In a contentious meeting of the Newberg School District, the board passed a new policy on staff political involvement on district time and using district resources. The board rescinded the motion 28 passed in August, which restricted the display of flags, including BLM and rainbow flags to pave the way for the passage of a policy on staff participation in political activities.
The two-page policy -- which was describe by board chair Brian Shannon as "uncontroversial" -- can be summed up as "No employee will use district facilities, equipment or supplies in connection with his/her political activities, nor will he/she use any time during the work day for such political activities."
The details of the policy are set out in a section entitled "Ensuring Safe Environments to Learn":
No district employee shall, while acting within the scope of their employment, either during school hours, or inside their physical area of responsibility at a school (such as a classroom, meeting room, desk area) hang, post, erect, or otherwise display ( hereafter “display”) any posters, signs, flags, banners, pictures or other digital or physical image that depicts support or opposition relating to a political, quasipolitical, or controversial topic.
For purposes of this policy a controversial topic shall be defined as one that a professional educator could reasonably understand to have students on more than one side of said issue. For purposes of this policy a political or quasi‐political topic includes
contemporary issues being debated in the local, state or national political climate.
Any person concerned with a particular Display should first notify the District employee believed to be responsible for the Display. Alternatively, the concerned person may file a complaint with a supervisor, school principal or the principal’s designee pursuant to District Policy.
The policy was approved by a vote of 4-3 with Directors Dave Brown, Brian Shannon, Renee Powell and Trevot DeHart voting yes and Directors Rebecca Piros, Inex Pena and Brandy Penner voting no.
A Zillah, WA resident on Sept. 29 became the fourth Washington homecare provider to file a lawsuit against Service Employees International Union Local 775, alleging the union forged her signature on a membership form so it could continue collecting regular dues long after she had exercised her right to end her association with it.
Because the forgeries collectively represent a pattern of unlawful behavior by the Union defendants — SEIU local 775 and SEIU International — both are being accused under both the Washington Criminal Prosecution Act and the federal Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act.
“One bad signature could be explained away as the work of an overzealous or incompetent union operative,” said Sydney Phillips, litigation counsel for the Freedom Foundation, which is representing the plaintiff. “But this is the fourth forgery lawsuit in this state, and we’ve litigated at least a dozen more in Oregon and California. At some point, you have to concede these actions indicate a conspiracy by the unions at the highest level to deny public employees their constitutionally protected right to decline union membership and dues.”
The plaintiff, Kristy Jimenez, is compensated by Medicaid for providing homebased care for three relatives, including her disabled son. The U.S. Supreme Court, in 2014, ruled in Harris v. Quinn that caregivers like her could no longer be compelled to join or pay dues to a labor union.
But SEIU and other unions representing millions of providers around the country, responded by adopting a policy of challenging every single opt-out request in hopes of making the process as painful as humanly possible.
Jimenez requested her freedom in 2019, but the union either ignored or stonewalled her repeated messages. She was told she had signed an electronic dues-authorization form, but when shown a copy of the document, Jimenez immediately recognized the forgery because she wasn’t even living at the listed address when she was alleged to have signed it.
“These aren’t even good forgeries,” Phillips said. “They don’t have to be because the union doesn’t expect any of them to be inspected closely.”
“It’s the same, sad story,” Phillips concluded. “Until very recently, these unions had an absolute monopoly over the government workplace — and a very real sense, the government. They didn’t answer questions because they didn’t have to. But nowadays, things have changed. Workers have the power now to say no to their union, and the unions haven’t accepted it just yet.”
The Freedom Foundation filed a RICO case against SEIU 503 in Oregon earlier this year after establishing a similar pattern of forging signatures on membership forms.
Her intelligence analyst experience and skills would uniquely give her an advantage
Former military intelligence analyst, wife of 25 years, mother of two active boys, Psychologist Dr. Angela Plowhead puts in her Bid to be the US Representative for the newly created 6th Congressional District in Oregon.
Dr. Angela Plowhead, former Air Force intelligence analyst, married for 25 years with two active boys and currently a psychologist with a focus on serving veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities, has announced her candidacy for the recently created 6th Congressional District of Yamhill and Polk counties and portions of Marion, Clackamas, and Washington counties in Oregon.
