Monday, May 30, 2016

Prom Night at the Father Concert

Since striking gold in 2014 with his hit song “Wrist.” Atlanta rapper, Father and his collective, Awful Records, have been putting out a solid stream of content and gaining a very loyal cult following. May 28 found Father and four of his Awful cohorts –LuiDiamonds, Keith Charles SpaceBar (KCSB), Abra, and Lord Narf –playing a show at Peter’s Room, a smaller venue located on the ground level of Portland’s Roseland Theater.

Father was at the same venue last August and the differences in that show and the one on Saturday paint a telling picture of an artist with a fanbase in decline.
The August show was packed, the mosh pit was unabating, sweat bled from the walls, a real consummate underground rap show. On May 28 the venue was about half full, 150 people give or take. LuiDiamonds opened, backed by KCSB on the DJ laptop; but it could probably be said that the last minutes of the Warriors vs. Thunder game being shown on the bar TV in the back were more enthralling than his performance.

The most noticeable thing about the show was its conciseness, it was billed to start at 8:00 and it ended around 9:40. There were no obnoxious gaps between sets, no calls from some local DJ to, “Yell as loud as you can if you want to see Father.” It was a refreshing break from the status-quo at rap shows, but at the same time it felt like an affront to tradition. Not that most of the show goers would have had much of a sense of  tradition.

The median age at the August show was 20, young, but to be expected. The May 28 show median age was closer to around 16, and for many of them this could have plausibly been their first show experience. This includes the dozens of 16-year-old girls up front who would reach out to Father and stroke his stomach like nymphet sirens of the sweaty sea; maybe the concentration of high school girls was why there were no moshing this time around.

In general things were low energy unless Father played some of his bigger hits like, “Wrist” or “Everybody In The Club Gettin Shot.” And even then it was prompted by KCSB throwing water into the crowd or jumping around on stage. At its apex the most wild the crowd got was some rowdy bouncing, just think “8 Mile.”

A standout moment came during the chorus of “Why Don’t U”, with Abra on vocals chanting, “Why don’t you love me, Daddy?” Looking around at the crowd chanting back, it was the most Lolita-esque moment of maybe any show ever.

This didn't go unnoticed by the performers. At one point, Lord Narf told the crowd, “Wow ya’ll really need to turn up a little more.” Father seemed to expect this energy level at this point though, just replying. “Nah, ya’ll are lit, I feel it.”

Weirdly enough the energy level actually seemed to increase after Father left the stage. During his last song some girls of questionable age jumped on stage and started dancing; the security guy was either asleep or going to the bathroom because by the end of his last song there were about eight of these girls on stage.

Father said goodbye and walked off stage, then things got out of hand pretty quickly; in the blink of an eye half the crowd was on stage surrounding KCSB, who had gone from show DJ to party DJ in the span of about 30 seconds and was loving it. Imagine the most salacious Sadie Hawkins dance of all time.

With all the young girls on stage, a mosh pit did actually start back on the floor; it was easily the most rowdy the atmosphere had been all night.

And it all happened while Father was already relaxing in the tour bus.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Coloring Book

Despite never signing to a label, Chance the Rapper has been a household name in rap since dropping the mixtape “Acidrap” in 2013. The upbeat tape was a musical interpretation of what it meant to be young in Chicago. During the summer, it was one of the most memorable, well-written, and wholly unique mixtape's released in recent memory.

In the time since “Acidrap” Chance has gone on multiple tours, had a child, married, given back to his hometown via initiatives to give needy Chicago youth coats in the winter, and hosted open mic nights in the spring.

The strides he’s made as a human in this time are apparent in “Coloring Book,” an album stuffed full of nostalgic reflection on a childhood spent in Chicago, and an affirmation of his growth as a man through fatherhood and an ever strengthening belief in God.

The song “How Great” starts off with a minute and a half of pure gospel music with the refrain, “How great is our God” and when Chance’s verse finally starts he keeps with the theme, rapping about his religion with his signature tongue twisting clever bars.

