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Clackson Newsletter

April 2016

In this Issue:

April General Meeting:
  Gun Violence:  What’s the Latest on Prevention Efforts?

WHERE:  Oswego Heritage House,
 398 10th Street, Lake Oswego

WHEN:  2:00-4:00 p.m.

Join us for a look at where Oregon and the U.S. currently stand on gun violence prevention (GVP) efforts. We are fortunate to have Penny Okamoto, executive director of Ceasefire Oregon, as our guest speaker. Many of you may remember Penny’s presentation to our League several years ago, and we welcome her back to give us an up-to-date look at Oregon laws, the successes and setbacks of GVP organizations since Sandy Hook and Roseburg, and how we might achieve common ground by focusing on safe storage and suicide prevention. 

Marge Easley, who has worked on gun safety for the LWVOR Action Committee, will also be on hand to answer questions about the League’s role in combatting gun violence. We look forward to a lively discussion on an issue that continues to be one of the most polarizing topics in our country today.
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Stay tuned for the League’s
Video Voters’ Guide on TVCTV

In partnership with Tualatin Valley Community TV (TVCTV), the League will once again be videotaping candidate interviews that will air on Comcast’s government access channels 28 and 30 prior to the May 17th Primary Election. TVCTV’s viewing area includes Washington County and parts of Clackamas County, including West Linn, Lake Oswego, and Rivergrove.  

We have invited 30 local candidates from these areas to participate in eight minute interviews conducted by LWVCC member Marge Easley on April 11-15 at the TVCTV studio in Beaverton. Voter Service Chair Katie Lu will be there to welcome candidates and offer refreshments, but if you’d like to help, too, please let one of us know.

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From Your Board of Directors

Emily Medley
In the midst of a barrage of propaganda that comes with election season, the League’s nonpartisan stance is refreshing. We provide an oasis in the swirling sand storm of unsupported opinion, loud and uncivil discourse, exaggerated and false claims. People in our community demonstrate frequently that they are eager for information about the elections, the candidates and ballot measures, about how, when and where to vote, and their voter registration status. Our League is meeting all of those needs with a terrific volunteer corps and excellent organization and management by League leaders.

We can be more effective with more people involved. And there are plenty of opportunities. Ask your friends and colleagues what concerns them most. Tell them how the League of Women Voters can help them be informed citizens and participate actively in government. Share our nonpartisan and balanced election resources. Bring them to candidate and ballot measure forums and general meetings. Invite them to participate in the research and writing, and interviewing that form the core of the League’s election efforts, and to join or contribute.

We all want to breathe easier. The League of Women Voters provides the fresh air that voters seek, enabling them to feel ready and confident in filling out their ballots. Don't sit this one out; extend an invitation!

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Clackamas County Commissioners’ Report
March 1- 22, 2016

Pam Ashland
The County Commissioners had a variety of policy sessions in March.

  • They were updated on the Legislative changes
  • Working on a program through the State to eliminate noxious weeds
  • Attended AOC (Association of Oregon Counties workshops
  • Working on updating Service Development Charges (SDCs)
  • Learned about the effect of retirements in the Planning Department
  • Planning in case Damascus votes to disincorporate in May 2016
  • Approved plans for The Madrone Wall – a rock climbing venue
  • Working with the Housing Authority to develop plans for the future
  • MAP (McLoughlin Area Plan) – voted to approve the plan with the caveat that any funding of the projects would require a vote by the Commissioners
  • The Commissioners will join together and submit a statement in support of the ballot measure regarding road funding.  They will use their personal funds and sign as citizens of the County, not as Commissioners.
  • Were updated on the Technical and Stakeholder Working Group
  • Reviewing Transportation System Development Charges
  • The County received a great review following the audit conducted by Moss Adams
  • Ongoing discussion of waste treatment
  • Sandy River issues may be worse than first thought regarding potential flooding, new maps are predicting more damage
  • Discussion of affordable housing – what types and how to move people out of some of the current housing into newer housing.
  • Reviewed the Marijuana Code Enforcement proposals and asked them to be resubmitted.
  • Reviewed general Code Enforcement procedures
  • Adopted a new evaluation system for the County Administrator and County Counsel – and outside firm will be hired for the process
  • Continued discussion with the city of Gladstone and library funds
  • Working with the city of Happy Valley to coordinate projects for parks
  • Portland State University has asked Clackamas County to participate in their study of the cost of compensation for employees.  The Commissioners agreed that they would give them information and in return would also receive valuable information about other counties and cities in Oregon regarding their compensation.
  • NACO prescription plan is being reviewed and it will continue to do outreach
  • Tourism will be working on a plan for alcohol to be offered at Tourism Promotion Events
  • Updating by-laws for Advisory Boards and Committees
  • Updated fees for permits

More information is available at the Commissioners’ site http://www.clackamas.us/bcc/presentation.html

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Election 2016

Katie Lu
The primary election is almost upon us.  A lot of decisions need to be made and you may have some questions in regard to candidates and/or ballot measures. The League can help in several ways.

