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Updated: 57 min 55 sec ago

OR-SEN: Koch Brothers commit new $200k ad buy against Merkley

3 hours 3 min ago

Even as Monica Wehby circles the drain, the Koch Brothers can't resist one more parting shot before they slither away, via their American Future Fund. AFF is bankrolled by the Koch boys.

The two have dropped $200k on a new anti-Merkley ad, because apparently they can't think of anything nice to say about Monica Wehby. Not that I can blame them for that.

It's the same old recycled crap they've been dealing out all over the country.

You can help Jeff out by throwing some non-Koch money his way.

In other news, apparently the AFF is not well-funded enough to actually fill out the copy on their "About" page, unless AFF is actually a dessert menu.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Nearly All Poor Latino Families in Oregon are...

October 30, 2014 - 10:39am

Working poor.

Nine out of 10 poor Oregon Latino families with children had at least one parent in the family who worked in the previous 12 months. By comparison, the figure was seven out of 10 for the state’s poor non-Hispanic white families with children.

It’s tough being poor despite work, and it’s worse if you cannot drive. It’s one of the reasons why Measure 88 is important to many working families.

See two-page fact sheet Nearly All Poor Latino Families in Oregon Are Poor Despite Work

Chuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Why Monsanto and pals are working so hard to defeat Measure 92

October 30, 2014 - 10:18am

By Eecole Copen of Portland, Oregon. Eecole is a registered dietitian and an advocate for sustainable food systems. Last week, she received the 2014 Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Excellence Award at the national conference for dietitians in Atlanta, Georgia.

Let's talk about labeling GMOs. We need to look at the bigger picture. Some are saying that measure 92 may not be written effectively and that it may increase the cost of food, hitting poor families particularly hard. People are afraid of the repercussions.

Let’s take a look at the effectiveness of this bill first.

Whether or not Measure 92 is the perfectly written law, it is a great first step. If it weren’t going to be effective on some level, Monsanto and their industrial allies would not be spending over $14 million in attempts to make it fail. They could be putting that $14 million into labeling, if their priorities were something other than bottom line financial profiting. No, they are more concerned that GMOs continue to progress without any barriers. And this is critical for them, because they need the next few years to take GMOs to the point of no return.

Just this last year, Syngenta (Swiss company who makes GMO seeds) was found to be strategically checkerboard planting their genetically modified sugar beet seeds in Southern Oregon. Whatever their reason, the inevitable result was that all of the surrounding family farmers who grew non-GMO or organic seed would find some portion of their seeds crossed-pollinated with Syngenta’s GMO seed. According to Raymon Seidler, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, these seeds have been known to contaminate fields 11 miles away.

What are the repercussions of this? Family farms would no longer be able to sell to the Organic or foreign export market. This puts farmers out of business. This takes our opportunity to buy organic away. This is sneaky and strategic. This was a secret... until some farmers figured it out. Then they banned GMO seeds from being planted in their county.

This is intentional. GMO makers need to get their seeds dispersed far and wide, so they can claim patent rights and ultimately, claim our food rights. We think it’s scary to have our water privatized? Think if all of our food is privatized. It won’t take long. GMO canola can cross with Brassicas... think broccoli, chard, kale, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. And until we decide that corporations are no longer people, their patent interests will continue to take over our food system. This is one hell of a greedy & hungry big brother.

And cross contamination is just one scary road eerily travelled. Let’s talk about microbes, pesticides and gene transfer.

Right now, the 2 major genetic modifications approved by the FDA are “Round-up Ready” crops, which confer resistance to the well known herbicide, Roundup (glyphosate), to corn, alfalfa, soy, canola and sugar beets, and the Bt gene which enables corn, sweet corn and potato plants themselves, to manufacture an internal pesticide that kills unwanted pests. Round-Up ready crops depend on all surrounding weeds to fall victim to Round-Up. However, studies tracking the use of glyphosate show that the “annual increase in the herbicides required to deal with tougher-to-control weeds on cropland planted to GE cultivars has grown from 1.5 million pounds in 1999 to about 90 million pounds in 2011.” And as of Sept 17th, the USDA “plowed ahead with a highly controversial decision to deregulate new seed varieties of “Agent Orange” corn and soybeans, so-called for its ability to withstand the weed killer 2,4-D, a major component in the infamous dioxin-laden defoliant used in Vietnam. The USDA environmental impact study predicted that approval of the crops would lead to a 200 to 600 percent increase in the use of 2,4-D nationally by 2020, but deferred to the EPA for analysis of the effects of the increase. The idea is that these seeds will have both genes to now resist two herbicides, since they see the ultimate failure of Round-Up ready alone. When does it stop? How much herbicide can our soils, our water system and ultimately our bodies handle? There is no lack of evidence around the links between herbicides and cancer, reduced fertility, fetal abnormalities, etc., and there is an unfolding story on the horizon…

Bear with me through this logic…

We’ve all heard that gut bacteria play a role in our digestion. And now we are finding that gut bacteria have many other jobs like harvesting energy, producing vitamins, metabolizing drugs & modulating the immune system (Cerf-Bensussan and Gaboriau-Routhiau, Nat Rev Immunol, 2010). And studies show that they likely play a role in our body’s response to all sorts of issues, including hunger signaling, chronic inflammation, auto-immune diseases, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and much more (read Dr. Gerard E Mullin, “The Inside Tract”). There are even services now available to get your gut flora analyzed for $100.

We are finding that certain bacteria predominate with certain diseases. Could it be that the kinds of bacteria fostered by our bodies determine our health? What we know is that diversity of gut flora increases resilience for our immune system. And where do these bacteria come from?? Our food. Both literally attached to the food we eat, the dirt on our fingers, & the soil our food is grown in. These are called probiotics. Plus, food acts as food not just for us, but for the bacteria in our guts, called pre-biotics. The kinds of foods we eat will determine the kinds of bacteria that will proliferate.

Now consider that the average farm is 441 acres and is usually planted with very few crops at a time, essentially creating large swaths of land that are mono-cropped. In 2012, 88 percent of corn (maize) and 94 percent of soy grown in the United States were genetically modified, according to the US Department of Agriculture. The big farms are filled with mostly GMO crops.

