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Commentary, opinions, rants, debates, satire, creative expression (art, poetry...)
Ways out of the Affordable Housing Crisis
From the open publishing newswire: We are children of darkness and/or victims of state failure and market failure. Shriveling the financial sector and expanding the public sector are lessons from the 2008 financial meltdown. All personal and corporate success is based on state investments in schools, libraries, hospitals, roads, airwaves, food safety, and water quality. This letter was sent on July 21, 2017 with no response.
Dear Mayor Wheeler and Portland Commissioners,
Someone on Oregonlive.com said Portland rents have doubled in the last 5 years. To me, this is prima facia evidence we are children of darkness. Is there a right to turn housing into a speculative pot of gold? [...]
The state should protect the social peace. Nevertheless, the neoliberal regime only protects owners and capital. I am translating a German article from Freitag.de that grapples with the rising rents in Berlin and ways out of the crisis.
More Money Honey
From the open publishing newswire: rate increases for water and sewage.
Dear Members of the City Council,
On Thursday afternoon about 1400 you will be considering rate increases and we, Individuals For Justice will oppose all three items, 519, 520, and 521.
I am enclosing a statement by a citizen in arms who sees these rate increases as the height of arrogance and we concur with her assessment. We fully expect you to pass these ill-thought out rate increases but will go on record opposing all three so you cannot claim that no one objected. We objected to your ill-thought out move to cover the reservoirs and you spent hundreds of millions of dollars and could have left our water supply alone, due to the EPA being stopped by the mad-man in the WH.
We demand an outside audit before any more of our money is spent on these projects that only help developers and construction corporations.
The Killing of Quanice Hayes by officer Andrew Hearst - AMA
From the open publishing newswire: Press Statement For Immediate Release - March 22, 2017
The Grand Jury decision not to indict Portland Police Officer Andrew Hearst for the killing of 17-year-old teenager Quanice Hayes is like a recorder repeated over and over again especially when it comes to Black Lives.
The District Attorney and Grand Juries have never indicted a White Police Officer for killing or using excessive force against a Black person or Latino in the history of the City of Portland.
Whether Quanice Hayes was guilty or not of personal robbery it is not the responsibility of the Police Officer to act as Judge or Jury and carry out the sentence.
FDR's First 100 Days (Local Translation from German)
From the open publishing newswire: This reading sample of "A History of the US" is translated from the German by a local translator. The Works Progress Administration created 651K miles of highway, 124K bridges, 8K parks and 125K public buildings including 41K schools. In the US of Amnesia, keeping the washrooms open at community centers is like walking on water! The financial sector should be shriveled and the public sector expanded.
[Workerbee Note: Although not local reporting, this translation is done locally]
Police accountability starts with a new police union contract
From the open publishing newswire: This practice is fair in theory; workers deserve protections from capricious management, and especially from cowardly politicians. But when a police officer brings dishonor to himself, to his colleagues, to the bureau and is the cause of mistrust between officers and basically everyone else in town - he needs to go.
Former Mayor Sam Adams wanted Ron Frashour fired. So did the current mayor, Charlie Hales. So did former Chief of Police Michael Reese. So did the city attorney. So did a majority of Portland city commissioners and most of Portland's citizens.
Frashour, you'll remember, was the sniper cop who pulled out his earplug, severing communication with his commanding officer, and then killed Aaron Campbell, an unarmed African-American father in the midst of a mental health crisis, by shooting him in the back. That was six years ago.
Now, however, the Oregon Court of Appeals has told Hales, who is police commissioner as well as mayor, that Sam Adams made a mistake firing Frashour. Further, the court said, Hales erred by not reinstating Frashour immediately.
These mistakes were not mistakes. They were deliberately, but not freely, chosen. Adams and Hales didn't have other acceptable legal options. The appeal was at best an expensive delaying action meant to satisfy critics. [...]
Bring on the “Density” – Portland’s Neighborhoods Weren't Sustainable in the First Place
From the open publishing newswire: Complaints about the new buildings in Portland are misplaced. Gentrification won't be stopped without new buildings & some of them will be large. Get over it.
