Archive for the ‘Government & Politics’ Category

Civil rights leaders quietly visiting Portland

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to hear Fred Gray speak. I had never heard of Fred Gray before. I had no idea who he was, but after listening to him talk, I needed to learn more about him.

Fred Gray is a prominent civil rights attorney, he is from Alabama and was the primary legal counsel for Rosa Parks. Martin Luther King Jr. The participants of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The families affected by the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. He is a man who was an integral part of changing our society.

He was in town to speak at a local college’s commencement ceremonies, and while I didn’t hear that speech – I can only imagine how inspiring it must have been for those young students. I don’t know why – but if someone would have asked me if Rosa Parks’ attorney was black or white – I probably would have said white. I would have assumed that a black attorney wouldn’t have been able to fight a case about race. That the courts would have been too biased for a black man arguing a black woman’s case, to win.

Gray talked about his history and what the cases he’s been involved in have meant for civil rights, but also where there are still issues today. As he spoke, my mind also went to the correlations between racial civil rights fights in the 60s and 70s and the civil rights fights that occurring now for gay families – that was a question I really wanted to ask him, but never had the opportunity.

It was a strange setting though for a talk on civil rights – out of the 125 or so people in the room probably 95% were white, married with 2.5 kids, middle class folks. Although I can’t know for sure – I would guess that most of the people in that room probably haven’t ever truly felt the bite of discrimination, myself included. But I would like to think that it was more that just “white guilt” as my husband put it – that made his talk so powerful and moving.

With maybe the exception of the times around the OJ trial, with the current Presidential election underway there has been more talk of race that I’ve ever really heard in my – born and raised in overwhelmingly white parts of the country – life. It seems to be the hot topic for commencement speeches all over Portland. But so much of that talk is from people who really have no idea what it is they’re talking about. It was an honor to listen to a man who really does.

Oregon in play for Democratic nomination

We all know Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton are fighting for the democratic nomination.  Just tonight, most news stations are predicting Hilary Clinton as the winner in Pennsylvania.  With that, they move on to Indiana and then Oregon, among a few other states.  Oregon has delegates to add to someone’s tally, but not enough to push someone over the top to garner the nomination.  That said, Oregon is way in play.  We’ve seen Barack, Bill Clinton and Hilary visit over the past few weeks.  Granted, I was surprised to see that Hilary visited Hillsboro instead of Portland, but then again, maybe she realizes Oregon may be an Obama stronghold (I’m speculating here.)  It has just been announced that Bill Clinton will be in Portland this Friday and Saturday.  More details to come.  If you missed either of the candidates or Bill or Chelsea on their recent visits, you will definitely have the opportunity to see them in the near future.

This is soooooo exciting.  Oregon is usually so far off in the primaries that our votes honestly don’t end up counting.  The candidate is usually chosen by the time we get to vote.  I have always hated that about our electoral system, but what can one do.  I championed our attempt to move Oregon to Super Tuesday, but now am glad that was never approved or sanctioned.  Now we get to take our place on the national stage as a deciding state in what for me is a life changing opportunity for a President.  I wonder if Stephen Colbert will come to town to film some of his shows.

If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you still have till the end of April to do so.  Let your vote be the change Portland.  Wooo hoooo!

Put the Clinton campaign on COD, Oregon businesses

Cash-strapped Clinton fails to pay bills

From the article:

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s cash-strapped presidential campaign has been putting off paying hundreds of bills for months — freeing up cash for critical media buys but also earning the campaign a reputation as something of a deadbeat in some small-business circles.

A pair of Ohio companies owed more than $25,000 by Clinton for staging events for her campaign are warning others in the tight-knit event production community — and anyone else who will listen — to get their cash upfront when doing business with her. Her campaign, say representatives of the two companies, has stopped returning phone calls and e-mails seeking payment of outstanding invoices. One even got no response from a certified letter.

Remember how some Oregon small businesses got dinged when Paul Allen dragged the Rose Quarter into bankruptcy? Don’t let it happen again…

Hilary Clinton hates Oregon

Seriously, I think she doesn’t like us.  She’s fighting for her political life this spring trying to sway voters to chose her over Barack Obama and yet she’s ignoring Oregon.  Well, ignoring may be a strong word.  She did send her lapdog…I mean husband.  Former president Bill Clinton is in Portland today to pitch his wife’s campaign.  I understand he’ll meet supporters at a couple of events – OHSU included.  I guess I’m wondering who this country is really electing?  Is Bill actually in the race and we’ve just not been told?  I chuckle that Barack Obama garnered thousands of supporters when he visited and Hilary has yet to show her face in the state.

Hilary, if you indeed plan a visit, you should do it soon.  I understand you are busy trying to win other states, but don’t forget about us out here on the left coast.  We’re people too….and we vote.

Last day to register to vote in Oregon is April 30.  Remember, in order to vote in the primary, you must declare whether you are Democrat or Republican.  Socialists, Communists, Greeners and Libertarians aren’t allowed to vote in Oregon’s primaries.