Voter Guides will be available at your local library.  They are being prepared right now and will be out in mid April for your perusal.  As usual, they will contain candidate information and will cover the ballot measures that are up for a vote in some areas. 

The other source of information is the electronic variety.  Vote 411 will be there for those of you who are partial to going to your computer to find out what you need to know.  It is being readied and will soon be up and running with current information.

I know you are election savvy so please pass your knowledge on and remind people to register to vote if they have moved or want to change party affiliation.  That must be done by April 26th for the May election.  
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Meet New Members Sharon and Herb Bartling

Sharon and Herb Bartling are two of our newest members, although they’re certainly not new to the League. Sharon shares that “the League has been important in our lives since we retired early. . . Herb has been a jewel working with me.”  Most recently they lived in San Antonio (2001-15), where Sharon served on the League board as secretary, but over the years she’s been active in several other Leagues, both small and large, around the country:  Charleston, IL (1972-74); Kerrville, TX (1993-95); and Charlottesville, VA (1999-2001).

Sharon has also been an active AAUW member, serving as president for two terms, and along the way has worked with both the League and AAUW on impressive community projects.  For example, she organized a voter registration drive in Bexar County, TX, set up a forum on the Affordable Care Act at Trinity University, and chaired a League committee on Human Trafficking.

We are so fortunate that the Bartlings chose Clackamas County as their new home.  Welcome to you both!

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Lunch & Learn

Friday, April 1 at 11:30
Szechuan Kitchen
15450 Boones Ferry Rd., Lake Oswego

Speaker: Cyndie Glazer
“Behind the Scenes of Lake Oswego Reads”

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Reducing the Corrupting Influence of Money in Politics

From the LWVUS website, http://lwv.org/blog/reducing-corrupting-influence-money-politics

By: Jessica Jones
In his State of the Union speech this year, President Obama mentioned that in order to make politics better, the American people alongside politicians from both sides of the aisle must “change the system to reflect our better selves.” As he expanded on this idea, he pointed to several of the League’s priority issues including calling for a bipartisan redistricting system and ensuring access to the vote by making it easier for everyone to vote.

President Obama also called for “reducing the influence of money in our politics, so that a handful of families or hidden interests can’t bankroll our elections.” As we mark the sixth anniversary of the decision in Citizens United v. FEC, the League would offer up the following four solutions for fighting the corrupting influence of money in politics.

Strengthen Regulations on Coordination: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the federal agency in charge of our nation’s campaign finance laws, but so far they’ve done practically nothing to address the U.S. Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in Citizens United. Under existing law, the FEC can work to define “coordination” as a way of cutting back on the “independent” expenditures that really are coordinated with candidate campaigns, but thus far they have refused to do so. Last year, the League provided testimony and sent nearly 30,000  comments to the FEC encouraging them to redefine these two terms and end corruption in politics.

Improve Disclosure: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said: “Disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way.” Citizens have a right to know who is trying to influence their vote, and disclosure of donations and spending is necessary to shine a light on secret money. The League is a longtime supporter of the DISCLOSE Act and we will continue to push for passage of this important piece of legislation.

Establish a Public Financing System: The League believes that public financing is the best long term solution to getting big money out of politics. States like Washington, Connecticut and Maine have had success in public financing with state house and statewide elections. The League continues to look for ways to limit the size and type of contributions from all sources as a means of combating undue influence in the election process.
Vote: As the President alluded during his State of the Union address, if the American public wants to get money out of politics, it’s time to take our elections back. Voting is the most powerful form of expression that a single citizen has. When citizens vote, politicians have to listen. In fact, the only thing that can stop the flood of money is a flood of voters. Each voter who shows up diminishes the influence of every dollar spent trying to swing an election. We must improve voter turnout and engage with our communities to combat the undue influence of money in our political system. Get registered and participate in the upcoming presidential primaries and caucuses!

For decades, the League has worked to ensure that citizen participation in the political process is not drowned out by special interests and big money donors. But in order to end the influence of money in politics it’s going to take more than just the work the League does. We need Congress, the administration and citizens to come together and stand up to outside influences. Only together will we be able to stop the sale of our democracy.

Coming Attractions

April 20: General meeting: Gun Violence:  What’s the Latest on Prevention Efforts? 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th Street, Lake Oswego

April 27: LWVCC Board Meeting: 9:30 am Social, 9:45 AM Meeting, Pacific West Bank, West Linn

April 29: Lunch & Learn: Speaker Cyndie Glazer, “Behind the Scenes of Lake Oswego Reads”, 11:30 am, Szechuan Kitchen, 15450 Boones Ferry Rd., Lake Oswego

May 14: LWVCC Annual Meeting: Speakers: Dr. Beck, Superintendent LO Schools and Liz Hartman

May 17: Primary Election

May 24: LWVCC Board Meeting: 9:30 am Social, 9:45 AM Meeting, Pacific West Bank, West Linn

June 3 – 5: LWV of Oregon and LWV of Washington Joint Council, Hilton, 301 W. 6th Street, Vancouver, WA 98660

June 11 – Patio Party

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