Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2006

Although the year of 2006 came and went some time back, to me it seems like it was just yesterday. I was working in a day program for adults with developmental disabilities in Portland. The job itself was extremely rewarding to me. It involved administrating and running a non-stop party where the focus was to bring joy into the lives of people who had little standing in society, and who lived an otherwise marginalized existence.

Of the 18 people we served, there were only 6 who had the ability to speak. The other 12 were at the mercy of “support” teams from our program, their residential programs and Multnomah County case management. A few also had family involvement. Now when I speak of “our program”, I want to be clear that none of the people actually working with these individuals had much involvement beyond filling out yearly reports on what we thought was best for them. Instead, at the majority of annual ISP (Individual Support Program) Team Meetings, our supervisor was the day program representative. That may sound strange to the average community member, but that’s just one example of how this system is broken.

Another more glaring example is that in that one year, 2006; there were 3 cases of abuse and/or neglect of 3 non verbal folks that were never fully investigated. That’s 3 of 12 or 25% of the non verbal people we served; in 1 DAY PROGRAM! You can only speculate how many more similar cases there were (and are) happening in the rest of the County.

It all began in April when a 44 year old woman was diagnosed with colon cancer. Without getting a 2nd opinion, seeing a prognosis, or looking at her medical record, her ISP Team decided to withhold treatment and allow her to die... with dignity I guess. How they were able to pull that off is beyond my greatest imaginations, but they did. 8 months after her diagnosis she finally gave up.

The next example came in the summer. I’m not sure exactly which month it was. One of our men was in the hospital with stomach problems when it was discovered he had a broken thigh bone which had happened around 3 months earlier. I reported it to Multnomah County Adult Protective Services, but instead of investigating it, I was told it was “changed to a county review” which I was also told means they take no action. Why wouldn’t THAT be deemed as worthy of investigation?

A few months later a roommate of the man I just wrote about showed up with a black eye and no explanation for it. I reported it that very same morning to Multnomah County APS, but have since been told that “It was reported to be a small area that was bruised on the eyelid and was no longer visible when it was reported.” I wrote that it WAS A BLACK EYE, and this excuse makes absolutely no sense.

Now it’s time to move on from 2006. Though I did my damndest to bring these facts to light, no one seems to care. Not really. So when you think of me as an angry adolescentish bitcher and snark, please remember what happens to people with developmental disabilities WHERE YOU LIVE.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Reparations For Forced Sterilization!

Here in the great state of Oregon we have our own ugly history of forced sterilization of people with developmental disabilities. Of course there was a formal apology made by the Governor back in December of 2002, but I don’t recall any discussion of reparations for those who went through this forced process. In North Carolina some folks are pushing for a $20,000 payment to be made to their sterilized folks. Good for them!...

Eugenics reparations mulled

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers pushed Thursday to offer reparations to thousands of victims of a forced sterilization program now recognized as a shameful part of U.S. history.

A state House panel recommended the state give $20,000 to victims of the eugenics program, which sterilized about 7,600 people between 1929 and 1975 who were considered to be mentally handicapped or genetically inferior. Though North Carolina and several other states have apologized, none had offered reparations.

“Yes, it is ugly. It’s not something that we’re proud,” said state Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, who has been working on the issue for several years. “But I’m glad that North Carolina has done more than any other state to step forward and not run away from it.”

Lawmakers in the full General Assembly will have to approve the idea. They convene next month.

Illinois was the first state to offer a eugenics program in 1907 as social reformers advocated for a way to cleanse society of the mentally handicapped and mentally ill. Many states curtailed their sterilizations after World War II, recognizing it was similar to the actions taken by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany.

North Carolina, however, moved ahead aggressively after the war, conducting about 80 percent of procedures after 1945 and growing the program to be the third largest in the nation, behind only California and Virginia.

Most of those sterilized in the 1960s were poor black women.
Willis Lynch, 75, of Littleton was one of those sterilized. He went through forced sterilization at the age of 14 — not knowing at the time what was happening — and was later frustrated by it.

“I always wanted kids. I love kids,” said Lynch, who married a woman with two children. “You wish you could have kids of your own.”

He praised the state for finally recognizing its mistake 60 years after he went through the procedure. The bills approved by the committee also suggest providing counseling, creating a historical marker and including information about the eugenics program in public school curriculum.

Rep. Ronnie Sutton, the Democratic chairman of the study committee, said because of the nation’s lagging economy, it may not be possible to fully fund the compensation program with an estimated $18 million that would be needed to cover all surviving victims.