Vicente Fox

My girlfriend scored a couple of tickets through her law school to go see Vicente Fox, the former President of Mexico, speak at the World Affairs Council of Oregon last night at the Schnitz. I must admit that I’m fairly ignorant of Latin American politics. However, my girl is a whiz in international politics (being her focus of study and having spent two years in Guatemala), and got me up to speed fairly quickly.
The Foxes

Fox was a very engaging and interesting speaker. He talked about the recent history of Mexico (they’ve only recently emerged out of decades of a corrupt single party rule), how far they’ve come (abject poverty has been significantly decreased in the last decade), and how far they need to go (the country is still behind in wages, and is a pass-thru for the major drug producing countries in the south as they deliver drugs to the U.S. – one of the world’s largest drug-buying markets.)

He also had some interesting things to say about immigration, and warned that in the modern economy, isolationism simply doesn’t work any more. It was a very interesting speech.

Afterwords, there was a small-ish reception that we also were granted access to. Free beer, wine, and food from Elephant’s deli. Rockin’.

Obama in PDX on Friday

I’d heard Barack Obama was planning an Oregon visit relatively soon – but I just read that he is officially going to be at the Memorial Coliseum Friday morning and then that evening on the O of U campus in Eugene. Tickets are free – but you do have to get them in advance at

Especially after his eloquent speech today, I’d love a chance to hear him speak in person. It’s tough to get off work with such short notice though… I’m bummed!!

Five Years Later

Five years after we invaded Iraq – we’re still there, we still have no right to be there, and we still have no idea what we’re doing there. Five years later a majority of the country understands this. A majority of the people understand that we never should have invaded in the first place, but since we did – that we need to work on getting and out, and getting out soon. There are still a few ostriches with their heads in the sand – but hey – there are also still people who think that driving a Hummer around town is ok and that Bush’s ‘tax cuts’ are good. But I digress.

So five years later, most of the country finally agrees with Portland. Sure – there were still a lot of people in Portland who thought the invasion was justified. I know a few personally. And five years ago I watched the local news with some of them – as Portlanders filled the streets of downtown…blocking traffic well into the evening. Not just down Broadway or in the Parks Blocks, but up onto I-405, across the Burnside bridge… all over the city. Portland was pissed. And I was proud. I watched with people who said the protestors were idiots, that they were what was wrong with our country (and albeit some of them are!) and at the time I didn’t know these people well enough to argue with them like I would today. But here in Portland – we proudly stand up for what we know to be right – and that’s one reason why I love my city.

And this Saturday – five years later – Portlanders will again take to the streets (this time trying to do so a bit greener, a bit cleaner) and speak out against our unjust occupation of a foreign country. Because more people agree with this stance now – will that decrease the number of people at the event? Has it become such a part of our lives that we’ve just forgotten? I hope not.

As Portlanders – lets make sure we take the kind of stance that makes us an example for the rest of the country.

Where: South Park Blocks (SW Park and Madison)
When: Saturday, March 15, 2008
10:00am: Action Camp featuring workshops, exhibits, performances, music and more!
2:00: Rally and March

Would you camp up there?

Would you camp up on that ledge above the windows? For the right cause? Well, a few years back, our famous ECO protester Tre Arrow did and that seemed to be the beginning of his unusual stardom. Tre Arrow is back in town after a four year battle with extradition from Canada. He obviously lost. It is my understanding that he was almost free and clear up there and not on anyone’s radar when he was caught shoplifting. Wow, to end up in jail for 4 yrs and now probably more in the US for shoplifting.

03 05 2008

I haven’t followed the whole Tre Arrow saga as I don’t have a vested interest in it. I respect people who protest and fight for our natural spaces, yet I do believe it crosses a line when property is damaged and/or people are injured. We’re not in a revolution here in America (yet), so we all need to still play by some of the rules to get things done. How is burning down luxury homes solving anything? They are luxury homes – they will be rebuilt and now they are probably on a tighter schedule, so they may cut corners and may not use the greenest materials. Just a thought.

TriMet’s Transit Police expand to the East and West

As TriMet continues to address the safety concerns raised by the City of Gresham, the agency is now working with the City to establish an Eastside precinct. The precinct will be staffed by TriMet Transit Police officers and will be responsible for patrolling public transit between the Gateway Transit Center and Cleveland Ave MAX stations. This is a one-year trial with six officers beginning on April 1 and working up to 10 officers by July 1.

Additionally, TriMet is establishing a Westside precinct where five officers will begin patrolling west of the Sunset Transit Center later this month.

For those of us in between, more fare inspectors are coming and TriMet is repairing the broken ticket vending machines across the system.

Will this work? Are more Transit Police needed between the Eastside and Westside precincts?

Protest downtown [updated]


Originally uploaded by dieselboii

A protest downtown has closed SW Broadway from Yamhill south. I spoke with an officer and this is being put on by PSU students. I will try and post more photos later.

 More Photos

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