Chace’s spiritual maturation isn’t the only theme of the album. He talks about his faith growing parallel with his personal development as a family man, it’s evident on the stand-out track “Blessings.”

“Jesus' black life ain't matter, I know I talked to his daddy/Said you the man of the house now, look out for your family/He has ordered my steps, gave me a sword with a crest/And gave Donnie a trumpet in case I get shortness of breath”

“Donnie” refers to Nico Segal, aka Donnie Trumpet, Chance’s childhood friend and trumpet virtuoso whose fingerprints are all over this album, a limber trumpet dancing in and out of Chance’s ephemeral sing-song flow.  

Actually, Chance’s whole childhood is all over this album.

It's a aggressively emotional and personal album, the New Yorker calls it, "A showcase for its creator’s preternatural understanding of the elements that make up a mood."

Songs like “Summer Friends”, “Juke Jam”, and “Same Drugs” are drenched in nostalgia, a meditation on the innocence of youth, and what it means to grow up young, black, and in Chicago. Chance is a father and husband at 23. He’s not upset at growing up, just shocked by it. In a recent interview with Complex he said, "I’m definitely more awake and understanding of the world and its functions now that I am a father."

While quiet moments pervade throughout the album, the songs that most people will remember are those with the highly charged, positive, braggadocio lyrics like “Angels", where he boasts, “I’m the blueprint for a real man.” The song itself is a victory lap around Chicago; those ever-present gospel samples meshing with Donnie Trumpet’s melodic blasts of energy, and Chance’s exuberant inflection making this the most infectious song on the album. Seriously, try listening to this without tapping your foot, bobbing your head, or just smiling.

Chance's allegiance to Chicago is obvious, and Chicago's allegiance to him is just as strong. On a recent episode of the podcast, No Jumper, host Adam Grandmaison said he thought the album was. "Chance's way of letting everyone know he was the next Kanye."

A lack of cohesiveness between tracks keeps this project from reaching the levels of awesome that "Acidrap" did. Chance tries a lot of things; every song on is good standing alone, but put in succession they are disorienting

The production switches from 808 machines and synths to organic sounds of gospel, trumpet, and piano almost randomly. The best example of this is “All Night,” but does its summer evening electro vibe fit into the album?

Luckily this is a minor complaint. All-in-all, “Coloring Book” is the best rap release of the year, and a promise that Chance will be around for a long time to come.

4.5/5 Stars

At a Glance

-Watch Chance's latest video for song "No Problem" Ft. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne. The video also has cameos by rap icons DJ Khaled and Young Thug.

-"Coloring Book" is free!!

-Listen to Chance's verse on Kanye's song "Ultralight Beam"

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Talking to Strangers (Online)

Title:Talking to Strangers
LBCC student Abe Richmond looks at his laptop in the courtyard. 

By my junior year of high school, I had gotten pretty deep into something.

It was, on the surface, a pretty straightforward thing. I had joined a twitter “follow-chain” from a forum centered on hip-hop. Basically everyone on the forum was given a hashtag to use, if they wanted to, By searching this hashtag on Twitter we could all follow each other.

To this day I’m not entirely sure why I did this; maybe I wanted more people to discuss the music I listened to with, but the more likely scenario is just that I wanted more followers. 

It's now clear that as the way we communicate becomes increasingly synchronized with the internet we are going to see more and more people who are not only products of where they spend their time and energy in real life, but online as well. And, despite what your technophobic aunt might tell you, is not necessarily a bad thing.
I found that some of these people, these complete internet strangers, had more in common with me than most people I talked to on a day to day basis. Some people formed group messages. When the right people were in them, some of these group messages led to the most deep and rewarding conversations I had ever had. This led to friendships. Communities.

Like minded people discussing things they were passionate about, or venting about their day. Topics went from insanely trivial to almost overwhelmingly weighty.

