You Can't Say That In Public!

Anne Martens

As always, if you are overly earnest, easily offended, or otherwise take yourself too seriously, you should really stop reading my pieces. I hear there’s good stuff on TV these days.

So every time I write something controversial on BlueOregon, I get a number of winks, nods, and friendly emails. People willing to say, privately, that yes they do indeed agree with me. But, they add, you can’t say that in public.

Well, you may have noticed, I’m not very good at keeping my mouth shut. And there are a number of things that ought to be said, nay need to be said, in public. Since our elected leadership has, for the most part, avoided these issues like the plague, it falls to us to say them. We have a lot to gain, and very little left to lose.

C’mon, you know the words.

Sales tax. Oregon’s tax structure, as is, doesn’t work, and you’ve been squirreled away in a hole in the ground if you missed that. There are plenty of ways to make a sales tax less regressive – even Texas has figured that part out. It can also be tied to a reduction in income tax. It would mean constant stable revenue for the state, which is exactly what we need. Props out to Sen. Frank Morse for sacking up and saying so in public.

Taxes are an investment. They pay for things we want and need, things like roads and cops and schools. We need to stop talking about “living within our means” and start talking about getting more means, providing ourselves with more means, so that we can live better.

Measure 5 screwed schools. Education is actually one the few problems that gets better if you throw money at it. We can discuss efficiencies in other arenas; what our schools need is more cash. It seems ridiculous to have to say, again, that education is the foundation for a strong economy, that it attracts smart parents and creates smart future leaders, that without it we’re headed straight for Mississippi, and that it costs money to avoid that southbound turn and head back up to what a real education system ought to be. It’s possible to have an education system with small classes, full school years, and well-rounded inspiration, but you get what you pay for. The legislature should give the voters the opportunity to take back Measure 5. The voters, if they are really as interested in the “quality of life” of Oregon as they claim to be, should be willing to pay for good schools for everyone.

The kicker is retarded. Not retarded in the offensive actually developmentally disabled way; retarded in the colloquial “that’s stupid” way, and retarded in the Oxford English “has impeded advancement and accomplishment” way. And I mean the personal kicker, not just the corporate kicker. It’s bad policy to prevent the state from saving money, it’s draconian policy to prohibit the state from paying for necessary services (be that education or health care or whatever), and it’s just plain dumb to think that somehow your kickback of a couple hundred dollars will do more if it’s in your pocket instead of pooled and leveraged with the dollars of all your friends and neighbors. I know it’s hard to not be selfish about money, and getting rid of the corporate kicker should be an easy sell (out of state big corporations are bad bad bad) but we need to get rid of the personal kicker too. Nobody else is going to invest in our state and our community if we don’t.

Look to other states for ideas. The neat thing about federalism, part of it’s very reason for being (so said those founder guys anyway) is that the states can act like little laboratories and try different things and then share their good ideas and other states can adopt those good ideas once the kinks have been worked out. This notion is particularly difficult for Oregonians, who love to be first (i.e. bottle bill, vote-by-mail) and to be special (i.e. death with dignity) but are loathe to admit that other states might have some good ideas too. If a proposal has proved disastrous in other states (i.e. TABOR) then it’s probably not a good idea here. If a proposal has worked in other states (i.e. sales tax) then let’s not reinvent the wheel or pretend like it doesn’t exist or get all stubborn just for the sake of being contrary, let’s look at how other states do it and pull the best of their accumulated experience together and use it to make it work for Oregon.

Pumping my own gas should not be a crime. Forty-eight states have managed to make it happen without the litany of terrible horrible very bad things that are prophesied if Oregon were to repeal this ban on self-sufficiency. Jobs and unemployment in those other forty-eight remain stable, higher and lower (respectively) than they are in Oregon. Little old ladies somehow manage to still drive, their eyesight causing more consternation than the complexities of the pump. And dry cleaners have seen no influx of petroleum stained suits. Ok, so this is a pet peeve, but really people – it’s not that hard!

Leaving aside that last one, this my list of topics absurdly avoided by the politically correct. I know that there are a number of Oregonians who want to talk about these things, I’ve heard them say so in private. It’s time we said so in public.

