Oregon Republican Party State Central Committee Meeting
Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 7:30 am
Including election of a new Vice-Chair
Marion Post 661 VFW
630 Hood Street, NE
OREGON FREEDOM RALLY
Saturday, June 4, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Oregon's premiere annual event for grassroots conservatives sponsored by Oregon Liberty Alliance and others. Featuring Dinesh D'Souze, Elisha Krauss, Scott Rasmussen and Isabel Brown. Lunch included at $65 per person, under 16 are free. Doors open at 11am to network with exhibitors. Register at: www.OregonFreedomRally.com
Wingspan Event & Conference Center, 801 NE 34th Ave, Hillsboro, OR 97124
DALLAS Community-wide ONE Service
Sunday, June 5, 2022 at 10:30 am
ONE Community joined together for a community wide Worship Service.
Fellowship and coffee at 10:30, Service at 11am.
The World Athletics Championships are coming to Eugene this summer (July 15-24 2022), the first time in history that the championships will be held in the United States. This mega-sporting event will showcase the best track and field athletes in the world. The event will bring 2,000 athletes from more than 200 nations, all competing for 49 gold medals. About 20,000 to 25,000 attendees are expected per session, with most days hosting two sessions (both morning and afternoon).
Gathering of Eagles/Rally Around the Flag
Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 10:00 am
Watch for details, sign up for Oregon Liberty Coalition (OLC) alerts and information. firstname.lastname@example.org
I consider Craig Berkman – a former Oregon Republican Party Chair and convicted felon – a friend.
As a career military defense lawyer who got sucked into Oregon politics while serving as Oregon’s Veterans Advocate, it always puzzled me why politicians on both sides weren’t more sympathetic to people in jail, at least as a professional courtesy.
I suppose Craig’s journey from politics to prison happened because he stole from someone important. One way or the other, he did his time and was paroled to Tampa.
For most of Craig’s erstwhile “friends” in Oregon, his conviction was the end of the story. But for me, it was just the beginning.
By the time he was paroled, Craig had seen the inside of “American justice,” and it shocked him to his core. Like Chuck Colson before him, Craig decided to devote the rest of his life to fighting prison slavery via his Free at Last Coalition.
You see, most of us think that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution outlawed slavery. But a huge loophole remained. Slavery in America is still perfectly legal “as a punishment for crime.”
We are not talking about a court-martial sentence “to hard labor without confinement.” (Soldiers breaking rocks still get paid.) America’s multi-billion-dollar for-profit prison industry is rooted in paying prisoners nothing. It’s a racket which generates billions of dollars of profits per year for the private companies that run the businesses…and for the States that rent out their prisoners and keep the wages.
Given that Oregon incarcerates black people at drastically higher rates than whites, use of prison slave labor is more than a little bit awkward to a Ruling Party in Oregon that won’t shut up about “social justice.”
In using State power to exploit the helpless for profit, for-profit prison industries are simply using the same playbook that giant corporations like Apple and Nike do in collaboration with dictatorships like China. The only difference is that our prison slavery is happening in places like Sheridan, Oregon.
In Tom McCall’s Oregon, the Republican Party stood for moderation, consensus, and live-and-let-live. As a farm boy from Mount Angel, I grew up in that tradition and ran on it when I was the Republican nominee for Oregon Attorney General in 2016.
No one ever told me that my passionate advocacy for fundamental reform of Oregon Justice, the elimination of non-unanimous juries, the fair treatment of all Oregonians under the law, and better stewardship of our environment wasn’t “Republican enough.”
To me, Justice has never been a question of Left and Right. It’s a matter of right and wrong.
And that’s how Craig and I were introduced.
The Republican Party was formed in 1854 to complete the destruction of slavery which had begun in New England before the Constitution was even ratified. (When Vermont was founded in July of 1777, slavery was banned outright.)
But the mission remains incomplete.
Craig invited me to work with him in the Free at Last Coalition, and I was proud to join. I brought to the effort the idea that justice reform and public defense are core Republican issues. We are not the Party of rampant, unregulated Capitalism-at-all-costs. Tom McCall’s Republican Party – and therefore my Republican Party – is the party of conservationism, which is rooted in the same soil as conservatism.
Oregon Republicanism must seek to conserve the best traditions of the past, while steadfastly supporting the expansion of the best of society (and government) to all Oregonians. Standing up for the least amongst us is one of those best practices. It’s what Republicanism was created for.
