Sunday, April 30, 2006

Atkinson campaign caught in dishonest email scam?

Looks like Becky may have caught Jason's people pulling a fast one.

Spanning the State: Got my ballot! Edition

My primary ballot arrived yesterday along with various flyers, letters and cards with a distinct "VOTE FOR ME!" theme. I save the mailings that I get from the more "obscure" candidates. Usually the judicial candidates are the ones I know the least about and I use their campaign literature as part of making my decision.

One such card arrived this week from a candidate for Circuit Court. His smiling face greeted me on one side of the placard while on the other side was listed his various endorsements: virtually all conservatives. BIG MISTAKE. HUGE. ASTRONOMICAL.

(Sorry Charlie)

And now, on to Spanning the State [..gong...]

Westlund is walking a very fine line.

The Bend Bulletin endorses Carol Voisin for the 2nd Congressional District Democratic Primary (And Saxton for GOP Goobernor Primary).

Researchers at Oregon State University are trying to harness ocean power to create electricity.

Sorenson's home turf hearts Ted

KDRV Channel 12 in Medford is studying the political gender gap in Oregon and how Southern Oregon girls may be the catalyst for change.

Citizens in Hermiston are working to stop a corporate dairy operation seeking to set up shop nearby. Its reminiscent of the "stop WalMart" campaigns on the west side of the Cascades: community driven and grassroots.

Dick Mastain of Ashland deconstructs the myth of the liberal media.

The folks out in John Day have a unique way of holding candidate forums. They have a 10 year old choose the speaking order and collect the written questions. It seems so...appropriate... doesn't it?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Teenager sentenced to 50 years

15-Year Old Sentenced To 50 Years:

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Ernie Perez, 15, who pleaded guilty to murdering a Marion County couple, has been sentenced to 50 years in prison without parole.

Because of his age he was not eligible for the death penalty.

Perez admitted shooting Gale Goode, 48, and Becky Goode, 47, a year ago in the town of Donald.

Earlier testimony indicated that Perez and another teenager invaded the Goodes' house intending to rob them but also to seek revenge because the Goodes tried to prevent a burglary next door.

Perez had been expelled from school and on one occasion planned an attack on a fellow student in class when the teacher was out of the room, prosecutors said.

He had been suspected of at least two burglaries.

He will begin his sentence at a state youth detention center and move to an adult prison.

Two accomplices were sentenced in February, one to 40 years to life and another to a minimum of 30 years.

Marion County Deputy District Attorney Matt Kemmy says Perez "is a sociopath who doesn't have a conscience."

What a waste. What takes place in the life of a 15 year old to turn them into someone who could do this?

Appeals Court nixes Initiative 8

The Oregon Court of Appeals handed a two-birds-with-one-stone blow to Petition Initiative 8 this week.

Petition 8 seeks to allow changes to Oregon's campaign finance laws and is the enabling legislation for Petition 37. 37 would impose strict limits on campaign contributions, independent expenditures and political nonprofits. Essentially it would severely curtail the ability of many advocacy groups to participate in Oregon politics. It would specifically hurt choice groups, unions, envionrmental and civil rights groups but would leave many rightwing advocacy groups untouched.

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Petition 8 unconstitutional because it would have enacted two distinct and unrelated changes to the State Constitution. This violates the Constitution's rule that each amendment be voted on separately.

An appeal is expected. If not by the State itself, surely by Dan Meek, who is one of its main backers.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Getting Kids Off Steroids: OHSU, SI Team Up for Oregon

Say what you will about how OHSU likes to throw its weight around in Portland; the fact remains that the university hospital is a very well-regarded research institution, with any number of prominent, nationally recognized scientific endeavors. Many of their successes are of the esoteric clinical variety, in which you pretty much have to be a research scientist yourself in order to understand how much of an achievement it really is.

But Monday in Sunriver, the university's Center for Health Promotion Research and Sports Illustrated co-sponsored a mini-conference on youthful steroid (and other drug and alcohol) use during the annual Oregon School Activities Association athletic director's conference. You don't have to be a scientist to recognize such a worthy goal. That wasn't even the best news; the two organizations also identified four Oregon schools (out of only 16 nationwide) as recipients of a grant for the 06-07 school year, that will provide free implementation of OHSU's renowned ATLAS and ATHENA programs for school athletes. What's that? Glad you asked:
ATLAS (Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids), a multi-component program for male high school athletes, first instituted in 1993, is scientifically shown to reduce risk factors and use of anabolic steroids, alcohol and other illicit drugs while promoting healthy nutrition and exercise behaviors. Proven results include: new substance use decreased 50 percent; new anabolic steroid use decreased 50 percent; occurrences of drinking and driving declined 24 percent; a lower index of alcohol and drug use; reduced use of performance-enhancing supplements; and improved nutrition and exercise behaviors.

ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives), which began reaching high schools for female athletes in 1997, features the promotion of healthy nutrition and effective exercise training as alternatives to harmful behaviors. The objectives are: reduce young women athletes' disordered eating habits; deter use of body-shaping substances; improve sport performance with guidelines targeting the specific needs of young women. Proven results include: less use of athletic enhancing substances; less use of diet pills; less riding in a car with a drinking driver; greater seatbelt use; less new sexual activity; improved nutrition behaviors and reduced long-term use of alcohol, marijuana and tobacco.
Glencoe High in Hillsboro, Pendleton High, Scappoose High and Stayton High were chosen in Oregon; 12 other schools in Michigan, Florida and Virginia were also selected. Why does it work?
By emphasizing the impact of alcohol and other drugs on immediate sport performance, rather than potential and abstract long-term complications, the approach appeals to the adolescents focus on the here and now. This program can be implemented through schools, recreational centers and other community organizations with adolescent athletes.
A variety of risk factors are targeted, including social influences (e.g., peers, coaches, media); learning about anabolic steroids, alcohol and other drugs, skills to resist drug offers, team ethics and drug-free commitment, drug use norms, personal vulnerability to drug effects, debunking media images promoting supplement and substance use, and parent, and coach and team intolerance of drug use. Protective factors, include improved perception of athletic achievement and enhanced self-efficacy through the use of the sport nutrition goal-setting and strength training.
With all the buzz in both the sports world and Congress about steroids lately, I'm a little surprised that I missed any local coverage of the program and the grant by SI (not to mention the magazine's inaugural SI Champion Award to OHSU in February for exemplary work by a non-profit in the sports field), but this week's issue of the magazine features an article on steroid use which mentions the ATLAS/ATHENA program as a winner.

There's certainly legitimate criticism to make of OHSU and their relationship with the City. But sometimes it helps to keep things in perspective. Maybe, just maybe, those imperious docs on high in their Pill Hill ivory towers will be the ones to keep your young centerfielder, linebacker, small forward or heptathlete from succumbing to pressure and falling into steroid temptation.

Dave Lister Promises Perfection If Elected

Seen on a Dave Lister for Council road sign this morning:

"Sten Screwed up--I Won't!"

I've heard some campaign promises before that seemed broken as soon as they were said , but this one probably wins the prize for quixotic goals. Setting aside for the moment that obviously Lister WILL screw up unless he is made of transistors instead of flesh, what kind of blind arrogance is it to suggest that you won't make mistakes if you're elected? I guess in his business of software development he doesn't even bother to debug his releases, since he can simply promise to the customer, "I won't screw up!"

"I can do better" is a valid perspective.
"I'll do it differently" is a valid perspective.
"I'll try harder" is good, too.
"I won't screw up" just makes me wonder if the rest of the things Lister says are just idle puffery, too. Or maybe he'll approach the rest of the City's agenda like he does homelessness: not really a problem, no plans to address it. You'll never strike out if you never swing. Which leads me to another yard sign suggestion:

"Dave Lister: Hoping for the Intentional Walk"

Douchebag Deliverer of Disgusting Deceptions

Thankfully, at least one member of the local Oregon media paid attention to the Saxton ad we outed last week:

David Sarasohn:

But Saxton, who decided that he lost the 2002 GOP primary because he was too moderate, assures us he recognizes himself in the mirror each morning. Which raises the question:

Has he listened to himself lately?

When he's just denouncing bureaucracy and waste, Saxton does fine. But when he gets into specifics, his statements seem to lack the crispness and precision you expect from a $300-an-hour lawyer.

His first TV spot declared, "Let's face facts. Oregon has one of the nation's most inefficient state governments, getting a D for managing your tax dollars."

Oregon did get a D in the annual report of the Government Performance Project, "Governing the States 2005," but not for managing its money. The D was for the state's entire financial system, including the almost total dependence on the income tax, the kicker, the lack of a rainy-day fund and initiatives that can overturn any planning.

