John Kroger on meth, organized crime, minimum sentencing, and his plans for Oregon

By John Kroger of Portland, Oregon. John is a law professor at Lewis & Clark College and a candidate for Attorney General. More information at JohnKroger.com.

As Attorney General, I will work hard every day to tackle Oregon's number one crime problem – meth addiction. Every year, meth costs us hundreds of millions of dollars in prison and law enforcement costs, health care expenditures, and lost workforce productivity. Meth is the biggest cause of property crime and identity theft in the state. More important, meth is the single greatest cause of serious child abuse in Oregon. That is one reason Oregon recently received a grade of "D" (pdf) on a child welfare report card issued by a leading child advocacy group. To me, that is simply unacceptable.

To deal with Oregon's meth crisis, I have proposed a two part plan, emphasizing both a new drug treatment program and tougher enforcement. This plan is based on the lessons I have learned as a federal prosecutor, public policy expert, and law professor.

A New Drug Treatment Plan

My goal is to be both smart and tough on crime, and that means greater emphasis on drug treatment, a goal I have talked about at every single stop in my campaign. Drug treatment is the single most important step we can take to lower property crimes and stop child abuse. Unfortunately, Oregon currently ranks 45th in the nation for access to drug treatment, and an abysmal 49th in treatment for young adults from ages 18 to 25. If we want to end the meth crisis, we must do better.

As Attorney General, I will work with the legislature and with treatment experts, police chiefs, district attorneys, and sheriffs to craft a new drug treatment and prevention program for Oregon. This program will focus on proven strategies like education in schools and treatment for young adults, for parents, and for every inmate in prison who needs it. This is the right thing to do, and it will save the taxpayers money. For every dollar we invest in treatment, we will save nearly six dollars (pdf) by bringing down the crime and incarceration rates.

Targeting the Big Drug Cartels

As Attorney General, I will also take on the big drug cartels that are shipping meth into our state. Back in 2005, under Governor Kulongoski's leadership, Oregon put pseudoephedrine cold medicines behind the counters at our state's pharmacies. This was a good law, because it dramatically cut the number of small meth labs operating in the state. Unfortunately, we did nothing to address the intense demand for the drug. As a result, sophisticated drug cartels have stepped in to fill the gap.

The Attorney General has statutory responsibility for organized crime in the state, and that includes big drug trafficking groups. I will revitalize the office's organized crime section and get that unit focused on tackling the drug cartels. We will provide investigative support to the district attorneys and other law enforcement agencies, and use the district attorney's assistance program to help convict big dealers and send them to prison.

Sensible Sentencing Policies

I believe in mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes like rape and murder. I am, however, strongly opposed to extending mandatory minimums to drug possession or first time property offenses. I oppose this because I know, as a former federal prosecutor, that extending mandatory minimums to these offenses is poor law enforcement policy. It will cost us hundreds of millions of dollars and it will not make us safer.

My Law Enforcement Record

My experiences as a federal prosecutor have shaped my ideas on protecting public safety. I represented the United States in court over 1000 times, won cases against mafia killers and drug kingpins, and helped prosecute crooked Enron executives. In 1999, I received the Director's Award from U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno for my work. I also received awards and commendations from the State Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    For whatever it may be worth..., as a recovering meth addict closing in on 20 years clean, I emphatically agree with your proposed solutions.

  • (Show?)

    Yeah, steps "1" & "2" are both good and sane policy proposals, but I think we need a step "3" perhaps in the "1" position.

    Honest and effective drug education. It's never been done in this country or in this state.

    People who have never "been there" thrash around among the various anti-drug mythologies and omissions, and come up with education programs for junior high and high school students that include so much manifestly false and stupid ideas, that the general reaction of students is ridicule, and boredom. When they get past the mythology in the Lighter Stuff completely unscathed, they then pay no attention to warnings about the Really Dangerous Stuff.

    We've got Buggy Whip manufacturers driving space exploration policy based on their extremely cloudy grasp of rocket ship design.

    <hr/>

    And yes, when I challenged Kroger on this at the HD meeting, he challenged me right back to participate in crafting such a program, and I took him up on it.

    We shall see.

  • (Show?)

    Mr. Kroger, if you are elected, I hope that you will approach the Oregon Pubic Health Association with respect to the treatment aspects of what you're aiming at. Possibly you include that already under "treatment experts." But there is an issue that would fall under the public health fields of outreach, health education and health promotion, which are not strictly about administering treatment, but could be highly useful if you're really going to take a preventive approach that tries to bring in addicts before they're brought in by contact with the police and judicial system.

    You seem to frame it correctly as both a public health and judicial problem, with "safety" involving both dimensions.

    This seems like a well thought and balanced program. Thanks for elucidating it.

  • Ron (unverified)
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    John Kroger is on meth?! Who says blogs can't break news?

    Sorry John, couldn't resist. On a serious note, this is a fine post and I had already planned to vote for you.

  • (Show?)

    I'm proud to support Kroger. He's the only candidate with the experience to make a difference and his aggressive, thoughtful proposal is what Oregon needs.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Ron | Jan 3, 2008 11:29:23 AM John Kroger is on meth?! Who says blogs can't break news?

    My thoughts exactly. What unfortunate word-smithing on the headline. Certainly made me do a double take.

  • (Show?)

    Forgot to add, I am leaning towards Kroger in the race, but as with the Senate race, we have two outstanding candidates, and almost embarrassment of riches if you will... either of which would do a solid, if not outstanding job for Oregonians.

  • Questions (unverified)
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    "I am, however, strongly opposed to extending mandatory minimums to . . . first time property offenses."

    Does this mean that Kroger supports mandatory minimum sentences for repeat property offenses, like three-strikes laws?

    "I believe in mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes like rape and murder."

    How about other so-called violent crimes, like third-degree assault? Does Kroger only support mandatory minimum sentences for the most heinous violent crimes, or for all physical crimes?

    I kind of wish I didn't have to read between the lines to understand Kroger's policy positions. What is he hiding?

  • DW (unverified)
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    Back in 2005, under Governor Kulongoski's leadership, Oregon put pseudoephedrine cold medicines behind the counters at our state's pharmacies.

    Wasn't that legislation also spearheaded by Greg Macpherson? Kroger, you have a long way to go before you can call yourself "experienced." I'm solidly with Macpherson. Kroger brings nothing new to the discussion but for promises he'll never be able to keep.

  • Second Question (unverified)
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    If Macpherson has a plan, he should offer it. Unfortunately, so far his campaign has been focused on the amount of time he and Kroger lived in Oregon and innuendo about Kroger’s policies and qualification. Kroger has a plan for the meth problem, Macpherson does not; Kroger has a plan for the environment, Macpherson does not. More likely than not one of these two people will be AG and I hope both have a plan for the problems facing the state. Unfortunately, that has not been the case thus far.

  • (Show?)

    John, thanks for posting this. Can you comment on the court case about dams on the Columbia River system, currently working through the courts? According to the Oregonian last month, Attorney General Myers's office has been one of the strongest critics of the Bush administration in this complex case:

      [Judge Redden] underscored many of the concerns the State of Oregon, Native American tribes on the lower Columbia River and conservation groups voiced in their court filings. Oregon officials have been some of the strongest critics of the federal approach, telling the judge that the federal plan "manipulates science to justify policy objectives that subordinate the needs of protected fish.

      "Indeed, in some significant respects, the new plan provides even less protection for listed fish than did its predecessor," David Leith, an Oregon Department of Justice attorney, wrote on behalf of Attorney General Hardy Myers.

      Judge rips latest plan to help salmon, 12/11/07

    How would an AG office under your leadership approach this case?

    On sentencing, would you support the repeal of 1994's Measure 10, which requires a 2/3 majority in both houses of the legislature to modify Measure 11's provisions?

  • LT (unverified)
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    Kroger's post says, "Back in 2005, under Governor Kulongoski's leadership, Oregon put pseudoephedrine cold medicines behind the counters at our state's pharmacies."

    In the 2005 session, the words "Kulongoski" and "leadership" were not used by the people making the "where's Waldo" jokes. The Gov. was mostly behind the scenes, letting Speaker Minnis require that decision making not be done out in the open, but in small rooms behind closed doors. It was a bad situation all around, led to people not trusting him in the 2006 election. It probably also helped Democrats win the House in the 2006 election. If Kroger has contacts in the legislature who tell him that Ted K. was pushing that bill more than legislators, we should all be let in on that.

