Somebody’s Someone

 

 

Somebody’s Someone by Daphne Willis

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Sunshine Week: March 13-19, 2016

Today starts the 11th year of Sunshine Week.  Sunshine Week is intended to help citizens access information about their government by bringing awareness to both the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as well as state laws that protect the people’s right to know what their government is doing.

The following link provides information about Sunshine Week , FOIA and Oregon Public Records and Meeting Act.

Sunshine Week

Homeless Have No Bill of Rights!

On the eve of the 224th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights,  more cities than ever have laws that violate them for the people in our country who are homeless.   Certain “acts of living” laws seem to violate rights that we were all guaranteed on December 15, 1791. Among them the 1st , 4th and 8th Amendments.

Here in Roseburg in Douglas County, Oregon, we have a couple of laws that fall into this category.  The most obvious problem is the one that prohibits camping within city limits.  It seems harmless enough, unless you are homeless.  This local law basically makes criminals out of the homeless here by making it illegal for them to camp or even sleep anywhere.

Our city council and mayor have been asked to put a moratorium into place,  but have not yet responded.

So Happy Bill of Rights Day, unless you are homeless.  You might have to wait until next year to celebrate.

 

 

 

Happy Bill of Rights Day!

Today is the anniversary of the passage of the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution.  The Bill of Rights were ratified on December 15, 1791.

A good place to find information about the Bill of Rights is The National Constitution Center:

Tune in the Bill of Rights

Although the information is oriented to teaching our kids about  Bill of Rights, it is simple enough for most adults to understand.

Play a game and see how much you know about your rights:

Do I Have a Right?

Stories from the Street!

The blog Stories from the Streets has the perspective of one Citizens Education & Advocacy volunteer.  She explains some of more recent things our volunteers have been doing.  Stories explains how easy it is to find people in need even in a small place like Roseburg, Oregon. She and other CEA volunteers try to find permanent solutions to the troubles we see and are working to end homelessness in our rural community.

Stories from the Street Blog

Enjoy Labor Day: Thank Unions!

According to the US Department of Labor, our Labor Day started in 1882 in New York City.  Although there is some debate about its origins, what seems to be the first Labor Day march and picnic was held on September 5, 1882 and was organized by the machinists union.  Below is the account of the events as told on the DOL website, however this does not really tell the story of Labor Day and why it is so important.

By the time Labor Day came around, many of our ancestors had fought long and hard to organize into trade unions. It was still many years away that industrial unions, , which focused on organizing many unskilled laborers that were ignored by the trade unions, would become a major force fighting for and getting many of the workers rights we all take for granted today.

If you are glad that you have a 40 hour work week instead of 60 – 80, thank unions.  If you get medical benefits, sick leave and vacation & holidays off from work, thank unions.  We no longer see children in factories, due in good part, to the efforts of unions.  Frankly most people in the middle-class are now there because of the work of unions not because of the kind heartiness of the corporations that they work for, even those with good paying government jobs have them because the efforts of organized labor (unions).  The rights you have to be protected from hazards in the workplace, as well as workers compensation came about because of unions.   So if you have a good paying job, benefits, or even a decent pension or Social Security benefits, THANK UNIONS.

Unfortunately over our more recent history, we have forgotten why we have the things we do.  Those who are at the top do not want people to remember or know the good things that happen when the workers are united and demand their fair share.  So if you love American and your life here, take some time and learn who is really responsible for the many good things we take for granted.  So while you take time off and enjoy Labor Day, take some time today to Thank  Unions!

 

 

 

 

 

“Labor Daze – Pride, Chaos and Kegs on Labor’s First ‘Day’

On the morning of September 5, 1882, a crowd of spectators filled the sidewalks of lower Manhattan near city hall and along Broadway. They had come early, well before the Labor Day Parade marchers, to claim the best vantage points from which to view the first Labor Day Parade. A newspaper account of the day described “…men on horseback, men wearing regalia, men with society aprons, and men with flags, musical instruments, badges, and all the other paraphernalia of a procession.”

The police, wary that a riot would break out, were out in force that morning as well. By 9 a.m., columns of police and club-wielding officers on horseback surrounded city hall.

By 10 a.m., the Grand Marshall of the parade, William McCabe, his aides and their police escort were all in place for the start of the parade. There was only one problem: none of the men had moved. The few marchers that had shown up had no music.

According to McCabe, the spectators began to suggest that he give up the idea of parading, but he was determined to start on time with the few marchers that had shown up. Suddenly, Mathew Maguire of the Central Labor Union of New York (and probably the father of Labor Day) ran across the lawn and told McCabe that two hundred marchers from the Jewelers Union of Newark Two had just crossed the ferry — and they had a band!

Just after 10 a.m., the marching jewelers turned onto lower Broadway — they were playing “When I First Put This Uniform On,” from Patience, an opera by Gilbert and Sullivan. The police escort then took its place in the street. When the jewelers marched past McCabe and his aides, they followed in behind. Then, spectators began to join the march. Eventually there were 700 men in line in the first of three divisions of Labor Day marchers. Final reports of the total number of marchers ranged from 10,000 to 20,000 men and women.

With all of the pieces in place, the parade marched through lower Manhattan. The New York Tribune reported that, “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

At noon, the marchers arrived at Reservoir Park, the termination point of the parade. While some returned to work, most continued on to the post-parade party at Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and Ninth Avenue; even some unions that had not participated in the parade showed up to join in the post-parade festivities that included speeches, a picnic, an abundance of cigars and, “Lager beer kegs… mounted in every conceivable place.”

From 1p.m. until 9 p.m. that night, nearly 25,000 union members and their families filled the park and celebrated the very first, and almost entirely disastrous, Labor Day.”

Private Probation Abuses!

To Prison for Poverty

The above link exposes a very troubling practice of government officials giving up citizens’ due process rights to private contractors for probation services. This link is to part one, but also watch part two. That segment exposes one of these private companies that is actually operating in Oregon, Sentinel*.
This story illustrates another problem with privatization, the bigger cost. Because we want to view things that government does in relation to just the financial expenditures, we look to privatization to save on government spending but at what real cost?
We do not want to even consider the public benefit or detriment of these practices. We are so short sighted that we think that getting rid of all government functions has only benefits. Our self-absorbed society only looks at how it might save them a few bucks on taxes. They only see the financial cost to run various programs and are blind to the social cost that saving a few bucks has. We all have more to lose than what little money any one of us would save in taxes.
Government just needs to be doing certain things in order to make sure our rights are honored and that reasonable public policy is not replaced by a profit margin. This is one of those things.
This can happen to you. How many out there could afford a $1000 fine without making payments? It is the need to make payments that put these folks in such a bind. In order to get a payment arrangement, they want to charge more money for the trouble and cost associated with their operation. This would not be required if this payment arrangement was just done by public employees. Yes it cost money to hire people and pay for other costs to do this service, but sometimes that is just the cost of doing the publics’ business.
The profit in public service is the benefit we get as a society, not the money we can save or make.

