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"Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss'd to me

I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door."

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Hundreds of Oregon Corporations Escape the Minimum Tax

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

FDR, 2nd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1937

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A Just Peace

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SIP contract online

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Middle East friendship chart

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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- Intel tax abatements

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry

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Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks

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"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  

 

RAD'S

WEBSITE PICKS: 


 

  • An Independent View

Oregon Outpost

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:

Realclearpolitics

  • Jim Hightower:   

Jimhightower.com

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column

Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 


Hard Times in Oregon: 

Hardtimes

The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


  

      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   

 

 

    

    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People

http://www.npr.org


 Homelessness

    Connecting the dots between homelessness & hunger in Oregon and Washington County: 

Homelessness:  

•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.

Hunger:

•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

     In Washington County, Oregon's "economic engine," the divide between the affluent and the working poor continues.  We have a 19,000 unit gap in affordable low income rental housing.  County political and business leaders are indifferent to this crisis...   


A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  

 

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison

 

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it. 

- Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

There are 42 housing units for every 100 low income families in Oregon

Housing Needs in Oregon 

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#1445: Tommy, Riposa in Pace

requiescat in pace

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"There are men who believe that democracy... is limited or measured by a kind of mystical and artificial fate [and that] tyranny and slavery have become the surging wave of the future..." 

FDR, 3rd Inaugural Address, Jan 20, 1941

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Obamacare is working in Oregon!

Oregon's uninsurance rate cut more than half following federal health reforms

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Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel

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Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 

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Sign the petition ►

Walgreens - pay your fair share of taxes!

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha  

Intel failed to report fluoride emissions for almost 30 years   

     Why do Intel employees who are house hunting in Hillsboro, Aloha or Beaverton refer to an area within a 5 mile radius of Intel plants as "the dead zone?"  

      Do they know something we don't?  QuestionIntel.com  We couldn't trust banks "too big to fail," so why should we trust Intel?

Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw

 

BLOGS:

From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman - The New York Times

Democracy Now
democracynow.org

The Daily Kos

dailykos.com

Blue Oregon

blueoregon.com

 

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 

 


    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001


    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 

americanobserver

    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   

GarrisonKeillor

 

     Garrison Keillor - "...The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a fount of wisdom... but when you consider...  moon-faced Mitch McConnell, your faith in democracy is challenged severely. Any legislative body in which 41 senators from rural states that together represent 10 percent of the population can filibuster you to death is going to be flat-footed, on the verge of paralysis, no matter what. Any time 10 percent of the people can stop 90 percent, it's like driving a bus with a brake pedal for each passenger. That's why Congress has a public approval rating of [11] percent...." 


"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams

 

"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  

 

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 

 

"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals

 

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  

 

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?'

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" 

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921)

 

"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11


"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”  

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."

- Abraham Lincoln

 

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

 

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..."

- Edmund Burke 

 

“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”

- Jonathan Swift

 

" Every satirist who drew breath has flung pots of ink at this parade of tooting lummoxes and here it is come round again, marching down Main Street, rallying to the cause of William McKinley, hail, hail, the gang’s all here, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay."

- Garrison Keillor


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Sunday
Feb072016

INTEL TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY GNA...  

     EDITOR'S NOTE:  As chair of WCCAN and a member of the AQAC I was pleased to see Mike Rogoway’s article about the GNA in Wednesday’s Oregonian/Argus.

     After reading about the reports of cadmium and arsenic exposure in inner SE Portland I was not surprised to find after the USFS reported its findings it took DEQ 8 months to report these findings to the public.  

     RAD:  This underscores why our GNA with Intel is critical.  The public health is too important to leave to DEQ!

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from Oregonian/Argus -  Mike Rogoway, Feb. 1, 2016

     Oregon regulators granted Intel an air quality permit for its Washington County manufacturing operations last week, a permit sidetracked in the fall of 2013 over revelations the chipmaker had been emitting fluoride for 25 years without disclosing it.

     No evidence emerged that the fluoride emissions posed a health risk, but Intel's failure to disclose the fluoride emissions worried neighbors and outraged environmentalists. Intel apologized for the problem and spent months negotiating with regulators and neighbors to win a new permit.

     The company ultimately paid a $143,000 fine and reached a settlement with environmental groups that had threatened to sue.