As mentioned, these crops are requiring increasingly heavy doses of herbicides in these fields, decimating bacterial diversity, and thus decreasing the resilience of the soil’s immune system. As crops become more susceptible to disease, more chemicals are needed to keep the pests out, and the plants growing. Does this situation sound familiar? The health of our bodies is reflected in the health of our soils. And literally, when we kill all the diversity in microbial organisms in the soil, we diminish the diversity of bacteria available to our own guts to help us resist disease. The more GMOs planted, the more herbicides & pesticides needed to deal with super weeds and resistant bugs, the less diversity in our soil bacteria, the less diversity in our gut bacteria, the more risk both humans and plants have for disease.

There’s one more super scary element. The Bt gene that helps the plant manufacture its own pesticide originally comes from bacteria in the soil. Genes are exchanged all of the time in the bacterial world. According to Dr. Robert Kremer, Ph.D., microbiologist formerly with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Adjunct Professor of Soil Microbiology at the University of Missouri, gene transfer is totally possible from plant to other organisms. So, the feasibility exists that our own gut bacteria could pick up the pesticide making genes, making our guts into pesticide factories.

Is the research final on all this? Not yet, but it’s coming. And the longer we wait for absolute conclusions, the more time we give to industry to weave their GMO seeds into our food system in this country. Europe has already banned GMOs and labeling happens in 64 countries around the world. We are one of the only 1st world countries available to enable this industry’s success. They need us. And they will do anything to keep the barriers from forming.

Finally, the last point is about whether poor families are going to spend hundreds of dollars per year in extra food costs. Industry is malleable. They have an incredible amount of flexibility to please the consumer. In 2014, General Mills’ net profit was 1.82 billion. If they see the consumer interest shift away from their products, you better believe they will find a way to attract their customers back. They don’t want to lose business. And they won’t inflate their prices and risk that loss. And, if 64 countries have already labeled GMOs, and the poor didn’t go hungry there, what makes us think it will be any different here?

We can’t afford to give industry any more time to spread their seeds via a technology that is diminishing our capacity for health on so many levels. This has to be stopped as soon as possible. We have an amazing opportunity to put up one of America’s first major barriers to their progress.

Carpe Diem. Let’s seize this day on November 4th and exert the power of our vote to stop this harmful progress. Yes on Measure 92.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

The fatal flaw in Measure 90, and the election that proves it

October 30, 2014 - 7:00am

Over at the O, Jeff Mapes writes about "five elections that could have been different" under Measure 90. But mostly, he talks about general elections that wouldn't have included third-party candidates. But the bigger change under the open primary measure would be in... primaries.

And you don't have to look very far. In fact, just back to the last time we had an open seat in Mahonia Hall.

In 2010, Chris Dudley came darn close to beating John Kitzhaber in the general election. It was a margin of just over 22,000 votes out of 1.4 million cast -- or 49.3% to 47.8%.

But if Measure 90 had been in place, it's entirely possible that Dudley wouldn't have even been on that ballot. Consider the primary election results:

td.votes {padding: 5px; font-size: 11px;} DJohn Kitzhaber242,54534.6% RChris Dudley122,85517.5% DBill Bradbury110,29815.7% RAllen Alley99,75314.2% RJohn Lim47,3396.8% RBill Sizemore23,5223.4% DRoger Obrist16,0572.3% RW. Ames Curtright12,4971.8% DWrite-ins5,5040.8% RRex O. Watkins3,0600.4% RWrite-ins2,0010.3% RClark Colvin1,2060.2% RDarren Karr1,1270.2% RBob Forthan7270.1%

In 2010, if just 12,558 Republican primary voters had swung their vote from Chris Dudley to any other Republican, the top two would have been John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury.

Or, for that matter, if just 12,558 more Democratic primary voters had decided to vote for Bradbury instead of Kitzhaber, that would have been enough for an all-Democrats general election.

That's a shift of just 1.8% of the total primary electorate.

Of course, it's entirely plausible that under Measure 90, the field and the campaign would look completely different. Maybe a wealthy independent would have jumped in. Maybe a moderate Republican with actual political skills (not Allen Alley, please) could have assembled a coalition of voters across the parties. (And, of course, the electorate would have included all those third party candidates and nonaffiliated voters, which -- yes -- would have an effect.)

But the most likely change -- in fact, an almost certain change -- is that the two major parties would have pressured the candidates (probably through their major donors) to ensure that only one well-known Democrat and one well-known Republican would have run at all.

That's the big flaw in Measure 90. It's supposed to give more voters access to the decision-making process that takes place in the primary election. But it won't. The primary elections will become general election dress rehearsals -- with the same limited set of candidates.

And the "primary election" will take place behind closed doors and will be decided by money, not votes.

How exactly does that open up our democracy?

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

I'm all about that Face, bout that Face, No Twitter!

October 29, 2014 - 2:37pm

Q. What do you have that Monsanto doesn't have?

A. Facebook friends

That's right, you have the ability to be the best Get Out the Vote effort this world has ever seen, and it will just take you a minute.

Visit DidTheyVote.org

In under a minute, all of the friends you have on Facebook in Oregon (whose ballots have not yet been received by the elections office) will appear with the opportunity for you to send them a friendly, custom tailor-made message encouraging them to vote. And, my version has an extra kicker - encouraging them to encourage their friends via using the site.

For example:

Dear Wilma,

Have you voted yet? If not, I think the most important vote on the ballot is for our health - and that's a YES vote on Measure 92 to require labeling of GMOs in our food. I hope you will vote YES on 92 and then also take a moment and encourage your friends via DidTheyVote.org to do the same.

Thank you,

Your friend, Albert

Feel free to cut and paste this message into your own message to friends. Another example:

Hi there Fred,

If you haven't voted yet, please take a moment to vote yes on Measure 91 which will legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon. I hope you will vote YES on 91 and then also take a moment and encourage your friends via DidTheyVote.org to do the same.

Your friend, Albert

We have a short window of opportunity to make a huge, historical change in Oregon and the Country. We cannot outspend Monsanto, PepsiCo, Syngenta and the other multinational "food" companies. We suddenly have a very useful tool that can be used to counter their money on Measure 92. Let's use it!

PS: I have noticed that the results provided of who in your life hasn't voted yet, changes from day to day. Try returning to DidTheyVote.org more than once and see if someone new pops up.

Have stamps handy.

Know where the ballot drop-off stations are.

Last moment to get ballots to a drop box - 8 p.m on Election Day, November 4th

Now, get out there and let's get those ballots in!

P.S. A few friends and I put together ballot endorsements here

P.S.S. - Feel free to share a link to this article, widely!

P.S.S.S. Here's A short video about Did They Vote?

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

For the environment, John Kitzhaber is hands-down the right choice for Governor.