 

*Link to Sentinel: http://www.sentrak.com/faqs/
It does not seem to be in Douglas County, but it is providing these services up in Multnomah County.

 

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Page URL: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

U.S. National Archives & Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, 20740-6001, • 1-86-NARA-NARA • 1-866-272-6272

Economists Richard Wolff Discuss American Capitalism

Economists Richard Wolff Discuss American Capitalism

 

For some time now, I have been promoting, the works of economist Richard Wolff.   Richard Wolff is a Harvard educated economist, who has been teaching for the post forty years.   A few years ago, others, besides college students, wanted to hear his message.   When I came across his movie Capitalism Hits the Fan, I was hooked.

Wolff is not only knowledgeable; he makes a complicated subject simple and a potentially boring subject interesting.   His illustrations about the problems with capitalism might not be new to some, but his presentation, about why and what we can do about it, will hopefully invigorate most.

Here is a link to Richard Wolff’s website where you can find a lot of information about his work:

http://rdwolff.com/

You can access some of his lectures there or via Youtube, Link TV and a growing number of alternative media programs such as David Packman and Ring of Fire*.   As he states, he has only started speaking outside of the college arena a few years ago, but it seems it is time for his message to take hold.  We would serve our community by helping our family, friends and neighbors connect with his works.   We might even be able to change our world.

Here is the movie Capitalism Hits the Fan, and another one from January 2012.

Capitalism Hits the Fan

http://rdwolff.com/content/capitalism-hits-fan-movie

January 24, 2014 speech All Souls Church in New York

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-KqeU8nzn4

Another Type of Food Fascists!

Another Type of Food Fascists!

The folks that are shown here, expect Jon Stewart of course, are a special kind of fascists: Food Fascists!  Part of the problem with these folks is that they will claim too much government control of the rich, but want to do everything in their power to control the poor.  Like many Americans they are under the delusion that is the money used on social programs, such as food stamps, is what is taking their hard earned money.  They just go to demonstrate how ill informed they are.   

Although people with food stamps buy things that are not the most healthy sometimes, the comments exposed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show a few days ago, make me shake my head.  For any organization to call itself a news program to wage a war on the poor with rumors and misinformation shows just how morally bankrupt some in the country have become.  These commentators are just plain evil and thank you to Jon Stewart for fighting back against them.  

Picking on people less fortunate than you is just plain bullying.  Maybe they would be better identified as the Bullies of FOX News.

 

Bad Landlord in Douglas County

The following was posted on the Roseburg Craigslist in response to a thread going on there about JLW properties that owns and operates rental housing in our community.   CEA is interested in getting rid of bad landlords who prey upon the vulnerable.  They do not benefit our community and are largely responsible for the slum housing that exists here, particularly in the downtown Roseburg area.

Unfortunately the problem is not just limited to JLW, but also include folks like the guy who runs the local Rodeway Inn on Stephens, which we will tell you about in another post, and others.

CEA would like to know about your landlord horror story to try to shed some light on what is happening in our community.

Craigslist post:

There are several reasons people like the guy who owns JLW properties are allowed to continue do business.  The most important of which is the belief that renters are second-class citizens.  The so called “property rights” of the owner trump almost any right the renter has.

Because of the second-class status, tenants have an uphill battle in getting anyone to believe them when there is a dispute with a landlord.  This includes the courts.  So the advice suggested by others about getting everything in writing is an absolute must to protect your interests, however that might not even be enough.

If you are going to rent, you also need to have a degree of understanding about the law and how it works.  So here is some info about how the issue of holding a unit works.

                1.  If you give a deposit to “hold” an apartment, even one on Section 8, the landlord can charge you for each day he holds it for you.  He can charge the daily rental amount and you will have to pay the full amount until you move in or the landlord does not have to agree to hold the unit for you.  Now most decent landlords will not do this but legally any of them can.

                If you back out of the deal, the landlord can charge you for the days that he held the unit for you.  However he would not be legally entitled to the full amount of the $1000 (in the story stated earlier), unless of course that is what the days it was held add up to.  On the other hand, if the landlord backs out of the deal, he is not entitled to keep any of it.

                Now this is also contingent upon the unit being ready for occupancy during this entire time.  Holding fees when a unit is not move-in ready are a no no.  Also if for any reason the landlord backs out of the deal to accept the Section 8 voucher, he should not be able to keep any such deposit.

Although a landlord tenant relationship is based in contract law, there are special state laws for this contractual relationship.  Some of these laws serve to protect the resident, but most of them still protect the landlord. Good news is if a landlord wants to participate in the Section 8 voucher program.  There are more protections for tenants when it comes to bad landlords because there are federal laws that apply to the Section 8 program that don’t apply to other agreements between private landlords and tenants.

If a landlord violates the law or rules and regulations regarding the Section 8 voucher program, the landlord can be barred from being able to participate in the program, not just with that particular tenant but with all.  So if you can prove that Mr. Walker actually did any of these, Citizens Education & Advocacy is more than willing to work to have him removed from being able to take Section 8 vouchers (certificates) at all.    You can contact CEA through www.citizensnews.wordpress.com, or via Facebook.

I would caution folks about taking some of the info presented by others on craigslist as fact.  Although some is being offered with good and helpful intentions, misinformation is not useful.

                Fact:  Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) (like HADCO here), have nothing to do with the enforcement of housing code violations (if there are any housing codes for rental housing in a local jurisdiction).  PHAs only deal with their own publicly owned housing units and the Section 8 voucher (certificate) program.  Their only influence on private landlords is when the landlord participates in the Section 8 program.  These landlords must follow certain housing quality standards and other federal laws that govern the program.   If a landlord does not comply with them, locally, HADCO must terminated assistance to the unit, and depending on the situation, terminate assistance to any of the units being subsided by them.  A landlord can be barred from ever participating in the Section 8 program if their behavior warrants it.

One of the most useful pieces of information presented on this site before was the suggestion that joining together can make a difference.  It is the only thing that will ever give tenants an equal status.   If folks are interested in joining together to try to address the abuses outlined regarding JLW (or other bad landlords), CEA would be more than willing help facilitate that.  It is kind of what our volunteers do.