In an interview with Northwest Observer Plowhead supports school choice in that tax money should now follow the student. She sees the unintended consequences of the COVID shutdowns by the teachers’ unions and the Oregon public school system has resulted in parents and other Oregonians coming together to provide an even better education for many Oregon children than what the public schools had provided. Oregon has one of the worst public-school systems in the nation.
Plowhead noted as well that Oregon has twice the number of incarcerated youths in the nation, homelessness, addictions, high suicide rates and the lowest high school graduation rates. In her personal testimony as a mom with the school diagnosing her son having a reading problem, she was told the reason the school was not ameliorating the reading issue was due to 35 children in the classroom with most time focused on behavior problems rather than addressing academic classroom responsibilities. The Plowhead family moved then, worked extra hard and created through private solutions the support their son had a right to as an American.
That same can-do American spirit is flourishing across America now as homeschooling has surged along with other creative school option choices that mainstream media is not covering. Scott Adams of the Dilbert comic fame said at the beginning of 2021 that the biggest story not being covered in America is the collapse of the teachers’ unions and the public school system.
The institutional racism in the public schools in Oregon caused the 2021 Democratic Oregon legislature to approve a bill and monies to give Black American students an option for school choice. Plowhead with her own rich bi-racial heritage said, “School choice, every parent should have school choice.” Plowhead shared from her own childhood of experiencing poverty, taking on the challenges of encountering racial prejudice herself, to serving in the Air Force as an intelligence analyst, achieving a doctorate in clinical psychology, becoming a small business owner, serving veterans and her experience in lobbying state and federal legislatures for the rights and needs of seniors and people with disabilities she sees her candidacy as one all Oregonians can come to trust as they interact and bear witness to her integrity, her work ethic and commitment to Oregon and to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
As the US representative to Congress from the 6th Congressional District in Oregon her intelligence analyst experience and skills would uniquely give her an advantage in Congressional hearings with the military as is happening currently with the investigation of the Afghanistan withdrawal including the deaths of thirteen service men. Boots on the ground experience far outweighs those with only academic degrees on any subject matter. Plowhead sees vital to Oregon and America the Congressional duty to oversee government agencies and get out to the public matters of deep public concern to the nation, of the people, by the people and for the people. Oregon currently only has one Congressman, Peter DeFazio, with any military experience where he served in the Air Force reserves from 1967-1971. Plowhead sees her addition to the Congressional team as valuable to the whole of Oregon.
With more parents in Oregon and across the nation taking control of their children’s education and protecting their children which mirrors her own family’s history Plowhead welcomes the public to further get to know her to decide if they might want to give her their vote as the Oregon US Congressional Representative in the newly created 6th District in Oregon.
The City of Canby has been home to its share of controversy, much of it centering on certain City Council members.
Until very recently the council was split between three conservatives and three liberals. Now with the resignation of one of the conservative council members because of an out of state move, there is an empty seat that will be filled by someone chosen by the majority liberals on the council. This has some Canby residents very concerned that the seat may be filled by someone who does not reflect the small town values cherished by so many Canby residents.
Two of the council liberals, Chris Bangs and Sarah Spoon, have engaged in tactics considered extreme enough that Canby residents are running a recall campaign against both of them.
Bangs is a high school teacher in Canby whose acerbic comments about Christians, and anger directed at supporters of medical freedom have been key features in City Council meetings.
In March of 2020, Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-04 requiring state agencies to meet specific goals – setting a standard for a 45% reduction from 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2035 and an 80% reduction by 2050.
After more than a year of draft rulemaking by the Department of Environmental Quality, under the direction of Richard Whitman, the DEQ appears to think that Oregonians across the state agree on the need to respond to climate change. That’s the result of zoom meetings orchestrated agendas that limited oral comments to two minutes due to the high level of interest. However, there is still no consensus on exactly what that response should be.
DEQ contracted with ICF to conduct a study to assess different greenhouse gas emissions reduction program designs through specialized economic and emissions modeling to analyze potential effects. There is nothing scientific about this study that justifies the need for reduced greenhouse emissions or the impact a program would have in Oregon, the U.S. or worldwide. All the scenarios presented directs more regulation towards natural gas utilities and non-natural gas fuel suppliers. An overarching finding is that greenhouse gas emission reductions will most significantly impact the transportation sector, and significant changes are expected across all of the regulated sectors.
