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Susan McLain - for State Representative

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State Ballot Measures: 

NO on 86  

YES on 87

YES on 88

YES on 89  

NO on 90 

NO on 91

NO on 92

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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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Teen rape suspect "just happened to slip away" (Video)  

Bob Terry dodges and weaves!     

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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

Chuck Riley for State Senate

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Local Ballot Measures: 

Wash County

NO on 34-221

NO on 34-222

Metro

NO on 26-160

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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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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


 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Friday
Sep192014

OREGON'S WORKING POOR

EDITOR'S NOTE:  As a citizen advocate since 1991 I'm very familiar with the issues confronting those Oregonians living in poverty and the working poor. 

     This series of reports in OPB brings a human face to this issue that confronts Oregonians all over the state, in the metro area and in rural Oregon.  

Living On The Line: Oregon's Working Poor

OPB | Sept. 18, 2014 12:30 p.m. | Updated: Sept. 19, 2014 8:43 a.m.

     State labor officials announced Wednesday that Oregon’s minimum wage would increase from $9.10 to $9.25 starting in 2015. The 15 cent increase is meant to reflect the rising cost of living and is tied to inflation, but it’s unlikely that the nearly 150,000 Oregonians earning a minimum wage will see the increase move them out of poverty and into self-sufficiency.

     According to recently released census data, 15 percent of Oregonians fall under the federal poverty line.

     That’s making less than $23,000 per year for a family of four. But for families that make just above that, things don’t get much easier. In fact, many families start to lose their food or housing assistance once they cross over that line. While only 15 percent of Oregonians fall into the “poverty” category,

     The Working Poor Families Project says over a third of Oregon families aren’t making a livable wage.  Hit the link "says" above to see Oregon's profile of poverty.  

     We’ll hear from OPB reporter Amanda Peacher, who’s been covering the working poor in depth with the multi-media series Living on the Line.” We’ll also talk with Oregonians Deb Goosev and Gabriela Hernandez who work — often more than one job — but struggle to make ends meet.

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Poverty in Washington County

      In Washington County, poverty continues to persist in the midst of plenty without much change. 

      The share of the county’s population living in poverty in 2013 stayed at 10.9 percent, exactly the same as in 2012.                      

     Children 18 and under represented the largest share of county residents living in poverty, at 14.2 percent, just .1 percent less than in 2012.

      Groups with the highest poverty rates in the county in 2013 were: American Indian and Alaskan Native: 31.2 percent; Black/African-American: 16.9 percent; Hispanic or Latino origin: 21.6 percent. 

     Source:  Community Action e-mail, Sept. 19, 2014

Wednesday
Sep172014

CAN BIG MONEY BUY ELECTIONS IN OREGON?  

     EDITOR'S NOTE:  The answer to my rhetorical headline is "yes and no".  While money is the "mother's milk" of politics, throwing money into a campaign doesn't guarantee success. 

     While the Koch brothers threw a ton of money to help Romney win in 2012, it was wasted money but that's not stopping them here in Oregon and elsewhere to help Republicans. 

      The key to winning is having the right message, having a good ground game and being at the right time and place.  Money can help but not if the message is wrong or organization is bad.   

Companies donate $690k to oppose Oregon GMO labeling
Statesman Journal

      "Seven major food companies have donated a total of $690,000 to stop a ballot measure that would require genetically engineered food to be labeled in Oregon. That brings the total raised by the campaign against Measure 92 to more than $1 million. The donations came from companies such as Pepsi, Hershey and Bumble Bee Foods — which all worked to stop a similar ballot measure in Washington in 2012.

     The campaign against Washington's labeling initiative broke state records when it raised $21.4 million in 2013. Supporters of the proposed law raised $6.3 million, and the measure was defeated. The same thing happened in California in 2012. Opponents of Prop 37 spent $46 million. In Oregon, the Yes on 92 campaign has raised slightly more than $430,000, according to online records from the Secretary of State's Office."