Local News Rejects Letter to Editor Re Patient Dumping

It seems that recent efforts by a Warming Center volunteer to get information published in a local paper asserting that our local Mercy Medical Center is responsible for “patient dumping”  has been thwarted.   Patient dumping is a term used to describe a hospital’s practice of discharging homeless patients without appropriate provisions for their follow-up care: patient dumping is illegal.  Given this,  it is important to find out the truth, but our local News Review seems uninterested in finding out what that is.

 

One recent horror story about patient dumping involves a lawsuit by the state of California against a Nevada hospital for providing bus tickets for homeless discharged patients.  The suit alleges that the Nevada hospital does this to avoid any legal responsibility for insuring that there are services and care available for the patients needed aftercare.   Luckily the assertion against our local hospital does not claim this, however if the Warming Center volunteer’s story is accurate, his claims are bad enough.   Here is what the WC volunteer claims happened: 

 

 

“A volunteer’s letter to the NR regarding patient dumping: I find it ironic that this happened when our city council believes there are so many resources for our homeless – :
Gary Harris

 

They told me they would include the fact that it was security from the ER who called the WC but other than that, it is as follows:”*

 

Letter to Editor by above volunteer, Gary Harris:

 

“During the recent cold spell when temperatures dropped into the teens and people were advised to stay home, I was volunteering at the Homeless Coalition’s warmingcenter to help provide a safe, warm place out of the weather for those without a home. I frequently work the overnight shift and it is often fairly quiet; the only sound being the snoring.

But on one particular night there was an interruption. A phone call was received from Mercy Medical Center; they requested that one of our volunteers leave the warming center and pick up a patient who they were intent on releasing. When they were informed that there were not sufficient volunteers on site during those hours to pick up patients from Mercy, Mercy proceed to drop the person off at the center themselves.
It was at 4am on a dangerously cold night that Mercy Medical Center released a patient who could not eat, walk, or even use a bathroom without a significant level of assistance. The person in question arrived without pants and had only a urine soaked blanket with which to stay warm. Warming center volunteers are not trained or prepared to provide this level of care for people who should be in a hospital setting.
Leaving a dog out in this weather would be felony level cruelty yet Mercy is releasing severely impaired patients. The term for this is “patient dumping” and beyond being shockingly cruel, Mercy might be interested in knowing that it is a legal liability as other hospitals have only learned through legal action.”*
 

Now if this is true, everyone in our community should be concerned.  However our concern should not be limited to Mercy doing the right thing.  Our concern needs to focus on why we expect Mercy to house the homeless, clothe the naked, and feed the hungry when that is not their job. Although Mercy Medical Center is a Catholic charity, it is a medical facility, not a provider of social services to this extent.  Because of it being a non-profit charity, we might have higher expectations in cases like these, but we need to discuss why this facility may have had no other option but to just send this homeless man on his way even though he was not appropriately dressed or seeming to be able to care for himself.   As horrible as this might sound, Mercy may have had no legal obligation or right but to do what they did.

Now whether their actions meet the community standards we have for basic decency or the mission of their non-profit charity is still something that needs to be address regardless of the legality of their actions, if this side of the story is all there is to it.  However we owe Mercy the courtesy of the benefit of the doubt until we know everyone’s take on what happened in this particular case.

It seems that efforts by the volunteer, Gary Harris attempted to get his above letter to the editor published in the News Review are not going to be successful.  Just yesterday, he posted on the Occupy Roseburg Facebook page, the News Review’s Editor, Vicki Menard’s reject letter, set out here:

Occupy RoseburgGary,

It was good to talk to you earlier this week. Upon consulting with my publisher, I’m afraid we will not be able to publish your letter, as it’s written. Since you don’t know for certain what occurred at Mercy or the decisions they made, you can’t make assumptions about the situation. I know you saw a man who was unable to help himself in many ways, and something clearly went wrong that night. It’s fortunate he was helped by you and the caring volunteers at the warming center. But without knowing Mercy’s side of the story, we can’t publish the letter.
I’m sorry.

Kind regards,
Vicki

Vicki Menard
Editor
The News-Review
345 N.E. Winchester St.
Roseburg, OR 97470
541-957-4203
Email: vmenard@nrtoday.com
Website: www.nrtoday.com*

It is not too hard to understand the concerns that the News Review had with the actual content of the WC volunteer’s letter, but we should all be concerned about what appears to be their lack of willingness to investigate the allegation themselves. After all, is that not what the press is all about?

Sometimes it is challenging for zealous advocates, including those involved with CEA, to limit the assumptions and rhetoric and stick with the facts, but facts are critical to determining the truth.  Our community deserves to know the truth, but more importantly we deserve to know the policies and procedures that our local community hospital follows when dealing with the type of situation described by the volunteer.  It is the role of the 4th estate (the press) to find the truth for the rest of us; otherwise what value do they have in our community?  It is the role of all of us to find out what Mercy’s policies and procedures in such matters.  CEA challenges the WC volunteers, Occupy Roseburg and other concerned citizens to contact Mercy Medical Center about this issue.  CEA also challenges the News Review to find out the facts and report them to the rest of us.

 

*Each of these was taken from the Occupy Roseburg Facebook page.   We claim no accuracy or truthfulness regarding their content, but we have lifted out the information directly from the Occupy Roseburg Facebook page and surrounded those portions in quotations.

Housing the Homeless Means Providing Extensive Support Services for Some

Housing certain populations of homeless will require providing a new approach.  This includes implementing the “housing first” model, as well as providing extensive support services to those with significant mental health issues. 

A recent report from Oregon State University, found on the Lund Report website (http://www.thelundreport.org/resource/california%E2%80%99s_new_mental_health_system_helps_people_live_independently), showed how providing services based on individual need can help address one of the most challenging aspects of getting people off of the streets besides the supply of affordable housing: mental illness.

Although such services can require a lot of upfront money, the long-term savings can be significant.  As the issue of homelessness is now coming to a head in our community, particularly in Roseburg, due to increasing pressure by various interest groups, it is time to try to find systemic solutions locally.

The new health care transformation going on in Oregon right now under the Medicaid expansion (Oregon Health Plan) may provide the resource to help reduce the population of those with serious mental illness who are homeless.  Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO) like our local Umpqua Health Alliance (UHA) are said to be able to solve social ills related to health care outcomes.  Let’s hope the discussion about providing mental and other health care services needed to reduce homelessness among this population is part of the dialogue going on right now among those involved with UHA regarding what we are going to do locally to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare). 

