Jeff Merkley for the environment

By Sybil Ackerman of Portland, Oregon. Sybil is one of Oregon's leading environmental advocates.

I know Jeff’s work first hand and he will do amazing things as our next US Senator. My passion is environmental conservation. Every once in a while I find someone who can translate my passion for this issue into political reality. Jeff Merkley is such a person.

He helped make the 2007 session in Oregon one of the best for the environment in the last thirty years. He worked with others in the House, the Senate and Governor to pass the clean energy agenda, protect Oregon’s land use system, create a new electronics recycling program, and expand the bottle bill to include plastic water bottles, among other things.

Jeff is also – simply put – a great person. He is caring, humble and simply wants to make the world a better place. I have a huge amount of respect for him and what he stands for. Jeff symbolizes all that is good in our country.

I strongly support his election bid for US Senate (even though I am bummed he is leaving the Oregon House!)

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    Thanks, Sybil.

    I've had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Jeff a number of times and your assesment is exactly the same as mine.

    Oregon needs a SMART fighter like Jeff Merkley.

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    Awesome! Now those are the sort of enthusiastic words I like.

    Jeff's an environmental warrior and a great guy. He'll be the one we need in Washington.

    Thanks Sybil!

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)

    FYI, Novick devoted years of his life to nothing else but protecting the environment. And he had impressive results, as is well chronicled.

    As for being needed in Washington, Novick is the kind of guy who would have actually raised the roof before the War in Iraq. Merkely reminds me of my own "progressive" Senator, Ben Cardin. Solid as a rock, I don't see him making a huge difference in Washington.

  • The Truth about Sybil (unverified)

    Turned up this little gem in which the pathetic Sybil Ackerman name pops up:

    Says all anyone should need to know why Merkley is a fraud. (And don't even start to think I'm one of the Novick true believers.)

  • salmon lover (unverified)

    Right on Sybil, thanks for the post.

    The 2007 session was a turning point for environmental policy in Oregon, and Merkley played a very big role, both in setting the stage for success and pushing through numerous bills opposed by industry lobbyists.

    Last time I was in Salem was for an anti-Liquefied Natural Gas rally on the Capitol steps during the February session. Tons of people were there, from Astoria to Roseburg, and from Portland to small towns along the pipeline route. Both Merkley and Novick spoke in support of the cause, but Merkley gave a much more fired up speech that day and really nailed all the issues. You could see his passion for protecting the environment and that's why I support him. As for Ben's comment, yes Novick plays up his legal work from over a decade ago, but he hasn't done much of anything for the environment in recent years, and definitely not working in the trenches and winning victories to the extent Merkley has.

    The Sierra Club, which has tons of members across Oregon, and which has won fights to protect forests, wilderness, water and air quality, and reduce greenhouse gases also supports Jeff Merkley. Here's a strong statement of support.

  • Dan (unverified)

    Merkley has a decent record on the environment but as Daniel Spiro mentioned above Novick's enviro record is really one of the most impressive in the country. If you are a one issue enviro voter there is no question you should vote for Steve.

  • Dan (unverified)

    Many people think that Sierra Club, SEIU, etc. gave their support to Jeff out of payback and what they might have thought after a lot of DSCC $$ went his way... In other words, lots of people thought they were all weak sellouts for doing that.

  • salmon lover (unverified)

    I mistyped above. I meant to say "As for Daniel Spiro's comment, yes Novick plays up his legal work from over a decade ago, but he hasn't done much of anything for the environment in recent years, and definitely not working in the trenches and winning victories to the extent Merkley has."

    This statement is meant to counter Dan as well. Novick's got next to no environmental record in Oregon let alone 'one of the most impressive in the country.' What b.s. What besides his work as an EPA lawyer over a decade ago are your referring to? And what in Oregon? Environmental voters should ask politicians 'what have you done for me lately?' With Novick, its pretty much nothing.

    If you think the Sierra Club's motivation for endorsements is 'payback,' then why are they supporting Kroger over Macpherson, the legislator who claims credit for passing Measure 49? Your paranoid argument doesn't make sense.