Transportation affects every aspect of our lives and the biggest impact on the economy. There has been no calculation of the true costs of the DEQ’s Climate Protection Program, which will impact every energy user in Oregon.
Some key principles that are lacking in the program:
All forms of renewable energy are needed in a balanced, low-carbon future. Using the natural gas infrastructure already in place, Oregon can reach climate goals more affordably by delivering renewable natural gas and hydrogen.
Families and businesses should have a choice of resilient and dependable energy options to meet their needs. Aside from the unnecessary expense, gas bans could discourage renewable energy innovation and force communities to exclusively depend on the electric grid for all energy needs, which has been projected to cause blackouts. Homes and businesses with gas service can have energy even when the electric power is out.
The affordability and reliability of energy must remain priorities of Oregon’s energy system. Reducing carbon emissions is important, but so is access to affordable energy and the security of a dependable statewide energy system.
Comments on the DEQ rulemaking can be emailed by October 4, 2021, by 4 pm.
The Oregon Court of Appeals has dismissed a case brought against the Oregon Health Authority, under the direction of Pat Allen, requiring face masks. Essentially, the court decided on technical grounds that they lack jurisdiction. According to the court:
Petitioners bring this rule-review proceeding under ORS 183.400, seeking to have an Oregon Health Authority document, entitled "Statewide Mask, Face Shield, Face Covering Guidance," invalidated. OHA contends that the court lacks jurisdiction over this matter for two reasons: (1) because the challenged guidance is not an administrative rule under ORS 183.340(9), but part of an executive order, and thus excluded from review; and (2) because the guidance in the challenged document has been superseded by subsequent guidance, so the proceeding is moot. Held: Assuming without deciding that the guidance at issue is an administrative rule, it was superseded by subsequently promulgated temporary administrative rules. Consequently, under case law, the proceeding was moot.”
The suit, Chester Mooney v. State of Oregon was brought to the court with the assistance of the Freedom Foundation, a local civil rights organization.
“In a reasonable world, it would not take 14 months to decide a case both parties define as an emergency,” said Jason Dudash, Oregon director of the Freedom Foundation. “This case was not dismissed on the merits. In fact, the court agreed with us that there was and is ‘no indication’ the original mask mandate was filed properly. However, they conveniently waited over a year to come to that conclusion.”
“More worrisome is the reason the case was dismissed,” Dudash continued. “As the court states, ‘the guidance has been superseded on multiple occasions by subsequent guidance, and now, administrative rules. As it stands, mask requirements are now governed by several administrative rules’.”
Dudash asked, “Is Oregon a state of rule-making or law-making? This decision demonstrates that Governor Brown impeded on the constitutional rights of Oregonians, but she will sadly face no consequences,” concluded Dudash.
"Everyone who is eligible for a booster will get one”
Governor Kate Brown provided an update on the current state of COVID-19 and the state's plan for delivering booster shots in a press conference, joined by Oregon Health Authority Public Health Director Rachael Banks, Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Tom Jeanne, and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill.
"The good news is that, while we still have a long way to go, it appears things are slowly getting better," said Governor Brown. "And every day there is renewed hope as we see more people getting vaccinated, progress on vaccines for our 5-11 year-olds, and now, the beginning of boosters for some of our most vulnerable.
"Everyone who is eligible for a booster will get one. For those who have received the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccine, I ask for your patience as we wait for further data and guidance from the federal government. For those who received the Pfizer vaccine but are not yet eligible for a booster, please know that you are still well protected from COVID-19. Boosters offer an extra layer of protection -- and that is important for individuals at higher risk of exposure or illness -- but you are still fully vaccinated with the two doses."
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared their recommendations for the first large group of Americans who are eligible for booster shots. The Western States Scientific Safety Workgroup followed with their recommendations, which align with the federal guidance, and which Oregon will be following.
These groups of Oregonians who received the Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months ago are now eligible and recommended to receive a booster shot:
People 65 and older,
People living in long-term care facilities, and
People 50 and older with underlying medical conditions.