     Though Intel's headquarters are in Santa Clara, California, the company's manufacturing group is based in Hillsboro and the company crafts each new generation of microprocessors at its Ronler Acres campus south of Hillsboro Stadium. The company is wrapping up construction on a pair of massive new research factories, collectively known as D1X.

     Under terms of the settlement, Intel conducted an "air quality risk assessment" that inventories all pollutants from its factories. That assessment, completed in November, is now available online.

     Intel also agreed to third-party monitoring of air quality near its factories, last month, reached a "Good Neighbor Agreement" with nearby residents that outlines terms of future emissions monitoring, emissions levels and dispute resolution.

     With those steps complete, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a permit to Intel on January 22. The company declined comment but Mary Peveto, founder of Neighbors for Clean Air, called the result a major win for neighbors.

     Intel emissions may not be harmless, Peveto said, but they will be limited and cataloged so people know what they're breathing.  "The risks that Intel poses will be below a threshold we all agreed to," she said, "which is much more stringent than our state or federal government requires."

 

Thursday
Feb042016

THE BERN vs. HILLARY - WHO CAN "WIN"?  

     I like Bernie and have mixed emotions about Hillary.  That said, I think Hillary will be the most electable against any of the GOP front runners - Cruz, Trump or Rubio.  I plan on voting for The Bern in the Oregon primary but expect Hillary once the circus leaves New Hampshire for hers to slowly but surely put distance between herself and Sanders.  

     No matter how you cut it - this nation will NEVER elect a self-confessed "socialist" as president.  I wish otherwise but otherwise means ignoring the long history of the word "socialism" being vilified in US politics and by the media.  And in the 24/7 clock with super PACs galore on the Right - Bernie will be fodder for the rightwingnuts galore. 

       For most Americans who are totally ignorant and have a Pavlovian response to the subject - "socialism = communism" - the words are un-American even though in fact we practice "corporate socialism" and the social safety net from the New Deal to the Great Society are "socialist" enterprises as are local, state and federal programs from Medicare to highway construction. 

       But aside from the word "socialist" Bernie is simply WRONG on health care reform!  His argument on Obamacare should have been the Clintonesque line on welfare reform (which President Slick dropped the ball on because of the impeachment non-sense) - "don't end it but mend it."  Instead of going for broke Bernie ought to support adding the "public option" alternative to the list of Obamacare reforms.

Health Reform Realities - Should progressives re-litigate Obamacare? There are many reasons to think that it just wouldn’t work. 

     This would accomplish what he wants - to put private insurance in a vice not made by big government but by the consumer market!  Use supply and demand to decide the issue.  Private insurance can't compete with a public option choice which would in fact be Medicaid.  But don't give the R's a chance to destroy Obamacare while we work on adding the public option choice.  You don't move ahead by moving two steps back! 

      But there is a bigger "elephant" in the room for Bernie which came out of the closet in Wednesday's Town Hall in New Hampshire.  When explaining how he'd pay for universal Medicaid Bernie admitted he'd raise our taxes!  Yes he quickly noted we'd save a bundle on health insurance.  But subtly is not an art form or is nuance known in the feverish precincts of presidential politics. 

      The last candidate who said he'd raise our taxes was Walter Mondale in the 1984 race against Ronald Reagan and we know how that ended!  You don't need to give the rabid dogs of the GOP red meat!  

     Two other issues - Bernie is 73...   I'm 73...   I don't care how healthy he is now - being POTUS drains and ages you.  Sorry to be "ageist" but Bernie doesn't look or sound presidential because he's old.  By contrast Reagan was 69 when elected in 1980.  Hillary is 69.  I can tell you personally that 5 years make a difference in energy and mental acuity.   Remember all the jokes about Ronnie in his second term being asleep?  

     The other issue for me is that Hillary is clearly the more accomplished candidate given her resume and experience.  I think she has more staying power against the neanderthals of the GOP who will control Congress.  Bernie's "political Revolution" is a pipe dream.  Incumbents on both sides are insulated from challenges due to rigged districting and the demographics of where red and blue voters live.  