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    It's not really so much what he's done lately as where he stands. Novick was first out on LNG, IIRC. I've never heard Merkley say anything about refunding Superfund by restoring the corporate levy to clean up spills without fixed liability elsewhere. His position on the dams is tricky, but I believe he's made an honest call that right now water-generated electricity is about the best solution we have in the near term, and if we cut that power inevitably we'll have to replace it with coal, short term. (At least that's how I understand the position). I seem to recall him working hard for 49, although I don't know how I might precisely judge.

    I think on the Environment Kroger and novick have the exact same philosophy: start enforcing some laws and go after polluters. That's what I want most in the short term--for goodness sake, stop letting industrial polluters get away with large scale trashing of the planet.

    I don't think there's much question Steve knows DoJ and EPA better than Merkley, and probably still has friends at both for all I know. That's a pretty strong point in his favor viz being able to actually accomplish things in DC. (Merkley could say the same about some of his defense work in DC, and his supporters have on occassion.) Merkley would sign onto and vote yes on all the right bills, but Steve would lead in that area IMO.

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    "It's not really so much what he's done lately as where he stands".

    Actually, I disagree. It's much more about what you HAVE done lately. Where you stand is the easy part. Putting that into action is when things change. If we all just sit around and talk about improving the environment or pat ourselves on the back because we believe in improving the environment or we spoke out about something first, nothing much gets better. There needs to be action - Jeff Merkley has provided that action, and that is why he is endorsed by the Sierra Club.

  • Chris Greiveldinger (unverified)

    It's much more about what you HAVE done lately. Where you stand is the easy part. Putting that into action is when things change.

    Right on the money, local mom. Jeff Merkley has shown that he knows how to get environmental legislation passed. He has worked hard in one of the most productive Oregon legislative sessions in recent history, and that's the work ethic that we need in the U.S. Senate.

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    I disagree with TJ an Dan on this. I do think we're lucky to have two great environmental advocates running for Senate. However, what Merkley was able to accomplish in the House on the environmental front does make him the easy choice if you are a one issue voter. Merkley championed countless environmental bills that he was able to pass through the House with a slim majority. It's not just what you say, but what you do. Merkley has a proven record of being able to unite legislators around environmental legislation. You can say you're for this or that, but it sure doesn't mean you're going to be able to get it done at the legislative level. Merkley has proven he can get it done.

  • Where does Merkley stand? (unverified)

    Apple pie and Local Mom sez: "Where you stand is the easy part."

    Tell that to Jeff Merkley

    Hala Gores, a Palestinian American lawyer in Portland, said a tearful Merkley visited her office in March to return her $2,300 contribution to his campaign and said: "I don't know if I am doing the right thing or the wrong thing. I want to win."

    The people Merkley betrayed refer to him as a "coward" and a "hypocrite." I doubt Merkley can ever count on their support ever again.

    "When Merkley spoke to those of us in the peace community, Arab Americans and Muslims, his position was different," Gores says. "He was a hypocrite in first seeking our money and saying certain things to our community and then, in public, saying something different."

    We need to send somebody with a backbone. There was a time when Merkley was being outpolled by Quaker minister Candy Neville who had this to say recently.

    I am running for U.S. Senate. I am absolutely appalled to realize that the negative campaign ads directed at Steve Novick were partially funded by the DSCC. They have heavily funded Merkley and should have overseen that the ads did no harm to other democratic candidates. It is one thing for the DSCC to fund ads to bring down opponents from another party, it is another thing to fund ads that bring down their own candidates. I am against attack ads because they are misleading and inaccurate.

    There's no way Merkley can take on Smith.

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    "Merkley has a proven record of being able to unite legislators around environmental legislation. You can say you're for this or that, but it sure doesn't mean you're going to be able to get it done at the legislative level. Merkley has proven he can get it done."

    I'll never understand this line of argument. He's not running for Senate Majority Leader, he's running for slot #100 in Senate seniority. What on earth suggests he'll be doing any uniting of legislators around environmental policy? Much of what Merkley says he's accomplished will be pretty useless his first two terms if he were to get there.