I know I’m not alone in this, all across the younger generation people are having the same experience. Growing up with the internet we, or at least I, conceptualize it differently. It’s seen as a place just as real as the physical world we live in, just another place to grow up in. 

This separate place to grow up in, along with wherever you happen to live, is affecting our generation more than might first be apparent.

Connor Kearns is a student at LBCC who is active in the Hip Hop Heads community on Twitter.
He said without his experience connecting to the more diverse array of cultures online, “I would be very close-minded. The Internet allows me to readily see other points of view that I wouldn't get otherwise. I wouldn't know anything about the world outside of Albany… Being constantly bombarded by opinions lets me step outside of my ego and connect more with humanity as a whole.”

Online communities have given him a perspective that he would have had no chance of getting in a world where the internet didn’t exist.

It’s ironic that some people correlate online communication with a decline in empathy, because as Kearns said, “I wouldn't have become a fan of rap, or been around for BLM (Black Lives Matter), which have both helped me empathize with people of color,  and see the corruption that's rampant in our government and police forces.”

Sydney Roberts reports the same thing, we were friends (in real life) in high school, but she’s since left Albany to go to college at Duke. While there she’s been involved in radical leftist activist movements, including a week long sit-in in a Duke administration building.

In a world where she didn't have access to the internet, especially the resources found in online social justice communities, Roberts probably would be a completely different person.

She said, “If not for the internet I would have probably been a moderate democrat. We now have access to things like Malcolm X’s biography and all these really informative leftist thinkers… Before, if you weren’t living in a metropolitan community, the access you had to things was so limited. People can go out and seek information they haven't been able to seek before.”

Both Kearns and Roberts have had experiences online that I absolutely can confirm as true. And not small, insignificant experiences either. Their internet activity has changed the way they’ve grown up, shaped what kind of humans they are now, permanently shifted the course of their lives.

I met a guy named Joey Molina online too, even though we’ve never met I’d consider him a good friend.

As of right now he is a producer with 11,000 followers on Soundcloud. Normally a pretty shy person, he talks about the internet, specifically the DIY community based around making and sharing music, as being one of the best things that’s ever happened to him.

“I would be a lot less confident with myself because I feel like my music success directly helped with my self esteem. It made me feel like I mattered to people and pleased them non directly in a way I wish I could do in real life but didn't know how,” He said.

And, according to Molina, it changed more than just the way he looked at music, “It helped my confidence and that just led to me being a bigger person in general”

I have my story, and the stories of others to corroborate this. And they a give a little peak into the internet subculture that has come to represent such large swaths of youth. Whether it's learning about different cultures, gaining confidence in their art, or simply having the tools to learn about the things you’re passionate about, it’s pretty clear to me that the internet has blown the old restraints way off.

At A Glance
-Tied to the evolution of the internet is the evolution of memes, an interesting concept on it's own
-Many people I talked to mentioned depression as one of the reasons they went online to find common interests. This is actually growing trend.
-Get to know Connor Kearns Joey Molina and Sydney Roberts by following them on Twitter, if you want.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Profile: Dr. Steven Ballinger

Ballinger (right) poses with former bandmate Eugene Robinson in 2016

In Dr. Steven Ballinger's favorite room the walls are lined with electric guitars. An amp sits in the corner opposite the door. The atmosphere is a couple candles away from a flat out music shrine. Most of the guitars are handmade by Ballinger, and the room is the culmination of hours of hard work.

Guitars aren’t his only specialty, the dining room table is his craftsmanship too. Paintings hang on the wall in the same room, courtesy of Ballinger. And guess who designed the elaborate fence lining the Japanese garden that the Ballinger family calls a backyard?

Standing well above six-feet, with a build of an ex-Stanford football player (which he was), “medical professional” isn’t the first label that pops into your head.

Maybe we shouldn’t be putting a label on him.

