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Clackson Newsletter

November 2017

In this Issue:

November General Meeting

 “They Report to You: 
Holding District Attorneys Accountable”
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
398 10th Street, Lake Oswego

Daniel Lewkow, from the ACLU of Oregon, will tell us about “They Report to You,” a public education campaign to raise awareness about the outsized power of district attorneys in the criminal justice system. District attorneys are elected officials, yet many voters don’t know who district attorney are, what they do, why they’re so incredibly powerful, or how we can hold them accountable. They often run unopposed, serve for many years, and handpick their successors.

The intent of “They Report to You” has been embraced by the League, since we care about educating voters as well as overcoming roadblocks to criminal justice reform. It’s interesting to note, however, that even though this public education effort is not about endorsing candidates, our own Clackamas County DA has publicly responded by calling the ACLU of Oregon a “radical political action committee.”

This event is open to the public, so please feel free to bring friends. Tell them they won’t want to miss this presentation about an important and timely topic!


More on Civil Discourse

If you’re concerned about the escalation of incivility in America today, this excellent 20-minute Ted Talk, “Can a Divided America Heal?” provides some thoughtful insights into the left-right divide. It features social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, the author of the 2012 bestseller The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.


A Successful Start for Dine and Discourse

We are off to a good start! On Monday, October 23, nine of us gathered at Gubanc’s for a rewarding evening of dining and sharing our frustrations with outrage fatigue. An additional six members were unable to attend, but have shown definite interest in this new local League program for an evening out to support each other and find ways to make a difference in a world full of outrage.

Under the leadership of Marge Easley and Libby Medley, we shared personal experiences of incivility, items in the news that made us angry, and to what extent we were exposed to others with differing points of view.  In looking at good ground rules for this discussion, Marge referred us to two handouts: “Differences Between Dialogue and Debate” and “How to Persuade People in an Unpersuadable Age.”
Towards the end of the discussion, Libby passed out “A Suggested Book List” for learning more about the reasons behind our fatigue. The eight books listed covered topics from how the human brain works, human nature, and influencing others by setting the stage for their mood prior to discourse, including framing and metaphors, and to books presenting historical and cultural foundations of North America and ways to go about finding common ground.

Evaluations indicated a definite interest in continuing the monthly meetings, focusing on a particular topic with a statewide focus and potential local action (Money in Politics was suggested for starters). With the interest shown so far, and some of the attendees interested in bringing a friend along in the future, we are investigating a location with more privacy and opportunities to break into small discussion groups to overcome hearing issues. Our goal is to have a moderator for each table, so that we can practice listening and discourse skills that are non-judgmental.

Next Dine and Discourse:
November 20, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
 Nicoletta’s Table & Marketplace
 333 S. State Street, Suite M, Lake Oswego

(Check out their menu at http://www.nicolettastable.com/.)
Topic:  issues of the day with an emphasis on Money in Politics
RSVP by November 18:  email Libby Medley (medleylj@gmail.com) or leave a message with Marge Easley (503-701-5953).


Umbrella Swap

Did you take a nice black automatic umbrella with white flowers on it to the Sept. kickoff!
Do you now have a slightly smaller one with white and lavender bows as the design?
Would you like to make an exchange to get yours back?  Call Judi Umaki, 503-636-5773 or email, gordonjudiu@msn.com and we will make it happen.


Affordable housing needs in Clackamas Co.

Nancy Murray
Through years of stagnant wages and job losses, individuals and families have not been able to keep up with the cost of housing. The county board has previously set goals to meet the challenge of growing housing needs of a variety of county residents. To prepare to understand policy options, the board held the second of four panel discussions for elected city and county officials and staff. Recognizing that the capacity of the private sector is greater than government’s and that a partnership between the two is likely to produce better outcomes, the board heard practical advice from real estate developers and a representative of Metro’s Equitable Housing Initiative. The future of job destruction through automation alone will affect us enormously. Our housing needs must be met on a continuum (financing as well), and at present we have no transitional housing. We will be desperate for senior housing in ten years. The income separation model, where people of similar incomes live in the same area, is isolating and causing problems.

The panel’s advice centered on collecting good data to identify the problem, laying out both short- and long-term plans, identifying financing options, and letting different groups make proposals. The business community needs to come to the table with ideas and money. We need to break out of our old models, such as insisting that adjacent services need to be built alongside the housing.