    What I remember was LEGISLATORS pushing for cold medicines behind the counter. There was lots of proposed legislation on that topic listed on the legislative website, and House Bill 2485 which passed into law has just about every legislator listed as a co-sponsor.

    Which House member carried the bill in committee and on the House floor I can't vouch for, but the idea that Gov. Ted provided leadership on this or any other issue in 2005 is questionable.

  • BCM (unverified)
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    Lot's of talk about meth, John, not a lot of talk about the most used drug in the state: marijuana.

    It looks like we'll vote on some form of legalization in Portland during the next AG's term: what's your stance?

  • mamasmad (unverified)
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    I hear a lot of legislators talking about how they'll push to stop the war on drugs. I hear how they'll push for money to help addicts kick the drug, educate kids and others about the dangers of drugs, and stop drugs at the border. However, I don't hear anything about helping those those who own homes that were used as meth labs. Who is going to help the "forgotten innocent victims", who are being abandoned by their government?

    I am not an Oregonian, but I have a great interest in the meth lab problem in every state in the Union. Please visit the site that I started for my son and his family and read his story. It is the story of many, innocent homeowners, across the country. The system will continue to be broken until it helps the innocent home owners, who unknowingly bought contaminated homes. Should they and their children be made to bear the health risks and financial burden that someone else created? Please help me spread the word about an extremely important issue facing thousands of people across the U.S.

    Thank you. I appreciate any information or help that you can give to this very important matter.

  • mamasmad (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I hear a lot of legislators talking about how they'll push to stop the war on drugs. I hear how they'll push for money to help addicts kick the drug, educate kids and others about the dangers of drugs, and stop drugs at the border. However, I don't hear anything about helping those those who own homes that were used as meth labs. Who is going to help the "forgotten innocent victims", who are being abandoned by their government?

    I am not an Oregonian, but I have a great interest in the meth lab problem in every state in the Union. Please visit the site that I started for my son and his family and read his story. www.methlabhomes.wordpress.com My son's story is the story of many, innocent homeowners, across the country. The system will continue to be broken until it helps the innocent home owners, who unknowingly bought contaminated homes. Should they and their children be made to bear the health risks and financial burden that someone else created? Please help me spread the word about an extremely important issue facing thousands of people across the U.S.

    Thank you. I appreciate any information or help that you can give to this very important matter.

  • No On Kroger (unverified)
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    Frankly, if I wanted to vote for someone who raises concerns that he or she suffers from the character defects that suit him to be a prosecutor in the first place, as this post does, I'd vote Republican. That's why I don't vote Republican and why I see no reason to vote for someone who raises obvious concerns along these lines like Kroger. And I also can't imagine ever voting for a baby-boomer corporate lawyer for anything, except as a juror to convict if given the privilege.

    I'm wondering if anybody wants to comment about credible Greens, independents, or even progressive Libertarians for AG? As a lifelong Democrat who has a creeping feeling it is time to face up to the fact this may have become a self-destructive addiction, and go "cold turkey" to vote against Democrats and Republicans who really have turned their back on the best of what both those parties used to stand for.

  • A. Rab. (unverified)
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    “NOK,” You are way off the mark about Kroger. I am supporting Kroger because he believes in the same values that brought me to the Democratic Party. He believes that it is possible to use the institutions of government to help people: creating a collective good by cleaning and preserving the environment, helping those in a spiral of addiction take control of their lives, defending civil rights, and protecting the most vulnerable members of society against harm.

    P.S. By definition, there is no such thing as a “progressive libertarian.” Progressive ideology believes that politics, through government, can be used to improve society. Under this view, individual liberty and collective goods can be enhanced or created by government action. Libertarian ideology, in contrast, believes that society is perfected in the pre-institutional “state of nature.” Under this view, governmental power is naturally corrosive to both individual liberty and collective goods (except in a few narrow, special cases).

  • tcouver (unverified)
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    Dear John Kroger,

    Your post is appreciated, thank you.

    You state: "As Attorney General, I will work with the legislature and with treatment experts, police chiefs, district attorneys, and sheriffs to craft a new drug treatment and prevention program for Oregon."

    Have you given any consideration to including attorneys who represent drug-dependent/addicted persons in the crafting of a new drug treatment and prevention policy?

    What I am suggesting for INCLUSION in the group that you say you will work with -- as AG -- on this critical issue -- maybe seek the advice and insight of the many attorneys who represent parents whose parental rights are subject to termination because of addiction, attorneys representing the children in such court proceedings and the attorneys who represent individuals in the criminal justice system where there is a clear need for enhanced treatment availability. These attorneys and their experiences are a huge resource.

    In Multnomah County, I recently heard from a very credible source that, on average, there are 50 people in jail on any given day who are awaiting a "slot" or an opportunity for substance abuse treatment.

    Bottom line -- defense attorneys have a significant amount to add to the "group" that you intend to work with to increase and improve drug treatment and prevention. Will you include them in your group?

  • Pennoyer (unverified)
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    This looks like a post ghost-written by a staffer, since Kroger hasn't bothered to respond to any of the questions posed - many of them quite reasonable.

    Does he even know he blogged on BlueOregon today?

    For the record, here's the questions posed above and ignored by Kroger:

    Does this mean that Kroger supports mandatory minimum sentences for repeat property offenses, like three-strikes laws? Does Kroger only support mandatory minimum sentences for the most heinous violent crimes, or for all physical crimes? Can you comment on the court case about dams on the Columbia River system, currently working through the courts? On sentencing, would you support the repeal of 1994's Measure 10, which requires a 2/3 majority in both houses of the legislature to modify Measure 11's provisions? It looks like we'll vote on some form of legalization [of marijuana] in Portland during the next AG's term: what's your stance? I don't hear anything about helping those those who own homes that were used as meth labs. Who is going to help the "forgotten innocent victims", who are being abandoned by their government? Have you given any consideration to including attorneys who represent drug-dependent/addicted persons in the crafting of a new drug treatment and prevention policy?

    We're waiting.

  • (Show?)

    Last year I had the opportunity to sit down with John Kroger and talk to him for about an hour. While he had plenty of great ideas on how the AG's office could be improved, he was also extremely willing to listen to new ideas and how to improve upon the plans he already was formulating in his head. Based on my experience, I'd think that Kroger will be reading the suggestions from folks like tcouver and Chris Lowe thoroughly and seeing how they can work into his ideas.

  • Zoraida (unverified)
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    As an Oregonian against mandatory sentencing, how will you represent me. How will you participate in reforming Measure 11 so it really does work like Oregonians think it does? How do you feel about retro earned good time? more jobs, and job training? Do you know how many Vocational Training opportunities have been taken out of the prison system? Who does that help, the inmates? the prison system? How will our State afford Kevin Mannix's new brainstorm, mandatory sentencing for property crimes, should it pass? It is responsible to support such a ballot measured when it is pretty obvious how costly it will be?

    Hardy Meyer said he supported repeal, then dropped support just as we were going to vote in 2000. How will you use this opportunity to really make a positive difference?

  • Dave & Brenda Carney (unverified)
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    Welcome to a nightmare. It is a nightmare that many Oregon families live everyday. This nightmare tears apart families, destroys almost any hope of recovery, and is entirely unforgiving. The nightmare that I refer to is one of self inflection. It is self inflection first by mistake, but impounded by ignorance.

    I don’t believe that there is one reader that would not acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes. We have all made mistakes. We have all sat at the intersection, looked both ways, and proceeded to pull into an intersection only to realize that we were pulling into traffic that we did not see. We have all made poor financial decisions, we have all blamed someone for something that they did not do, we have all hurt someone accidentally by something that we said, and we have all hoped for forgiveness for our one mistake. I also believe that every reader understands the concept of forgiveness. Mistakes happen, and often times these mistakes can be forgiven and corrected.

    Imagine now, a world where first time mistakes were not forgiven. Imagine that every mistake made in life carried an opposite and unequal reaction. If an infant were to place something into his or her mouth should we cut out his or her tongue? We all have cringed after hearing about laws in other countries. We hear stories from other countries that wives are killed for adultery or that thieves have their hand removed. In the history of our own country, we cannot believe that we ever tortured people until they admitted that they were witches or enslaved groups of people because we felt that they were inferior.