     RAD:  Giant food companies are throwing their "moneyed weight" around on the GMO front as they did successfully in Washington and California but Oregon is different.  There is a large environmental constituency in Oregon, a pro-organics consumer base and family farmers moving to alternative agriculture. 

     My bet is that Portlandia and Washington County will be the center of this fight as they are in most state-wide elections and may tilt to the YES side joined by more progressive voters down the I-5 corridor from Eugene to Ashland. The fear factor "what's in my food" will be a driver.  But clearly this race is too close to call.  

GMO labeling backers add $1.3 million to ballot initiative campaign
Oregonian

     "The folks who bring you Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps have put $550,000 behind Oregon's Yes on 92 ballot initiative, which would require labeling of genetically modified foods, according to Secretary of State filings. Mercola.com Health Resources, which bills itself as the world's leading natural health website, added $550,000. And Presence Marketing Inc., of Barrington, Illinois, gave $200,000.

     So far, those behind the initiative have raised more than $1.8 million. Presence Marketing, Dr. Bronner's (based in Vista, California) and Mercola (of Hoffman Estates, Illinois), made their contributions on Aug. 15. But records of those donations were made public late Monday."

     RAD:  Point/counterpoint - like I said above based on an earlier report, the money game over GMOs is heating up.  This could end up as one of the most expensive ballot measure in Oregon's history given the funding base of both sides of this issue.

     Next up will be the agri-business industry who will oppose this measure to kill it in Oregon and beyond. 

     I can hardly wait for the TV/radio ad war, flyers stuffing our mailboxes - all will be negative designed to confuse the so-called independent voters and to get out their bases!  Gentlemen, start your engines!   

Oregon 'top two' primary initiative picks up additional business contributions
Oregonian
      "The ballot measure that would end the current partisan political primaries in Oregon has just reported receiving another $100,000 in contributions from business-oriented groups and individuals. The Yes on 90 campaign, which wants to create a "top two" primary system similar to those in California and Washington, received $60,000 from the Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Administrators and $25,000 from the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association. 

     Roderick Wendt, vice-chairman of the board at Jeld-Wen, gave $10,000 and James Johnson, the CEO of Tripwire, gave $5,000, according to disclosure reports filed late Thursday. The measure has received strong support from many in the business community, who argue that it would have a moderating impact on politics in the state.  Critics have said it would reduce voter choice and have raised questions about whether the business community is attempting to increase its influence on state politics."

      RAD:  Why would business interests in Oregon want a more moderate voice in a legislature which is hugely pro-business on both sides of the aisle?  Just ask Intel and Nike lobbyists how friendly Governor Kitz and liberal Ds from Washington County have been to them! 

     My suspicion is that the goal of some conservative business types is to get Rs elected where Ds hold the fort.  A top two primary might advance this cause in some districts.  But it could work the other way too.  In Portlandia it would likely create a viable situation for a more radical D to be competitive. 

     As the saying goes - be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. 

Marijuana legalization campaign reserves huge media buy
Willamette Week
      "Since ORESTAR, the Oregon Secretary of State's electronic campaign finance tracking system, went live in 2006, the largest transaction on record is a $2.5 million contribution from Phillip Morris to a 2007 campaign against a cigarette tax.

     Today, New Approach Oregon, the campaign behind Measure 91, which would legalize marijuana, filed the second biggest transaction in ORESTAR history, a $2.23 million account payable to Media Analysis, a Portland firm that buys television ad time for campaigns. That account payable is especially interesting because New Approach doesn't currently have nearly enough money to pay for the ads its seeking to buy."  

     RAD:  Again, big money clearly is coming to Oregon on this campaign front.  In this case it may be to shore up a campaign which early polling shows only a 51% support level, a surprisingly modest lead given the history that ballot measures usually lose support as a time goes by. 

     My bet is that the demographics of this measure will bring it into the winners circle with strong support from Portlandia and Oregon's I-5 college towns.  It's a baby boomer issue...  then again... maybe enough baby boomers given their experiences now as parents or grandparents may have buyer's remorse!   

