Monday, September 29, 2008

The Oregonian's Blunder

I just got home from a protest and press release at the building the Oregonian newspaper is housed in downtown Portland. The Oregonian pretty much has a corner on the newspaper market in our state. There were around 200 people there expressing their displeasure with a dvd sent out in yesterday's paper.

The dvd's title is "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" and it's pure, unfiltered, propaganda. It's purpose is to put fear into the hearts of people around the same old 9/11 story. The timing is directly related to the upcoming presidential election. It's a Republican move if ever there was one.

There were 7 or 8 speakers who came out, some saying that the newspaper had made a mistake, but I don't agree.I believe it was a calculated and deliberate attempt to lead people into thinking that Muslims are out to get anyone who isn't Muslim. I mean, just look at the title! If that doesn't seem scary, what does? I'm glad that folks made it on such short notice though. This insanity has to stop.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Uh Huh

This is how it goes. From the AP...

Woman brutally beaten for years; teens charged with battery of mentally disabled victim



Two male cousins of a mentally disabled East St. Louis woman the police said was brutalized for three years and unable to leave her home were charged Tuesday afternoon with aggravated battery.

Davion Cutler, 17, of 441 N. 22nd St., and a 16-year-old juvenile were charged with aggravated battery to a physically disabled person. The 34-year-old woman has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old, East St. Louis Detective Orlando Ward said.

"She was beaten with poles from a swing set, a broom, switches and an extension cord," he said.

The abuse was reported by the staff of a St. Louis Hospital on Sunday. The woman had suffered broken bones, was covered with sores and multiple bruises, and her right leg had to be amputated because it had turned gangrenous. She weighed less than 100 pounds.

"Her health is still poor, but she's improving every day," Ward said.

Cutler was being held Tuesday, with bail set at $50,000. The 16-year-old was being held at the St. Clair County Juvenile Detention Center, charged under the juvenile code.

Police were looking Tuesday for the suspects' 13-year-old sister. She is not considered a suspect; police said they want to question her.

Five children who were inside the North 22nd Street house were taken into the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. None of the children, whose ages range from 6 to 13, had ever attended school, Detective Michael Floore said.

Floore said within the next couple of days, police expect to seek charges against adults who lived at the house and knew the woman was being beaten regularly but did nothing to stop it. The woman's mother told police she had not seen her for several years.

"I call it bizarre and absolutely cruel, unacceptably cruel," Mayor Alvin L. Parks Jr. said. "I've never heard of anything like this in East St. Louis in my life."

The woman's aunt, Sandra Bender, died of a massive heart attack Sept. 18 at the house. Bender had told the teenagers, who are her sons, to beat the woman "because she had a bad heart and couldn't do (the beatings)" herself, Floore said.

"She didn't do a good job washing the dishes or cleaning up the kitchen," Ward said. Additionally, Sandra Culter believed the woman was poisoning her food and drink, and mixing her medicines, Ward said.

Sandra Bender's husband told police he was aware of the abuse. "When he tried to intervene, his wife turned against him and he had a bad heart himself, so he left it alone," Floore said.

Two of the five children found in the home are the victim's, and took no part in the beatings. The others were the children of her first cousin, Ward said.

Ward said the woman had not left the North 22nd Street house for at least two years. She told police the home had no telephone.

"She went out onto the porch, but she never said a word to anybody about what was going on or asked anyone what she could do," he said. "The victim said she was afraid to tell anyone because they had told her not to tell anyone."

It was unclear how she wound up at the hospital.

A neighbor, 54-year-old Myrtle Drake, said she often saw the children playing in the front yard or sitting on a stoop outside her house, never causing trouble. "They seemed happy," she said.

The case is eerily similar to one last year in Alton, where police say pregnant Dorothy Dixon died after weeks of torture inflicted by housemates.

Alton police say Dixon was banished to the basement, where she had a thin rug and mattress. Investigators say the woman, who was six months pregnant, was used for BB target practice, burned with a glue gun, beaten with bats and doused with scalding liquid.