Additionally, the following group of Oregonians ages 18-64 who received the Pfizer vaccine may receive a booster after 6 months:
People with underlying medical conditions, and
People who are at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to occupational or institutional setting. This includes Oregonians like health care workers, teachers and grocery workers.
Ready to take on the socialist agenda of high crime and inflation
On the heels of the passage of the new Oregon congressional maps, Oregon Republican Congressional Candidate, Lori Chavez-DeRemer, released the following statement:
"Last night, Oregon became the first state in the country to enact new congressional maps that will determine our political representation in Washington D.C. over the next decade. When announced two months ago that I would be running in the5s congressional district, there was uncertainty where the district lines would be drawn but that changed yesterday when the redistricting process was finalized.
"Barring any legal outcomes from the courts, I reaffirm my commitment to running in Oregon's 5 congressional district that stretches from the suburbs of Happy Valley, down to rural Clackamas and Marion Counties, and finally to parts of Central Oregon.
"In just ten weeks, we have built a strong grassroots movement and campaign organization ready to take on the Biden/Pelosi socialist agenda of high crime and inflation. I look forward to traveling up and down this new 5 congressional district over the next year and representing these communities as Oregon's next Congresswoman.
The new 5th Congressional District -- which some are calling "gerrymandered" -- stretches from the heart of Portland all the way to Bend. In an earlier statement, Chavez-DeRemer said, “Speaker Kotek has politicized the redistricting process, reneging on her agreement with Leader Drazan for a balanced and fair approach to better serve Oregon. The proposed map is blatantly gerrymandered and denies representation of our diverse communities. The Speaker’s actions are plainly undemocratic.”
Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan today congratulated the Oregon Legislature for completing their work to pass redistricting for Oregon.
“Congratulations to the Oregon Legislature for completing their Constitutional responsibility of redistricting of Oregon’s Congressional and Legislative districts.,” said Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. “With leadership and persistence, they came together and got this done for the people of Oregon.”
Secretary Fagan also noted that her office was prepared to begin redistricting. "I'm extremely proud of the work my team did to prepare, in case the Legislature missed today’s deadline," said Secretary Fagan. “We’ve been working for months, reaching out to hundreds of community and civic organizations, culturally-based groups and others to lay the groundwork for a transparent public process. We also did a tremendous amount of work to set up our People’s Commission, infrastructure for public hearings and testimony, and an Oregonian-centered redistricting process.”
“I’m especially proud of the work we did to prepare the People’s Commission that would have reflected our growing population: Black, Indigenous, Latinx, people of color, rural, suburban, urban -- all those who call our beloved Oregon home. I want to thank the Oregonians from every corner of our state for stepping up to serve their neighbors. We will continue to engage these civic-minded Oregonians in the years to come."
760: Oregonians applied to be on the People’s Commission
145: People’s Commission applications from District 1
151: People’s Commission applications from District 2
125: People’s Commission applications from District 3
142: People’s Commission applications from District 4
188: People’s Commission applications from District 5
265: Organizations who received outreach from Kathy Wai, Redistricting Administrator
4: Languages other than English for which outreach materials were translated: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian
The mandate violates the employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements
Free Oregon, Inc. has filed a lawsuit on behalf of several plaintiffs against the State of Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority for a temporary stay on the state’s vaccine mandate on health workers, first responders, teachers and government employees. The suit also names Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen.
Free Oregon is demanding that the State follow federal law and Oregon law and make the vaccine treatment for COVID-19 optional. According to Free Oregon, the vaccine mandate described in Rule OAR 333-019-1010 is a false choice to hundreds of thousands of Oregonians to either undergo an experimental medical procedure or lose their jobs, livelihoods and, in some cases, retirement benefits. The Oregon Attorney General argues this is not a mandate.
According to Free Oregon, the mandate violates the employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements of thousands of Oregonians that work at hospitals and government agencies, including public school districts and that obtaining a vaccine, mRNA treatment or other injection of unknown foreign objects into one’s body is a permanent treatment that will last beyond the expiration of this administrative rule. Under ORS 431.180 every Oregonian has the right to select their own medical provider and treatment to fight against the Covid-19 virus if infected.
None of our Plaintiffs have been given the option by their employers to decline vaccination. Many of them have been denied exemptions that violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and their only recourse is legal remedy.
