Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is Sam Smart Enough To Be Mayor?

Forget for a minute about the flap of Mayor Adams and age and lying. You really do have to question the intelligence of our current mayor. I think that Sam was unwise to become involved with someone named Beau Breedlove in the first place. Sounds like a porn star’s name to me. And... I don’t believe for a minute that it’s his real name. It’s probably something along the lines of Percival Axelrod if truth be told.

It’s the same thing as me hooking up with an 18 year old girl named Honey Dew. It just couldn’t happen.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

And You Think You're Poor

I'm not sure how reliable KPTV reports are here in Portland (they ARE owned by Ruppert Murdoch/FOX), but I found some staggering information on their website that I'm compelled to share with my readers. If this info. is true, we're in bigger trouble than I feared in Oregon...

Salem -- In 2007, 13 percent of the state's population, or 474,189 Oregonians, lived on incomes less than the federal poverty level. Nearly 40 percent of families headed by single mothers lived in poverty.

These troubling facts are reported in new Report on Poverty 2008 released today by Oregon Housing and Community Services and the Community Action Partnership of Oregon at the state capitol.

"When economic conditions change, people in poverty are among the first to feel the pain and the last to benefit from improvements," said OHCS Director Victor Merced.

Noting that the economy has changed dramatically in the last year, Merced commented, "As the recession deepens, it has begun to touch people unfamiliar with hardship. Each day, new faces appear at food banks, soup kitchens and social service offices."

Sharon Miller, President of the Community Action Partnership of Oregon, hosted an Education Day at the capitol. Directors of community action agencies from around the state joined her to share the poverty report and to educate legislators on a variety of local solutions directed at reducing the suffering of people experiencing hunger, poverty and homelessness.

"In 2007, over half of Oregon's homeless were families with children. These children deserve an opportunity to succeed in school and in life, and to do so, they need a stable home."

Miller asked, "How can a child do her homework from the back seat of a car? Where do you hang a report card in a motel room with no refrigerator?"

The new report brings together data on the number of people experiencing poverty with information about the difficult choices low-income families face and indicators that can drive increases in poverty.

OHCS developed a Basic Family Budget for each county to provide insight into what families really need to make ends meet, from childcare to food to transportation. The county summaries also present recent data about job and population growth, housing and energy costs, and homelessness.

The report pulls together data from the US Census, Oregon Department of Revenue, Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Employment Department and a variety of federal and independent studies to paint a picture of poverty in Oregon.

Among the report's key findings:
In 2007, poverty affected 13 percent of Oregonians.
African American and Native Americans were twice as likely to live in poverty as their White and Asian neighbors.
One of five Oregonians with disabilities lived in poverty.
Inability to afford rent was the most frequently cited cause of homelessness in the state.

The report is available on the department's website at

Oregon Housing and Community Services is the state's housing finance agency and community services program administrator. The department provides financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing serving Oregonians of lower and moderate income, and administers federal and state antipoverty, homeless, energy assistance and community service programs.

The OHCS mission is to "Provide leadership that enables Oregonians to gain housing, become self-sufficient and achieve prosperity."

The mission of Community Action Partnership of Oregon and its member community action agencies is to eradicate the causes and conditions of poverty that exist in Oregon. Community action does this anti-poverty work in collaboration with a variety of partners, representing local, state and federal governments, as well as community and advocacy groups, policymakers and low-income leaders.

Selected findings by county:

Baker -- Nearly half, or 46 percent, of the county's schoolchildren qualified for free and reduced price lunch, an increase of 10 percentage points from 2000.

Benton -- The number of people living in poverty increased 41 percent over its 2000 level.

Clackamas -- The poverty rate increased from 6.6 to 9.5 percent, a sharp rate of increase that affected 13,498 more people than in 2000.

Clatsop -- Forty percent of households headed by single mothers lived in poverty.

Columbia -- Three quarters of the people identified as homeless attributed their homelessness to unaffordable rents.

Coos -- Fifty-four percent of families headed by single mothers lived in poverty.

Crook -- Poverty increased four percentage points between 2000 and 2007.

Curry -- Two-thirds of families in poverty had children younger than 18.

Deschutes -- Deschutes County families needed incomes of more than twice the federal poverty level just to pay for a basic family budget.

Douglas -- Poverty in the county increased from 13.1 percent in 2000 to 14.3 percent in 2007.

Gilliam -- The number of people receiving food stamp benefits grew from 11 percent of the county population in 2004 to 14 percent in 2007.

Grant -- Nearly half of all public school students qualified for free or reduced-price lunches.

Harney -- Fourteen percent of people age 65 and older lived in poverty, significantly higher than the state average of 8 percent for that age group.

Hood River -- More than 3,000 Hood River County residents lived below the poverty line in 2007, or 14.5 percent of the population.

Jackson -- The number of children receiving free and reduced-price lunches grew eight percentage points between 2000 and 2007 to 42 percent of all students.

Jefferson -- Poverty in Jefferson County reached 18 percent of the population in 2007, with one-quarter of the county's children living in poverty.

Josephine -- Fifty-seven percent of households with children under 18 and headed by single women lived in poverty.

Klamath -- One quarter of all children lived in poverty in Klamath County in 2007.

Lake -- Twenty-two percent of the county's population enrolled in the federal food stamp program.

Lane -- Half of all low-income households spent more than 30 percent of household income on housing.

Lincoln - Between 2000 and 2007, the population in poverty in Lincoln County increased 30 percent

Linn -- A single-parent with a preschool-aged child needed to make more than $15 an hour to afford child care, healthcare, transportation and other necessities.

Malheur -- Twenty-three percent of Malheur County's children lived in poverty in 2007.

Marion -- Twenty percent of Marion County children lived in poverty in 2007.

Morrow -- Sixty-five percent of Morrow County students qualified for free or reduced-priced lunch in 2007, up from 49 percent in 2000.

Multnomah -- Nearly 30 percent of Multnomah County residents with disabilities lived in poverty.

Polk -- Among the Polk County residents identified as homeless in 2008, 78 percent attributed their homelessness to unaffordable rent.

Sherman -- Sherman County had no primary health care providers.

Tillamook -- Fifty-two percent of Tillamook County's school children received free and reduced-price lunches in 2007, up from 43 percent in 2000.

Umatilla -- A two-parent family with one child needed a combined hourly income of $16.56 to pay for basic expenses. Two adults working full-time at minimum wage did not earn an adequate income.

Union -- From 2005 to 2007, poverty averaged 16 percent for the population of Union County. This rate reached 23 percent for people with disabilities.

Wallowa -- One in five children in Wallowa County lived in poverty in 2007.

Wasco -- An alarming 27 percent of Wasco County residents with disabilities live in poverty.

Washington -- Washington County faced some of the highest costs in the state. A single parent of a preschooler needed to earn $16.90 and hour to afford necessities such as housing, food and childcare.

Wheeler -- Nearly two-thirds of Wheeler County school children received free or reduced-price lunches.

Yamhill -- A single mother with a young child needed to make $31,620 a year to pay for the basics; more than she would make at the county's typical entry-level job.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kulongoski Could Care Less

It’s not just me who realizes that the state plans to balance its budget off the backs of it’s’ most vulnerable citizens. This letter was found in the Estacada News today...

Legislature needs to recognize needs of senior, disabled

The Oregon State Legislature opened their 2009 session earlier this month with what could best be described as overwhelming challenges.

With unemployment at the highest rate in years and tax receipts down, the legislature will have to make choices on which programs to fund.

In the Governor’s Recommended Budget, Ted Kulongoski has supported education, transportation and prisons, all very necessary; however, support for seniors and persons with disabilities have been overlooked or relegated to near the bottom.

