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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


Taking on the Pro-Israel Lobby 

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Easier to buy assault weapon than vote

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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


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Wednesday
Jun252014

INTEL's LATEST DECEPTION?  

      Rumors have it that INTEL has been allowed to treat their huge parking lot next to the DIX fab plant as a "temporary" lot for 10 years.  This allows Intel to avoid making infrastructure improvements required of a permanent parking lot. 

     This may be another example of - "whatever INTEL wants - INTEL gets."   

     I have several questions:  If there was a deal - who made it - the City of Hillsboro or Washington County?  Is this legal?  When did 10 years become "temporary?" 

     Does this mean water run-off from the DIX construction site will spill into the local ground water of those living in the Orenco Station area adjacent to the DIX plant? 

     Is this another unreported emissions issue resulting from electeds signing another "non-disclosure" agreement with INTEL?   

     Is Clean Water Services monitoring water run off or just rubber stamping INTEL's actions just like DEQ does? 

     Inquiring minds want to know if this is true or not!  Let's hope some enterprising media type looks into this...  The first question is "what did Mayor Willey know & when did he know it?"  

     Update:  I drove through the INTEL construction parking lot this afternoon off of Cornell Road.  It's @ 3 football fields deep...  Gravel surface, dug a bit with my shoe and hard top soil under that.   They of course took the good stuff and dumped it somwhere last year as I recall north of 26. The DIX employee lot off Shute Road is paved, of course! 

   

Wednesday
Jun252014

THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

     The Good:  Michelle Wie won the US Ladies Open at Pinehurst not exactly a walk in the park!  I had the pleasure to walk with Michelle at Pumpkin Ridge in a US Women's Open back in the day when she was a teenage sensation.  It's nice to see her win the big one and to escape the hovering presence of her parents and to be her own person.  She's seems like a genuinely nice person, certainly her LPGA peers like her.   Go Michelle! 

Michelle Wie: Worth the Wait

 

     The bad:  RAD's "bad boy" Tiger Woods is back, ready to play at Congressional and his own tournament to get the rust off before he plays The Open.  One hopes he's not speeding up his healing process.   Certainly the Golf Channel and the PGA need him back.  It's been boring golf watching his so-called peers play.  This unrepentant Tiger fan hopes he's ready to take on again in good form the pursuit of Jack's major's record and Snead's total win's record.  Go Tiger!  

Tiger Woods 

     The ugly:  The media is all hyped up about the "surge" of 560 so-called  advisers in Iraq by Barack.  This is a Left media feeding frenzy led by our friends at The Nation.  Given the realities on the ground, Maliki's incompetence and refusal to build a coalition with the Sunnis, there is no way this will go any further.  Iraq is toast.  Enough! 

     But just in case, you can sign the petition included in this link below and send Barack a loud and clear message, as RAD did, to whit we want no deja vu moment here. 

     The petition includes folks in the "Provinces" if they are not too busy.  It's always good to hear from one's closest friends!       

Monday
Jun232014

STEVE DUIN ON THE HOMELESS - "PANTS ON FIRE!"  

The new face of the homeless, mothers with kids     EDITOR"S NOTE:  UnOregonian columnist Steve Duin in his June 22nd Sunday column, Waiting for someone to take the lead on mental health,” made some interesting points about mental illness and homelessness. 

     Unfortunately he also reifies the stereotype and fallacy that the homeless suffer from mental health and addiction issues - instead 84% are victims of poverty. Before pontificating Duin needs to get his facts straight!

     A little knowledge is a dangerous thing when one's commentary is "unincumbered by the thought process" to steal a line from the Car Guys!  As a housing advocate I get really ticked off when your "friends" don't get it. 

     It’s a common misconception that the chronic homeless, often with disabilities and/or mental health issues, represents the majority of the homelessness population.  Actually they account for fewer than 16 percent of the entire homeless population.

     SD:  I had my come-to-Jason moment in April, right after Jim Francesconi threatened to make mental health a critical issue in his campaign for Multnomah County chair. 