  • (Show?)

    I can help with one of 'em Anne.

    Buy a motorcycle and you can fill your own tank right here in Oregon.

    We got the law passed a couple of sessions back........

  • LT (unverified)

    Anne, I mostly agree with you.

    But there are lots of Oregonians who don't want to HAVE TO pump their own gas (a relative moving to Calif. says that is one thing she doesn't look forward to). One regulation some self-serve proponents really fought when there was proposed legislation was the idea of having 2 people at a station at all times--one to help customers and one to run the register. If you can figure out a way to broaden the cardlock system (perhaps have a signup where someone registers with an agency to belong to a cardlock, but those who want gas pumped for them) you might be able to get this passed.

    Of course, given the number of new disabled vets, if Oregon were to require all to pump their own gas there might be the sort of lawsuit that happened in California in an earlier decade. We were on vacation there in the 1990s and saw a sign in a gas station “due to the outcome of the lawsuit filed by Paralyzed Veterans, this station will pump gas for any disabled veteran”. Or hadn’t you considered that?

    The people in favor of self-serve gas (and it was tried every session for years) never wanted to write a bill that dealt with details like what happens when people have a hard time pumping their own gas (will you still want to pump your own gas 30+ years from now?), and other logistical problems. Why don't you run for office as the pro-self serve candidate and see how well you do?

    One year self-serve might have passed had it not landed in a committee where a majority of the members (regardless of party) were strong minded women who liked not having to get out in the rain to pump gas (they all had horror stories about pumping gas in other states and being glad to return to Oregon) and they killed it in committee. You may think those women were wimps or old fogies, but they had their supporters. Women who may never have heard of some of the state reps before thanked them for killing the bill.

    Saying they had no right to kill that bill in committee will never get you the votes to change the law. And the voters did speak on this one—self serve was a ballot measure a couple decades ago sponsored by oil companies, and it lost.

    If you can structure a system where there is an OPTION to pump your own gas without the state becoming like California (in some places, lots of luck getting help if there is a pump malfunction--takes a lot longer in that situation than driving up, having someone pump the gas for you, paying through the window and driving off) where either there is no place to have gas pumped by others at less than maybe a 30 cent premium, or no place at all where you don't pump it yourself, then you might have shot.

    What about the employees who would be laid off? "Tough luck-- I have a good job and I want to pump my own gas so you'll just have to find another line of work"? Is that any way to change things?

    I agree with your other points, but if I'm an old fogey for wanting someone else to pump gas for me then I am an old fogey. And if "progressives" favor self serve, then I ain't a progressive.

    Laws don't get changed if the general public wants them the way they are. Save your breath for tax reform (I like Westlund's ideas and SB 382 deserved more discussion than it got).

    But don't tell me that because some people want to pump their own gas we must all do so. Would you be willing to pay the cleaning / replacement costs if self-serve (and nothing but self-serve) came to Oregon and someone got gas on their clothes / shoes? Or are you confident that a) that would never happen or b) anyone with any brains wouldn't pump gas in their good clothes? And do you really want to pump gas on a dark and stormy night? Or is your life so well structured you only buy gas during daylight hours?

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    I was going to say that there was nothing on your list that should disturb any thinking person. No news here. I forgot that pumping gas brings out an emotional reaction from otherwise rational Oregonians. It might require people to live elsewhere for a reasonable length of time before they can see how wierd these Oregonian positions on sales taxes, kickers, and pumping gas really are. Who would have ever thought them up, let alone defend them as necessary? Is it the rain?

  • Jeff (unverified)

    Check out the automated 'Astroturfing' that the Kentucky Republican Party has just launched which just exposed!

    Help us shine some light on it right away!

  • sasha (unverified)

    I Can't say it in public? Oh puleeeeze. What courage it takes for a liberal to come right out and say she thinks the kicker is stupid!

    I'm sure you'll pay a huge price from the establishment for voicing such views.

    Same with supporting a sales tax, and criticising Measure 5. Wow, Anne, are you sure you can risk your career like that? BE CAREFUL!