  • William (unverified)

    Re: this whole debate of "what have you done lately" versus "what are your positions on things"

    "What have you done lately" is a good question, but I think it should be carefully applied. When either candidate had a job, and part of that job description was to do something good for the environment (which I believe applied to Jeff in the Senate, and to Steve in the Love Canal case), well, great. Both candidates did a good job.

    On the other hand, given the jobs they both have today, is one of them going to have more of a chance to act than the other? I mean, a person who busts ass all day long every day as a lawyer representing unions may not have as much of a chance to make a difference for the environment as somebody working for the Sierra Club.

    In that light, "what are your positions on things" can be just as important a question as "what have you done lately". I think both candidates would be great on the environmental issues. I also think the question, "what would you not do / have you not done" is a good question.

    I agree with Daniel Spiro's opinion that Novick would have raised the roof to keep us from going into Iraq. Iraq is a huge environmental minus. I have a much harder time imagining Merkley doing the same thing--it's something of the "what would you not do" philosophy.

    That having been said, I'll happily vote for the guy if he makes it out of the primary. Even though it makes me sick that he loaned himself a quarter million. And even though I hate that the DSCC has thrown him so much money to defeat Novick. I still think he'd be much better than your typical Dem Senator. Maybe that's naive, but it's what I think.

  • Sybil (unverified)

    I read this discussion with interest.

    One thing I want to clarify is that the post from "truth about Sybil" links to an article that is factually incorrect. The article by Michael Donnelly confuses me with someone else.

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    The article by Michael Donnelly confuses me with someone else.

    And he also offers this wild little bit of association:

    Sybil Ackerman is a long-time Democratic Party operative, dating back to admitted child rapist Neil Goldschmidt's term as Governor.

    What can you say about a guy that writes a sentence like that and imagines it to be logical, relevant, and persuasive?

    I don't know who Donnelly is, but I'm clear that I wouldn't ever bother to read the guy to acquire factual information.

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    When extremists like Hala Gores say they feel betrayed by Merkley then I know that I'm backing the right guy!

  • Bridget (unverified)

    Hala Gores isn't an extremist, she just wants liberation for Palestine. Not everybody who wants liberation for Palestine is an extremist.

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    It would be a stunning upset if Novick can pull it off. I voted for him in the primary.

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    I do environmental activism for a living (in fact, I have Sybil's old job).

    Novick's my man, not only for Love Canal, but he served on the board of the Oregon Environmental Council, helped 1000 Friends with ballot measures, and has always been there as a smart political strategist helping out.

    Merkley's good on the environment, too, and I'm thankful for all the 2007 Legislature did. But count me enthusiastically supporting Steve Novick.

    As far as proving things you can get things done, the 2008 Legislature failed to pass a very small, simple bill about greenhouse gas pollution measurement. If we can't get that done, we're in trouble. I'm not blaming Merkley, but it's a reminder of things left undone.

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    So if Steve is such a smart political strategist, and I don't doubt that he is, why didn't he help to pass the "very small, simple bill about greenhouse gas pollution measure..."? Especially if he is such a pro-environmentalist?

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    right--and why didn't jeff do more to get bruggere elected?

    Merkley was speaker of the house. It was his job. It was not Steve's job. Steve's sole point of credential is not that he was really good at the speaker's job. It IS Merkley's, however. Asking why steve didn't do more to make jeff look better at his job, as if it somehow reflects more poorly in steve than jeff, is silly.

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    Hala Gores isn't an extremist, she just wants liberation for Palestine.

    Which is, of course, as utterly irrelevant to whether she's an extremist as whether she prefers Coke or Pepsi.

    Hala Gores is an extremist for the very simple reason that she characterized the Israeli's as "the terrorists" when criticizing the Israeli/Lebanese War in 2006.

    The truth with respect to that War is that BOTH sides were guilty of terrorism, as I wrote at the time. I wrote about it very extensively at the time, and was harshly critical of Israel, with the biggest bully-pulpit I had available to me at the time - my blog. Not once did I dishonestly single out just one side as "the terrorists" as Ms. Gores did because to do so is to become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. And the problem is extremists like Hala Gores.

    Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley have both expressed disagreement with what Hala Gores said. The difference between the two candidates is that Novick is willing to accept $$$ from extremists while Merkley isn't, and Novick is willing to use the issue to divide Democrats while Merkley isn't.

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    The difference between the two candidates is that Novick is willing to accept $$$ from extremists while Merkley isn't, and Novick is willing to use the issue to divide Democrats while Merkley isn't.

    No, the difference between the candidates is that Steve Novick is willing to tell the truth to voters who may not agree with him, instead of pandering by saying what he thinks they want to hear in order to get their support (political or economic).

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    In the up-is-down, black-is-white world of Stephanie, returning the political contribution of an extremist is apparently a form of "pandering" and accepting the political contributions of an extremist is somehow a way to "tell the truth" to voters.

    Thanks for clearing that up for us, Stephanie. I doubt Karl Rove himself could have spun it harder or with less shame than you have.

    One more reason why Oregonians are voting for Merkley.

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    Asking why steve didn't do more to make jeff look better at his job, as if it somehow reflects more poorly in steve than jeff, is silly.

    I want to thank TJ for so succinctly summing up what is arguably THE primary difference between these two candidates.

    Steve Novick is concerned with who gets the credit.

    Jeff Merkley is concerned with who gets things done.

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    Thank you, Kevin, for hitting the mark once again! I didn't ask, rhetorically, why Steve didn't help pass environmental legislation for political reasons. I was asking why he didn't help because he claims to be concerned about the environment. If he is - he had an obligation to help pass that legislation, and not stand aside and claim it isn't his job to do so. We ALL need to do what we can to advance the causes we believe in, in whatever way we are able. And when it doesn't happen, we ALL need to accept some of the responsibility.

  • Bridget (unverified)

    So, Kevin, by your logic, anybody who calls the other side of a conflict "the terrorists" is an extremist.

    By your logic, then, Jeff took money from those Jewish "extremists" instead of taking money from the Palestinian "extremists".

    Come on, you can do better than that.

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    Kudos to you for acknowledging that military actions carried out by Israel against civilian populations for political ends ought to count as terrorism in some fundamental sense, rather than hiding behind legalisms restricting "terrorists" to non-state actors (unless they are Iranian, I guess). Given your overall take I'm sure you extend this to other countries besides Israel, as would I (beginning at home, unfortunately).

    Your facing this issue makes you stand out from both MSM news coverage and MSM political punditry.

    Maybe Hala Gores would have done better to have left out the definite article "the" -- it seems that if she had, her position would not have been much different from yours. But also not terribly different from the main thing I think she was making leaving it in, which was criticism of U.S. media.

    I interpret what she said in the overall rhetorical and ideological context in the U.S. of interpretations of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006, which overwhelmingly located "terrorism" only on the Lebanese side and absolved Israeli anti-civilian actions of their terror-intending, i.e. terrorist character or quality. Given that huge one-sidedness, it seems like an emotional response against a big lie.

    I don't know Ms. Gores personally, though I do know some of the other people who turn up in the story, who are associated with Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights -- PeterM who comments here is active in AUPHR too. They are not extremist people, and if Ms. Gores is associated with them, I have to assume, barring more significant evidence than one phrase in a highly emotional context, that she is not an extremist either.

    Given what you write, apart from the context of this campaign, and the donation & return having become an issue, I am pretty sure that you would at minimum be able to have civil and useful conversations with AUPHR folks, and might even agree with them on the whole. I suspect that the same thing might be true if you had conversations with Hala Gores without knowing who she was, though I can't be certain of that.

    Given what you write, I also feel pretty certain that I could e-mail some of your texts to places like FrontPage and Daniel Pipes and so on and get you labeled an extremist in pretty short order, simply on the basis of being willing to consider that the word "terror" even might be associated with Israeli actions, never mind your willingness to say that Israel actually was guilty of terrorism, though not the only party so guilty.