Two adults, three teenagers and a 12-year-old boy were charged with murder and pleaded not guilty, though the status of their cases was not immediately available Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 239-2503.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This Is The TRUTH

As long as we, the people of Oregon, continue to be more concerned with the careers of those tasked with protecting the lives of people with disabilities than the people with disabilities themselves, the abuse , neglect, and violence will continue.

As long as we, the people of Oregon, continue to see the lives of people with disabilities as not having value, the abuse, neglect, and violence will continue.

No laws will protect them. No ombuds program will protect them. No registry will protect them. No police training will protect them. No “warning” poster will protect them. No parent will protect them. And no centralized Office of Investigations and Training will protect them. Nothing will protect them.

Until our minds are changed, and we can honestly see that the lives of people with disabilities are as important as our own, and treat them as such, they will continue to be abused, neglected, and violated.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hate Groups in Oregon

Here is a list of all the hate groups in Oregon. Notice, there are way too many in the Portland area. They sure like to keep a low profile. Guess they meet in basements or something. From the Southern Poverty Law Center...

name type city state American National Socialist Workers' Party Neo-Nazi OR

Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Ku Klux
National Prayer Network General Hate Clackamas OR

National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Ku Klux Klan Junction City OR

Brotherhood of Klans Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Ku Klux Klan La Pine OR
Daughters of Yahweh Christian Identity Portland OR
National Socialist Movement - NSM Neo-Nazi Portland OR
Northwest Hammerskins Racist Skinhead Portland OR
The Apostles of Adolf Hitler Neo-Nazi Portland OR
Volksfront Racist Skinhead Portland OR
National Socialist Movement - NSM Neo-Nazi Sisters OR

I Was Hoping This Would Happen

In the same way that George Bush doesn't pay attention to polls, it looks like Ted Kulongoski didn't read any of the thousand negative comments about his idea to give pay raises to his "appointees" in the state. "Recent economic events" must be code for "avoiding a revolution" in his mind. From the AP...

Ore. governor scrubs scheduled pay raises

Associated Press - September 25, 2008 12:05 AM ET

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Gov. Ted Kulongoski has repealed scheduled 3.2% pay raise for Oregon's executive directors, citing "recent economic events."

Spokeswoman Anna Richter Taylor said Tuesday that he had studied the issue as economic indicators predicted problems. "The governor recognizes families are tightening their belts and state government needs to as well," she said.

State union workers still will get a contract 3.2% cost of living adjustment on Nov. 1.

State agency directors were on track for much larger raises due to a large catch-up salary overhaul Kulongoski ordered last year to make state executive pay more competitive. The 2009 Legislature may consider larger raises for some elected officials.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Still Dangerous

I try not to get too involved in the whole “assisted suicide” thing, but I can’t help it. Until they figure out how to make a law that is fair to low income and disabled people, I’ll have to continue to speak out against it. It is indeed very dangerous to these folks. From

Washington Euthanasia Backers Promise $1M to Legalize Assisted Suicide

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 23, 2008

Washington, DC ( -- Backers of euthanasia promise to spend as much as $1 million on making Washington the next state to legalize assisted suicide. The group that sponsored Oregon's first-in-the-nation law has already put in over $300,000 for the ballot measure and plans to invest twice as much in the next 40 days.

"The Oregon Death with Dignity Political Action Fund is leading efforts to raise $1M to ensure passage of the Washington Death with Dignity initiative this November," the group says in a new action alert to its supporters.

"We are entering the most critical time for the Washington campaign. We are working on the final push to raise enough money to purchase television commercials to counter our opponents' lies in the media," it adds.

The group claims opponents of the measure, including pro-life groups, medical organizations, disability rights advocates and the Catholic Church are spreading "scare tactics and lies" that it must counter.

The group doesn't provide any examples of those supposed misrepresentations of the ballot proposal in the email.

The group believes it is "of victory on November 4" and "we can see a win," but it is asking for big donations to sink more outside money into the state.

"We originally donated $315,000 in seed money to the campaign. And we are now prepared to contribute an additional $500,000 in matching funds for every donation received by the campaign to reach the $1M goal," it says.