  • Bert (unverified)

    If you want to up the ante how about this word:


    1980s and 1990s Republicans and Democrats both argued for "a greater state role" in many areas of government and also decreased (progressive) federal tax rates.

    So, there's been cuts or less growth in federal money coming into state coffers, despite increasing mandates and all kinds of new environmental challenges.

    From what I have read (just one good source) a very big chunk if not the majority of Oregonian households, are in the top tax bracket because legislators have not adjusted income tax schedules. Put another way, Oregon basically has a flat (percent) tax that would make Steve Forbes nod with approval. By definition, that is not progressive.

    If there are any tax experts out there, let's hear what you think!

  • (Show?)

    Of course we need a sales tax, combined with a lowering of the income tax, at least for those not super rich. Everyone knows that. Exempt basic needs like food, medicine, rent, and Oregon micro brew, and it wouldn't be regressive at all. It would be a flat tax, just like our income tax.

    We need more cash, but it will be a tough sell as long as the public perceives PERS is still out of control and excessively generous. The public schools' seniority system with all its perks also has to go.

  • (Show?)

    We need to stop talking about “living within our means” and start talking about getting more means, providing ourselves with more means, so that we can live better.

    Our unwillingness to talk about government living within our means is a big part of what got us to this place where we are skimping too much. If people think you haven't been careful with what you have, they don't want to trust you with more and they might even choose to take some of what they had been giving you back. I just read that last year was the first year on record that a full-time worker at minimum wage could not afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country at average rates. A lot of the middle class is also feeling the pressure of stagnant or declining real income and job insecurity. The combination of people feeling squeezed and the apparent willingness of lefty's/Dems to steadily raise taxes forever opened the door to the radical right's ill-conceived tax limitation measures and tax cuts that mostly benefit the rich.

    If we had shown a little more willingness to talk about living within our means we might not be in this fix now. I don't see going back to limiting our discussions to how the government can get more money from the taxpayers as a step in the right direction. To people squeezing that last bit of money out of their paychecks to feed their kids at the end of the month, make their rent or house payments, help their kids with college or subsidize their aging parents, some "investments" look like a luxury they can't afford.

    In my experience people are willing to talk about taxes and public investments but only with those who can demonstrate that they understand the concept of living within our means well enough to have confidence they'll spend the money wisely on sound investments.

  • JB (unverified)

    Anne, you missed that biggest sacred cow of all. Can there be any doubt that the initiative and referendum system is ruining our state? Most of the problems you cite wouldn't be problems if Oregon had not chosen to substitute mob rule for representative democracy. To counter that some good things have happened recently via the initiative process (e. g., vote-by-mail, minimum wage, death with dignity) is not a strong argument. Some of these things might have happened in the Legislature, if the Legislature hadn't been neutered by the initiative and referendum. Say it -- it's time to dump "the Oregon system."

  • LT (unverified)

    John C--because I don't want to hop out of the car and pump my own gas (I don't even patronize stations where I have to go inside to pay unless the pay difference is at least 5 cents per gallon), I am "not rational" and you know my stance on sales tax and kicker?

    I was one of those "not real Democrats" who supported sales tax in the mid 1980s, but because I don't want to see gas pumpers laid off so I can have the "right" to hop out of my car on a cold rainy day and pump my own gas there is something wrong with me?

  • christopher (unverified)

    Preach it, sister! A big "amen!" from the Hawthorne District!

  • Jeremiah L (unverified)

    Second big amen, this one from Salem.

    I don't agree with the whole gas issue though; it would too greatly affect too prevalent an industry for me to support, at least in the short term.

  • Terry (unverified)

    The income tax is the most progressive of our taxes (even in Oregon), so there's a fundamental contradiction in saying that you can make the sales tax less regressive while lowering income taxes, effectively transfering some portion of taxes from income to sales. It seems that would make the whole system less progressive.

    Am I wrong?

  • (Show?)

    Having lived in Texas (and still have family there), I can tell you that Texas' sales tax isn't all that progressive.

    I paid the exact same sales taxes that the rich did-- I just paid it on less expensive items.

