Friday, February 27, 2009

Appropriating Our Language

Spread far and wide. We have to retain the control of this conversation or the falsehoods spread by ultra-conservatives will be repeated enough to become truth (see Rove playbook).

And here is the rest of it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Memo from County Chair

Ouch. County Commissioner Cogen posted this on his website:

Chair Wheeler's budget memo to county employees:

The weakening of the economy continues to bring disheartening news for Multnomah County. Today’s state revenue forecast predicts further erosion of the state economy which will result in a significant decline in state funding to Multnomah County. The state reports a $855.3 million budget shortfall for the current year and a $3 billion deficit for the 09-11 biennium. Multnomah County faces a $36.5 million General Fund shortfall in FY 2010, which grows to $45.9 million in FY 2011. These numbers are unprecedented, continue to change, and will result in deep reductions to county services.

The federal economic stimulus plan may present some relief, but the details of how and if federal dollars will affect local government are yet to be determined.

Since I took office, I have worked toward preparing us for the lean times by paying down debt and taking a conservative approach to budgeting. I have asked department directors, the District Attorney and Sheriff to bring forward plans for reductions, including options for savings of four percent from the current budget year. For fiscal year 2010, I have asked for general fund budget reductions of 12 percent across the board.

Painful cuts are necessary, and we will do everything we can to minimize the impact on the vulnerable people who depend on us. The county is the safety net for many members of our community. The numbers of people seeking our assistance continues to grow, as home foreclosures, unemployment and the cost of basic needs, such as food, housing, fuel and utilities increase.

What is clear is that future demands for our services will be greater than the resources we have available. We will focus on investing in programs that can demonstrate successful outcomes and have proven track records. Some layoffs are necessary and could be reduced if we can find creative ways to save money. I am proud of the relationships we have built with union leadership that have enabled us to look at ways to save as many jobs as possible while reducing the budget. I am hopeful that these productive conversations will continue.

The Board of County Commissioners will ultimately make decisions in June about which services will be continued and which services will be cut in fiscal year 2010.

The timeline for budget deliberations is as follows:
February 13 Program offers submitted
March 2 and 16 Budget community forums
April 23 Chair releases Executive Budget
May Public budget hearings
June 4 Board adopts FY 2010 Budget

I understand that Multnomah County employees, like people everywhere, are anxious about their economic and job security and I know that we have tough times ahead. If we can support each other, I know we can weather the rough spots and find the best ways to keep moving forward. These are challenging times, but I firmly believe that we are up to the challenge.

Really painful to read but I appreciate knowing this. Damn-12%?...blehhhhh....

And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Human Trafficking in Portland

From The Not For Sale Campaign:

Did you know that Portland Police identify at least 3-5 cases of human trafficking per week right here in Portland? Come find out how you can help in spreading awareness and fight this epidemic in our state.

“The Not For Sale Campaign” is pleased to announce that the Backyard College Abolitionist Tour is Coming to Portland on Saturday, February 21st from 7-9pm (doors open @ 6pm) @ The Red Sea Church 7535 N. Chicago St.

This gripping multimedia event brings together lecture, film and music to expose the truth about the 27 million individuals currently held in slavery today. Not For Sale founder, Dr. Dave Batstone and award-winning singer/songwriter, Brant Christopher Menswar will be together in Portland weaving songs into stories while being supported by riveting video; all in an effort to emotionally connect the audience with the global slave trade. It is a gripping night of heart breaking truth and inspirational victories.
And here is the rest of it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The HRC-Not inclusive-Let me count the ways

I've posted here before about the HRC, and my ambivalence regarding their policies and tactics. I understand enough of politics to know that no one, anywhere gets everything all at once, particularly when it involves changing social "acceptability." However, that is not to say that people, groups and organizations are doing themselves or anyone any good by backing off their end goals-which is what theHRC did with ENDA (I am giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming that full inclusion is their actual end goal.) I'm not so ambivalent anymore and this is a major reason why:

This week, the Human Rights Campaign released its 2009 State of the Workplace report and Corporate Equality Index (CEI) ratings of large US employers for GLBT inclusive policies and practices.[1] Perfect 100% ratings were awarded to a record 260 major companies, up from 195 in 2008. In a press release from Workplace Project Manager Samir Luther, the HRC boasted that 175 of the Fortune-500 businesses and 60 of the Fortune-100 firms now have gender identity protection in their employment policies.

Sounds pretty good...but then there is this:

Despite years of objection by health advocates for the trans-community, the HRC continues to omit medically necessary transition care as a requirement for a perfect 100% CEI score. Employees who suffer distress with their physical sex characteristics or ascribed gender role (often termed gender dysphoria) are singled out by many employers for exclusion from coverage for corrective procedures that are not excluded for other employees. By rewarding these employers with 100% scores, the HRC perpetuates this discrimination.

I am a pragmatist and to me being pragmatic is not the same thing as throwing someone else under the bus in order to get the crumbs that most serve you on a personal level. Even if we don't get it right out of the gate...we still have to demand it.
And here is the rest of it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Obstructionism is a tired old tactic

Hilda Solis needs to be confirmed. Why the GOP seems to think that times have not changed is beyond me.

And here is the rest of it.