Alex Schadenberg, of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, responded to the fundraising appeal in comments to

"I wish the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition could make a similar financial commitment, but unlike the euthanasia lobby, we lack the donors with deep pockets," he says.

He hopes pro-life advocates will step up to the plate to support the main organization leading the effort against the assisted suicide measure.

"We absolutely need people and organizations, like yourselves, to give to the Washington Coalition Against Assisted Suicide," he says. "I am not a great beggar for money but there has never been a more important time, than today, to make a large donation to stop the forward progression of the culture of death."
Schadenberg says that, if Washington voters approve assisted suicide, it will be used a springboard to legalize the grisly practice across the country and into Canada.

"If Washington State passes the I-1000 assisted suicide initiative then their will be a wild-fire response of new initiatives to legalize assisted suicide everywhere," he explains.

"Our leaders are already discussing the need to establish coalitions in states throughout the US to organize an effective response to the impending initiatives," he says.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where Does It End?

We ARE in trouble. There are so many needy people in our state, and our Department of Human Services can barely keep up with providing them with the assistance they need. I just know that the only “fix” out there is to re-evaluate what wee the people truly believe in, and act upon it NOW. From the AP.

More Oregonians seek financial help from the state

Associated Press

September 17, 2008

SALEM, Ore. -- The state's Department of Human Services has gone from a $23 million budget surplus to a $71.6 million deficit in the last eight months as the number of Oregonians in need rises.

Food and energy prices have become unaffordable for many Oregon families, and thousands are beginning to turn to the state for financial help.

More than 50,000 Oregonians received welfare assistance from the state last month, a 17 percent increase over August 2007.

The number of Oregonians using food stamps has also increased. Nearly a half-million Oregonians received food stamps, a 10 percent increase from 2007.

A state analysis estimates that social service caseloads will continue to rise into 2009.

Human Services director Dr. Bruce Goldberg says he will present a plan next week to plug the new hole in the agency's $3.3 billion budget without cutting services.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where's the Nurse??

Oregon ranks 49th in the nation for nurse to student ratio in our schools. This is appalling! We have kids with physical disabilities who are having medical intervetions done by people who have had these tasks "delegated" to them by nurses? How can anyone possibly say that students receiving Special Education services are in good hands in the state of Oregon? And... It's not just students with disabilities who are being short changed. It's ALL our students! This comes from

Oregon faces a severe shortage of school nurses
by Don Colburn, The Oregonian
Monday September 15, 2008,
Oregon faces a severe shortage of school nurses as growing numbers of students have chronic illnesses or conditions that require special medical attention, a state task force warns.
Seven of eight Oregon school districts fail to meet the widely accepted national guideline for nurse staffing, the task force found. Students in 54 districts have no access to a school nurse.
Oregon ranks 49th among states and the District of Columbia for its low nurse-to-student ratio: 1 nurse per 3,142 students. Only Utah and Michigan score worse, the National Association of School Nurses says.
Availability of school nurses in Oregon
• 54 districts representing 21,006 students don't have access to a school nurse.
• 42 districts representing 38,221 students have access to a school nurse less than half the time.

• School nurses serve an average of four to six schools (16 percent serve more than 10 schools)

• The average school nurse's caseload is 1,000 to 2,000 students; 21 percent serve 3,000 to 5,000; 9 percent serve 5,000

For the full report, click here.