In 1981 you could find Ballinger sporting a gnarly mohawk while touring across America as lead guitarist of the punk band “Whipping Boy.” The first song on their debut album was called “America Must Die”; an onstage fist fight with “The Misfits” might be their most infamous moment.

So, not the background of your average M.D.

Today, Ballinger’s average work day consists of either performing surgery or consulting with patients. He’s an orthopedic surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital. He’s been a surgeon, or at least a surgeon in training, since 1985 after leaving Whipping Boy to go to medical school.

The move was prompted partly by a negative shift in the San Francisco scene, "Everyone wanted you to conform politically, to be anti-government to be anti-everything... there was no good person in the government. And it began to be more codified. Like, you have to be for Greenpeace but agaisnt Earth Now. It was like church." he said.

Maturity had a much bigger impact than the increasingly polarizing culture, however.  After growing older and having a child, Ballinger no longer felt comfortable with some of the thematic elements that were seen as necessary in the punk subculture. The angst, the blind anger, and the overt calls for revolution didn't motivate him. 

He remembers thinking, "These people, the passionate communists and anarchists, they were really out of touch with the rest of the world. They might not be doing so great but most of the world was actually doing really well at the time, and when things are prosperous there isn't going to be much of a revolution. It means you're going to get maybe 200 guys to show up with slingshots and thats not a revolution."

The last album Whipping Boy would release with Ballinger on guitar, "Third Secret of Fatima", addressed all these issues. It was a bit of a dissertation on the toxicity and regression of San Francisco punk.

He cites a song from Whipping Boy's first album "The Sound of No Hands Clapping" where the lyrics are focused hating your parents on wanting them to be dead; it's called  Parent Trouble. "That''s just embarrassing now, I wanted my music to evolve with me," he said. 

Not everyone thought these changes were for the better; one of the biggest detractors of the new direction was Jello Biafra, front man of the Dead Kennedys.

 Remembering a conversation he had with Biafra shortly after the release Ballinger says, "I talked to Jello and walked him though it, and he said 'I hate this, these songs are shit what are these songs about? You guys used to write anti-government stuff.'" 

Ballinger's response? "It got kind of boring, man." 

"I would love to have a long term music career but I don't want to be a 55 year old guy standing on stage screaming America Must Die," he said. 

This love of music never really left, even if Ballinger left the scene. There’s a guitar in his office. Sometimes, in the couple minutes between seeing patients he’ll take it out and play a couple chords, parts of favorite songs.

It’s not just the music that’s stuck with Ballinger, but the attitude as well, the positive parts of the radical San Francisco counterculture changed his life outlook profoundly.

“I’d always been very self conscious and very concerned...I wanted to do the right thing, but It was very important to me that I didn’t offend anybody, that no one say, ‘Oh, Ballinger’s an asshole or he’s a jerk’,” he said.

Luckily, this wasn’t the case for long.

“After being in a punk band and looking how I did and doing the things I did, I didn’t care very much anymore,” said Ballinger.

This new attitude is evident in the life Ballinger now leads, a life he loves.

“I don’t think I could just do a job where I just moved a paper from one side of a desk to the other. I need to know that I’m making an impact on the world,” said Ballinger.

This philosophy goes wider than just his work; Ballinger is a consummate family man as well. He currently lives with his wife and step-son, with another step-son who recently moved out to Oregon State University. He’s made such a huge impact on their lives that the oldest step-son, formerly Ryan Lynch, recently changed his name to Ryan Ballinger.

“I wanted to honor the man that helped me turn into the great person I've become,” said Ryan.

According to Ballinger, one of the biggest perks of the “punk” mindset Ballinger has carried with him from the 80's has been the amount of time freed up by not feeling pressure to conform to the people around him.

He says his decision, the choice to only do things that he wanted to do, was one of the biggest turning points in his life.

“It was life changing for me. And it’s not that I don't do unpleasant things, I do them all the time, but I do unpleasant things that I want to do,” said Ballinger. “But if I think ‘Okay, this does not do anything for me or my world or the world or anything that I care about then I’m not gonna do it.’ And that freed up a lot of time for me.”

