During the legislative session, I think the Captiol building should be...
Closed to the public
Open in a very limited way to a small group
Open to everyone
Northwest Observer
Subscribe for Free Email Updates
Search Articles
Firearm Sales Spark Waits
When you couldn’t buy toilet paper, you were trying to buy a Glock, weren’t you?

The Oregon State Police, Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) reports a 57% increase as of the end of September over the same period last year. That’s 310,570 people buying firearms this year.

In step with the Governor’s COVID-19 shut down in March, gun sales went from a modest increase to a 78% jump. Staying around that level until the special session in June calling for police restrictions, sales increased to 107%. Oregon Firearms Federation reported 5000 people waiting in the “queue” for a background check. The increases have continued at 49% last month.

In March, FICS began temporarily discontinuing phone transactions and shifted resources toward online submissions to expedite the process. While gun sales are at an all-time high, Oregon’s FICS for background checks is in the worst shape ever as 65% of the employees work from home with no reliable access to the system and no cell phone access to the system. To complicate resources, four background examiners took extended COVID FMLA/OFIA leave March-May, plus two resignations. The remaining 22 background examiners are expected to clear an average of 1,133 per day, a 57% increase from 2019. Of those 94% are approved.

A common reason for delay in approval is a “near hit” on the name, DOB or SSN# typed into the transaction, incorrect information. Or need to update information. These have to be reviewed by the FICS staff even if the applicant does not have a criminal history. There were 91 denied for mental health adjudication. However, the most common reason for denial is from a convicted felon or on probation with other criminal activities making up the rest of the list. Ninety guns were determined to be stolen.

Oregon State Police list their obligations as: While law enforcement is being restricted by the majority party in the legislature, violence escalates, leaving many law-abiding citizens struggling to have the means to defend their homes. At least we don't have background checks for ammo... If you can still find it.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-05 23:22:13Last Update: 2020-10-06 02:52:56

Measure 107
Measure 107 would limit free speech in Oregon

Editor's note: This is part one of a multi-part series covering the 2020 Oregon General Election ballot measures.

Ballot measure 107 was referred to the Oregon voters by the 2019 legislature. Senate Joint Resolution was sponsored by Senators Tim Knopp (R-Bend), Mark Hass (D-Portland), Jeff Golden (D-Ashland), Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego), and Representatives Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) and Alyssa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland). The resolution is a response to an Oregon Supreme Court decision which allows the state and inferior jurisdictions to enact campaign finance reforms. Ballot Measure 107 merely updates the Oregon Constitution to reflect that possibility. It does not itself enact any limits.

In the State of Oregon Democrats operate a Super-majority legislature, and much of the agenda for the State is set by them. They would now like to further limit the ability of Grassroots Oregonian's to fund raise.

The Democrats have put forth Measure 107 which "Authorizes the state legislature and local governments to (1) enact laws or ordinances limiting campaign contributions and expenditures; (2) require disclosure of contributions and expenditures; and (3) require that political advertisements identify the people or entities that paid for them."

The referring of this free-speech limiting bill to the November ballot has been largely paid for by in-kind Democrat contributions and Big Union money.

Major donations to Yes for Fair and Honest Elections
09/28/2020North Star Action Center$3,000
09/11/2020Team Oregon Victory Fund (19420)$5,000
09/04/2020End Citizen's United $1,200
08/31/2020Alliance for Democracy Portland$1,200
08/17/2020Oregon AFSCME council 75$5,000
08/16/2020Kafoury & McDougal$2,000
08/07/2020Norman Turrill$1,000
08/07/2020End Citizen's United $14,000
07/27/2020Voters' Right to Know$14,000
06/29/2020Team Oregon Victory Fund (19420)$5,000
06/02/2020Honest Elections Oregon$5,000
06/01/2020David Delk$1,000
05/22/2020Kafoury & McDougal$2,500
04/20/2020AFSCME Council 75$10,000
04/12/2020Thomas Keffer$1,000

The above chart of major donors to the Yes on 107 Campaign, highlights a certain irony. This collection of big donors all are advocating for campaign finance limits. No political action committee has yet been established for the No on 107 effort.