We need to look at the overall picture and let our legislators hear from us about funding for senior programs.

Our seniors and people with disabilities never expected to ask help from the state, but life happens. Most of our seniors have worked hard all their lives, but, due to circumstances, are now forced to ask for help; a very humbling experience in itself. With the possibility of 18 percent cuts in their programs, the help they need may not be there.

The proposed 18 percent cuts in the senior and disabled programs tend to be shortsighted, removing low-cost in-home services to those persons who qualify for less than 80 hours of in-home services a month.

Without those services, a certain number of these folks will be forced into long-term care facilities at a much higher cost to the state.

There is also the matter of people recently disabled who apply for Social Security Income. Oregon takes longer than any other state to process and approve individual requests from this demographic of citizens. These folks are unable to work; what are they supposed to do for the average time of two years while the government decides whether or not they qualify?

Oregon had a general assistance program in the past, whereby a relatively small amount of money was loaned to these individuals, allowing them to pay for food and shelter, and was then repaid when their case was approved. This was a no-cost program for the state but was removed from the general fund in the last session of the legislature. This needs to be reinstated.

Please contact your legislator about funding programs for seniors and people with disabilities. For help in contacting your legislator, go to Click on “find your legislator” in the right hand column, fill out your address and click on “submit.”

You will have a complete list of both state and federal legislators and how to reach them. This is something you can do to make a difference without leaving home.

Joseph Lowe
Clackamas County
Joint Advocacy Committee
Disabled Advocates Coalition
Clackamas County Meals On Wheels, Inc.

Who Said What in the Oregon Legislature?

Thought I'd post a game I made up today. I type in the quote, and the reader guesses if it's a Republican or a Democrat who said it. You may find (as I have) that roles are not easily identifiable. The answers are down at the bottom. When you're done, I'd be curious to know how you did. Enjoy...

1.) “I know we could put our heads together, Republicans and Democrats, and come up with a package which includes common sense investments in key infrastructure and extra money for Oregon families to buy food, heat and pay the rent.”

2.)“Economic security for Oregon’s families is a top priority for Senate ... this session,”

3.)“It’s crucial to use our state bonding capacity prudently".

4.)“Our proposal will give families help with their electric bills and grocery budgets, and at the same time creating thousands of jobs,”

1.) Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas)

2.) Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin)

3.) Senator Vicki Walker (D-Eugene)

4.)Senator Brian Boquist (R-Dallas)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oregon Racist I think it's important that we expose racists whenever possible. this web address belongs to one. Go there and see what they say about Mexicans. It's disgusting.

On Child Abuse

At the bottom of this post you'll see a quote from an Oregon Senator that reflects (really)the mindset of some people which allows abuse numbers to continue to grow. What is this guy thinking? He's thinking that there will ALWAYS be abuse of vulnerable people no matter what we think or do. He's wrong. From the Oregonian...

"The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators supports bills that will protect children and provide clarity on expectations for districts and educators, said Chuck Bennett, lobbyist for the group.

The package of legislation is "all substantially headed in the right direction," said Vickie Chamberlain, executive director for the teacher standards commission.

Sen. Mark Hass, D-Raleigh Hills, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said he wants the legislation to protect children while ensuring districts are not burdened with expensive new requirements:

"I don't know if you can ever do enough," he said. "It is hard to eliminate this kind of behavior in any walk of life."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rep Gelser Changes Her Mind

I’m glad Rep Gelser changed her mind about “not blaming” to a call for accountability...

January 23, 2009
Contact: Michael Cox 503-986-1904

House Education Committee Hears Testimony on
College Savings Plan Losses
Chair Sara Gelser called oversight hearing to get answers from key players

Salem – Representative Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), Chair of the House Education Committee, held an oversight hearing Friday to investigate the substantial losses in the Oregon 529 College Savings Plan.

Former Treasurer Randall Edwards, Treasurer Ben Westlund, Attorney General John Kroger, and representatives from the Oppenheimer Fund were called to testify. The Committee also heard testimony from several parents and grandparents who suffered losses in their college savings accounts.

“Oregon families save for college so they can help their kids build a strong future.” said Gelser. “When they face overwhelming losses in a state sponsored savings plan, it is critical that the Legislature bring the parties to the table, ask the tough questions about why it happened, and figure out how to protect families in the future. That’s what we did today.”

The day before testifying before the committee, State Treasurer Ben Westlund announced that the state will withdraw all assets from two funds, including the Oppenheimer Fund, and also advanced other changes to the program.

The Oregon College Savings Plan saw losses of nearly twenty-five percent in 2008. The Oppenheimer Fund, which was labeled as a “conservative” portfolio, saw the greatest decrease in value.

“It is important that all branches of government work together when issues like this arise,” said House Speaker Dave Hunt. “Through the efforts of Rep. Gelser’s committee, and the work of Treasurer Westlund and Attorney General John Kroger, we are working to ensure this never happens again to parents who invest in a state backed plan.”


Friday, January 23, 2009

Internet Control In Oregon?

I've never claimed to have a great legal mind, but it looks to me like they're attempting to create some censorship of the internet in the Oregon House. The Bill appears to be flawed, but it will allow for bullying and intimidation. Have a look and see what you think... House Bill 2389

Court Is Where These Cases Should be Decided

Sometimes justice IS served here in Oregon. From The Statesman Journal...

The former operator of St. Rita's Senior Care Community in Salem will serve a year in jail for neglecting her facility's residents and stealing from them, a Marion County circuit judge ruled this morning.

Peggy Jo Marino, 62, pleaded guilty Monday morning to two counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment.

Following her change of plea, Marion County Circuit Judge John Wilson sentenced Marino to 12 months in jail.

He also ordered that she pay more than $50,000 in restitution.

The Oregon Department of Human Services revoked Marino's license in early 2007 after an investigation revealed incidents of abuse and neglect involving St. Rita's residents.

The department later moved St. Rita's 48 residents to other care facilities.

A follow-up investigation by state prosecutors found that Marino also had stolen a total $58,573 from four residents of the facility.

"She did this by commingling her bank accounts and the residents' bank accounts," Senior Assistant Attorney General Sheen Wu told Wilson during Monday's hearing.

Residents had been allowed to open personal accounts at the facility for small expenses such as buying cigarettes or health and beauty products.

Marino will serve her time in Marion County Jail and afterward will face five years probation. During her probation she will have to pay back the money she stole at a rate of $1,232 per month.

If she violates her probation by failing to make payment or breaking the law, she will be sentenced to an additional 19 months in jail, according to Marino's plea deal.

"This is a real opportunity for you to make up for what you've done by making the payments back and by showing you can be a good citizen," Wilson told her.

In court, Marino only said "yes, sir" and "no, sir" in response to the judge's questions. She declined to speak prior to sentencing. As Wilson signed legal papers closing the case, Marion County deputies snapped handcuffs onto Wilson and immediately took her into custody.

Under the plea deal, Wilson dropped a charge of keeping false business records and four additional counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment.

Marino, who lives in Florida, also will be allowed to transfer her probation there after serving her sentence in Oregon.

The findings of the DHS investigation into St. Rita's included:

-The rape of a developmentally disabled woman in July 2004 by another resident.

-A resident found dressed in feces-caked pants pulled on over pajamas.

-A female resident who suffered a urinary tract infection due to improper changing of her adult diapers.