     Ten minutes with Jason Renaud convinced me Francesconi knew jack about the problem. The rest of the hour was taken up by how stupidly little I did.

     RAD:  Duin should have done what any good reporter ought to do – talk with others in the field who deal with the intersection of mental health and homelessness.  He could have begun his search by going to the National Alliance to End Homelessness website or Rev.Chuck Currie , Oregon’s leading expert on the subject. 

     SD:  Renaud, on the board of the Mental Health Association of Portland, wasn't surprised:

     "The only people intrinsically interested in mental-health issues are sick themselves, and trying to sort it out with God; have family members with mental illness; or view it as a civil-rights issue. "If you're not in one of those three categories," Renaud says, "you distance yourself."

     RAD:  I don’t know Mr. Renaud but he makes some valid points here.  It’s too bad Duin didn’t take the hint and talk with advocates on both issues – mental health and homelessness.  Instead he went to the cheap shot.    

     SD:  You have good company in Portland: local political leaders.  The Multnomah County chair, Renaud argues, "is the most important person in the mental-health business.  The way the county commission is set up, the chair has all the power, and they manage the biggest health-care provider in the state, other than the penitentiary.

     RAD:  The same could be said about Washington County and every other county in the USA. Lacking a community based mental health system, our county jails and state prisons become default institutions for “housing” the homeless who have mental health issues. 

     SD:  "What they do, others would follow, if they will only lead.  We've never had a county chair who took this seriously."  Diane Linn?  Jeff Cogen?  Ted Wheeler, now serving as state treasurer?  "Ted took this seriously when he was pinned down," Renaud says, "but that's how he did everything."

     RAD:  One could say the same about Washington County chair Andy Duck who promised in the just ended primary to do something about this.  Why anyone should believe him after being in office for 20 years stretches credulity. 

     SD:  That cautious detachment is understandable. Few of those ravaged by addiction and mental illness vote; fewer make campaign contributions.  Beyond the length of the line at the Portland Rescue Mission, success is hard to measure.

     "It takes a graduate-school education to know how to get around (the system)," Renaud says.  "The people who can who aren't crazy themselves are rare."

     RAD:  Renaud makes a valid point but the homeless with mental health issues are not alone in being ignored by the power structure – the same can be said about anyone in the ranks of the working poor. 

     But such talking points dismiss the leadership on this issue that’s come from former city commissioners such as Margaret Strachan and Gretchen Kafoury and the work of Central City Concern. 

     SD:  Renaud is a recovering alcoholic, and painfully blunt.  He has seen mental illness take a tool on his family members.  He produced "Alien Boy," the documentary on the life and 2006 death of James Chasse, and has written critically of the role of Portland police -- "viciousness and thuggery" -- in that death.

     RAD:  Speaking from experience Renaud has a lot of credibility but he’s not alone – a lot of parents and grandparents could add to Duin’s understanding if he bothered to do more than skim the surface while sitting at his laptop. 

     SD:  But in the aftermath of the June 12 death of Nick Davis, shot by Portland cops on the Springwater Corridor when Davis confronted them with a crowbar, Renaud sounds a different tone.

     "In a mental-health crisis, if police are involved, a lot of other opportunities to intervene have gone by," Renaud says.  "(Davis) had been in crisis for years, and left to his own devices.  He didn't get well.  He didn't become a good citizen.  Where's the outreach worker walking up and down the Springwater Corridor, asking, 'How can we get you out of this situation?' That may start with some dry socks."

     RAD:  This are all valid points.  To paraphrase the ancient Confusion proverb – “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  The first step may come from outreach to the homeless in the camps hidden away from most of us other than the cops.

     But unless the simple step is matched by a continuum of care services – which includes housing options – the cycle of illness and homelessness will never end.  

     SD:  Renaud credits the cops with some soul-searching in the wake of James Chasse and the Department of Justice inquiry: "(Police Chief) Mike Reese is a big part of that."

     RAD:  For an agency known to “shoot first” and ask questions later, Renaud’s confidence in the police is problematic at best.  

    SD:  And he believes Deborah Kafoury, the new Multnomah County chair, has the instincts and background to focus on the crisis, once she properly frames the issue.