For further irony, one of the biggest defender of not having any campaign finance limits was the American Civil Liberties Union. In a Friend of the Court brief the ACLU declares a change of heart.

"The ACLU of Oregon has a particular interest in this case because in recent years, the organization’s understanding of the relationship between campaign finance regulation and the freedom of expression enshrined in both the U.S. and Oregon Constitutions has evolved. This reckoning started in 2011, in the wake of Citizens United. ACLU National came to recognize the multiple, deleterious effects of excessive money in politics – including its negative impact on communities historically excluded from meaningful political participation – and reconsidered its previous absolute opposition to any regulation of campaign finance."

This is the official title for the measure, as provided by the Attorney General, as it will appear on the ballot:

Amends Constitution: Allows laws limiting political campaign contributions and expenditures, requiring disclosure of political campaign contributions and expenditures, and requiring political campaign advertisements to identify who paid for them

Result of “Yes” Vote: “Yes” vote allows laws, created by the Legislative Assembly, local governments or voters that limit contributions and expenditures made to influence an election. Allows laws that require disclosure of contributions and expenditures made to influence an election. Allows laws that require campaign or election advertisements to identify who paid for them. Campaign contribution limits cannot prevent effective advocacy. Applies to laws enacted or approved on or after January 1, 2016.

Result of “No” Vote: “No” vote retains current law. Courts currently find the Oregon Constitution does not allow laws limiting campaign expenditures. Laws limiting contributions are allowed if the text of the law does not target expression.

Summary: The Oregon Supreme Court has interpreted the Oregon Constitution to prohibit limits on expenditures made in connection with a political campaign or to influence the outcome of an election. Limits on contributions are allowed if the text of the law does not target expression. The proposed measure amends the Oregon Constitution to allow the Oregon Legislative Assembly, local governments, and the voters by initiative to pass laws that limit contributions and expenditures made in connection with a political campaign and contributions and expenditures made to influence an election. The measure would allow laws that require disclosure of political campaign and election contributions and expenditures. The measure would allow laws that require political campaign and election advertisements to identify who paid for them. Laws limiting campaign contributions cannot prevent effective advocacy. Measure applies to all laws enacted or approved on or after January 1, 2016.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-05 11:42:14Last Update: 2020-10-04 07:51:46

St. Helens Traffic Stop Leads to Discovery of Mail Theft
Significant mail theft from the Columbia County area

On Tuesday, September 15 at approximately 5:08 p.m., St. Helens officers conducted a traffic stop which led to the discovery of significant mail theft from the Columbia County area.

Jessica Ann Ackerman, 34, was lodged at the Columbia County Jail on charges of mail theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Shanika Leann Rice, 29, was lodged at Columbia County Jail on charges of mail theft and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Further charges are pending.

A large portion of the stolen mail recovered by officers was from the Warren, Oregon area. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the investigation and is in the process of contacting mail theft victims.

The St. Helens Police is regarding this is an ongoing investigation. If you have any information related to this case, you can contact the St. Helens Police Department at 503-397-1521.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-04 20:26:35Last Update: 2020-10-04 22:08:05

Portland Oregon Bans Evictions Through January 8
Also allows a 6-month repayment period for rent payments

Further restrictions on those willing to rent to others might not be the most sensible solution, but the City of Portland is doing just that.

City Council Wednesday voted to extend eviction protections for Portland renters through January 8. The temporary moratorium prevents residential evictions for non-payment of rent and other no-cause evictions. The moratorium also allows a six-month repayment period for rent payments missed between October 1 and January 8.

“In the midst of a pandemic and a national economic crisis, with so many Portlanders struggling to stay afloat, no one should fear being put out of their home,” said Mayor Wheeler. “This moratorium will keep people safely in their homes and protect public health while we work to help Portlanders get the assistance and support they need to make up for missed rent,” he said.