On the question of money management, the current report says, "Oregon state officials are doing what they can to make sure Oregon gets the most for what little money it has." As Susan Willie, director of the Government Performance Project, explains: "Given all of these constraints, Oregon's doing the best it can."

So the D isn't really for managing tax dollars.

Maybe it's for Dishonest.

Oh come now Dave, let's be generous. How about Douchebag Deliverer of Disgusting Deceptions?

Its good to know that someone who writes for a reasonably large circulation is attempting to hold Saxton accountable.

Patty at Our Oregon is working on it too:

To: Oregon Association of Broadcasters

Re: False statements in Ron Saxton television ad

Dear Sirs and Madams,

We are writing to request your immediate review, analysis, and subsequent recommendation of removal of an active Ron Saxton television ad.

This ad – called “Money’s Worth” – contains a shocking lie about our state’s fiscal soundness.

The ad cites a report from the Government Performance Project called “Grading the States” as a source for this statement:

SAXTON: Let's face facts. Oregon has one of the nation's most
inefficient state governments, getting a D for managing your tax dollars.
VISUAL: Oregon gets a "D" (Source: Grading the States 2005)

(Link provided below.)

That statement is not true and, in fact, the report “Grading the States” actually says exactly the opposite of what Ron Saxton is claiming. (Link provided below.)

In this report, The state got a D in the “money” category, which is not the same as “mismanaging tax dollars.” In truth, Oregon received a D grade for the fiscal chaos brought about by our dysfunctional tax system, not for mismanaging tax dollars. And in sharp contrast to Ron Saxton’s false portrayal, the report praises Oregon’s state officials for their money management:

“Oregon state officials are doing what they can to make sure Oregon gets the most for what little money it has."

In other words, Oregon taxpayers are getting good service from their state government.

The GPP gives Oregon a D grade largely because of the state’s reliance on income tax, the absence of a rainy day fund, the state’s kicker law and “ballot-box initiatives that make sensible budgeting very difficult.”

Ironically, the D grade comes in part from two policies that Ron Saxton has publicly supported: keeping the corporate kicker and revenue ballot measures like the Colorado spending cap.

But that’s an aside. The most urgent point is that Mr. Saxton is lying in this television ad and the ad should be pulled from the air immediately.

There is recent precedent for such action. In the 2000 campaign, in the context of Measure 91, a number of stations pulled (or at least successfully asked the advertiser to pull or modify) a radio ad that falsely stated that Oregon had the fourth-highest taxes in the nation. The Oregon Association of Broadcasters sent an advisory to your member stations that the ad was false.

Ron Saxton’s ad makes a false statement and clearly misrepresents the source cited. Given the degree to which the public relies upon the judgment of our state’s broadcasters to ensure that demonstrably false claims are not perpetuated. Therefore, we request a similar advisory and even more, a recommendation be sent to your member stations regarding the false “Money’s Worth” ad.

Given the urgency of the matter, your immediate attention is greatly appreciated.


Patty Wentz
Our Oregon

To date, the Oregon Association of Broadcasters hasn't yanked the ad. So the more people that know about Saxton's deception, the better for the public good.

Hopefully more of Oregon's local media will start reporting this.

Candidates Gone Apey, or Goofy, or Something

Wild! That was it! Candidates Gone Wild. The time is nigh for a night of putting otherwise "normal" politicians through their paces while the crowd quickly grows drunk. See, if we get to see them acting foolish, and our memories are booze-hazy exactly on the details of those acts, then everybody wins. You know how a drunk guy gets all friendly and puts his arm around you and yells in your ear, "Yooknow, I really love you, man," whether you're a girl or a guy and whether or not you've met him before? That's the vibe the candidates are hoping you'll take from their often shameless displays--remembered fondly if not always accurately.

It's actually quite the Portland political event, and frankly I've never lived in another town where the candidates subjected themselves to it, AND they served beer. (That it's the best beer in the country produced right here is a given, but woe betide should I ever take that for granted. I've lived in towns where "micro" still means Michelob Ultra.) And this year Carla and I will be close to the spatter zone, viewing with the keen eye of the blogalist.

So what's the deal with this shindig? May 1st--next Monday--at 8pm, Roseland Theater on Burnside and West 5th. When was the last time Ginny Burdick and Dave Lister hung out in that part of town, I wonder? And the City Grill doesn't count. It's $3 to get inside, and they'll charge you more money for other goods or services you may desire. Speaking of, if you really want to start a tradition of Candidates Gone Wild, after the gig they can pick up some wine from that corner grocery,
score a variety of soft or hard drugs less than a block away, and settle in for a long night of tossing dollars onto a stripclub stage. It's a little late in the game, but I'll go ahead and pass along the suggestion. I've got to be candid; it might not happen until next year.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

OR's "Mr. Smith" Goes to NH, Pimps Fair Flat Tax

No, he's not running in 2008. But Sen. Ron Wyden is clever enough to understand that the first taste most Americans get of politics in the presidential election season is during the runup to the New Hampshire primary. Iowa's caucuses come first, but they're messy insider affairs that are better interpreted with an abacus than an open pair of ears. No, it's in the snowy burgs of the Granite State where ordinary Americans can watch clips of other ordinary Americans, sipping coffee in rustic cafes and giving presidential hopefuls that jaundiced New England eye. What gets talked about as important to the election, gets notably talked about first in New Hampshire.

After co-promoting the "Fair Flat Tax Act" with Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (D-IL) in December, the response from various invested parties was a rather tepid shrug. But this was to be expected, and in fact Wyden's staffers admitted during the plan's November rollout for progressive media that their primary goals for the short term were simply jumpstarting a discussion, putting an actual Democrat idea on the table, and trying to take back the issue of fair taxation from the GOP.

But Wyden isn't waiting around for Congressional buy-in to pitch his plan. His trip last week to Bedford was designed to place the issue of tax reform into the minds of Hampshirites, in the hopes that an electorate primed and ready to discuss the issue, will force potential Presidents to address it as well:
“This year in the United States, we will have spent more money preparing our taxes than our government will have put into higher education,” Wyden told an audience of business leaders at a Politics and Eggs forum yesterday.

“We will have spent more than the annual revenue of Wal-Mart.”

Wyden, a second-term U.S. senator, showed the audience a one-page prototype that he developed to simplify the tax process. He invited audience members to view the form on his Web site,

“This is a one-page 1040 form,” he said. “It can be finished in under an hour.”

Some audience members compared Wyden to Jimmy Stewart because of his long-limbed stature and folksy disposition. He has long argued that the current tax code is too complicated for average people and puts too high a burden on middle-class Americans.

“We cannot do what we need to do in the United States today without a middle class,” he said. “Their survival is at stake.”
Note the Stewart comparison, which was meant to be a general physical reference--but given his best impression of Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington this morning, standing by himself for over five hours in an effort to dry up an $80-billion teat for the oil companies, Wyden may have to get used to the comparison.

The Union-Leader's conservative streak keeps their treatment of the story well within the range of the bland, but the Concord Monitor's op-ed gave Wyden what he wanted to hear:
Even though improving America's byzantine tax code will be a long shot no matter what happens in this year's elections, tax reform could be a good issue for Democrats.

The middle class is the right focus, too, depending, of course, on how the term is defined. The wages of many middle-class workers have stagnated for several years.


The Senate is scheduled to take up tax reform in the fall. Wyden has given Democrats something to talk about other than how bad the Republican plan is. He is right to question whether, in a nation where the gap between the rich and everyone else keeps increasing, the national policy should be to tax work at a far higher rate than wealth.
Of course, it wouldn't be a trip to New Hampshire if you didn't make it clear how much you treasured the state's first-in-the-nation primary. And as Politics NH indicates,
Following his meeting with [Gov. John] Lynch, Wyden said he did not support any plan by that would “dilute the New Hampshire Primary”, something that Democrats are considering this weekend in New Orleans.

Coming from Oregon he “understands what it means to be from a small state”. In terms of the primary, “I will do everything I can.”
If you don't make that clear while you're there, I think they pull a Hotel California on you and you can never leave. Thank goodness Ron had his pandering shoes on for that one!

Slowly but surely, as Wyden breaches the midway point of his second term as Senator, he is branching out beyond the Beaver State in order to become a more nationally-visible figure of that august body. Whether it's (slowly percolating) presidential ambition, a realization that staying mentally locked in Oregon trying to get things done with Gordon Smith is pointless, or just plain ego that is driving Wyden's recent surge in spotlight moments, it's a good thing to see.

What can you do? Pretend Oregonians like talking about national issues instead of statewide ones, and engage your neighbor in a little tax talk. Wouldn't it be great if you could fill out your taxes on one page, but you still got credit for your kids and your house? Wouldn't the system work better if we taxed money earned by collecting interest the same way we taxed money earned by the sweat of the brow? And with special resonance here at home: wouldn't it make more sense if corporations paid their fair share of taxes just like people? (Hint: the answers are yes, yes, and you bet your ass).