     "Her agenda is homelessness," Renaud says, "which is a euphemism for untreated addiction and untreated mental illness by developers who want to line their pockets."

     RAD:  Here’s where Duin allows Renaud to drive the car into the ditch.  Again, homelessness is not just an affliction of those with mental illness, it’s caused by poverty, un or under-employment and the foreclosure crisis created by “banks too big” to fail.

     Renaud’s one size fits all attitude masks the depths and complexity of the problem of homelessness. For example 1300 Beaverton students who are homeless aren't mentally ill, their families just ran out of options.  Duin needs to get out of the afterglo of Portlandia and Lake Oswego. 

     Just for the record, for profit developers in Washington County don't build homes for the homeless and their state wide lobby group, OHBA, opposes inclusionary zoning.  What’s been done in Portlandia is done by non-profits who leverage from public and private sources. 

     Had Duin attended the recent METRO hearing on homelessness led by Sam Chase, a well-known advocate on this issue, he would have benefitted from the testimony of two young Hispanic residents and their families dealing with homelessness not mental illness.  

     SD:  Too many homeless advocates, he argues, would rather talk about poverty and social justice than mental illness: "Their solution is to build apartments, which just gets the problem off the streets.  That's what the Chamber of Commerce wants, but at this point in the 21st century, that's not sufficient."

     RAD:  One can’t separate these issues into such neat categories. Besides Renaud said it’s a civil rights issue!  From my point of view the lack of a community mental health system is a civil rights issue as is homelessness.  But if prisons are the only place to house folks, then what? 

     What Renaud appears to be against is Housing First or Rapid Re-Housing.   If you don’t get people off the streets into safe and secure housing, how are you going to enable them to get rap around services to help them with their “issues” be it mental health, a GED or a job? 

     Getting the homeless into a safe and secure space, a home of their own, is the first step to creating economic and emotional stability. 

     SD:  What is sufficient?  A long-overdue audit of mental health and addiction services. An agency geared to accommodate the irrational, inconvenient needs of the patients, not the limited attention span (9 a.m - 5 p.m., weekdays only) of the staff.

     RAD:  We’ve had all the audits and studies we need – what is missing is the “political will” to get the job done.  And the reason there is no political will is spelled – MONEY – local, state and federal bucks.  Has Mr. Renaut ever visited the Puzzle Palace to lobby for housing funding?   

     SD:  A fresh focus on how public-health services are delivered at the jail: "Almost everyone who is arrested is drunk, loaded or mentally ill," Renaud says. 

     RAD:  Putting drunks, drug addicts and the mentally in jails is stupid and costly – even prison wardens admit this!  But minus a community mental health system, that’s the only option!  

     SD:  And as long as they're in custody ...A system run by professional administrators rather than the psychologists and social workers who lack business experience. 

     RAD:  Huh?  Duin needs to check his notes…  What does this incoherent babble mean? 

     SD:  A permanently unlocked door at Hooper Detox.  The occasional outreach along the Springwater Corridor and the other urban campsites.

     RAD:  The police do this as reported in the UnOregonian.  More huhs?  Something is missing… check your notes Steve!     

     SD:  And a county chair who refuses to blink: "If the chair says we need to do better, that we can't put this off generation after generation, it may get repaired."

     RAD:  Don’t hold your breath!  If the richest county in the state can't step up to the plate, then what hope does one have that Portlandia’s current crop of leaders, aside from Deb Kafoury, can do the right thing?  Lately Portlandia seems to be run by the keystone cops.    

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

     The newest issue of Connections, the online journal of the Coalition for a Livable Future includes a white paper titled The Suburbanization of Poverty in the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Region.

     This white paper illustrates the connection between socio-economic equity and environmental issues.  

     The paper discusses the recent demographic shift of people in poverty moving away from central cities and into American suburbs. It also highlights the implications of this trend for the Portland-Vancouver region and outlines potential policies and programs to alleviate suburban poverty and its impacts. 

 

Friday
Jun202014

THE SCALES OF JUSTICE?

