According to Oregon law, public funds cannot be used for a political purpose. Yet, data we’ve compiled at OpenTheBooks.com shows a troubling pattern of Governor Kate Brown mixing taxpayer-funded travel with campaign fundraising events. This pattern could allegedly violate state law or the governor’s own ethics policy, which states, “employees are expressly prohibited from using any work time or any state resources to conduct political activities.” Now, our auditors found Brown repeatedly blurred the lines between state agency resources and campaign activities – for years. Brown is exercising the power of incumbency and engaging in old-school politicking on the public’s dime. Repeatedly using taxpayer money to lower the cost of campaigning and leveraging her office to raise campaign cash seems to be a violation of Oregon law, and the governor’s ethics standards.
The Bulletin Editorial Board
Brown has said more than once that she wants what’s good for Oregon, good schools, good health care, and so on, and we believe her. So, too, does Buehler, though the two have clear differences on how to get there. Chief among them are how the state should pay for things like Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan) and more money for schools. It’s that vision, and the road to its fulfillment, that should be the focus of the governor’s race this year, not false accusations and name-calling. Brown knows that, of course. But if the polls are correct, she’s facing a challenger with a chance of unseating her in a couple of months. She doesn’t want to lose, and that’s understandable. Less understandable and far less high-minded is her willingness to make false claims about her opponent, or to allow her campaign staff and other supporters to do so.
The Bulletin Editorial Board
Gov. Kate Brown swept into office in 2015, declaring: We “must strengthen laws to ensure timely release of public documents.” But her record is disappointing. We wrote recently about the way Brown is denying the public access to legislation state agencies plan for the 2019 session until after the November election is over. That’s not timely release of public documents. And we remembered other incidents that subverted open government. Her administration has done things such as prioritized controlling information, not releasing it; manipulated the use of redactions; tried to conceal disciplinary records; and made figuring out the law a guessing game.
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
“Under Oregon law, employers must provide one 30-minute unpaid meal break to anyone working a shift of six hours or more,” Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian’s agency explained in a statement. “Businesses must also provide two paid 10-minute rest breaks in an eight-hour shift and three such breaks in any shift longer than 10 hours.” A BOLI investigation found that in 2017 Legacy hospitals had deprived workers of required breaks on 5,156 occasions. It could be liable for penalties of $1,000 for each instance.
CAMPAIGNS & INITIATIVES
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Pollster Tim Nashif, who heads the market research firm, has been active in Republican politics in the state. But he says he conducted the survey independently from any political group — and his findings provide little comfort for Republicans seeking to end their 32-year losing streak in Oregon gubernatorial elections. Brown in recent weeks has stepped up her advertising, firing back at TV commercials from both Buehler and a third-party group that had attacked her. ‘There’s something that has taken place in the last couple of weeks, because he has seemed to slip a little bit,” Nashif said. The Buehler campaign declined to comment on the survey. But Republicans officials were quick to release portions of a poll conducted for No Supermajorities PAC, which is helping fund GOP legislative campaigns. That Sept. 6-11 survey of 2,831 voters, by Causeway Solutions of Washington, D.C., showed Buehler at 43 percent and Brown at 41 percent. The margin of error is just under 2 percentage points. Preston Mann, co-director of the PAC, said he thought his group’s poll provided a much more accurate picture of the race. “I’m extremely confident in the numbers we got back,” he said.
The Bend Bulletin
The latest campaign finance statements filed by Buehler earlier this week include official confirmation of the $1 million contribution from Knight that brings the total he has contributed to the Buehler campaign to $1.5 million — he gave $500,000 last year. It’s the largest donation by an individual to a candidate in the history of Oregon politics. Buehler’s cash on-hand ballooned to $1.6 million after getting the Knight check on Aug. 13, after falling below $200,000 just after the May 15 primary. The money in and the money out were reported this week.
The Bend Bulletin
During the 2015 session, Buehler voted consistently with the Republican minority on tax and spending issues. He etched a reputation as a moderate by championing bills to allow pharmacies to issue on-demand birth control and to require insurance companies to cover a full year of refills for all contraceptives. Buehler said he has tried to make his own political path. He is a moderate — a moderate Republican. That is something he said the state needs when both chambers of the Legislature have Democratic majorities.
Opponents began their campaign with voter-outreach efforts in several cities, including Portland, where more than 150 volunteers gathered at the Oregon AFL-CIO offices before they canvassed neighborhoods. “Voters are starting to pay attention. We have less than 50 days until the election,” said Andrea Williams, leader of the official No on 105 campaign and executive director of Causa, Oregon’s immigrant rights group. “This is a really critical time for us to start talking to voters.”
Portland Business Journal
As new research illustrates, two groups in particular have stalled: whites without a college degree, and blacks and Hispanics with one. Both are being far outpaced by college-educated whites. “America has been a story of getting ahead, of progress,” said Morris P. Fiorina, a political scientist at Stanford University. “There’s been no story of progress — for them.” The lingering economic insecurity has fired resentments, sharpened identity politics and fueled populism on the right and left that is upending hierarchies in the Democratic and Republican parties.