By contrast, top-ranking Vermont has one school nurse per 275 students.
"If Oregon is invested in the academic success of the state's children, the health needs and associated requirements at school must not be overlooked," the Task Force on School Nurses said in a report to be presented to legislators today in Salem.
Oregon lacks enough school nurses to address students' day-to-day needs and meet required health policies, "let alone adequately serve the students who have serious health needs," the task force warned.
A coalition of education and health groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, supports national guidelines for school nurse staffing levels, which call for one nurse for each 750 students -- more nurses if a school has a high percentage of students with special medical needs.
Only 12 percent of Oregon school districts meet that. Several factors are at work, including budget cuts dating to the early 1990s, school growth and increased mainstreaming of children with disabilities and special needs.
"Schools have changed," said Nina Fekaris, the task force co-chairwoman and a nurse in the Beaverton School District for 20 years. Federal law requires all children to attend school in the least restrictive environment and receive individualized education, as well as related health services, if necessary.
"But if we really want kids to learn up to their potential, we've got to keep them in their seats -- and healthy," Fekaris said. "And if you have a full-time nurse in the building, absenteeism decreases."
About 60,000 Oregon children have no access to a school nurse for at least half the year. That is especially worrisome, Fekaris said, because an estimated 116,000 Oregon children have no health insurance.
Ideally, all schools would have an assigned nurse available every day, the task force said. But school nurses in Oregon "are assigned to multiple schools and not always on site." As a result, they delegate nursing care to staff without nurse training.
"It is frightening for many to perform nursing procedures such as oral suctioning, injection of medication and replacing a colostomy bag," the report said.
The traditional role of the school nurse centered on health screenings, shots and prevention of communicable diseases. Today's school nurse must handle those tasks -- and more. Some children come to school with feeding tubes, tracheotomies or heart shunts.
Additionally, a survey of Oregon teenagers found that 14 percent of eighth-graders reported missing at least one day of school during the previous month because of asthma.
And an estimated 1,800 Oregon children ages 10 to 17 were treated at hospital emergency rooms after attempting suicide in 2004.
The Legislature established the eight-member task force last year through legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Tina Kotek, D-Portland, and Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham.
Task force leaders will present their findings and recommendations at a joint hearing of the House interim committees on education and health care.
The task force recommends that the Legislature mandate increased numbers of school nurses to bring Oregon up to the recommended national staffing standard over the next 10 years.
But officials face two big challenges, said Dr. James Lace, a Salem pediatrician and task force member. One is the shortage of trained nurses, and the other is budgetary.
"Where in the dickens," he said, "are we going to get this extra money?"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Multnomah County Secrets

Being one who doesn’t take things lying down, it’s time to tell you about Multnomah County’s Developmental Disabilities Program, and their sincere desire to be a void in communication.

On August 19th I filed a formal request for public information about a guy I knew a few years back who has since died. I’m suspicious because of 2 facts that I’m aware of.

1.)His thigh bone had been broken, and no one seemed to know how it happened.
2.)He was prescribed and given Hydrocodone for the pain, which is a synthetic for Acetomenaphine and Codeine, both of which he was allergic to according to his medication sheet. The Codeine was not present in the drug, but the Acetomenaphine was.

I wrote Incident Reports on both of these issues, and want to make sure they are both still in existence, as I feel responsible that his case be looked at without prejudice. After hearing nothing by September 2nd, I called the county and spoke with a Leslie Goodloe-Baldwin who is in charge of protective services investigations for Multnomah County.

She wanted to know why I was requesting information, and I told her exactly why. She told me that all they would be able to send me was “allegations” and the results. I said that would be fine.

After not hearing from her by the 8th, I emailed her supervisor, Patrice Botsford asking her to pass on my 2nd request to Ms. Goodloe-Baldwin. You see, on their website, Patrice is the only email address listed. I have yet to hear from anyone at Multnomah County. Perhaps my interest in what happened to my old friend has caused them to try and hide his fate. I don’t know for sure. But I won’t give up trying to find out what happened to him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm A Bigot

I just realized that I’m a bigot. All my life I’ve had a hatred of the German language. Not all German people, but their language (and their TV soldiers). It has to go back to when I was a little boy. We used to sit in front of the television watching shows like “Gallant Men”, “Combat”, and “Hogan’s Heroes”, where the good guys were American soldiers in World War 2.

Inevitably there would be German Officers who would come on the screen speaking either in bad English or German. They would bark out orders to their troops or sometimes to the Americans themselves. This was upsetting to me. How dare they shout at an American soldier? Someone working to save Democracy?

Was I influenced by post war propaganda? You bet I was. Did I buy into the idea that German TV soldiers were evil? Uh huh. Did I let those deep seeded feelings turn me into a bigot? Apparently so.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What Is Violence?