     How do we balance the scales of economic, social and political justice in a society rigged by the 1% and in a society which blames the poor for their condition?   Start with ending the complicity of "silence" in the face of injustice.  Dare to "act" on your better angels, not easy cynicism.       

     "Although voters approved a local option levy to hire more teachers in May 2013, the Beaverton School District will collect about $10 million less than it could have due to state caps on property taxes... The tax limitations, also known as compression, keep some homeowners' tax bills lower...  [and] take an increasingly higher toll on school districts statewide. This year, Oregon schools will lose about $110 million to compression, 525 percent more than in 2008. Washington County schools will lose out on $18.5 million because of the caps."

     RAD:  Property tax "compression" is an unintended consequence of Measures 5, 46 and 50 passed in the '90 as a result of the property tax revolt which began in California in the late '70s and then swept the nation, including Oregon.  The primary beneficiaries over the years are corporations which don't see their market values hence taxes go up since they don't turnover as regularly as residential property does.  The tax breaks corporations get for property tax abatements also lessens their contribution to the public coffers. 

      The net result is that the tax burden shifts onto the backs of individuals and small business away from big box corporations. 

      "Road crews are bracing for a 'highway fiscal cliff’ that could cost Oregon nearly $500 million, job losses and bring new road projects to a screeching halt. "We are definitely holding our breath, we are waiting very anxiously," said Travis Brouwer, Assistant Director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. "If federal funding goes away then we will see a very substantial reduction in the amount of work that we can do for Oregon's roads." The Obama administration has warned the Highway Trust Fund will be insolvent by August."

     RAD:  The Washington County Board is going to submit a county ballot measure for November's election.  If voters approve the measure it will tack on an annual $30 vehicle registration fee for road maintenance projects in the county.  The board decided not to ask for an additional $13 dollars for bridge improvement fearing voter resistance.  But if the federal Highway Trust Fund goes broke, this local measure, if it passes, will be too little and too late.  

     In an era of fuel efficiency and hybrids, alternatives to the gas taxes and vehicle registration fees are worth exploring.  Maybe it's time for a new paradigm - a mileage fee system using GPA technology to measure a car's annual miles!  

      "A big part of the American Dream is being able to climb the ladder and land higher than your parents. But that climb starts when people are just small children, according to new research, and getting off on the wrong foot has lifelong consequences... researchers show that poverty is directly correlated to kindergarten performance. Children who live in poverty have far lower performance than their richer peers across a variety of measures, and those who live in near poverty in turn have dramatically worse performance than middle-class peers..." 

    RAD:  As we move into the era of the Common Core, we might want to factor in how poverty in the early years from pre-natal, to birth, to 3 accentuates this hidden form of educational discrimination.  Brain development is fastest from birth to 3 - so the focus on "early education" from pre-K to 3rd grade may be a misguided effort unless we reach children and their families earlier!  It is also well known that "homelessness"  hampers learning by unraveling family stability and increasing the risks of hunger.  So rather than focusing on high stakes testing we ought be be about eliminating poverty! 

     As they saying goes - "a mind is a terrible thing to waste."  And as in many things timing is everything.  The earlier we start the better the outcomes. 

     "One in three Multnomah County residents earn less money than needed to meet their basic needs, according to a new Multnomah County report that uses broader criteria for self-sufficiency than the federal poverty line... The most telling finding: “Poverty in Multnomah County is severe and it is growing.” The report...  says one-third of county residents fall below the Self-Sufficiency Standard, which is defined as the amount needed to meet basic needs -- including taxes -- without either public subsidies or private assistance, such as relatives who provide child care or churches that distribute food."

     RAD:  If you think poverty is limited to the People's Republic of Portland, you are seriously in error.  As stated before in my posts, one in four of Oregon children live in poverty.  Aside from providing band aids to mitigate poverty our "electeds" throw taxpayer dollars at corporate Oregon such as Intel and Nike under the deluded thinking that such "corporate welfare" is necessary to keep them here.  Can you spell the word - blackmail?   The horde of lobbyists who descend on the Puzzle Palace in Salem are well paid "pimps" who serve their corporate "Johns" well. 