    Is it possible that we are still ignorant enough to pass laws where the punishment does not fit the crime? Could we have not learned anything from history and still create injustice from justice. The nightmare that the families live in Oregon is just that. In the name of Justice, the voters of Oregon were convinced to vote for a law that they were told would make them safer. They were told that they could vote for a law that would take habitual criminals off of the street before they could hurt them, and the voters of Oregon believe them. In the name of justice, the voters of Oregon trusted law makers and voted for Measure 11 November, 1994.

    The voters of Oregon were told that this law would stop repeat offenders from committing violent crimes. Oregon voters responded to fear tactics and decided that they would not get mugged, raped, murdered, or assaulted if they voted for this law. Measure 11 assured that violent offenders would be sentenced to minimum sentences with no possibility of early release. They were persuaded using fear tactics. Who would not want to send a violent criminal to prison for a minimum of 5 years 10 months? Of course, people think of getting held up at an ATM machine by a gang of thugs who are carrying guns, bats, and crowbars and being beaten and left for dead along the road. Maybe voters thought about their 10 year old daughter being raped by some pedophile. What ever the case, we think that these criminals should be locked up and throw away the keys, right?

    Maybe this was all put in place by well minded people. Maybe they really did think they were making the world a better place. I am sure that the Oregon voters that voted for the law felt that way, but what if they had been shown the other side of the coin? What if they realized that they were voting for a law that could sentence their child or grandchild to more than 5 years in prison without the possibility of early release because of a sports fight? What if their own innocent child made one mistake and was placed into the system with all the rapists, murderers, and pedophiles? Is it possible that this law could be that unforgiving? The answer to that question is a resounding yes!

    What Oregon voters were not aware of was that they were voting for a law that left judges no room for common sense. A judge could not look at the crime and determine that it was a first time mistake and the offender could most likely be reprimanded in a way that would teach him/her the lesson that needed to be taught. The judge has no room to say that a fight on the football field was a first offence committed by someone that had not matured enough to understand control over his actions in extremely volatile situations. If this situation happened and the offender was found guilty the judge would have no recourse but to sentence the individual to the full sentence.

    Although I do not live in Oregon, I do hold in a stake in this holding. Even though I do not live in Oregon, my wife is a native of Oregon. About five years ago, my wife and my stepson were telling me about this law. As they explained it, they referred to it by name and explained that if two young men got into a fight and one were injured during the event then the other could be charged and sent to prison from 5 years 10 months to 7 years 6 months without the possibility of early release. I remember thinking that there is no place in the world that could violate someone’s civil liberties like that. I know that I told my wife and stepson that just could not be possible in this country. I was sure that they misunderstood and figured that it was just like the local junkyard dog that the stories kept growing until the poodle became Bigfoot.

    Many months after this conversation took place my wife and I were debating about allowing my stepson to go visit his father. I know that seems like a selfish or ignorant statement, but we did not have much trust in his father. There was a history with my stepson’s father and drugs that scared my wife and I. The problem was that my stepson was soon going to turn 18. As an adult, he would have the right to visit anyone he wanted. To compound this issue was the fact that we all believed that my stepson’s father had been diagnosed with colon cancer and the outlook was not good. We talked with his father and honestly believed that the cancer had straightened him out. At the age that my stepson was at and the way that we wanted to raise him, we felt it best to show trust in his young adult judgment and allow him to go visit. I guess that I can say that is when I quit trusting my own judgment and our nightmare began.

    My stepson packed very little. We had all the contact numbers that we believed that we would need, and we made contact with everyone that we could to assure that everything was okay. I can honestly say that nothing alarming happened for the month that led up to his trip. We took my stepson to the airport with his luggage and round trip plane ticket and had our goodbyes. I remember that he reminded me of things to take care of for him while he was gone. My stepson seemed cheerful as he departed into the terminal, but I glimpsed a small look of worry upon my wife’s beautiful face. The one thing that hurts me most today is remembering how I placed my arm around her and said that “everything would be okay”.

    Everything was not okay. Everything did not go wrong right away, but I know now that I made the worst mistake in my life. When my stepson first arrived in Oregon, he called like the responsible young man that he is. For the next two weeks he kept in constant contact. During the conversations, he assured us that his dad was not doing drugs, but he was not in good health. We called often and were able to get a hold of him almost every time we tried. He called us on October 15, 2005, his birthday, and said that he was doing fine and was happy that he turned 18 that day. We had a great conversation with him and wished him a happy birthday. We explained that we were excited to see him and celebrate his birth day on November 1, the day he was to return.

    After October 15, my stepson fell off of the face of the earth. We did not hear from him the next day, and when we tried to call him at the house where he had been staying, we began to hear stories. Immediately we became concerned, but we were also shocked. We had been convinced that everything was going great and we would be seeing him soon. The stories we were hearing were that my stepson’s father was not off of the drugs as had been reported. Instead, while my stepson was trying to get his father to clean up and straighten up, his father had influenced him. My wife and I did not want to believe that. We had heard about the drugs that my stepson’s father had been using and we were told that they were very addictive. It was not that we did not believe that a son could not be influenced by his father to do something stupid, but we did not want to believe that it happened to our boy.

    For days on end, we would call to try to find where he was staying. We followed one lead after another, and my wife contacted her friends in the area to look for him. We called the police on numerous occasions. We explained what our situation was to the police several times and asked if we could file a missing persons report, or if they could help us get him off the street and away from his father before things got out of hand. The police responded to us by saying that an 18 year old could go missing if he chose to, and he could even be involved in drugs unless he got caught. When we asked the police if there was any way that we could get their help to stop this situation before our son got into more serious trouble or got hurt, the police said that they were too busy to help prevent a crime, but would respond if he broke the law.

    My stepson did call. Just now and again, we would get a call from him and he would ask for money and help. Although we were worried, we knew that we should not send him money if there was any possibility that he was tied up in addictive drugs. We offered to buy him a new plane ticket, to have someone come pick him up, or even to reserve and pay for a hotel room for him to go check in to, but he was not the same and he would explain to us that he was in need of help, but he would hang up soon after. This would happen now and again, and my wife and I were stuck. We did not know where to even start to look for him, everyone that we had looking for him would not locate him, and we could get no assistance from the police. At the time, our worry was not that he would be picked up by the police, but weather or not he was even alive. We actually hoped that he would get caught with drugs and placed in jail where we would know that he was alive.

    Our wish was granted when we called the Multnomah County Jail to see if there was any possibility that he may have been picked up and taken into custody. Somehow, we were actually shocked when my wife asked if they had him in custody and the response was yes. He had been picked up for possession of drugs. My wife quickly explained what we had been going through and said that we would fly up and receive him from their custody so that we could place him in a rehabilitation center in Oklahoma. The jail informed my wife that he was scheduled to be in jail until his court hearing, but they could not guarantee that he would not be cycled out of the system in order to make room for more serious offenders. There was nothing that we could do that evening because it was late so we woke up the next morning to make plans. My wife called the jail again only to learn that he had been released at 3:00 A.M. to make room in the jail. My wife asked the jail clerk if they had any information about where he might have gone. The jail clerk gave us an address. We checked the address only to learn that he was not there and they had never heard of him.

    Once again, we went into search mode, but we knew that we could only depend on the police if our son broke the law again. This went on for a couple of months. We would get the occasional call from our son, but he would only say that he was in trouble and needed help, and we would refuse money because we knew that it would probably be used on drugs. We knew that we only had a short time in the prevention mode, but we also knew that we needed to find him. Our son was in hiding from us and the police because he was involved in addictive drugs, and we could not help him because he needed to want to help himself and we had to find him in order to have any influence on him whatsoever.

    We never got the chance to help him in any positive way. Our son was picked up for robbery and placed in jail to await trial. He and another young man entered a public bus and tried to sell drugs to two other young men. After giving the two young men the drugs that they wanted, they informed our son and his accomplice that they did not have any money to pay. Our son and his accomplice told the other two young men that they would pay for the drugs and the young men responded by giving a CD player and a beanie cap. Our son and his accomplice left the bus and the other two young men reported to the police that they were held up at gun point.

    When our son and his accomplice caught wind that they were wanted for robbery, they split up and went into hiding. The young man that was with our son was picked up the same night with the CD player and the beanie cap in his possession. The police found our son’s coat but were not able to find him for two months and twenty-two days. No gun was ever found, and the young man with our son gave up the name of our son in a deal to reduce his time.

