for Candidate Tobias Read
The Beerchaser is at it again, this time with advice for Treasurer Tobias Read.
After eight years when the State should be on a course to crest waves, Oregon has simply been treading water. Now we need strong Gubernatorial leadership - I’m not suggesting by which party, but the candidates should have the skills to pull Oregonians together.
So, I will continue my chronology of the best taverns/breweries for each major candidate to have a meaningful campaign dialogue based on my ten years of visiting Oregon watering holes.
Democrat Tobias Read has impressive education and experience – undergrad at Willamette U and MBA at University of Washington with private sector and legislative experience before becoming State Treasurer for the last eight years.
That said, Read would be inclined to answer the question, “Do you have trouble making decisions?” with the response, “Well, yes and no!?” As Jeff Gudman, his opponent for Treasurer aptly stated, “Tobias Read is Oregon’s self-proclaimed financial navigator who does not navigate.” And based on his actions and statements, Read’s view of the role of Treasurer is not to solve the PERS problem, but just to invest for the best return.
There are two bars that would help Read understand Oregon. The Mad Dog Country Tavern is a wonderful bar in Sawyer’s Landing on Newport’s Yaquina Bay I visited in 2014. Pauline, the cordial bartender told us that her “regulars” are people from the adjoining RV Park, summer tourists and Newport residents – a good group for Tobias to meet because they have diverse interests and economic situations and often feel estranged from the power of State government.
My friend, Matt Love, relates the origin of the name in his Letitpour.net blog account:
“….Years ago, a large log rested in front of the tavern. It had seatbelts attached to it. In some sort of contest, certain patrons would strap themselves in and then proceed to consume a bottle(s) of a particular brand of fortified wine. The “winner” remained sitting upright. Thus Mad Dog Tavern.”
The pickled eggs and Reser’s Hot Mama sausages fermenting, in big jars might offend his sensibilities. However, an oft-quoted Mad Country story about a nearby tough dive bar eight miles east in Toledo perfectly illustrate his equivocation on a crucial timber issue in the area – the Elliot State Forest.
During the 1971 filming of the movie “Sometimes a Great Notion,”
Enter star, Paul Newman carrying a chainsaw, exactly like the hard-ass logger character, Hank Stamper, he happened to be portraying…….Wordless, alone, Newman, who according to various biographies……has at times drank to considerable excess, fired up his chainsaw.
He sawed the legs off the pool table. It crashed to the floor. Stunned logging locals looked on. They did nothing. Newman left, perhaps later sending a check to cover the damage. Perhaps not.”
And this story is a perfect analogy for Tobias “cutting the legs” out on his constituents when he changed his position on the Elliot State Forrest – three times – once while a Legislator and then twice more as Treasurer.
He could finish his bar visits at nearby Hoovers Pub and Grill, just south of Newport on Highway 101. My visit reinforced what I saw earlier at the Mad Dog. A guy’s wife from the RV Park came in with her husband and handed Pauline an envelope with $125 in it. She left and Pauline “fed” it to him over the next 45 minutes until it was gone – a regular routine.
Hoovers was Alice’s Tavern in 1978, but that was after the mini-mart, gas station and petting zoo with a live alligator and black bear were decommissioned. We noticed a sign promoting their jello-shots stating, “Jello isn’t just for kids…,” – something maybe Tobias might relate to.
As we were having a pint, a kid who couldn’t have been eighteen came in and burned through $70 on a video poker machine in no more than 15 minutes. As Matt Love wrote on Letitpour.net:
“In 1991 when the Oregon Legislature directed the Oregon Lottery to allow video poker in taverns and bars…..it was a frenzy. Then in 2005, line games were introduced into Oregon’s taverns and bars…..
Sure, the pool and darts continue, but these taverns are not the same, and I know because I drank beer in them before they were enlisted by the state to raise revenue from the pockets of vulnerable, occasionally inebriated people. What is especially sad is to have witnessed how video poker slowly transformed taverns from gritty bastions of independence into de facto tax collectors for the state….Rest in peace Oregon tavern.”
One also has to ask, what has Read done to mitigate Oregon’s reliance on this regressive and addictive form of tax collection?
Perhaps he should consider the description of former Legislative colleague Mark Hass, who said of Read, “If you play it safe in politics, you won’t make friends and you won’t make enemies and you won’t get anything done. “That’s Tobias.”
Read could consider this while downing a new brew – a Milque Toast IPA – described as “Like Coors Light – Only Without the Body!”
Tobias Read has the credentials and intelligence to make a difference for Oregon. Will interacting with the regulars in these bars and considering their history and ambiance give him and other gubernatorial candidates added insight on how they could make Oregon better? Stay tuned for some additional suggestions.