    And I found that when it came to food items, the taxed items were often those that poor people were more likely to buy (such as pre-prepared foods).

  • LT (unverified)

    The income tax is the most progressive of our taxes (even in Oregon), so there's a fundamental contradiction in saying that you can make the sales tax less regressive while lowering income taxes, effectively transfering some portion of taxes from income to sales. It seems that would make the whole system less progressive. Am I wrong?

    Whether a sales tax or any tax is progressive or regressive depends on how it is structured. Look at the tax bracket any of the Portland Trail Blazers (or any exec at a company like Nike) is in, and then look at the low end of that tax bracket. Any progressive income tax would have secretaries and retail workers in a lower bracket than the rich sports figures or company executives.

    A sales tax that was 5% on everything: groceries, medicine, and all services included would be regressive. A sales tax with exemptions for groceries (but not restaurants), medicine, and other necessities (with perhaps a rebate as part of the tax return process for those below a certain income level--if they can do it for kicker, the mechanism for this shouldn't be too hard to implement) would capture taxes from those who buy more expensive items. It would capture money from tourists and from people who don't declare all their income because they do much of their business in cash.

    A young man I knew who ran a food court in a retail space had a great tax reform idea. He was very big on healthy eating and believed a restaurant tax would be a great idea. "Hard to believe any of my customers would complain about 5 cents more for a hot dog, and if they are low income they should cook at home--more nutritious, less costly".

    There are people who don't want to debate that young man's premise, but is his idea really regressive?

  • (Show?)

    A young man I knew who ran a food court in a retail space had a great tax reform idea. He was very big on healthy eating and believed a restaurant tax would be a great idea. "Hard to believe any of my customers would complain about 5 cents more for a hot dog, and if they are low income they should cook at home--more nutritious, less costly".

    LT, one very important thing to note: A restaurant tax is already allowed under Oregon's constitution -- it could be a statutory change.

    Been to Ashland recently? They have a restaurant tax. You'll see it on your bill under "sales tax" (which caused me to choke on my beer, and flag the server over to explain it to me.)

    Restaurant tax. Ready to go.

  • (Show?)

    Should I hold the nozzle in my left or right hand? Which way does the gas cap screw off? Which button do I push to start the confounded pump? Yikes, the thingy just goes click, click, and there's no gas.

    Unfortunately, voters in this state have rejected a sales tax more times than I can count on one hand. Think we ought to vote again? Crazy as it sounds, I do. Oregon needs to fix its taxing foundation by reducing the second highest personal income tax in the nation. We have one of the highest capital gains taxes which impacts small businesses and individual tax payers. Anne is correct, we need to get real!

  • (Show?)

    for the love of god, we've beaten the "pump your own" to death here already. it's so far away from being an issue that needs to be on anyone's list. not when we have so many things to worry about that actually matter.

    i agree entirely that the initiative system should be on the list (and then tied up in a sack full of bricks and dropped in the Willamette). it's a loaded gun left on the living floor for the kiddies to play with. bang bang, whoops.

  • Anne (unverified)

    Yo. I thought y'all would just let me throw in gas pumping and leave it be given that we've already had that argument and that all of the other issues are clearly so much more important. Lesson here: never underestimate the ability of blog stalkers to overemphasize the inane.

    As for the initiative system, you're right, it's broken and it should be on the list of things that need either a big fix or an outright ejection. (How could I forget that one!) The "Oregon system" has created a system without checks or balances, without open public process, and without much regard for the public good. With initiatives, there is no open meeting, there is no public hearing, there is no public record, and there is no expectation of truth. There is no prior review to ensure constitutionality or logic. There is no opportunity for amendment. There is no unbiased statement of costs or consequences. There is, instead, a campaign with commercials bought by both sides. It subverts the republic and it's a terrible way to make laws.

  • Jim (unverified)

    As for the initiative system... it's a terrible way to make laws.

    I think Oregonians have watched the legislature for the past few sessions and come to the exact same conclusion; so many don't view the initiative system as anything worse. We need a legislative process that doesn't embarrass Oregon before many will let go of the existing inititive process, as totally sucky as it is.