“Anything with money is going to have a hard road to hoe,” Sutton said. He suggested lawmakers may consider funding some of the program in the upcoming session to get it started and finish allocating money at a later date.

Gelser's Late Response

Talk about skirting "around" an issue, without giving a direct answer to a question. I received the following "answer" to my concern about what happened to my friend from Sara Gelser last night. Not only was she a month and a half late, but she offered the same old lame excuse that politicians always offer. "It's not my fault, I was busy doing business on behalf of the people". Notice the bs. regarding "snow days". At least she had the balls to respond... I guess the bottom line is that Disability Rights of Oregon (in the person of Bob Joondeph)and Multnomah County Developmental Disabilities (in the persons of Patrice Botsford, Bill Toomey, and Vicki Danielson) are beyond reproach. I wonder what happened to Kotek?

Subject: RE: Ways and Means Date: 12/18 10:49 PM From:
Subject: RE: Ways and Means
Date: 12/18/2008 10:49:37 PM Pacific Standard Time
Reply To:
Sent on:

Sent from the Internet (Details)
Internet Address Card Attached

Hi David:

Thank you for sharing your story. Between holidays, snow days, and moving offices, I have fallen behind on my email correspondence.

As for investigating allegations of abuse, mistreatment, or wrongful death of people with disabilities, I have actively requested information and put pressure on investigators in specific cases involving my constituents. Through this process I've learned that I have very little standing to get information or have access to information without a signed release from the individual or their parent or guardian. This is particularly true for situations outside my district. In the case of your friend, I do not have the ability to access information about the case because I have no way to obtain a signed released from the victim.

Though I can't conduct my own investigation, stories like the one you shared are very helpful for developing the policy framework to better protect individuals with disabilities. This story certainly fits in with the work I have done in the past year attempting to improve investigations, provide greater protection to vulnerable adults, and engage the criminal justice system in looking at abuse of people with disabilities a public safety issue.

Two specific points are relevant to the email you sent. First, the omnibus vulnerable victims bill endeavors to update the definition of neglect to clearly include medical neglect. In addition, I've recently been in a number of conversations about how to improve public guardianship programs in Oregon to offer protection to vulnerable adults in jeopardy. Given the budget climate, I think we are unlikely to be able to expand guardianship budgets in 2009. However, I do have a task force bill which would bring stakeholders together to develop a thoughtful plan for how to best expand these important services.

I'm very sorry that you went through this situation and I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. She was very lucky to have you advocating on her behalf. I wish you luck in your endeavor to find answers, and am sorry that you haven't been able to get the answers you are seeking.

I look forward to working with you on our shared vision for a community which supports and celebrates all of its members, including those with disabilities.


Representative Sara Gelser

House District 16 (Philomath, Corvallis)

Capitol Line: (503) 986-1416

Thursday, December 18, 2008

54.4 Million People with Disabilities in the U.S.

There are 54.4 million reasons for this blog. That's the number of people with a disability in America this year. That's a lot of people who have to constantly fight just to get their needs met. Individually, there's not much a person can do to alter this fact, but as a community we should, can, and must do better. It could be you or I next.These statistics were found on the US Census website...

Number of Americans With a Disability Reaches 54.4 Million


About one in five U.S. residents — 19 percent — reported some level of disability in 2005, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. These 54.4 million Americans are roughly equal to the combined total populations of California and Florida.

Both the number and percentage of people with disabilities were higher than in 2002, the last time the Census Bureau collected such information. At that time, 51.2 million, or 18 percent, reported a disability.

Among those with a disability, 35 million, or 12 percent of the population, were classified as having a severe disability, according to Americans With Disabilities: 2005.

Nearly half (46 percent) of people age 21 to 64 with a disability were employed, compared with 84 percent of people in this age group without a disability. Among those with disabilities, 31 percent with severe disabilities and 75 percent with nonsevere disabilities were employed. People with difficulty hearing were more likely to be employed than those with difficulty seeing (59 percent compared with 41 percent).

A portion of people with disabilities — 11 million age 6 and older — needed personal assistance with everyday activities. These activities include such tasks as getting around inside the home, taking a bath or shower, preparing meals and performing light housework.

Other important findings:

Among people 15 and older, 7.8 million (3 percent) had difficulty hearing a normal conversation, including 1 million being unable to hear at all. Although not part of the definition of disability used in the report, 4.3 million people reported using a hearing aid.

Roughly 3.3 million people, or 1 percent, age 15 and older used a wheelchair or similar device, with 10.2 million, or 4 percent, using a cane, crutches or walker.
Nearly 7.8 million people age 15 and older had difficulty seeing words or letters in ordinary newspaper print, including 1.8 million being completely unable to see.

