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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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“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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Oreaviationwatch

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Middle East friendship chart

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California topples a tyrant

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10 Things US does worse than Europe

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Corporations enriching shareholders

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Check video

- 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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Sneaker Politics

Kitzhaber and legislators got rolled by Nike. 

More

 


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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.   

 

Steve Duin Schools get the blame 

School Reform/slate.com 



    

    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 & health care disparities 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. 

Heath Care Disparities: 

•    Adults in Oregon without insurance represent 22.3% of the state’s population compared to 19.7% of the nation.  In Washington County approximately 


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

Obamacare is working in Oregon!

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

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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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A Just Peace

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SIP contract online

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Oreaviationwatch

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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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Kansas' ruinous tax cuts

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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



Check video

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

 Sign the online petition on Intel emissions in link below:  

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?

Rediscovering Government

Is the US #1? 

 

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 

krugmanonline.com 

 

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


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Thursday
Aug282014

IF WE CAN'T GET RID OF SIP, THEN REFORM IT...

     EDITOR'S NOTE:  Washington County Commission and the Hillsboro City Council approved a 30-year, $2 billion tax break for Intel in exchange for the company agreeing to bring $100 billion in new investment to the state. 

     The deal promised no new jobs and the investments are not guaranteed either.  

     Sitting directly in back of the Intel VPs at the hearing their smugness was evident.  One speaker called them "sociopaths." They knew they had the winning hand lubricated by campaign contributions (see "Comments").  

     Here's what Ben Unger soon to retire as a State Representative (D, from the Forest Grove area) now with OUR OREGON had to say:  

     It was the largest deal of its kind in Oregon history, and it hopefully means keeping thousands of Intel jobs here for years to come.

     But the deal could’ve been better for our community, and there still are things we can and should do to make this deal and others like it better for our schools and for the working families who will hopefully get these jobs in the future.

     Here are four simple things we should do right away to improve the process going forward:

1. Make the whole process more transparent and give the community a greater role.

     In general, the public should have a greater opportunity to participate in these discussions. Tuesday night’s public hearing was important to have, but the deal was done and no testimony had a chance to really change that. When something like a $100 billion agreement is happening to a community, we deserve the chance to really participate and shape the bargain to make sure it meets the needs of the community.

     The goal should always be to make our community stronger at the end of the deal than when we started. We can meet that goal, but only if the whole community is involved.

2. Clarify the Strategic Investment Program language so that deals can only be for one investment for no more than 15 years.

     The Intel deal was the first of its kind to involve multiple SIP investments in one bargain. This locks in all of the agreements for 30 years even though it will involve multiple different SIPs. This is clearly allowable under state law, but it’s not advisable. These tax breaks are massive, and the community deserves a chance to review each one to make sure that the deals are right for our community.

3. Put school money in a lock box.

     This Intel SIP bargain leaves school kids empty handed. The way the deal is structured takes millions each year away from schools. If the deal treated schools fairly, classrooms would receive $4 million more per year from taxes and an additional $14-15 million more in income taxes. Instead, the bargain cuts out nearly $20 million from schools annually. Ask any parent: Our schools need those resources. We should change the rules to make sure that school kids are getting their fair share when any tax deal is struck.

4. End Gain Share.

     Tuesday night’s testimony reminded me that one thing is definitely true: It’s time to end the controversial Gain Share program. Gain Share takes income dollars from the state budget and gives them to local governments that sign tax break deals. The idea is to replace dollars at the local level for needed infrastructure, but there often is no need. At the hearing Tuesday night, a number of commissioners made it clear that because this Intel agreement promises no new jobs, there were no new infrastructure needs. That’s why, they argued, schools were cut out.

     If there’s no new infrastructure, then there should be no need for Gain Share. This program cost school kids, public safety, and health care services nearly $40 million in 2013-14, and the costs with this new deal are only going up.

     The good news is that even though this deal is done, we can change the tax break laws we have now so the impact of this deal and others are muted right away. Gain Share isn’t a permanent program; the Legislature can change it. We can pass a law to protect school dollars right away, and it will be effective immediately, even on this Intel deal. We can add in more community involvement in the decision-making right now, and it will also apply for the investments Intel plans to make in the future. 

     This Intel SIP bargain is a good wake up call: We need to act now to build our community for the future. 

     RAD would add that if growing jobs is not part of the package, then no SIP money, period!  And when a company claims to be growing jobs - it should be audited annually to make sure those jobs are real not recycled from one state to Oregon.  And the hi-tech machines used in traded sector fabs or plants should be "made in America" not China.  Finally SIPs should benefit communities in the "other Oregon" not merely Washington County! 