Section 34 of Oregon’s Bill of Rights mirrors the ‘exception clause’ of the 13th Amendment. Section 34 is the basis for legalized slavery in Oregon.
It needs to be fixed.
Oregon doesn’t have the power to singlehandedly change the U.S. Constitution. But we can change our own. Rather than incessant, hopeless recall efforts against a hapless Governor, Oregon’s Republican Party should lead the charge in ripping the last remnants of legalized slavery from Oregon’s Constitution.
Somewhere in Heaven, Abraham Lincoln and Tom McCall are nodding.
Dan Crowe is from Mount Angel. He was the Republican candidate for Oregon Attorney General in 2016. He is against slavery.
In a document released by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration entitled “Reducing Predation Impacts on At-Risk Fish by California and Steller Sea Lions In the Columbia River Basin” the federal government has authorized lethal removal of sea lions in the Columbia river by the Washington and Oregon departments of fish and wildlife, as well as several listed tribes.
The document outlines three alternatives: do nothing, Lethal and Non-Lethal Removal of Sea Lions, and Lethal and Non-Lethal Removal of Sea Lions and Modified Task Force Recommendations. They chose option three.
The document goes on to say
National Marine Fisheries Service would partially grant the eligible entities’ request, with modifications, for lethal removal authority of California Sea Lions and Stellar Sea Lions. The eligible entities’ would kill sea lions captured in a trap via lethal injection or captive bolt, and would involve the transfer of healthy sea lions to zoos or aquaria, if available. Where trapping of sea lions is not feasible due to environmental or behavioral constraints, sea lions may be darted to facilitate capture and removal. The methods and protocols for darting and removal of free-ranging sea lions shall be developed and approved by National Marine Fisheries Service and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee prior to implementation. Annually, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee shall evaluate the darting, capture, and removal of free-ranging sea lions, the methods and protocols, and determine if they need to be modified or discontinued.
OHSU President affirms support for far left extremism
Oregon Health and Sciences University, located in Portland, Oregon has came under fire for being invested in the controversial Marxist organization, ‘Black Lives Matter”. Several employees of the hospital were found to be distributing supplies to the rioters who have been plaguing Portland for nearly three months with what the main stream media has referred to as “mostly peaceful protests”.
OHSU President, Danny Jacobs has gone as far as releasing this statement which is in support of the organization BLM. He includes some “anti-racism” resources for “white people”.
“George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor...are the names of three recent victims of violence against people of color; a violence that remains rampant in our country. We have seen and listened in horror and utter disbelief at the tragic events surrounding their deaths in the media. These losses have impacted communities of color in deep and excruciatingly painful ways, as they represent so many others before them who also suffered untimely deaths from similarly tragic events. Their names will soon be replaced with others if we continue to allow systemic racism in thoughts, words and deeds to plague our nation.
“While we process the anger and despair these events have evoked among so many of us, it’s important to remember who we are as a university. Our mission is to enhance the health and well-being of Oregonians. We are a community of healers who have dedicated our lives to improving the human condition of others. This includes the physical and mental anguish people of color are suffering from as a result of bias and discrimination. These senseless attacks are antithetical to OHSU’s values and contrary to the work we do.
“This crisis demands the attention of us all—we cannot permit the loss of any more lives by sitting idly by and simply hoping for change. We must shatter the structural racism that perpetuates these cruel acts against people of color. The time to end racist-fueled discrimination and brutality is now.
“Acknowledging the fact that racism exists is the first imperative step in committing to change. Let’s educate ourselves about the historical cultural norms that are embedded into our everyday lives that contribute to bias and prejudice that leads to the injury, trauma and untimely death of Black men and women. Institutional racism is also inherent to disparities in health, education, wealth and the criminal justice system. You can act by joining conversations about race, listening to new ideas, declaring an anti-racist stance with your friends, families and coworkers, and inviting others to join you. Silence and inaction have led our society to where we are today and can no longer be tolerated going forward.
“OHSU firmly stands with the communities supporting George, Ahmaud and Breonna in calling for justice to be served and with our own members who are grieving and heartbroken. It is important to acknowledge the disproportionate psychological toll these events have on Black members of our community. If you are experiencing trauma, please practice self-care by seeking support from your friends, family and other community members, and utilizing the Employee Assistance Program, Confidential Advocacy Program and Resident and Faculty Wellness Program.