 

California’s New Mental Health System Helps People Live Independently

By:

Oregon State University

 

October 2, 2013 – A new analysis by Oregon State University researchers of California’s mental health system finds that comprehensive, community-based mental health programs are helping people with serious mental illness transition to independent living.

Published in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health, this study has important implications for the way that states finance and deliver mental health programs, and speaks to the effectiveness of well-funded, comprehensive community programs.

In November of 2004, California voters passed the Mental Health Services Act, which allocated more than $3 billion for comprehensive community mental health programs, known as Full Service Partnerships (FSP). While community-based, these programs are different from usual mental health services programs in most states because they provides a more intensive level of care and a broader range of mental health services and supports, such as medication management, crisis intervention, case management and peer support.

It also provides services such as food, housing, respite care and treatment for co-occurring disorders, such as substance abuse.

“We found that these programs promoted independent living in the community among people who had serious mental illness but had not been served or underserved previously,” said Jangho Yoon, an assistant professor of health policy and health economist in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and lead author of the study. “Overall, it reduced their chance of living on the street or being incarcerated in jails and prisons.”

The researchers looked at data from 43 of California’s 53 counties, resulting in a sample of 9,208 adults over the course of four years. They found that participants who stayed enrolled in the program continuously, without interruption, were 13.5 percent more likely to successfully transition to independent living.

However, they found that non-white patients were less likely to live independently, and more likely to end up in jail or homeless.

“Although FSPs represent the most well-funded comprehensive community-based programs in the country, they are still community programs and therefore program participation is voluntary,” Yoon said. “My guess is that minorities may not benefit fully from these programs in their communities possibly due to greater stigma, and less family/social supports. But it needs further investigation.”

Patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders were also less likely to benefit from the community programs, because of the nature and severity of their mental health issues.

Yoon is an expert on health management policy, specifically policy around the area of mental health. He said other states haven’t followed California’s lead, in part because of the cost of such extensive programming. Yoon said some of the funding made possible by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which includes $460 million for community mental health services for states to use, may help other states to create similar programs.

“Nobody would disagree that the public mental health system has historically been under-funded in the U.S.,” he said. “The message for other states is clear: investment in well-funded, recovery-oriented, comprehensive community mental health programs clearly improves lives of people with serious mental illness, and may also save money from reduced dependency and incarcerations in this population.”

Tim Bruckner of the University of California, Irvine, and Timothy Brown of the University of California, Berkeley, contributed to this study, which was jointly funded by the California Department of Mental Health and the California Health Care Foundation.

 

Rep Tim Freeman Supports Corporate Personhood!

Oregon House Representative Tim Freeman is all about “corporations are people”, as his behavior regarding the recent passage of HJM 6, which he opposed, shows. 

During a hearing about House Joint Measure (HJM) 6, which has Oregon joining the efforts to overturn Citizens United, our local Representative Tim Freeman sprang to defend the honor of his fellow corporations during fellow Representative Jules Baily’s speech in support of the measure.   Somewhere in the middle of Rep Baily’s 90 second presentation, Freeman jumped from his seat demanding a point of privilege claiming that he was part of part of a LLC and a person and Rep. Jules Baily should watch himself when he claims that corporations are not people.   Freeman went on to cast one of the 11 No votes in the House.

 

Tim Freeman Defends Corporations as People

http://openstates.org/or/votes/ORV00003391/” title=”Freeman’s Vote” target=”_blank”>

Mercy’s CEO Compensation over 2/3 Million $ a Year!

From Oregon Patients Rights Assocation (OPRA) blog and facebook page:

According to The Lund Report, Mercy Medical Center CEO, Kelly Morgan was paid $696,946* in compensation for 2011 broken down as follows:

Base pay: $424,199;
Bonuses: $179,533,
Deferred Compensation: $58,064;
Nontaxable Benefits: $14,218; &
Other Compensation: $20,932.

During the same year, the percentage of charity given by this non-profit Catholic ministry was down by 23.7 percent, even though “profits” were up by 62.3%.

There seems to be something wrong with this, given Mercy Medical Centers’ whole point of being is to provide charity.

*Although Morgan is Mercy Medical Center’s CEO, his salary is not officially reported on their books because he is paid by Mercy’s parent organization Catholic Health Initiatives.

The Lund Report: http://www.thelundreport.org

Electronic Medical Records & Patients Rights

If you have ever been cajoled or threatened because you did not want to be part of DCIPA or other health care entities electronic medical records system, this may be why. Below is a notice sent by the state of Oregon to all Medicaid medical providers regarding the financial incentives offered for medical practices and clinics who get a significant number of their patients on electronic records. It may be why your doctor wants you on their system, even if HIPPA and other laws say you do not have to be part of any electronic system and have the right to opt out.
What we have seen happen is when a patient tries to decline being part of the system, which is his right, the medical practice indicates that it will no longer see you as a patient. So where is the right to decline if by exercising that right you are penalized, but that is another story? The story here is about the amount of money a doctor’s office can get to implement the electronic medical records system may be the very motive they have to illegally threaten or punish patients who do not want to be part of the system.
Now this not about whether one thinks electronic medical systems are a good thing or not; it is about the fact that laws say individual patients who do not want to be part of the system have a right not to be. A fundamental part of having any right it the ability to exercise it without threats or penalties. Without such protection, there is no right.
Unfortunately, this is just one more example of some members of our local medical community ignoring (even abusing) patients’ rights.
If you want to help stop these abusive practices, contact Oregon Patients Rights Association at (541) 236-3083 or opra4dc@gmail.com, or come to their next meeting:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
4 – 6 p.m.
Rm 310, Douglas County Courthouse
1036 SE Douglas, Roseburg

Oregon Health Authority: notice to medical providers:

“Deadlines approaching for providers applying for the 2012 Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program
The Medicaid EHR Incentive program provides federal incentives, up to $63,750 paid over six years, to certain eligible professionals who adopt, implement, upgrade or achieve meaningful use of certified EHR technology. To apply, providers must first register through Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and then apply using the Provider Web Portal at https://www.or-medicaid.gov to access the online application. A list of the steps to apply can be found on our Web site.
If you are applying for the first time, please don’t delay! It may take 6-8 weeks for providers to gain access to the EHR Incentive Program application through the Provider Web Portal.
The deadline for submitting an application is dependent on the provider’s participation year:
• For providers that are participating for their first year, the deadline is March 1, 2013.
• For providers that are participating for a second year payment and are attesting to meaningful use, the deadline is March 31, 2013.
For more information, please visit the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Web site or contact the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program team at 503-945-5898 with any questions.”

Heritage of Activism!