Molly Valdez is one example. She is an 18-year-old medical receptionist at Oregon Eye Specialists. Her employer required her to get vaccinated. But Molly already had Covid-19 and had natural antibodies. Her doctor specifically told her that she should not get the vaccination because it would negatively affect her. She turned in her medical exemption and it was promptly denied. She was then forced to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to maintain employment. Soon after getting the vaccine, she felt tingling in her left foot and leg. Additionally, she had paralysis on the left side of her face. She promptly went to the emergency room, where she was told she had a migraine. The next morning the right side of her face and body started to tingle. While the symptoms in her face have subsided, the issues involving her body have not. She was required to purchase a cane so she can walk. This once perfectly healthy, vibrant 18-year-old has apparently suffered permanent nerve damage and now requires a walker to move.
Free Oregon and its Plaintiffs represent thousands of nurses, healthcare workers, teachers, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, state executive branch employees, correctional institution members and more. If this mandate is not terminated, it is our assessment that hundreds of thousands of Oregonians will have their rights violated, experience the loss of their employment and have their lives further devastated. If hospitals, doctors offices and emergency responders have a drastic reduction in workforce between October 1 and October 18, the innocent public will suffer the avoidable consequences.
In a gesture of frustration, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) made a motion to censure Representative Tina Kotek (D-Portland) for disorderly behavior on the House Floor related to Representative Kotek’s decision to break her word to fellow lawmakers in order to force partisan redistricting maps through the legislative body.
Leader Drazan included the following reasons for the motion during her floor remarks:
“With the events of this past week when she chose to cheat Oregonians and breach an agreement, Tina Kotek has exhibited disorderly conduct and must be censured by this body.
I would assert that those with power demand our highest standards and greatest commitment to accountability.
The inability of the Speaker of the House to keep her word, or conduct her affairs in the execution of her duties at the highest ethical standards affects our ability as a body to function.
If we cannot trust Tina Kotek’s word, if we cannot trust that what she says is true in her capacity as Speaker of the House, if she is allowed to reap the benefits of an agreement without the obligations it imposes, this House cannot function. She has impacted the ability of this body to operate as a fair law-making body.
Today I willingly face political reprisals and urge this body to exercise the power given to us to hold our members accountable for their conduct when it has grave and far reaching impacts.
We cannot silence the voices of the minority when they are inconvenient to the majority.”
The motion failed with all present House Democrats voting to defend Representative Kotek’s decision to break her promise to Republicans and Oregonians in order to pass gerrymandered redistricting maps.
Tina Kotek is essentially a lame duck, having to give up her House seat and Speakership in order to run for Governor. It is unknown if this incident will impact Republicans willingness to make deals with Democrats and future Democratic leaders.
As a hopeful Secretary of State Shemia Fagan most certainly noted, the Oregon House passed what has been touted as highly-partisan redistricting maps with the minimum 31 votes needed to pass and just hours before the court-imposed deadline. House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) blasted the plan, which passed over her "no" vote. “These partisan maps are a wake-up call for Oregonians. They know Democrats had to cheat to get these maps across the floor.
The passage marks a black mark for Oregon House Speaker -- and now gubernatorial candidate -- Tina Kotek, who was all too happy to get concessions from Republicans to provide quorum and stop requiring bills to be read in their entirety only to renege on he promise to give Republicans equal representation on the redistricting committee.
Drazan continued, "Democrats in Oregon have passed rigged political maps that will guarantee super-sized majorities in the legislature and immediate control of more than 80 percent of Oregon’s congressional seats. They should be ashamed that they have gerrymandered Oregonians out of their shot at fair elections for the next decade.
"This is by no means over. The illegal congressional map adopted today, clearly drawn for partisan benefit, will not survive legal challenge. Political gerrymandering in Oregon is illegal and drawing congressional lines to ensure 5 out of 6 seats for your party long-term is gerrymandering.
Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls) said, "I have no doubt that these maps could have been even worse if they went to the Secretary of State. That’s why this process has failed the people."
After the vote, the bill had to return to the Oregon Senate where the Senate concurred in House amendments which, according to Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) "seek to cement Democrat dominance in Oregon for the next decade."
The Senate vote was 18-6, with all Republicans voting no. The plan now goes to the Governor for her signature.