Tuesday
Sep162014

HOW TO FUND K-12 IN OREGON

     I'm following with great interest the battle between Washington's Supreme Court and it's legislature. 

 

 

     The Supreme Court has found the legislature in contempt by their failure to carry out an equitable funding system to support K-12 education.  They have given the legislature until the end of the 2015 session to fix the problem. 

     Given the divisions in the legislature in Olympia it will be a surprise if the court won't be forced to step into the breach and come up with its own funding formula.

     What makes this intriguing is that Oregon has a similar problem which the courts have not addressed.  Since the passage of Measures #5 in 1990 and #50 in 1997 we have disinvested in K-12 for over 23 years.  While the legislature in the 2013 session added $1 billion to K-12 - this doesn't make up for lost K-12 revenues for two generations.  And it doesn't meet the goals of the Quality Education Model law passed in 1997 which has become an unfunded mandate.

     The QEM has become the "official" if not "actionable" standard for Oregon's Quality Education Commission (EQC) assessments since 2001.  Unfortunately, the funding challenges, noted below, have been buried in "edu-speak" by a commission "handled" by governors Kulongoski and Kitzhaber committed to "doing more with less."  But despite gubernatorial spin control the facts come out while each QEC report gathers dust as those in the echo chamber away:      

     From EQC 2012 Report:  

     "The funding gap — the amount by which actual school funding falls short of the level required to meet Oregon’s educational goals continues to grow...  the gap of $2.277 billion in 2011-13 is expected to grow 7% to $2.439 billion in 2013 -15 and another 7% to $2.609 billion in 2015 -17 if the state continues to base its funding on the Current Service Level..."

     RAD:  A "current services level of funding simply maintains the status quo which in effect means less spending over time given the increased need.   It's also important to understand that costs to educate students increases at a higher rate than the CPI. 

  "...Oregon’s ambitious 40-40-20 education goals, which require that 100% of students graduate from high school, simply cannot be met without a significant closing of the funding gap along with a more productive use of resources..." 

     RAD:  One can tweak the education system with better assessment tools, professional development and being more efficient BUT at the end of the day you get what you pay for - a Penny's or Macy's educational system.  It's our choice!   

     EQC 2014 Report - 

      "...Despite the fact that education is the single largest area of spending in the state budget, education funding in Oregon is lower than the national average and has declined steadily and dramatically over the past two decades when adjusted for inflation. In the aftermath of two property tax limitations passed by Oregon voters, Oregon is now a low-tax state, and that makes funding of high-quality public services a challenge..."  

     This is why education reform efforts in Oregon since 1991 haven't closed the "achievement gap", why it has one of the highest drop out, school truancy rates in the US and where only 66% of entering freshmen graduate from high school.  With larger class sizes, cuts in teachers and programs and budget changes from year to year - schools in Oregon haven't kept pace with increased enrollments and a more diverse school aged population.   

     What needs to happen in Oregon is something akin to what's happened in Washington, somebody needs to sue the legislature for failure to live up to its own mandate.  This may be the only way to squeeze money out of corporate Oregon to pay it fair share in income taxes - from which entities like Intel and Nike get a free ride.  The other options would be to impose a sales tax which won't pass muster in Oregon and/or to up the rate on individual taxpayers which would cause a taxpayer revolt. 

     Look at New Jersey did: 

     "In 1976, New Jersey's Supreme Court ordered public schools shut down for eight days over the summer after lawmakers failed to put more money into education. That crisis resulted in the adoption of a state income tax."  

    It's time for a progressive corporate income tax not a sham minimum corporate tax!    

     There is only one place to go for new revenue - from those who don't contribute a fair share but take money via SIPs and 30 year tax deals with the Governor - who has kicked the can on tax reform in 3 terms and shows no signs of doing anything different in his would be 4th term.  It's time somebody like the Oregon Education Association (OEA) or Oregon School Board Association (OSBA) take on this fight but they are too compromised by their work in the Puzzle Palace.   