 

 

Today my father would be 100 years old if he was still alive and it just seemed appropriate to post this info about Walter Ruther because it exemplifies what I learned from my dad.  Luther (Duke) Cunningham was a union organizer and CIO member during the height of the American union movement.  Although he settled into a different life by the time I was born, union and political talk was pervasive in our house.  I learned about the struggles of Reuther’s United Auto Workers, the United Mine Workers, United Steel Workers, as well as the unionizing of the agricultural workers that my dad was a part of making happen.  Our family album included pictures of my dad and others in the Fruit Tobacco Agriculture & Allied Workers (FTA) union signing their union contract with growers after a long hard fought battle for union recognition for packing shed workers.   The experience made me honored to be among the working class. 

I am proud to say that my dad spent, even risked, his life helping the weak. Like Reuther, he got no greater satisfaction than doing so. However he was quick to point out that the real reward was the feeling of equality and empowerment that a successful union drive or political campaign created in him and the others who made it happen.  He was particularly keen on believing that you could only help or protect the weak by helping them realize that they were equals to whomever oppressed them, and that only through their own empowerment and collective risk could they ever actually be free from their oppression.  That is what unions are supposed to be about.  Both my dad and Walther Reuther knew that.

For those who don’t know about Walter Reuther, there is a lot of information about him on the web.  Reuther was a leader in the United Auto Workers, as well as head of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) when it merged with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) to create the AFLCIO that still exists today. 

If you don’t know about my dad, you won’t find information on the web about him or thousands of others like him who were instrument in organizing the American union movement.  Sometimes the focus on folks like Reuther who move through the ranks to prominent leadership roles, overshadows the vital contribution that the everyday man and woman makes.  I am lucky to have been raised by an average man who joined with other average men and women to make one heck of a difference in their corner of the world.     

My dad was part of the migrant workers who journeyed west during the Dustbowl Era.  Finding work as one of the “elite” of agriculture workers, my dad soon connected with the widespread efforts devoted to unionizing workers in order to get a fair share of what they produced.  He became the head of his local FTA in California and represented the packing shed workers against the intolerable conditions in the industry that feeds the world.   

If there is a heaven, I am sure my dad is still raising hell.

Public Meeting Regarding Health Care Reform

Tomorrow, Tuesday December 11, 2012, from 1 to 4:30 p.m., people in Douglas County can attend, via the internet, the Oregon Heatlh Policy Board meeting in room 310 of the Douglas County courthouse. The OHPB will take public comment starting at 3:45 p.m., that you can also participate during the live web broadcast.

Although the state set up a few public sites throughout Oregon, Douglas County was not one of them, so the newly formed Oregon Patients Rights Association (OPRA) decided to use personal computers and the county wifi to bring it to folks in our community who would like to participate with others. The group hopes to get the County to agree to do sponsor the future monthly meetings of this Board, however you don’t need to come to the meeting to participate.

Since the meeting is being broadcast live via the interent, anyone anywhere, can participate, even from your own home. The links below provide informatin about who to watch the meeting live, as well as how to participate in the public comments portion.

You may not know a lot about the Oreogn Health Policy Board or the Oregon Health Authority, but what they are setting up now will soon impact everyone in Oregon because they are responsible for developing health and heatlh care policy for our state. Although they are working on the development of Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO) that are reforming the way medical services are provided under the Oregon Health Plan, their actions will eventually target those on Medicare, as well as anyone on a state or local government paid for health plan. They are also responsible for overseeing the new health care exchanges that are provided for in the Affordable Care Act. So if you want to know what eventually be in store for you, even if you are not on the Oregon Health Plan or Medicaid, you might be interested in taking part with us.

The OHPB must be applauded for doing this to faciliate transparency and accountability in government. They have a good start on transparency, but we will have to ensure that they, and those providing health care services, particularly with government money, are held accountable.

For more info: opra4dc@gmail.com

New Patients Rights Group in Douglas County

A few weeks ago, Citizens Education & Advocacy meet with a small group of people with disabilities to discuss a growing problem in our community regarding the quality of health care and what we believe are some pretty outrageous violations of patients’ rights.   Since then, we have helped the folks develop into an more organized effort that is calling itself Oregon Patients Rights Association and will be holding some meetings to help people understand the various rights they have when seeking medical care.

Oregon Patients Rights Association will be meeting Tuesday, November 20th from 3:30 – 5:30 pm, & again Tuesday, December 11th from 6 – 8 pm in room 311 at the Douglas County Courthouse.  The meetings are free and open to the public. 

Each meeting will have a patients’ rights education program and provide time for individual help regarding problems, including filing complaints regarding their healthcare provider or writing letters to various oversight agencies and officials. 

A group of local patients and advocates have come together as Oregon Patients Rights Association to deal with the increase of patient abuse and abandonment by local healthcare providers, particularly regarding people with certain types of disabling medical conditions, including chronic pain. 

Nov 20th will cover laws that exist to make sure that patients receive appropriate diagnostic services and treatment, how to know if the laws are being followed in your case and what you can do if they are not.  These include Oregon’s Intractable Pain Act, Oregon Medical Practices Act, Nurse Practices Act, & the Social Security Act (covering Medicare & Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan) patients). People who want help filling out complaints about their doctors & nurse practitioners can get it from volunteer patient advocates. 

On December 11th, we will cover in more detail Oregon’s Intractable Pain Act, as well as discuss the role of the Oregon Pain Commission, the Oregon Medical Board and Board of Nursing in making sure that patients’ rights are not ignored.  We will also discuss how the various bodies should be working to ensure practitioners respect patients’ rights under the Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act and other laws.  Volunteer patient advocates will be again be on hand to help those who want to file complaints or write letters to the various boards and commissions. 

For information about Oregon Patients Rights Association, please contact us at opra4dc@gmail.com or call (541) 236-3083.

Fun Free Stuff in Our Community

Some fun and free (or really cheap) things for kids in Douglas County:

Free Bowling: Youth 15 and under can get two free bowling games a day during the summer at Roseburg’s Ten Down Bowling alley.   The two games each day are free, but you will have to pay for the cost of bowling shoe rental at $2.50 per person.  Also if parents want to bowl, it will cost the regular game rate and shoes.

You can get more information and register at http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/ or contact Ten Down Bowling at (541) 672-3601.

Free Wilderness Camp-Out:

Get a scholarship to attend for free the upcoming Umpqua Watersheds annual Twin Lakes Youth Wilderness Camp-Out. The Camp-Out runs this coming weekend, July 27 to 29th.

Families are encouraged to attend together, but youth ages 11-18 can attend alone for this “fun-filled weekend planned with lots of opportunities for learning, adventure and outdoor recreation!”