Another factor that exacerbates gentrification is the Portland metro area's urban-growth boundary, which prevents suburban encroachment on farmland and so drives up the value of urban real estate. Ironically, this invention is an example of the progressive urban planning that contributed to Portland's groovy "green" reputation in the first place and helped make it a draw for new residents. Moving the boundary out and eating up green space to manufacture lower property values, however, would be a step in the wrong direction. Portland is not Reno and that should stay that way.
On the legal front, the city of Portland is not allowed to restrict rising rents due to a state-level prohibition on rent-control. Landlords can jack up rates as high as the market will bear, which, due to the above factors, is turning out to be very high. [...]
All this adds up to a bona fide housing crisis, which even the business-friendly mayor has been forced to admit (especially since an election is looming). [...]
Final decisions had been made about adding more exceptions to the "Sidewalk Management"
From the open publishing newswire: Commissioner Novick (and members of City Council):
We were quite disturbed to receive information from your aide Bryan Hockaday that final decisions had been made about adding more exceptions to the "Sidewalk Management Ordinance" without broad public input, and particularly without apparent outreach to actual homeless persons who might be affected by the decision.
Portland Copwatch contacted you on January 26th after learning that the Portland Business Alliance was asking for a large number of new "homeless-free zones." (That email is attached, below.) In that letter we recommended that decisions about adding exclusions should be considered publicly, perhaps by the oversight committee that was required when the SMO was adopted but which was disbanded in 2012. Yet now we've read in the Portland Mercury that outreach was done to a small number of homeless advocacy organizations and the decision was made behind closed doors.
From the open publishing newswire: Organized Snitch programs like Tip Submit and Community Alerts are manipulating communities to target progressive writers and Activists.
In the new millennium, we have seen trends in group behavior: Flash mobs, Smart mobs, Zombie races, Zombie this, that and whatever. (One has to wonder about the popularity of the Zombie, a creature who cannot think, but only destroy.) These trends appeal to people's desire to be accepted and have fun as a group, but also show their desire to conform. We have seen many follow group behavior in a fun and entertaining way, however, a very negative form of group behavior has evolved over the last ten years. [...]
Even real Law Enforcement can be manipulated by an angry mob who constantly call in to report on someone they have been manipulated into hating. The Tip Submit Program to anonymously report on someone can be used against innocent people by the unscrupulous or even by an overzealous Neighborhood Watch. In 2005 a female colleague (a very bad bully) bragged to me that she had reported on me to some high-ranking security official, but refused to tell me what she had said. I never saw her again after that and have no idea about the accusation.
This organized snitch system is horribly wrong. Also, the snitches appear to be hounding innocent people. They don't question anything. They do not ask the person if whatever has been said, is true. Instead, they merely follow. Simon says, "Don't ask questions." [...]
An Open Letter To Mayor Charlie Hales
From the open publishing newswire: An Open Letter To Portland Mayor Charlie Hales:
Last week you released a statement addressing the Ferguson protests in Portland. Of the several concerns you have for future demonstrations you seem fixated on demonstrators blocking streets, intersections and highways. You add that blocking highways is "foolish and dangerous." There seems to be some confusion on your end in this regard. Blocking traffic is a sign of civil disobedience. It is illegal and it can also be dangerous but the reason demonstrators are doing it, and have been since the struggle for civil rights, is because it brings attention to your everyday, perhaps apathetic, citizens. It inconveniences them and therefore gets their attention. Many people standing on a highway making it clear they will not be moved easily could be seen as dangerous because motorists could decide to run them over or hit them with their vehicles. But which is more dangerous, standing with many citizens on a highway making a statement or allowing citizens to continue to live a country where police kill without reason or impunity? Is it more dangerous to jaywalk or be charged at by bicycles, motorcycles and horses for standing on a sidewalk?
I think you're relinquishing, yet again, your responsibility for keeping your citizens safe. When thousands of Portlanders are taking to the streets and highways without laying a finger on police or personal property, the statement is clear: You will see to it that demonstrations will be violently suppressed by police outfitted in military wear and equipment. You will see to it that "those who do not disperse immediately will be subject to [internationally banned] chemical or less lethal weapons." [...]
One of the other concerns expressed in your statement is about vandalism. Where is this coming from? What property has been damaged during the Ferguson protests? The answer again seems clear: You are vilifying those engaged in civil disobedience to serve your own agenda. Your reasons for doing so are publicly evident. The citizens of Portland have known you are more concerned with rampant commercial development then protecting the people.