     Maybe an outsider like Greg Kafoury might take the legislature and governor to court.  Hey Greg, as a fellow Whitty - sue the Salem power brokers - be like your hero Uncle Ralphie Nader!   

Thursday
Sep112014

THE TROIKA IS AT IT AGAIN...  

     EDITOR'S NOTE:  This post was written by a friend who is a retired journalist and lives in Gaston.  He and his spouse do a weekly column for the Forest Grove News-Times on the history of Washington County. 



Hagg Lake fiasco is merely a symptom of Washington County’s arrogance and incompetence

by Ken Bilderback

Just hit Ken's name above to connect to the link of his blog

     Dropping the charges against a man arrested for bolting cardboard warning signs at Henry Hagg Lake was a good start. Putting up permanent, albeit inadequate and misleading, warning signs is another good step. But public outrage over the tragedies at Scoggins Valley Park, and the County’s incompetent response and subsequent cover-up, should be just beginning.

     The first issue should be to reveal and overturn decades of public policy intentionally meant to hide deadly danger from park visitors because of a horribly misguided fear of a possible lawsuit. Since at least 1990, County officials have refused to acknowledge the steep, vertical, hidden trench cut by Sain Creek at the park’s most popular designated swimming and wading area.

     The County will object to me calling Sain Creek a designated wading and swimming area. In fact, the specific written intent of the policy against warnings in the 2004 master plan for the park was to deny that there are any designated swimming areas, out of fear of litigation. The reasoning, used repeatedly since, was that if you forbid swimming and wading or even post a warning sign at one spot, you are telling visitors that swimming and wading are safe in the rest of the lake.

     The legal reasoning behind that policy is absurd on its face, but things get even worse. The entire time that officials have stubbornly refused to protect the public at Sain Creek, they have posted warning signs, written policies and even placed buoy lines and fences around the park, designating areas where swimming is prohibited. Those policies include much of the lake, and are enforced by the County’s police powers.

     Meanwhile, the County actively markets the park for swimming. When families visit the park to swim and wade, their options are limited, and the Sain Creek Picnic Area is the only developed area of the park without at least some restrictions on being in the water without a boat or water skis. County officials refuse to explain how that is not ipso facto designation of the gently sloping beach as a swimming area, putting county taxpayers at risk of enormous losses should the family of a drowning victim ever sue.

     The County should release the formal legal analysis that formed the basis for this absurd policy and reverse it in writing immediately. It is unconscionable to invite children into extreme hidden danger and then publicly blame them for their actions if they drown or require rescue.

     After the most recent drownings in August, the County again initially refused to take action, but then bowed to intense public anger by establishing committees to study the possibility of some sort of system to prevent future deaths. While nothing was etched in stone, we were told, some firm plans might be in place as early as May 2015. Even at that, the County outsourced planning to the Safe Kids Coalition, which has no staff, almost no money and no authority to take any action on its own.

     Public officials went out of their way to deny that topography was a factor in the drownings. That statement was false. Most of the drownings and rescues at the lake occur in the late summer, when the deadly channel of Sain Creek is hidden by only inches of calm, murky water. The clear and imminent danger posed by this threat was magnified by the upcoming Labor Day Weekend and the extended forecast for unusually hot weather.

     Outraged that officials refused to even post paper warning signs on the many sign boards at Sain Creek, local resident Michael Medill created cardboard warning signs of his own. To make it more difficult for County officials to remove them, as he knew they would, he bolted them to trees, the empty sign boards and to the elaborate gazebo. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded while KOIN-6 news cameras rolled. After journalists left, Michael Medill was told that he was not free to leave the park and was issued a citation to appear in court, facing a “presumptive fine” of $5,000.

     At this point public outrage went national, and County officials went into hiding, again refusing to post signs and denying that Medill had been legally arrested. The County also told reporters that they were “unsure” if Medill’s signs had been removed, when in fact they knew that they had already been torn down.