    Our son was given a state appointed attorney and he planned on fighting the charges by saying that it was not him. When he realized that that was not going to work, he decided to try to make a deal. He thought he would get in more trouble by saying that he was dealing drugs so he started making a deal figuring that they would get him for theft of some small dollar items in a public place. No gun was involved as the two young men had claimed and even though the bus system had it on camera, there was no evidence of any weapon at all.

    The District Attorney did not care what evidence was available. District Attorneys make their name by being tough on crime. The way that this District Attorney, John Copek, did his job was to threaten our son into submission. Of course, we are all proud to live in a free country that gives us rights and protections against wrongful prosecution. This fact makes us feel safe and makes us believe that only the guilty go to jail or prison. Our son had just turned 18 years old, we did not have the $25,000 that attorneys said it would take to fight measure 11, and he was assigned an inexperienced public attorney who was not making any money off of the case so she was definitely not going to spend the money a paid attorney would to hire a private investigator. John Copek told our son that he was going to prosecute for Robbery I, but he would accept a plea for Robbery II. Copek was not going to accept a non-measure 11 for this offence, and Copek, the Public Defender, and the Judge all told our son that he would be given the maximum sentence if he fought and lost the case. In fear of receiving a longer sentence, our son conceded and pleaded guilty to Robbery II.

    Don’t get me wrong. My wife and I are against theft, robbery, and crime in general. I do not want to have my things stolen, but I don’t think that I should be able to falsely accuse someone of theft because I have some problem with them and have that person sentenced to prison. Many people may read this and say “I am sure that they had enough evidence against your son to prove that he was a violent criminal”, but that just was not the case. The drug deal that took place on the bus was filmed by security camera. On that film, two young men sat across from two other young men for a few minutes. After a few minutes passed, two of the young men got up and walked off the bus. There were other people on the bus and none reacted to anything that happened. When the “victims” reported the crime, there were no other witnesses. The “victims” said that their “assailants” had a gun under a bandana and that they could tell by the tip sticking out that it was a hand gun. I would like to point out that my son’s coat was found, all the stolen items were recovered when my son’s accomplice was caught, the area was searched and investigated, and no gun or bandana matching the description was ever found. My son’s accomplice did not get rid of any of the stolen evidence so why would he have gotten rid of a gun and bandana. My son got rid of his jacket when he learned that the police were looking for him and left his gloves in the pocket, but no gun or bandana was ever found. A reward was placed for information leading to the arrest of my son, but when the police received information on his whereabouts, no gun was ever mentioned. The obvious conclusion is that there was no gun, and no bandana. The security camera showed no display of violence and no witnesses came forward from the bus to collaborate any reports of violence. With no evidence of violence, threat, or a weapon, John Copek demanded a plea to a minimum of Robbery II so that Measure 11 violent crimes law would assure a maximum sentence with no possibility of early release. All of this based was on word versus word.

    Based on this type of Justice, I can claim that I was threatened by every person that I do not like and have them face a choice of paying $25,000 to defend themselves unless they want to plead guilty to a lesser charge that until places them in prison for a minimum sentence. Are we all having visions of the Midnight Train and Turkish prisons?

  • Dave & Brenda Carney (unverified)
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    The comment posted above is just the introduction of a book that will soon be released. It does not only talk about the communist state we have become, it also will show facts of an epidemic that is out of control due to a communist law.

  • Dave & Brenda Carney (unverified)
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    If we had control over the epidemic that haunts us, and our police were out to prevent crimes and jail those caught with meth, with longer sentencing, then we would not have over crowded prisons with the communist law "Measure 11". We need to go to the root of the problem that continues to over crowd our prisons, and put our tax dollars where they should be.

  • No On Kroger (unverified)
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    A. Rab - It's instructive that the testimonials here are about how Kroger massaged their egos by letting them talk about their views, which in many cases are not a policy match with his stated goals and policies, can just indicate he may have teaching skills. That is, he can lead people to see it his way through a certain approach that also happens to be what can make one a good classroom teacher or a prosecutor.

    Since we all change as we learn, he very well may be a good AG some time in the future, but what he chose to put forward in his own post (and he hasn't dismissed Marquis's endorsement which has the same themes) demonstrates character qualities that suited him to be a prosecutor and raise red flags why he would not be a good AG right now. State AGs have a different role in our system, and is not good for the state to have constitutional officers who run for an office not because they want to do the job required in the office, but because their character leads them to see the office as a platform or springboard for whatever else it is they personally want to do, as has happened too many times in recent years. (It's also not good to have constitutional officers who don't think they have to do much of anything in the office, which is the other problem we have had at times.)

    As far as "progressive Libertarians", spare us the pedantism. Perhaps I should have used a small "l"; there is a long history of progressive libertarian thinking from the founding of the country on. When I said "progressive Libertarian" I was asking if there was anyone who might identify with that longer tradition considering running for AG.

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    It's instructive that the testimonials here are about how Kroger massaged their egos by letting them talk about their views, which in many cases are not a policy match with his stated goals and policies, can just indicate he may have teaching skills.

    Actually, it was more than listening. Upon hearing some of the areas I think the AG's office should work harder on, Kroger immediately had input on how that would work, where in the AG's office that issue fit in, what could be done, etc. He wasn't just letting me talk.

    But only about 25% of the conversation was me talking to him. The vast bulk of the conversation was on his views on the AG's office, what areas is needs to improve on, etc. Much of what he said fit right in with my views on the AG's office and my experience with AG offices in other states.

  • No On Kroger (unverified)
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    Jenni, we get it, Kroger mentored you like a teacher would, and you found that ego-affirming. Your literalism in your response to the quote illustrates why you don't get the point.

    What does anyone think a prosecutor does in trying to teach the jury his/her view of a case? As I think we have seen over the last decade as DNA testing has given us the unique chance to experimentally test the judgement of prosecutors, there is a big difference between being able to teach someone a view and actually having a true commitment to the facts.

    First we had a war on drugs then we had a war on terrorism, both of which Kroger prominently indicates in his campaign statements he felt a personal need to participate directly in, seeminly in that specific way on the side of "good" too many prosecutors believe they do. But both are just propagandistic frames that are ultimately meaningless and frequently counterproductive.

    It is completely unclear from the record what Kroger actually did that can be counted as positive. Even if he did have a truly enlightened perspective. He still may make a great prosecutor, but that's not what he is running for now and be a good law professor. But sadly, what we seem to have on Blue Oregon is a lack of understanding what it even means to do critical thinking when it actually comes to assessing candidates for the office they are running for now (most of you really can't be blamed for that, you're just a product of your time and place), because people are just so desparate to be recognized in the debate.

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    Jenni, we get it, Kroger mentored you like a teacher would, and you found that ego-affirming. Your literalism in your response to the quote illustrates why you don't get the point.

    Actually, you don't get it. You just assume that we like him because he stroked our ego. I have years of experience in interviewing people and questioning them, so I get a lot more out of a conversation than my ego stroked. When given the chance to sit down and talk with a candidate, I typically have a list of questions all ready to be asked. Unlike today's journalists, I actually ask hard questions and not the crappy ones they do now. And Kroger did a great job in answering the questions.

    He didn't mentor me. And he didn't do anything to inflate my ego.

    Trying to stroke my ego isn't a quick way to get my support. It actually makes me uncomfortable, which isn't a good way to get my support.

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    No On Kroger: And I also can't imagine ever voting for a baby-boomer corporate lawyer for anything, except as a juror to convict if given the privilege.

    Well I'm guess you're going to be sitting this one out, N.O.K., because "corporate lawyer" is exactly what Greg Macpherson is. He works for Stoel Rives, the firm that, when John Kroger was prosecuting Enron, had the lucrative task of defending them.

    Now I think that's unfair because Greg didn't have anything directly to do with defending Enron himself, and I don't believe in guilt by association. (And everyone has the right to a defense lawyer.) But if you are someone who sees big-name-lawfirm corporate culture as corrupting everyone who comes under its influence, then you're definitely not going to want to vote for him.

