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Keystone Bill Vetoed!

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Half of the US Is Broke

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The myth of the Christian country

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Jeb Bush's damning secret history

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Red states that mooch

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Trust in government is 'dead, Jim'

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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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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 & 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

Divaville.org

Thanks for the memories Christa!  

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 Explore Intel emissions

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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


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Monday
Jan192015

IS THE AMERICAN DREAM POSSIBLE?  

"But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream."   Amos 5:24 Hebrew Scriptures

A CALL TO ACTION – A Home of Their Own

To:  Members of Washington County Homeless Plan Advisory Committee (HPAC)

Factoids:

     Last Thursday we heard two presentations on the challenges before us regarding providing residents of Washington County and the wider metro area with a safe place to live and to raise future citizens of our region. 

     On MLK Day 2015 is the American Dream a Hope or Hoax?  

  • 40,270 shortage of affordable low income housing units in the metro area;

  • $14.88/hr is the region’s housing wage for a one-bedroom apartment;

  • 6400 K-12 metro area students each year are homeless;

  • 5402 people are homeless on any night – including youths and families; 

  • 46% of metro area residents pay more than 30% on housing where the median monthly rent is $960; 

  • Before the Great Recession 50% of those facing foreclosure was due to a major medical illness; 

  • Too many Oregonians are a job loss away from being homeless'

     The presentations we heard were echoed by the opening article on homelessness of a series begun in Sunday’s Oregonian

     “…In the 1980s and ’90s, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the federal government got out of the business of building public housing and pushed direct responsibility for caring for poor and vulnerable people to state, county and city governments…” 

     Many communities across the nation have stepped up to the challenge of ending homelessness embracing a “housing first model.”  But as the article details the problem has gotten worse not better despite our best efforts.  Why? 

    With the federal government getting out of building public housing we don’t have the capacity building of the post WW II era.  And facing a tight housing market, we are losing the race from the inner city to the suburbs.  

     In an era when equity and hedge funds require a 20% return on investment and banks 4-7% this become an obstacle towards building affordable housing for those earning under 50% of MFI. 

     Whether one is a vet, disabled, farm worker, elderly, victim of domestic abuse, family in poverty, homeless youth, mentally ill, addict, or former felon housing supply doesn’t match the need and never will unless we change plans.  

     Upon reflection the question before us is not just the need for affordable housing but the crisis before us of a bleak future where the most vulnerable will be mired in poverty if we don’t act now with resoluteness

     It’s not the present that is at stake it’s our future. 

     The evidence is clear.  Despite 6 years of hard work we are at risk of losing our goal of ending homelessness in the richest county in Oregon and the engine of Oregon’s economic growth.

  •      The Vision Action Network’s cost study of homelessness presented by Karin Kelly-Torregroza has pointed to the unseen but real indirect costs of homelessness to taxpayers and the business community.    

  •      The presentation by Jennie Proctor from Community Development illustrated the challenges we face in meeting the needs of the homeless and the working poor who spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing.  

  •      Jes Larson from Welcome Home gave us models drawn from successful programs around the county that we can draw from to meet the challenge before us.  We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

     What is needed is support from the political leadership of Washington County, especially the Board of Commissioners and the business community who make Washington County their operations base.     

     The challenge before us was compellingly outlined, the question is do we have the “will” to “just do it” as our friends at NIKE would put it?  Who will provide the clarion call to meet this challenge?    

     The enemy of change is to keep doing the same thing over and over again. That strategy has primarily relied on accessing mostly federal and some state funds to do the job.  As was made clear we can no longer rely on that formula. 

     Given the politics of sequestration and partisan gridlock in DC and Oregon’s reliance on a shaky income tax revenue source, if we are going to tackle this problem we must supplement those monies with local funding sources.  

     We can’t rely on a single revenue stream but must rely on a multiple funding strategy: 

  • Washington County has the only real estate transfer tax in Oregon. Right now monies from that tax go into general administration.  I think it’s long time due that we increased the County RETT and dedicate that extra increment to supporting affordable housing.  Adding that portion to the Community Housing Fund would be a place to start;

  • We need to end regulatory barriers which discourage for profit developers from entering into this market – targeting those making less than 50% of MFI and lower.  This will not be an easy sell but it’s part of the solution to enlisting the help of the development and banking community. 

