Monday, February 28, 2011

Campaign for Stronger Democracy

"The Campaign for Stronger Democracy is a new coalition that emerged from a series of convenings to encourage greater collaboration among democracy reformers, called Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy. The meetings were convened by AmericaSpeaks, Demos, Everyday Democracy and faculty from Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Innovation and Governance."

We don't even have to wait for them to go after everyone else. They are ALREADY coming after us. You know the main reason why all those times in the past when "our very democracy are under attack" end up seeming like overblown hysteria? Because during those times, someone somewhere made a stand and said "hands off my democracy!" And those who would deny us and take away the democracy under which we live (republic form or otherwise) knew they had better back down or else face a full-on revolution. Now is no different.  WE are the ones who must back them down now

And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Multnomah County Budget Hearings-Reminder

YOU ARE INVITED!!-2011 MultCo Community Budget Forums in Portland & Gresham

For the 11th time in as many years Multnomah County again faces funding reductions to programs and services. With significant reductions in state funding looming next year, understanding and giving input into the County’s budget is more critical than ever!

Learn about state funding to the County and then tell decisionmakers which programs and services are the most important to you!

The forums are:
• Gresham--Thursday, Feb. 24, 6-8:15pm at the Multnomah County East Building, 600 NE 8th St. Accessible: by MAX Blue Line and buses: #1, 4, 9, 25, 26, 80. Parking is available.

• Portland--Thursday, March 3, 6-8:15pm at the Multnomah Building Boardroom, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Accessible: by buses #4, 6, 10, 14. Parking is available. Child activities will be provided.

Russian and Spanish language interpreters will be provided.

Please see the attached flyer for more information. For additional questions or to request a sign language interpreter contact: Office of Citizen Involvement at 503-988-3450 or

Robb Wolfson, Citizen Involvement Coordinator
Multnomah County Office of Citizen Involvement
503-988-3450 |
Multnomah County Building | 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Room 192 | Portland, OR 97214 And here is the rest of it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

2011 Multnomah County Community Budget Forums

I read recently, in one of my texts, that Portland's spirit of public engagement may be waning, in comparison to its peak in the late 80's and 90's. I have some of the same concerns, based on my own experiences. To that end, I received this email from Multnomah County. 

"With significant reductions in state funding looming, understanding and giving input into Multnomah County’s budget is more important than ever. Do you prefer Multnomah County move funds from another program to make up the difference? Which programs should the county prioritize? Come to one of MultCo's budget forums sponsored by County Chair Jeff Cogen and the Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee to understand how the funding system works and tell the Board of County Commissioners what you think! The forums are:

* Gresham--Thursday, Feb. 24, 6-8:15pm at the Multnomah County East Building, 600 NE 8th St.
* Portland--Thursday, March 3, 6-8:15pm at the Multnomah Building, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

For more information contact: Office of Citizen Involvement at 503-988-3450 or"

The budget process, never easy, is underway under some severe circumstances.  What caught my attention about these particular forums, is the focus on understanding how the budget process works.  More public policy processes should include that educational piece, so that we, as citizens can provide educated feedback on what our priorities are and be a part of the process for making it work, as opposed to being the recipients of policies that we neither understand nor have a say in.  More than any other place I have lived (and research supports the reality of my experience), municipalities in this area-Portland, Multnomah County, Metro, for example-provides for citizen engagement.  That is not to say that, there are not times when powerful people wish to move without our input, but the system is designed for us to be involved.  If we are to ensure that the high level of engagement that this region is known for continues, then we must be engaged.

And here is the rest of it.

National Transgender Discrimination Survey

These are some highlights from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey:

1. Respondents were nearly four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, with household income of less than $10,000.
2. Respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Half of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment or other mistreatment in the workplace, and one in four were fired because of their gender identity or expression.
3. While discrimination was pervasive for the entire sample, it was particularly pronounced for people of color. African-American transgender respondents fared far worse than all others in many areas studied.
4. Housing discrimination was also common. 19% reported being refused a home or apartment and 11% reported being evicted because of their gender identity or expression. One in five respondents experienced homelessness because of their gender identity or expression.
5. An astonishing 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to only 1.6% of the general population.
6. Discrimination in health care and poor health outcomes were frequently experienced by respondents. 19% reported being refused care due to bias against transgender or gender-nonconforming people, with this figure even higher for respondents of color. Respondents also had over four times the national average of HIV infection.
7. Harassment by law enforcement was reported by 22% of respondents and nearly half were uncomfortable seeking police assistance.
8. Despite the hardships they often face, transgender and gender non-conforming persons persevere. Over 78% reported feeling more comfortable at work and their performance improving after transitioning, despite the same levels of harassment in the workplace.

The full report can be found at the National Center for Transgender Equality.
And here is the rest of it.