The filings seek contempt of court rulings and $1,000 a day fines against Senate President Peter Courtney, House Speaker Tina Kotek, Senate Republican Leader Jackie Winters and nine others who Avakian accuses of disregarding subpoenas. A contempt finding can carry a sanction of jail time. The subpoenas were necessary because Avakian has reason to believe they would protect key documents from “imminent destruction,” the filing states. It is the first time in memory that the Bureau of Labor and Industries has sought contempt rulings, said spokeswoman Christine Lewis. Through a private attorney, Edward Harnden, legislative officials subpoenaed by the bureau all declined to turn over requested records and sit for interviews. They argued its demand for information was overly broad, and said compliance would require them to break pledges of confidentiality made to the people who reported harassment.
The Bulletin Editorial Board
With all Gov. Kate Brown’s years in power, all the billions spent, all the supposed advantage of her leadership, look where Oregon is. Its education system, its foster care and its public debt are dazzling disappointments. Don’t let Brown have another four years. Vote instead for Knute Buehler. There’s $22 billion in money the state does not have for the Public Employees Retirement System. That comes to about $15,000 per Oregon household. You don’t pay it directly. But you feel it. It comes out of the budgets of schools, local governments and the state. They are going to be scrambling with 38 percent increases in what they are paying into the system to keep it afloat. It means schools are in a classroom funding crisis. Cities may have to pave fewer roads. Law enforcement may have to put fewer police on the street. Return Brown to office and she’ll give the issue the same lip service she has in the past. She hasn’t done enough. As governor, Buehler vows not to sign any spending bills until PERS reform comes to his desk. He is going to make sure beneficiaries get good benefits. But he wants a cap on maximum PERS benefits so Oregonians aren’t making crazy payments such as $74,000 a month. And he wants to move future beneficiaries to something like a 401(k) with an employer and employee contribution.
The Bend Bulletin
On the day the Deschutes County Clerk’s office began mailing ballots for the November general election, the Bend City Council publicly reprimanded state House candidate Nathan Boddie for attacking the woman who accused him of sexual misconduct and for blocking constituents from commenting on his public Facebook page. “As local leaders, city councilors are expected to model the types of communication and civic engagement we wish to encourage in our community,” she said. “Councilor Nathan Boddie crossed a line.” Boddie defended himself in person for the first time, after having remained silent while other councilors and residents criticized him at previous meetings. “I think it’s totally reasonable to defend oneself from things like this,” he said Wednesday. He said he didn’t believe he did anything wrong and argued Newbold didn’t act like anything was wrong until June.
How severely brain cancer is affecting Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson remains unclear, as a curtailment of his public schedule and delegation of some duties to a deputy raise questions about his future in the state’s second-highest office. Richardson and his aides have declined to give specifics about his diagnosis or treatment regimen. Asked for details Wednesday, Deb Royal, his chief of staff, said only, “It’s as serious as brain cancer is.” And a senior state official who recently had a meeting with Richardson described his cognitive abilities as “severely diminished.” The official said it is unclear if that is due to cancer treatments or the disease itself. “He was such an energetic person,” the official said. “It just makes the contrast stronger.”
Auditors found that the agency couldn’t restore its IT systems after a disaster. A major disaster — depending on how long critical systems are unavailable — could threaten the agency’s ability to issue payments on time or to the right people. It could also mean that critical information is lost. The agency keeps back-up tapes stored a mile and a half away from the PERS headquarters. In a natural disaster like the Cascadia earthquake, that information would likely also be destroyed. PERS now said that it will arrange a backup in the cloud by next June. The audit said PERS hasn’t tested its disaster recovery plans and has yet to comply with directives from the Legislature to improve disaster recovery planning. The Legislature allocated $1.65 million to shore up the pension agency’s disaster planning. As of July, according to the audit, the agency has spent $22,000 — for a consultant’s report. And PERS has been told before to fix such gaps. “Over the last several years, work on disaster recovery has often started and stopped with little continuity or sustained effort,” auditors wrote.
Major policy proposals from the top two candidates — Democrat Gov. Kate Brown and Republican Rep. Knute Buehler — could dramatically impact small business owners, state employees and individuals who work with vulnerable populations, in particular.
