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Are You Safer Under Tina Kotek?
Kotek has some responsibility for the violent outbreaks

Editor's note: This is the fifth of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

Crime comes in all shapes, but every crime interferes with freedom. Protecting property, whether it’s personal or a business, is crucial to our liberties.

Speaker Kotek’s legislative biography says during the historic 2019 session, she guided the Oregon Legislature to pass the first statewide laws in the country to combat rent gouging. But, in 2014, she replied to a question at a town hall about rent control, saying she opposes rent control. Then, she turned around in 2019 and co-sponsored SB 608, the nation’s first statewide rent control act. As warned, the limit on rent increases were far more generous than historical increases and has resulted in higher increases than historical increases.

Is the crime in the free market or in restrictions? Kotek fought to preserve and increase affordable housing, but did nothing to secure low-income neighborhoods. Kotek boosted on Facebook in 2017 thanking Governor Brown for announcing a plan to curb gun violence. However, shootings in Portland nearly doubled in 2020 and this year has already more than doubled over last year’s highs.

Recently, she owned the push for more equitable policing and a fairer criminal justice system. She sponsored HB 4301 in the 2020 Second Special Session to modify defenses available to peace officers requiring a peace officer to consider alternatives to physical force or deadly physical force if reasonable opportunity to do so exists. Is that what we see in Portland?

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

As early as 2011, Kotek was promoting anti-policing policies co-sponsoring HB 2951 that identifies “involved officer” in incident that used deadly force causing serious physical injury. She was the chief sponsor of HB 4207 in 2020 for an online database of suspensions and revocations of police officers. This past session she sponsored and passed HB 3164 removing refusal to obey officer’s order as a manner of committing a crime to reduce the case against her assistant arrested for interfering with a police officer.

Last year, the Statesman Journal report Speaker Kotek slamming Portland police for using tear gas during protests where more than two dozen protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct. In a letter to Mayor Wheeler, she said, "It was an unnecessary escalation by the PPB against people exercising their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech." This past weekend police were told to stay away from conflicts between rioters. The Wall Street Editorial said, “Cities that tolerate political violence invite more of it. Portland, Ore., has failed to learn this lesson, and it’s a miracle no one was killed amid recent clashes… Mayor Ted Wheeler, federal courts and Oregon lawmakers have severely restricted when police can use less-lethal force, even amid riots.” As Speaker of the House, Kotek has some responsibility for the violent outbreaks as a part of state leadership. Why are 90% of rioters arrested never charged?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-10 16:10:39Last Update: 2021-09-10 16:55:35



Special Session Called for Redistricting
Legislative districts to be reapportioned

Governor Kate Brown has now called the Oregon Legislature into a special legislative session in order to adopt new congressional and legislative district maps, the next step in the census and redistricting process.

Redistricting is the once-a-decade process of redrawing United State House of Representatives (Congressional) and Oregon State Senate and State House of Representatives (Legislative) district boundaries to account for changes in population. ​​​

Earlier this year, Republicans in the State Legislature brokered a deal with Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek (D) Portland to suspend the rules requiring legislative bills to be read in full during the session, in exchange for allowing Republicans to have equal representation on the Redistricting Committee. Prior to this deal, Democrats were set to have majority of members directing this effort.

The special session will begin on Monday, September 20 at 8:00 a.m. The Oregon Constitution directs the Legislature to reapportion legislative districts every ten years, following the U.S. Census.

“In Oregon, we believe your vote is your voice, and every voice matters,” said Governor Brown. “This special session is an opportunity for legislators to set aside their differences and ensure Oregon voters have their voices heard at the ballot box. Based on my conversations with legislative leaders, and the ongoing public testimony we are hearing from Oregonians across the state this week, I believe the Legislature is ready to begin the next step of the redistricting process.”

According to the Oregon Supreme Court’s recent decision in State ex rel Kotek v. Fagan and Senate Bill 259 (2021), the deadline for the Legislature to complete redistricting plans for state legislative districts and federal congressional districts is September 27, 2021.