October 29, 2014 - 9:01am

By Doug Moore of Portland, Oregon. Doug is the executive director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.

The Oregon League of Conservation Voters endorsed Gov. Kitzhaber for re-election because he shares our values, understands our issues, and we know he can deliver on our priorities. John Kitzhaber has a strong environmental record and his passion for the outdoors and his dedication to fighting climate change shines through in every conversation. Governor Kitzhaber doesn’t just talk about the environment, he lives it. He is one of us – an environmentalist – and in the race for Governor of Oregon, he is the only environmental candidate.

Skipping the vote?

I’ve heard that some environmental voters are considering a protest vote or skipping the race entirely because they disagree with Kitzhaber on this or that issue, or are frustrated with recent news. My message to those voters? Please reconsider that choice.

Applying a 100% litmus test for every candidate simply means that you’ll find very few, if any, candidates to vote for. Serving office requires tough choices and being an elected official, unfortunately, is the exemplification of “you can’t please all the people all the time.” We, the voters, have to vote for the candidate that best represents our values. And in this race, among these candidates, Gov. Kitzhaber is hands down the best environmental candidate.

Let’s first take a look at Dennis Richardson.

The differences between these two candidates couldn’t be more stark. Richardson has a lifetime 24% score on the OLCV scorecard – and as you would expect with that score – a terrible record on the environment, particularly on climate. Just during this campaign, he’s said that climate change is a “philosophy,” that we need return our timber policy to the 1990’s, and that he supports exporting coal through our ports. If that’s not enough to just say no to Richardson, while serving in the House, Richardson voted against:

  • Establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals for our state (HB 3542, 2009)
  • A moratorium on oil drilling off our coast (SD 790, 2007)
  • The Clean Fuels Program (HB 2186, 2009)
  • Oregon’s Renewable Energy Standard (SB 828, 2007)
  • Disclosure of toxic chemicals in children’s products (HB 3162, 2013)
Green Party?

Second, the Pacific Green Party candidate, Jason Levin, is “green” in name but not in belief.

He’s more interested in legalizing marijuana than he is in protecting the environment. Frankly, I don’t understand why the Green Party allowed him to be their nominee. When asked by the Bend Source Weekly about what he’d accomplish if elected, Levin ignored the environment and cited universal healthcare coverage, improving schools, and lowering the unemployment rate as his top issues. He’s also publicly argued against the Clean Fuels program using Big Oil’s talking points, and he crashed a debate to talk about “putting our forests back to work” using the timber industry’s talking points. He’s also being promoted and supported by Dennis Richardson for his attacks on Kitzhaber: watch this and this.

If you think that voting for this Green Party candidate will “send a message” to Gov. Kitzhaber or the Democratic Party that they need to take the environment more seriously, let me say clearly and directly: that is a terrible idea and if you are successful, the environmental community will pay a steep, steep price. This “strategy” is akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Don’t believe me? The last time a Green Party candidate earned significant protest votes and played spoiler was Ralph Nader in 2000. The extremely well-respected political analyst Charlie Cook highlighted in a New York Times op-ed that Nader’s spoiler effect cost Al Gore both Florida and New Hampshire, and with it, the Presidency.

We then had eight years of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney writing energy and environmental policy and all that entailed. Yeah, that worked out well for us.

Can you imagine Dennis Richardson making decisions on the environment? Do you want Clean Fuels extended? Not going to happen. Want to protect kids from toxic chemicals? See ya later, kids. Want to protect the Elliott State Forest and our timberlands? Good luck. But if you want coal trains rumbling through the Gorge and across the state, you’re in luck! If you want clear-cutting, you’ll have it! If you want a water policy that ignores science and salmon, welcome to Oregon!

That’s what could happen if green voters play spoiler and Dennis Richardson wins. Boy, didn’t we send a message!

I want to close with the final statement John Kitzhaber made to the OLCV Board during our endorsement interview, because it was so powerful. He said:

“We need to change the narrative and culture from jobs versus the environment to an economy that depends on protecting the environment. We need an economy that gives everyone a pathway to meet their basic needs and an economy that replenishes our natural resources and reduces our carbon footprint.”

This statement earned John Kitzhaber my vote and OLCV’s endorsement. I hope he’ll have yours as well.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Measure 90 empowers rural Democrats in red Oregon, too.

October 28, 2014 - 1:57pm

By Jim Kelly of Kimberly, Oregon. Jim is the founder of Rejuvention, Inc. and chief petitioner of Measure 90.

Kari Chisholm recently presented a mailer targeted to urban Republicans by the Yes on 90 campaign as “proof” that Measure 90 is aimed at helping Republicans. With this submission, I am providing the mirror image ad that was mailed out to rural Democrats, like myself, to make the same point - that with the current system their vote does not really effectively count in the primary. So let’s get real. Check it out (click to zoom):

Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party hate Measure 90. It might be interesting for BlueOregon readers to note what I hear most commonly from those on the right when I am talking about Measure 90. Over and over Republican partisans tell me that they believe Measure 90 is a plot by the Democrats to wrest all power away from them, and to insure Democratic domination into the future. For that reason Oregon Right to Life opposes Measure 90 (something the Yes campaign coalition does not like to admit!).

Given their progressive values, I am proud that many Democrats, despite their party’s opposition, do truly care and believe in inclusion, and are more open to hearing about the merits of Measure 90, and supporting its passage.

The opposition is now sending mailers attacking the proponents and funders of Measure 90, portraying people like me as greedy, and only supporting Measure 90 for some sort of mysterious personal gain. Unbelievably, these fliers never mention what the Measure is even about – not a word about primaries or voting. Again, let’s get real.

The number of Oregon voters who cannot legally vote in partisan primaries just exceeded 700,000, up from 650,000 when we started our campaign. And just last month the percentage of voters not registered as a Democrat or Republican grew to 32% - and that number will continue to grow (compare to 2% in 1960). 49% of Oregon voters under 40 have rejected the major parties. And of newly registered voters, May through September, nearly 75%, (mostly these are young voters), have rejected both the Democratic and Republican parties. Democrats and Progressives would be foolish to ignore theses stunning numbers and trends.

I recognize and respect that reasonable people will often come to different conclusions, even while looking at the same information. I am frustrated, however, by the “perfect gets in the way of the good” kind of logic that condemns Measure 90 because it does not fix all that is wrong with Oregon politics. I strongly agree that we must do something about finance reform. But I would remind BlueOregon readers that recent efforts in Oregon to enact campaign reform have been defeated by Republicans, Democrats, and Our Oregon. If Measure 90 passes, it will create an opportunity for those groups to get serious about campaign finance reform. All of us should push them hard to make sure that happens. I know I will.