Here's the evidence: [...]
PORTLAND COPWATCH GROUP DENIED MEETING WITH MAYOR 7/23/14
From the open publishing newswire: NEWS ITEM: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 23, 2014
LONG-TIME POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP DENIED MEETING WITH MAYOR
Portland Copwatch, an organization promoting police accountability since 1992,
has been denied a meeting with Mayor/Police Commissioner Charlie Hales after
three months of back-and-forth with his scheduler and police liaison. Although
the group has met with every Chief and Mayor since its creation, the current
Commissioner seems to be shutting out the organization, after meeting with them
a year ago on July 22, 2013
The Betrayal of Helen Thomas - Fearlessness in Pursuit of the Truth
From the open publishing newswire: When the news spread through Washington this weekend that the unwavering, pioneering journalist Helen Thomas had died, there must have been a collective sigh of relief throughout the halls of Washington.
News articles and obituaries are obligatorily mentioning her retirement over political remarks about Palestine and Israel. They all will and should celebrate her trail -blazing career as a journalist and author. And now that she has died, it has become politically correct to re-embrace her, because now Helen is safe. She will not be asking the uncomfortable questions anymore, questions that made lying politicians squirm, as they stared dumbfounded back at her, always surprised at freedom of the press in action, at a woman who did not know her place.
But in Helen's final years, there was little celebration of her career and her courage, as former friends, coworkers and many in Washington jumped on the bandwagon resolutely condemning her for comments made in a hit piece that took brief comments out of context. Perhaps most appallingly, President Obama took time from spying on one half of the world and bombing the other half to state that her resignation was "the right decision."
In a world where politicians like George Bush, Dick Cheney and Rahm Emmanuel are celebrated for their reputations for expletive laden tirades, can we really pretend that Helen's comments were so shocking or offensive that they were worthy of forced retirement? In a world where we hear the daily drivel from presidents promoting wars of madness with lies and straight faces, how did we let such vitriol rain down on her?
Not too late for KBOO democracy
From the open publishing newswire: Change at KBOO has always been participatory; we can keep it that way with dedicated, respectful struggle. Here's the latest at KBOO:
The KBOO Board has called a Special KBOO membership meeting, for Saturday, May 4th, 1pm, at Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont (@ 55th) to reveal the "streamlined KBOO" plan.
KBOO has always taken pride in being a participatory and transparent institution. So, for example, when there was a desire, in recent years, to re-examine programming, a careful and lengthy survey was undertaken. Volunteers and members were consulted, and some changes were made.
WE WANT OUR FUTURE BACK
In fact, KBOO had a bright future before these changes were pushed through. We had lost some audience for morning public affairs to KPOJ, which was wiped out by its won top-down corporate management; that audience is returning. Our substantial public affairs and journalism strength continue to draw audience, even in the Internet age. If we need to spend funds, it should be on expansion of our Internet and smartphone presence, not on crushing workers. The last thing this radio market needs is an NPR/OPB junior wannabe. [...]
PIMC Related KBOO posts:
[1.] [2.] [3.] [4.] [5.] [6.]
Why Organized Labor Must Stand Against the Keystone XL Pipeline
From the open publishing newswire: Spurred by real urgency over the corporate driven ruin of the environment, a growing social movement is taking shape that will be on display this Sunday, February 17, when tens of thousands descend on the streets of Washington, D.C. in a show of power titled "Forward On Climate."
What is the target galvanizing these forces? The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, to be built by TransCanada, which would carry crude oil extracted from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, some 2,000 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico for export.
What is the outcome hoped for by those who will attend? That President Obama reject the project, finally and definitively, when it comes up for his approval this winter.
Protests, blockades, arrests and disruptions of the pipeline's construction have been ongoing by activists and landowners in East Texas since last summer. Now, the "Forward On Climate" rally marks a huge step forward to enlarge the movement. This is not your typical environmental protest in defense of a limited ecosystem.
Rather, the potential consequences of the XL Pipeline's operations are global and catastrophic because of climate change. And that's why organized labor needs to stand up now in an alliance that has the power to defeat it.
Getting Perspective [...] | How will the operations of the Keystone XL Pipeline affect this trend? [...] | Where Does Labor Stand? [...]