-A newly hired employee who borrowed $20 from a resident and then threatened the person when they asked for their money back. It turned out the new hire had a criminal history and an active arrest warrant.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nader Tells It Like It Is

Ralph Nader: Open letter to George W. Bush
January 21st, 2009 · 6 Comments
By Ralph Nader
Reposted to IPR by Paulie


Dear George W. Bush:

You may have had your last softball news conference at the White House, but judging by the many people in our country who have serious criticisms of your eight year tenure, there are additional numerous unanswered questions which should be addressed to you for the record and for your possible contemplation during retirement.

1. How could you have presided daily over the invasion and war in Iraq yet have allowed over 900 American soldiers to die and more injured for the lack of body armor or vehicle armor? With billions of dollars going to Halliburton and other companies and much money available for such soldier protection, why have you never explained such a serious widely reported dereliction of duty?

2. Why did you and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld define injuries by U.S. soldiers in Iraq so as to exclude two thirds of them? Your definition of official injuries is ones incurred in the midst of battle, even though most of that country became a theatre of war, with much unilateral, unopposed action by the armed forces. CBS’ Sixty Minutes on October 2004 demonstrated the feelings of seriously injured U.S. soldiers, who were not officially counted, in order not to arouse further the opposition to the war by the American people. One quadriplegic solider used the words “a disgrace.” What is your response?

3. You have made one last lap speaking to military audiences but you did not speak to one peace audience or group. This is not surprising, given the observation that your role as commander-in-chief was your most pleasurable task. However, for the historians, if not for your own sense of balance and example, you could have spoken to a gathering of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, D.C. USIP is a national institution established and funded by Congress to help prevent, manage, and resolve international conflicts. You could have broken new mental ground for yourself in preparing for such an address. Why did you not do something like this in the interest of focusing on waging peace, not just waging war?

4. Why have you prohibited at all times the families of their fallen sons and daughters from going to Dover, Delaware to pay their respects to their loved ones? Mothers and fathers have been deeply hurt by your desire to avoid any public focus or associations with this destination for political reasons. You have not explained this inhumane exclusion. Why not?

5. Tens of thousands of Iraqis, who worked with the U.S. armed forces in Iraq and therefore jeopardized, have tried to emigrate. Some became refugees in nearby countries. For their reasons, whether economic need or support, they provided critical civilian services for the U.S. occupying facilities. Yet you have allowed very few to enter the United States as immigrants. Sweden has received more Iraqi refugees by far than has been permitted under your Administration. Recall how over 150,000 Vietnamese refugees were admitted in the mid-Seventies. Less than ten percent of those numbers of Iraqis have been given immigrant visas. Those Iraqis have been widely praised by U.S. soldiers for what was essentially civil service work. Why have you turned your back on these people when you describe yourself as a person of personal loyalty?

6. In the last few days, you finally admitted some mistakes but in a backhanded way. You have made many very destructive mistakes here in the United States that have harmed American workers and consumers.

There is far too much to recount here regarding your antagonism to vigorous enforcement of regulations for consumer and worker health, safety and economic justice. Their neglect and subversion in favor of corporate demands have cost many lives, injuries and illnesses among innocent American people, children and families. Your oft-repeated statement that your highest priority is to “keep America safe” obviously did not include the 58,000 American workers who lost their lives to occupational diseases and injuries annually (OSHA estimate) or to the 65,000 Americans whose lives are taken yearly due to air pollution (EPA estimate) or to the nearly 100,000 people who die from medical malpractice just in hospitals (Harvard School of Public Health study) every year. You have devoted massively more rhetoric and capital in your chosen role as the ruler of Iraq than to the plight of these three categories of preventable violence to innocent Americans. You have regulatory duties here that you swore to uphold. Why did you not do so?

Instead you kept harping about taking the federal cops off the corporate damage beat (deregulation) and even made a speech in Louisiana about medical malpractice tort litigation that may set a record for the insensitivity of a monetized presidential mind.

7. During your continuing blanket support of anything and everything militarily that the Israeli government does to the helpless and defenseless Palestinian Arabs and Lebanese civilians (including cluster bombs), did it ever occur to you (most recently in devastated civilian Gaza) that such actions, funded by the U.S. taxpayers, could accurately be called “anti-semitism against Arabs?” Did you ever consult with your father’s advisors, James Baker or Brent Scowcroft on this continuing conflict?

8. Hardly a week goes by without reports of food contamination or food poisoning affecting innocent Americans. The most recent tragedy involves salmonella sickness affecting hundreds due to contaminated peanut butter. Both the FDA and the USDA suffer from lack of funds, authority and will power. You did very little to change this situation—which would have been heralded by 99 percent of the people and opposed by a handful of companies and China. Chinese imports have been shown to be contaminated (eg. farm-raised fish and medical ingredients) and lethal. Yet you spent your time as an American Caesar focusing on Iraq and neighboring lands without attending to the necessities of the American people. Why?

9. It remained for the final weeks of your regime to inform our country just how deep is your ruinous “corporations uber alles” character. Lou Dubose, editor of The Washington Spectator (Jan 15, 2009 issue) issued a partial recounting of what he called your “final run at environmental safeguards and what remains of protections for American workers.”

In an utterly shameless and cowardly obeisance to your corporate masters, you have overturned worker protections, allowed the coal mining barons to dump more easily rock and dirt from the gouging of sacred mountains into valleys, streams and rivers in Appalachia.

You have weakened the Endangered Species Act for the mining, drilling, logging and damming interests. Promoting further water pollution, you issued a rule allowing corporate factory farms to bypass the Clean Water Act and dump hundreds of thousands of tons of fecal waste into waterways without obtaining EPA permits.

In recent weeks you have issued rules allowing the burning of hazardous wastes as fuel, emitting more toxic benzene and toluene into peoples’ lungs, opening a million acres of federal land near the Grand Canyon for uranium mining and two million acres of federal land in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado to oil shale mining and refining with future devastation to the region. In addition, you issued a rule that will obstruct the Mine Safety and Health Administration and OSHA from their duty to collect information pertinent to dealing with workplace hazards.

You must know that these rules may be challenged and probably repealed by a Democratic Congress because they are so extreme and cruel. Why did you further defile your exit with such cruel and inhumane decisions?

10. How would you characterize the political fortitude of the Congressional Democrats, most of whom believe you have committed many repeated impeachable offenses but never did uphold their Constitutional oaths to do anything about their documented evaluation of your “unitary” presidency?

11. The non-treatment and mistreatment under your Administration of returning veterans are filling books written or about to be published. The problem of “recognition of injury” remains a serious one. Follow up rehabilitation is too often missing in action. Long waits leading to impoverishment are not infrequent. Also, as reported in the award-winning series by the Hartford Courant, soldiers with serious mental stress and damage were redeployed back to Iraq due to the shortage of manpower. Two hundred thousand of all our veterans are homeless.

Why haven’t you given them the kind of attention you rhetorically give to these soldiers when they are on their way to Iraq or Afghanistan?

Should you wish to catch up on your correspondence, kindly consider responding to these questions which are on the minds of millions of people here and abroad? You are not known for exchanging letters—to put it mildly—but sometimes the post-presidential period affords opportunities for modest measures of redemption.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader

John Kroger and Civil Rights

I’m not weighing in on the whole Sam Adams thing. I’ll leave that to the “Throw the first stone” crowd (it's a Pisces thing). However, John Kroger is circulating a petition to bring back the Civil Rights Investigatory Unit to the Oregon Department of Justice which I think is worthy of mention.

Ronald Reagan had it dissolved in the 80’s during his Presidency, and we need it more in Oregon than ever. Maybe then we can find some justice for people who have their civil rights violated on a daily basis. And maybe then we can move forward from seeing civil rights as a gay/people of color only issue in Oregon. I have a copy of the petition if you’re interested in signing it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Step 1... Cancel Special Olympics

We're already beginning to see what happens when your state has financial problems. Of course we are also seeing exactly WHERE cuts are made. "Let's take the first shot at people with developmental disabilities. We'll cut their Special Olympics tournaments! We'll hit 'em again later, but this is a good start".