Measure 90 is not a panacea, and we have never made it out as such. But it is a solid step towards making our system more equal, fair, and functional. First and foremost all voters will be able to meaningfully participate, and it will help elect candidates who are the most representative of all the voters in their district, whether that district is left or right leaning. That’s called Democracy.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Does Ruth Carey, nutritionist and No on 92 spokesperson, understand how genetics works?

October 28, 2014 - 7:00am

There's a new ad running from the No on 92 campaign. In it, Ruth Carey -- who claims to be a "registered dietitian and nutritionist" -- whines loudly about how confusing Measure 92 is.

It's same-old playbook big corporate interests always use against progressive reforms. Misleading, confusing, expensive, yadda yadda.

In the ad, Carey complains that "meat and dairy products from animals raised on GMO feeds" would be exempt from being labeled as genetically-modified.

...well, DUH! Of course they are!

Just because a pig eats some GMO corn doesn't mean the pig has suddenly become genetically modified. None of my genes have become modified just because I like to eat all kinds of junk food, much of it surely made with GMOs. I've got the same genes I was born with.

Trust me, if we could modify our own genes just by eating something, well, there would be a big market in "make me taller and better-looking" nacho cheese doritos.

The No on 92 campaign likes to claim that it's the science-based campaign, that the Yes on 92 folks are the ones playing fast and loose. Not from where I sit. This idea that an animal that's fed GMO food is suddenly itself genetically-modified is utterly bogus.

And a nutritionist should know better. Your move, Ms. Carey.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Campaigning & Voting "the Oregon Way"

October 27, 2014 - 3:00pm

By Barbara Roberts of Portland, Oregon. Barbara was Oregon's first woman governor, serving from 1991-1995. She previously served as Oregon's Secretary of State, from 1985-1991.

Oregon proudly pioneered the initiative system so citizens could bring ideas directly to the ballot. The intent was for voters to have an actual debate about a proposed policy issue and then vote up or down on whether they thought it was good or bad for Oregon and her people.

Today, major initiative changes to our election law need factual and thorough consideration. And our voters deserve information, honesty, and respect.

And yet, instead of engaging in a real debate and answering arguments against Measure 90, its backers decided to make up phony arguments and a phony website, pretending those opinions came from "No on 90" Oregonians. They even paid to insert misleading pages in the Oregon Voters Pamphlet. They called the pages "satire." I call them unacceptable misrepresentation. This isn't the way we do things in Oregon.

Under current Oregon election laws, when we get our fall ballots, there's a wide diversity of parties and candidates to choose from. No matter where you fit on the political spectrum, our elections are designed to make sure you can find a candidate who fits your values.

Measure 90 dismantles our entire elections system and replaces it with one where voters would only be able to choose between two candidates in the general election-which is when choice and participation matter most.

Measure 90 silences all but two voices in every general election race. In many races, the "top two" candidates could be from just one political party-leaving voters with little choice.

The states of California and Washington have "top two" primary election systems that have failed to live up to their backers' promises.

Measure 90 is a complex proposal that would cause campaigns to start earlier, could double election costs, increase big money's influence, and discourage voter participation. It's no wonder 66% of Oregon voters rejected a very similar ballot measure in 2008.

Say "No" to misuse of our voters pamphlet; say "No" to phony websites; say "No" to copying California's new election system. Say "No" to political games and less choice for Oregon voters. Don't be fooled!

I'm counting on Oregon voters to join the growing coalition of groups and community leaders who'll vote No on Measure 90. It is not an Oregon answer.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

On birth control, Kitzhaber is a champion for all Oregon women

October 27, 2014 - 11:09am

By Michele Stranger Hunter of Portland, Oregon. Michele is the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon.

Last week, the National Women's Health Network, a national organization committed to advancing women's health, praised Governor John Kitzhaber saying, "Policymakers like Governor Kitzhaber make a real difference in the lives of women."

This is a huge deal.

The National Women’s Health Network was referring to the fact that Governor Kitzhaber is the first Governor in the country to take a public stand in support of women’s access to all FDA approved birth control methods without any out-of-pocket cost. This means all private and public health plans must fully cover, with no cost-sharing, all FDA approved forms of birth control. You might think that this was already guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act, and that insurance carriers should already be covering all FDA approved forms of birth control. But, this just is not the case. The reality is, not all insurance plans have been covering all birth control methods 100%. And unfortunately, no other governor or insurance commissioner is publicly enforcing what was clearly intended in the ACA.

Women across the country are being denied their preferred birth control method, despite the Affordable Care Act’s stipulation. Health providers’ complaints, that the birth control method most appropriate for their patients was not being covered by her insurance, were ignored. Insurance companies are finding ways to get around the birth control coverage required by the ACA. Women have been telling their stories, advocates have been challenging the insurance companies, but no one had taking action.

NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon decided to check into women’s access to birth control in Oregon. Over the past six months we heard women’s complaints, we conducted "secret shopper” calls to health insurance companies and completed an analysis of carriers’ prescription formularies. What we found was disturbing. The vast majority of insurance companies were not following the policy set in place by the ACA. We presented these findings to the Oregon Insurance Commissioner and the Governor’s office.

Governor Kitzhaber took action. Even while other progressive governors have shied away from the potential controversy over birth control coverage, Governor Kitzhaber had the courage to stand up and do what is right for Oregon women. Governor Kitzhaber is listening and committed to creating greater access to the services women deserve and want. Thanks to his advocacy, by 2015 all Oregon insurance carriers must fully cover with no cost-sharing all FDA approved forms of birth control.

This is good news for Oregon, but sadly, this kind of advocacy for women’s health is rare - especially among governors. Governor Kitzhaber has been a champion for women’s reproductive health throughout his career and consistently blocked legislation attacking women’s reproductive rights. His opponent for this midterm election, Dennis Richardson, was one of only nine House members to vote against a bill requiring insurance companies to cover birth control at all. We all know about Richardson’s letter to The Oregonian, where he actually said that “a woman relinquishes her unfettered right to control her own body when her actions cause the conception of a baby.”

This election is so important. Governor Kitzhaber works on issues that matter to women and protect women's rights. In a climate where women’s rights are being pushed back decades across the country, Oregon’s governor is taking a stand to stop it. National women’s rights organizations are praising Governor Kitzhaber’s advocacy work for women. I urge all Oregonians to take notice of who is working for women’s rights and vote. Let’s make sure we keep him in office.