     Two days later, and exactly two weeks after the drownings, the County sent deputies to Sain Creek with crude paper warning signs and yellow crime scene tape. Unsure what to do with the crime scene tape, the deputies wrapped it around trees and picnic tables above the beach, only adding to the public’s confusion.

     As public outrage grew, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney took to social media, not to help warn the public of the danger, but to defend its actions against Medill, posting the citation and suggesting that media outlets were being unfair in their coverage. The resulting comments mostly concerned the amount of the “presumptive fine” of $5,000. The County did not deny the prescribed fine.

     County Commissioners Andy Duyck and Bob Terry joined the fray, condemning Medill for “grandstanding” and defending the County’s response to the drownings and arrest.

     The next day, the County quietly dropped all charges against Medill and erected permanent warning signs at Sain Creek. County officials then made it clear that Medill’s actions and public outrage had played no part in erecting the signs instead of waiting until at least next summer as originally planned.

     However, Philip Bransford, a County spokesperson, already had told the unvarnished truth to a reporter for the News-Times of Forest Grove, which hit the streets while other officials continued their lies. In a very reasoned, uncritical interview, Bransford said that the signs were in response to public demands.  Branford’s courage created a change in the way County officials dealt with the still growing outrage.

     The next day the Washington County Sheriff’s Office admitted that it had in fact arrested Medill, but released him under his own recognizance. The “presumptive fine” listed on the citation by deputies, they said now, was a mistake, they told The Oregonian. It was not a fine at all, they said, but just the deputies’ way of telling Medill what his bail might have been had they booked him into jail. The actual potential maximum fine was not $5,000, but rather $6,250.

     There should be a thorough and complete review of the County’s actions at Scoggins Valley Park and Henry Hagg Lake. This should not be an excuse for an expensive consultant report culminating in the inevitable conclusion by outside independent experts that the County acted appropriately.

     Instead, the County should use standard progressive discipline procedures. If current public officials are unable or unwilling to produce reports within a reasonable amount of time accepting responsibility for their actions, combined with detailed action plans for how they will improve their future performance, their employment should be terminated.

     Sadly, even if the County does investigate, the public likely won’t hear anything but a vague statement that the case is closed and the report will not be released, citing the Oregon Supreme Court decision in Klamath County School District v Teamey and subsequent legislative action that effectively gutted much of Oregon’s Open Records Law by creating a loophole allowing officials to release only a vague summary of many otherwise public records.

     Should the County refuse to investigate and release all findings, I hope that the state or federal government will at least investigate the possibility of legal action against the public officials who invited a family of four into the peaceful waters of Henry Hagg Lake, only to drown under the longstanding, criminally negligent policies of a bloated, unresponsive bureaucracy.

 

Wednesday
Sep102014

A "JUST PEACE" NOT A "JUST WAR"  

     On the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11...    coincidence or symbolic? 

     Given the horrendous violence of ISIS and the human right atrocities they have inflicted on people from Syria to Iraq, it's understandable why people of good faith feel compelled to respond to ISIS. 

     ISIS must be stopped but ultimately this requires a political not just a military strategy.  Since all politics is local, it's not what we do that counts the most, it's what the leaders of the region do that matters most. 

      The whole world is watching!  

     President Obama is going to address the nation tonight on his strategy for “containing ISIS.  But we already know the goal, it’s the how this will be achieved that’s the $64,000 dollar question.  

     “We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities; we’re going to shrink the territory that they control; and, ultimately, we’re going to defeat them,” Mr. Obama said in a weekend curtain-raiser to the nationwide address.

     We've heard this refrain before when we went after the Taliban and al Qaida in Afghanistan after 9/11, then when we toppled the Hussein regime in Iraq.  We also heard similar goals about supporting the Arab Spring.   

     Sadly none of these plans worked out.  A more robust and dangerous ISIS has replaced al Qaida.  Afghanistan and Iraq are still nations in chaos and aside from Tunisia, the Arab Spring has turned into an Arab Winter. 

     And while our Canadian friends have signed up for the new battle with terrorism, close allies of the USA in the Arab world like Saudi Arabia and Egypt have offered nothing more than vague declarations of support. 