“Other emotional wellness resources are available at OHSU for employees and students to help in dealing with these tragedies, and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion is also here to support you. Thank you for your commitment to creating a safe, inclusive and equitable society for all.”
Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., OHSU President
Gross Receipts Tax, also called the Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) is a tax on gross receipts regardless if a profit was made. It’s a tax to do business in Oregon. Oregon voters rejected the gross receipts tax ‘Measure 97’ in 2016, 60% to 40% and rightfully so: gross receipts taxes are regressive in that they raise costs to consumers and affect those at the lowest income levels the most.
Four states - Indiana, New Jersey, Kentucky, and Michigan, tried gross receipts taxes and found them harmful to the state’s economy and repealed them. Regardless, the 2019 Oregon legislature passed HB 3427, a $2.5 Billion gross receipts tax, the largest tax increase in the state’s history. At the same time, Senate Bill 116-B passed, which preemptively torpedoed the ability of voters to refer HB 3427 to the ballot by setting the election date for January 2020, which is notorious for depressing voter turnout, and allowing the legislature (in other words, Democrats) to write the ballot title rather than the customary Secretary of State’s office. It was a deliberate step to stop a challenge of the legislation.
The gross receipts tax was advertised as a way to increase education spending. Yet critics of the proposal contend that revenue from the new tax will likely be used to supplant existing education spending and raise overall spending. What got lost in the debate is the fact that Oregon’s rate of growth in education spending is topping the rest of the nation. Forbes reports that “during the last half decade (2012-2017 data), state spending on K-12 in all 50 states increased by 16.5%. Yet in Oregon, K-12 spending rose much more rapidly, by 26.3% -- now putting Oregon near the top in spending per student. This means that HB 3427 proponents are imposing a new tax, one of the most economically harmful, in order to put more money into an area of the budget that is already growing much more rapidly in Oregon than in other states.”
What does Governor Brown plan to do to keep Oregon from the same downward spiral of increasing taxes as other states experienced, and how will she discourage people from fleeing? Are we headed for a state that looks like Detroit - no public services and bankrupt?
Warner and Shutter Creek facilities to remain open after budget cuts.
During a press conference briefing of the Special Session on August 11th, 2020 Kate Brown expressed she was “disappointed that the Warner and Shutter Creek prisons would remain open.”
As if to wag her finger at the lawmakers who didn’t help her pass this legislation, she went on to say, “I think – and evidence shows, we can be much smarter in our approach to tackling crime”. This can be taken as an odd statement when just this last Spring she had proposed prisoner releases due to COVID-19 fears.
Oregonians are unsure of her claim that “we can safely close our prisons and keep our communities safe” since there have recently been a large amount of protesters who have been charged with crimes against business owners and patrons of downtown Portland, and now those charges have been dropped or ignored by Multnomah County Courts.
She went on to respond stating “we should be focusing on preventing crime and investing in drug and alcohol treatments and other strategies” and “for the first time in years Oregon prison projections are down”. Critics are wondering if it be that those projections are down because her administration demands the courts look the other way on the lawlessness and rioting going on Downtown? Or is it because she truly plans on tackling crime in an efficient and just manner.
Its not your money until you cash the check. Even then...
Editor's note: this is the second of a multi-part series recounting how the party in power is thwarting the will of the people. There is also a downloadable companion brochure
Based on a booming economy in 2017-2019 biennium, the Oregon kicker was scheduled to pay back taxpayers the third largest kickback in the state’s history. The Oregon Constitution requires that, when there is at least a two percent difference between the final revenue forecast for the biennium and the actual end-of-biennium revenue, the surplus is returned to individual taxpayers.
In a complicated budget maneuver, Democrats voted to pass HB 2975 reducing the 2020 kicker by $108 million. For individual taxpayers, that translated to a 14.5 percent reduction to their kicker rebate when they filed their taxes in 2020 for 2019. By moving budget items around the Democrats said they could utilize more funds for critical services such as community colleges and higher education. It’s a back-handed violation of the Oregon Constitution.