Breaking: Wyden Leading Filibuster on Oil Tax Breaks

Senator Wyden is currently holding the floor in filibuster, in order to gain a vote on his amendment to eliminate royalty relief (ie subsidies) for oil companies whenever the price of a barrel exceeds $50 $55. Not only the GOP leadership, but certain corporate-beholden Democrats do not relish such a vote. Good on Wyden for making the stand now, as the oil companies release their 1Q profit statements and nearly everyone in the country sees a '3' at the front of the price of gas in their area.

To watch the Senate session live, go to C-SPAN 2. For a running description from the left on the filibuster, check out Daily Kos.

Update, 1145 AM--
Here's the statement from Wyden's office:
Senator Wyden has gone to the floor to demand that the US Senate vote on ending the practice of giving billions of dollars in royalty relief to big oil. Under last year’s energy bill, oil companies got a great deal – a reduced royalty payment for oil and gas taken from federal lands that costs as much as $35 billion. Wyden’s amendment would stop this ride as long as the price of oil is above $55 per barrel, except where royalty relief is needed to avoid supply disruptions because of hurricanes or other natural disasters.

With oil selling for more than $70 a barrel -- $15 a barrel higher than at the price the President said incentives weren’t needed -- Congress should not continue giving away more taxpayer money for unnecessary subsidies to benefit profitable energy interests. It is time to prohibit further royalty relief and save our citizens hard earned tax dollars for more worthy uses.

Senator Wyden went to the floor at 10:51 am (Eastern time) this morning to call for a guaranteed vote on this amendment. The majority has objected to a vote and he will remain on the floor until he gets it. He is refusing to leave the floor because if he does, he loses the right to take the floor on his amendment again, and more importantly would then leave without any guarantee that his amendment would be voted upon. He is remaining on the floor until he gets an agreement for a vote on his amendment.

Update, 1230p--
Well, that's that. By my watch, Wyden yielded the floor at 12:26 PDT, meaning a 5 hour, 5 minute individual filibuster. Impressive, but currently to no avail. The amendment will not apparently be voted on at this time, although Wyden is not withdrawing it. Minority Leader Reid took the floor for a moment and essentially told him to shut it down, which Wyden did--but not before declaring that he'd be back.

So that kinda sucks--but what bothers me more is that a US Senator went into filibuster on the topic of oil prices, and no major media outlets are seeing fit to report that. I just scanned CNN, MSNBC,, Fox, ABC and CBS. Not a SINGLE ONE had any mention of the filibuster on the front page. None. My inside sources tell me the local TV stations aired not a peep of it at noon, either. What's up with that? It's almost as if ties to big corporate interests and their ad money is somehow...squelching the story? Nah, couldn't be, right?

Update, 1255p--
Welcome to the migrants from Firedoglake! We love comments; feel free to tear it up in there. (Same goes for you Blue Oregon clickers, but you already know we like you...)

Saxton's big wood trumps Mannix

In the campaign coffers big money count, Ron Saxton's timber industry wood beats out Mannix's weirdo Love God woody by a wide margin.

Eww...sorry about that.

2nd District Interviews: Dan Davis

[in an effort to provide useful information on the four Democratic candidates running to unseat Rep. Greg Walden (R) in Oregon's 2nd District, Loaded Orygun compiled a brief, five-item questionnaire and sent it to Chuck Butcher, Dan Davis, Scott Silver and Carol Voisin. As we receive responses we will publish them...]

1) Tell us something about yourself and your background, and explain what
prompted you to run for Congress.
I have an extensive and varied background, starting in blue collar small town Oregon (Mapleton/Swisshome) ranging through a Viet Nam War Veteran Army Officer, Research staff, General Electric manager, consultant, entrepreneur and CEO. I have had extensive management and leadership experience and know well how badly we are being mismanaged, mislead and un-represented.

I became politically active, starting with the tragedy to our democracy of the 2000 election, repeated at least in 2004. Seeing the massive incompetence, failures, corruption, excuses and downright lies by this neo - con administration, aided, abetted and rubber stamped by the Republican congress, I then read the voting record of the incumbent Republican, Greg Walden and it was done. I was then committed to do everything I could to allow Greg Walden to be a “Nice guy” at home, where he cannot follow Tom Delay and George Bush over 90% of the time, while voting against our interests in Oregon and the 2nd District.

2) Because the general meme in your district is that Walden has served his
constituency well, and assuming you believe that to be false, please
indicate why that is so. Specifically, what are three areas in which Rep.
Walden's involvement or lack of involvement at the Congressional level has
hurt residents of the 2nd District? Follow up on each example by noting how
your approach would have been different.
Most of the good people of the 2nd CD are aware of Greg Walden as a feel good image created by PR campaigns which the Republicans have excelled at, with the help of large sums of money. I am tired of hearing that “Greg Walden is a Nice Guy” Many people think that and so have a positive image and no public figure has really blasted his rubber stamp record of support for Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff, and George Bush, until me. Many people seem to think “Oh a little money here, a little money there, so what? Everyone does it.” Well I am here to connect the large quantities of money to the votes and point out that, No, everyone does not do it and the hard working people of the second CD deserve better – deserve true representation, not a few months of publicity every 2 years. Walden has already begun his parade of appearances and we can now expect to see him in front of rural hospitals, fire departments, schools, community colleges, small businesses, etc., etc., things he has consistently voted to un fund or underfund. We must prepare the public for this and inoculate them against it. Greg Walden has voted:

a) against an amendment to protect financially distressed veterans and military families from the harshest aspects of the means test in the bankruptcy bill (S 1920). This is not “Supporting the Troops”. I would have voted opposite of Greg Walden.

b) to suspend collecting royalties from oil company for offshore oil and gas production. (HA 96) Voted for oil companies, giving them an additional 1.5 billion on top of the $4 billion in tax breaks in the so called energy bill. (HR 3893) Since then oil company profits have soared and so have the prices we are paying. I would have voted opposite of Greg Walden.

c) to cut funds for; rural health care, community college grants, Medicaid, child support enforcement, student loans AND terminated; rural business investment programs, rural business strategic investment grants, rural firefighters and emergency personnel funding, initiative for future food and agriculture systems, and many other programs to benefit small businesses and the people of Oregon and the 2nd District. Walden cast the deciding vote; 217 to 215. (HR 4241, 11/18/2005)
This vote helped pay for extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 % of Americans. I would have voted opposite of Greg Walden.

3) As you know, Democrats have had a difficult time recently in convincing
2nd District voters that the party can better serve their needs and desires.
Please discuss specific areas where policy or perceived policy makes it
difficult for Democrats to succeed with your constituents, and how your
candidacy represents either a change in policy or an effort to change policy
One of the main things that most moderate Republicans, independents and Libertarians seem to fear is that “Democrats will increase my taxes”. There is an extreme distaste for any and all taxes among many who could be swing voters. My background in business seems to reassure them that I will not try to “Give away the store” but will work for responsible fiscal management that reprioritizes the tax structure and expenditures more fairly. Most people, in my experience, understand and believe that we can reduce the vast waste of our multiple foreign misadventures and certain wasteful military programs, to solve many of our problems and that the current “Borrow and Spend” policies are a recipe for disaster. They also understand the difference between a competent business person, like me and incompetence such as in our White House and Rubber Stamp Republican congress.

Other issues like taking away their guns and gays destroying their marriages are bogus and most people of the 2nd CD are smart enough to know that. The few that don’t, even when they understand that I am a gun owner who doesn’t want to steal away their guns, will not change in any event and so we need to work with those who do understand issues better, and that is most voters.

Another issue that we hear frequently is that Democrats are weak on defense, albeit, not as frequently as before due to the near total incompetence of the administration. My background in the military with full knowledge of what that is all about, also reassures many voters. I have and will use this more judiciously than John Kerry did, but if there are “Swiftboat Liars”, I will not hesitate to counter punch.

4) For better or for worse, Rep. Walden's experience and relative seniority
in Congress offers political leverage and influence for 2nd District voters.
What can you offer to replace that experience, creating a net benefit for
Southern and Eastern Oregon?
As I have said before, seniority is of no value if it is used to benefit special interest and not the people. My offer is myself as an honest representative of the people, who cannot be bought and who considers honesty and integrity more important than money and “stuff”.