Portland Business Journal
As Governor, I have led bipartisan work on transportation, Medicaid funding and ensuring all kids have healthcare. We worked together, urban and rural, to build a better Oregon. I’m looking forward to continuing our work to move our state forward at a time when our Oregon values are under attack. When politicians tried to cut Oregonians’ healthcare, I fought back. I protected our coast from offshore drilling. I made sure every woman can access reproductive healthcare. I have been clear during my time as governor that I will do what I say and say what I do. My record is clear. I will stand up and protect the Oregon that we love.
Portland Business Journal
Serving in the Legislature and running for Governor has given me the opportunity to listen to Oregonians from across our State. From this, I’ve learned three things: Oregonians love and take pride in our state, they are open-minded and practical, and, finally, they are unhappy with the performance of our government and especially its leaders. As Governor, I’ll tackle the most pressing issue preventing our teachers and students from reaching their full potential — our classroom-funding crisis. Kate Brown and Salem politicians have never had more money, but our schools still have the 3rd worst graduation rate in the country. A broken pension system and other runaway costs divert much needed resources away from classrooms — resulting in shorter school years, teachers getting pink-slips, and larger class sizes. I’ll make $1.5 billion in new education investments and ensure that money gets to the classroom by reforming our pension system.
Portland Business Journal
The visual I use to explain the PERS predicament is an upside down pyramid. Many baby-boomers are leaving their jobs in the public sector and going into the public employee retirement system, while at the same time cities, counties, schools and the state are not hiring enough new young employees to support the base of the pyramid. Public employees are becoming overworked and over burdened. My proposal is two solutions which are tied together and hence the term The Grand Bargain. I propose we broaden the PERS pyramid to include private sector workers like Burger King, gas station attendants, etc, into a new system we call O.U.R.S., or the Oregon Universal Retirement System. With all the new young workers across Oregon added, we can save the PERS pyramid from toppling over.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Patrick Starnes isn’t going to be Oregon’s next governor. He doesn’t have the money, the name recognition or any real experience navigating the intricacies of state politics or state government. If you listen to him long enough, you get the sense that even he knows he cannot win: “Of course, my minimum goal is to get double digits because I wanted to get a third voice to have more impact,” he said on OPB’s “Think Out Loud” earlier this month. Where the soft-spoken Willamette Valley cabinetmaker really wants to make an impact is in campaign finance reform – something of an irony in this year in which Democrat Kate Brown and Republican Knute Buehler are breaking the record for spending in a gubernatorial race. He wants to change state laws to make it harder for big donors to dominate the conversation, and he says that he won’t sign anything in his first 100 days until campaign finance reform hits his desk. “Almost any issue that you talk about — health care reform, education reform, PERS reform, even the environment — with all those large donors controlling the debate and financing these campaigns, we can’t have an open, honest discussion,” he said.
Democratic incumbent Paul Evans, who is running for a third term in office, said he believes in a campaign focused on the issues. Evans points to successes in passing bipartisan legislation, and wants to focus on issues such as civics, veterans health, tax reform, emergency preparedness and education. His Republican challenger, Selma Pierce, said she found constituents in the district have not always been heard during Evans’ tenure. She wants to change that. Pierce said if elected she will listen to her constituents and focus on education reform, homeless solutions, affordable housing and building a bridge connecting downtown Salem to West Salem.
The Bend Bulletin
Senate District 30 is heavily Republican in voter registration. In 2016, Ferrioli won with 71 percent of the vote over Democrat Mark Stringer. Fulfilling a promise to compete in even the most difficult districts, Democrats have fielded progressive political activist Solea Kabakov of The Dalles to run for the seat. A salesperson by profession, Kabakov’s website features a rainbow peace flag and calls for bringing rural voices and “social, racial, economic and environmental justice” to Salem.
Three women, including a current prison inmate and two former ones, filed a federal lawsuit this week alleging they were abused by a gynecologist during medical examinations at the state women’s prison. The lawsuit names Dr. Catherine Crim, David Brown, a nurse, and Steven Shelton, the medical director who retired from the Department of Corrections last year. The women allege Crim abused them at Coffee Creek Correctional Institution and that supervisors Brown and Shelton failed to take steps to prevent the alleged abuse or discipline Crim.