Oregon is unique being the only state with a constitutionally mandated accountability law that ensures state government doesn’t grow too fast. The kicker ensures in years where revenue exceeds the state’s estimate that legislators don’t go on a spending spree. In essence it’s considered an over payment and returned to taxpayers. For corporations, their additional revenue is redirected to K-12 public education. Rep. E. Werner Reschke expresses it as “the best way to keep our economy growing is to return this money to the people who earned it. It’s one of the best and most effective economic development plans ever created. I believe that working families -- not politicians and government bureaucrats -- are the ones who are better equipped to wisely spend, invest and save this excess revenue.”
The Oregon Constitution requires the governor to provide an estimate of biennial General Fund revenues. In 1979, the Democrat majority legislature placed a condition on those revenue estimates that required excess funds to be “kicked back” to taxpayers. It was passed as a constitutional amendment in 1980. Since voters engraved the kicker in the constitution, the legislature majority has tried several tricks to delay or withhold funds from taxpayers. In 1991, the personal kicker was triggered, but legislators suspended it citing a budget turmoil. In 1995 they changed the year of calculation for personal rebates to the prior year to reduce the amount of returns. Voters retaliated in 2000 by enshrining the kicker in the constitution so only a vote of the people can abolish it, and any change or suspension requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature. In 2007 legislature, the corporate rebates were redirected to a rainy-day fund, and in 2012 voters permanently divert it to schools. Since 2011 the kicker has been a tax rebate, saving about $1 million in administrative costs allowing a larger rebate.
In 2019, Speaker Kotek introduced a bill to cut in half the rebates for public safety, air quality and job creation. It directed $260 million toward seismic upgrades to the I205 bridge, which was already in the transportation package passed in 2017. Then there was $245 million for a Zero Emission Fund to help the state transition to zero-emission vehicles, like electric cars. Kotek said she made the proposal “after hearing the magnitude of the expected kicker refund.”
Covid-19 has taken a toll on Oregon’s economy with very little possibility for a kicker this biennium. But it is ripe for proposals to end the kicker. Governor Brown has voiced support for diverting kicker refunds to cover the PERS shortfall. Riding the current wave of fear, it will be interesting to see what will be proposed for the 2021 session to shore up the economy.
Wasco County officials are concerned about the fire’s trajectory
Nearly 1,000 acres are burning in a Columbia Gorge fire that has been determined to be human-caused. State resources are being utilized despite the nearly 4 million in cuts to the Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Protection program, and at this time, efforts to contain the fire are struggling at the time of this writing. Level 1,2, and 3 Evacuations have been ordered, numbering in the hundreds. Some structures and homes have already been a total loss.
Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the Mosier Creek fire that broke out in Wasco County this evening. The fire is currently threatening 300 homes, and residents of Osburne Cutoff, Vensel, Catron, Dry Creek, Carroll, Morgenson, and from Chenoweth Airport to Vensel/Ketchum road are on level 3 evacuations. Oregon State Fire Marshal will assume command tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. and will work to bring resources from counties around Oregon to assist in the response. Oregon State Fire Marshal will be working under unified command with Oregon Department of Forestry.
"With high temperatures and weather conditions helping fires grow quickly, I have invoked an emergency declaration to make more state resources available to the fire crews on the front lines in Wasco County and the Columbia River Gorge at the Mosier Creek fire," Governor Brown said. "I ask Oregonians to remember that preventing wildfires is critical this year, especially as we have fire crews on the front lines during this pandemic. Be cautious and honor all burn bans, and keep our fire crews in your thoughts as they fight to protect our communities and the landscapes that surround them."
In accordance with ORS 476.510 - 476.610, Governor Brown determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exists due to the fire, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment.
The Governor's declaration authorizes the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal to mobilize resources to assist local resources battling the fire.
Fire danger levels will be on the rise in Oregon, with a warming trend this weekend into next week. Residents are asked to take extra precautions to prevent human-caused wildfires. Oregonians are encouraged to take extra care when preparing for road trips and outdoor adventures that include securing and maintaining vehicles before hitting the road and checking on all campfire and local restrictions at intended destinations.
Wasco County officials have expressed concern about the fire’s trajectory in the upcoming weekend which is going to be a hot one.
The second special session of the legislature featured several reduction in fire protection spending, including reductions in equipment purchases, delays in radio system purchases and increases in the rates charged to private landowners for fire protection -- all while maintaining over $200,000,000 in raises for public employees.