“I am grateful that we are taking action to provide renters peace of mind as this crisis continues,” said City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. “That being said, the County’s extension came mere days before the state moratorium was set to expire—we cannot keep cutting it so close to the wire when renters’ housing stability is at stake. I will continue to work closely with my colleagues and advocate for more timely action before this moratorium expires in January, including a further extension of the emergency adjustment to the Mandatory Relocation Assistance Ordinance.”

Last month, Mayor Wheeler announced his intention to take executive action to extend the expiring State moratorium on residential evictions. While the State moratorium was extended, it does not include the repayment grace period the City’s action establishes. The City of Portland’s action is aligned with the extension passed by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioner. It provides Portland renters an additional eight days beyond the extension issued by Governor Brown on Tuesday.

“In Portland, renters and essential workers are disproportionately those who are Black, indigenous, and people of color. Mass evictions in this moment would hurt already vulnerable households the most and set them back the longest. I’m proud local and state leaders are extending this critical lifeline for renters,” Wheeler said.

The six-month repayment period only applies to unpaid rent between October 1 and January 8. Rent payments missed between April and September 30, under the previous moratorium, will still need to be repaid by March 31, 2021.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-10-04 19:44:32Last Update: 2020-10-04 19:55:54

From Racketeering to Hate Crimes
Staying busy at the Oregon Justice Department

The Department of Justice lists Multnomah County Racketeering 1951-1960 as a notable investigations and achievements. In the years following World War II, Portland developed a quiet reputation as a place that wasn’t all that quiet. Scratch the surface, and you’d have found brothels, gambling, bootlegging and plenty of underground characters more than happy to try and buy off an official or two. And there was more than an official or two willing to take the money. Eventually, even the Teamsters made their way down from Seattle to get a piece of the action. A series of articles in the Oregonian in 1956 pulled the story into the daylight.

Oregon Attorney General, George Neuner (R) started investigating the crimes, followed with prosecution by Robert Y Thornton (D) in 1960 with the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that took on the Teamsters. The story of that period in Portland was reported by Wally Turner and William Lambert, Oregonian reporters, exposing a wide-ranging conspiracy to take over Jim Elkins’ illegal empire in Portland. The city’s corruption drew the interest of the U.S. Senate select committee on labor racketeering making headlines across the country and become the basis of a 1957 film titled Portland Expose.

The mob-type tactics of the 1950s are again surfacing. Racketeering has surfaced repeatedly through the years through theft rings. Today, it is more in-your-face bias crimes. One of the leaders of BLM arrested in Portland’s riots stated they have a right to reparations and will keep looting and destroying businesses.

Senate Bill 577 passed in 2019 requiring the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) to review all data pertaining to bias crimes and non-criminal bias incidents and to report the results annually on July 1. The first report is a preliminary to a more expansive report, but for the first year ending July 1 they reported 185 calls to the hotline and 273 bias related offenses reported to law enforcement of which 68 cases included bias charges in the first or second degree. The key findings of the report are that race was the most targeted class for both bias crimes reported to law enforcement and bias incidents reported to the hotline. The Bias Response Hotline received a surge of calls in March and April for bias toward Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community members due to erroneous beliefs about COVID-19.

“Bias victimizes the person who is targeted, but it also victimizes their friends and family, and in fact our larger community. Language and conduct intended to divide us can be just as harmful as hands-on assaults,” said Johanna Costa, Oregon DOJ’s Bias Response Coordinator.

Attorney General Rosenblum said, “If you are a witness, reporting hate and bias sheds light on the experiences of some of our most vulnerable community members, and it demonstrates that you are an ally and you will not stand for hate in our state.”

What do they see as “hate?” The members of the Legislature’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color Caucus (BIPOC) are Rep. Teresa Alonso Leon (D-Woodburn), Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley), Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-Portland), Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland), Rep. Mark Meek (D-Oregon City), Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego), Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland), Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) and Sen. James Manning (D-Eugene). Without cause or investigation, they used hate language calling Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer and Three Percenters, white supremacist and right-wing extremist groups. Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, said in a tweet that the group is not associated with white supremacy. Similar to how the celebration of Black lives got radicalized with left extremists, so an article sought out a radical to discredit Proud Boys instead of interviewing the leader who, by the way, is a person of color.