      If you want to end this scam - a good place to begin is to end the SIPs, Connect Oregon, tax loopholes and the kicker.  Then make the income tax progressive! 

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

How much income do families across Oregon need to get by?

The Economic Policy Institute has updated the Basic Family Budget Calculator. It measures the income a family needs to secure a safe and decent -- yet modest -- living standard in the community in which the family resides.

 

Friday
Jun202014

POST-MORTEM OF WASHINGTON COUNTY ELECTIONS

     What if there was an election and nobody turned out?  It sort of happened on May 20th...  

     Given the re-election of County Chair Andy Duyck and Commissioner Bob Terry, despite facing two excellent opponents, one has to credit them for running very effective campaigns and enlarging their margin of victory compared to their 2010 campaigns. 

     But before one concludes that Duyck and Terry have a mandate, one is cautioned by the paltry low voter turnout of 30% of registered voters.  No matter who won, the winner represents a minority of the total registered voters let alone those eligible to vote!  

     Some will see this as sour grapes from one whose candidates lost. But had all my choices won, the low voter turnout would have made their victory problematic too.  I would have gladly celebrated such a victory but as a political scientist I’d have to qualify the not to be “high 5s.” 

     So what does it mean? 

     The power of incumbency played a huge role, including for Greg Malinowski who I supported.  In a low turnout contest, incumbency provides office holders momentum minus any issue which might energize voters to “throw the bums” out. 

     This pundit thought former Congress person Elizabeth Furse had a real chance to unseat Terry.  But having been out of the political limelight since '99 - a generation of voters who've come of voting age or move here didn't know Furse and her record. 

     The NRA is reported to have done a campaign drop to voters supporting the incumbents.  One suspects a stealth campaign among conservative Evangelicals also was in play as in past primaries.  Add to this 6,000 registered Dems not voting and you get why the incumbents won. 

     The campaign should have pivoted on the urban/rural reserves court test and the legislative “grand bargain” fix necessitated by a 3-2 majority of the current county board. Clearly that had little traction because the issue is too complex to frame in a flyer or an ad. 

     When voters don’t see a reason to cast a “no confidence” vote, they vote for the team that is in office assuming, as regional editorial writers did, that the incumbents are doing a good job.  And since the economy in Washington County is the best in Oregon, the case for the challengers dimmed.   

     The opposition was marginalized as elitist environmental activists who cared more about saving farmland than building homes in the suburbs for those working in the Silicon Forest.  Since suburban homeowners outnumber family farmers this demographic advantaged Duyck & Terry. 

     In an ironic twist of fate, a major victory over the county board majority on urban/rural reserves gave voters less reason to be concerned about land use issues for the next 50 years and to discount the board majority bias favoring industrial and home developer interests.  

     Those who voted were focused on the “American Dream” of a home of one’s own and a good paying job more than they were concerned about land use issues, transparency or Intel’s fluoride emissions for over 30 years.  This was a status quo election, not a change election. 

     Duyck and Terry will view their re-election as a mandate to continue being big box industry friendly.  But thanks to the urban/rural reserves loss – Washington County will have less land to develop in the next 50 years.  So how the board manages that challenge will be a key issue.  

     The Board, mired in a paradigm of the past, is asking voters in November to decide the fate of a $30 motor vehicle registration fee for road maintenance sans county bridges.  As car owners move to hybrids why not move to a mileage tax instead of a gas tax?

     At a debate hosted by Pacific University, Duyck and Terry said they wanted to look at mental health issues dealing with the chronically homeless.  Chair Duyck said he would also demand more of Intel when their next SIP request comes up this year.  

     This community activist will be watching to see if their actions match their words.  The election is over but not the campaign for a better Washington County!

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Oregon Primay Voter Turnout Plummets

     Oregon primary voter turnout for the 2014 primary was 32.7% . The lowest percentage of any  primary since the Secretary of State started keeping statistics online. This is an acceleration of the trend reported on Oregon Outpost a week ago. One obvious reason – the drop in major party registered voters. In April of the […]

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