I personally know many people to whom these tournaments are one of the main reasons they don't give in to their woeful circumstances. I guess they can find something else to look forward to until it gets cut. From

Lack of funding cancels state Special Olympics

04:44 PM PST on Tuesday, January 20, 2009


PORTLAND, Ore. -- Tim Erickson, 35, plays a mean game of basketball. He trains for the Special Olympics’ state games five days a week.

Video: Special Olympics canceled Sometimes, he talks to himself to pump himself up.

“I want to be a Blazer, I want to be a Blazer,” he says.

Sherri Weber, the woman who takes care of him, watches him through the window.

“Sometimes he says, ‘I need to get taller, I need to get taller,’” she said.

But Weber had to break the news to Tim that the state games are cancelled because there’s no money.

“Tim was close to tears. He was too shocked to even talk,” Marc Bourret said.

Bourret, with the Special Olympics Oregon, said donations were down 30 percent and grants that were expected have fallen through.

The board of directors made the decision.

“There were tears. But our sports side made the best decision they could,” Weber said.

She knew the games were cancelled but waited until the last minute to tell Tim.

“He said, ‘Sherri, I’ve been doing this since I was 8.’ And Tim is 35,” Weber said.

“It’s sore inside,” Tim said.

The Games are more than just an event for him; it’s what he looks forward to 365 days of the year.

While the three major state events are cancelled, there are opportunities for athletes.

The Special Olympics is still offering 30 competitions this year, according to its executive director Margaret Hunt.

“We feel this was a smart way to meet the challenges of a tough economy,” Hunt said.

Those interested in donating to the Games can visit the Special Olympics Oregon Web site.

Last Call With The Legislature

In keeping with the whole “transparency” ideal of the Obama Administration, the Oregon Legislature has begun showing replays of their sessions from 8:00 PM to 4:30 AM on the Oregon Channel. The daytime schedule includes 10 hours of the Community Bulletin Board. They must want to give an opportunity for viewing their work to the vast number of people who work from 11 AM to 7PM in the state. Those people who work during what is known as the Dayswing shift.

It can’t possibly be that they don’t want the unemployed people (9% and rising) or those who want to write about their work at a sane hour from seeing what they’re up to. Think I’ll tune in at 2:30 tomorrow morning to watch them debate the issues that effect ALL of us.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You Gotta Love It

I’ve figured out how to find my posts on Lefty Blogs to check on how many clicks I’ve gotten. All I have to do is scroll through looking for posts that DON'T have anything beyond a title in their listing. It’s so considerate of the folks who run the site to assist me in this way. All the other bloggers have to scroll so much slower because they may be listed with the first few sentences of their posts being up for people to see. I wonder who’s administering Lefty Blogs. It’s not Kari Chisolm, is it?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Barack Obama's Birthday??

This morning I watched the 23rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast, sponsored by the Skanner Foundation. I’ve decided to post my thoughts and feelings on what was said here...

Understandably there was a lot of excitement in the room about inaugural events this week in Washington, but the overall tone of the program had more to do with Barack Obama than Martin Luther King, which I found somewhat disturbing. The usual dignitaries were all in attendance. Faces in the crowd included Jim Fancesconi, Kate Brown, and Ted Wheeler.

The program was emceed by Felicia Williams for the Seattle Skanner. She struggled a bit with getting the attendees to cease with their “networking” when the program began. Margaret Carter came to her rescue as she took over the microphone. She thanked her constituents from Senate District 22 for 25 years of her service, which I found odd. I live in that district, and have contacted Senator Carter many times over the years. She’s never responded to me. She then referred to the “thugs on Wall Street” which seemed to me to be a personal attack. Of course she’s a Senator, so she gets to do that sort of thing. She did say to her fellow legislators; “Do not craft this budget off the backs of Oregon’s most vulnerable”, which I liked hearing.

Next they sang the National Black Anthem, “Lift Every Voice”. Here are the lyrics...

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet,
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered;
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou Who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou Who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.

Following the song, Pastor Lamont Williams gave a blessing where he proclaimed “Change would indeed come throughout our country” behind Barack’s leadership. I hope he’s right.

Jerry Foster of the Skanner was up next, introducing a video message from Senator Ron Wyden. I have to admit my eyebrows raised when he stated that “The inauguration is a culmination of Martin Luther King’s work”. The 2 definitions I found for “culmination” are a. To reach the highest point or degree; climax and b. To come to completion; end. In my opinion the inauguration of President Obama is neither. He also said we should “overcome the hatred and fear of the past” which I agree with. He wants to “put the middle class first” which I don’t like, as the middle class has been defined as those making less than $200,000. That’s MUCH too high for my blood.

Ted Kulongoski spoke of “a great week we’re going to have”, and “a week of volunteerism”. What about the other 51 weeks? He then proceeded to prop up the Skanner with a Proclamation. Not very exciting. In kind, Jerry Foster of the Skanner gave the state a photo of Obama for the Gov.’s office.

Portland City Commisioner Nick Fish introduced the Keynote Speaker, Oregon Attorney General, John Kroger. He said “Corrupt Public Officials in our community should watch out” in regard to Mr. Kroger’s reputation as a prosecutor. I can only hope he’s right.

John Kroger seems to be quite cool. After the obligatory comments about Obama, he went into talking about how Martin Luther King would not be “content, but would be very angry" over the state of things. (Fresh air!) He spoke of poverty being 32% for black folks compared to 12% for whites. He talked about crime being disproportionate with 2% of Oregonians being black but 10% of the prison population. He said he cried when he visited the Depaul Youth Treatment Center, realizing that 90% of the girls there had been sexually abused and 70% of the boys. He spoke of how “the war on drugs has failed”,and how “racism is pervasive in our country”, to which a female in the audience was heard shouting “amen”! Finally he wants to bring back the Civil Rights Investigatory Unit at the Oregon Department of Justice, which we need here more than ever.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Connectivity (The Story of George)

I found myself in tears this morning as I read a story from Thursday’s Portland Tribune. The story dealt with the death of a homeless man named George Grigorieff who froze to death on the night of December 21st. Perhaps it was the photograph of him on the cover. Maybe it was the facts surrounding his death that got to me. I’m not sure.

What I do know is that when we had that winter storm a few weeks back, I found myself wondering how many homeless people would die. According to the article in the paper, George was the only one who did. I’m glad about that.

There was a very interesting sub plot. Maybe that’s what brought me to tears. It was about the woman who found him on the morning of the 22nd. She frequently visits the Lone Fir Cemetery which is where he froze. The day before she considered taking her own life there. She figures that finding George was no accident; and that it was a message that she should hang in there longer.

Whatever the case may be, I have some extremely strong feelings about poverty, homelessness, mental illness, addiction, and loneliness at large. Some things HAVE TO CHANGE if we are to survive on this planet!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Reverand Doctor Martin Luther King Junior

Let’s hear from Martin himself, how he saw the world...not from those who want to define His Day.

1.) A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.
2.) A lie cannot live.
3.) A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.
4.) A right delayed is a right denied.
5.) A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard.
6.) All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
7.) An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
8.) An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
9.) Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.
10.) He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
11.) History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
12.) Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
13.) I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
14.) I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law.
15.) If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.
16.) In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Do you see yourself in here? I sure see myself.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 3 Legislature 2009

I was just watching the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on the Oregon Channel. They had judges explaining what they can and can't do around the Oregon Constitution. Looks to me like they have an interest in limiting free speech, as that subject was approached more than any other. I find that very interesting. Why do you suppose the Senate might be thinking about taking away the right to free speech in our state? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Speaking of Budgets...