Due to COVID, the statewide redistricting tour planned for September was moved to a virtual format only.

Members of the public were invited to participate in the virtual hearings to provide feedback on the draft maps created by the House and Senate Interim Redistricting Committees. These maps were made available starting on September 3rd.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-10 14:05:43Last Update: 2021-09-10 16:35:22



Republican Opposition Lines Up for Oregon’s Fifth
A faltering Biden administration could make this a different year for Republicans

As incumbent 5th Congressional District Representative Kurt Schrader makes national news for ducking his district -- fueling speculation that he may not run for a 6th term in Congress -- opponents across the aisle are beginning to line up to run against him.

Former Happy Valley Mayor and candidate for state legislature, Lori Chavez-DeRemer is poised to run, though through redistricting, she may not end up in the 5th Congressional District. From the suburbs of Portland, crime -- of course -- is at the top of her issues list.

Former Keizer city councilor Amy Ryan Courser lost to Kurt Schrader in a topsy-turvy 2020 election by a mere 6.7%. Her issues are appropriately national and include national security, borders and the national debt.

West Point grad and energy executive Nate Sandvig is running on a platform to "restore sanity." Education -- especially the impact of the left -- is at the top of of the list for this Tillamook County native. He also features energy solutions, touting "stable and secure energy supplies."

For his part, Kurt Schrader has been able to fend off all opposition with his substantial incumbent war chest which could at any time be supplemented by his significant personal fortune, but in a year that features a faltering Biden administration -- despite the fact that he won't personally be on the ticket -- could make this a different year for Republican challengers. Additionally, the trickiness of going from five to six Congressional districts could move some Democrats out of the district.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-09 20:32:01Last Update: 2021-09-09 23:26:20



Oregon Education Department Offers Sex Ed Training
“Focus on strategies for affirming LGBTQ2SIA+ students and creating inclusive classrooms”

The Oregon Department of Education has announced that they will be presenting a four-part virtual teacher training series on K-5 Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

According to their website, "While this training is designed to develop skills for teaching sexuality education with a K-5 focus, the foundational activities included are highly relevant to Comprehensive Sexuality Education teachers of all grade bands. The second two modules focus on strategies for affirming LGBTQ2SIA+ students and creating inclusive classrooms through Health and Sexuality Education."

In June of 2020 the Oregon Department of Education published its LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan which will be featured in this training. The document drives toward a chapter called "Recommendations | Trust, Connection and Inclusion," which is divided into three domains: As the public school system looks away at parents unenrolling their children in record numbers and declining -- even unmeasured -- performance, they choose to focus on K-5 student sexuality as one of the most important issues to be addressed in the classroom.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-09 17:02:31Last Update: 2021-09-09 22:45:28



Bill Post Will Not Seek Reelection
The Representative has served House District 25 for the last 6 years

Representative Bill Post (R-Keizer) has announced he will not be seeking reelection in 2022 in the Oregon House of Representatives.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve House District 25 for the last six years,” said Post.

“When I was a radio talk show host, I often spoke of my desire for term limits on elected persons but always as “self-imposed” by those officials. I don’t believe the writers of our Oregon Constitution intended for “citizen legislators” to stay in office for years and years but rather, to let the next citizen step up and serve. I look forward to the next chapter in my own family’s life and in the future of this state.”

Representative Post plans to serve the district through the remainder of his term and looks forward to completing the redistricting process. Currently, Rep. Post serves on the following House Committees: Agriculture and Land Use, Energy and Natural Resources, Business and Labor, Wildfire, and the Joint Committee on Information Management and Technology, and serves as the Assistant Deputy Leader in the House Republican Caucus.

“I still feel there is much work to be done at the legislature, so it is with mixed emotions that I make this announcement. I am very grateful for the support I’ve received from the community and the relationships that have been built while serving Keizer, St. Paul and Newberg.”