     Neither Bernie nor Hillary will have a "working" majority in Congress.  It will be the same old crowd that Barack has had to contend with.  My bet is that Hillary will be better in the clinches vis-a-vis the likes of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.  But they will no doubt adopt the same strategy for either Bernie or Hillary as they did with Barack - trying to make either a "failed" POTUS.  

     For my left liberal friends, Hillary will be more "liberated" than one might think.  After all anyone who SAUL D. ALINSKY tried to recruit before Hillary went to the Children's Defense Fund with Marion Wright Eldelman can't be totally untrustworthy!  Let's remember the goal is to prevent Cruz, Trump or Rubio from being POTUS.  

     PS:  Keep in mind 52% of the voters are women and in this election those 55 and older will decide the election - that's a demographic that will favor Clinton over any GOP candidate.  Millennials love the Bern - for them it's like voting for grandpa not mom!  In the end class and race not the youth vote will decide who occupies the Oval Office in 2017. 

How Change Happens   - Idealism is nice, but it’s not a virtue without tough minded realism.

Sunday
Jan312016

BEWARE - "SPECULATORS" AT WORK!  

     “It is a maxim among these lawyers [and those interests they represent] that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”

- Jonathan Swift

      While listening to OPB’s “State of Wonder” program on the arts in the City of Roses this morning, a panel discussion by candidates for mayor and city council in Portlandia, it became obvious that everything depends on the all mighty dollar, in this case the tax payer dollar.  Surprise, surprise! 

     But as the candidates drilled down the issue suddenly became very familiar to me, the housing advocate.  As property values and rents go up and up in Portlandia this is driving out a thriving but young arts community, especially millennials who can’t afford the price tag for apartments or workplaces. 

     A young work force attracted to Portlandia because it’s “weird” like many low wage metro area folks are facing the pressure to move out caused by gentrification and the rapacious actions of the developer/real-estate class to boot low rent people out and move in the high rollers who can afford “luxury” rents/prices. 

     How can we end this exploitation of the middle class?  

     What is the underlying cause of this problem?  Some will say it’s the market – with demand up and supply limited, prices will go up.  That’s the low hanging fruit of this poisonous tree.  The other reason is that we rely on property taxes to fund local services – local services, schools and even the arts. 

     But property values and taxes go up no matter if our income goes up.  And many people may be property rich but income poor.  Often people will sell their property to get out of this crunch and take their post-sale equity elsewhere.  But the problem just persists – where they go, their demand will re-create this vicious cycle. 

     How do we end the pernicious and inequitable dynamics of supply and demand? 

     Here’s an idea.  Get rid of property taxes!  Fund local government the way we do state and federal government by income taxes.  This has two consequences.  You suddenly increase the tax base to tap real wealth and you end the myriad tax incentive schemes to shelter property against taxation. 

     Suddenly everyone would pay taxes on their real income, not some artifice of wealth based on property. 

     Tax people and business on their annual real income.  This would decouple property values from taxation and slow the inflation on property values.  I’d go one further step – freeze property values below the current inflated rates.  Until we radically reconfigure the property value system, gentrification will never end. 

     If we reduce property values we can lower land values and the rampant speculation on land which fuels gentrification and raises  the market value of home or rental property.  It’s time to end a property tax system based on an 18th century rural economy, which distorts the market and privileges speculators on Main Street and Wall Street. 

     Expropriate the expropiators!      

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  PS:  In the House Human Service & Housing hearing on Monday, February 1 - the line of attack on IZ (inclusionary zoning) by real-estate and homebuilders was the ruse that rents and housing prices are going through the roof in Oregon because of our land use planning laws passed in the McCall era.  This is utter trash talk. 

     At the end of the hearing, I walked out of the hearing room and confronted two lobbyists who are paid mouthpieces for these two industries.  I said if land use regulations were relaxed, there is no guarantee that lower cost housing would be built since the "market" has seldom invested in such housing.  

     Except in a few cases where private developers are willing to go through the complex process of leveraging public/private money for such developments, the private sector would rather build mac-mansions or rental property that turns the maximum profit back to them and their equity partners - aka banks and hedge funds too big to fail. 

     These two cretins of greed, as they were running away to a meeting, claimed that the problem is that local jurisdictions don't want to build such low income housing.  This is utter bullshit.  Forest Grove has the largest percentage of subsidized housing in Washington County but it's not alone!  Sadly it not enough - to cover the 14,000 unit gap in the county.  