5) Campaigning together at several stops was a good way to keep the focus on
Rep. Walden, and prevent the primary race from degenerating into Democrats
tearing down other Democrats. But the voter also needs a way to distinguish
you in order to make an informed choice. After observing your
colleagues/competitors for a while, in what way do you distinguish yourself
from them as the best choice for the 2nd District?
I have full respect for my colleagues in this race and one of my conditions upon entering was that we would not attack each other, but keep the focus on the true problem and all 3 respectfully agreed. The reason I entered the race, besides my passion to leave a democracy and a country to be proud of to my children and grandchildren, was that despite the great qualities of the other candidates, I did not feel they had as good of a chance to defeat Greg Walden as I do. I believed that in March and I believe that now, completely. I have by far the most leadership and management training and extensive practical applied experience to help lead this country back from the abyss and to the potential greatness of our country as a beacon of morality and democracy. I am up to the task and ready for the challenges.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Unraveling the VOE naysayers...WWeek reads LO

Those brilliant, intellectual, smarter-than-Einstein do-gooders at Willamette Week quite obviously have the best opinion on VOE because:

A. Its the same as ours.

B. They obviously read us. (Well--TJ, anyway).

And after that semi-big deal I made about the incestuous nature of the media and some I need to eat my crow with salt, or can someone please pass the Tabasco?

Breaking: Boyles Hit Again w/ More Violations, Fines

Portland Auditor Gary Blackmer dropped four more shoes on troubled Council candidate Emilie Boyles today, fining her an additional $4,000 for four violations of the public financing code. All told, including a prior $10,000 fine and the revocation of her primary stipend, Boyles now owes the City a total of almost $159,000. Ouch. Can she pay it? Unknown, but Blackmer is prepared for that: "At the request of the Auditor, the City Attorney may seek civil penalties and enforcement of this penalty and payment determination in Circuit Court or other appropriate venue."

Here's the link to the letter Boyles received (pdf). In short, here's what she's busted for this time:

  • Paying Volodymyr Golovan for what the Auditor has declared "not bonafide services," based on Boyles' termination letter to Golovan.

  • Paying her daughter Kimberly Boyles $12,500 for services apparently bonafide, but not at the market rate.

  • Paying part of her personal residence phone bill with campaign funds from October 2005 to February 2006.

  • Agreeing to pay Golovan, Kimberly Boyles and campaign manager Aaron Minoo before receipt of the money. By City rule, loans or debts incurred are considered expenditures, but the finance money cannot be used to retire debts or loans.

With these additional violations, the review of her expenditures appears to be over. What remains is investigation into her fundraising practices, or those of Golovan. At this stage of the game however, I would find the results of the investigation a bit anticlimatic. Is there any doubt that her nascent political career is now over with a capital O? She's in deep dutch to the City as well, and based on her daughter's cries of poverty, Boyles will be kicking a nickel to The Man for years to come.
Memo to future candidates: don't make Gary Blackmer look bad by trying to scam his elections.

Don McIntire admits he is a lying asshole

A little over two weeks ago, Our Oregon filed an election law complaint against the Taxpayer Association of Oregon (TAO) and their TABOR ballot initiative. The complaint makes the case that TAO states their initiative creates a "rainy day fund" for the state.

Don McIntire runs TAO along with Jason Williams. On the TAO website, there's a link asking people to sign the TABOR petition. That link specifically states that the initiative is to create a "rainy day fund".

I checked out the full text of the initiative. The only mention of a rainy day fund is within the context of tabulating the appropriations for the biennium. There is no place in the initiative that requires, suggests or demands that a rainy day fund be set aside under this proposed Constitutional change.

But McIntire already knows this. As a matter of fact, he specifically says so:

"The measure doesn't command that a rainy-day fund be created, but we know that is exactly what will happen," he (McIntire) said. "They will not send it back to taxpayers, not all of it. It doesn't matter what you call it, that's what it does."


This guy has written a measure that could AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION, and he doesn't think it matters what verbage you use, especially when you make unclear inferences?

If the state isn't commanded to create a rainy day fund, its not likely to happen. Republicans in Salem are notorious for demanding more tax cuts and kickers back to the tax payers. McIntire has to know this. He's not exactly a neophyte to the system.

McIntire freely admits that Our Oregon's complaint is not only valid and legitimate, but that he and his partner are lying assholes for trying to trick the public into backing a nonexistant rainy day fund law.

2nd District Interviews: Scott Silver

[in an effort to provide useful information on the four Democratic candidates running to unseat Rep. Greg Walden (R) in Oregon's 2nd District, Loaded Orygun compiled a brief, five-item questionnaire and sent it to Chuck Butcher, Dan Davis, Scott Silver and Carol Voisin. As we receive responses we will publish them...]

1) Tell us something about yourself and your background, and explain what
prompted you to run for Congress.
I am 54 years old and serve as the Executive Director of "Wild Wilderness" a non-profit organization I co-founded in 1991. I am married, have one child and am a very concerned citizen. I have long been active in public affairs and have a national reputation associated with my work on National Parks and forests. In addition to my advocacy work, I am a biochemist with many years experience in industry where I've held such titles as “Manager of Contract Research”, “Research Group Leader” , “Head of Technical Service” and "Staff Scientist."

In the summer of 1997, I caught hold of an issue that had been traveling undetected below the nation’s radar. Within a year, I was speaking at colleges and conferences all across the country and Wild Wilderness was transformed into a high profile advocacy organization with an international following. That issue was the “Recreation Fee Demonstration Program,” something most Oregonians first knew as the “Trail Park Pass” and now associate with the “Northwest Forest Pass.”

Wild Wilderness showed the entire nation how the outdoor recreation industry had wheedled Congress to implement their fee program in order that the outdoor recreation activities we had all freely enjoyed, could be more tightly controlled, neatly packaged, creatively marketed and then sold to paying customers. We explained how through the incentives created by user fees, our National Parks and public lands would become increasingly commercialized, and eventually privatized.

In the Fall of 2005, someone in an audience who had just heard me speak on this subject approached me and asked if I’d ever considered running for public office. After just a moment’s hesitation, I replied “Yes, I have.”

I'm running for Congress because our current Representative, Greg Walden, isn't looking after our best interests. I am running to protect the Constitution, to reclaim our democracy, to provide for a better future for all Americans and to give the people of Oregon the representation they deserve.

There are issues of enormous importance to every one of us that are not being dealt with appropriately; issues such as healthcare, the deficit, the War in Iraq and the defense of our rights. Mr. Walden has not been good on those issues. He's been a rubber stamp for this administration and his failure to take meaningful stands on important issues is perhaps the main reason why I am running for the Congressional seat he currently occupies. If change is to happen it will require changing who we put in office. I'm running because I can do a better job than Mr. Walden.

2) Because the general meme in your district is that Walden has served his
constituency well, and assuming you believe that to be false, please
indicate why that is so. Specifically, what are three areas in which Rep.
Walden's involvement or lack of involvement at the Congressional level has
hurt residents of the 2nd District? Follow up on each example by noting how
your approach would have been different.
As I've already said, Walden has not been doing a good job of representing the interests of the people in this district. He has supported and voted for legislation that is downright detrimental to the people of Eastern, Central and Southwestern Oregon. He offers the people of his district the occasional bone which he throws with a flourish and a country smile. Yet when he, himself, votes on the house floor, he is usually representing special interests that have little in common with the needs of the people of this district.

The focus of my own campaign has been "personal security." I view the Bush administration and those in Congress who support his agenda, as deliberately creating a fearful, insecure and easily led public. By fostering insecurity, the public will be less to willing challenge the many abuses of power now occurring.

If elected, I would work toward restoring and enhancing those things that make us more secure in our own lives. When I speak of “personal security," I'm speaking about our jobs, our healthcare, our children's education, our retirement benefits and more. And when I speak of the Bush Administration, I am perfectly willing to tar Greg Walden with that same brush. Walden's voting record provides all the proof that is necessary.

3) As you know, Democrats have had a difficult time recently in convincing
2nd District voters that the party can better serve their needs and desires.
Please discuss specific areas where policy or perceived policy makes it
difficult for Democrats to succeed with your constituents, and how your
candidacy represents either a change in policy or an effort to change policy
It is commonly said that "all politics is local." That said, I've chosen to nationalize my campaign and focus on much more than local issues. Today's voters are interested in bigger issues that they perceive as directly impacting their own lives. In each of the many candidate forums that have been held around the state, the overwhelming majority of questions I've been asked have been about the War in Iraq, the growing deficit, healthcare, immigration policy, and other nationally important issues.

Six years into the Bush Presidency, Democrats and Republicans alike have had it with those politicians who are leading us down the wrong path and pursuing agendas that threaten our collective and individual futures. The 2nd District, and indeed all of America, is divided not so much between Republicans and Democrats, but between those whose interests are being well-served and those who are being ill-served. The interests of far too few of my fellow Oregonians are being well-served and thus the outcome of the November election will not be determined by the usual local issues. Voters will be demanding a return of those things and values which were lost during Walden's incumbency.