Oregon women need 4 more years of John Kitzhaber.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Health Care for ALL Children

October 24, 2014 - 7:00am

At the Oregon Center for Public Policy, we believe that all Oregon children should have access to health care services. To further that goal, the Center partnered with the Oregon Latino Health Coalition to produce the report Health Care for All Children: Oregon Thrives When All Children Have a Chance to Grow Up Healthy (PDF).

Why did the Center write the Health Care for All Children? Because all children deserve the chance to succeed in school and life, and staying healthy is key to that success. Seeing a doctor when needed gives children an opportunity to make the most of school and build better lives.

Guaranteeing that all children have health insurance would benefit all Oregonians, not just the kids getting the new insurance coverage. Research shows that increasing health insurance coverage among children leads to a decline in high school drop-out rates and to an increase in college attendance and college completion. Ultimately, those improved education outcomes translate to a more skilled workforce that can strengthen Oregon’s economy.

Read the short (5 page) report to learn about the problem: Health Care for All Children: Oregon Thrives When All Children Have a Chance to Grow Up Healthy (PDF).

Chuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

The No on 92 Campaign's $14 Million Grand Deception

October 23, 2014 - 4:15pm

Of all the sound bites gushing forth from the No on 92’s PR spin machine opposing GMO labeling, one stands out as a masterpiece of deception.

From their website:

“Would Measure 92 end up costing taxpayers?

Yes. Measure 92 would create two new state bureaucracies to enforce and implement its costly regulations. The Oregon Department of Administrative Services staff estimated that inspection programs to enforce Measure 92 would cost taxpayers more than $14 million every budget cycle.”

The $14 million figure is everywhere – in their ads, in the Voters' Pamphlet and on the lips of the PR professionals their campaign has hired to do their debating for them.

Yet the actual, official cost estimate from the Secretary of State’s office is that Measure 92 is “expected to result in direct expenditures by State agencies for initial one-time start-up costs estimated at between $550,000 and $600,000.”

This comes to a one-time cost of 15 cents per Oregonian for work performed by current staff.

So where did this $14 million figure come from?

The No campaign presents it as the final word. But that’s not the case at all – it was only a preliminary, internal memo that came from the Oregon Dept. of Administrative Services (DAS). Here’s what the No campaign isn’t telling you about the DAS memo:

  1. It took the figures from the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture.
  2. It considered the $14 million ongoing costs as only one of several possible scenarios. Another scenario in the same document pegged the ongoing costs at only $573,044. But this lower cost figure never saw the light of day in the No campaign’s slick advertising.
  3. It was only one document out of many presented as testimony to the state financial impact committee that determined the final cost estimate, which included Secretary of State Kate Brown, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Michael Jordan, DAS director.
  4. Neither DAS scenario made the final cut, which was the official one-time $550,000 - $600,000 estimate. Any future costs were indeterminate.

DAS spokesperson Matt Shelby concurs: “The DAS memo presented a range of potential enforcement items, the $14 million being the most costly. The state financial impact committee chose not to include either one of them.”

There were very good reasons for not accepting any of the DAS figures for ongoing costs. First and foremost, the initiative doesn’t require any new government infrastructure.

The enforcement of Measure 92 is notable for its simplicity and lack of red tape. It’s private citizen-initiated and consists of just three steps:

  1. If anyone suspects that a food manufacturer or retailer is breaking the law by not labeling, they notify the state Attorney General’s office.
  2. The AG’s office decides if they want to take legal action. If they do, it goes through the existing court system.
  3. If the AG’s office decides not to take action after 60 days, the individual, business or organization is free to independently pursue legal action.

That’s it. No “two new state bureaucracies,” no need for additional staff, testing equipment, lab analysis, etc.

So the next time you see anything with $14 million government costs for Measure 92, you can place it in the proper waste receptacle.

And then, hopefully, you’ll vote Yes so we can start getting the transparency we deserve in our food purchases.

Because we’re sure not getting any transparency from the No campaign.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

The facts tell us: M90 won't work

October 23, 2014 - 3:42pm

The claim: M90 – aka “Unified Primary” – will increase voter participation by giving all voters the same choices on the same ballot. No more partisan primaries; a single, unified primary where everyone votes for the same candidates, the Top 2 winners moving on to the general election.

Here’s the problem: We already do that, and it doesn’t work.

Some primaries are, of course, partisan: President, Congress, statewide offices (except BOLI Commissioner), and the Legislature. But many primaries are non-partisan: county, city, Metro, judges, ballot measures, school boards and most municipal boards. That means in almost every primary election, all voters do get a unified ballot. Regardless of party registration, every voter has the same choices, and the top two from that ballot move on to the general election.

And how has it worked? Not so hot. Here are turn-out numbers from Multnomah County for the past decade.

ElectionTurnout - allTurnout - DemTurnout - RepTurnout - non May 201432.7%39.0%38.9%20.0% May 201240.0%46.9%41.9%24.4% May 201035.3%40.5%43.6%18.5% May 200860.2%76.7%50.8%30.1% May 200636.0%42.0%41.6%20.7% May 200445.3%53.3%47.4%28.2%

Lesson #1: No one votes in primary elections. Only in 2008, with a presidential primary and no eligible incumbent, did turnout top 50%. Not even Democrats and Republicans, who supposedly have the range of choices that M90 tell us will lead to greater participation, turn in half their ballots. Why should we believe that non-affiliated voters will vote at rates that Ds and Rs do not?

Lesson #2: Because even though non-affiliated voters have a full, unified ballot when it comes to non-partisan races, they don’t use it. And many of these races are critical. Here’s a look at what we voted for in Multnomah County in recent primaries:

May 2014
Multnomah County Chair: Kafoury-Francesconi
Multnomah County Commission: Bailey-Wilson; Smith-Raiford

May 2012
Portland Mayor: Hales-Smith-Brady
Portland City Council: Fritz-Nolan
Multnomah County Library bond & 9 Portland measures

May 2010
Multnomah County Chair: Cogen-Darger
Multnomah County Commission: Smith-Collymore-7 others
Metro President: Hughes-Burkholder-Stacey
2 statewide measures

May 2008
Multnomah County Commission: Shiprack-Delmon; Piluso-McKeel
Portland Mayor: Adams-Dozono
Portland City Council: Fritz-Lewis-others; Fish-Middaugh-others

May 2006
Multnomah County Chair: Wheeler-Linn
Multnomah County Commission: Cogen-Frederick
Multnomah County Auditor: March-Griffin-Valade

May 2004
Multnomah County Commission: DeSteffey-Dugan, Naito-McCarthy-Burket, Roberts-Stout
Metro: Liberty-Monroe
Portland Mayor: Potter-Francesconi-others
Portland City Council: Adams-Fish, Leonard-others

Friends and neighbors, these are not insignificant offices. The top offices are not only critical to the region’s future, but they received considerable media coverage. Consider the Portland Mayor race in 2012: Approximately 2 million candidates, about 1,000 debates and forums, and intense media coverage. And the result?