A friend sent me this email the other day. It tells you that nothing ever REALLY changes...

Past meets present.....

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest we become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.

Cicero, 55 BC

Day 2 of Oregon Legislature 2009

Not much happened yesterday. I think everyone attended some kind of breakfast and then met with their respective committees. However; the Republican Senators sent out a press release that is definitely worth noting. They've come up with a 3 part solution to the budgetary woes we're facing, and I like it...

Senate Republican Office
Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, S-323
Salem, Oregon 97301

January 13, 2009 (503) 986-1950
(503) 781-8559

Republicans announce three Slim Down Solutions to
begin session belt tightening

Republicans reject their own pay increases

Salem, OR – As Oregon families and small businesses brace for lay-offs and reductions in wages and benefits, Senate Republicans are calling on state executives and elected officials to help offset the state’s worsening economic situation.

Republicans are advancing three Slim Down Solutions to reduce the state’s financial burden and help balance economic hardships. By reducing the cost of state government, these solutions will help protect critical programs serving elderly and disadvantaged Oregonians.

The Slim Down Solutions proposed by Republican state senators are as follows:

1. Reduce CEO salaries at all state agencies;

2. Expand the governor’s proposal for a “work holiday” from 8 days to 10; and

3. Reject the recommendation to increase legislator pay this session.

“There’s an injustice when working class families and small businesses are suffering while state employees enjoy hefty pay increases and rich benefit packages,” said State Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “We should adopt the same spirit of sacrifice and belt tightening that Oregon families are currently facing.”

Governor Kulongoski handed out pay increases in 2008 to agency directors whose salaries already ranged from $100,000 to $135,000 a year. Some directors received raises of more than $30,000, which is more than many Oregonians earn in an entire year. Union workers, among the Governor’s biggest political supporters, received substantial increases. The recommendation for pay increases for state legislators came in 2008 from a non-elected commission chartered to review pay levels for state officials.

“That the Democrats are suggesting raising taxes and borrowing money while state employees are getting massive raises is an insult to working class Oregonians and small businesses,” said Ferrioli. “The reality is we can’t afford fat cat government salaries and big government any longer.”

Pay increases granted by the Governor this past year will cost tax payers $258 million in this coming budget cycle. Meanwhile, the Governor’s budget proposes $2 billion in tax and fee increases and slashes services to seniors.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Bugs, Hugs, and "Shining Stars"

I stand corrected. The Legislators ARE royalty! Senator Vicki Walker just made that clear as she spoke of the job that lies ahead of the Senate this year. Under the leadership of Senate President Peter Courtney, these Senators shall be "shining stars" as they go forth. That answers that.

The Oregon Channel is certainly no shining star at this point. They have some bugs to get worked out for sure. Call me crazy, but I would have done some dry runs PRIOR to the beginning of the session.

There's a whole lot of pats on the back and feel-good talking going on today. That makes me a bit nervous. When that's the case, what generally follows is glad handing and folks being labeled as "beyond reproach" no matter how they vote and/or what they decide. I'm hoping for some real results (change) in improving our state, and the people who live here who need help.

Day 1 of the 2009 Legislative Session

As the Oregon Legislature begins a new session this morning, I've decided to report on the people and legislation that's important and/or amusing to me. I'm convinced this will keep me busy for the next several months.

The first point I want to make is how utterly silly it is watching polished professional testifiers as they speak to the law makers. The way they begin every single answer to a question with "Chair so-and-so, Co Chair so-and-so, Members, and anything else they add in there". It's a complete waste of time. These are people they are talking to, not royalty.

My wife told me that she would be insulted by this language if she were a legislator, but I suspect there are folks who find it ego stroking to have the peasantry address them in such a manner. Let the reporting begin!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Welcome Back 2007

Although this story is published as a link on my blog, I don’t know if people have actually read it. It’s from the Oregonian in November 2007. This story, more than any other factor has been the driving force behind a lot of behind the scenes activities in our state the last year or so. As a bonus, I’ve included questions at the end that I asked folks in email shortly after it came out. No one ever answered any of them. Now there’s some accountability for you!