More than 16 million people had difficulty with cognitive, mental or emotional functioning. This included 8.4 million with one or more problems that interfere with daily activities, such as frequently being depressed or anxious, trouble getting along with others, trouble concentrating and trouble coping with stress.

The chances of having a disability increase with age: 18.1 million people 65 and older, or 52 percent, had a disability. Of this number, 12.9 million, or 37 percent, had a severe disability. For people 80 and older, the disability rate was 71 percent, with 56 percent having a severe disability.

Among people 16 to 64, 13.3 million, or 7 percent, reported difficulty finding a job or remaining employed because of a health-related condition.
Among people 25 to 64 with a severe disability, 27 percent were in poverty, compared with 12 percent for people with a nonsevere disability and 9 percent for those without a disability.

Median monthly earnings were $1,458 for people with a severe disability, $2,250 for people with a nonsevere disability and $2,539 for those with no disability.
Parents reported that 228,000 children under age 3, or 2 percent, had a disability. Specifically, they either had a developmental delay or difficulty moving their arms or legs. In addition, there were 475,000 children 3 to 5 years, or 4 percent, with a disability, which meant they had either a developmental delay or difficulty walking, running or playing.

There were 4.7 million children 6 to 14, or 13 percent, with a disability. The most prevalent type was difficulty doing regular schoolwork (2.5 million, or 7 percent).
The Survey of Income and Program Participation produces national-level estimates for the U.S. resident population and subgroups, and allows for the observation of trends over time, particularly of selected characteristics such as income, eligibility for and participation in transfer programs, household and family composition, labor force behavior and other associated events.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bush... "Leader Of The FREE World"

It's true that there are a whole lot of whack jobs roaming the streets still in this country. I found this posting on City On A Hill Politics and couldn't resist the temptation of reprinting it on my own blog...

The Toll of a Presidency & The Classless Pack of Animals That Degrade the Leader of the Free World

Posted by Bill (Profile)

Tuesday, December 16th at 7:35PM EST

Why would anyone want to become president in this day and age?

America owes George W. Bush an apology.

So on behalf of a grateful nation, I thank you sir for your service. I thank you for taking the fight to the terrorists and for keeping my children safe for these past 8 years. I thank you for your clear understanding of good and evil in this world. I thank you for putting America first before the self-absorbed need by those on the left to get the approval of the rest of the world.

I thank you for standing by your principles and not letting the flavor of the month media that seeks to create news rather than report it guide your policies.

I thank you for standing firm when every day brought more insults and attacks to your character.

I apologize to you for the endless showers of invective directed your way and the psychotic liberal character assassination campaign that has been waged against you for 8 years. I apologize for each comparison to Nazis and terrorists, for each attack on your intelligence, honesty and character.

It is true that good people may disagree on policy and approach. It is unfortunate that a large number of folks in this country have elevated hateful, demeaning and incendiary rhetoric to a position of prominence. These same folks would scream from the rooftops if even the most innocuous language directed at President Bush over the last 8 years were directed to a minority, a religion other than Christian, or gays and lesbians, about needing to cut off free speech and enact stronger “Hate Crime” laws; yet they think nothing of projectile vomiting this putrid stuff on a daily basis at President Bush.

I can only hope that we will come to realize after time that President Bush deserved better than he received. For now, all I can offer is my thanks and profound apology to the man from Texas. I didn’t always agree with him on policy, but I respect the man for his convictions and leadership.

God Bless George W. Bush and the United States of America.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jerry's "Kids" or Jerry's "Orphans"?

Jerry Lewis is going to receive an Oscar, but it's not for acting. It's a Humanitarian Award for his years hosting the Muscular Dystrophy telethon each Labor Day. By all accounts he's raised over 2 billion dollars with his telethon. Great, right? There are several disability activists who would answer this question with a resounding "No!"

These folks don't like the way Jerry displays his "kids" as hopeless and helpless "half a person" (a term he used to describe people with disabilities a few years ago). They believe he is a big reason people with disabilities are not valued in society, and I agree.

Harriet McBryde Johnson, an attorney from Charleston, S.C., who had a physical disability and died last summer, was one of his greatest critics. She said in a chapter titled "Honk If You Hate Telethons" from her book “Too Late to Die Young”; "Lewis’ productions raised money by turning children into objects of pity without hope, effectively sentencing them to death on live TV."