For more info or to register, please contact Mike Rooney at 541-672-7065 (office), 412-400-4186 (mobile), email: mike@umpqua-watersheds.org, or 539 SE Main St. Roseburg, OR 97470.

Free End of Summer Recreation & Reading Program:

Starting next week and running every Tuesday & Thursday from 12:30 – 3:30 p.m., school age youth can have some fun and increase reading, writing & math skills before school starts at the Fair Oaks Community Grange Summer Recreation & Reading Program.   Running until August 16th, kids can just drop-in for open recreation, as well as participate in organized activities that will make learning fun.  Everyone can have fun learning about making giant bubbles, gardening, astronomy & wilderness survival.  Each week offers a different focus, but children can just come to play ping pong, variety of board games or get into a water balloon contest or two.

Activities are free, including a snack, but parents must register their children for the program.  To register or for more info contact the Fair Oaks Community Grange at (541) 375-0302, fairoaksgrange@gmail.com, message via Facebook or stop by the Grange at 1020 Fair Oaks Rd, Oakland (east of Sutherlin off Nonpareil).

Building Healthy Communities-Free Presentation Wed June 20th

I got the following information from our local health department.  If you have the time, it looks like a good opportunity for everyone to find out how we can help improve our community.

“Designing Healthy Communities (Jun 20): Don’t miss this opportunity to attend a presentation by Dr. Richard Jackson, host of the PBS television special, Designing Healthy Communities.  Wednesday, June 20, 11:30-1:00, Douglas County Library.  Free & Open to the Public.  Sponsored locally by the Roseburg Bike & Pedestrian Coalition, DCIPA-The Physicians of Douglas County, Mercy Medical Center, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, and Douglas County Public Health.”

Hope to see a lot of folks, regular folks, there.    With one of the worst rankings of overall health, isn’t it time we all took some responsibility to be part of the dialogue? Otherwise it will be the “professionals” who decided these issues for us, or at least try to.   If we are really going to make a difference, it needs everyone to be involved and to demand some system changes.

Take care,

 

 

Annoying Peasant

I have posted this video clip a few times before in various places, but I cannot resist doing it again as we come up to May Day (the International Workers Day, not just the spring & flower celebation)  on May 1st.  Occupy has called for a General Strike that day, here is some inspiration.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAaWvVFERVA&feature=channel&list=UL

 

Occupy Roseburg Steps Up to Defend the Rights of Roseburg’s Homeless

For the past few weeks, the Roseburg Police Department and the homeless residents of that community have been in conflict.  Reports in the local media claim that the police have been contacted by residents claiming that their homeless neighbors are causing all kinds of problems, even driving away business in the dowtown area.   Reports by Occupy assert that instead of finding a humanitarian way to deal with the problem, the police have started rousting and hasseling our fellow citizens who find shelter under city bridges.

Some of the recent encounters have resulted in tickets being issued for “acts of living” violations such as the City of Roseburg’g “no camping” ordiance.   Although still a tactic of local governing bodies, these “acts of living” laws have been denounced by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.  After many years of trying to crimilize homelessness, this failed social policy is now being address.  Unfortunately, Roseburg is a bit behind the times.

Below is a copy of an email I sent on behalf of CEA to the Roseburg City Council, Mayor, Manager & Chief of Police.   It provides not only a quote from the Council on Homeless recently released report, it also provides a link where all can access the report and more information.  There are a lot of good ideas about how we can come together as a commnity to address the problems that we all encounter when some of us have to live on the streets.

Take care,

 

 

 

April 23, 2012

City of Roseburg info@cityofroseburg.org

Mayor Larry Rich lrich@cityofroseburg.org

Councilor Ken Averett kaverett@cityofroseburg.org

Councilor Melissa Smith msmith@cityofroseburg.org

Councilor Steve Tuchscherer stuchscherer@cityofrosburg.org

Councilor Tom Ryan tryan@cityofroseburg.org

Councilor Rick Coen rcoen@cityofroseburg.org

Councilor Bob Cotterell bcotterell@cityofroseburg.org

Councilor Michael Baker mbaker@cityofroseburg.org

Councilor Steve Kaser skaser@cityofroseburg.org

Police Chief Jim Burge jburge@cityofroseburg.org

Manager Eric Swanson  eswanson@cityofroseburg.org

 

Dear Roseburg City Council, Mayor, Manager and Police Chief Burge:

In recent years, the United States has seen the proliferation of local measures to criminalize “acts of living” laws that prohibit sleeping, eating, sitting, or panhandling in public spaces. City, town, and county officials are turning to criminalization measures in an effort to broadcast a zero-tolerance approach to street homelessness and to temporarily reduce the visibility of homelessness in their communities. Although individuals experiencing homelessness should be afforded the same dignity, compassion, and support provided to others, criminalization policies further marginalize men and women who are experiencing homelessness, fuel inflammatory attitudes, and may even unduly restrict constitutionally protected liberties. Moreover, there is ample evidence that alternatives to criminalization policies can adequately balance the needs of all parties. Community residents, government agencies, businesses, and men and women who are experiencing homelessness are better served by solutions that do not marginalize people experiencing homelessness, but rather strike at the core factors contributing to homelessness.

Criminalization policies are costly and consume substantial state and local resources. In today’s economic climate, it is important for state, county, and local entities to invest in programs that work rather than spend money on activities that are unlikely to achieve the desired result and which may, in some cases, open the jurisdiction to liability. In addition to the increase in public resources used to carry out these criminalization measures, Individuals who are arrested or fined for “act of living” crimes in public spaces now have a criminal record; resulting in barriers to work, and difficulty in receiving mainstream services and housing that often bar individuals with criminal histories. These policies are a temporary solution to street homelessness and create greater barriers for these individuals to exit homelessness successfully, providing neither a permanent or sustainable solution to homelessness.

The above are not my words.  In fact, they were lifted intact from the Executive Summary of the recently released Searching Out Solutions: Constructive Alternatives to Criminalizing of Homelessness by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.  This 2012 document goes on to illustrate the reasons enforcing laws that prohibit trespassing on public property or local no camping ordinances and other “acts of living” laws fly in the face of good public policy.  If the City of Roseburg is really trying to permanently address the problems that people living on the streets can cause the community, adopting some of the solutions proposed in the report would more likely result in accomplishing this goal than enforcing laws and policies that only tend to exacerbate the problem.

One of the solutions proffered by the Council on Homelesness is that law enforcement establish a true collaboration with service providers to develop specialized crisis intervention that can limit the number of arrests for non-violent  offenses, as well as help “link individuals experiencing street homelessness with supportive housing and services to help individuals move off the street permanently.”  I would also offer a suggestion that any partnerships include advocates for the homeless, not just those who provide social or human services to them.