  • LT (unverified)

    Anne, at the risk of being called a blog stalker, I will quote from a wise comment to your earlier piece.

    Posted by: Pat Ryan | Jan 24, 2006 11:38:16 AM

    "mini-serve" actually doesn't cost more! To which I reply, with sneer and humbug and the airs of one who isn't frightened of other states, so what.

    The "So What" of course is that the pseudo libertarians that constantly harp on the "free market" aspects of this debate are just plain wrong.

    They know that gas is cheaper when self served despite all evidence to the contrary. In this failure of reason, their blind belief in some theoretical and nonexistent free market in the petroleum industry is shown to be nothing more than religious based expectations.

  • Tom (unverified)

    Anne said "As for the initiative system, you're right, it's broken and it should be on the list of things that need either a big fix or an outright ejection."

    Yes, let's just get rid of it and replace it with strong leaders like you.

  • Justin (unverified)

    I. Am. Not. Goin. To. Pump. My. Own. Gas.


    I agree with the rest of your assertions.

  • djk (unverified)

    Not a fan of a general sales tax here. Luxury taxes sure. Restaurant tax, lodgings tax, ticket tax on for-profit entertainment events, fine. But I personally find it irritating to buy a pack of socks for $6.99 and wind up paying $7.41 at the register.

    I could support a gross receipts tax, similar to Washington's Business and Occupations tax. It would be paid by businesses, could be deducted from income taxes as a business expense, and can be set at a much lower rate than a sales tax because it has a much broader base.

    Our income tax needs to be more progressive. Say, 5%, 7.5%, 10%, but with meaningful indexing so no more than, say, 20% of taxpayers actually pay in the top bracket.

    Simple solution to the initiative problem: require a 60% majority to amend the constitution either by initiative or legislative referral. (A constitutional "revision" should be able to pass with a simple majority, but that's because a revision requires 2/3rds of both houses to put it on the ballot.) Call that additional incentive for the ballot-box activists to avoid messing around with the state constitution unless it's absolutely necessary to achieve their ends.

    I don't care one way or the other about pumping gas.

    Does anyone have standing to challenge the constitutionality of Measure 5? It seems to me it did too many things for a constitutional amendment: it (a) imposed two separate tax limitations -- one for schools and one for non-school spending; and (b) transferred responsibility for school funding to the state by requiring the state government to make up for lost school spending for several years. Can voters legally do all that in a constitutional amendment (as opposed to a revision)?

    And the kicker should be repealed. Both personal and corporate. We should impose financial discipline on government by other means. Yes, we need to be sure that various operations budgets don't grow excessively during periods of unsustainable growth. But we can invest surplus revenue in stability/rainy day funds, university endowments, the Oregon Cultural Trust, capital improvements in state parks or transportation -- among others.

  • Karl (unverified)

    The great thing about income tax is that it is progressive and you know how much you pay. Sales tax bleeds you blindly and mostly hits lower and middle income people who buy stuff. It hardly hits the high income people at all. Lots of tourists love to spend money in Oregon because there's no sales tax. That adds to incomes and gets taxed that way. I don't understand why a progressive would want to lower income tax and create another expensive bureaucracy by putting in a more regressive sales tax. I am proud to live in one of the very few states without a sales tax.

  • Bert (unverified)

    Sales tax advocates suggest that the benefit of having more than one type of tax is stability and to encourage non-consumptive spending such as investment; or to encourage savings.

    Also sales taxes are likely in the relative interest of companies that operate locally but sell outside the state, or to companies that might be exempt from the sales tax if it were implemented. Agriclture, retail groceries, and utilities, for example, might be exempt.

    The stability argument is kind of problematic. In a recession, income tax revenues go down, but since people still have to buy stuff, there is a sales tax revenue stream. The problem is that a sales tax would dampen demand when you need market stimulation the most.

    At this point, I think I'd rather have MORE progressive income taxes + a rainy day fund. The income tax could be lower in a recession and higher when the economy is chugging along.

  • Fast Typer (unverified)

    All I want is the right to pump my own gas. Go ahead and keep full serve, just give me the right to pump for myself instead of waiting a few minutes for someone to come around. It will also make the lines go faster.