Jerry has also raised the ire of the gay community when he made a derogatory "fag" comment on last year's telethon. That the Academy of Motion Pictures would give this guy an Oscar (he was never so much as nominated for one while acting)as a Humanitarian is frankly; beyond my understanding.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


It's looking like the state has a plan to keep people with developmental disabilities waiting for services longer than they have been already. The infamous "Waitlist" may once again rear its' ugly head in the face of people who need help NOW.

Let's run through an imagined, yet real scenario, where YOU are on a Waitlist for services. You are 45 years old. You've been scraping by in life since you graduated high school with a modified diploma in the early 80's. You live in a single room occupancy hotel in downtown Portland. You get $609 per month from Social Security...$350 goes for renting your roach infested room. You can't get a job, because you have no one to help you navigate through the "system". You are on a Waitlist for assistnce.

You might feel like if you complain it may only get worse for you, so you just throw away the letter from DHS that the guy in the room next door reads to you. You might be relieved that you can put off the anxiety of dealing with new people, new situations, and new successes, even though you know your way doesn't work so well. You might not care any more. After all... you've managed to stay alive this long on your own.

Think this is some sort of exageration of the truth? There are over 2000 citizens in Oregon (mostly in the Portland Metro area)who fit in this scenario somewhere. Civil Rights? Human Rights? Fairness? Equity? None of these exist for those still waiting. It's really a shame, that Oregon can do without.

Aging = Disability

I’m not so sure that people realize that along with aging comes disability. I think it goes along with people being in denial of their own vulnerability. They just don’t want to think about having a disability... until it’s too late.

Let’s face it. We’re all getting older, and at some point some of us will wind up with some sort of serious disability. All of us “baby boomers” will be competing for limited resources to help us stay in our homes. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee on this issue.

I found some interesting statistics on the Roseburg News Review which inspired me to write this post...

Douglas County is growing older but is also becoming somewhat more diverse, according to the results of a new three-year study by the U.S. Census Bureau.

More than a quarter of the county’s 103,656 residents are now age 60 or older. Since 2000, the percentage of residents who fit into that category has risen to 25.3 percent from 23.1 percent.

At the same time, the percentage of county residents younger than 20 has fallen more than 3 points, from 26.6 percent to 23.2 percent.

The median age for Douglas County residents is 43.4, up from 41.2 in 2000. Statewide, the median age is 37.6.

For the state of Oregon as a whole, 17.8 percent of the population is 60 or older, and 25.8 percent is 19 or younger. Nationally, 17.2 percent of Americans fit into the older category and 27.6 percent are teens or younger.

The estimates provided by the American Community Survey were gleaned from surveys taken in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The surveys, which are now taken yearly, replace the long forms sent out previously to a sampling of census respondents.

The survey asks a variety of questions on income, marital status, the number of children respondents have and the type of residence they have. It also asks questions on how many cars they drive, how long it takes them to get to work and whether they have served in the armed forces or have a disability.

While Douglas County residents are overwhelmingly Caucasian — at 91 percent of the population — the Hispanic population rose more than 23 percent between 2000 and 2007. The number has increased from 3,283 to 4,042, or 3.9 percent of the county population.

Mexico is the source of the largest group of Hispanics, 3,099. Another 275 residents are natives of Puerto Rico and 154 originally came from Cuba.

American Indians make up the second-largest ethnic group, although that number has decreased by 281 since 2000. There are now 1,249 American Indian residents in Douglas County.

The number of Asian residents rose nearly 74 percent, from 628 in 2000 to 1,092. Among different Asian groups, the number from India rose the most, from 54 to 308. There are also 308 Koreans residing in the county, tying with Indians for the largest groups of ethnic Asians.

The per capita income in Douglas County is $20,324, up from $16,581 in 2000. The statewide figure is $25,097.

The median income for a man working full time in Douglas County is $36,902, up from $32,512 in 2000. For a woman, it’s $25,567, up from $22,349. Statewide, the average man makes $42,676, while the average woman earns $33,017.

The percentage of Douglas County residents who have a high school diploma or a GED rose from 81 percent in 2000 to 84.6 percent. Statewide, 87.5 percent of Oregonians have finished high school.

The percentage of county residents with a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree increased from 13.3 percent in 2000 to 14.7 percent. Still, that number lags behind the statewide average of 27.6 percent.

A total of 5,823 county residents have earned an associate degree. That’s 7.9 percent of the population, up from 6.5 percent in 2000.

The percentage of Douglas County residents who served in the armed forces declined from 20 percent in 2000 to 17 percent. However, the percentage is still above the statewide figure of 12.5 percent.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Remember Fairview?

I believe it's important that as a community we never forget about the existence of the Fairview Educational Center in Salem. As the budget in our state shrinks, and decisions are made in the Legislature regarding where cuts are made, they shouldn't be made at the expense of people with developmental disabilities. It's not like these folks haven't suffered enough already.