Turnout in Portland was 42%. A unified ballot, and 42% of the voters even bothered to vote. And non-affiliateds voted at less than half that rate. Hell, if it weren’t for a Democratic turnout of 64%, the overall results would have been even worse. And it’s not like Dems had anything important on their ballot: the biggest primary choice across the Dem ballot was for Attorney General (Holton-Rosenblum) and there were over 14,000 Dems who didn’t even cast a vote in that – about 14% of Democratic voters. Democrats turned out to vote for Mayor — and no one else did.

Primary election after primary election, non-affiliateds get exactly the same ballot choice as Democrats and Republicans on some of the most important offices and issues, and they respond by exercising their right to let other people make their electoral decisions for them.

And if having the option to vote for candidates for partisan office were offered, and we were to expect the NAVs to vote as do Ds and Rs, that would still mean over half them wouldn’t be bothering. We’d still have an overall turnout below fifty percent in Multnomah County. If NAVs don’t vote now when they have what amounts to a unified ballot, how can anyone believe that giving them a few more offices to vote on is going to make any difference?

Recent voting history tells us: M90 won’t work.

The solution? Let’s not screw around with an election that is ignored by over half the electorate except in extraordinary circumstances. They cost us millions of dollars and result in outcomes decided by a minority of voters, whether it’s a partisan or non-partisan race. Let’s dump primaries and move to a true unified ballot: Instand Runoff Voting.

IRV was made for Oregon: paper ballots mailed out three weeks before the election and a nice, big voter’s guide that arrives even sooner. There are different ways to apply IRV, and from these methods we can likely develop a system that works with vote-by-mail. IRV + VBM = everyone with the same, exact ballot and only one election to be concerned with. And we know that voters turn out in good-for-democratic-outcomes numbers November. How much more so if that’s the only election in the year and everyone has a full slate of candidates to choose from?

But here’s the problem: If we pass M90, any further reforms will be impossible for the next decade. If M90 passes, the response to trying anything else will be, “Let’s give this a chance to work.” Real reform will be put off while we learn the sad lesson about Top 2 systems: they don’t work. In Oregon, we know M90 won’t work because we already do unified ballots, and those don’t work.

Let’s not get suckered by arguments built on fantasy – If you pass it, they will vote – which are easily refuted by actual facts. Let’s vote No on Measure 90 and then, in 2015, let’s begin the movement towards a real reform that will work in Oregon: Instant Runoff Voting.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

#ProtectAllWomen: Gabby Giffords Tours the Country to Raise Awareness of Gun Violence Against Women

October 23, 2014 - 3:23pm

Over 60% of intimate partner related homicide is committed with firearms, as compared to approximately 50% for all Oregon homicides. Of the intimate partner related homicides in Oregon between 2003 and 2010, women killed by their current or ex- spouse or partner accounted for 53% of the victims. (Men are more commonly killed by someone other than their partner, such as officers responding to a domestic violence scene, or their partner’s ex). Since 2010 there have multiple incidents of men fatally shooting their wives and children and sometimes themselves in Oregon. In August 2012 a colleague of mine was fatally shot by her daughter’s estranged boyfriend, a convicted felon with a history of domestic violence. Her daughter was also shot but survived.

Oregon law, unlike federal law, does not specifically limit the possession of firearms by domestic violence offenders. This is one of many challenges for both Oregon and federal agencies seeking to protect domestic violence victims and prosecute offenders. Other barriers to domestic violence intervention include lack of resources, complexity of the problem and administrative issues such as restrictions on sharing information regarding gun purchases between state and federal agencies.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. On October 21, a coalition of local violence prevention and gun safety organizations held a Round Table with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Americans for Responsible Solutions. ARS is the 501(c)(4) advocacy organization started by Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly after she retired from Congress in the wake of the 2011 mass shooting by a mentally ill man during a constituent event in Tucson. The Portland visit was part of a series of appearances and events for ARS’s #ProtectAllWomen campaign.

There were approximately 20 participants at the Round Table held at Grant High School, including both public officials and representatives from non-profits. Amanda Marshall, the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, participated actively in the discussion, as did Oregon House Representative Barbara Smith-Warner (D45), retired Gresham police chief Carla Piluso and representatives from the Oregon Department of Justice, the ATF and Multnomah County Domestic Violence Services. Non-profit and advocacy organizations present included several domestic violence prevention and service agencies, The Q Center, the YWCA, the Oregon chapter of NOW, the Oregon chapter of the American Medical Association, Moms Demand Action and Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership.

Most of the discussion focused on background checks, inter-agency coordination and prevention of domestic violence through addressing the root causes (objectification of women, sexual violence, poverty and economic limitations for poor women and single mothers). ARS provided information on some background check legislation at the federal level, but there was a tacit understanding that attempts to regulate firearms in Oregon are difficult. To the extent there are administrative rules that can be changed to allow sharing information that may an opportunity to improve enforcement, but generally any attempt to even scrutinize gun sales draws comment from gun rights organizations.

ARS has two primary objectives, to increase background checks and reduce gun trafficking. If they advocate legislation specific to domestic violence or women’s services, it is secondary or incidental. However, the round table discussion was wide ranging because the organizers and ARS appear to want to build coalitions across a broad spectrum of interest groups. Also, effective domestic violence prevention is complex and the ideal policy goal is to prevent intimate partner assaults and homicide well before gun control is even in question.

Giffords herself made very brief and general prepared remarks at the beginning about preventing gun violence against women. The 2011 shooting left her with permanent speech, vision and walking impediments, but she travels frequently and is active promoting ARS’s objectives. The opportunity to participate in a dialogue with her even indirectly was both a draw and an inspiration for the attendees. Although no specific proposals came out of the evening, it drew a number of different groups to one place at one time to learn from one another. The degree of difficulty collaborating between state and federal agencies was clearly a surprise to a number of the attendees. Everyone appeared to leave energized.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Measure 86 will make college more affordable and reduce student debt

October 21, 2014 - 12:00pm

By Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon. Ted is Oregon’s State Treasurer and a sixth generation Oregonian.