On this; the 7th anniversary of the attacks on our country, I thought it apporpriate to write about violence and all its implications. This is something that is very important to me on several levels, and I want to explore it as thoroughly as I can.

Recently I received the notes from a meeting I attended around hate crimes. I had been the lone representative from the disability community in attendance, and I wanted to make it clear that disability needed to be a part of any discussion about hate crimes, even if there were none reported as such in the last few years. After all, in a city the size of Portland there SHOULD have been some reported.

In the section of the notes about disability, it was made very clear that most of these concerns were of a non-violent nature. This has bothered me for the past few weeks, and I want to address it now.

Is the hanging of a noose in a black person's space an act of violence? I believe it is. Is the non physical verbal attack on a gay person and act of violence? I believe that is as well. Is name calling or graffiti directed toward Jews or hispanics an act of violence? My conscience says "yes". So why would the demeaning of a person with a developmental disability not be an act of violence? Does it take a physical attack on these folks to say they were violated? Why?

Violence must be more than physical. It must be threatening. If you are physically unable to protect yourself, and you hear people saying negative things about you and your physical and/or mental disability, you must be experiencing violence. Just like a black person being called the "N" word by an angry white person. There is absolutely no difference.

I will return to the next meeting on hate crimes, and I will ask these questions. I will ask that the words in the notes we received be redacted, and that new language reflecting accurately the danger these folks face be in its place.

My Very Last Palin Post (I Promise)

If you really believe Sara Palin is a friend to people with disabilities, you may want to read this. From the Anchorage Press...

Sarah and the kids
By Brendan Joel Kelley

Just moments before 7-year-old Piper Palin endeared herself to the nation by spit-grooming her 4-month-old brother Trig’s hair, Governor Sarah Palin mentioned Trig in her speech accepting the Republican nomination for vice president on Senator John McCain’s ticket. Specifically, she referred to the fact that Trig was born with Down syndrome.

“Children with special needs inspire a special love. To the families of special needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters,” Palin said.

“I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.”

It sounded fantastic, and rang true coming from the mother of a child with a disability.

But the declaration was a revelation to some legislators who’ve worked with Governor Palin for the last 21 months.

“I can tell you she wasn’t a champion for disabled children as governor,” says state Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage). “I was surprised to hear her say that in her speech.”

The state of Alaska has what’s called a “Developmental Disabilities Waiting List,” a list of individuals whose needs qualify them for assistance, but that the state doesn’t have adequate funding to help. At the time of the most recent report, issued in December 2007, the list had 943 individuals on it. The report estimates that it would cost nearly $45 million to provide the services those on the waiting list need. Estimates vary, but most place the state’s budget surplus at about $5 billion.

“The state has a very average—very inadequate—policy for families with disabilities,” says Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage). “Average because lots of states have rotten policies towards families with disabilities. One of the very embarrassing things we have in the state is the ‘Developmental Disabilities Waiting List.’ I think we’re taking about 200 people a year off the waiting list, but we get 120 entrants a year. It’s an embarrassment; it’s politics as usual.”

Jim Beck, the executive director of Access Alaska, a non-profit organization that advocates for people with disabilities and provides them with independent living services, isn’t as harsh on the governor, but says, “she’s never elucidated a health care plan or vision or any kind of connection to the disability community.”

“We’re really suffering from not having a big plan,” Beck says. “It’s not as though we’re stagnant, we just don’t have the big vision.”

In other words, exactly the sort of thing a strong leader in the executive branch could provide.

Part of that is, as Gara said, is simply politics as usual. Funding for projects like eliminating the “Developmental Disabilities Waiting List” isn’t generally a Republican priority; it’s the sort of social program you’d expect Democrats to push through.

But if Palin’s pledge to be a “friend and advocate” to children with disabilities in a McCain White House doesn’t extend to advocating for better funding, critics ask, what exactly does it mean?

“It would take $44 million to provide services to everybody on that list, and it would take a policy initiative. If the McCain camp is going to take the position that they’re going to be the presidential administration to go to when you have a family with a disabilities program—like was said—I’m glad they’re going to be the go-to people tomorrow, but they weren’t the go-to people yesterday,” says Gara.