     The problem is that developers, real-estate agents and the banks would rather get their 20% of profit by selling high end products and not having to go through the hastle it takes to makes affordable housing possible - which is precisely why HB 4001 is necessary to give local communities another tool in their tool kit to prod the industry to do the right thing!  

     If one got rid of Oregon's historic land use laws, you'd just create an incentive for the industry to glut the market with high end "Mac" mansions, luxury condos and the speculators to buy up prime farm land to make a quick buck.  The industry will not build affordable housing unless it's forced to by government. They'd rather con gullible city councils into subsidizing "luxury" apartments via urban renewal schemes!  

     Another solution is to get rid of Measures 5, 46 and 50 - the property tax limit hoax passed in the '90s.  But you don't see these lobbyists leading the charge on that front either!  

Thursday
Jan282016

OUR HOUSING CRISIS - PIVOTING FROM THE GROVE TO THE PUZZLE PALACE...  

It Begins! Critical Housing Relief Bill Hearing on the First Day of Legislative Session, Feb. 1


Making sure everyone has quality, affordable homes is a top issue at the Oregon Legislature this year.  The omnibus bill that includes many of the critical new policies—the Housing Relief Act (HB 4001/LC 284)—will be up for hearing on the very first day of session, Monday, February 1 from 3:00 to 4:30. Mark your calendars! The short session, which happens every even-numbered year, runs for just over one month and is incredibly fast-paced.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. We need supporters

  1. make sure to forward this email to a friend who cares about affordable homes so they can sign up for updates.

Tell your legislators that housing opportunity is a top priority for you! Call, write and email your legislators (find yours here), and please be sure to attend local town halls hosted by your legislators, so they hear how housing matters to you. You can get information on those meetings by subscribing to your state representative and senator’s email lists here

2016 Housing Opportunity Agenda 


Most Oregonians believe that a stable home is the foundation for creating a healthier life for families, educational opportunities for kids and more economically vibrant communities. Yet we face greater barriers than ever to finding safe, decent housing that we can afford. The good news is we have solutions within reach.

It’s time for our state to take bold action to create housing opportunity for all Oregonians. The Housing Alliance’s 2016 legislative agenda takes on some of the biggest issues facing our state, including housing affordability, homelessness, and renter protections. We need your support to tell state representatives and senators how important the following policies and funding is to you.

Protect renters: Oregon’s tight housing market, spiking rents and no-cause evictions mean that tenants need help immediately to stay in their homes. Basic protections would help create balance for renters and keep them stably housed.

  • Just cause evictions: Good tenants shouldn’t be at risk of eviction for no reason.

  • Tenants need longer notice for rent increases: Longer notice for rent increases will provide renters with more time to budget increased housing costs or give them more time to find a new unit.

Produce affordable homes: Oregonians need 50,000 homes to be built in order to reach the state goals set in 2015. We need to provide both resources and tools for communities to start creating more housing now:

  • Fully fund the Local Innovations and Fast Track development program to produce more affordable housing ($60 million)

  • Allow cities to adopt inclusionary zoning, an important tool that frees the hands of local governments to create more affordable housing by requiring developers to build a portion of new units as affordable.

Preserve existing affordable housing: At the same time as we are developing more affordable housing, we’re at risk of losing hundreds of existing affordable homes—especially for people with very low incomes and the elderly. We must preserve what we have so that families and seniors can stay in their homes.

  • Stabilize existing affordable homes to keep residents in place and rents affordable in housing with rent subsidies and manufactured home parks ($17.5 million)

  • Offer counseling and legal support to homeowners in foreclosure mediation ($2.7 million)

  • Provide certainty for affordable housing providers—extend property tax exemptions for non-profit owners of affordable housing

Prevent and end homelessness: No Oregonian should have to worry about having a place to sleep at night. Record numbers of children—more than 20,000—are experiencing homelessness. It’s our obligation to live up to Oregon’s values and stop this disgrace

  • Increase funding to the Emergency Housing Account and State Homeless Assistance Program keep people stable in their homes, and to move people experiencing homelessness back into housing ($10 million)

We’ll be sending out information on the Housing Alliance’s support agenda as well as other housing-related bills at the legislature soon and keeping you updated throughout the session about how you can make a difference for housing opportunity. For more information, see our webpage and blog. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates and media coverage of housing issues.