    Good luck in finding someone you do find acceptable, N.O.K.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    I just gave money to Greg Macpherson's campaign, in part due to this post. From this post, Mr. Kroger's view of the position of Attorney General is myopic and incorrect -- all about criminal law enforcement. It is my understanding that the Attorney General is nominally involved in criminal prosecutions -- that's the job of police departments and District Attorneys from across the State. The DoJ does so much more than appeals from criminal prosecutions (like providing lawyers for every state agency). And as for legislative or policy changes to drug enforcement, that's a legislative job first and foremost, a job that Mr. Kroger has not held.

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    A. rab,

    I am that non-existent Progressive Libertarian.

    I believe in the self sufficient, moral man interacting with society in a positive manner. The tradition goes back to John Locke, through Edmund Burke and Adam Smith, to Tom Paine, and others of the founders.

    My beliefs are not individual/anarchist or anti-gummint, but they are strong on incenting individuals toward self-empowerment by encouraging them to adopt behaviors that benefit them and society as a whole. (You know, kind of like what Adam Smith actually taught.)

    Obviously you have bought into the Ayn Rand/Objectivist having defined themselves as "libertarians" and if they are, there had better be a big fat NEO in front of their ID.

    None of the early libertarian pioneers would recognize these greed heads.

    <hr/>

    As for the Kroger/McPherson thing, Steve M. sums it up nicely.

  • A. Rab. (unverified)
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    Jonathan, I think you misunderstand Kroger’s campaign in two ways. First of all, criminal law is not the be all and end all of Kroger’s campaign. This post was about criminal law because that has been a recent topic on Blue Oregon in regards to the AG race. Environmental protections, consumer protection, child support, and civil rights are all key components of his platform. However, beyond this point, I think you misstate Kroger’s rational for emphasizing the role of enforcing laws (civil and criminal).

    The Oregon Attorney Generally has traditionally been focused on an advisory role, but the statutory powers do not require the office to be limited to that purpose. Kroger’s point about enforcement is that it is possible to view the Attorney General in a different light. I have found the Kroger and Macpherson match up interesting because it is a rare example of two candidates having very different ideas of what an office should do. You don’t see that very often in a race, let alone in a primary. This primary presents a true choice: Macpherson wants an Attorney General that focuses on advising, a sort of “corporate counsel” for the state; Kroger wants to be an Attorney General that is actively working to protect the environment, create a state solution to the meth problem, and reform child support.

    Off topic P.S. Pat: I think we may be disagreeing about labels but I don’t think are views are that far apart. Strictly speaking, I am not sure you are a libertarian. I agree that traditional liberal thought (particularly the Anglo-American liberal tradition) has a deep small government philosophy, as demonstrated by Locke, Smith, and most of the American Founders. However, I don’t think this is really libertarian. Instead, that tradition (to some extent exemplified by Burke) is really the foundation of the Anglo-American conservative tradition (what continental Europeans would call “liberalism”). I agree that Objectivist are not libertarian because while they believe in the corrosive power of governmental institutions, they ignore the power of non-governmental institutions, particularly corporations. As I understand it, libertarians reject all large institutions as dangerous to individual liberty. All that said, I think we are mostly in agreement, except for the labels we attach to the philosophies (and I am enough of a nerd that I really enjoy being able to talk about political philosophy on a blog post).

  • A. Rab. (unverified)
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    Of course the P.S. should be "our views"

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    A.Rab. I didn't misunderstand this post. And then I looked at page one of his website -- all crime, all meth, all the time.
    Then I dug further, and found "John's Promise," which demonstrates an utter lack of knowledge about the importance of delegation, and seems to ignore the many DoJ lawyers who have oodles more experience than Mr. Kroger on the diverse range of issues that they confront daily:

    John’s Promise “As an experienced prosecutor, I am ready to represent you and your family. If anyone threatens the rights of Oregonians, I won’t send a deputy to argue the case – I will go to court myself.”

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    And here's a curious thing. The Oregon State Bar finally lists Mr. Kroger as an Oregon lawyer. The person with the bar number right after his is Harry Wilson, whose email address is [email protected]; that seems a little bizarre to me. Then, in OSB No. sequence, there are two more admittees. And that's it. Mr. Kroger is the fourth-to-last admittee (at least in terms of bar numbers).

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    JR -- That does seem a little bizarre. Perhaps it's related to the way that the OSB processes its paperwork. If Wilson and Kroger submitted their paperwork simultaneously, it's possible it was processed consecutively.

    Wilson, btw, is his deputy campaign manager - and was one of his law students. Nice guy.

  • A. Rab. (unverified)
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    Jonathan, We must have different ideas of what “all the time” means. Yes, the first entry on the page is about meth, it’s a reprint of this post. However, the second entry is about the environment, the third is a link to the cover story about him in Eugene Weekly, and the final entry on the front is the Kitzhaber endorsement. On the priorities page, the meth thing is one of five priorities, along with environmental protection, child support enforcement, consumer protection, and civil rights/pro-choice rights. I don’t think that one out of four on the front page, and one out of five on the priorities page is “all the time,” but we will just disagree on that.

    FYI, I asked about the Bar admitting thing, and yeah, it was a weird way the paper work was processed, just one of those things that happens, and yes, Harry is one of the nicest guys you will meet.

  • Marty Wilde (unverified)
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    Funding treatment is a good idea. Enforcing a requirement for treatment is even better. The problem I see in the system is that it relies on admitted drug addicts to get motivated to attend outpatient treatment, then it takes a very long time to actually hold them accountable for not doing it. This isn't good for the system or the addicts.

    So, let's fund treatment, but let's also enforce it. Give addicts a choice - do inpatient treatment at public expense, or do a jail sentence of at least the same duration. It's a worthwhile investment of public resources. Putting addicts on probation before they do treatment is a waste of time and benefits no one.

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    I agree with Marty! A "get out of jail free" card is next to useless in terms of rehabilitating addicts. Presenting them with a "lessor of two evils" scenario where there are hard consequences for poor choices would be vastly more effective, IMO. Although I would hasten to add that in-patient treatment has it's advantages over out-patient treatment. It's not necessary for everyone but ought to be part of the choices for prosecutors and whomever is advising them on addicts.

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    Perhaps the experience of someone who has actually been through drug rehab would be informative here...

    FWIW I don't know a single addict or alcoholic who would, in hindsight, say that they went into treatment for what they see now as "good" reasons. Invariably we accept rehab because it's the lessor of two evils. More often than not, in my experience, it's to placate someone or to avoid losing something that we're not willing to part with... if we can help it. Active addicts are incredibly self-centered. That's just the way it is. Maturity comes with time and effort, in my experience. But at the point we are talking about here - that initial interfacing with the legal system - nobody should assume anything more than that hard consequences will have much hope of producing desirable results. Even then only a percentage will get their act together.

  • JenS (unverified)
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    I will work with the legislature and with treatment experts, police chiefs, district attorneys, and sheriffs to craft a new drug treatment and prevention program for Oregon

    I agree with alot of Johns ideas and from someone in recovery can see alot of potential in them. However I would like to point out to John that he left out a group of people that could definately help in crafting a new program. Recovering Addicts, alot of people are trained to work with addicts but sometimes it takes someone in recovery to Really understand where someone in active addiction is coming from.

  • Robert Harris (unverified)
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    Honestly, everyone involved in the criminal justice system (except for a handful of Dep DA's that I know) believes that we need more Drug treatment. Judges, Most DA's, probation and parole, defense attorneys. Mr Kroger is correct, but he is not ahead of anyone on this issue, except, like I said, some Dep DA's and perhaps some legislators. But good for him.

    No one who wants to be AG is going to come out against Measure 11, or propose any serious changes to the law.

    But, here are two Oregon Supreme court cases that came down this week on M11 cases. I wonder if Mr. Kroger and Mr. McPherson would consider reading them and commenting on how M11 was used in these cases.

    State v. Rodriguez. In Washington county. Young woman working at Boys and Girls Club is accused of sex abuse 1 for various contact with a 13 year old boy. The one act the jury believes she did was when she was messaging his temples. Him sitting in front of her and his head touched her clothed breasts. She says if did it was accidental. Jury believed it wasn't accidental and was for her sexual gratification (element of the crime) Judge refuses to impose the M11 sentence saying it was cruel and unusual punishment. Standard is that the sentence must shock all reasonable people. Supreme Court says that 75 months in prison would not shock all reasonable people. So Ms. Rodriguez is serving 75 months, no parole, good time, early release of programs.