He uses this time engaging in an incredible amount of hobbies, things like woodworking or painting that he learned from his father. The latest project is building a bed frame; the wood, a very specific mahogany-type, from Africa.

You can count Taylor Johnson, an artist at LBCC, as one of the people Ballinger has influenced.

“[Ballinger is] the most well-rounded person I’ve ever met really. I mean he once made an old-style musical instrument out of a gourd. He’s a surgeon, he’s really smart, his artistic talents with crafting, and painting, his skills are all just really good,” said Johnson.

At the end of the day, Ballinger loves his job, loves his family, loves his life, and probably doesn’t give a shit about what you think of him. What’s more punk than that?


-Ballinger credits his woodworking, welding, and painting skills to his father, who is an engineer.

-Eugene Robinson, lead singer of Whipping Boy, now is frontman of the avant garde rock band, Oxbow.

-Ballinger got his Medical Degree at the University of California, Irvine and has been practicing orthopedic surgery either privately or for Good Samaritan hospital for over 20 years.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Lil Uzi Vert vs The World Review

Title: Lil Uzi Vert Takes Over the World
Deck: A Review of rapper Lil Uzi Vert's New Mixtape "Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World"

Every time Lil Uzi Vert says the word “Yeah” I get a little giddy inside. It’s this weird, digitized shout of enthusiasm; the sound Lil Uzi would make if you chose him in the Mario Kart select character menu. The ad-lib version of cartoon citrus fruit with diamond grills. This is Uzi’s style; some call it weirdo rap, some call it just plain weird, Vice magazine called it the future of rap.

 This seamless blend of zeal, nerd culture, and gangster rap braggadocio has propelled the 21-year old rapper from relative obscurity and into the hip-hop spotlight, as one of the genre’s brightest and most innovative young stars. And, according to him, he’s only been rapping for about two years.

The Philadelphia-born rapper (who has since moved to Atlanta) just released a surprise mixtape, the nine-track long,  “Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World.” It’s his first project since the album, “LUV is Rage,” dropped in January 2015 and elevated Uzi into national fame via internet buzz. While not as cohesive or long as “LUV,”  “Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World” (An allusion to the comic book series turned motion picture, "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World") is very solid in it’s own right, and does not disappoint.

It’s a mixtape about celebration and reflection, often at the same time, looking back at his rise to fame. On Money Longer, an almost sure club hit, Uzi sings the chorus, “Nowadays I am on, my haters got sadder/Money got longer, speaker got louder, car got faster/Turn to a savage, pocket got fatter, she call me daddy”

This focus on fame comes from an inevitably self-aware youth perspective. He sees his 21-years on Earth as both a gift and a curse, reveling in his youth on tracks like "Hi Roller", “I’m so young I could fuck on your niece.”

But, just two tracks later on “Grab the Wheel,” he seems insecure in his youth, sing-rapping, “I don’t know / Look, I’m only 21 I don't know / I don’t know.”

His youth is one of five topics that make up the central themes of this tape, the other four being money, women, designer fashion, and nerd culture. No, this isn’t a tape for the backpackers of hip-hop; anyone looking for a revitalization of the hyper-conscious underground movement should look elsewhere. Uzi couldn't be more up-front about his either, when asked what the secret to his success was he replied, "I just stopped thinking."

 Above all else, this is music meant to be played in clubs, cars, and live, in the rabid atmosphere of a sold-out venue. Although his lyrics are at times clever and even funny, it’s not a tape designed for contemplation. It’s meant to be fun.

Anyone listening can tell just how much fun Lil Uzi is having. He’s young, famous, and in love with his girlfriend just as much as he is with his life. The first song, "Canadian Goose", is a prime example. The first words you hear on this tape come at you in a pitched up auto tune radiating energy, “Wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, smack my bitch ass, damn.”  Then compares his girlfriend, Brittany, to a rare Pokemon, saying “I just caught me a Mewtwo.” This is ridiculous; it’s not real life, it’s the arcade version of a song. It’s fantastic.