In Oregon, about 29.4 percent of the population is classified as obese, defined by the CDC as those with a body mass index of 30 or above. The new data was self-reported during telephone interviews conducted by the CDC and state health departments. On average, the more education you have, the slimmer you tend to be. Just 22.7 percent of college graduates are considered obese, compared with 35.6 percent of adults lacking a high school diploma. Weight also varies depending on race. African-Americans are believed to have the highest rates of obesity, followed by Hispanics and then whites.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
By a vote of 687-6, teachers with the Battle Ground Education Association overwhelmingly approved a new two-year salary contract. “99 percent,” union president Linda Peterson announced to a standing ovation at Battle Ground High School after tallying the votes. New teachers in the district will now start with a salary of $48,593, with the most experienced teachers with advanced degrees making up to $93,731. Next year’s salary range will increase by inflation costs decided by the legislature. “I am so excited and proud that we were able to get this done,” said Peterson.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
While the assessment, by a Cincinnati-based consultant, found much to praise in the way Salem handled a water quality hazard Oregon had never seen, it also found that the city was caught off guard even though it had known for years algae toxins posed a possible threat. Perhaps more concerning, the report found that new safeguards put into place by the city might not be enough if an algae bloom threatens Salem’s water again.
I am proud of the work I have done in our community, and proud of my service on the CAC. As a social worker, I show up every day for the Oregonians who need it most. As an educator, I mentor and train students to do the same. As a parent, I show up every day for my sons, helping to raise thoughtful and kind people. Showing up and caring for my neighbors is my job, and I am good at my job. When it comes to the needs of our community, there are no “little things,” and there is so much work to be done. I intend to spend the next two months focused on the issues, and I hope Jeff Helfrich and his supporters will do the same.
Hood River News
I met Jeff Helfrich when he was running to replace Mark Johnson as our State Representative for House District 52. Since then, I have had the opportunity to talk with Jeff and meet his family at numerous community activities around the town of Hood River. I have been very impressed by Jeff’s high energy level and interest in participating with community groups. Jeff was appointed last November to fill the remaining time of Mark Johnson’s term as state representative for House District 52 when Mark resigned from his seat to take another position. I found Jeff to be very personable, a great listener and well informed on local and state issues. I was quite impressed with his record of public service in a variety of capacities, from military service, to a career as a police officer, to serving on the Cascade Locks City Council. I believe all these experiences have prepared him well to be an effective State Representative. Please join me in supporting Jeff Helfrich this November for House District 52.
Herald and News
I attended a dinner recently where Taylor Tupper, who is a candidate for State Representative from District 56, spoke to the group. Taylor will be trying to unseat Werner Reschke who has filled that position for one term. She will learn what she needs to learn and will always make decisions based on what is right for people. Taylor will be at several events in Klamath County right up to the election….at a rally at Moore Park on Sept. 23 and the Democrats Fall Fling at the Shiloh on Oct. 13, to mention a couple. I urge you to make the effort to listen to and talk with Taylor, and then to vote her in as our state representative. You won’t be sorry.
After viewing two different mailers just days apart, I wonder if other people are as baffled as I am about the real Teri Grier. If you’re a Democrat in House District 9, you might think Teri Grier is a third party, feel-good candidate who is ready to save folks from the tragedy of a health care bankruptcy. If you’re a Republican or Independent, on the other hand, you’ve seen quite a different mailer that paints a slanderous picture of Caddy McKeown as some kind of scheming shrew playing poker with your money. There’s even a gratuitous Portland liberal jab thrown in for good measure. Don’t be fooled, voters.
More than 20 years ago, Oregon voters passed a ballot measure preventing politicians from raising revenue without support from a three-fifths majority, as opposed to a simple majority. The goal was to encourage bipartisan efforts and prevent highly partisan political agendas passed by close, controversial votes. Now, politicians in Salem and their lawyers are changing the rules, weakening the definition to make it easier to raise revenue without the three-fifths majority approved by Oregon voters. Just this past year politicians raised $1 billion in new revenue targeting small businesses, and only small businesses. The new pattern is to eliminate exemptions, deductions, and credits, which they claim are not tax increases therefore do not require a three-fifths majority vote. Measure 104 will close the loophole and clarify once again that politicians cannot raise revenue without a supermajority vote. It will also help keep homeownership affordable for all by protecting the state home mortgage-interest deduction and
Measure 104 is a recipe for gridlock in Salem. It would expand our existing (constitutional) supermajority (three-fifths) requirement so broadly that it would be nearly impossible to get even routine business done. Oregon is already one of 14 states in the country that requires a supermajority to raise taxes. This measure does nothing to protect Oregonians — all it does is protect special-interest loopholes.
Portland’s elected officials are doing their part to promote the $652.8 million regional housing bond going to voters this November. They have contributed to the campaign, offered their heartfelt support in public meetings and signed on as official endorsers for the bond. But if they really want to help get and keep families housed, they should focus on how their own policies stand in the way. Because regardless of the bond’s success or failure, the duration and severity of this housing crisis hinge on whether leaders encourage the market as a whole to add more housing or quash it. Unfortunately, a sweeping proposal being developed by Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly falls squarely in the latter category.