An Oregonian Special Report
After Fairview
How Oregon fails disabled adults
Caregivers have mistreated one in five developmentally disabled clients since 2000, and Oregon officials are slow to make the homes safer
By Michelle Roberts - Published November 4, 2007
The 9-1-1 operator asked the question several times: Is she breathing?
David Pape, the woman’s caregiver, didn’t hesitate.
“Yes, she’s breathing,” he said. “And she’s warm.”
But when paramedics arrived at Pape’s foster home seconds later, they found quite a different scene: Natasha Thomas, 25, lay dead in an empty bathtub. Her body, stiff and blue, had begun to decompose.
Pape told authorities that he’d tended Thomas through the night and watched her get up that morning.
Questioned by police, Pape eventually admitted he was lying. As an autopsy later showed, Thomas had died hours before he called for help.
The state paid Pape $18,000 a month to house and protect Thomas and three developmentally disabled roommates. The night she died in August 2005, Pape was miles away, celebrating his wedding anniversary at his second home. He had entrusted his clients to his brother-in-law, a 20-year-old former fast-food worker with virtually no training or experience as a caregiver.
When Oregon shuttered Fairview Training Center, the notorious asylum in Salem, officials had charted a very different future for people like Thomas, who had an IQ of 48. Freed from the institution, they were promised lives of inclusion and dignity with caring foster families or in small homes run by the state and charities.
For many, it hasn’t happened.
In the seven years since Fairview closed, more than 2,000 developmentally disabled adults have been robbed, beaten, raped, neglected or cursed, most often by their state-paid caregivers. Besides Thomas, at least 13 others have died after workers failed to provide necessary care.
Clients have choked on food, suffered violent injuries or become ill with treatable health problems that caregivers ignored or missed. In half the deaths investigated by the state, The Oregonian found that caregivers didn’t recognize clients’ serious health problems or act quickly enough to call 9-1-1.
One foster care worker buckled an electric dog collar around the neck of an autistic man, zapping him repeatedly to control him. Another caregiver punished a client with cold showers and attacks by her dog.
Yet another — while “employee of the month” at a Jackson County group home — sexually assaulted a mentally retarded woman who could not move or speak.
Their stories, archived in a state database and detailed in hundreds of confidential files obtained by The Oregonian, show that one of every five clients in state-licensed foster or group homes have been victims of at least one serious instance of abuse or neglect during the past seven years.
The officials who oversee Oregon’s 8,000 caregivers and 1,200 adult group and foster homes say they are working to protect clients. But the state has failed to close troubled homes, even after clients were raped or died. Officials also have been slow to adopt reforms in areas they acknowledge would make the system safer.
More than half the states use computerized registries to identify abusive caregivers and deny them jobs.
Not Oregon.
Pape lost his license to operate after Thomas died, yet he is free to work in someone else’s home.
Department of Human Services officials have known for years that they lacked legal authority to fire dangerous caregivers. But it wasn’t until this year that they asked lawmakers for permission to develop a registry or the power to use it to deny employment. They don’t plan to request funding for a registry until 2009.
The state also has dragged its feet on the 9-1-1 problem.
Records obtained by The Oregonian show that the DHS two years ago determined that caregivers weren’t promptly calling paramedics. Yet a new 9-1-1 policy has been held up because officials can’t agree on how to word it. In the interim, another resident died after caregivers delayed calling for help.
Weak financial controls also invite abuse. Oregon does not closely scrutinize how foster home operators spend the thousands of tax-free dollars they receive each month to take care of clients. State officials acknowledge that this has allowed some foster home providers to cut corners and profit from the savings. .
James Toews, a senior DHS official, defended his agency’s performance. He said the registry, an upcoming $1 an hour raise for group home workers and other efforts should make a difference.
“We’ve tried to approach how we safely support people with pretty complex needs,” Toews said. “We’ve done as good if not a better job than most states on trying to drill down on that.”
Because states define abuse and neglect differently and use varied methods to monitor it, rankings comparing them are unavailable. But Toews and others concede that Oregon’s numbers are unacceptably high.
“It’s a tragedy,” said Bill Lynch, who runs a federally financed advocacy group, the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, charged with pushing policies to help people in the system.
“We really need to turn this around,” Lynch said. “This goes well beyond embarrassment.”
Life after Fairview
Oregon is not alone in its struggle with care for people with developmental disabilities.
Academic research shows that people with conditions such as mental retardation, autism and cerebral palsy are at least four times more likely to be victimized than the overall population. The abuse most often happens at the hands of those responsible for their care.
The state’s closure of Fairview marked a milestone in a decades-long shift to end the isolation of people with developmental disabilities. A federal civil rights lawsuit in the mid-1980s had laid bare abusive conditions there. Oregon spent millions to improve Fairview, then gradually moved its residents out.
Now, the state spends $134 million a year to house 4,200 residents in 611 foster homes, which are operated by individuals, and 544 group homes, which are most often run by nonprofits.
Many of the homes provide respectful care and are quick to correct deficiencies. And though state or county investigators substantiate hundreds of incidents of abuse or neglect by caregivers each year, they vary widely in severity. Neglect can range from falling asleep on the job to mistakes that result in physical harm to a client.
State officials say they have adopted broad definitions of abuse to err on the side of safety. As a result, they say, the system captures lapses that, though not insignificant, can overstate the true harm to clients.
In estimating that a fifth of group and foster home residents have been abused in recent years, The Oregonian sifted from the state’s official data minor incidents of theft and neglect, paperwork errors and all verbal abuses. Counted were physical and sexual abuse, serious financial exploitation, improper restraints and neglect that jeopardized a client’s health or safety, such as mishandling medicine.
The persistent abuse undercuts Oregon’s promise of a safe life outside an institution.
That safe life didn’t happen for a 26-year-old mentally retarded man who in 2001 was pushed to the floor, threatened with a knife, gagged and restrained with packing tape, then kicked by three group home caregivers, one of whom had a felony record. He was one of the 386 clients who suffered 463 incidents of physical abuse since Fairview closed.
It escaped a 36-year-old man with cerebral palsy who couldn’t speak but repeatedly tapped the word “RAPE” on his communication board at a doctor’s visit. His foster home operator sodomized him and fled with his rent money but never was prosecuted. The man was one of 140 clients who were sexually abused, mostly by caregivers.
It will never happen for Jack Gipson, who died in May 2003. Workers at his group home in Cornelius failed to summon help when he showed signs of respiratory distress. Records show that Gipson, 55, wheezed and coughed for three days before he collapsed and died of aspiration pneumonia, which easily could have been treated.
Gipson was one of 1,143 clients who were neglected in some manner during the past seven years, and one of the 14 deaths in which investigators substantiated maltreatment by caregivers.
For years, their stories and thousands of others lay buried in boxes at the Department of Human Services, where a small office of investigations compiles reports of mistreatment.
To assess how developmentally disabled Oregonians have fared in the new system, The Oregonian requested abuse and neglect reports along with a state database that listed every allegation investigated since 2000.
The department declined to release complete records, citing the privacy of clients. Instead, the agency provided summaries that censored details such as where abuses happened and victims’ and witnesses’ names.
To learn more, the newspaper obtained thousands of pages of unredacted reports. Those records, visits to homes and therapeutic programs, plus interviews with police, prosecutors, county caseworkers and clients helped flesh out details behind the system’s overall statistics after Fairview.
Of more than 10,000 total allegations of abuse or neglect, investigators substantiated 4,648. Those incidents involved 2,035 identified caregivers and 2,033 victims, half of whom suffered more than one substantiated abuse. On average, investigators substantiate about 600 abuse allegations each year.
Most involve residents of group homes, where abuse is more likely to be reported and corroborated because there are more staff to witness problems.
Bob Joondeph, executive director of the Oregon Advocacy Center, a nonprofit that provides legal aid to people with developmental disabilities, said the numbers reflect what’s become a “crisis-response” system. Oversight falls too heavily on overloaded county caseworkers, who under state contract handle abuse investigations and inspect and license foster homes.
The result, Joondeph said, is that clients must rely on families or others to advocate for them. “You can’t depend on the government, at least in this state, to be playing an intensive supervisory role,” he said.
Too little, too late
On July 8, 2004, Paul Crawford returned home from his part-time job because he didn’t feel well.
Caregivers at a Portland group home run by Rainbow Adult Living thought Crawford was just trying to get out of work. But any question of whether the tiny and frail 61-year-old “was feigning illness ... was obviously dispelled when he vomited a black-colored substance,” a county investigator later wrote.
Crawford’s caregivers failed to recognize it as blood. Over three days, his condition worsened. No one at the home “did so much as check his temperature,” the investigator found. It wasn’t until Crawford lost consciousness that a caregiver finally called 9-1-1. Paramedics were outraged.
Crawford “was lying in bed, full of feces, vomit and urine,” one paramedic said later. “The odor was enough to stop you in your tracks. There was urine on the floor. We almost slipped. He was lying in bed, shaking.”
Crawford had survived years at Fairview, where he’d been sent as a young man with severe brain damage from a case of measles contracted as an infant. Four days after the 9-1-1 call at Rainbow, he died of an infection from untreated pneumonia and a bowel obstruction.
“Had the patient been brought in sooner, he might not have died,” the doctor who treated Crawford later told the investigator, who ruled his death a case of neglect.
Dr. Tina Kitchen is a top DHS medical officer whose job is to review death cases. When The Oregonian asked her about Crawford’s death, she said she wouldn’t expect most caregivers to behave any differently.
“I don’t think a lot of people would recognize that as being blood,” Kitchen said. Workers were found responsible in Crawford’s death only because the agency holds providers to a “very high” standard when investigating neglect, she said.
The system’s training standards are not so high.
Getting a foster home license in Oregon is as easy as watching four, half-hour training videos and passing a short test on the contents. Licensees — but not employees — also must know first aid and CPR.
At group homes, direct-care workers must learn how to bathe and feed clients but aren’t required to know CPR or advanced skills unless they work alone. Knowledge of “core competencies,” such as how to identify medical problems and abuse, is required. But with high turnover, workers rarely get beyond the basics.
State officials say nearly seven in 10 group home workers leave their jobs within the first year. High turnover is a national problem, they point out, thanks to low wages and the difficulty of the work. It creates higher costs for recruiting and training replacements, and studies have shown it contributes to abuse.
In 2003, an outside audit concluded the state “is at risk of placing or maintaining clients in (foster) homes where the providers are not adequately trained or qualified.” The audit arrived after Oregon lawmakers, during the recession, cut spending on programs for people with developmental disabilities by about 8 percent.
To begin reversing the problem, DHS officials asked lawmakers this year for the first significant pay raise in four years for group home workers. They approved $20 million to boost average pay $1 an hour, to $10.58, starting Feb. 1.