His obsession with high fashion is almost a caricature. In just the song “Hi Roller,” Uzi mentions, Yeezy (Kanye West), Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Phillip Lim, Maison Goyard, and Gucci. Again, it’s not just his extensive knowledge of designer brands that stands out, but the fact that he throws out these brands on the same song with lines like, “
“I am not from this Earth, like Invader Zim” and “Everyday adventure time, feel like I’m Finn.” Referring to both of the popular cartoon series’ Invader Zim, and Adventure Time.

The tape is backed  by an absolutely phenomenal group of producers, Metro Boomin, DJ Don Cannon, Wondagirl, and Maaly Raw, all of whom except for Maaly Raw are established stars in the hip-hop production world. They offer up a great selection of beats, almost all of which fit Lil Uzi Vert tackles perfectly. Whether sparring with the frenetic snares of "Canadian Goose", hypnotically riding the synth waves of "You Was Right," or moaning out his version of a love song over the mushy codeine rhythms of "Scott and Ramona"6 (another Scott Pilgrim reference), Uzi Vert and the beats feel like a perfect fit.

Looking at Lil Uzi Vert, you might be tempted to say he’s not like other rappers. It might be his diminutive stature (just over five feet), his short purple dreadlocks, or his affinity for anime and nerd culture; the man has a music video set to a compilation of anime fights. You might say it’s his strange delivery, switching between a slow slurred, lean influenced, autotune drawl, to quick shouting bursts reminiscent of the Uzi in his name.

You might be tempted to say all this, but you’d be wrong.

Uzi is much more a product of the last five years of rap than his is an organic break from the status quo. He’s the natural evolution of the internet takeover of hip-hop; a blend of places, styles, and influences, made possible by the way music and information has become distributed and accessed in the Internet age. “Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World” makes this more clear than ever before.


-Lil Uzi Vert is going on tour with Kodak Black 
-"Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World" is available to download for free on DatPiff
-The New York Times recently reviewed a Lil Uzi Vert show

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Albany Mayor Talks Pot

Over two years ago Oregon voters passed measure 91, legalizing the sale and use of recreational marijuana throughout the state.

Despite this, the sale of recreational marijuana is still illegal in 101 Oregon cities.

Measure 91 allows for City Councils to veto the law and place an indefinite ban on recreational sales; councils are also able to put a temporary ban in place and allow the community to vote again in the November elections. Either way, there are 101 cities in Oregon where no one is allowed to sell recreational marijuana.

While each city’s reasoning for maintaining the ban is slightly different, there are a few concerns that are universal.

City Council members are worried marijuana will affect the safety of the community, they have moral objections to the consumption of marijuana, they object to the technical breaking of federal law, and most are councils from smaller towns with traditional views.

Out of the 101 cities who have banned recreational marijuana, all but three have a population below 30,000.

Albany is one of the three.

As Mayor of Albany, Sharon Konopa has had a major role in the decisions made regarding the sale of both medical and recreational marijuana. She broke the 3-3 tie in council to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Albany. Over the course of an interview, it became clear that her opinions on recreational marijuana are murkier.

Konopa is about as straight edge as they come.

“I’ve never had a cigarette in my mouth, I don’t drink; none of that,” said Konopa.  

But she insists she doesn't want her lifestyle to restrict the freedoms of others.

“It’s somebody’s choice in life, what they want to do,” said Konopa.

Even with her view on medical, Konopa supports the 4-2 Dec. 15 decision to ban the sale of recreational marijuana until the general vote in November. She cites the contentious Albany vote on Measure 91 as reason to enforce ban.