Sister Sarah Palin's Socialism in Action:      

     Alaska is not a model of a well governed state.  But when it comes to Big Oil paying taxes, oil and gas taxes, corporate income taxes plus property taxes, unlike Intel and Nike in Oregon, it makes one lust for those petro dollars.  Perish the thought.

Got this from the CC this morning -

     It gives new meaning to the mantra "drill baby drill."  This is done without the feds allowing drilling in environmentally sensitive areas of the state nor with Big Oil saying they will leave if they don't get their way!  Amazing...      

     In fiscal 2013, the main levy—the oil and gas production tax—brought in $3.975 billion, or 78.5 percent of the total taxes Alaska collected. But there’s more. Corporate income taxes on oil and gas companies brought in another $541.4 million, or 10.7 percent of the total collected, while property taxes on oil and gas facilities accounted for another $99.3 million, or 2 percent. All in, more than 91 percent of the state’s tax revenues derive from the oil and gas industry. That totals about $4.615 billion, or about $6,300 for each person living in Alaska. That’s a very large amount of taxes that individuals living in Alaska don’t have to provide.

Wednesday
Aug272014

INTEL WINS SIP VOTE

 

What we have here is a failure to communicate!      

     Tuesday night's joint session of the County and Hillsboro boards went as predicted - they unanimously approved the 30 Year SIP agreement.  Below are my 2 minute comments I was allowed to make despite Intel representatives and elected officials being given unlimited time in the first hour of the session which concluded at 11 p.m. 

     Those representing organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, unions, West Side Economic Alliance, Oregon Business Alliance et al were allowed 5 minutes.  As the Vice Chair/Senior Policy Analyst for WC CAN I didn't merit 5 minutes for reasons not explained by Commissioner Terry who chaired the meeting. 

     The most striking thing is that like the ConnectOregon hearings RAD attended and testified at in July, the deck was clearly stacked to favor the proponents and marginalize opponents.  This "mobilization of bias" is becoming a new norm in Oregon politics which allows the power elite to control the agenda and with that the results! 

     As US Senator Elizabeth Warren has said "the system is rigged" not just in DC, but in Oregon.  

===========================

     My reformatted written testimony (see in "Comments") critiqued the economic and geo-political assumptions the proponents made in their presentations to the county and city boards in the past two weeks.  

     The DEQ permitting process for DiX 1&2 fabs may not be completed until 2016 - hence there is no need to rush to judgment.

     The Intel SIP agreement came down via a 5-month closed-door process from March to August, driven by "non-disclosure" agreements signed by local officials. 

Negotiate a fair deal not a sweet heart deal: 

1 - Make "the deal" contingent on Intel's finalizing the "Good Neighbor" Agreement over its emissions;

2 - Don't make "the deal" effective until Intel gets a Title V DEQ permit and EPA approval; 

3 - Get Intel to commit that the machinery in its Fab plants will be "made in America," preferably in Oregon, not outsourced to China et al.    

4 – Get Intel and its allies in corporate Oregon to join with others to terminate Measure 5, 46 and 50 plus Measure 11 which have strangled our ability to adequately fund schools and human services.  

County tax options packages:

1 – Index to inflation compensatory payments Intel has agreed to pay to local taxing authorities so we don’t lose money for schools, cities and the county over the 30 year time of this agreement;

2 - Require Intel to pay on an annual basis in lieu of local property taxes a sum equal to any projected lost revenue to schools and local government from this deal.

3 - Intel should be taxed on more than the first $100 million value of new machinery.  Tax Intel’s $2 billion new machinery in increments of 5 years on a depreciating basis of 5% to 1% which then can be repeated each 5 years of the 30.   

4 - Tax Intel’s reported $9.6 billion dollars profits by an annual county income tax surcharge of 1% - which would have yielded $96 million in 2014.

      This modus operandi of non-disclosure agreements and closed door meetings is contrary to Oregon’s tradition of open government. 

     The public was left out until the very end of the process without time to give their informed consent violating the most fundamental norms of democracy – due process and the consent of the governed.  

     Commissioner Terry, Rogers and Schouten opined that they felt the process had been very open and transparent.  They didn't understand why Commissioner Malinowski felt he'd been left out.  The commissioners missed the point - it's the public who had been left out until the very end not them!  

     In the formal presentations of the deal, heavy emphasis was on keeping Intel in Oregon: 

     Intel came to Oregon in 1974, the first SIP agreement was signed in 1993.  This fact belies the assumption that without a 30 year SIP deal, Intel will leave Oregon. 

     Intel has said repeatedly they are not leaving Oregon!

     Nobody wants Intel to leave Oregon but we wanted Intel and our public officials to craft an agreement which makes sense and has assurances that 30 years from now we won’t regret what was done in 2014.  