    State v. Buck. Mr. Buck sitting next to girl who is one month shy of 14 years old. Her buttocks rolled onto top of his hand, and he didn't move it. It happened a couple more times. Victim stands up and Mr. Buck brushed some dirt off of victims shorts. Had victim been one month older, it would have been a misdemeanor. Because of her age its Sex abuse 1. Mr. Buck also gets 75 months in prison, no release, parole, good time, programs. Again, apprently that sentence would not shock all reasonable people.

    A question here. Legislation has been proposed that would require that a jury be told of the mandatory sentences for conviction for a M11 crime. So they know what a conviction would entail to defendant. I understand DA's oppose it. Since under M11 the juries in essence are imposing these sentences, it seems appropriate for them to know what they are sentencing the defendants to. Would Mr. Kroger or Mr. McPherson support such a law? Seems to me that it would go a long way towards DA's being reasonable. Why would they be afraid of having to justify a conviction and mandatory sentence based on the facts?

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    Yes!!!!!!!!

    Please, both candidates, answer Robert Harris's question. How many of those who voted for Measure 11 knew that juries are not informed of the sentence? The two cases described above make it very clear, I think, why they should be.

    I hope the DA's who pushed for M11 prosecution of each of these cases, instead of seeking a more appropriate plea bargain, have been questioned by the press about that decision. I'll google those later.

  • tcouver (unverified)
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    I post in response to Marty's post:

    "Posted by: Marty Wilde | Jan 4, 2008 2:16:57 PM

    The problem I see in the system is that it relies on admitted drug addicts to get motivated to attend outpatient treatment, then it takes a very long time to actually hold them accountable for not doing it. This isn't good for the system or the addicts."

    Marty, I totally agree that drug addicts have little reason (for the moment) to get motivated.

    Funding treatment so it is available to those who are "ready" for treatment is a grand idea. Enforcing a requirement for treatment may even be better -- even tho forcing anyone to do something (including me)is not always an approach that will work -- at least the first time. I would say that treatment availability (which currently is definately not the case) is not enough.

    What this state absolutely needs is that a drug dependent person should find him or herself to be fortunate enough to receive the opportunity for "drug court."

    I'm just wondering how many have heard about Oregon's drug courts? Drug courts provide treatment opportunities, but also drug courts hold people accountable!

    Give drug dependent persons a choice - do inpatient or community-based treatment at public expense, or do a jail sentence (at public expense) of at least the same duration. It's a worthwhile investment (understatement for sure) of public resources.

    "Putting addicts on probation before they do treatment is a waste of time and benefits no one." Marty, I agree. This is true especially if probation officers have caseloads that mean they "case bank" their responsibilites and they have not a single jail bed to sanction a person who, for example, has a dirty urinary analysis (UA) as a part of DRUG COURT!

    Oregon's EXISTING drug courts exemplify what you suggest! Can we all support drug courts in Oregon? That means community corrections (probation officer), treatment provider, defense attorney and the PERSON who is being given an incredible opportunity to receive treatment (it used to be paid by the Oregon Health Plan for many)are all in it together. Most importantly, a judge holds the person accountable. Sounds corny, but to many individuals who have never had a person (father, mother, let alone a JUDGE) care about what the person does -- drug courts work! If the person fails a UA? They know what will happen -- clear from the beginning -- and the judge simply talks to them, supports them in their treatment efforts -- and then sends them to jail because of the failed UA.

    So, back to the subject. Dear "Pennoyer", please add to the list of topics for John Kroger to address Oregon's existing drug courts. Should drug courts really be supported by this state? And should drug courts be supported so they can be expanded to include property offenders?? Versus the mandatory minimum PRISON sentences proposed by Kevin Mannix' Initiative Petition 40?

  • David McDonald (unverified)
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    Why do people use meth in the first place? Because they can't afford cocaine. Why do poor people feel a need to self medicate? Because their lives are painful. Why are their lives painful? Many varied reasons. Mainly because of poverty.

    Until we deal with the issues surrounding poverty, meth will continue to be a problem. And until we face this problem head on, we will continue to incarcerate poverty's victims.

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    Kroger is the OBAMA of the AG race, battle tested, inspirational, ready to help Oregon address it's problems in a different manner. Macpherson is the Hillary Clinton of the AG race, feet firmly in the Democrat side of the legislature for 3 terms, an ultra technocrat. Hardy Myers style continues under Macpherson.

  • Brenda Carney (unverified)
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    Meth is a sick scourge in Oregon, but I have been watching the courts around Portland and found over the past 6 months that the courts and police will drop PCS and DCS charges almost every time while pursuing measure 11 charges. Let’s jail minor violence charges, but allow everyone to get addicted to one of the worlds most addictive drugs until they too can be convicted of a measure 11. Then we can all pay more taxes to fight the drug that we will not prosecute, and keep feeding the money to the prisons so that they can house those who trip someone.

    My son was introduced to drugs in Oregon by his father. I called repeatedly to have my son picked up on drug charges before his 18th birth day so that I could avoid seeing him commit worse crimes, but the police said that he had to commit a real crime (I guess that using and selling meth is not) before they would interfere. Now my son is going to prison for 90 months for his first measure 11 conviction. He is 18, so I will hug him next when he is 26 years old. I guess my son is off meth now, but he will be 26, never held a full time job, with a lack of education, and no mental or physical help with quitting meth. I guess that he will be ready to be you neighbor again!

    Spend money to stop Portland’s real problem (Meth), and quit wasting money keeping minor violence offenders in prison like they committed manslaughter.

  • No On Kroger (unverified)
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    Kroger is the OBAMA of the AG race, battle tested, inspirational, ready to help Oregon address it's problems in a different manner. Macpherson is the Hillary Clinton of the AG race, feet firmly in the Democrat side of the legislature for 3 terms, an ultra technocrat. Hardy Myers style continues under Macpherson.

    This has to be one of the most ignorant comments on the matter posted. First, Obama is a corporation-friendly Democrat who so far has used his lawyerly skills to plug into the populist zeitgeist for his own selfish advantage. Of course the Oprah factor, with all that says about our times, is also playing a big role. Obama's electoral history has been almost a Greek tragedy in which his opponents have self-destructed before election day due to character flaws of mythic proportions, and his voting record, as we know, is one of voting neither side of the issue. (And it's not like being against the war as a state legislator was a political risk in his district.) Obama may turn out to be a man of substance, and I hope he is, so I'm willing to withhold further judgement about what kind of CiC he'd make.

    Comparing Kroger to that record is hardly a compliment. In fact, I think I agree that Kroger is a guy whose character is still open to question, and who has used his lawyerly/professiorial skills to convince a lot of people who need ego-strokes that he likes them. However, he has given some statements about his goals that hint at the limitations in his character. Frankly, I think that alone means he can't be trusted in the AGs office, but silly me, I want my candidates to be wise individuals with demonstrated character and whose own words bespeak wisdom.

    As far as MacPherson and Myer, no duh. He's an equally poor choice for AG. It's interesting to consider, though, that in his fight against the RIAA recounted in a newly posted thread write on this blog, Myers in his stodgy way actually is presenting an important example of what an AG should be doing.

    Another thing an AG should be doing, and Kroger, MacPherson, and Myers demonstrate they lack the character to do, is holding accountable elected officials. Most particularly this includes holding accountable prosecutors and judges, who almost by definition need constant scrutiny and who are some of the biggest contributors to the dysfunction in our system we have read above, by filing suit or challenging their fitness and competence where appropriate, and by campaigning against them.

    All of this only points out what incompetent fools we have selected for the DPO leadership, and what a pitiful disgrace party members responsible this are. That these two are the only people we can recruit for what could be an important office in the hands of a wise and skilled individual. Winning is important, but we have lost sight it is easy for candidates to win who mainly develop themselves to be whatever it takes to win. As we have seen since the 2006 election when we took the Congress, when those kind of people win you haven't really won anything. They are actually the very worst kind of people to actually have in office. I'm definitely going to be looking at minor party and independent candidates myself, because I'm going to vote my conscience.

    What raises ever larger red flags about Kroger is how, as we've seen here, he seems to be attracting what clearly come across as the cultish support of people like judyj, as well as support from people like Josh Marquis who at the very best do an offputting job of presenting themselves and their chosen candidate.

