Saturday, November 29, 2008

Light Up the Night for Equality

On Saturday, December 20th, at 5:00 PM, silent candlelight vigils will be held at commercial centers in cities across the United States, in remembrance of the rights recently lost around the country, and in honor of the rights that one day will BE, here in Oregon, and for EVERYONE.

In Portland, we will be gathering for our silent candlelight vigil at Pioneer Square downtown.

These are the guidelines from Join the Impact, which we are going to stick to, as much as possible:

  • This will be a peaceful gathering in the spirit of the holidays (This one is a MUST).
  • We'll dress alike: make or buy a "Second Class Citizen" t-shirt.
  • We will stay silent unless asked a question, we will not yell, instigate, or bare signs. Instead, we will let our shirts do the talking and our candles pay our respects.
  • Bring candles (battery powered if need be).

Two weeks ago, we were noisy all across the United States. On December 20th, we will let our silence bring home the reality of our status as second-class citizens. And here is the rest of it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Informed Growth Act-Oregon style?

I received this email from Onward Oregon. I don't really like the sliding scale entry fee (the fact that there is a fee at all), although I assume it is to cover the cost of food. Just makes it difficult for financially-strapped folks to feel comfortable. Something they may want to think about in the future. Other than that, I am intrigued by the idea.


Stacy Mitchell, author of Big-Box Swindle and The Hometown Advantage, will discuss the growing movement around the country to rebuild and strengthen local economies. Mitchell was instrumental in the passage of the Maine Informed Growth Act, which gives communities the ability to assess the economic impact of big-box development.

Onward Oregon is working to pass a similar bill in the 2009 Oregon legislative session. Big-box disputes have arisen everywhere from Portland to Medford and Lincoln City to Bend. Unfortunately, under Oregon law communities can only oppose big-boxes on the grounds of increased traffic. The Oregon Informed Growth Act would enable our communities to understand the economic and environmental impact of big-box stores. We encourage you to come learn and discuss how best to build our local economy.

Thursday, November 20
6 PM refreshments, 7 PM presentation
First Unitarian Church 1011 SW 12th Ave.
$10-$20 sliding scale (no one turned away)
Call Robin at (503) 232-2943 for tickets and info.
Co-sponsored by the Sustainable Business Network of Portland and the
Economic Justice Action Group of the First Unitarian Church of Portland.

Be sure to come early at 6 PM for a celebration of our local economy with information, refreshments, and representatives from local community businesses and organizations.

Stacy Mitchell is a renowned speaker and advisor to communities on retail development and independent business. She is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and author of Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses, which Bill McKibben described as "the ultimate account of the single most important economic trend in our country" and Booklist named one of the top ten business books of 2007. Mitchell lives in Portland, Maine.

See you there,
The Team at Onward Oregon

Mailing Address:
Onward Oregon
P.O. Box 15132
Portland, OR 97293

Contact Name: Lenny Dee
Telephone Number: (503) 233-3018 And here is the rest of it.

Employee Free Choice Act

Anyone who tries to scare you with the "big union bosses control your lives" B.S. are full of just that...B.S.

And here is the rest of it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What am I up to?

For those of you fascinated with what I might be up to, or completely at a loss due to my lack of posts (he he), go here:


And here is the rest of it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Letter from Share Our Strength

An email from Share Our Strength:

Although the election results were widely predicted by polls and pundits, it was nonetheless striking to watch and absorb America’s new reality at the moment the television networks made it official at 11:00 p.m. last night.

The election not only made history, it set the stage for you and me to make history too.

A community organizer has become President-elect. For the first time a President of the United States, whose mom relied on food stamps, will personally understand the critical value of the work you’ve done through Share Our Strength and other nonprofit organizations.

Regardless of one’s personal politics it will be hard not to feel a sense of new beginnings, or get caught up in the excitement of a new president, new priorities, and new appointments from cabinet and ambassadors to judges and generals. But what about the rest of us? What about what Harry Truman called the highest office in the land: that of citizen?

The idealism that inspires us to believe anything is possible will be short lived if translating it into reality is left to the new president alone. Our ability to solve some of the most challenging issues we face does not depend only on a new occupant of the White House. It depends on a new kind of citizenship too.

Hunger in America is a good example. The President-elect recently announced that a top priority will be the ending of childhood hunger in America by 2015, the very goal established by Share Our Strength over the last 2 years. Federal policy matters enormously. But so does its implementation at the local level. That often depends on active citizens and robust, effective, well led civic organizations.

Many kids in America who are hungry today are hungry not because of the lack of food or even the lack of food assistance programs, but rather because they lack access to food assistance programs that already exist. Sometimes logistical or bureaucratic barriers prevent their participation.

For a hungry family wondering how to qualify for food stamps or summer feeding, the most powerful person in the world may not be the Commander in Chief but the local community organizer who helps them navigate the bureaucracy. Achieving the right blend of public support and private efforts is also essential to progress on other issues like nutrition education, mentoring, after school enrichment, drug and alcohol addiction, energy conservation, and environmental protection, just to name a few.

With the United States engaged in two protracted wars, constrained by massive budget deficits, and possibly facing a long recession, it will require more than our elected officials to right our course. It will take all of us. The hardest work of a great nation has always fallen to its citizens, not just its leaders.

In the days ahead the TV, internet, and newspapers will be awash with analysis and commentary about the strategies that led to electoral victory, what worked and why, the role of money and media and political organization. But there is also a deeply personal set of questions that we can only ask of ourselves: at such a precarious moment in the life of our nation, what can I be doing to make a difference? In what way might I sacrifice and serve? What strength can I share to make my country and community better?

The most powerful moments in history are those that invite us to make history too.


And here is the rest of it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Food Prices-Up, Up, and Away

Let's see. Unemployment is at its highest rate in years. Bad news, in and of itself. Now we get this gem:

U.S. food prices will rise by at least 7 percent in 2009 because of higher feed costs for chickens, hogs and cattle, said a group of food-industry economists on Thursday.

It would be the third year in a row that food prices rose faster than the overall U.S. inflation rate. Food inflation is the highest since 1990.

"The sizable increase in the cost of producing food has not been fully passed on to the consumer," said private consultant Bill Lapp. He foresaw food inflation of 7 percent-9 percent in 2009.


"We've been losing money for more than a year," said Bill Roenigk, economist for the Chicken Council, who said producers intend to cut production by as much as 12 percent. "We need to recover these feed costs."

Thomas Elam, head of Farm Econ, said poultry, hog and cattle producers would cut production in coming months because of feed costs, meaning less meat on the retail market but at higher prices.

Now that stright-up politics will be moving to the back seat, something tells me I will be once again doing more posts on how much low-income and no-income folks are continuing to hurt, along with the food banks that exist to help them. And here is the rest of it.