     Gee no guts no glory from the petro sheiks and Camel Jockeys!  I want to see Arab blood and treasure on the ground...  If ISIS wins, they are next in line along with Israel, Lebanon and Jordan...   

     If the “locals” in the Middle East who will be targets of ISIS from Jordan to Israel don’t create a coalition of the at risk nations, then why should the USA step up aside from offering humanitarian assistance?  

     I know the saying goes in the Middle East that “the enemy of your enemy is your friend.”  This puts the US in a coalition with Syria’s Assad and Iran’s Grand Ayatollah. This is the scenario that got us into trouble in the Cold War. 

     As President Harry Truman once said when asked why we collaborated the dictator in the Dominican Republic – “he’s our SOB not theirs” – meaning to Soviets.  So suddenly Assad is an ally?  Go figure!  

     Sorry Barack, this doesn't pass the smell test...   

     We should go to the UN, to NATO and to the Arab League and demand support or we just won't go.  To contain ISIS just blanket the region with a no fly zone like Bush I did in ’91 to protect the Kurds, then let the locals step up.  It's their fight! 

     Preisdent Obama's address was measured and well within the bounds of a limited American strategy.  However, there was no specificity which, if any, of our regional allies would stand up to ISIS in "mobilizing parties on the ground." 

     I applaud the POTUS for taking the case to the UN Security Council. 

     But there was a chilling phrase of America's "enduring burden" which sounds much like Rudyard Kipling's famous phrase during the British Raj in India of the "white man's burden."  What about the "local's" burden?  

     Is this "burden" a euphamism for "mission creep?"  

    The problem with the “degrade and shrink strategy” is it doesn’t address the underlying social and economic cleavages in the Middle East which are the conditions which have created ISIS – the Sunni vs. Shiite divide.  

     We may be able to degrade and shrink ISIS but as long as the underlying conditions which create terrorism are not resolved, economic and political divisions, like post-al Qaida, the post-ISIS era will morph into another jihadist enemy.

     Or worse yet, in the vacuum of ISIS, Syria, Iran and Turkey will step into the breach creating the conditions for what some have called a “30 Years War” in the Middle East. Ultimately Israel and Egypt will be forced to act.    

     President Obama has promised there will be no US boots on the ground beyond the 1000 already there.  We’ve heard this promise before.  With the Canadians sending in a 1000, we’re now up to 2000.  When will it stop? 

     Again, where are the Middle East nation’s troops?  Sitting in cafes drinking coffee or tea while watching soccer on Al Jazeera, BBC or CNN and laughing at the silly Americans getting into more Middle East quicksand. 

     It will be claimed we have a national security interest in the Middle East.  Now with more US oil than we can use, where’s the compelling national interest in Middle East oil?  Let ARAMCO send in the troops!  

     Who is dependent on Arab and Soviet oil – Europe!  Let them step it up.  Then again, we can sell them our oil and/or natural gas.  It loosens China’s grip on the US economy.  This would be a wake up call for the oil sheiks. 

     The power structure of Middle East nations need to offer a counter narrative to the "holy war" rhetoric of ISIS et al, a narrative which offers hope to the younger generation that there is a place at the table for them - political rights and economic justice. 

     The default position is we must save Israel.  With their US financed Iron Dome, Israel can protect itself as it has proved before.  Israel should build coalitions with its Arab neighbors and end its client-state relationship with the USA.  

     It’s time we turn swords of war into pruning hooks.   Humanitarian aid yes, bombing ISIS into oblivion is not the answer.  We will simply create more enemies, more collateral damage.

     Our goals to degrade and contain ISIS should be proportionate to the danger it imposes in the region.  And that burden falls on the nations of the Middle East, not the USA.  Help yes, go in like the Long Ranger, no!    

     The community of nations, not just the USA, need to respond to ISIS terrorism but "how" we respond is the key question.  Let’s work for a “just peace” not engage in another fruitless “just war.”  

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