I'd like voters to reflect upon the following three questions. Are you getting good value for the tax dollars you now pay? Do you feel secure in your own life and confident that the future will be bright for you and your children? Are you fully satisfied with things as they are? If you can answer each of these with an unqualified 'YES', then I needn't be running for Congress. Based upon the many conversations I've had as I've traveled the District, I know that there are a great many people who can not answer 'yes' to each of those questions and who are ready for a change. My candidacy offers a positive change.

4) For better or for worse, Rep. Walden's experience and relative seniority
in Congress offers political leverage and influence for 2nd District voters.
What can you offer to replace that experience, creating a net benefit for
Southern and Eastern Oregon?
It is silly to preface that question with the words "for better or worse." Walden's seniority and leverage have been for the worse. His seniority and leverage have done tangible harm to the people of this district. Removing him from office and replacing him with someone who truly has the interests of this district at heart, would be a positive change. And as that person proves himself or herself and is re-elected, then over time the benefits to this district will grow and grow.

Continuing down the wrong path will not get anyone closer to the desired destination.

As I answered before, if people believe that America is currently headed in the right direction, then there's no need to make a course correction. If, however, people believe that America is headed in the wrong direction, then it is necessary to make a change.

5) Campaigning together at several stops was a good way to keep the focus on
Rep. Walden, and prevent the primary race from degenerating into Democrats
tearing down other Democrats. But the voter also needs a way to distinguish
you in order to make an informed choice. After observing your
colleagues/competitors for a while, in what way do you distinguish yourself
from them as the best choice for the 2nd District?
What most obviously differentiates me from my colleagues/competitors is the fact that I am the one candidate with national political experience. Though I'm not a politician, I've been a highly visible and nationally well-known enviro-political activist who has been influential in shaping public policy and debate for more than a decade.

To give a few specific examples of my experience with government, I've worked with the Oregon Legislature to pass two Memorials related to ending the Forest Fee program. I've worked with Republicans and Democrats in the US House of Representative to twice introduce legislation calling for the end of that program. I was invited to give, and did give, testimony before a Congressional hearing and was appointed to, and served upon, a federally sanctioned negotiated rule-making task-force. I have also worked outside of the official process to influence political direction. For example, I've organized three 'National Days of Action' against forest fees which, in total, involved more than 100 coordinated demonstrations in sixteen states.

What also differentiates me from the other candidates is something I've learned as a result of campaigning together with the other candidates. I've discovered that audiences really appreciate that I speak passionately straight from the heart. When I say I'm running in order to restore honesty, integrity and ethics to Washington DC, those hearing my words believe me. Perhaps that is what most distinguishes me.

Portland's own "Deliverance"

I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that there's a certain amount of incestuous gobbledegook when it comes to the local media-osphere, but being a relative newbie to blogging more exclusively on Oregon politics, I was a bit caught off guard when reading OlsonOlson today:

Just look at the other story in today's Tribune for corroboration. There we learn that Matt Wingard, "director of Cascade's school choice project", is organizing a big shindig to bring real choice to the Jefferson Cluster, something he says the district plan fails to do. His featured guest is "Howard Fuller, chairman of the Black Alliance for Educational Options". Fuller believes that black students should be free to choose any school to their liking.

Maybe Betsy isn't a libertarian. Maybe she just plays one in the ongoing Tribune advocacy of libertarian ideas. She's the focus of the feature on the debate over district policy, not Ruth Adkins or Rich Watson of the Neighborhood Schools Alliance. It probably helps that Betsy is pals with the Trib's other favorite blogger, Jack Bogdanski, who in turn is pals with Tribune columnist Phil Stanford, who not so coincidentally, in his column this morning, managed to mention Jack's choice for city council, libertarian Dave Lister, and libertarian charter school advocate, Rob Kremer, both regular columnists for the libertarian Brainstorm Northwest.

Egads. Its like reading a casting call for the local version of Deliverance.

I suppose we should look forward to the day when someone hooks our names up with a set of local media luminaries who will slip bits and pieces of our advocacy into their print. That is certainly what most political bloggers hope for: an opportunity to get their ideas and issues more widely read. But if/when it happens to us, I hope its not so blatantly backscratching.

2nd District Interviews: Chuck Butcher

[in an effort to provide useful information on the four Democratic candidates running to unseat Rep. Greg Walden (R) in Oregon's 2nd District, Loaded Orygun compiled a brief, five-item questionnaire and sent it to Chuck Butcher, Dan Davis, Scott Silver and Carol Voisin. As we receive responses we will publish them...]

1) Tell us something about yourself and your background, and explain what prompted you to run for Congress.
I am a small specialty construction contractor from Baker City, OR where I’ve lived for 18 years. I’m married to Scottie Butcher and we have two sons, Nick and Matt. I graduated from Shawnee HS in Springfield, Ohio in 1971, attended Michigan Technological University and Wright State University in the Engineering Physics program, I didn’t graduate, I turned to carpentry. I live a blue collar life and have blue collar employees and watching the state of that group’s economic decline and the decline of rural funding under the current Congress distressed me; and I saw no one on the election filings with that background. The lies and deceits surrounding the Iraq War had a motivating function. I also believe that with a properly run campaign I can beat waldenbush. That would be an important consideration.

2) Because the general meme in your district is that Walden has served his constituency well, and assuming you believe that to be false, please indicate why that is so. Specifically, what are three areas in which Rep. Walden's involvement or lack of involvement at the Congressional level has hurt residents of the 2nd District? Follow up on each example by noting how your approach would have been different.
1) Tax breaks for the wealthy and addressing the inevitable deficit on the backs of the poor and rural

2) Consistent votes that favor the powerful elite and ignore 2nd CD

3) His total mind set divorcement from the vast majority of citizens of 2nd CD, child of privilege and wealthy business owner

3) As you know, Democrats have had a difficult time recently in convincing 2nd District voters that the party can better serve their needs and desires. Please discuss specific areas where policy or perceived policy makes it difficult for Democrats to succeed with your constituents, and how your candidacy represents either a change in policy or an effort to change policy perceptions.
Gun rights are perennially perceived as a Democrat failing, I don’t have that problem. It won’t gain a single vote, but it might take the cotton out of the ears so we can talk about waldenbush’s voting record.

Environment – I am an advocate of finding a middle course, achieving a dialogue that results in actual action rather than an ideological stalemate.

Elitist - hahahahahaha

4) For better or for worse, Rep. Walden's experience and relative seniority in Congress offers political leverage and influence for 2nd District voters. What can you offer to replace that experience, creating a net benefit for Southern and Eastern Oregon?
He has experience at being a lap dog for Bush, DeLay, and special interests, I don’t think that needs replicating. His clout, I’d be the year’s biggest new story for taking him out. That’s hard to ignore.

5) Campaigning together at several stops was a good way to keep the focus on Rep. Walden, and prevent the primary race from degenerating into Democrats tearing down other Democrats. But the voter also needs a way to distinguish you in order to make an informed choice. After observing your colleagues/competitors for a while, in what way do you distinguish yourself from them as the best choice for the 2nd District?
Each of these candidates is a good person with good ideas and I have made friends amongst them, but the question is beating waldenbush and my plain blunt speaking blue collar background gives me common ground with the voters needed to send waldenbush home. Several of these candidates would be better candidates than I in a different Congressional District, but, we’re not in a different district. I have the credentials to show that I can take political action that is considered unlikely and bring it to a victorious conclusion, I know how to work with people to get a good, principled result.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

So apparently there is gainful employment after f-ing up the nation's greatest natural disaster

So being a completely inept hack who screws up the rescue and recovery of the greatest natural disaster in American history doesnt' keep you from a cushy, private sector job:

He did "a heck of a job" for President Bush. Now former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown is going to work for OnScreen Technologies.

Portland-based OnScreen (OTCBB: ONSC), a provider of LED technology and solutions, said Brown will become chief strategist for the company's public sector initiative, based in Washington, D.C. "Based on my experience dealing with crisis situations, I know that first responders are always seeking innovative ways to more effectively communicate with the public while serving their communities," Brown said.

Imagine if Brown would have known alla that shit BEFORE he became FEMA Director.

Outside Auditor to Monitor Foxworth Investigation

from the Potter files...
The City of Portland has hired attorney Sheryl Hayashida to conduct a review of its investigation into a complaint filed against Portland Police Chief Derrick Foxworth.

Hayashida is based in Torrance Ca., and in her career has experience in overseeing and conducting investigations. She is a former county counsel for Washington County who practiced labor and employment law. She has also worked for the State of Washington Attorney General's Office and in private practice.

Hayashida was hired Friday (4/20) and began her review immediately. She will provide an independent review of the completeness and impartiality of the investigative process. She also will determine if there are additional documents to obtain or witnesses for investigators from the Bureau of Human Resources and the City Attorney's office to interview.