  • We need to develop a public levy for affordable housing to take to the voters of Washington County and eventually the metro area.  But we can’t wait for our sister counties and/or Metro.  The need to too urgent now.  We have identified more than a 19,000 gap in affordable housing in the county.  It will only get worse.

  • We currently have 70 Section 8 vouchers that are going unused because landlords will not rent to low-income residents;

  • We have a lack of capacity due to a very tight market caused by high land, development costs and regulatory fees. 

  • Establishing a low-income housing set aside policy would also help integrate lower income renters and owners in new developments.  This will be a big ask of the development community but if we don’t move in this direction we will add to the suburbanization of poverty and the ghettoization of the working poor in the suburbs. 

     We currently have 70 Section 8 vouchers that are going unused because landlords will not rent to low-income residents;

     We have a lack of capacity due to a very tight market caused by high land, development costs and regulatory fees. 

     HPAC needs to be proactive in presenting the case for a Washington County strategy to tackle this problem. 

     The time for waiting on the federal or state government to solve our problem is over.  We can’t sacrifice another generation on the altar of wait and see, piece-meal or incremental approaches. 

      But we also can’t let the federal or state government off the hook either. 

     Over 90% of our affordable housing dollars are federal pass through monies from federal HOME and CDBG funds. We need to join coalitions like Welcome Home to keep the pressure on our DC delegation and on our state government. 

      In the 2015 legislative session we need to support ending the statewide exemption on inclusionary zoning.  We need to add to the governor’s request for a $100 million for housing. That wouldn’t even put a dent in the 19,000 gap in Washington County let alone the state. 

     We also need to support state tax credits for affordable housing to leverage public and private housing dollars.  We also need to up the minimum wage to $15/hour so that families can afford housing without playing triage with their family budgets.   

     But 30 years of advocacy has taught me the lesson that we can’t put all our eggs in one basket.  

     Of course the devil is in the details.  Here’s where our conversation within HPAC must start.  We were asked what are we willing to do as individuals – my question is what are we willing to do as a group with others of good will?  It won’t be easy change never is.   

     I think HPAC should focus on bringing all stakeholders together in Washington County. 

     At the end of the day as a good friend at IFCH has said “if not us, who?”  That’s the question before us.  It’s time to stop talking and waiting for the Hail Mary pass, it’s time to organize not agonize.  HPAC can’t stand pat on past accomplishments – we must move forward, now!  

     It’s our serve…      

 

Friday
Jan162015

"JE SUIS CHARLIE" - REALLY? - UPDATED  

     The murders of 12 Charlie Hebdo journalists, plus 7 others, shocked the world.  It illustrates the length to which self-proclaimed "programmed" jihadists under the banners of ISIS and/or al Qaida are willing to go to achieve their Caliphate. 

     But it's also clear that the cartoon "journalists" at Hebdo practice a form of journalism that comes close to punk journalism where offensive caricatures and stereotypes are used for effect.  

      In a Google search the Hebdo editorial cartoons portray in an obsessive compulsive manner a one-dimensional view of Islam that would easily offend adherents to that faith.  Is that the goal?  Mission accomplished!  In fairness everyone is fair game.  President Obama was depicted in the classic racist pose of a Sambo which could have been lifted from Birth of a Nation.  I've seen US syndicated editorial cartoonists come close to the same thing which makes my skin crawl. 

     Don't get me wrong - freedom of the press means just that the freedom to express as one sees fit short of posing a "clear and present danger" to the social order.  But the folks at Hebdo cannot in any way claim they are engaged in "civil" discourse.  They are an example of tabloid journalism which trades in gratuitous sensationalism just for its own sake.  Thanks to the killers in France the production line for Hebdo has gone from 50,000 per week to this week's edition of 3,000,000 and counting.   