I made 4 or 5 visits to Fairview over the years. My purpose in going there was to meet people who were preparing to leave the institution to live in the community. I absolutely hated going to that place. It smelled of human waste, it was dark and cold (no matter what season), and I didn't experience the people working there as friendly or compassionate. I think they saw my presence as a threat to their state paid jobs.

On one such visit in the early 90's I recall an abusive situation that I reported. I was in an area where people were working, if that's what you would call it. Actually, the folks with disabilities were doing some menial task as they sat at tables. One of the staff in charge noticed that someone (a male) had urinated in his pants as he sat at the table working. The staff person told one of his coworkers what had happened in front of everyone in the room, and asked them to get a pair of pants along with underpants.

When the staff person came back to the table with the clothes, he took the underpants and put them over the head of the man who had urinated. He then stood him up and walked him toward a changing area. I couldn't believe what I saw! The other staff people thought this was funny and laughed as the two walked across the room. I left in disgust. When I got back to Portland I called the Office of Investigations and Trainings to report what I'd seen. I'm not sure what happened to the staff person, as OIT keeps their findings secret, but my hope was that they were fired.

Fairview was a bad place. I'm glad it's closed. Now, if we can only find the key to keeping people safe in the community, the world will be a better place for these folks.

Remember Fairview?

I believe it's important that as a community we never forget about the existence of the Fairview Educational

Sunday, December 07, 2008

What The Hell Is THIS About??

I ran into this story on the internet this morning. Right in my own back yard the Gestapo are arresting innocent people for the fear that they MIGHT be having illegal sex at PSU?...

Homophobia In Portland!!

On December 3 2008 Taylor Vineyard,a successful artist turned civil rights law student, my husband of 5 years accompanied me to Portland State University's Smith Center while I rehearsed scenes with a classmate for a theatre class. At 5:08 he headed out for coffee and to smoke a cigarette, he would be missing for the next 7 hours to me. I thought the love of my life, my husband, my best friend, was dead.

At approximately 5:30 pm PSU security began a witchhunt arresting gay men and accusing them of being involved in various sex acts on campus. While they were in the process of arresting another student my husband happened to be walking by in the park blocks, returning from his coffee run. He was arrested. He was read his miranda rights and told to sit while they went to talk to "a witness" to see what the charges were.

accused of criminal trespassing and public indecency.

He was mocked and laughed at by security as he pleaded his innocence. The Guards taunted their victims with promises of "If you tell us what we want to hear we'll let you go home right now"

and "It's up to me if you go to jail or not tonight so you should do what I say"
One student crumbled under the pressure and told the Campus security that he'd been masturbating- he was promptly released.

My Husband was then accused of the same , when he denied it the charged were escalated, culminating in the claim he was involved in a group orgy in a mens room in plain view of others students having group sex in front of the urinals . Since he was innocent of any of this ridiculous false charges he refused to change his story to fit their pink panic witchhunt so he spent the next 6 hours in Multnomah County Jail, where he was not allowed to call me.

In 5 years he has quite literally never been late. In fact he's always early, so by 6:10 pm I was frantically calling friends knowing something was wrong. he'd left his backpack and a bag of Hanukkah gifts. I spent until midnight calling friends, the police, all area hospitals, and campus security themselves who blatantly lied about having any knowledge of his whereabouts.

After finding him in jail and getting him home safe I spoke to PSU representatives and Mike Sotto head of campus security who rudely "corrected" " your friend,partner whatever" when I referred to Taylor as my husband when I discussed the matter with him. When I asked him to stop doing that as it was demeaning and disrespect ful Mike Sotto replied "Sorry I didn't know how you'd perceive your relationship with this man"

This is Portland Oregon in 2008 and he was treated like bar raid in 1965. This is unacceptable.

If you'd like to discuss further details please let us know.

Andrew Klaus

Women and Disabilities

Some time back, my wife and I sat in on a teleconference around disability abuse. We were shocked to hear of the plight of women becoming disabled by domestic violence in America. It is pandemic how many women are abused throughout the world. This article from the Antigua Sun Weekend shows some startling data...

Women and disabilities

What are the numbers of women with disabilities worldwide?

According to the World Health Organisation, women with disabilities comprise 10% of all women worldwide. Approximately 300 million women and girls around the world have a mental and/or physical disability.

Globally, women make up three-fourths of the disabled people in low- and middleincome countries; between 65 per cent and 70 per cent of those women live in rural areas.

In most Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, women report higher incidents of disability than men.