“It would be fair for Governor Palin to come and say we don’t do that much worse than other places. But it wouldn’t be fair for the McCain camp to write a speech for her and say they’re going to become the disabilities president and vice president when they’ve never done that before. I’m not blaming anybody for not doing it, but I am saying that you can’t make that a hallmark of your campaign if you haven’t done it yet.”

In some instances dealing with family health and education issues, Governor Palin has refused to get behind the recommendations of her own task forces.

In mid-2007, Senator Wielechowski and Representative Gara told the Governor’s office that they were holding a press conference the next day to announce a bill that would provide health coverage for all uninsured Alaska children.

The next morning, the Governor’s office pre-empted their press conference with one of its own, announcing the formation of a task force to study the issue of health care for Alaskans.

The plan Senator Wielechowski and Representative Gara proposed was ambitious—it created a system of universal health care for Alaskan children, with a sliding fee scale for working families who earned too much money to qualify for Denali KidCare—the existing state-run insurance program for children in low-income families. The federal government pays roughly 70 percent of the cost of insuring children in Alaska, but at the moment, the state ranks 48th in providing health care coverage to children. With Denali KidCare, the state provides health coverage for free to families that earn up to 175 percent of the federal poverty level. The new proposal suggested raising that level to 200 percent, the minimum level that 39 other states have adopted.

As you’d expect, the idea of “universal health care”—even for children—was anathema to the Republicans.

But the governor’s own task force issued a report in December of 2007 suggesting that the eligibility criteria be raised from 175 percent of the poverty level to 200 percent.

“We really couldn’t get much traction on [the universal health care for children bill],” Sen. Wielechowski says. “So we scaled it way, way down to the point where we were trying to get 200 percent of the poverty level.”

Wielechowski proposed raising that level this past session with Senate Bill 212, but the governor’s office emailed him that the administration was staying neutral on the matter.

Health care advocates and lobbyists pushed hard for the bill’s passage down in Juneau, throwing a rally and getting supporters to deluge the governor’s office with phone calls—one advocate even cornered the governor in the elevator to try to solicit her support.

“We were down to the last couple days,” Wielechowski says, “and I said to one of her staffers, ‘if the governor got behind this we could pass this bill, you guys could be the hero, you can come out, you can declare victory, she can get all the credit for it.’ And there was just no interest at all.”

The Senate passed the bill, but SB 212 was stuck in the House Rules committee when the session ended, and the eligibility threshold for coverage under Denali KidCare remains at 175 percent of the poverty level.

This past session, a coalition of Democratic legislators introduced House Bill 306, which would institute a voluntary statewide pre-Kindergarten early learning program. Alaska is one of only ten states that doesn’t provide state funded preschool for children statewide.

HB 306 died as well, as did Sen. Wielechowski’s Senate Concurrent Resolution 19, which was simply a nonbinding resolution acknowledging the need for a statewide early childhood learning system.

In December of 2006, a task force convened by Governor Frank Murkowski issued a report outlining recommendations for an effective early learning program to combat the state’s miserable graduation and college attendance rates.

In December 2007, there was a two-day Governor’s Summit on Early Learning, and in March 2008, Abbe Hensley, executive director of Best Beginnings, the public-private partnership that grew out of the early learning task force, presented Governor Palin with the findings.

Hensley isn’t as critical of the governor’s administration on early learning programs as the legislators are, but she says, “I appreciate their impatience.”

“There is movement on all of these recommendations in some way or another,” Hensley says. “One of the benefits to being one of the last states to take up this issue is that we can learn from everyone else’s mistakes and try not to repeat them.”

Hensley also points to an additional $600,000 in funding for the Head Start program and an increase in the childcare reimbursement rate, from 25 percent of market value to 50 percent, as milestones on the way to fully implementing the task forces recommendations, and she says, “both the commissioners of Education and Early Development and Health and Social Services continue to assure us early childhood issues are high on their priority lists.”