  • (Show?)

    Bizarre that the gas pumping should attract the most attention, as I find it doesn't crack my top 5,000 most important issues.

    I'd recharacterize issues 1-4 as something along a 'broken revenue model' line. It's going to take a lot of time, effort, vision, and compromise to fix it--which is the thing you can't say in public. (Even suggesting animal rights activists were hurting their own cause created an oil fire among the far left--imagine what would happen if the only solution was to actually sit down with Republicans!

  • LT (unverified)

    Dear FT, If you can design a system which will accomplish what you desire, go ahead. But selfserve bills in recent years have been very short like "The fire marshall shall allow self serve gas stations, with rules to be written administratively."

    Such language could not get 31 votes in the House and 16 votes in the Senate.

    What someone wants does not happen because they want it, they must build a coalition to support it. Blogging alone does not build that coalition.

  • (Show?)

    I just realized something rather funny. When I moved to Portland I bought a car. Its a smooth ride, I feel rather glamourous when I drive it. But it's dawned on me - I don't know what my gas cap looks like. Sounds silly, but I grew up in a state where I pumped my own gas. The first time I did it at 15, I spilled gas all over my shoes! So, I'm going to have to stay on the "let someone else pump my gas" side of the fence. Its my perk for moving to this green wonderland...

  • captain dandy (unverified)

    Speaking of things you shouldn't say in public... I'd be remiss not to say that obviously (through a lack of hits on my article) that the readers/participants of Blue Oregon think it's no big deal that our Legislature ripped off 29,000,000 dollars from people with developmental disabilities in the last 4+ years. Where's the caring about our most vulnerable citizens??

  • captain dandy and the ghost of jack kerouac (unverified)

    Who's Gonna Pump MY Gas?

    I see the death and destruction of thousands perhaps millions and wonder Who's Gonna pump MY Gas?

    America is in deep doo doo from coast to coast from see to shiny see and I gotta know Who's Gonna Pump MY Gas?

    All things compassion are falling on deaf ears on closed eyes on empty pockets but tell me Who's Gonna Pump MY Gas?

    You only live once according to Christian principle and conservative wisdom so think about it over a frosty Republican Lite Who's Gonna Pump MY Gas??

  • (Show?)

    Capt Dandy... How do you know there wasn't many hits to your article? I didn't think that AOL Journals provides you with stats.... does it? If you're talking about comments, please note that the most popular stuff here at Blue gets the fewest comments. Smart and insightful stuff draws readers but few comments -- while incendiary polemics draw many comments, but comparatively fewer readers. Yours was smart and insightful -- expect readers, but few comments.

  • captain dandy (unverified)

    Kari... actually we have a hitometer which tells us exactly how many people visit the site to read the links in the article. There were very few which tells us that folks weren't interested enough to check out the story beyond what you posted. That's a lot-of-damned-money with strong shades of scandal and corruption tied to it, but it seems unimportant to the people of this state. Now if it was kids...people would be up in arms, but the "value" question folks with developmental disabilities face in this society is indeed woeful. DAWG works tirelessly to change that using fun anger as our weapon of choice.

  • Bert (unverified)

    I have this to say, with Oregon's history of being at least environmentally aware, why aren't we the national leader in partnering with Japan to abolish the use of gasoline, for all perpetuity? Before you call me down as a crack-head, LISTEN: We've got wind, we've got salt-water, actually all kinds of water, hydrogen's not science fiction anymore. Why have gasoline anymore? Who cares who pumps it, part of your fuel still originates in america-friendly countries like Venezuela. Nevermind your inconvenience or style-impingment, the Real Damage comes from forgetting our settler forebears and their struggle to become self-sufficient, then prosperous.

    People are lazy. They don't want to pump their fuel, they don't want to pick their own tomatoes, don't even want to take the trouble to vote, which is how we ended up being a small state with ballooning costs. Let's see Oregon go full-bore on a green-energy agenda, and put everything else to the side for a while. Petty legislation to satisfy the whimsy of people who've never had to work a low-wage job in their lives really isn't an effective use of our legislature, and borders on frivolity.