Conversely, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) states that women are at an increased risk of becoming disabled throughout their lives due to neglect in healthcare, poor workforce conditions, and gender-based violence.

What is the situation of women with disabilities in the developing world?

The World Bank estimates that 20 per cent of the world’s poorest people have some kind of disability and tend to be regarded in their own communities as the most disadvantaged. Women with disabilities are recognised to be multiply disadvantaged, experiencing exclusion on account of their gender and their disability.

The ILO states that women with disabilities are at an increased risk of being sicker, poorer, and more sociality isolated than either men with disabilities or non-disabled women.

According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the literacy rate for women with disabilities is as low as one per cent.

The United Nations estimates that, worldwide, only 25 per cent of women with disabilities are in the workforce.

Neglect, lack of medical care and less access to food or related resources have resulted in a higher mortality rate for girls with disabilities. For example, a UNICEF study in Nepal found that the survival rate for boy children several years after they have had polio is twice that for girl children, despite the fact that polio itself affects equal numbers of males and females.

What are some of the specific issues related to women with disabilities and development programmes?

Gender-based violence: Women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse. For example, a small 2004 survey in Orissa, India found that virtually all of the women and girls with disabilities were beaten at home, 25 per cent of women with intellectual disabilities had been raped and six per cent of women with disabilities had been forcibly sterilised.

Rule of law: Legal barriers exist for women with disabilities that hamper their right to marry and start a family. For example, in Tanzania, consent for marriage must be given “freely and voluntarily”. However, consent is not considered valid when either party has a mental disability based on the assumption that he or she cannot fully understand the nature of the ceremony. Similar laws exist in Cambodia and China.

HIV/AIDS: A recent World Bank study states that women with disabilities are at a higher risk of obtaining HIV/AIDS due to lack of awareness and lack of access to traditional HIV/AIDS programs. Furthermore, the folk belief that individuals with sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, can rid themselves of the infection if they have intercourse with a virgin poses a particular risk for disabled children due to the mistaken belief that individuals with a disability are sexually inactive – hence virgins.

Human trafficking: Women and girls with disabilities are at risk of being trafficked and forced into prostitution. In Thailand, for example, UNICEF reports that proprietors of houses of prostitution have specifically sought out deaf girl children and adolescents, with the idea that such young people will be less able to communicate their distress or find their way back home in a world where neither their customers nor their employers or fellow sex workers are able to speak sign language. In Taiwan, a recent study found that the proportion of child prostitutes who had mild developmental disabilities was six times greater than what might be expected from the incidence in the general population.

What are the barriers?

Physical barriers:Physical barriers exist that prevent women and girls with disabilities from receiving various services and participating in international development programs. For example, a recent survey in South Africa has found that the services for battered women, with a few exceptions, are generally not accessible or appropriate to the needs of women with disabilities.

Attitudinal barriers: People with disabilities often face stigmas and exclusion resulting from limited knowledge and understanding of the causes of disability. For example, in India, women with physical disabilities are not eligible to receive reproductive health services because they are considered to have no marriage prospects.

Organisational barriers: Projects are often implemented without adequate consultation from people with disabilities or the disabled community, which can result in programs that are not accessible or discriminate against people with disabilities.

What can be done to better integrate people with disabilities?

Conduct outreach: International and national Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) and disability leaders are an excellent resource and can help in the design, implementation, and evaluation of development programs to ensure that they are accessible to people with disabilities.

Hire Staff, Interns, and/or Consultants with Disabilities: Improving diversity within the workplace improves and ensures diversity of programs and activities.

Ensure accessible facilities and materials: Make sure that the trainings or activities you are conducting are in an accessible venue. Also, provide materials in alternative formats, such as documents in large print or information on compact discs.

Educate and Train: Conduct trainings for your staff and partners on inclusive practices and disability awareness-raising on physical, organisational or social barriers.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

A New Kennedy In The Senate?

It's looking like Caroline Kennedy is salivating over Hillary's seat in the senate. Well, not actually her seat, but she's thinking maybe that position would be a good one to have. AOL reports that 73% of respondents to the question of whether she would be a good fit for the job were positive.

Do we want ANOTHER Kennedy in the senate?? Have we seen enough of political bloodlines making decisions on behalf of/for Americans in the last century?? I don't know for sure.

My father campaigned heavily for John Kennedy. We had the hats, buttons, and even the "Whoop There Goes Another Rubber Tree Plant" recorded version of his campaign song around our house in his bid for the presidency. Then came his book, Profiles In Courage and Teddy's screw up and his and Bobby's assassinations and Jackie and Arie and John Jr. and his plane thing and Bobby Jr.'s drug thing and ad nauseum...