Pivotal Legislation from Rep. Post:
--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-09 09:54:17Last Update: 2021-09-09 10:17:20



Kate Brown Apppoints Lane County Judge
To replace Judge Suzanne Chanti

Governor Kate Brown has announced that she will appoint Erin A. Fennerty to the Lane County Circuit Court.

Fennerty fills the vacancy created by Judge Suzanne Chanti’s recent retirement.

Her appointment is effective immediately.

“For years, Erin Fennerty has maintained a high-volume civil litigation practice while passionately serving her community,” said Governor Brown. “Erin’s work ethic and practice experience will serve her well as a trial court judge in Lane County.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, she earned a law degree from George Mason University School of Law. Since then, Fennerty has practiced family law, education law, municipal law, and general civil litigation at the Luvaas Cobb law firm in Eugene. She serves as a pro tem judge for the Lane County Circuit Court. Fennerty is registered as a Democrat.

She is the past-president of the Lane County Bar Association, a member of the Lane County Family Advisory Committee, and serves on the Oregon State Bar’s Professional Responsibility Board and Family Law Section Executive Committee. Fennerty also previously served on the WomenSpace Board of Directors.


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-08 15:56:00Last Update: 2021-09-08 17:38:20



“Critical Thinking” Professor Driven from PSU
Global Diversity and Inclusion recommends Boghossian receive coaching

In an open letter to Portland State University Provost Susan Jeffords, Internationally renowned Philosophy Professor Peter Boghossian has resigned his position.

In the letter, Boghossian cites the "Social Justice factory" replacement for free inquiry as his reason for leaving.

I never once believed — nor do I now — that the purpose of instruction was to lead my students to a particular conclusion. Rather, I sought to create the conditions for rigorous thought; to help them gain the tools to hunt and furrow for their own conclusions. This is why I became a teacher and why I love teaching.

But brick by brick, the university has made this kind of intellectual exploration impossible. It has transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a Social Justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division.

Boghossian followed neither party, voting for Andrew Yang in the 2020 presidential election. He was the subject of a Title IX Discrimination investigation, based on his work. Regarding this, he said, in the letter:

With Title IX investigations there is no due process, so I didn’t have access to the particular accusations, the ability to confront my accuser, and I had no opportunity to defend myself. Finally, the results of the investigation were revealed in December 2017. Here are the last two sentences of the report: “Global Diversity & Inclusion finds there is insufficient evidence that Boghossian violated PSU’s Prohibited Discrimination & Harassment policy. GDI recommends Boghossian receive coaching.”

Not only was there no apology for the false accusations, but the investigator also told me that in the future I was not allowed to render my opinion about “protected classes” or teach in such a way that my opinion about protected classes could be known — a bizarre conclusion to absurd charges. Universities can enforce ideological conformity just through the threat of these investigations.

The letter details some of the many attacks he faced at Portland State University based on his work. He says that, "The university did nothing to stop or address this behavior. No one was punished or disciplined."


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-08 14:47:38Last Update: 2021-09-08 15:12:27



Unlicensed Child Care Approved by Gov. Brown
Some experts predict a continued labor shortage

In the face of a labor crisis in low-wage workers, including child care workers, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has issued an executive order allowing unlicensed childcare facilities in Oregon. According to the Governor's executive order, because of the Delta variant, "These challenging circumstances highlight the critical importance of our childcare infrastructure to support working parents, including parents who are healthcare providers, and our youngest Oregonians."

The executive order reads, in part:

An entity or individual can be approved to operate a temporary unlicensed emergency childcare facility as authorized by order of the Early Learning Division if the entity or individual meets and complies with all requirements for emergency childcare as provided by the Early Learning Division, including any conditions imposed on the emergency childcare approval. The Early Learning Division may issue guidance to implement this directive.

A childcare worker may satisfy the requirement to be enrolled in the Central Background Registry through an Emergency Background Check as authorized by order of the Early Learning Division and in accordance to guidance issued by the Early Learning Division. The Early Learning Division may issue guidance to implement this directive.