Hayashida will report her on-going findings to HR Director Yvonne Deckard. She will issue her final report to Mayor Tom Potter, who will then release it to the public.
Smart move. As with auditing the VOE process, in a perfect world the original response probably could have been swifter and more decisive. But like Blackmer, the mayor seems quickly to have grasped the need for strong accountability, and is proceeding accordingly.

The Three Blind Mice debate...kind of.

See Oregon's own Three Blind Mice run for Governor here on KGW tv.

It wasn't really so much a debate as it was a reinforcement of tired, old, GOP rhetoric: cut taxes, cut spending.

I'd love it if someone would ask these clowns how much the state budget should be, exactly? Its all well and good to claim that we need spending cuts. It plays nicely to the base, I'm sure. But the vagaries when it comes to the actual numbers seem to be never quite sorted out.

And its not tax cuts we need..but tax restructuring. These three seem completely oblivious to the fact that corporations are getting off scot free when it comes to paying taxes in Oregon, leaving the burden to individuals--most noteably the lower and middle class.

The Three Blind Mice can't see the problems in Oregon's tax structure--so quite clearly they can't offer any solutions.

KGW should have just aired a rerun of ER. It would have been a lot more entertaining and informative than this rerun the GOP goobernatorial candidates moldy rhetoric.

Atkinson's campaign income: on the backs of sleaze

One week ago, I posted a query at the Unofficial Atkinson for Governor site regarding Atkinson's benefactor James Leininger. Leininger is a hardcore conservative Texan with a wide homophobic streak. Leininger has made a habit of going after moderate Republicans who support civil rights for gays and lesbians.

To the credit of those who run the Atkinson blog, my post was left up. I fully expected them to edit me out. Perhaps because I made mention of that expectation they left it intact. Whatever the reason, my post is still there. And with one exception, largely left unanswered.

The nature of my query was to find out how Atkinson's supporters feel about him taking $50k from the likes of Leininger. The one response I did get cast the contribution as "no big deal" and used the "everyone does it" meme to say that Atkinson isn't the only one taking money from outside the state. But the apples and oranges used to make the comparisons belie the strength of the argument. Getting money from national groups that the candidate is a member of is a lot different than a gazillionaire with a bone crushing hatred of gays writing a fat check.

I don't honestly know if the lack of response is indifference, low traffic to the site or not having a good answer to the question. Or maybe its a combination of factors. Either way, Atkinson supporters don't seem too worked up that their guy is taking large amounts of cash from a fringe element whackjob who has nothing to do with the best interest of Oregonians.

Unfortunately, Atkinson's campaign donor indiscretions don't stop there. Atkinson also accepted $5000 from Bill Frist's Volunteer PAC. Why the Senate Majority Leader would be shuffling money to a gubernatorial primary is beyond me. Clearly Atkinson has a solid network outside the state. But Frist's PAC hasn't exactly been clean. The FEC levied $10,000 in fines against Volunteer PAC last year for reporting violations. When Frist's cushy flights on pharmaceutical company jets were outed, the person trotted out for damage control was the spokesperson for Volunteer PAC. And while the PAC is allegedly set up to send money to campaigns, Frist does seem to use it for his personal slush fund, too.

Nothing about this is illegal. But it does seem as though Atkinson is willing to rub elbows with some pretty unsavory characters to pad his campaign coffers.

Let the punishment fit the crime

A reader sent me an email a few days ago, making note of the website Free Jeff Luers. I was going to write about it a few days ago, but events conspired against me. Interestingly, the email came with accompanying paragraphs:

Take Jeff "Free" Luers, an impassioned Oregon eco-radical who at age 23 set fire to three SUVs on a dealer's lot to "raise awareness about global warming and the role that SUVs play in that process." The state threw the book at him, sentencing him to 22 years and eight months in prison, far longer than the average sentence of convicted arsonists, murderers and rapists in Oregon. No one was hurt in this action, the vehicles were salvaged and sold. And yet, nearing age 30, Luers still sits in prison, an impassioned activist pushed by what he saw as desperate circumstances into a desperate act (and, let's be honest ... who hasn't fantasized about doing something of this sort to Hummers?).

Jeff put it this way: "The FBI devotes more time and energy to radical environmental activists than it does Al-Qaeda ... I'm beginning to feel a lot more like a P.O.W. than a political prisoner." This is what we do to the best and brightest of our young activists -- stick them in a hole for 20-plus years, while we reward GE, Monsanto and Dow, who've done more to destroy the health of the planet in the time you've read this sentence than Jeff Luers could do in 10 lifetimes. "Free" deserves the last word: "This June marks my sixth year in prison. From behind these walls I have strived to remain an active part of this struggle; from contributing to the dialogue and discussion of tactics, to furthering the debate on climate change ... Perhaps most importantly I am proof that prison cannot crush the spirit of resistance." For more,

I don't have sympathy for individuals who inflict property damage in an effort to trumpet a cause. It demonstrates a complete lack of scruples and debases the hard work of others. It also sets often good causes up for backlash--a strong negativity against them. So I agree with "throwing the book" at people who do it.

But to give rapists and murderers lessor sentences than a guy who blows up SUVs is absolutely ridiculous. Do we honestly place more value on property than we do for people's lives?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Walk Around the Fountains, Don't Beat Around the Bush

Here's an event that will allow you not only to catch up on your exercise and enjoy some of Portland's lovely public water features, but to maybe snatch a little face time with the mayor:

Join Mayor Tom Potter for a 30-40 minute walk around some of our beautiful downtown fountains!

Who: Everyone is welcome to join the Mayor for this walk!
What: Ten Toe Express Walking Event
When: 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, April 25th
Where: Meet in the Portland Building Lobby

If you find out what "visioning" looks like in practice, let us know...

First Do No My Personal Values

This is one of those stories that really bugs the crap out of me. Like Carla, I have a relatively strong libertarian streak in me, and so when I heard last year about pharmacists refusing to dispense birth control pills or the "morning-after" version, I figured that on balance they probably should have that right. It concerns me that you might be able to opt out of duties that are specifically germane to the performance of your job--in this case, dispensing medication--but as long as the pharmacy in question has someone on staff who WILL dispense it, or at the very least will direct the customer to a pharmacy that will, I think we can tolerate conscientious objection on that score.

Key to that agreement is that while the medical professional is afforded his or her right to abstain on religious or moral grounds, the customer must also have his or her right to obtain legal medication protected. Which is why Friday's Trib article on OHSU professor/family doctor Bill Toffler pisses me off: not only does he refuse to help his patients with abortion, or birth control, or assisted suicide, he also refuses to direct them to doctors who will.

Bluntly put, who the fuck does he think he is? He may answer to God, but someone decidedly more tangible is signing his paychecks--us. OHSU is at least in part a state-funded institution, remember, one that serves quite a few patients who receive care there because their insurance options are sorely limited, and thus don't necessarily get their pick of doctors and pharmacists. Why on earth should OHSU let individual health care providers essentially pick and choose which professional duties hospital staff will perform?

Sanely, they don't. Institutional ethics committee chairman Gary Chiodo is pretty clear in the article that what Toffler is doing is verboten:
OHSU’s policy on conscientious objectors focuses on a couple of fundamental principles. OHSU employees will not be required to participate in procedures that come in conflict with their own beliefs.
But even conscientious objectors cannot refuse “indirect involvement” in procedures, according to the policy. Indirect involvement can include necessary care and comfort that patients may require, and also referring patients to other practitioners. And that just happens to be where Bill Toffler draws his line.
“Providers have a monopoly,” Chiodo said. “The patient can’t go to some other profession and get this. If a patient requests medical service, the policy says you don’t have to be directly involved in delivering it, but you do have to refer the patient to somebody else.” That, it appears, is where OHSU draws its line.
Whew! So this rogue doc will be put to heel right away, correct? It would be unconscionable to do anything other than immediately move to protect the rights of Toffler's patients, wouldn't it? Well, maybe:
[Toffler has] begun to hear of complaints made to his dean about his unwillingness to provide services.
He said he has had a visit from an OHSU administrator who brought up his unwillingness to refer a woman patient to another provider, as required by the conscientious objection policy. He also has been asked to post signs in his office about the procedures he won’t perform. He refused, and considers the request a form of discrimination.
But it is the conscientious objector policy on indirect care — a physician’s duty to refer patients — that has Toffler perplexed, and a little concerned about his job.
“I cannot believe the (ethics committee) believes it is ethical to refer someone for something that you believe is unethical,” he said.
Yet that’s how the conscientious objection policy reads. According to ethics committee chairman Chiodo, “It’s OHSU policy and it is adopted at the highest level.” Chiodo said he expects high level administrative discussions about any OHSU employee who disregards the policy.
Well, that's great! An administrator visited him about it once. Did anything happen? If it did, the Trib's Peter Korn makes no mention of it. Wait, they did ask him to put up signs explaining what he won't do. That could help...if Toffler agreed to do it, which he did not.