Is their play book, The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allen Poe? Fear is a real toxic thing. It illustrates how fear can alter how you think, how you feel and how people interact. Hate crimes are based on fear that manipulated people. Where does social justice fall on the scale of manipulation?

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-04 07:37:33

Counties to Vote on Firearm Sanctuary
Second Amendment Sanctuary on the Ballot in Four Counties

The Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance or SASO is a measure on the ballot in four Oregon counties for the 2020 November General Election.
Clatsop CountyMeasure 4-205
Columbia CountyMeasure 5-278
Coos CountyMeasure 6-181
Umatilla CountyMeasure 30-145

The SASO is a new law that implements a local layer of legal protections for the rights acknowledged in the Bill of Rights using the initiative process and a county’s Home Rule authority to reject the commandeering of county resources by state and federal agencies.

If enacted, The SASO would impose a directive ordering that the County government shall not use any county resources or employees to enforce state or federal regulations concerning firearms and firearm accessories. Any county agency or employee found guilty of violating the law would face a Class A violation, plus a $2000 fine for the employee, $4000 for the offending agency.

The SASO defends the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It employs the idea of “Shall not be infringed” by eliminating local enforcement of the many state and federal restrictions limiting the ability of individuals to protect themselves, their families, and others.

The SASO is unique in the fact that it differentiates itself from the feckless resolutions other counties in other states have enacted. The ordinance would punish local government officials who have violated an individual’s Second Amendment rights, which would challenge the practice of “qualified immunity.” Politicians would have to pay for committing unconstitutional crimes and ignoring their Oaths of Office.

Currently, there is a growing trend of defunding the police, disarming the citizens, and discharging the criminals, which will only result in an exponential wave of crime and death unless the electorate is willing to act. A more ominously twisted aspect is that District Attorneys are now charging citizens with crimes for using firearms and other weapons to defend their lives, homes, and property from the mob.

We the people are the last line of defense against anarchy and lawlessness. We must be willing to defend our cities and counties from criminals, looters, rioters, and unethical politicians with the protections and values enumerated in the US Constitution.

The Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance would help achieve that goal by allowing the people to invoke those rights with more legal authority in opposition to federal, state, and local politicians who want to make their own rules.

Registered voters in Lane County or Tillamook County can sign the active SASO petitions that are currently circulating in those two counties.

There is more information at SanctuaryOrdinance.com.

--Rob Taylor

Post Date: 2020-10-03 09:17:50Last Update: 2020-10-03 09:38:21

Candidate Comparison: Aldal vs. Holvey
House District 8 is Eugene and the rural areas to the West and South

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 8 Timothy Aldal is challenging incumbent Paul Holvey on his 9th run to represent a portion of Lane County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Holvey, known as the Carpenters’ Union representative, voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax, and reduce the kicker. In 2020 he voted in support of SB 1603 imposing up to 6% tax on cell phones to extend broadband services to rural areas in addition to federal grants. Aldal indicates he would vote no on these issues and states he would work to stop over taxing and the shifting of money into non-dedicated funds. He states, the CAT tax is a business killing bill that passes on the cost to consumers lowering the standard of living for all Oregonians. He would work to reduce and repeal taxes not used for the betterment of all Oregonians.

Hovey helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and he helped sponsor a bill that requires no proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. He also voted for firearms to be trigger-cable locked or in a locked container when not carried. In contrast, Aldal said he is pro-constitution, supports local law enforcement and pro-Second Amendment. He states locking firearms is an “infringement and a good way to get citizens killed when one is needed for protection.”

In the area of education and family, Hovey supported the bill to take a child into protective custody without a court order. He voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. He voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Aldal doesn’t support the curriculum bill and says it is vague and poorly written. He also says, “every parent/family should have the right to make their own decisions regarding their medical care based on their beliefs and faith.”