As Oregonians continue to receive extended unemployment benefits, some experts predict a continued labor shortage, especially in low-wage employment.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-07 10:54:40Last Update: 2021-09-07 11:21:22



How’s Your Health Under Tina Kotek?
She supports requiring health workers and school staff get vaccinated

Editor's note: This is the fourth of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

From a thinly veiled attempt to covering illegals with health care in the failed HB 2164 to requiring school-based health services , Speaker Kotek has placed a heavy thumb on the scales of health care. Kotek has driven the health care agenda towards universal health care with designed benefits for minority groups. She’s on record as pro-choice while defending access to reproductive health care for all Oregonians.

How could we forget Cover Oregon. As Speaker, Kotek lead her caucus to pass SB 99 in 2011. This was the bill that enabled the failed Cover Oregon website and in 2015 she was forced to help sponsor its repeal. The extreme failure made national news and cost the state more than $300 million. Kotek and leadership tried to blame the companies hired to build the website, but the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigation concluded that it was the politicians playing politics who were to blame.

Before New York tried to limit the size of soft drinks, Kotek tried limiting the size of drinks with high-calories. If you were disabled or needed liquid nutrients, containers would be limited to 12 ounces. That may not have been her intent. Perhaps it was aimed at sports drinks or teenage diets, but it didn’t go over well in 2011 when Kotek sponsored HB 3222 prohibiting sale of single servings of high-calorie beverages in prepackaged containers to not more than 12 ounces.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Speaker Kotek made sure HB 3057 passed using her majority to further Governor Brown’s mandates. The bill authorizes Oregon Health Authority to disclose individually identifiable information related to COVID-19 for medical reasons, but also may contract for purposes of responding to COVID-19 recovery efforts, provide what treatment and individual has had, and report services that were necessary for response and recovery efforts.

On August 19, Kotek tweeted support requiring health workers and school staff get vaccinated. “I support this decision. We need to keep our kids in school and support hospital systems throughout the state that are on the verge of collapse due to the Delta variant.” Hospitalization only exceeded last November by 20 or fewer for five days for the entire state and is now declining.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-07 10:53:18Last Update: 2021-09-08 14:59:29



Timber Unity Seeks Vaccine Mandate Relief
“Less mandates and more dialogue are critical to managing public safety”

A letter has been sent on Labor Day from Timber Unity Board President Mike Pihl to Governor Kate Brown in regards to her recent executive orders on Covid-19 vaccine mandates

Dear Governor Brown,

I represent Timber Unity Association, an Oregon 501c6 non-profit membership association with a mission to protect and defend the livelihoods of Oregon workers whose incomes are dependent on the natural resource economy. Today, on this Labor Day, our association is speaking out on behalf of the public employees and healthcare workers for whom you have issued a requirement of mandatory Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of workplace employment. Given that public employment and healthcare employment tend to be the predominant work opportunities in rural communities outside of natural resource jobs, many of the industry workforce we represent are spouses or parents of nurses and other healthcare workers; law enforcement and corrections officers; volunteer and regular firefighters; and other state workers.

At the beginning of this pandemic, we as a board encouraged our members to mask up to protect businesses and workers. When groups have asked us to participate in rallies in opposition to your executive orders, we’ve refrained from encouraging people to aggregate out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our members. As it relates to vaccines, we have discouraged misinformation from being distributed on our sites. Like the rest of Oregon, our board runs the spectrum of those who have been fully vaccinated, those who’ve acquired natural convalescent immunity, and those who have philosophical issues with vaccinations. We’ve encouraged members to make their medical choices based on medical advice, not social media memes.

During the pandemic, our organizational time has been to be a resource to the state during other natural disasters like wildfires and the winter ice storms. We’ve worked to be a resource in helping interpret executive orders so our members can comply with the orders – even when we haven’t agreed with the orders themselves. But with the most recent vaccine mandates, we feel the need to speak up and tell you about the impact that will happen in rural communities if they go into effect as written.