  • No On Kroger (unverified)
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    Kevin - I applaud you in your continuing sobriety, and believe you have a lot of insight into what we need to do in treatment programs. You'll forgive me though, if I believe your history suggests you lack the broad judgement and wisdom to offer sound political advice. The specific reasons you give for your endorsement of Kroger is yet another reason to think he really doesn't have the depth, breadth, and perspective to qualify him for the job.

    Since I take Kroger at his word he really want to do something about the damage meth is doing to everyone in our state, I actually hope he would find a new career path outside of the legal system and elected office working as a professor and grassroots activist with you and others for meth treatment and for services for families damaged by meth. After a decade or more doing that he may have matured enough to be ready to be the kind of elected official we don't have enough of in this state.

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    n.o.k.

    Democrats are pathetic morons in your book. Try posting over at www.oregoncatalyst.com where you can feel the love.

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    Try posting over at www.oregoncatalyst.com where you can feel the love.

    So, paulie, you would prefer that Democrats hear no criticism and just be surrounded by an echo chamber of suck-up "yes" people like George W. Bush is?

    That would make them pathetic morons.

  • No On Kroger (unverified)
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    paulie - Get one thing straight, my problem is with the people in MY party who don't even know what it means anymore to be a Democrat. I've explained why these two AG candidates are not good choices for us as Democrats. The responsibility of all Democrats is first to let these candidates know why they aren't good choices, and second to work from the grassroots up to clean up our party and get better candidates.

    I'll be staying a grassroots, voting Democrat and doing what I can to hold those accountable who has contributed to us losing our way. That is, unless and until it becomes obvious that other non-Democratic (but almost certainly for me it never will be Republican) candidates show they are wiser, more competent, and more truly compassionate than the examples we have put forward in several races. Unless another Democrat enters the race, or one of these two suddenly has a reformation, I'll be looking outside the Party for a candidate. Failing that, I'll be sitting this one out. The responsibility is actually on you and the Party to make sure you do what it takes to stop enough people like me who would be the margin of victory from sitting it out.

    You're comment was such a good start in that direction ...

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    A couple of questions, N.O.K. First, since you apparently dislike Macpherson as much or more than Kroger, why aren't you "No On Kroger And No On Macpherson"? Or, if that's too long, just "No On All Democrats Running"? Or, since you don't like any Republican either, just "No On Everybody"? That would fit better, don't you think?

    Second, since you call yourself a Democrat, before you criticize everybody else, please tell us what exactly you've done to move Oregon in a progressive direction? Have you phone banked? Canvassed? Manned tables? Held house parties? Done talent scouting yourself for suitable candidates?

    Certainly I wouldn't expect you to do that for Democrats you're better than, which is apparently most of us, but surely there is someone, somewhere, in the party you're actually for, or "Yes on...", and I'm curious how much effort you've ever put in to actually helping in a positive manner.

    It's no crime to be a liberal Democrat, or a rabidly ultra liberal Democrat, or hell, even a Socialist who votes for Democrats because it at least moves the country slightly in the right direction. But pious sanctimony as an easy excuse for not actually doing anything constructive for the progressive cause yourself, is something I've seen far too much of and am increasingly fed up with.

    So put up or shut up, NOK. The responsibility is not on Paulie to cater to your sense of entitlement, but on you to convince people that your candidate is the best for the party, and would be accepted by voters.

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    Yeah, lissen to Steve, No On Kroger, siddown and shuddup or move along, yer kind ain't wanted here. Cain't you see the signs on the bathrooms and the drinking fountains? Whuddya think yer entitled to, coming to a place such as this where anyone can post their opinion and giving an opinion Steve don't like? Since he gets to determine what is and ain't a Democrat, and who can and cain't say anything, he'll call you names and what all if'n you don't get out. Names like "pious sanctimonist" and "Socialist", which is the worst words of all. Everyone knows there ain't no such thing as a socialist who's a member of the Democratic party. Why, we runned them boys off back in ought-two when we wuz gettin' hitched up for the great I-raq war and they ain't come back yet.

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    Our party has a great deal of room for Dems all along the continum. One thing rarely heard is a bitter voice. Instead, we hear how can I help? Can I canvas, make a financial contribution, enter data, participate in Latino outreach, phone calling, public relations, install and pick up lawn signs, write letters to the editor, youth outreach, or be a precinct worker?

    Running for any office is hard work, long hours, little sleep, asking for help from total strangers, receiving unbelievabe amounts of criticism, sometimes going into personal debt and having wildly unsubstantiated statements written about yourself in blogs.

    Having have critical of the Democratic organization, and of Democratic candidates, I decided the best possible instrument to promote Democratic ideals was to be inside the organization to listen, learn and change my mind a few thousand times. Here among the grassroots I work shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Dems. We obviously don't agree on many issues or candidates but we do agree to do the work as volunteers to turn our country on that pivot moving us beyond the mess of the last eight years.

    Most of us lucky enough to talk to a candidate do so to learn their policies and positions. My direct encounters with Macpherson and Kroger allow me to state they are both strong candidates who will do the Democrats and this state proud in very different ways. In this race, like the Secretary of State race we have an embarrassment of riches.

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    Our party has a great deal of room for Dems all along the continum. One thing rarely heard is a bitter voice.

    Was that what you meant by suggesting No On Kroger should post at Oregon Catalyst to "feel the love", paulie? Is that what you mean by "how can I help"?

    I haven't made up my mind about the AG race yet. I haven't enough about either MacPherson or Kroger, but I do know that my opinions of candidates over the years have been colored by their reactions and the reactions of their advocates to criticism. Because at some point, everyone is going to do something worthy of criticism, and if they or their surrogates blow it off or attack the messenger, then it makes them look like they think they're above it. And since nobody is above it, it makes me wonder just how arrogant they are.

    Blowing off criticism by saying "go away"or "Where are your Democratic papers, please?" rather than ignoring it or actually refuting it is lame. Either directly address the point or ignore it. Otherwise it looks like you can't address it and are just trying to change the subject.

  • No On Kroger (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer - It's No On Kroger because this is a thread on Kroger, and in my comments I think I have made it clear why I won't vote for a corporate lawyer from Lake Oswego whose legislative record demonstrates he is well suited to represent his district, but not to be AG by a long shot.

    I don't want anything from you and the faction of the party you are sadly typical of, except candidates to vote for who are good for the office (in this case AG) and who stand for what Democrats at least used to stand for. Your petulance that someone dares to call you and these candidates down for what you and they have chosen to put out demonstrates where the sense of entitlement lies.

    You have no idea what I have done and am doing to work for what we claim to be as Democrats and the voice of hard working people. I'm confident enough in what I have and continue to do that I don't owe you any recounting of that.

    So please do continue to sit there and make claims about what you don't know, and that you have no idea whether they have any basis in fact. It is very instructive about what has gone terribly wrong with our Party. For my part, I have pointed out what is wrong with the candidates based on what they say and their own records that they proudly present to us.

    You don't want my vote, fine. In the last few years, I haven't gotten the fight for Democratic principles in this state and nationally from the Democrats I voted for (and I only voted for Democrats). I bet I'm not alone in that feeling. What I am really wondering is if this little thread is representative of the DPO's new strategy for building an electoral majority? Seems like a real winner to me.

  • Amanda (unverified)
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    I'm mildly curious, NOK; what specifically do you think the party used to stand for? What, in your opinion, has gone so terribly wrong?

  • LT (unverified)
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    NOK needs to attend a party meeting--any party, any level, to learn how wrong "I don't want anything from you and the faction of the party you are sadly typical of, except candidates to vote for who are good for the office (in this case AG) and who stand for what Democrats at least used to stand for." is.

    This is not the 20th century when factions ruled political parties. Macpherson and Kroger each decided (along with families and friends who would be involved) to run for office. They didn't need permission from the state or local party, only to file for office, put together an organization, raise money, etc. Party meetings are more likely to be of the "5 people in a room means 4 factions and a moderator" than about a faction recruiting a candidate for statewide office.

    Ouside of the activists, many people are not aware of who is running for this or any other office.

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    NOK needs to attend a party meeting--any party, any level, to learn how wrong "I don't want anything from you and the faction of the party you are sadly typical of, except candidates to vote for who are good for the office (in this case AG) and who stand for what Democrats at least used to stand for." is. This is not the 20th century when factions ruled political parties.