 

Tuesday
Jan262016

FOREST GROVE SAYS “NO” TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

     So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

     - FDR - lst Inaugural Address, 1933  

     The big build up to Monday’s Forest Grove City Council meeting was all that one could have hoped.  There was a standing room only audience, 100 people at least.  Both sides of the Time’s-Litho development proposal by Tokola Developers were in good form – I think the “nays” had a slight edge but clearly as the 5-1 vote in favor by the Council showed “the fix” was in – well before this meeting. 

      Thanks to Councilor Victoria Lowe, a profile in courage, for standing on her priciples and respect for process by voting "no" not once but on all the 4 motions on this ordinance. 

     The mobilization of bias was set over a year ago when an un-elected ad hoc committee of 5 people – all pro-development recommended this project to the Council giving them what the majority wanted.  When you can pick the players, you can guarantee the results.  And sadly the city planning commission just rolled over for reasons still inexplicable to me.  And when you wrap it all in a non-disclosure agreement - opponents are toast!  

     I have avoided local politics because having studied it over the years and having guests from the city in my class room it has always been clear that the Grove is a carbon copy of a town in upstate New York made famous in Vidich and Bensman’s book, Small Town in Mass Society.  Decisions are made behind the scenes by a gaggle of small town property owners who never come out in the open. 

     Nothing has changed in this “culture of silence” in my 42 years in the Grove.  So why bother?  Well, I couldn’t just sit by on a housing issue in my own town when I’ve devoted 24 plus years to advocate for affordable housing and for an end to homelessness.  It would be cowardly and hypocritical.  But I knew as Liz Warren would say “the game is rigged.”  And so it is. 

     But over this past several weeks sandwiched by two public hearings we have put the issue of housing affordability on the top of the list in the Grove, a place it’s never been until now.  Even the proponents of this “luxury” apartment complex have acknowledged we’ve got to do better.  But this begs the question – why not now!  Making 30% of the 78 apartments Section 8 program units was doable. 

     Even the developer claimed in two public hearings and to Eric Canon and me – they accept Section 8 vouchers 'applications"!  But the key is they don’t have a record of actually renting to people with those vouchers.  So the claim amounts to a slight of hand deception – or to put it bluntly a damn lie.  But I’m not letting them get away with this – I’m going to keep the pressure on…  

     Two of the councilmen claimed to be champions of the homeless, one who claims to work with vets (bully for him) and a councilman who is a leader in our local Habitat for Humanity organization.  But somehow their personal experiences couldn’t move them to supporting adding affordable housing to the complex.  One wonders why?

     What is saddest to me is not the project’s approval, I would support it if it was a mixed housing complex – what’s disappointing is the implicit bias against poor people on the part of those who favored the project but could not come to see it being more inclusive made it a better project.  In a town with a significant Latino population this would be considered a form of hidden racism. 

     But the bias against those facing housing insecurity is not just a racial issue it’s deeper.  One got the feeling that some folks on the Grove just don’t want to live next door to “those” people.  Those people come in many forms – elderly poor, working poor, minorities, victims of domestic violence and yes the chronically homeless.  Like Jesus there is simply no more room in the Inn in the Grove for them! 

     The legacy of racism in the Grove goes back to the ‘20s and ’30s where the local KKK threatened Catholics in Verboort to not to shop in the Grove.  It showed its head in the '50s when Pacific began recruiting Hawaiians to campus (now 20% of our student body).  And when we moved here in ’74 the unwritten rule was Latinos were not welcome to shop in the Grove – stay in Cornelius. 

     While much of this overt prejudice has disappeared the remnants of class prejudice against poor people is still there hidden in the shadows.  Such sentiment was reflected in the words of a resident with Pacific ties who favored the project - claiming those who opposed it as designed were people who "feared success."  My response was that it was not "fear of success," it was proponent's "fear of the other" that framed this issue.  

     An ingrained prejudice against the poor and the power of a good old boy system who runs this town behind closed doors doomed us.  As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I will reserve my energy for the Puzzle Palace where meeting our housing crisis is a front burner issue.  If we get an inclusionary zoning bill through – Forest Grove will run out of excuses…  

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