I think we should put the Kennedy's and Bush's to bed. Not to mention the "new" family on the block... the Clinton's. These familial politicos have been dragging our country down for too damn long.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Campground Mystery

As I was going through my email this morning, I came upon a CNRG posting where they are looking for people to man a phone bank for the Gifford Pinchot Task Force. It spoke of this group as being the protectors of the forrest. I decided that what I should do is contact the executive director of the task force staff to see what, if anything, ever became of the "Incident Report" I wrote at the end of August, when my wife and I were camping.

I searched my office until I found some information that I would need to share with them around our experience with teens using an axe and gun(s) in the campsite we were staying at. I then forwarded my blog post from 8/31/08, which pretty much tells the story.

After sending the email to the executive director I was thumbing through a brochure we picked up while we were camping, and came upon a copy of the incident report that I'd hand written because I felt funny about the camp hostesses handling of the incident. I decided to post it on my blog, and am waiting to see what happens. This was written the day of...

"At around 1:00 yesterday afternoon, Suzanne and I swung by the Camp Host to inquire about the location of the walking bridge.She was drinking a beer which she said was her 2nd. She said she's a "light weight" and was talking to her boss about reservations on a walkie talkie. She told us it was her day off. We got the directions and went back to our site.

We walked to the foot bridge, took some pictures, and walked back to the road and our site. It was now approximately 1:30. 4 young people came by and went to the river. Suzanne told me one of the men (2 men and 2 women) had an axe. By 1:45 we heard chopping. By 2:00 or 2:05 I saw a tree fall. We heard hooting and hollering. By 2:30 the kids came out of the bushes and walked toward lower numbered sites.

At around 3:00 we heard what sounded like a gun shot coming from the direction they went. Between 3:15 and 3:30 there were 4 more shots.

At around 4:30 the camp host came by, asking if we had heard chopping the night before. I said no, but we heard and saw bad stuff going on this afternoon. I showed her the tree that was cut, and said we wanted to call a Ranger, but don't have a cell phone. She said there is no cell phone service here. She left around 4:45. I walked down to where the action took place and saw a bottle of green tea.

Suzanne and I walked down to site #21 which was raked clean. #19 was not raked, and they had been there for a longer time. There were 2 cut trees in #21.

At around 5:15 or 5:30 the camp host returns with her boss. They check out the cut tree and begin writing an incident report. They came over to our site and her boss shows me an I.R. with writing on it. Said the host will be back in a while, and I'll write below her. She came back with a BLANK I.R. which I filled out in detail. I told her about the green teabottle as possible evidence. She looked but couldn't find it. I found it again this morning".

I then signed my name at the bottom.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Another Day At The Office

Things are really heating up over at the Legislature today. Actually, it's been the last 2 days. Hot exchanges going back and forth around Ted's shiny new budget are coming out in legislative press releases. People falling all over themselves to get in their two cents. If it wasn't so tragic, it would seem funny...

Senator Ted Ferrioli
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, S-223
Salem, Oregon 97301

December 1, 2008 503.986.1950


SALEM - Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) had the following to say after the Governor released his 2009-11 budget proposal on Monday:

“The state has almost $1 billion more to spend this budget cycle than last, so Oregon can make do with what we have if we prioritize, pay for what is most important and invest in our economy. After we protect education, public safety and the most vulnerable, we should be providing low-income families with tax relief so they can make ends meet. The Working Family Tax Relief plan that I proposed would provide relief to those that need it most and create almost 20,000 permanent, private sector jobs.

“The Governor’s answer to 133,000 unemployed Oregonians is taxes, taxes and more taxes. While the Governor recognizes that families have been changing their lifestyles and spending in the face of a struggling economy, he fails to recognize that government must follow their lead. Government has been spending at a break neck speed, creating unsustainable program growth despite almost $1 billion more in revenue. Now is the time to counter that tax and spend mentality with common sense and fiscal responsibility. But the Governor’s response is to increase spending even further on earmark projects and pork barrel spending, paid for by massive borrowing schemes and asking Oregonians to shoulder at least seven new taxes and fees.”

900 Court St., N.E., Room S‐203
Salem OR  97301 
Contact:    Robin Maxey     December 1, 2008
                   (503) 986‐1605    

(SALEM) – Senate President Peter Courtney and Senator Margaret Carter, the new Senate Co-Chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, said today they are concerned that the budget proposed by Governor Kulongoski this morning cuts too deep into the Department of Corrections and the human services safety net on which more and more Oregonians must depend during in an economic recession.