    Such an accusation of extremism wouldn't be true of you, but rather a reflection of the extremism of dominant U.S. public discourse. Israelis have more freedom to debate these issues and not have important viewpoints censored as "extremist" than we do in the U.S.

    I don't think you've shown in any convincing way that the accusation's true of Hala Gores either. You've made one argument, a weak one resting in essence on the presence of one word in one phrase, and then simply made assertions after that.

    In terms of the "balance of terror" as measured in human casualties in Lebanon 2006, Israel caused more. That's not the beginning or the end of the question -- but I do think it gives reason not to treat as an extremist someone responding emotionally to the imbalance, possibly involving risk to friends or relatives.

    If we're not going to allow latitude for the effect of such connections, then we're going to have to label a huge swathe of Israeli and Jewish-American expressions extremist, when in fact they involve strong expressions of self-defensiveness. Such strong feelings and expressions may be obstacles to certain kinds of progress, but at base those obstacles (on either or all sides) have to be dealt with, not simply dismissed with an adjective. And that's true on the Palestinian and Lebanese sides too.

    This is a situation in which I think your felt need to defend Jeff Merkley is producing unfair "collateral damage" to a real, complex human being, who is being reduced to a stick figure for the sake of the argument.

    Quite probably this sounds like another of my "lectures" again, and if it does, I sincerely apologize.

    I'm just not that concerned with the primary here, but much more with the value of the nuanced, complex ideas about Lebanon 2006 that you express above. I admire the acute sense of proportion you express, and worry that it may be getting disrupted at a more individual level over a primary spat.

    And behind that is a concern about how we in the U.S. can be real allies for ordinary Palestinians, ordinary Israelis, ordinary Lebanese, ordinary people all across that region who want to be able to lead normal lives not driven by fear and despair. It sounds to me like you have a voice of value for finding such a path. It's my strong guess that so does Hala Gores.

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    It's not just my opinion. Both Steve Novick and Jeff Merkley are on public record as disagreeing with what she said.

    I agree that Lebanon as well as Israel, Palestine and Syria... everything about that entire area is complex, much moreso than most people even begin to realize. The disproportionatly influencial role of the Druze in Israel, Lebanon and Syria is a great example.

    That complexity is all the more reason why public statements about conflicts over there require intellectual honesty by anyone who professes to want it to improve - as opposed to nationalist posturing BS.

    Ms. Gores may have had relatives over there. But proximity to the conflict didn't stop Lebanese Christians living in Southern Lebanon from heaping blame on both Hezbollah and Israel to the international news crews who talked to them while the conflict raged further North. I wrote about that too at the time.

    Look, I can appreciate what you are trying to do here. But I respectfully disagree with the defense you've proffered on Ms. Gores behalf. I'd have reacted the same way to what Ms. Gores said even if I'd been a Frohnmayer supporter all along. What she said was wrong. Period. And as a Palestinian activist she has no legitimate excuse for not knowing better.

    As for the AUPHR, I am neither a fan nor a critic. We have common cause with each other to the extent that they are willing to be honest brokers with all sides. That is the ONLY thing that is going to help over there. The ONLY thing!

    BTW, 2006 was hardly my first interest in the region. I've been following the region's conflicts, militaries and politics (Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and to a lesser degree Syria and Jordan) along with my first love, archaeology, for about 30 years now. I'm not anything close to an expert nor claiming to be one. But I know enough to be sure of my grasp of the basic context and to know that there flat out isn't any moral highground that any party to the ongoing conflicts has an honest claim to.

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    Typepad's filter has apparently decided to treat my name as comment spam if I try to express something complicated, so I will see if I can figure out a way to get a response it rejected to you a better way. Maybe that's more appropriate anyhow.

    It doesn't surprise me that you've been engaged with the issues for as long as you say, which I accept and respect. For me it's about 35 years, though with varying degrees of intensity over that period.

    Hope we get to talk about this stuff in other contexts away from the primary. And archaeology too.

    sala kahle (stay/keep well)

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