We are aware of the pressure the recent Covid surge is having across the state. It is pushing healthcare and emergency management to the edge of its capacity. And with new mutations on the horizon and winter months coming, we can anticipate that we’re not out of the woods and another surge is on the horizon. Moreover, until we see some rain, we can fully expect to be in fire season when your vaccine mandates become operable. Therefore, it’s critical that we work to find a compromise that doesn’t put key public workers and healthcare workers in the position of walking away from their employment over philosophical reasons. Right now, these essential frontline workers have been going full tilt since the beginning of the pandemic. Cutting them loose over a vaccine debate doesn’t just cost the state in terms of exacerbating a skilled workforce crisis, it costs taxpayers money to hire new workforce, particularly the high cost of hiring out-of-state traveling healthcare as replacements.

Governor Brown, we hope you’re aware that in recent weeks, studies have shown that immunity acquired from contracting Covid-19 can be as protective as a vaccine, particularly against the Delta variant. We know from the states tracking reinfection that the Centers for Disease Control pegs reinfection at 1% or less. That makes the risk of reinfection comparable to the risk of a breakthrough infection for a vaccinated individual. We are also not seeing reports of reinfected individuals being hospitalized or dying from a second infection.

We are asking that you give direction to the Oregon Health Authority to include in these vaccine mandates that public workers and healthcare employees who can demonstrate through laboratory testing that they have positive antibodies for Covid-19 that they be allowed to continue to resume the important work they provide to the communities in which they live. By broadening your mandate, you’ll avert a labor workforce crisis in critical public services and safety at a time when we can’t afford to lose workers. If even a handful of firefighters, nurses, or law enforcement leave their jobs or take early retirement, in the smaller communities in Oregon, it leaves us dangerously short of qualified and/or licensed personnel to do key jobs. Moreover, because these workers have been on the frontlines, many have already contracted Covid-19 at some point during the pandemic. If they still show positive antibodies, we should continue to allow them to work in these roles as they have since the beginning of the pandemic.

The other issue we believe needs to be addressed is the Employment Division’s stance that refusing a vaccine as part of workforce requirements is insubordination, therefore, not a benefits-eligible termination of employment. There are reasons besides religious and medical that people would be hesitant to take a vaccine, especially where only one FDA-approved option exists, and the others are still in Emergency Use Authorization. If, but for refusing this vaccine, any other reduction-in-force of these employees would have rendered them eligible for unemployment benefits, then the Employment Division should maintain a policy of extending benefits in this circumstance. Previously, the Legislature has extended unemployment insurance beyond the scope of eligibility or duration – we believe strongly this should be one of those occurrences where benefits are extended to those that are terminated for failure to meet a workplace requirement of vaccination.

Conversely, if unemployment benefits are not extended, then we would support that vaccine injuries which public employees and healthcare workers experience as a result of the mandate are covered by the state for long-term disability. This would be in the same manner the United States’ Department of Defense and the Veterans’ Affairs Administration covers long-term disability for members of the military when vaccine injuries occurred because the vaccine is a requirement as a condition of military employment.

Governor Brown, you have it within your authority to provide maximum flexibility on these mandates, while still managing the important task of public safety. You also can send a strong message to private employers by implementing flexible policy that recognizes a broader way to reach heard immunity. Less mandates and more dialogue are critical to managing public safety. It’s time to change course to achieve a balanced need to manage through the remainder of the pandemic as it moves to an endemic disease, with the need to maintain critical public sector and healthcare workforce, especially in resource-starved areas of our state. We stand ready to help with more workable solutions.

Sincerely,

Mike Pihl, President

Timber Unity Association


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-09-06 17:16:22Last Update: 2021-09-06 20:10:44



Pearl District Shooting Injures 3 Inside Restaurant
Even upscale Portland neighborhoods seem unsafe

Three people are recovering from gunfire related injuries after a shooting inside and outside of a busy restaurant in the Pearl District Neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.