Oregon counties and cities address housing policies through their comprehensive plans. See http://www.clackamas.us/planning/documents/compplan/compplan6.pdf . Goals and policies indicate flexibility, but there are many factors to consider nonetheless. Solutions are in the works here and there. New ideas bubble up (e.g., tiny houses). How to bring it all together to address the scale of the actual and future housing and financing needs is the challenge the county is addressing.


October General Meeting
Angus Duncan’s presentation about “Greenhouse Gases and Black Swan Events” attracted an enthusiastic crowd.

"Setting the Table for Civility" over the Holidays

From LWVUS League Update, October 26, 2017
As part of the League’s partnership with the National Institute for Civil Discourse, LWV members are invited to participate in "Setting the Table for Civility". It is an opportunity for individuals, as we gather with friends and family for the upcoming Thanksgiving and year-end holiday season, to take action to promote civility. These include exploring three basic questions:

• What are you most thankful for about living in America?
• How do you feel about the deep divisions and incivility we see now in our country?
• What can we do to revive civility and respect and find more effective ways to listen to each other and work together?

Tools and materials are available to support conversations at family gatherings, within faith communities, on campuses and on social media. This could be a great way to engage new members and to invite non-members to join the League in an activity that brings people together and helps us build more civil dialogue in communities.

January Special Election on Measure 101

At a special election on January 23, Oregon voters will decide whether to repeal sections of HB 2391, a 2017 bill that helped to close a $1 billion budget shortfall by expanding an existing assessment on hospitals. Besides increasing the amount hospitals pay, the bill provides a new assessment formula that would also apply to some health insurance plans and managed care organizations. A “yes” vote would allow HB 2391 to go into effect, while a “no” vote would repeal it.

League members will be provided much more complete information about this measure, labeled Measure 101, at unit meetings during the second week of January. Although the League does not endorse candidates, it does take a stand on selected ballot measures. Based on the recommendations of the LWVOR Action Committee, who worked in support of HB 2391 during the 2017 session, the LWVOR Board recently voted to endorse a “yes” vote on Measure 101.

LWV Portland Program

Promoting Civil Discourse – A dialogue on free speech and civil discourse with Mat dos Santos (Portland ACLU), Wendy Willis, (Executive Director of Kitchen Table Democracy and founder of Oregon's Kitchen Table) and Michael Mills (Portland State University’s National Policy Consensus Center) is a public and free program of the League of Women Voters of Portland in their Civic Education Programs. It will be held Tuesday, November 14, from 7-9 p.m. in the Multnomah County Board Room, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd. This program may be food for thought and just in time for those Thanksgiving dinner conversations. Please join us for the dialogue about the interplay of our Constitutional right to free speech and our desire to create civil discourse. Audience questions on supplied 3x5 cards after the dialogue.
The URL is lwvpdx.org/promoting-civil-discourse-dialogue/


Saturday, December 16!   Join in celebrating the holidays with the Clackamas County LWV at our Holiday Party Brunch. We will gather at 9:30 for brunch, drinks and another fun raffle.
Speaker: Jean Dalton, Project Pooch

Once again, we have the opportunity to enjoy each other's company and raise some money for a good cause as well as our own coffers while getting in the holiday spirit. It is always a fun day!

We will have a raffle, as always, so bring cash or checks for tickets and think about items to donate.  New or lightly used items could include seasonal things like poinsettias, wreaths or candy, wine, puzzles or handcrafted pieces.  Think outside the box!  Bring your donations to the Nov. 14 meeting, drop off at Judi Umaki's (1421 Greentree Circle, L.O.) or call for pickup if necessary (503-636-5773).

Clackamas Meeting & Banquet Facility
15815 SE  82nd Drive, Clackamas, OR
WHEN:   Saturday, Dec. 16
9:30 A.M. To Noon
COST:   $14.00 (includes gratuity)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS to Clackamas Meeting & Banquet Facility:
From I-205, traveling either north or south, take Exit 12 (Estacada/Mt. Hood).
Heading east, get in the left lane for an immediate left turn onto the first street, 82nd Drive.  Turn left into Denny's parking lot. The meeting room is on the right side of the building.     

Coming Events

Election Day, November 7

November General Meeting: Tuesday, November 14, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m., Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th Street, Lake Oswego

Dine & Discourse: November 20, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Nicoletta’s Table & Marketplace, 333 S. State Street, Suite M, Lake Oswego, RSVP by November 18:  email Libby Medley (medleylj@gmail.com) or leave a message with Marge Easley (503-701-5953)

LWVCC Board Meeting: Tuesday, November 28: 9:30 a.m. Social, 9:45 AM Meeting, Pacific West Bank, West Linn