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-02 19:26:50Last Update: 2020-10-02 19:46:23

Counties Begin Wildfire Cleanup and Recovery Efforts
Hazardous materials removal is first step of rebuilding process

Cleanup from the recent wildfires and wind damage is set to begin in eight Oregon counties as county officials, Oregon’s Debris Management Task Force, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have finalized plans to remove and dispose of hazardous materials from burned properties—free of charge to property owners. Removal of household hazardous waste and fire debris is required before property owners can rebuild from the fires.

Cleanup crews plan to begin operations in Jackson County the week of October 19 and will expand to the other counties shortly afterward, pending the completion by property owners of “Right of Entry” (ROE) access agreements that will allow cleanup crews onto their property. The ROE for a property must be signed before the county and state cleanup process can begin.

Hazardous waste cleanup is provided free of charge to property owners in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties. FEMA and the State of Oregon are funding the work.

Affected Oregon counties are in varying stages of developing their ROE forms. Property owners are urged to check their county’s website (list below) or wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup for more information about the ROE process in their county. In preparation for filling out the forms, property owners should identify their property parcel number from their county tax assessor’s office and collect insurance information.

Household hazardous waste can include but is not limited to: fuel and petroleum, car batteries, antifreeze, used oil filters, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, propane tanks, high pressure cylinders, disinfectants, aerosols, paint, bleach, radiological sources or devices, pool chemicals and ammunition. Cleanup crews will also identify and dispose of bulk asbestos materials when possible.

How the process will work

STEP 1: Household hazardous waste removal – No cost to property owner
1. Once a property owner completes an ROE form with their county, crews will evaluate the property for any overhead hazards (impacted trees) or other physical hazards and conduct air monitoring and visual observations to identify locations of household hazardous waste.
2. Crews will then remove those items from the property for safe disposal.

STEP 2: Ash and debris removal
1. Cleanup crews then will remove burned-out structures—possibly including building foundations—ash and other debris.
2. When this step is complete, property owners will be able to begin the rebuilding process.

State, county and federal partners are actively working to develop funding and implementation options for Step 2: Ash and debris removal.

The State of Oregon’s Debris Management Task Force is overseeing a coordinated effort by federal, state and local government agencies to address hazardous waste and debris removal. The task force consists of the Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-02 14:51:01Last Update: 2020-10-02 15:11:20

Secretary of State Candidates Debate
Kim Thatcher and Shemia Fagan square off

Secretary of State candidates Kim Thatcher and Shemia Fagan squared off in a debate sponsored by the City Club of Portland. Kim Thatcher started off by saying that Oregon is at a crossroad and the next Secretary of State needs to get Oregon back on track. She is the longest serving member of the Legislative Audit Committee and has focused her attention of the Secretary of State’s office. The Audit Committee is where hard answers are found, such as why millions of Oregonians still haven’t received their benefits. She thinks the state should be doing more to help displaced voters. Small business experience helps her see the issues to administer the Secretary of State’s office as an advocate to get small businesses back to work.

Shemia Fagan began with her history-growing up in Wasco County as a struggling family, which led her to be a civil rights attorney to advocate for the underprivileged. Wants to make government work for everybody, making sure government has fair elections, auditing revenues and programs to make sure they make a difference in the lives of people who need them the most, and run a redistricting committee to make sure Oregon has equal representation for all.

Questioning covered campaign contributions, election, audits, public records, redistricting and the Oregon Land Board.

Thatcher thought that most of her campaign funds came from the forest industry with single donations around $10,000, but she has contributed more from her business. Fagan said public employees were her biggest donors with Emily’s list donating $55,000 and the Governor $50,000. They both support Measure 107 for its transparency and campaign limits. Fagan would like to see grassroots donations and limit a single entity to drown out small donors. Thatcher would put a multi-partisan committee together so no one party dominates.