“At some point, shouldn’t you sit down and say, if we can save 10 million bucks here and 10 million bucks there on things you don’t really need, some of these bells and whistles, you could change the world by redirecting that money,” Gara says. “I could write a budget that changes this state for the better, that uplifts people, that costs no more than what the budget is now, but just redirects the money.”

“I think [Governor Palin] believes in the Republican ethic, which is that there’s very little role for government to go out and help people get access to opportunity.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bicyclists Vs. The World

This morning we were taking our customary walk along the Willamatte Bluff. As we crossed Greeley we walked in the street, as sidewalks in the area are often uneven and can cause injury. Suddenly, we saw 2 bicyle lights approaching at a good clip. We went into single file with me taking the lead. As the bikes passed, I heard a woman's voice say to us "you should walk on the sidewalk". They then proceeded through the stop sign without stopping.

YOU CAN"T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS BICYCLISTS! Many of these folks seem to dislike cars. Many of these folks seem to dislike walkers. Many of these folks seem to dislike runners. They only seem to like other bicyclists, and sometimes I wonder about that.

There is a definite entitlement energy that comes from many of these people. My guess is that they are from a generation of kids who were never told "no", and have hung on to that in adulthood.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Methinks Thou Doest Protest Too Much

Back in early April I posted about a Vancouver couple who ripped off a developmentally disabled man for his property. They purchased it for under 1/2 of what it was worth and were being investigated for financial exploitation.

My input into the story was the truth that financial exploitation of such people is a very real problem. The rest was cutting and pasting the article from the Vancouver Columbian.

Last night I recieved a comment from the dude who purchased the property. He "told me off" about not wanting to know what the truth is, and publishing a lot of half-truths about him and I guess his female friend. He didn't DENY what they had done, but pointed out that they hadn't been prosecuted for a lack of EVIDENCE. So...? As I've often pointed out, prosecuters have not historically done a good job in jailing criminals for many reasons.

You can read his comment and my response from sometime between April 2nd and April 9th.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

No One's in Iraq or Alaska

I want to go on record that I'm voting for Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente in November. I believe that the Democratic and Republican nominees are cut from the same cloth, and it would be a mistake to vote for either.

I feel a need to wiegh in on 2 thoughts I've heard recently. The first is John McCain's idea that the troop "surge" in Iraq is the reason for the fewer incidents of violence there. The "surge" has nothing to do with why there are fewer incidents of violence. Between the displaced Iraqees (who are now refugees in other lands), to the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqees killed, to the wiping out of certain tribes in the country, there is an obvious downswing in the violence we'd seen earlier.

The second idea I want to deal with is how well people with developmental disabilties are doing in alaska. As the New York Times reports, the state of Alaska has sent most of it's profoundly disabled people to other places to get their needs met. They don't provide the services themselves. So when Sara Palin tells people with disabilities and their families if they vote for her and McCain they will; "have a friend and advocate in the White House”, it's more than likely she's thinking about the 10% bump George Bush Sr. got when he endorsed the Americans with Disabilities Act bill during his campaign 20 years ago.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Child Sexual Abuse On The Rise in Oregon

I write about abuse. It aint pretty and it aint poetic, but it's real. Usually it pertains to people with disabilities, but not today.

Child sexual abuse seems on rise in Douglas County

Although two out-of-towners will just pass through Douglas County this weekend to raise awareness about child sexual abuse, the problem is just as prevalent here in Douglas County, said a woman who deals with the problem locally.

Evelyn Badger-Nores is executive director of Douglas C.A.R.E.S., which stands for child abuse response evaluation services.

The agency helps about 200 children, all victims of abuse, and their families a year, she said. It offers forensic interviews, medical exams and family counseling. It helps the kids connect to CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, who advocate for them in the legal system.

Out of the children Douglas C.A.R.E.S. helps, 93 percent are victims of sexual abuse, Badger-Nores said.

The problem seems to have escalated in the last year, she added. Last year, agency staff did medical exams on 11 children within a six-month period. By January of this year, 10 children had already received medical exams there.

She believes the high incidence of meth abuse and weakening economy have exacerbated the problem.