Toews said the raise, while helpful, won’t dramatically improve the situation.
Providers have coined a term for their predicament: “desperate hiring.” Anyone who passes the required criminal background check is likely to get a job. Caregivers often come from fast-food or retail, get little training, then are expected to deal with the complex medical and behavioral needs of their clients.
Even knowing when to call 9-1-1 can be a problem. Reports show that some workers are reluctant to call paramedics in the absence of a supervisor for fear they will be blamed for problems.
Almost two years ago, a group of DHS employees recognized the problem and drafted a new policy to encourage timely 9-1-1 calls. The team submitted the document to administrators, including Kitchen, on March 18, 2006. But she and other top officials couldn’t agree on how the potentially lifesaving policy should be phrased.
It went nowhere.
About five months later, a 52-year-old group home resident died after several days of illness. Finding neglect, an investigator said the caregiver failed to call 9-1-1 despite the client’s “respiratory distress, moaning and bloated abdomen.”
DHS officials say they recently have begun discussing 9-1-1 in training sessions, emphasizing that caregivers need not check with a manager or nurse before calling paramedics in a medical emergency.
Homes stay open
Records show the state has been slow to shut down troubled homes.
Laurie Lindberg, who heads the state’s licensing unit, said that because the state is in constant need of new homes, her approach is to help providers fix problems rather than punish the homes.
“We don’t have that many facilities,” she said.
But for residents, that approach can be a gamble.
Rainbow Adult Living runs nine group homes in the Portland area. After Crawford’s death, the paramedic who complained about conditions at the home personally told county officials it should be shut down.
Instead, the home stayed open, and Crawford was exploited in death.
RaNee Osborne, the Rainbow manager on duty when he died, forged Crawford’s name on a $2,788 check issued to him a month after his funeral. She deposited it into her own checking account, licensing records show.
Investigators found that Osborne had over several years embezzled thousands from clients, treating herself to such things as a Game Boy Advance, a new TV and pink cowboy boots.
Also missing was a $5,000 check that Crawford’s 91-year-old mother, Ione, sent the home to buy other residents a gas grill in her son’s memory. Recently, Osborne told The Oregonian that the money was “disbursed to the employees who worked with Paul as a bonus.”
Last month, Osborne was convicted of first-degree theft and first-degree criminal mistreatment relating to her financial abuse of Crawford and two other Rainbow residents, whose Social Security checks she stole.
Records show DHS officials were told about the financial irregularities as far back as 2005 — and allowed the home to operate even after Rainbow executives refused to fire Osborne.
She quit on Aug. 29, 2005, after learning she was the subject of a Medicaid fraud investigation. Before she left, Osborne destroyed financial records by “tossing computer equipment out of the window at her office, intentionally breaking it on the pavement,” a Multnomah County compliance officer told the state Department of Justice.
Lindberg’s unit inspects group homes every two years. Visits are supposed to be unannounced, but Toews confirmed what providers told The Oregonian: Most get several hours’ notice, giving them time to put on a best face.
County case managers are supposed to add another layer of protection. Under their state contracts, counties must investigate abuses and visit every group and foster home at least 10 times a year. But case managers have competing duties — some also monitor as many as 100 clients — so home visits don’t always happen.
At a licensing inspection last year, months after Osborne’s exit, officials uncovered more than a dozen additional violations at the home where Crawford died. Among the infractions: failing to provide job training and financial oversight.
The state fined Rainbow $2,000 and gave the agency another chance. Lindberg said she wanted to give Rainbow, one of the oldest group home providers in the state, every opportunity to remedy problems and avoid displacing clients.
It wasn’t until March — shortly after The Oregonian asked to view the nonprofit’s file — that the state launched a new inspection of all Rainbow’s homes. Reviewers found a “systematic failure to safeguard resident funds,” and officials now plan to close four of the homes, including the one in which Crawford died.
Michael Larson, who recently took over as Rainbow’s executive director, said he’s begun new practices at the $4 million-a-year nonprofit, including financial controls and a 9-1-1 policy to “err on the side of caution.”
Rainbow is not alone. Licensing records and state data include more than a dozen group home operators with 10 or more substantiated abuse or neglect allegations.
In the Cornelius home where Jack Gipson died in 2003, problems with medical care continued, prompting two more incidents of neglect. Alarmed at the lack of state follow-up, Washington County’s top case manager, Ted Barber, wrote to Lindberg demanding action.
“It is our hope that your office will consider any avenues to ensure that enduring, corrective action occurs,” Barber wrote.
One home, 11 inquiries
Repeat offenders aren’t pervasive in the system — but neither are they rare.
An example is foster home operator Antonia Galanto, who was investigated 11 times between 2000 and 2004 and found responsible of neglect or abuse in six different cases.
In 2000, a county investigator found that Galanto overcharged clients $4,400 when she took them on a Hawaiian vacation. The next year, another report determined she had hired her brother, Francisco “Cisco” Galanto, and allowed him to use drugs at the home. Later, he was found to have paid a female resident $5 for sex.
Still another investigator in 2003 found that Galanto physically abused a 45-year-old resident by spraying him with a garden hose to punish him.
In April 2004, a final report determined that Galanto had again helped herself to her clients’ money. Authorities ultimately charged her with 13 counts of criminal mistreatment and theft, but the case was dropped on a technicality: Police waited too long to arrest her.
Galanto could not be reached for comment.
The Oregonian identified more than 200 caregivers found responsible for abuse or neglect in more than one investigation. As a group, they accounted for about a fifth of all substantiated allegations — more than 900.
The information resides in the state’s own database. But officials say they haven’t had legal power to use the data to deny employment — as do Washington and states with a registry to screen for abusive workers.
Washington officials call the system a success. Using the registry, they have denied 1,800 applicants jobs in state care systems since October 2003. The rules allow a caregiver to challenge an accusation of abuse. But once upheld, a single incident is enough to be blacklisted from any publicly financed caregiving job.
Although an Oregon registry is in the works, it is years off. State officials say they are negotiating with providers to design a system that would include appeal rights for caregivers. They don’t yet know how much it might cost, although they said Washington spends about $1 million a year on its system.
State officials examined the list of repeat offenders The Oregonian provided. Had a registry been in place here, they said, they would have blocked 74 of the listed workers from continuing as paid caregivers.
Difficult care, higher fees
After Natasha Thomas died in a bathtub at her foster home, investigators substantiated caregiver neglect. Her case shows how weaknesses in training, 9-1-1 procedures and fiscal controls can all converge.
When she failed to speak by age 5, doctors determined she was mentally retarded and deaf. Surgeons restored some hearing, but a low IQ kept Thomas from ever fully comprehending her world.
In 1997, two months before Thomas’ 18th birthday and after numerous contacts with child welfare workers, state officials removed Thomas from the home of her mother, an alcoholic.
Thomas struggled for the next several years, cycling through at least three state homes. She didn’t fit the stereotype that mentally retarded people are always sweet and mostly mute. On the contrary, Thomas smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and swore like a rap star.
But the issues that made Thomas’ care difficult also made it lucrative.
Unlike wages for most group home workers, which are set by the state, foster home providers are paid fees based on the difficulty of the client’s behavioral and medical issues. The payment for Thomas, with her unpredictable outbursts and severe asthma: $6,072.70 a month, about double the state average.
David Pape opened his foster home in May 2001 with Thomas as one of his first residents. Soon the 26-year-old high school graduate was pulling in as much as $18,000 a month for Thomas and three other women. Over four years, the state sent Pape $725,790.64 in tax-free payments to operate his home.
Pape enjoyed the rewards of his business.
“Every time I had a county official come to my house, they’d say, ‘Wow, Dave, I wish I could afford a truck like this,’” Pape said. “My response to people: Open a foster home.”
Pape said he bought a van, a boat, a car, a vacation time share, a house in Eugene for the residents and another one in Springfield as “a getaway” for him and his wife.
Foster providers have wide leeway over what they do with client service payments. Caseworkers are supposed to monitor whether a client’s needs are being met, but there are no strict accounting requirements.
The county employees who licensed Pape’s home found no problems, annual reviews show. But Lane County officials also admit that case managers visited Thomas at Pape’s home only three times in the two years prior to her death in 2005, despite rules requiring at least 20 such visits.
Records hint that, for Thomas, things were less than ideal.
She took two trips to the emergency room in 2002. In one, she was treated for a large, infected leg wound caused when she set her pants afire with a lighter two or three weeks earlier. In the other, she was treated for weakness and lethargy. At both visits, Thomas told hospital workers she didn’t want to return to Pape’s home.
Notes by Thomas’ case manager say she called repeatedly in 2004 and 2005 to report that she wanted to move. She was lectured for making repeated 9-1-1 calls to complain about her caregivers. Her claims were deemed “false” and ignored, the documents said.
The next time a 9-1-1 call came from Lodenquai Lane, it was Pape reporting Thomas was unconscious in the bathtub. The water had been drained, and the bathroom linoleum had been mopped. Yet the hall carpet was soaked.
Pape initially said he tended to an ill Thomas through the night and saw her get up that morning to shower. “I take good care of my girls,” he told the 9-1-1 operator.
Challenged later by police, Pape admitted he hadn’t been there at all. While he and his wife, the foster home’s manager, celebrated their first year of marriage across town, the home was left in the care of Kane Parks.
Parks, then 20, had recently lost his job at KFC. Pape said he compensated his wife’s younger brother by giving him a free place to live and by “paying for his car insurance.”
Parks told police he called Pape around 2 a.m. to tell him Thomas was “unresponsive” in the tub. In a police interrogation video, Pape said he thought Thomas was just “being manipulative.” He said he told Parks he’d deal with her in the morning.
Still waiting at 9 a.m., Parks served breakfast to the other residents and ordered them to brush their teeth in the bathroom where Thomas’ unclothed body lay. Another hour passed before Pape arrived and called 9-1-1.
After investigating the scene, the county medical examiner and police concluded Thomas had drowned. Authorities charged Pape and Parks with criminal mistreatment. State officials said Pape surrendered his license.
Six months later, however, an autopsy listed the manner of death as natural — from severe, untreated pneumonia. Karrie McIntyre, a former Lane County prosecutor who handled the case, said uncertainty about the exact cause of death lowered the odds of conviction. She called her decision to drop the charges “heartbreaking.”
Soon after, Pape called Lane County and asked for his license back.
Although officials said they would never reissue Pape a license, they said that because he was not convicted of a crime, nothing prohibits him from being hired as a caregiver at another home in Oregon.
Pape says he plans to do exactly that.
In an interview, he said he lied to police and the 9-1-1 operator because he was in “diabetic shock.” Thomas’ death, he said, was the fault of Lane County officials who didn’t “pay me enough for her care.”
Kane Parks could not be reached.
Five months before Thomas’ death, Pape’s home underwent its annual licensing review.
“Wonderful foster home!” the county reviewer had written. “Thank you.”
News researcher Margie Gultry contributed to this report.
Story by Michelle Roberts | 503-294-5041 | | Published November 4, 2007
Comment on story
©2007 The Oregonian Publishing Company