If such a policy were in place now, the Roseburg Police Department, Occupy Roseburg and the homeless residents of Roseburg would be working with Social Service agencies to try to find temporary and permanent solutions to the concerns.  One might argue that the harassment and rousting of homeless campers under the bridge recently might have been avoided if efforts had been made to try to deal with the concerns with that your department had with all stakeholders.   Those objecting to your enforcement of “acts of living” rules may have been able to help you find alternatives, and, if not alternatives could be found, they may not be so critical of law enforcement efforts if they had been involved in the process all along.

Alternative justice system strategies are other recommendations of the Council on Homelessness.   I believe that this alternative justice starts at the street level, before the person is given a citation, before he/she becomes part of the court (even municipal court) system.  This is where individual police officers play a vital role.  What an individual officer does can make the difference in whether someone gets labeled a criminal and the resulting consequences that may further reduce the person’s chances of ending the cycle of homelessness.   What the driving philosophy of the Roseburg Police Department is on this issue can make a difference as well.  Certainly the policy of the Roseburg City Council has an impact.

I am aware of some of the challenges any police department faces when left to deal with the results of a failed social policy that they did not create, nor can they solve.   I can only imagine the stress that being stuck in the middle between demands of those who want the homeless gone and those who have no place to go creates among those who are hired to protect and serve all residents of the community.  In fact, the troubling issue of homeless being virtually ignored at all levels of government leaves residents and police with little choice but to demand and implement (respectively) the draconian actions of recent past.

Unfortunately I cannot be there this evening to lend support to those who are advocating for the rights of the homeless. However, as a housing & civil liberties advocate, I encourage the Roseburg City Council to listen to the concerns of all sides, but recognize that the policies the City has had to date do little to end the problem of homelessness in the community.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Betsy Cunningham

Citizens Education & Advocacy (CEA)

1464 E. Central Ave.

Sutherlin, OR 97479]

Telephone: (541) 459-3099

 

Link:  United States Interagency Council on Homelessness 2012 Report:  http://www.usich.gov/issue/alternatives_to_criminalization

Dolly Dumped! Alburquerque Housing Authority Board Does Right Thing!

Albuquerque Housing Authority fired Dolly Newman yesterday!  The former Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Douglas County (HADCO) was caught misusing taxpayer money by giving her staff and herself perks in New Mexico after having the job only a little over a year.  Her behavior there was much like it was here during her two year tenure, yet the news media there was a lot more investigative than any of ours.  So she was caught before she could divert a quarter of a million plus from low-income housing programs to feed her own ego.

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2587045.shtml?cat=516

Douglas County Candidates Forum @ Fair Oaks Community Grange this Wednesday!

Who represents us at the local level can be as critical as who represents us on a state and national level.  If you have not already, come join folks at the Grange to learn more about those who are running in contested countywide races.

 

What:  Candidates Forum (Fair Oaks Community Grange)

When:   Wednesday, April 18th, 6 – 8 p.m.

Where:  Fair Oaks Community Grange, 1020 Fair Oaks Rd, Oakland (east of Sutherlin off Nonpareil)

Candidates for Douglas County Commissioner, Clerk, Treasurer and District Attorney will speak to members of the community at the upcoming Fair Oaks Community Grange Candidates Forum this Wednesday, April 18th from 6 – 8 p.m.  at the Grange.

The first part of the evening will profile candidates for Douglas County Commission position 1 & 3.  After a brief refreshment break, the forum will wrap-up with those seeking election to be our next Clerk, Treasurer, and District Attorney.   Each candidate will have the opportunity to give brief opening and closing statements, with the remainder of the time devoted to answering questions from the audience.  For more information contact that Fair Oaks Community Grange at (541) 459-4262, fairoaksgrange@gmail.com, or via Facebook.

Happy Bill of Rights Day!

Today is the 220th anniversay of the U.S. Bill of Rights.   The first ten amendments are intended to enumerate, as illustrations, of those unalienable rights set out in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.   They are examples of these rights, not an exclusive list, yet they are important.  This may be particularly true in this time of social unrest.  These rights are intended to protect us in times like these.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
 www.archives.gov December 15, 2011 

 

The Bill of Rights: A TranscriptionThe Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the “Bill of Rights.”


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Celebrate the 220th Anniversary of the Bill of Rights this Thursday, Dec 15th!

Come celebrate the 220th anniversary to the Bill of Rights on Thursday, December 15 at 6:30 p.m., Douglas County Courthouse room 216 (County Commission chambers), Roseburg. A showing of the DVD Know Your Rights – Occupy training conducted by Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) founder and attorney, Lauren Regan.  A discussion about the status of our rights and what we can do to protect them will follow with an Occupy Roseburg General Assembly.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/OccupyRoseburg

Happy Independence Day 2011!

Happy 4th of July

                Today marks the 235th birthday of the Declaration of Independence.  On July 4, 1776, the delegates the Continental Congress decided it was no longer possible to consider remaining English citizens and the goal of the Revolutionary War was going to be total independence. 

                If you are interested, there are a lot of resources on the internet where you can find out more about the history of the Declaration of Independence.  If you want to read the full texts transcript, you can find one with the signors names at our federal government archives website:  http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

                You can also find out more historical information about the declaration on the same website by starting at the Declarations of Independence homepage: 

Declaration of Independence archives         htt://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration.html

                If you want to have some fun with it, here are some places to check out:

Schoolhouse Rock presentation related to the 4th on YouTube are fun for kids of all ages:

 “Fireworks” 

This is the 4th of July segment.

watch?v=Ym2Ny1Te3LA&feature=related

No More Kings

We learn why we fought for independence.

watch?v=p0LmYEjXNIg&feature=related

 

Shot Heard Round the World:

We learn what this means and how it became identified as the start of the Revolutionary War.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhdmDDBjco0&feature=related

How about Elmo Sings Happy Birthday to America:

http://video.pbs.org/video/2013883526

For the lover of rap music check this out:

Revolutionary Rap

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL4KhwCMSwg&feature=related

Now a bit More Serious:

 

A short piece about the Declaration of Independence from the HBO Special John Adams can be seen here:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrvpZxMfKaU

If you have Netflix, you can stream the first and second episodes of the History Channel series America: The Story of Us to get a serious patriotic fix.  About 20 minutes into the Ep 1: Rebels through Ep 2:  Revolution is a good place to start to get an overview of the history of our fight for independence. 