     Commissioner Roy Rogers commented before he voted that he saw "no nexus" between the SIP deal and funding for education.  The "nexus" is that K-12 schools in Washington County lost $300 million dollars in the first 20 years of SIPs, aka $15 million per year from 1994 to 2014.  And that doesn't include money lost to schools because Intel pays no state income taxes which would have added another $50 million per year, just from Intel, to the state's general fund.  

     Commissioner Roy is a CPA - I guess his "bean counter" brain doesn't process that money for schools and social services doesn't grow on trees!  

How Intel avoids paying taxes: 

     Companies like Intel and Nike that are traded sector corporations that sell most of their products out of state are largely exempted from corporate income taxes except for paying the state minimum income tax of $150/year. 

  • Oregon terminated its "unitary" tax in the Atiyeh years;

  • Oregon has no sales, consumption and/or value added tax;

  • Oregon allows a "single source" loophole for traded sector firms;

  • Intel pays virtually no state income taxes as noted above; 

  • Intel like the Nike got a 30 year pledge that its taxes will not be raised;

  • SIP agreements discount local property taxes; 

  • Intel's modest compensatory payments are considered "fees" not taxes; 

How much will Intel save on taxes?  

By Mike Rogoway | mrogoway@oregonian.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on August 16, 2014 at 7:00 AM

     "The amount depends on how much Intel invests, when it makes those investments and overall property tax rates. Two prior SIP agreements still in effect saved Intel $122.6 million last year, according to Washington County.
     In 2005, the last time Intel negotiated a SIP agreement, Washington County estimated the company's $25 billion exemption would save Intel $579 million.  Four years after that SIP went into effect, that estimate appears to be holding up.
     This new deal is four times that size. So while Washington County has declined to estimate the value of the pending agreement, simple math suggests that the savings are likely to be four times as great – more than $2 billion – and the current rate of savings under Intel's 2005 SIP appears to confirm that."

You can read the SIP agreement online (below):  

There are no "proprietary" secrets in this agreement - so why the secrecy?    

See p. 2, section F - more than machines are excluded from property tax assessments:  

Washington County has it online.

For more see "Comments"

Tuesday
Aug262014

INTEL ALERT - MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!  

Intel 30 Year SIP is passed unanimously tonight - Oregon progressives abandon all hope!

The corporate "socio-paths" won!

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ACTION ALERT: Make the Intel Deal Work for the Entire Community

This Tuesday, the Washington County Commission and the Hillsboro City Council will vote on a 30-year tax break deal for Intel. It’s a big commitment for a lot of jobs for our community for a long time; it’s also a $2 billion tax break on a $100 billion investment. This is a massive arrangement that demands scrutiny to make sure it meets a basic standard—that it leaves Oregon stronger in 30 years than we are today.

Intel’s agreement requires it to pay taxes and fees on all of its property and buildings. That should be good news for our community and especially our schools. But, because of the way the deal was made, Intel pays fees and taxes but schools get less than their fair share. Each year under this deal, our schools lose $4.2 million more a year than they can afford. What’s worse, because this deal includes a controversial state program called Gain Share, the costs to kids go up another $14-$15 million.

If we simply changed the way this deal is structured, Intel could pay the same amount but we could get almost $19 million a year to classrooms around the state.

[Email the commission now and ask for a better deal for schools]

The true test of a good deal is whether both sides—the company and the community—are better after the deal than before it. If we keep cutting school kids out, Oregon can’t benefit the way we should.

Improving schools is one part of the challenge, but there are some long-term changes that need to happen to the way tax deals get made.

First, this deal is for 30 years. That’s a long time, especially in the high tech industry. Originally, there was a cap on these sorts of deals of 15 years—the Commission and the Council should restore that cap so each tax break agreement has the public scrutiny it deserves.

Moreover, we deserve more time. The details of this deal were largely hammered out without any input from the public. Worse, a vote on this massive tax break is scheduled to happen as early as this Tuesday, before the public has had a chance to examine and evaluate its impacts on the county and our schools.

Oregon already has the third largest class sizes in the country and Washington County schools are struggling more than most. A tax break of this size must be written in a way that protects our schools and our communities from further harm.

A lot of work needs to be done to make sure that this new $2 billion tax break doesn't harm our schools even further. Please take a minute to email the Washington County Commissioners and urge them to:

•   Give the community more time and more transparency to examine this tax deal. Commissioners and councilors should postpone their vote until we've had a chance to examine all the facts. There's no need to rush into this.

•   Cut the length of the tax break to 15 years. Three decades is an unreasonable length of time for a tax break this large. We should be able to reevaluate it after 15 years.