     As a friend e-mailed me - "I see no good reason to inflame Muslims by showing the prophet saying Je Suis Charlie, when so many are offended by any picture of the Prophet as many would be offended by showing Jesus in a tux and kissing "the material lady" Madonna, at the Golden Globes and saying, Hi, Mom."  Is the point to edify, to understand, to be in dialogue or simply to inflame the viewer?  If it's the latter this type of journalism feeds something very odious in us Freud or Jung could deconstruct. 

     One of the Hebdo cartoons depicts the virgin birth and the Pope in unflattering ways - for what point?  Maybe one has to read the captions in French to get it.  But I doubt it...   

     Why feed the beast of intolerance and stereotyping under the guise of freedom of speech?  Now in normal times the marketplace would have taken the rubbish out.  The Hebdo enterprise was in financial peril until last week.  The jihadists made the world bullish on Hebdo but the collateral damage was tragically high. Serious journalism must balance rights and responsibilities not embrace license to say or draw anything.  But again it's for the audience to decide not some mass murdering thugs. 

     Terrorism was born out of the violence of the French Revolution.  And it's the step child of European colonialism.  With a large immigrant population in Europe the bogey man stereotype of "the other" has a pliable audience primed to help the rebirth of neo-fascism.  Perhaps the Euros should look into their own historical closets and ask themselves why a fraction of their own and immigrants feel so marginalized and alienated? Start with the ghettoization of the immigrant population and the history of anti-Semitism.  

     We on the other side of The Pond have a similar affliction which events in Ferguson evidenced this summer!  

     Some additional thoughts from my very liberal friend and like me a retired professor are worth consideration: 

Two ways to combat the so-called Islamic State:

1.  Stop giving it free recruiting material: no more pictures/videos of black-clothed, masked men riding into town with their imposing weapons of war and waving their black flags. They are not the much-appreciated Allies riding victoriously into Paris seventy years ago and deserve no such honor.

2.  Stop calling it the Islamic State. They are not a state and they are Islamic in name only. They are simply and clearly murderers, cowardly murderers to be more precise.

Our military and our media are working at cross purposes, never a successful strategy. The military bombs them; the media glamorize them.

     Why is the US and European media coverage "framed" aka biased to cover the Charlie Hebdo story as opposed to the atrocities of Boko Haram in Nigeria?  Hit the two links below to learn more about this?  

     Journalist Alexis Okeowo on the latest attacks by Boko Haram and the difficulty of covering a conflict with no end in sight.

     Ethan Zuckerman from MIT discusses the complicated prejudices that made the Paris attacks top news last week, but not the destruction and killings in Baga, Nigeria. 

     RAD:  If all politics is local, then all media must be "local" too framed in a way we can personally relate to and within a short time frame.  The fruits of the soical media age of Twitter, Facebook aka the net and the media mantra "it has to bleed to lead."  

Thursday
Jan152015

WASHINGTON, A CHOICE NOT AN ECHO

    Unlike Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Washington's Governor Jay Inslee has laid the gaunlet down.  Like California's Jerry Brown, Inslee is not standing pat he's demonstrating a profile in courage.  I wasn't impressed with his campaign in 2012 - he seemed like a classic congressional "hack."  But being "the decider" has given him some backbone with a push from the courts and a do-nothing GOP Senate." 

     "Our state is standing at a crossroads. If you want to learn more about the path I believe we must choose, I hope you'll watch the speech and stand with me." 

Click here to watch the speech. 

Click here to watch the speech.

     "Over the past six years, we've cut spending in our budget by $12 billion. We've asked state agencies, our schools, and everyday Washingtonians to do more with less.

     While we've worked to make every dollar count, we've reached a point where multiple courts have ordered us to restore funding from deep cuts to foster care, mental health, and protecting vulnerable children. Our government has even been held in contempt for failing to fulfill our legislative commitment to fund the schools our students deserve.

     In the prosperous future we all want, we simply cannot leave so many people behind.

     With your help, we can choose a better future. We can invest in our schools from pre-K through college, clean up our air and water by making our state's largest polluters pay, and give more Washingtonians access to jobs with a fair minimum wage."

     We have to choose a new path. That's what I proposed yesterday, and what I need your support to accomplish."  

     In Oregon the best some hope for is a recount of the Duck/Buckeye game final score and is there hope in Duckville without Marcus at the helm?  Maybe in 4 years he'll get tired of the NFL and run for governor...  Oops, he's from Hawaii...  