For more details about this time in history, you can say with Netflix to stream the History Channel 13 episodes about various aspects of the struggle starting with Boston Bloody Boston (about the Boston Massacre).   Episode 3 focuses on the Declaration of Independence.

Finally here are some words from the author of the Declaration of Independence to think about today,
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”   Thomas Jefferson.

Healthcare Access Debate

It seems as though everyone has an opinion when comes to what many deem the health care debate. This terminology seems to be a bit of a misnomer because what we are really discussing is access to health care. We are talking about is how to pay for health care and how we ensure that all Americans have financial access to our system. One of the things that really needs to be a bigger part of the discussion is the role that insurance companies play in denying people access to the system. We need to look at whether they provide any valuable service or are just part of the problem because they add another level of expense to health care access yet give little, if anything, in return.

 

If you click on the link below, you will see that the CEO of WellPoint, one of the largest insurance companies in the country, makes over nine million dollars a year. When we see this kind of compensation, we should be asking ourselves how companies could afford to pay that much money to their CEO’s. Sadly, the answer is simply that they do so because they are not giving people the care they are promised when they pay their premiums. By taking care of their CEO and other high paid staff, they are almost ensuring there is not enough money to take care of you.

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKXWP2HuxGE

What Has Happened to Our Constitutional Rights?

While doing some research regarding internet resources about the Constitution, I came accross this Democracy Now broadcast from 2008 regarding how our rights are under threat from those in power. 

http://www.livevideo.com/video/walkinturtle2u/920E328187934BFEAAC1E697DAD66BBC/rand-corporation-penned-the-ho.aspx

Constitution Day

Thursday September 17 is Consitution Day and Citizenship Day.  We are celebrating the 222nd anniversay of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution by the Contential Congress in 1987.  It took adoption by 9 states for the Constitution to become law, which happened by June of 1988.  

Check out our website for some fun videos about the Constitution, as well as links to other resources: CEA webiste

Check out this link to the U.S. Department of Defense website that explains the law passed by Congress earlier this decade requiring federal agencies and federally funded schools to teach about the Constitution this time of year.  From the DoD website you can access a video of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor explaining the meaning of the Constitution. http://constitutionday.cpms.osd.mil/

Happy Labor Day!

On this Labor Day take some time to remember that the reason we have as high a standard of living as we do is because of those who joined together, fought for and won workers’ rights to better wages and working conditions through collective bargaining.   Dispelling the long touted myth that each of us has a independent freedom that will get us what each of us is worth in the workplace, unions have demonstrated the reality that those who joined together to negotiate wages and working conditions are directly responsible for what we all have today.   It may not seem to be much at times, but it has always been better than the alternative.

 A good way to observe Labor Day, while enjoying the BBQ or last picnic of the summer, is to listen to some labor songs.  You can get them free from the internet right now.  Just go to American Labor Studies Center Website then link and listen to Pete Seeger’s and the Weavers perform Solidarity for Ever on Utube.  You can also enjoy such labor songs as Joe Hill, John Henry,  Which Side Are You On and one of my favorites  No Irish Need Apply, plus others by downloading them and saving to your computer.  http://www.labor-studies.org/laborsongs.php .  You can also get song lyrics to these and other labor songs well as a lot of other good information about labor history.  Listen to Judy Collins sing the classic labor rendition of Bread and Roses at http://music.aol.com/song/bread-and-roses/2988086.

 Want to learn more about what labor has done to improve our lives?  Check out the Labor Heritage Foundation at www.laborheritage.org .  You can find an Inventory of American Labor Landmarks and other interesting information here.   Also take a look at the History Channel’s website site about labor history: http://www.history.com/content/laborday/labor-history/labor-day-history.

 After the BBQ is over and you want to relax with a good movie, here are some good Labor Day picks that you can see tonight if you are lucky enough to subscribe to Netflix and have high speed internet.  Who does not love the Grapes of Wrath?  This movie was based on the classic John Steinbeck novel about the poverty during the depression and it demonstrates what life was like for many before the growth of the American labor movement.  Norma Rae is a great move that will make everyone proud to be a factory worker.  How Green Is My Valley is a classic movie from 1941 about the life of Welch coal miners.  F.I.S.T stars Sylvester Stallone in this union drama set in a 1930’s factory.   Other movies available with a labor or union theme from Netflix on DVD are:  A Day Without Mexican’s, 10,000 Black Men Named George, Fired, Bread and Roses, North Country, The Molly Mcguires, On the Waterfront, Hoffa, Silkwood and Bound for Glory. 

 So enjoy the rest of Labor Day but don’t forget why we have it so good in the country even in tough economic times.

 
Take care,

Video Recordings of County Commissioner Meetings

Open, transparent government should be something that we the people and them, meaning our elected or appointed officials, work towards. Although we often see issues polarized to the left or the right, ensuring our government works for us knows no political or ideological side. One of the ways our county commissioners have done this in the last few years is to have video feed of their weekly meetings. Lately, the value of this video has come into question. We have heard that it cost too much money and that the main people watching it are our county employees on county time. While we will admit that the latter fact does raise some issues, we are also concerned that the county might also be too hasty in taking away a valuable service for us the people. We believe that the cameras have provided valuable insight and much needed transparency. Sure audio recordings will allow people to still hear the meetings; however, we loose something of the communication when we can not see the facial expressions and body language of the commissioners. If money is an issue, why doesn’t the county look at other cost cutting measures associated with the cost of the video cameras?  We have a community college that has students that are studying to work in computer and other related digital fields. Have we asked these students if they would like to earn their cooperative work experience credits by running these video feeds for the county? Additionally, we have recently been informed that students at Roseburg High School have the option to take video classes. Why don’t we ask these students if they would be interested in helping with the video feed? Have we have asked the community at large if they would like to volunteer to help the county run the cameras? Before we turn the cameras off and cut off this resource, we should take a long, hard look at what we are really loosing and work towards solutions that allow us to keep the cameras on during these hard economic times.    

 

 

Jamie

Welcome to Citizens News

Citizens News is a creation of a group of residents (Citizens Education & Advocacy or CEA) of Douglas County, Oregon.  CEA’s Citizens News blog hopes to bring issues about local civic life including issues that deal with defense of civil liberties and open accountable government.  CEA believes that government must provide for the common good of all people not just a few.  CEA believes that the best place to get and keep accountable government is to start at the local level.  This blog will deal with issues citizens encounter while fulfilling our civic duty by being an informed public citizen.

We welcome any comments about civic life here in Douglas County Oregon and elsewhere.  We welcome civil civic discourse and dialogue about issues.

Take care,