On Saturday, September 4, 2021, at 1:19p.m., Central Precinct officers were dispatched to a report of a shooting at Northwest 10th Avenue and Northwest Davis Street. When they arrived, they did not locate any victims but found evidence of gunfire and a significant number of people in the area. It took a significant number of officers to secure the crime scene. Crews from the Portland Bureau of Transportation assisted officers with traffic control.

Officers soon after learned that three people had arrived at local hospitals with gunshot wounds. One adult female and 2 juvenile (teenage) males were treated for injuries that are non-life threatening. Officers confirmed the injured were connected to the Pearl District shooting.

The Enhanced Community Safety Team responded to the scene. Preliminary investigation indicates that a verbal argument led to a physical fight between a group of known people inside the restaurant. Shots were fired and the group moved outside the restaurant where more shots were fired. Investigators have confirmed the three people injured were a part of the prior confrontation and there's no indication any bystanders were struck.

One adult male was detained for the investigation and a gun was seized as evidence. No charges have been filed at this point.

Detectives believe that several people left the scene without waiting to speak to police. If anyone has information about this case, they're asked to contact the police.




--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-09-05 09:33:23Last Update: 2021-09-05 09:54:40



Doing Business in Oregon? Let’s See What Kotek Has to Say
Several bills affect the operation and bottom line of businesses

Editor's note: This is the third of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

As Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek carries a lot of power deciding which bills will be heard seriously directing her caucus to vote for, which will receive a courtesy hearing in a quid pro quo move, and which get trampled on the cutting floor. The 2021 Session summarized her philosophy of taxation: With record revenues in the coffers, she led her Democrat allies to raise taxes on the citizens of Oregon.

Kotek has promoted the review of all taxation bills saying that just as tax credits are reviewed periodically, so taxes should also be reviewed for sufficiency. This mindset has driven her agenda in legislative sessions. Her caucus pulled off the second big rip-off costing individual taxpayers $15 million reducing the kicker by passing SB 846 along party lines.

In a reverse strategy, in 2016 session she fostered an increase in tax revenue with the passage of the union’s legislation to raise Oregon's minimum wage, the strongest equal pay law in the nation, touted as the nation's first fair work week law. She claims success for working families, but Oregonlive reported they were not so pleased with the increased taxes withheld.

Several bills affect the operation and bottom line of businesses. One such bill Kotek helped to sponsor and directed her caucus to vote in was the Producer Responsibility Program. SB 582 establishes a program for packaging, printing and writing paper and food serviceware, which requires producers to join a program plan for recycling materials creating a new industry under approval of DEQ.

On Facebook she says, “Businesses that repeatedly violate our air quality and environmental standards put our communities in danger. The DEQ should have the authority to deny permits based on multiple past violations so we can prevent avoidable catastrophes like the 2018 fire at NW Metals.” In 2021 Kotek sponsored HB 3372 blindsiding industries with a one-strike-and-you’re-out rule that would close the business if they had history of noncompliance with environmental quality.

Oregon is rich in minerals and the only producer of emery in the U.S. The Mined Land Regulation and Reclamation program is supported by fees paid by natural resource extraction permittees. In an unprecedented move Kotek sponsored HB 4302 in special session to raise the fees on permits for mineral exploration, mining operations, exclusion certificates, gas and oil drilling and exploration and geothermal well drilling operation. It also limits the number and distribution of onshore exploration sites and oil, gas and geothermal wells, limiting new developers from exploring more efficient and cost saving electricity.

The power displayed in the 2021 session was Kotek’s ability to lock in an alternative to cap-and-trade helping to sponsor and pass HB 2021. This bill requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035 and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040. Electric companies are required to develop clean energy plans for meeting clean energy targets, as if zero emissions were even possible or healthy for plant life.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-04 13:09:51Last Update: 2021-09-04 09:27:36



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