-  Woof Woof...  

    

   

 

 

Wednesday
Jan142015

THIS IS NOT TOM McCALL's OREGON!  

From Brent Walth – “Fire at Eden’s Gate”, pp. 324

“… McCall thought the agency [DEQ] lacked fire.  He wanted corporate polluters to fear the DEQ…  “ 

EDITOR’S NOTE: 

     Below is my testimony before Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission on the Intel emissions issue last Thursday. 

     We were informed by the chair at the opening of the hearing that none of our testimony that related to a negotiated “temporary rule” between DEQ and Intel would be accepted for the record of the commission since the deadline of public hearings had ended. 

     If the EQC/DEQ makes the “temporary rule” a permanent one, then Oregon will hold Intel to the lowest possible standard eviscerating DEQ’s mission.  Intel will be allowed to emit unlimited green house gases and other pollutants into our air stream without any oversight by DEQ.      

     I pointed out this process, in effect, was a “gag order” inconsistent with Oregon’s open meetings law tradition and unfair since the “temporary rule” was not open to public hearings.

     However, since previous public testimony on this issue came within the time frame of late August – concerns about the “temporary rule” would be on the record. 

     I feel this is a Catch-22 situation.  And politicians wonder why people don’t trust in our political system?  

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Members of Oregon Environmental Quality Commission:  

     My concerns focus on DEQ’s failure to establish an independent regime for monitoring air emissions coming from Intel’s Ronler Acres and Aloha fab plants.

     It was shocking to find out in the public hearings back in 2013 that DEQ is totally reliant on Intel’s reporting process.  This is a classic wolf in the hen house regulatory scheme.        

  • If Intel is allowed by EQC and DEQ to operate under the existing “temporary rule,” there will be no capacity for the public to know if Intel’s emissions pose a public health risk. 

  • Since Intel failed to report it’s illegal emissions of fluorides for over 30 years, there is nothing in the record to make one believe Intel can be trusted to self-monitor its emissions. 

  • The EQC and DEQ can only carry out their mission to protect the public by requiring Intel to operate under a Title V air quality permit.  States have the power to exceed federal regulations.

     Oregon should follow California’s lead and demand of Intel to operate under a higher not lower standard of emissions monitoring. Only in this way will the public interest be served. 

  • Intel has claimed holding it to a higher GHG and PSD standards would prejudice their best interests by costing several hundred thousands of dollars to go through the PSD/Title 5 permit process. 

  • For a global corporation whose annual profit is @ $9 billion per year this assertion cannot be taken seriously.  The public’s right to know trumps what amounts less than a tenth of 1% (.00002) of Intel’s annual profits.  

       We learned through the Great Recession that banks too big to fail couldn’t be trusted to regulate themselves.  The same rule applies to global corporations like Intel – they too can’t be self-regulating either.  

       It’s time DEQ became a proactive not passive player in the regulatory regime for Oregon.  With no third party monitoring Intel’s emissions the public can have no trust that the public health is being protected.  

     When Governor Tom McCall and the legislature established DEQ it was meant to protect and preserve Oregon’s environment and it’s people’s health NOT to turn Oregon into a “hungry hussy, throwing herself at every stinking smokestack that’s offered.” 

     It’s my opinion that Intel can live with the highest environmental standards not the low hanging fruit so to speak. This is not a technological question – it’s a matter of political will in Salem from the EQC, DEQ and ultimately the Governor’s office.  

     As a member of the Good Neighbor Agreement negotiating team I’m working with Intel to create a monitoring system that will meet the highest standards.  As the largest employer in Oregon and Washington County I want Intel to stay here. 

     But I don’t want my 4-year-old grand daughter to wake up 30 years from now only to find out she has been poisoned by air or water emissions that we could have prevented.  We don’t need another Love Canal – this one in suburban Washington County. 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jan132015

OREGON #1 – UNCLE PHIL STILL NO RING!  

     As the Oregon Duck’s football team plays against the Ohio State Buckeye’s for the national championship in Dallas, Texas the land of Friday night fights. I have a far more important rhetorical question to raise while I studiously boycott the game!