As you consider your vote, I urge you to vote Yes on Measure 86.

All Oregonians should have a shot at a college education and the job skills needed to compete in today's economy. Measure 86 is a simple and responsible plan to increase financial aid for middle class students and those fighting to get into the middle class.

Measure 86 has three goals: 1) to make Oregon universities and community colleges more affordable and accessible to students; 2) to reduce student debt; and 3) to encourage the expansion of vocational and technical job training opportunities.

National studies confirm what Oregon employers are telling us: advanced education and technical job training are becoming more important than ever in our skills-based economy. People with a college education or equivalent job training earn far more over the course of their careers than people without. The gap is large, and growing.

Unfortunately, Oregon is moving in the wrong direction. Our support for higher education is among the lowest in the nation. On a per capita basis, South Carolina spends seven times what we do on student aid. Of every five qualified applicants for Oregon Opportunity Grants, only one receives any financial support at all.

We are leaving too many students behind, and we do so at the peril of our state’s long-term economic competitiveness. Oregon needs new thinking to get us off the bottom of these lists and regain our relevance in the global economy.

Measure 86 gives the legislature the ability to create a permanent, growing endowment dedicated to student financial aid and vocational programs, and allows the legislature to seed the endowment with a prudent mix of direct appropriations, limited bond sales, and philanthropic contributions.

Measure 86 does not raise taxes – it merely gives the legislature improved financial options to make better use of the resources they already have. No guarantees will be made by the state regarding benefits or rates of return. The state’s Financial Estimate Commission ruled that Measure 86 has “no financial impact” on the state. The endowment will be locked and cannot be raided by the legislature for other purposes.

Here’s how it would work if bonds were issued to seed the endowment: The legislature would authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds. The Treasury would then sell the bonds. The annual cost to taxpayers would be determined at that time, and the cost would be the same, fixed amount each year for 30 years. That amount would be in the state’s budget along with payments for all other bonded projects.

In any given budget cycle, the Legislature must remain within its existing bonding capacity. Measure 86 does that. It has never been proposed that bonds issued as a result of Measure 86 exceed that conservative, prudent limit.

Some have noted that this is neither a costless or riskless strategy, but if Oregon had invested $100 million in this strategy 30 years ago (at the low bond rates available to us now), today the endowment would be worth $474 million while providing $351 million in student aid. If we had decided to go big and invested $500 million, today the endowment would be worth $2.37 billion while providing $1.7 billion in student aid.

While not everyone wants or needs a college degree, everyone needs access to the job skills necessary to thrive in today’s economy. Measure 86 will help leverage private sector partnerships with community colleges to expand training opportunities. That’s a win for students who gain important skills, for the institutions that increase enrollment and businesses that gain access to a qualified workforce.

Measure 86 is a potential game changer when it comes to advanced education and job training. Don’t just take my word for it. A broad coalition has come together to support Measure 86:

  • Labor organizations like SEIU, AFSCME, The American Federation of Teachers Oregon, the Oregon Nurses Association and the Oregon Education Association.
  • Business organizations like the Oregon Business Association, the Portland Business Alliance and the Main Street Alliance.
  • Education leaders from Oregon universities and community colleges.
  • Community organizations like the Oregon League of Women Voters, the City Club of Portland, Basic Rights Oregon and the Oregon PTA.

Over time, Measure 86 will create a strong competitive advantage for Oregon’s economy – a permanent, growing endowment to develop and maintain a world-class workforce. I urge you to join a broad coalition of labor, business, education, and community leaders to vote Yes on Measure 86.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

OR-5: The race that wasn't

October 21, 2014 - 5:26am

For the last several election cycles, Congressman Kurt Schrader has faced tough (-ish) opposition. But here in 2014, it's been a bit of a snooze-fest.

Daily Kos Elections took the time on Monday to notice:

While Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader holds a competitive Salem-area seat, he's been a very tough target for the GOP. Team Red initially had some hope that Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith could give him a race, but her fundraising has been downright awful. Smith only raised $49,000 during her entire campaign, and no outside groups are getting involved here. It doesn't look like this one is going anywhere.

That's right. In a competitive swing district, the GOP nominee -- not a nobody, mind you; but a former state legislator and current county commissioner -- has raised just $49,000 over the entire campaign.

It kinda makes you wonder why Tootie Smith even bothered to run.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Driver’s Cards (Measure 88) is a Women’s Issue

October 20, 2014 - 4:03pm

In this election, Oregon residents have the opportunity to vote Yes on Measure 88, affirming the bi-partisan actions taken by the Oregon legislature and Governor Kitzhaber in 2013 to extend the right to drive to all people living in our state. This law would have ensured that recent immigrants, the elderly temporary workers and more could take a driver’s test, get auto insurance, and then drive safely and legally. As they should.

While the law ensured that those driving were well-equipped and could do so without fear, it is now on hold, pending an attempted recall through Measure 88. This, despite the fact that the right to drive affects so many throughout the state, as reflected by the list of the measure's endorsers – public safety officials, business owners, unions, communities of color, women’s organizations, and more.

Oregon NOW has proudly endorsed the measure – for us, it was a no brainer -- it affects so many Oregon women. Why?

It’s about women’s safety. Women walking alone at night can face harassment, assault and more. The safety of a car can empower women to ensure their own security and that of their families.

It’s about women’s families. Women are (still) the primary caretakers of their families – the ones driving their elderly relatives to doctor’s appointments, their infants to well-child check-ups, their kids to school and so many other necessary trips. In many instances, these trips can be lengthy -- and harrowing if a relative is facing mobility issues or compromised health. Plus, buses don’t run frequently enough or in the middle of the night (or at all in some parts of the state!) should there be an emergency. Women, doing so much for others, deserve to be able to drive safely.

It’s about women’s jobs. After taking care of all that we take care of, there may be little time left for a long commute. For many women, taking care of their families means working more than one job, leaving little time between shifts to get from one place to another, or from their child care to work on time. Women deserve to be able to drive to earn a living for themselves and their families.

It’s about women’s health. Women should be able to do more than take care of their families’ health, they should be able to take care of their own. They deserve to be able to drive to their doctors’ offices, pharmacists and more.