•   Ensure that schools get a fair deal. Without the right safeguards in place, local schools could lose out on millions of dollars in critical funding.

Go here now to send the commission an email and ask for a deal that works for everyone.

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Monday
Aug252014

INTEL, THE ART OF INTIMIDATION

     A TV reporter from one of Portland's stations talked with me for 2 hours on Saturday asking lots of questions why the Intel SIP new giveaway is bad for Oregon. 

     The reporter than asked if I knew any business person in the Hillsboro area who would be willing to go on camera explaining why they thought the 30 year deal was a bad. 

     One business person who I know well would not go on record and so I reached out to another friend whose spouse owns a small business in the area and who opposes the Intel deal. 

     After thought the decision was not to contact the TV reporter because of the fear of retribution by Intel employees who are customers.  I find this truly outrageous.  When people are silenced in this way it marginalizes the democratic process. 

     What happened to FDR's wisdom in the height of the Depression of '29 - "that the only fear we have to fear is fear itself."  

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DON'T BE SILENCED BY "BIG BROTHER" INTEL - attend the public hearing on the "30 year deal" - tomorrow - Tuesday August 26th, Washington County Public Service Building, Hillsboro - doors open at 6:30 p.m.  

Saturday
Aug232014

SHOULD WE CHANGE OREGON'S PRIMARY SYSTEM?  

EDITOR'S NOTE:  I participated in a debate on Ballot Measure 90, the top two primary initiative which will be on Oregon's ballot in November.  The debate was hosted by the residents of the Terwilliger Plaza retirement complex in Portland.  The major proponents and opponents spoke, RAD was there to offer a political scientist's view not to take sides with either side.

Portland Tribune
      "When Edna Campbell of Jefferson joined 19 other voters for a study this week, she had a definite opinion on Measure 90, which would change Oregon’s 110-year-old primary election system. “I came in all for it,” she said. “Why not? It sounds like a good idea.”

     Measure 90 on the Nov. 4 ballot would allow the top two finishers in a primary, regardless of party affiliation, to advance to the general election. Under the current system, only registered Democrats can choose Democratic nominees, and registered Republicans the same.

     Unaffiliated voters, who have been growing as a share of Oregon’s electorate, can cast ballots only if they affiliate with parties or if the parties open their primaries — which has been rare in the past 25 years.

     But after intensive study during the past few days — conducted as part of the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review — Campbell was among the 14 who sided with the opposition to Measure 90.

     Citizen reviews of selected ballot measures date back to 2010. Panels are chosen at random to reflect the diversity of Oregon voters. In addition to taking sides, panels come up with findings that are listed in the state voters pamphlet and online voter guide."

RAD's Take: 

     The role of political parties is to recruit candidates for public office.  Parties also establish ideological cues for candidates and voters. 

     Without parties playing this role – how will candidates be recruited under a top two system?  Is this really a move to a non-partisan or independent candidate system? 

     Without political parties recruiting candidates, it leaves the process of candidate recruitment up to self-starter candidates with access to big money.       

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    The proponents of Measure 90 want to enable more moderate candidates to have a chance to be elected rather than extreme candidates from either party. 

     Granted hyper partisanship is a major issue today, especially in Congress, but from my experience in the Salem Puzzle Palace this is much less so. 

     A top two primary will favor candidates with name recognition and access big money funders.  This will not guarantee moderates will emerge in November. 

     When people find out their choices are between two Ds or two Rs – what incentive is there to vote when one party is locked out, along with minority parties?  

     Past reforms have had the consequence of lowering voter turnout among minority, working class and other economically marginalized voters.  Is this good? 

     The opponents of Measure 90 feel that parties play a necessary role in our political system.  By diminishing them voter have less information to assess candidates. 

     But in today’s hyper-consultant and media driven campaigns – do candidates state the issues clearly or do they offer up stale platitudes rather than address major issues? 

     It’s my experience as a citizen lobbyist that most issues are really non-partisan not driven by strong ideological divisions between office holders.   

     How can we move from a Republican party dominated by Tea Party radicals and a Democratic party which has no commitment to its New Deal roots?  

     Does the Top Two primary system solve the problem of low voter turnout in primary elections?   If not then why go down this road with possible unintended consequences?  

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Options to a Top Two Primary system: 

  • Open primaries

  • Same day registration

  • Motor Voter registration

  • Declaring voter suppression is a civil rights violation

  • Making vote by mail a national practice  

  • Reversing Citizen’s United

  • Requiring full disclosure of campaign contributions  

  • TV and radio stations giving free airtime to candidates  

  • Schools doing a better job of educating future citizens on democratic politics 

 

 

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