Vote by mail has been in the news as fraudulent. Thatcher doesn’t believe Oregon’s system is ripe with fraud. There are safe guards in place you don’t see in other states. She did not vote for motor voter due to privacy concerns and not being able to register at the DMV counter. She does not support voter registration on election day. Fagan adamantly stated the widespread claims of voter fraud across the country is a meth stated by people who want to make it harder to vote. She first worked with then Secretary of State Kate Brown to mark out a path to motor voter. She supports same-day registration and would like to see ballot tracking statewide to give Oregonians comfort that their ballot is received.

Audits could be subject to legislative influence, how will they assure audits are free of partisan influence? Fagan would hire outside auditors to be nonpartisan with national guidelines, and thinks the audits should be on what affects people the most. Thatcher serves on the Legislative Audit Committee and says the auditors we have are free of influence. The committee fills the gap working together to identify what audits need to be made, and investigates a tip line for valid requests.

It was proposed to make Public Records office independent. Thatcher is on the Public Advisory Council and proposed a bill to make it independent, which she will again propose and they are working out the funding. The office and advisory council need to work together. Fagan also supports Public Records as an independent agency so the public has someone fighting for them.

When Fagan was asked if she could show her independence from her Public Employees Union supporters, she could not because that would mean going against her own principle. She is proud of their support and believes they should be paid a living wage, have health insurance, retirement security, paid sick leave, and have a say in the safety of their work place. She is on record to make public police records on discipline.

The most discreditable question went to Kim Thatcher equating her participation in the Senate walk-out as a dislike of the legislative process. Denying that statement, she affirmed that the legislative process is very important and that includes the ability for people to weigh-in, which includes quorum denial, which both parties have used. Had the public been given a chance to weigh-in on the issues that are bigger than the legislature, there wouldn’t have been a walk-out.

The Elliott State Forest is overseen by the State Land Board, which includes the Secretary of State. Both thought that the Elliott Forest has to stay in state hands. Thatcher would like to see a stakeholder committee to determine the purpose of the Oregon Land Board. There are lots of proposals for the Elliott Forest to consider. Fagan seemed sold on Oregon State University proposal to use the Elliott Forest as a research forest, which includes decoupling it from the Common School Fund.

They each had an opportunity to ask the other a gotcha question. Thatcher questioned Fagan on her jumping around from position to position and how could voters count on her not running for Governor in two years. Fagan said she had no intention to run for Governor in two years. Fagan tried to tie down Thatcher on her vote for President, which she gracefully deflected staying non-partisan as the position would demand.

Maybe the most interesting question was for each to identify a professional sport they would like to play and what would their walk-up music be. Fagan would play for the WNBA for the Oregon Ducks, and walk on to Lizzo “Good As Hell.” Thatcher would like to be a race car driver to “Radar Love.”

In closing they both asked for your vote reiterating key points.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-10-02 02:17:06Last Update: 2020-10-02 13:22:18

Democrat Governors Speak on Voting Rights
“It is a right that is foundational to our democracy”

A coalition of 11 governors, including Govs. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Kate Brown (D-OR), Gavin Newsom (D-CA), Phil Murphy (D-NJ), Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), Tony Evers (D-WI), Tim Walz (D-MN), Ralph Northam (D-VA), John Carney (D-DE), Steve Sisolak (D-NV) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), today released a statement on recent threats to the democratic process and reports of efforts to circumvent the election results.

“We do not take for granted the sacred right of every American to cast a vote, and to have that vote counted, in the presidential election held every four years. It is a right that is foundational to our democracy and essential to the continuation of our constitutional system of government — something to be cherished, revered and defended by elected leaders at all levels.

“Any efforts to throw out ballots or refuse a peaceful transfer of power are nothing less than an assault on American democracy. There is absolutely no excuse for promoting the intimidation or harassment of voters. These are all blatant attempts to deny our constituents the right to have their voices heard, as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, and to know the will of the people will be carried out.

“As governors, it is our solemn duty to protect the people of our states. Today, we affirm that all votes cast in the upcoming election will be counted and that democracy will be delivered in this election. That means all valid ballots cast in accordance with state and local laws must be counted, and that all states must properly appoint electors in accordance with the vote. We will not allow anyone to willfully corrupt the democratic process by delegitimizing the outcome or appointing fraudulent electors against the will of the voters.