    There's bigger fish to fry, like the immigration issue. Pumping your own gas is a dodge issue, a sideshow if you will, ignores the big trends changing oregon, and america. That's not 'leadership', or 'setting the agenda', that's 'dodging the question'.

    Thank you.

  • captain dandy and the ghost of jack kerouac (unverified)

    Ok... we're going to try to work with y'all here. We are progressives right? A Liberal thinking lot correct? We believe gay marriage is fine, don't we? Adequate school funding for our children is a must, aint it? And we sure as hell don't think "President" Bush took our country to war for a "noble cause."

    So why is it so difficult to wrap our minds around the fact that our brothers, sisters, neighbors, nephews, and neices are being discriminated against?

    Of course we'd never come out and say; "I just don't like or care about THOSE people" because it's probably not true. It's more likely we'd be inclined to say something like; "Remember that show Life Goes On back in the 80's? That actor with Down's Syndrome was good. What ever happened to him?"

    We believe that two things are at play here: the fear factor... no, not the stupid reality show, the fear of saying the wrong thing in public, coupled with a question about the value of certain lives. Many believe that folks with developmental disabilities are provided for well in our community. If you do, let's talk about that. Some think they have their fair share of the pie already, and that it was ok for the legislature to balance the budget off their backs. I mean, what do they REALLY contribute to society? Of course you'd never SAY that, but what can you say about the State ripping off 29 million dollars from a certain segment of the population?

    Gotta run now... toodles!

  • (Show?)

    Guys, it’s too complex and wonky for many to get their heads around.


    My political roaddog XXX was over today on House District business and he was a mess. He cares for the developmentally disabled and had lost one lady this weekend after months of illness. He works for slave wages at odd hours doing the work that no one wants to think about (much less discuss) and it takes a heavy emotional toll on him.

    He’s spent the past several days running like hell to keep up at the understaffed facility, while infected with some two or three week virus that has knocked down both staff and clients. Due to all of this, he’s neglected home and politics just to keep up, and.....


    I’m just sayin’ People tuned Al Gore out even though he was a TrueWonk and correct on most every issue.

    Even with Libruls that hate Murica, the narrative’s the thing.

  • captain dandy (unverified)

    Great starting point Pat! What you're saying is that even the value of caregivers for developmental disabled folks is not there in Oregon. I know that to be true having worked in the field for over 21 years.

    In fact, the Department of Human Services has just passed a raise on to us caregivers. It's a whopping 6 cents per hour. The average starting wage for a caregiver in our state is about $8 (excuse me... $8.06 now) per hour.

    Group homes and foster care homes for developmentally disabled people are so woefully staffed that often when someone is sick, they still are sent to their day program because there is no staff person to stay home with them. Of course many are non verbal or have no real way of communicating, so the idea of complaining is often not an option. Imagine living like dat...

  • captain dandy (unverified)

    Wow! talk a bout a coinkidink! I was just watching that state government channel (29 at my house) and was listening to Jan Krall talk about the problems in maintaining quality staff for people with developmental disabilities. She mentioned the 6 cent raise and a 1.5% cola which I haven't heard about or seen on my check ( but I'll surely look into it). One of the things she said was that the average wage was over $9 per hour here. However; if you look at the Sunday Oregonian you'll see the kind of wage I was talking about. Don't get me wrong, I'm really speaking about the value placed on people with DD in our society, reflected in the wages of their caregivers. It aint no get rich quick scheme. Damn... Jack's ghost just tapped me on the shoulder saying "it's channel time cap".

    Living Wage

    The wages of sin are slow to pass You're going to suffer slow mo It's karma that brought you to this place And detachment from this human body Will take you out of it.

    You cannot stop the process You will sit in it watching As the others pay little attention As what you receive disappears As the question of who you are Drains like an icey pint of Republican Lite In your hell.

  • the ghost of Jack Kerouac (unverified)

    You know it’s hard out here for a chimp With Karl Rove acting like a pimp I got Scooter and Scott jumpin’ ship And Condoleezza talkin’ all her shit.

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