       Is athletic supremacy on the field of dreams the road to success for universities? 

     Now that lest one think I’m being just mean spirited to Nike U aka the Quack Attack – let me assure you this question could be raised at any level of intercollegiate sports and its impact on the academic mission of any given college or university.  The same could be asked of Oregon’s perennial small college gridiron powerhouse, Linfield College.   

     If one looks at college ratings, flawed though they are – neither the UO or Linfield are at the top of their peers in terms of academic program.  Support for athletics doesn’t necessarily translate into world-class academic rankings nor in the research labs of the modern multi-university.  That requires philanthropy not game day revelers. 

     While the University Oregon has had great successes on the gridiron over the last 4 years and pretty much for the past decade as they chase the national championship ring – can the same be said of the University of Oregon’s academic programs?  Are the students getting their bang for the bucks and long-term debt?      

      Recently graduate-teaching assistants who teach 1/3rd of the classes offered at Quack Attack U voted their unhappiness by going on strike.  While the strike was settled, this upset seems to be the tip of an iceberg in “sleepy hollow” aka Eugene, the home of the Ducks.  What are the indicators of a deeper malaise at Nike U? 

     “The euphoria over the big game can’t mask serious issues at UO.”  (Oregonian, Jan. 11, 2014, pp. A11). 

     The problem starts at the top of the academic food chain at Nike U with four changes of presidencies in five years.  As a professor in a 40 plus year career I saw only 5 presidents come and go at Pacific, an average stay of 8 years!  The rotating door at Nike U suggests as they say if the fish is rotten at the head – what about the rest?  

     UO faculty along with TAs have unionized.  This doesn’t happen when a faculty is happy with their working conditions and believes that they are being heard by the administration.  It only happens when academic politics turns from bad to worse.  Some of the UO’s best professors and researches have left what some feel is a sinking ship. 

     Part of the malaise is the loss of taxpayer support for higher education over three decades.  The UO only gets 6% of its operating budget from the state legislature.  More and more funding comes from recruiting out of state students, faculty research grants and private sources of funding from alums such as NIKE CEO Phil Knight. 

     The problem is that while “the Boss” has been generous to his alma mater – big money for the law school which lost accreditation at one point and support for a new library, Knight’s primary focus and his big pocket friends has been of the football program and for a new basketball arena.  Reducing class sizes, better student housing are not a priority. 

     Upon attending my god daughter’s graduation at the UO several years ago I was dismayed at the poor upkeep of the grounds and student housing which looked like slum housing around the UO campus, frat row excepted of course.  Pacific in my era invested in a major renovation of a dorm and added three new student-housing complexes.  

     One of the markers of good university management is the quality of the grounds, keeping up with deferred maintenance and the general “look” of a campus.  While having a winning team at Autzen may look good in the fall – if the rest of an Oregon rainy fall or spring is spent living on second-class room and board the residents may leave!  

     This may be why PSU has a larger enrollment than either the UO or OSU.  Having also visited OSU – the “look” in Corvallis is much better than in Eugene.  PSU by contrast needs a lot of work but it’s in River City that gives students more room and board options and opportunities to get part-time work while going to class!   

     Some faculty at the UO feel academics plays “second fiddle to athletics.”  The faculty at the UO is “150 tenure track positions short of where we need to be” according to sociology professor Michael Drieling who is the president of the faculty union at the UO.  But to stop the bleeding will put the faculty at odds which Uncle Phil…   

     As a female law professor put it – with the money poured into the athletic programs by Uncle Phil – “we’re cool, we’re the Ducks.” 

     Well after tonight’s game will the faithful still love the Ducks and more importantly will they open their pocketbooks to the academic side of things?

     Evidence of the impact of big-time sports on academic life doesn’t show much as a crossover effect.  The average Quack Attack U fanatic is not likely to be into the nuances of English literature, the exotica of field biology, the music of Beethoven or research on early learning. 

     But you can’t blame the UO administration that is throwing a lot of money around in Dallas to increase NIKE U’s “brand”.  But will they still love you after the game, win or lose, is a mere memory?

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