“Our nation has held presidential elections and upheld the results throughout our history, even in times of great peril. We did it during the Civil War and both World Wars, and we can do it during a pandemic.

“And if the outcome of this election means the end of a presidency, he must leave office — period.

“We recognize that democratically held elections are not an exercise in controlling power. By its very nature, democracy is an exercise in determining and honoring out the collective will of the American people, regardless of the outcome. Disenfranchising voters in order to retain power strikes at the very heart of this promise. We call on elected leaders at all levels, from both parties, to speak out loudly against such efforts in the weeks ahead.”

The group of Governors offered no comment on whether requiring photo ID to vote or register to vote would have a positive impact on the democratic process, nor any comment of the impact of the "crossfire hurricane" investigation performed by the FBI against Candidate, then President Elect, then President Donald Trump.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2020-10-01 15:05:40Last Update: 2020-10-01 15:17:06

Candidate Comparison: Clem vs. Esp
District 21 is the core of Salem

Editor's note: Oregon Abigail Adams Voter Education Project equips voters with information on how candidates stand on issues through a questionnaire process featured in comparison guides.

Candidate for House District 21 Jack Esp is challenging incumbent Brian Clem on his 8th run to represent a portion of Marion County.

Three major issues to Oregon voters are the economy, safety and education. Clem voted to increase taxes and fees including cap and trade, corporate gross receipts tax, and reduce the kicker. Esp indicates he would vote no on these issues and supports more in-depth study of problems “before throwing more money into the mix.”

Clem signed a letter to US Attorney General William Barr demanding “immediate withdrawal of federal operatives from the City of Portland.” He helped sponsor the bill that nullified Measure 88 passed by voters allowing undocumented driver’s license and he helped sponsor a bill that requires no proof of citizenship to obtain a driver’s license. Voted to require employers to notify employees of ICE investigations, and prevent courts from asking immigration status and notifying ICE. In 2020 he sponsored HB 4005 requiring firearms to be trigger-cable locked or in a locked container when not carried. Esp asks “what good is a locked self-defense firearm in an emergency?” He would vote no and support voters. He also thinks the courts and ICE are part of our legal system.

In the area of education, Clem voted to include in all curriculum’s contributions from every minority group such as immigrants, LGBTQ, disabled and women. He voted to require mandated vaccination with no exceptions and ban those from schools that don’t comply. Esp said forced vaccinations are “infringes on parental rights and religious freedom,” and would vote no on curriculum mandates to include minority group contribution on what he views as the left’s attempt to move education further left.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2020-09-30 11:45:18Last Update: 2020-09-30 11:49:07

Oregon Republicans Applaud Good Neighbor Authority
Enables states to perform forest management and watershed restoration services on federal lands

Representatives Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) and David Brock Smith (R-Coos Bay) released a statement on the Good Neighbor Authority and the recent investment made by the Legislative Emergency Board:

“We have let our natural and working lands become overburdened by fuel loads,” said Bonham. “Federal policy of containment and lack of investments into programs like the Good Neighbor Authority have put us in a position to suffer catastrophic effects from these mega-fires. Investments in this program are a step in the right direction to mitigate risks in the future. Conservation of Oregon’s forests, the communities around them, and the families that rely upon them must be our number one priority.”

Brock Smith added, “I’m grateful for the long overdue investment in this legislation that works cooperatively with our federal partners for resource management, focusing on the urban/wildland interface. Expanding these efforts will protect the health, life and safety of Oregonians and their communities.”

The Good Neighbor Authority allows the United States Forest Service to enter into agreements with states to enable states to perform forest management and watershed restoration services on federal lands. Together, Bonham and Brock Smith were chief sponsors of HB 4118 passed in 2018, which expanded Oregon’s Good Neighbor Authority.

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-30 10:50:37Last Update: 2020-09-30 11:31:35

Read More Articles