“If we kill all the owls, for example, someday we’ll be up to our ribcages in mice. Nobody seems to relish the thought.”--Address by Tom McCall to the Natural Resources Defense Council, New York City, October 30, 1975.
“I really care about this world. And I understand—as all Americans can or will—that man’s problems are made by man and can be solved by him. We can be roused from our pouting. Man is not all evil; life is not all pointless; the future has not yet been written. We are writing in now, and I hope what we write is a story of love.”--Tom McCall, addressing a land use conference in Denver, May 20, 1975.
Compassion and Vision
Just when I think I've learned everything to know about Tom McCall, something new and wonderful comes along. In the fall of 1958, Tom became chair of an eight-person committee that helped craft a pioneering package of legislation to improve living and working conditions for migrant workers in the state. There had been no federal action at the time, and only a few states had acted, but none went as far as the package that was approved by the 1959 Legislature. The Edward R. Murrow documentary, "Harvest of Shame," which aired in November, 1960, is widely credited as the first piece to bring the plight of migrant workers before the larger public. Once again this man demonstrated his true vision and his genuine compassion for the underdog.--Bill Hall
Oregon's Third District Congressman, Earl Blumenauer, counts Tom McCall among his mentors: http://earlblumenauer.com/2013/04/03/memories-tom-mccall
From oregonlive.com: Published On April 3, 1975 -- Former Gov. Tom McCall and student secretary Janice Peterson walked to his first class as political science professor Wednesday at Oregon State University. McCall will also teach journalism seminar on public affairs. McCall, who would have turned 100 on March 22nd, was the Republican governor of Oregon for two terms from 1967 to 1975. Oregonian file photo.
Studs Terkel on Tom
"There was something goofily, marvelously Lincolnesque about him. More than a governor, he would have been an ideal candidate for president — what a wonderful one he would have been."
-- Studs Terkel on Tom McCall
The board of directors of the Tom McCall Legacy Project have decided to postpone the Tom McCall Festival, originally announced for 2014, to 2015. Lisa Nowak, board president, said the group is focusing its energies on qualifying a measure to designate the former governor’s birthday as Tom McCall Day on the November 2014 ballot. “We’re a small group,” Nowak said, “and although there’s been a lot of enthusiasm for the concept of the festival, it just proved to be too big a project to pull off successfully in the time frame we had allowed ourselves.” The Tom McCall Legacy Project will continue its broader fundraising, education and outreach efforts, in addition to promoting the petition campaign.
An Act of Caring
This letter appeared in The Oregonian Nov. 3, 1982, two months before Tom McCall's passing: "My 15-year-old daughter, Elena, was struck by an automobile and suffered multiple fractures of the leg and pelvis. She will be confined in the hospital for many weeks. However, a great humanitarian who also is extremely ill, took time to send her a card and a box of candy. Former Gov. Tom McCall could see beyond his own suffering and make a younger very happy. She will never forget his kindness, and neither will I. I now fully understand why the people of Oregon have the same respect for McCall that his fellow governors had for him when he served in that office.--David F. Cargo, Portland
It’s hard to disagree with a newspaper editorial when it’s generally positive to your viewpoint, but I have to register a respectful dissent to the Bend Bulletin’s editorial this past week opposing our group’s effort to put the proposal for Tom McCall Day on the ballot. They agree that McCall was an influential Oregonian and very well may deserve a day in his honor, but this isn’t the way to do it, because the ballot “provide(s) a place for Oregonians to decide important questions about life in Oregon. It’s where voters have rejected moves to restrict abortions and approved others to raise income taxes, for example. Adding a memorial petition to the mix ignores the seriousness of the whole process.” To the contrary, I would declare that raising awareness of the need for and value of civic engagement is the bedrock on which our democracy is built. Tom McCall was an eloquent and visionary leader, but if this was all about memorializing him and Oregon’s past, then I wouldn’t be putting the time in energy into it than I am. Tom had a memorable way with words, and a statement he made near the end of his life in an interview with Studs Terkel sums up what our effort is all about. He said, “Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say ‘This is my community, and it’s my responsibility to make it better.’” Encouraging more Oregonians to make that declaration is indeed worthy of a line on next November’s ballot.--Bill Hall
The Tom McCall Legacy Project
— Saying thanks to Tom McCall by paying it forward to Oregon.
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