So where are we on this? We have a doctor working for a hospital that likes to think of itself as a public entity when issues like medical tort claims come up in conversation. That convenient status cuts both ways, and a doctor for a public entity shouldn't have the ability to let their personal beliefs block the accepted prescription of legal medicines. And private/public aside, the rule is right there in the ethics guidelines for employees. So what does OHSU plan to do with Dr. Toffler? Cancel his golf club membership? Revoke his parking pass? Tell him he can't use the tram? Because so far, I see a scofflaw who's made his abuse of the system quite public...and his bosses are doing squat to stop it.

Pay attention to these names. Watch these people closely.

Those legislators in Salem that are beholden to the payday loan industry have promised a fight to ease the restrictions passed during last week's Special Session.

Some legislators are complaining that the new restrictions will put pay day loan vendors out of business:

Some lawmakers, like Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, hope that is what happens.

"The way the bill is written now, it will put payday lenders out of business," he said.

During floor debate Thursday, House Majority Leader Wayne Scott, R-Canby, suggested that the vote over payday loans was political.

"We should come clean (about) what we're really doing today," he said. "We're not passing the bill to protect people; we're passing the bill to protect ourselves."

That's right, Wayne. Lawmakers in Salem know that pay day loan reform is popular with Oregonians. These loans are unethical and cost people in poverty massive amounts of money that they can't afford. If they hadn't worked to pass it, it would have been used as a campaign issue against them.

Wayne Scott and Dennis Richardson obviously believe that regulating businesses that are hurting Oregonians is a bad thing. After all..(gasp!) these regulations might put unethical businesspeople out of business!

Those who would defend the payday loan industry claim that they're a business filling a niche. Well, so are crack dealers--but we're not seeing Wayne Scott go out of his way to defend them. There are viable alternatives for those seeking emergency or necessary cash via credit unions, many of whom are now offering short term personal loans. As opposed to the 300+% interest charged by a payday loan business, the credit union loans are averaging about 12-18%.

Others who may be working next session to undermine pay day loan regulation (via Patty at Our Oregon):

Sen. John Lim (R-Gresham) Voted Yes
“I’m rising in support of this Senate Bill 1105, there’s no question about it. But this bill is not going to solve the problem. This is a good addition, but I’m hoping, after we pass this bill, hopefully we pass, we need to come back and look at this bill again, whether it’s going to work or not.”

Sen. Margaret Carter, (D-Portland) Voted YES
After pointing out that she voted no on last session’s reform bill she said she was voting for this one because, “I’m glad to hear that we’ll be looking at how this will affect the industry next time around.”

Rep. Mike Schauffler (D – Happy Valley) Voted YES
“We’ll have 6 months in this building to go over any clarifications, any revisions, any amendments, any changes that are going to be beneficial to the people of the State of Oregon.”

Rep. Sal Esquivel – R-Medford - Voted NO.
“…hope that we come back to this table next session, and right and make this bill correct, because it is flawed. I do know that this will probably pass, so I ask you, next session, let’s jump in the middle of this thing and get it fixed.”

Considering Westlund

Over at Blue Oregon, Russ Sadler has a rather glowing manifesto for Ben Westlund.

I commented on Russ' post that I believe Westlund's support is a mile wide and an inch deep. He seems to be garnering support not so much for his ideas but because he decided to become an "Independent". If he had stayed with the GOP, it seems to me like much of his current support would be nonexistent.

In other words, Westlund seems to be getting support not because he's changed his belief system away from being a Republican, but because he's decided that he couldn't get what he wanted from their leadership and grass roots so he's doing an end run around them.

I don't want a Republican to be Governor of Oregon..whether it be in "Independent" clothing or not. I want a progressive governor who will work with other progressives in Salem to do work for Oregonians in line with progressive values.

I'm not seeing that from Westlund.

I refuse to vote for someone just because they tried to change their stripes to appease those who feel disaffected by the two party system. That seems no better to me than voting for someone just because they carry the mantle of one party or the other.

Sten Interview Teaser: New Station One a Go

I conducted a wide-ranging interview with Commissioner Sten last week, and I'll be writing that up completely in the next couple of days. But since I surprised the Fire Marshal with the news when I talked to him today, I realized Sten was handing me a scoop on Friday--so I think I'll let this particular cat out of the bag now: while contracts apparently have not yet been signed, a deal has been reached that will enable the Fire Bureau to build a new headquarters and Station One. From the interview:
(Torrid asks: Is Station One dead?) No. As we sit here today it's a go. (PDC coughed up the shortfall?) Yeah. Every time Bruce Warner is in the building with me, I say "until we have a guaranteed contract, ie the tram..." I want a guaranteed contract. This one we should be able to get a guaranteed contract. The Fire Bureau's worked hard on it, particularly [Fire Marshal] Chief Klum and [Senior Business Mgr] Jack Graham. Jack's a good negotiator. We haven't moved a penny off our position that we've got with the bond going into Station One.
PDC wanted this all along, so it doesn't surprise me that they eventually agreed to cover the design cost shortfall. Stay tuned for more from the interview, but I'll leave you hanging with Sten's closing comment on the rebuild: "I continue to have my doubts about whether PDC's right on the catalytic nature of our original site, but I've aired those out and it's their call. "

Update 4/25, 345pm--
A little clarification. When told about the conversation I had with Sten, Mr. Graham felt that perhaps Sten had been working from somewhat outdated information. He indicated to me that Bruce Warner was indeed on board, but that the Commission board greeted this news with quite a few tough questions, and that in his (Graham's) mind, not all was necessarily settled.
It's true that Warner must get approval from the Commission, and Sten did note that his view of things came from Warner--and that nothing's final anymore at Council until an agreement ends up on paper(!). Having checked back in with Sten, he stands by the account and gave me the impression that the questions asked of Warner were more in the vein of protecting PDC's bottom line against tram-like upheavals and overages, rather than on the key question of whether to move forward. So when he says "it's a go," take that to mean that Sten is confident that details will not undermine any agreement on the concept.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

OR-Gov: Straining to be Crazy Above the Din

It's that unique time in Oregon again for the wonks, cranks, gadflies and (maybe one or two) normal people--Voter's Pamphlet is out! Consistently exceeding the threshhold for what you'd generally consider an electable written demeanor, some of Oregon's fringiest pretenders to the throne get the chance to wax freely in statewide distribution, exercising that most precious of American rights: self-grandeur. I mean, free speech.

There are no major initiatives on the primary ballot, which is a shame because they often hide some of the best material. At the risk of getting off track, here's a short excerpt of just one in a series of paid political parodies from the 2004 general election, this one (sarcastically in favor) for Measure 36's ban on same-sex marraige:
Oregon public policy should define marriage in accordance with divinely inspired Scripture. Therefore, marriage licenses should be granted only to those persons who have been certified by professional psychiatric examination to be too weak-willed to abstain from sex.

Oh, by the way, although Jesus never said a single word condemning homosexuality, if heterosexuals can't get married, homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to marry either—well, unless they're too weak-willed to abstain. Sissies!

The sissy institution of marriage must not be perverted by sinners who are capable of abstaining! The sacred union of church and state must prohibit the immoral union of men and women capable of the discipline of sexual abstinence. We are not saved by either faith or good works. We are saved by religious-right legislation!

Freedom of religion and equal treatment under law is simply the special right to sin, because our tradition is the one and only truth! And our tradition (that is, our personal moral opinions) should become law.


(This information furnished by M. Dennis Moore, Traditional Prejudices Coalition.)
Now that was money well spent. I could frame some of those. But to refocus, the candidates are afforded the opportunity to explain their rationales for both running and actually expecting votes worth talking about, and I guess in their minds that means it's time to come clean with whatever completely nutso conspirital idea they've been kicking around since 1984. I thought this year's race was won out of the starting gate by Republican contender for goobernor Gordon Leitch, the opthamologist and opportunistic numismatist. You may remember him as the fellow who wants to take us back to the gold and silver standards. No, seriously. He tried to file his candidacy in double eagle $20 gold coins, which are of course worth about 10 times that each. The state wouldn't take them, so he switched to 1,000 silver dollars--again, overpayment in real value--but this time the state gave in to their 19th Century pay pal, and he was in.