Statewide, Oregon has one of the highest rates of child abuse in the nation, Badger-Nores added.

“Oregon has a lot of work to do in terms of creating awareness of the child abuse we have here,” she said.

She was only 4 years old. Two teenage boys, whom Virginia Jones knew, took her into a basement. There, they sexually abused her.

Now 49, Jones says she still struggles with emotional aftershocks of the incident.

This weekend, Jones, her two children, and another woman whose life has been splintered by child sexual abuse will be passing through Roseburg.

Their two-day trek from near Myrtle Creek to Roseburg is just part of a Walk Across Oregon that began in Ashland Sept. 1. Walkers will end up in Portland by the end of the month.

Jones, a Portland resident, shared her personal experience in a phone interview. She explained how the walk came about and why it’s important to her.

Jones feels fortunate she was abused just once, at least compared to other child sexual abuse survivors. But she still has struggled with many of the same challenges as those survivors.

By age 6, she told a family member what happened. She was told, “That’s where babies come from.” But nothing was done.

By age 9, she was depressed. By high school, she was suicidal, prone to outbursts of anger, and she developed a form of anorexia.

Some survivors cannot trust others. Others, like Jones, trust too much. She believes that contributed to her being date-raped as a young adult.

It was only about seven years ago that she got the help she needed, through her church. She helped found a group, Compassionate Gathering, that offers support for survivors of all kinds of abuse.

For Jones, the Walk Across Oregon is a way to raise awareness of child sexual abuse. She hopes to open people’s eyes to how badly survivors need support from organizations like hers, from those around them and from the community.

The idea of having the walk came from another woman whose family has been scarred by abuse.

That woman’s two children were sexually abused by a relative from as early as they can remember through their teen years.
Although that was almost two decades ago, she has asked not to be named as her children are still terrified their abuser might find them, and possibly hurt them, or her.

That woman talked to The News-Review in a phone interview while she walked from Rogue River to Grants Pass as part of the walk on Thursday.

She said she got the idea for the walk from watching a movie about a 92-year-old woman who had walked across her state to campaign for political office.

“I thought, she’s 92, and I’m 63. I can do this.”

But her biggest reason to take part in the walk is her children and what she has seen them go through. Like many survivors, one of her children started abusing alcohol, although that child has since recovered. Drug abuse also often plagues survivors.

Another child became suicidal. That child now lives on disability because of mental health issues.

But the woman’s frustrations over their situations came to a head when one of her children decided at age 36 to go to the police, and possibly prosecute the abuser.

They said there was nothing they could do. The statute of limitations had run out on filing criminal charges.

“I was shocked,” the mother recalled.

To her, the walk — she will take part in every step of the route — is a chance to let others know how the state’s statute of limitations hurts children such as hers.

In Oregon, a survivor must file criminal charges by the age of 30 or within 12 years of when the abuse was first reported to police.

The woman said she has been in contact with state Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany. The representative has been working on legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations on such crimes, she said.

Both Jones and the woman hope their walk will help survivors in a more immediate way. They hope to raise funds for a Beaverton-based group called the Wintre’s Wishes Foundation to offer therapy to survivors.

Jones invited the public to take part in the Walk Across Oregon. “It’s open to anyone who is a survivor, a supporter, or just plain interested in the issue and wants to do something about it.”

The anonymous walker said child sexual abuse has often been called the “silent epidemic.”

Although she acknowledges her children’s real fears about being found by their abuser because of her taking part in the walk, the woman said she couldn’t let that stop her.

“I won’t be silent,” she said decisively. “ I will speak up.”

• You can reach reporter Kathy Korengel at 957-4218 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Special Education For You

Let's say that you work in a program that provides support to people with developmental disabilities. Let's say you find out one of the people has been given a medication they are allergic to. Let's say you write a report and send it on to Multnomah County for them to DO SOMETHING. Let's say you never hear anything about what they have or have not done about the situation. Let's say the person dies within a year of getting the wrong medication. Let's say you try to find out a year later if your report was ever looked at.

Sorry... you'll never know. Now that's what I call scary. And it happens here