    LT, do you know for sure that NOK hasn't attended a party meeting? Or many party meetings? And why would that be necessary to know that there are factions in the Democratic (or any) party? Just look at the difference between the -- dare I say it -- faction supporting Jeff Merkley and the one supporting Steve Novick. Do you really think someone has to go to a party meeting to know that exists? Or even to be a partisan of one or the other (or neither)?

    People have been able to "file" for offices for a long time. I've done that myself. But the idea that there aren't any factions in political parties or that having the weight of party support behind you if you run for office isn't helpful? Tell it to Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul.

  • LT (unverified)
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    My point is that even though there are activists strongly supporting Merkley or Novick, unless those people are in positions of authority (party officers at any level, for example) that is not what I consider a "faction".

    There was a time when union/non-union activists, pro and anti-sales tax folks, the Mondale/establishment types vs. the Hart and Jackson folks constituted true factions. I don't think that is the way NOK or others here use the term.

    I have no idea---perhaps NOK has been a member of the State Central Comm. for 10 years for all I know. It just sounds like someone commenting from the outside.

  • Rose Wilde (unverified)
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    I haven't picked my candidate for this one, but I'm glad that Kroger is at least talking about mandatory minimums and addiction treatment and PREVENTION. Working in the human services system, I've definitely learned a lot about how addictions ruin lives. The Carneys are just one family to lose a child in this way. The critical thing is having some choices -- most addicts have more lucid times when they can make clear decisions. Having a choice about what will happen in your life next, even if neither choice is optimal, at least puts the decision back into the hands of the addict, who must choose for themselves to change their life.

    Another issue I'd like to see more AG attention on is enforcement of minor in possession crimes. Kids cited for MIP should get fast responses and a strong system of accountability. Instead, they figure out that if they don't go for their addiction assessment, the court will not do anything to hold them accountable. Sooner or later, many of these kids get permanently caught in addiction and poverty, and next thing you know, the same kids are in the system, this time as parents neglecting or abusing their children.

    It really is shocking how badly we fail kids in Oregon.

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    That's an awfully restrictive definition of "faction".

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    The only "faction of the party" I belong to, NOK, is the "Deeds Not Words" faction. It's a silent faction, too divided by ideology to be "sadly typical of" anything. My friends, party activists, are both more conservative and more liberal than me on all sorts of different issues.

    And more than often than not, I find myself working at odds against them, as they support someone different than I do. Among my faction are both torridjoe and carla, mitch, and paulie, and LT. And Pat, and Peter, and hundreds of progressive, semi-progressive, conservative, and libertarian friends of all political variations.

    My faction is unified by only one thing: the ethos of Eleanor Roosevelt, of whom Adlai Steven said (cribbing a motto of Kung Fu-tse), "She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness". They don't just declare the world to be wrong - they get off their fat asses to actually do something about it. If they don't like the direction of the country, they join the Democratic party to change it. If they don't like the direction of the party, they build bridges with their fellow activists to take over and change that. (Which, by the way, thanks to Deaners and Deaniacs like myself, has already happened - it's obvious you missed that.)

    You can be part of "my faction" too - and no doubt drive me nuts by finding an actual positive alternative to my favorite candidate. Or you can, like darrelplant, remain utterly ineffective by choosing to curse the darkness and the dimness of the light cast off by all the people around you holding small flickering candles.

    But I can tell you right now that while trolling on internet sites is easier (and much less damaging to your pocketbook - sigh), it ultimately leads nowhere but to a state of persistent bitter anger. That is not only ineffective, it's bad for your health.

    But let's focus on ineffectiveness for a moment. Even if you love living with a case of permanent heartburn, what is the value of the time you've spent writing here? None of your missives have changed a single mind. People, progressives especially, are simply not negative. We're positive. We like people, despite all their (our) flaws. So we do not respond well to anonymous rejectionist attacks.

    So I implore you to become "Yes On" something or someone. You'll find yourself a much happier person if you do, because, among other things, the world will be ever so slightly closer to the way you feel it should be.

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    Congratulations, Steve! A whole comment where you don't call someone un-American! Glad to see you're moving away from the bitterness and into the light!

    Now, I wonder if you could light some more candles and see if you can find an old copy of the brochure from my '94 run in the Democratic primary for a SE Portland legislative seat. Mind you, there's probably a lot of other paper probably stacked on top of it, so be careful with the candle!

  • LT (unverified)
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    Amen,Steve M!

    Darrel, so you lost the primary to George Eighmey.

    I'm such a political junkie I save old copies of Official Abstracts of Votes from the Sec. of State.

    In 1994, Anitra Rassmussen defeated Tom Mason in a Portland state rep. primary, we had a very interesting 5th District Congressional primary, and Kevin Mannix was still on the ballot as a Democratic state rep.

    A lot has changed since then.

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    darrelplant: A whole comment where you don't call someone un-American!

    Yeah, your post reminds me. When I advised NOK to be Yes on Someone, I didn't just mean to be Yes on Yourself, like you are, darrel. The idea is to be Yes on someone or something other than your own overinflated ego.

    Which, to bring this discussion belatedly back on topic, is the chief reason why I'm for John Kroger. Greg is a good man, but you get the sense whenever you talk to him that he's running for AG because he wants the title. He's put in his dues, and thinks he can hold down the position competently enough (all of which I agree with). But talking to John, it's clear he wants to use the power of the AG's office to make people's lives better, and has the energy and dedication to make that happen.

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    Yeah, your post reminds me. When I advised NOK to be Yes on Someone, I didn't just mean to be Yes on Yourself, like you are, darrel. The idea is to be Yes on someone or something other than your own overinflated ego.

    Ahhh, back to the unfounded spewing again. You were so close to ending the day on a positive note, Steve! I mean, you don't have the slightest clue who or what I support or how I do it. Apart from the One World Socialist Government's fleet of black helicopters, of course. Listen closely and you can hear us roar.

    I put in about fifty hours of research just before Christmas on sales tax plans as a part of the little exchange here and elsewhere. I sent economic studies to Patrick Emerson and Chuck Sheketoff that neither of them had on sales tax volatility that countered the conventional wisdom that sales taxes are more stable than income taxes. Now, that may not be information you're willing to listen to, coming as it does from shifty places like the WA Department of Revenue, but it represents time and effort I put into an area of public policy I care about -- not screwing over the poor and the middle class in the false guise of fixing the budget.

    And no, I didn't lose the race to George, LT. I never intended to win it. He'd been appointed to Bev Stein's seat in a district where the Democrat always won, there wasn't any other contender, and I thought that he should have competition at least once, however marginal. I paid for my own campaign, didn't go for any endorsements -- even though my father was the MBR of the Machinists at the time and Irv Fletcher had known me since I was knee-high -- made a speech at the Multnomah Democrats, passed out some brochures, and a went to Seaside for a conference. I spent about 1/20 of what George did and got about 20% of the vote. George had a huge amount of political experience, I had none, he was the better man for the job and I just wanted to get some issues on the table. We had some very nice chats, ran into each other at the Shakespeare Festival, etc.

    How's my overinflated ego doing, Steve? Is there still a little more space in the universe for it?

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    Your ego? Deflating just slightly, I'd say, from the sound of it. Doing research and presenting it in a non-confrontational manner is surprising positive.

    So good job. Keep it up. Try not to accuse just about every Democratic candidate or office holder of being a traitor to the progressive cause on BO, and you might seriously rehabilitate your reputation.

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    Steve, I don't need to rehabilitate my reputation. I'm not the guy who goes around calling everyone he disagrees with anti-American.

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    Oh, and I'd hardly say that I present my research in a non-confrontational manner. Apparently you didn't read the sales tax threads or my own blog posts on the topic, where I picked apart "Democratic" State Treasurer candidate Ben Westlund's sales tax proposal from his gubernatorial run and got Jeff Alworth's economist buddy so tied up in knots that he took his blog and went home.

  • Jennifer (unverified)
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    I'm voting for Kroger. I like Macpherson o.k. (he's the only incumbent who ever knocked on my door), but the A.G. office has been operating in stealth mode for too long.

    Maybe we don't need an Eliot Spitzer type, but we certainly need a more visible and active A.G. than we've endured for the last 20 years.

    And Bush Bashing is lost on me at this stage: it's just too easy, and totally irrevelant to the Oregon A.G.'s office.

  • LT (unverified)
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    I am still undecided. There are some things Kroger has said which make me want more information, and others which make me wonder how well he knows recent Oregon political history and how well he would relate to Oregon legislators.

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