“[Measure 91] was passed by the voters, but in Albany it only passed by 398 votes,” said Konopa. “So when you have a town of almost 52,000, it creates a divided community. I heard from many people for it, and I heard from many people against it. The state allowed that we could go back out to the voters in November so we just went that route.”

She sees the vote as a toss up, a vote that could have gone either way, and feels that voters needed more time to cool down and think things over.

“Of the ones that testified, about 30 percentdidn't live in Albany,” said Konopa.“Every one of them were dispensary owners.”

Konopa believes a lot of the dissatisfaction could have had to do with a misunderstanding of the intent of Measure 91.

“They [Town Hall participants] didn't understand that what passed was the state was going to establish rules, and we’re only following the rules that the state established, “said Konopa.  “A lot of them didn't want to accept that the rules were we could go back out to the voters if the city council wanted to, and we could ban it from going back to the voters.”

Each city council has legal rights to continue to enforce a recreational marijuana ban as long as they feel fit. The decision required some proactive action by the council in order for the ordinance (OR. 5862) to be put in place. If they were to take no action at all, the default result would have been the legalization of the sale of recreational marijuana.

The Council voted to sign and return a form called the “Local Option Opt-Out.” It would provide the OLCC a copy of their ordinance, and stop recreational marijuana sales.

It was a perfectly legal action taken in conjunction with State law.

Konopa met with every dispensary owner who requested a meeting and discussed the topic for as long as two hours.

According to Konopa, some of these conversations were just as unpleasant as the Town Halls, she remembers it was “very difficult having a conversation.”

One phone call stood out to her.

“[The dispensary owner] kept going back and saying, “the voters voted on it,” said Konopa. ”He just kept going on and on, and yelling and yelling, and I finally got off the phone and I realized wow, he was high on marijuana. It's not easy to discuss an issue with someone when they're high on marijuana and they don’t see that. They don't realize what their behavior’s like,” said Konopa.

Her opinion of marijuana use comes from her understanding of the plant as something intrinsically worse than alcohol.

“It wasn’t that the council said to ban permanently; it was only to ban temporarily, and let the voters have a second look,” said Konopa.

The Council could have agreed with the State of Oregon, the majority of cities in it, and the slight majority of Albany voters, by legalizing recreational marijuana and still holding a general election in November.

They chose not to.

In any issue as closely contested as recreational marijuana is in Albany, tempers can begin to flare; the period of public hearings before the vote in Dec. was no exception. Konopa feels that the supporters of recreational marijuana were disporporantly ill-behaved.

“I’ve been in public service for 20 years, and I've never seen so much disrespect for the public meeting process as when we had those hearings over marijuana,” said Konopa.

She cites a Sept. 23 meeting as especially bad.

“These people were just mad; and they were just being abusive, and so disruptive, and had no regards for the public meeting process, said Konopa.“That for me was very disheartening.”

Not only were they out of order, but almost a third of attendants at the Town Hall meetings weren’t even from Albany.

Ray Kopczynski and Dick Olsen were the two “No” votes on the banning ordinance.

Konopa said, “They saw nothing wrong with Marijuana at all, they just think it should just be allowed like alcohol. They didn't see anything wrong with it.”

According to voting record, neither did the majority of voters in Albany.

In November citizens of Albany will finally have a chance to repeal the ban via voting. But what will actually happen? There’s no way to be sure; not even Konopa has any idea.

“I just don't know [if the ordinance will pass].  At first I kept thinking, over time, it might not pass.
I think that 400 person swing could go back to banning, it just all depends. But some of the people that maybe were adamant against it before, they might say, ‘Oh well I don’t see any issues now,’ and they might approve it,” said Konopa.

But, she says, one thing is certain about the November vote; it will require an active interest in the democratic process to be shown by the younger generation. In order to secure the ability to purchase and sell recreational marijuana, 18-24 year olds must make their voices heard.

“It's going to take the younger population to go out and vote. If they want the marijuana they’re going to have to be out there and do some voting, because those seniors are going to be voting no,” said Konopa.