“We cannot allow the people who are the most vulnerable in these times to be put into the street. We can’t let dangerous felons be released into the street,” Courtney said. “Throughout this crisis there has been a lot of talk about Wall Street and Main Street. We also need to be focused on making sure families on Oak Street are safe; that they have food on their table; daycare for their children; and that our senior citizens have the long-term care they need.”

Carter said too many times policy makers lose sight of what the state budget is all about.

“When I see a spreadsheet, I see people,” Carter said. “I see the faces of single parents who work two jobs and still depend on food stamps to feed their children. I see the faces of foster children and of those in our mental health system. I see the faces of Oregonians who have lost their jobs and have no where else to go for help.” Carter said. “We can’t turn our backs on the people who count on us the most, when they need us the most.”

The Oregon Department of Human Services reported last month that the number of families receiving Temporary Assistance for Need Families has increased by 16 percent in the last year and that, since October 2007, 29,000 additional families have been added to the rolls of those receiving food stamps.

In September alone, an additional 14,000 Oregonians joined the ranks of the unemployed, the pair noted.

“It’s ugly out there,” Courtney said. “We need to explore every option and we absolutely must protect those who can’t protect themselves – our children, our elderly and those with multiple disabilities. Oregon will rebound from this crisis, but there has to be bridge so that nobody gets left behind.”

“We’re all in this together and we will get out of this by working together,” Carter said.


December 1, 2008
CONTACT: Nick Smith


SALEM—House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) today had the following to say
regarding the release of the 2009-11 Governor's Recommended Budget:

"The state has nearly $1 billion in new revenue for the 2009-11 budget, yet we have a state government that taxpayers can't afford. Thanks to the unsustainable spending passed in 2007,which Republicans repeatedly warned against, the Legislature is now facing painful decisions in the months ahead.

"The Legislature must identify the core functions of government and sustain the programs and services that are most important to Oregonians. That's why House Republicans will continue to call for prioritized spending that adequately funds education, public safety and vital human services. Democrats must be prepared to sacrifice their pet projects. "The Governor's budget doesn't reflect reality. It's balanced on imaginary revenue including tax increases that haven't yet been approved yet. Democrats can't tax, spend and borrow out of the mess they created. Throughout 2009, we will work with Democrats to develop a more responsible state budget. However, we will oppose saddling Oregonians with reckless tax increases and uncontrolled debt.

"Rather than passing another unsustainable budget, the Legislature must focus on putting more dollars back into the economy and more dollars back into the pockets of low-income Oregonians and working families. We must create an environment where businesses can survive this recession, create new jobs and lead Oregon to recovery."

Attackers of Sikh escape hate crime charge

All over the world Oregon is being exposed for having less than a stellar record for protecting minorities from hate crimes. I found this story on The Times Of India website this morning...

NEW YORK: A jury in Oregon has declined to indict three men for committing a hate crime when they tore off and did away with a Sikh trucker's

turban. Instead, the culprits have been indicted on the lesser charges of harassment and theft in the third degree, disappointing the Sikh community.

"Burning a cross on an African American's lawn is not a mere act of vandalism, and stealing a Sikh's turban is not a misdemeanour theft. They are both hate crimes," said Amardeep Singh, executive director of the Sikh Coalition, commenting on the verdict that came earlier this week.

On Aug 5 last year, when the victim, Ranjit Singh, was leaving a convenience store at a truck stop in Oakland, Oregon, three men approached him and tore off his turban before driving away.

Within a month, the assailants were arrested and charged with hate crimes.

Now the jury has decided that evidence is not sufficient to move forward with a hate crime prosecution.

In a press release, the Sikh Coalition has expressed disappointment that the dollar value of Ranjit Singh's turban arose as an issue during the jury proceedings, while "the turban is a priceless article of faith for Sikhs".

Kulongoski To Raise Minimum Corporate Tax (Slightly)

I've been watching and waiting this past week to see what would happen when the Governor came out with his new budget. Time's up.

What a brave man he is! To raise the minimum corporate tax from $10 to $25 goes far beyond comprehension! It doesn't matter if low income folks in Oregon have dental or optical insurance, the Gov. has chosen to "take on" the corporations in our state with this bold move.

And... he's going to boost the tobacco tax by 60 cents per pack of cigarettes. What a hero he is! Of course the demographics of who smokes show that it's mainly low income people, but his courage is up there with Superman regarding this stand.

Here's an idea Teddy. Eliminate the minimum corporate tax all together. Tax these corporations at a fair rate for them AND the citizens of Oregon. And leave the smokers alone. In other words... grow a pair!