Gordon's got some super ideas, like a 50% property tax cut and 90% capital gains cut (interestingly, I think at least two of the 'mainstream' GOP candidates go the full boat at 100%). Not only that, he wants it to happen immediately after his election. Not after his inauguration, after consultation with the Legislature and the writing up of some kind of, y'know, BILL--but while he's still up there making his acceptance speech. But Gordon's not satisfied depleting his stash of precious metals; he'd like you to join him:
I intend also to take Oregon properly into the international community by implementing a $1 Oregon Income Tax Credit for you and all taxpayers, whenever any business headquartered and incorporated in Oregon has, establishes, or maintains an operating office or business enterprise in any foreign country or territory that maintains a full circulating gold and silver coinage among its people. It is my plan, moreover, for tax free interest on gold and silver savings accounts opened at Oregon chartered banks, and to provide at least a 30% discount to Oregon income taxpayers if they pay in the honest dollar — a gold coin.
So I thought Gordon had looniest bird in the house honors down this primary, but driving down and back to Silver Falls this weekend I saw a curious number of highway signs for "Ames." Who is this Mr. Ames? Whoops, not his last name. Ames who? No, not his first name either. Don't tell me you're not familiar with W. Ames Curtright, of the Massachusetts Ames/Curtrights? Are you embarrassed not to know how totally famous and influential his family is? Don't worry, I'll let him fill you in momentarily.

You know you're going to get a good candidate statement if there are lots of boldings, underlinings and exclamation points. It means the candidate is so geeked up they just don't know what to do with themselves, and I suppose there's the subtle implication that politics would be just the harmless outlet for such a restless mind. Ames is geeked up, all right:
Prior Governmental Experience: Absolutely None. Good!


I will help protect you and fight for you!
I promise you that I will get our house in Order!!
I promise you I will hold our government accountable!!
Oregon businesses are the heart of our economic engine and must be encouraged to flourish. Thriving businesses hire more people. “Let’s get government off our backs. Let’s deregulate government and make it user friendly. Let’s stimulate business and create new jobs.”


I will talk to you.

Our state and our country need healing. Many people are afraid of Government. I am running from my heart and not for me. Join me in this fight against evil. Let’s take our state back!

IMMIGRATION: I promise to oppose illegal immigration.

We will open new treatment centers for drug, alcohol and bipolar disease.
How long do you think he mulled over that policy on immigration? Lotta candle nubs left at his house the next morning, I'll bet!

That's pretty good stuff, but the deal didn't get sealed for me until reading his online chat at the Statesman Journal from last Wednesday. Here's where Curtright lets his Plymouth freak flag fly:
The Ames Family was one of the most powerful and influential families in Massachusetts. Before the Kennedys there were Ames’. Many large mansions were built in that era, before their vast fortunes were lost during the Great Depression. Students come there to study architecture of those mansions. Stone Hill College sits on the land donated by my family.

I have donated a great deal of money to help build archives on the campus.

It was an era that is has left a lasting mark in Massachusetts and on this country. It is an era that I am a part of. We have had two Governors in my family. And a very long list of public servants. Senators and Representatives. Both State and Federal.

By the way, I might add that Curtrights are bald. Ames’ have hair. I still have my hair. That’s a joke.

It is obvious with to me that I have that blood and the Ames entrepreneurial talents to make and grow companies. It’s hard to describe! We breed horses. Sometimes things are transferred in ones’ genes.
Oh, so white people are entrepreneurial by genetics, huh? Or are they...horses? Either way, I think someone's going to be offended.

More seriously, Curtright's signature outrage is the issue du jour, immigration. He's got some killer ideas to beat it, too, like impounding all undocumented cars and "busing them home." But his best idea by far is building a prison for the (additionally) criminal immigrant Mexico. Naturally, it would be a real shitbox, in order to "place our illegal alien prison population who are from that country to live and stay as they are accustomed." I'm not sure Curtright know what they're breeding there, but it sure isn't horses. Also, in a move sure to endear himself to those who will supervise the counting of the votes, he all but accuses the Secretary of State of conspiracy to commit electoral fraud...twice: "I have seen and heard that he is not known for having a lot of neutrality when it’s possible to help Democrats get elected."

As with many of the hardcore "reformers," the fact that elections officials aren't automatically deputized as federal Customs officers seems to them a loophole you could drive a truck through, and their fear is that immigrants are just waiting to build up the strength in numbers so they can quietly replace Arnold Schwarzenegger with Ricky Martin or Edward James Olmos. How will they do it? By registering to vote and using fake ID or even no ID! Brilliant! The clever bastards! If only there were some kind of EVIDENCE that undocumented people were going down to the library and registering on faked documentation, and then voting in numbers beyond those I can aggregate on one hand. Unfortunately for Mr. Curtright, there isn't.

So maybe that's cheating; I had to go to a second, more interactive source in order to declare the winner. Don't get me wrong; Gordon Leitch has a more than admirable looney tunes vibe going, and just because he doesn't quite make the grade here only attests to the pure weirdness of the competition. Taking money from a certified loon is one thing; actually being the loon is quite another. W Ames Curtright met the challenge of Mr. Coinjangles, and took honors by virtue of his easy way with reporters. When asked what he thought of civil unions law, Curtright said "I believe that unions between husband and wife should be kept civil." What a smoothie, eh?

Oregon Garden: Earth Day spiffy

I was down at the Oregon Garden for most of yesterday doing all sorts of cool Earth Day type stuff. The Garden has been getting a good spiffy-ing up and I managed to get a few photos of some of the spring flora and fauna:

The camelias were especially lovely. I don't normally have a fondness for these plants because they make a hellacious mess. But these were truely beautiful.

One of Kevin at PK's favorite trees is the Monkey Puzzle. They have a nice specimen at the Garden:

There was also a nice specimen of semi-deciduous clematis. I didn't know there was such a thing as "semi-deciduous". I may need to look for these, although I already grow clematis out the wazoo:

There's a good sized kitchen garden off to one side that has several raised beds and some plantings that they've just got going..mostly peas. But they did have some nice looking chives that appeared to have wintered over:

And then on the way out, I noticed this colorful bed..apparently set up to attract birds:

Spanning the State: Get your karma on

If you're looking for ways to get your comeuppance, today's Spanning the State has a few ideas to help you get your fill:

Eagle Point resident James Watson will be serving two months in jail for ripping off his grandma. Watson,20, pleaded guilty on Friday to stealing $69,000 from his 87 year old grandmother's bank account.

Now that Measure 37 is confirmed law, the next governor had better acquire himself a big bottle of Excedrin. He's gonna need it.

The three blind mice get a well deserved mediocre writeup in the Statesman-Journal. The "cut taxes, cut spending, screw land use regulation" theme is less than brilliant.

I'm wondering how long it will take for Newberg residents to realize that Big Brother is a double edged sword. Allowing the police to track cell phone call locations is great for helping get aide to a stranded motorist or an accident. But that kind of technology can be easily abused.

For the male serial cheaters among us: You might want to make sure your girlfriend isn't a complete and total whackjob before screwing around on her.

The folks running things over at Mt. Bachelor resort are working to lure more guests by offering them $50 gas card with every two night stay. You might be able to come out ahead on that deal if you drive an Insight.

Speaking of gas, KEZI TV from Eugene provides internets links to finding the lowest gas prices. The cheapest gas around here looks to be at Costco in Hillsboro: $2.59 a gallon. If you want to drive out to Irrigon, you can pay $2.49 a gallon at the Shell station on West Hwy 730.

And in the "building up so much good karma that he deserves a medal" category sits TrailBlazer coach Nate McMillan. He's been one of the few sane things in that high profile, big money kindergarten. Hopefully a new owner and the purging of the Miles/Randolph mess will generate the wins and success that McMillan richly deserves.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I clearly don't read the Portland Mercury enough

My hip/cool quotient skyrocketed today when I clicked the mouse over to The Merc.

I'm not up on all the local scuttle..mostly because I have a life and I don't care. But I'm told that Willamette Week and the Merc have a feud going. It sort of reminds of a cockfight..and I don't mean the one with chickens.

I read Willamette Week on a regular basis. Their stuff tends to be well written and generally interesting. I haven't read The Merc all that much. My weekly stack of stuff I feel like I need to wade through is already somewhat overwhelming. But given the fact that I can find out that the FBI would confiscate the porn tapes I made when I was under 18 (if I actually had any) and I can read stupid celebrity meaningless bullshit.

The Merc stuff is well written and dammit...I tried not to be entertained but I just couldn't help myself.

Vote values, Vote Equality!

Liberal values of equality and justice are extremely important to Oregonians. Citizens here have an immense sense of fairness--its one of the things that makes this state a uniquely superb place to live.

In order to help Oregonians locate individuals running for office who share these values, Basic Rights Oregon has launched the Vote Equality 2006 Voter's Guide. The Guide is issued in conjunction with BRO's 2006 Vote Equality campaign that includes endorsements of 33 Oregonians who share these progressive values.

The Vote Equality campaign is part of the Basic Rights Equality PAC, which seeks to elect candidates to office who support equality under the law for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Oregonians.