Finally, it’s about all of our safety. All Oregon families deserve to have safe roads, with skilled, insured drivers -- Measure 88 will ensure just that.

I can drive and ensure my safety, my own health and that of my family, and my professional commitments. It shouldn’t matter that I happen to be an American citizen, that my own luck of the draw was that I was born here. My commitments and my family don’t matter more than anyone else's. Nor is my family somehow more deserving. Women's safety, families, jobs and health matter equally, regardless of birthplace. Let’s vote human to human on this one.

For aspiring citizens, for women, for us all, please, vote Yes on Measure 88 by November 4th.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

The mask is off: Measure 90 is for Republicans

October 19, 2014 - 12:21pm

Whoa. Until now, the folks behind Measure 90 liked to portray themselves as good-government types. "Hey, let's just open up our elections to more people." -- an argument that sounds lovely on its face.

But this weekend, with ballots in hand, the Yes on 90 campaign sent Republican voters in Portland a piece of mail that rips the mask right off.

Make no mistake. Measure 90 is designed to help Republicans. Check it out (click to zoom):

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Measure 89 provides equality for the majority of Oregonians (50.5%) who are women and girls.

October 19, 2014 - 9:00am

By Leanne Littrell DiLorenzo of Portland, Oregon. Leanne is the chief petitioner for Measure 89 and founder and president of VoteERA.org

Why is it important to vote YES on Measure 89?

  1. Women are not equal in the Oregon Constitution.

  2. Women are not equal in Oregon case law as there is an exception for “biological differences.” Current case law exempts discriminatory laws that are “justified” by specific “biological differences” between men and women and measure 89 would remove that exemption.

  3. Women are not equal in the United States Constitution.

Measure 89 will establish state policy banning discrimination based on sex. The language of Article I, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution, written in 1857, has not changed. Under it women could not vote, could not serve on juries, most could not own property, and women still do not have equal pay for equal work.

Measure 89 will provide momentum for women’s equality in the U.S. Constitution by engaging all those who are still working on the federal ERA to follow Oregon’s lead. After 91 years the federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has still not been added to the U.S. Constitution, even though it has been introduced in Congress every single year since 1923. It passed in Congress once in the 70s but fell three states short of the deadline for ratification.

The U.S. Constitution still does not adequately protect women.

"Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't.” US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (2011).

Four former Oregon Supreme Court Justices took the extraordinary step of writing an open letter in favor of Measure 89 to debunk several arguments made by detractors. Their June 2014 letter -- signed by former justices Paul De Muniz, Michael Gillette, William Riggs and George Van Hoomissen -- made clear that women do not have the strongest protection in the Oregon Constitution. They said:

“... no current provision in the Constitution expressly provides those protections ... Instead, the protections available to women are present as a result of case law... Measure 89 would remove the biological differences exception.”

This is why women would ultimately have full equality.

One detractor says others’ rights could be affected by passage of an Oregon ERA. The former justices stated:

“The text of the ERA itself provides that nothing in it will diminish the rights of any group under any provision of the Oregon Constitution. ... Oregon’s Office of Legislative Counsel has also issued opinions further supporting that nothing in ERA proposal will diminish the rights of any other group. At least 22 states have adopted equal rights amendments in their constitutions. Not one of the ‘concerns’ voiced by [detractors] has ever come to pass in those states.”

The Justices concluded their letter with another reference to the detractors of the measure:

“They are mistaken to oppose passage of the Oregon ERA. We believe that passage of the Oregon ERA will acknowledge the contributions and importance of more than 50% of our citizens by finally providing women express recognition in our state’s most important document, its constitution.”

The women who originally obtained the right of women to vote in Oregon needed to resort to the initiative just as we have. On five separate occasions, Oregonian editor Harvey Scott was against women gaining the right to vote even though his sister was Abigail Scott Duniway, the leader of the suffragist movement of the Pacific Northwest and the first woman to vote in Oregon in 1912. But the women prevailed.

Measure 89 has broad bipartisan support. In addition to the four former Oregon Supreme Court Justices, former Court of Appeals Judge David Schuman, former Oregon Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer, and Oregon Women Lawyers, Measure 89 is endorsed by a long list of organizations, elected officials, community leaders, and Oregonians from all over the state which include U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, State Senator Margaret Carter, YWCA, NAACP of Eugene, Oregon Business Association, League of Women Voters, Democratic Party of Oregon, Clackamas County Republican Party, AFSCME and many more.

Please join me in voting “yes” on Measure 89.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs

Convoluted Republican Attack Ads Undermine Traffic Safety

October 17, 2014 - 6:46pm

The Willamette Week is reporting attacks from various Republican candidates on candidates who support a law allowing undocumented immigrants to go through license testing and get driver's cards. That law has since been subject to referendum, and has become Measure 88.

The specific mailer from Sen. Alan Olsen attacked Jamie Dimon with a list traffic deaths involving undocumented immigrants; it is apparently is similar to other mailers attacking other Democratic candidates.

As someone who's worked on traffic safety for years, I appreciate taking traffic deaths seriously, as they are one of the leading preventable causes of years of life lost (roughly 400 Oregonians die every year in traffic deaths). But listing people who died in traffic crashes before this law went into effect is convoluted logic.

Instead, those who could bear some responsibility are those who have pushed to continue the current system -- that prohibits undocumented immigrants from going through the testing needed to get a driver's card.

Under the law, drivers will need to pass Oregon's written and behind-the-wheel driver test, as well as follow current Oregon law regarding proof of insurance.

Without such a law, the incentive is for undocumented immigrants to drive without a license, without a test, without insurance. How is that safer than what Measure 88 would allow?

And that's why groups that work on traffic safety issues, such as the Oregon Public Health Association, Upstream Public Health, Oregon Walks and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, back Measure 88.

The mailer lies further, claiming such driver's cards would give bearers the ability to board an airliner, which is explicitly does not do.

But what's critical is understanding how areas that rely on driving set up no-win situations. Ramiro S., a supporter of Measure 88, notes:

“Late one night, around 2 AM, my three-year-old son started screaming in pain. He was extremely ill and I didn’t know what was wrong. I couldn’t calm him down and he only screamed louder in pain. I was filled with immense fear but also anger at having to chose between driving illegally or taking care of my only son and getting him to a hospital.

Those smearing Measure 88's supporters with the traffic deaths under the pre-Measure 88 system should be ashamed of themselves. Our roads must be made safer; undermining that law undermines safety.

Categories: Blue Oregon Blogs