Dear Advocates,

We are nearing the end of the week following the article in Sunday’s Oregonian regarding the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people with developmental disabilities who were deinstitutionalized in Oregon.I want to be perfectly clear that I believe people with disabilities should never have been forced to live in institutions, but it's equally clear that Oregon has not held up its end of the bargain. I continue to Google “abuse neglect Oregon” searching for some kind of statement by any, some, or all of you. I’ve found none. The closest I’ve come to finding anything at all about this issue is a letter to the editor of the Oregonian from Tim Kral, which I’ll address further in this email. The people I’ve cc’d have been sent this in order to have as broad a conversation as possible.

The article itself speaks volumes. The quotes from some of you raise questions that I will ask here. Feel free to leave me without the answers, which is customary in the culture of secrecy that is the developmental disability system in Oregon. The reason for this email is to begin an honest assessment of where we are in Oregon around the issues brought up in Michele Roberts’ article. Any enlightenment or clarification any of you might share with me is most welcomed.

The first most glaring question is who of you knew about the extent of the abuse and neglect prior to the interviews and ensuing article?

Since the data goes back to 2000, what actions did you take to remedy the situation PRIOR to the article?

What actions have been taken since the article?

Who wrote the Oregon Network’s bulletin of 3/26/07 with the talking points about how well the people from Fairview are doing living in the community?

Was the writer(s) aware of what the truth is when that bulletin went out?

Why is there no mention of this travesty on the DD Coalition/Oregon Network website?

Were negligent homicide or criminal neglect charges ever discussed or filed by any of you who knew about the David Pape/Natasha Thomas death?

Did any of you question the change of the Cause of Death from drowning to pneumonia?

Did any of you know Pape was being paid $18,000 per month for running his foster home?
I knew Paul Crawford. He was a very warm and outgoing man. In my last job I worked closely with one of his roommates from Rainbow. This man has some serious behavioral issues. I guess it was the staff I used to meet with monthly who were given the $5000 worth of “bonuses” his mother intended for the residents.

Were they ever required to return their “bonuses” to Paul’s mother?

Were any of his staff charged with anything?

Dr. Kitchens, do you REALLY believe that if someone vomits a black-colored substance that “most people” wouldn’t recognize it as possibly being blood, and take action?

Do you also really believe that the delay of getting the right language into a document relieves DHS of responsibility for immediately implementing a mandatory 911 training for caregivers?

Does anyone believe that Paul lying in a bed full of feces, vomit and urine; with enough urine on the floor to make someone almost slip is not criminal, but is what you’d expect from most people in the same situation?

If his workers were found to be responsible for his death, why were they still working at that home in 2006? The three I’m familiar with were all there longer than 3 years.

Mr. Lynch, you are quoted as saying; “It’s a tragedy. We really need to turn this around. This goes well beyond embarrassment”.

Why are you embarrassed?

Did you not know about this systemic travesty prior to Ms. Roberts talking to you?

You now have a state email address. Are you an employee of the state?

Why is there no mention of this travesty on the OCDD website?

Mr. Toews, you are quoted as saying; “We’ve tried to approach how we safely support people with pretty complex needs. We’ve done as good if not a better job than most states on trying to drill down on that”.

Is it not true that when I contacted you in regard to a grievance against Multnomah County staff about a profoundly developmentally disabled woman last year, you allowed them to circumvent the Oregon Administrative Rules?

Was that “drilling down” on safely supporting her needs?

Are you afraid that now that the truth has been told, Oregon will not be looked upon as the model state you often talk about?
Why is there no mention of this travesty on the DHS website?
Mr Joondeph, did you tell Ms. Roberts that both you personally, and Oregon Advocacy Center investigate abuse and neglect investigations?
How many do you personally investigate each year?
Did you tell Ms. Roberts the County licenses foster homes, when in reality the state does that job?
Did you tell her county case managers do investigations, when in reality Protective Services and your agency does that job?
Does OAC plan to file a class action against the state which will prevent INDIVIDUALS from stepping forward to sue?
If so, does OAC plan to settle out of court?
If so, will it result in agreeing to wait for reform?
If so, will OAC set up an Ombudsman program as part of that settlement?
Would that expand your powers in Oregon?
Why is there no mention of this travesty on the OAC website?
Mr Kral, in your letter to the editor of the Oregonian you wrote “The Oregon Rehabilitation Association represents community nonprofit organizations providing group homes”.
How many of these organizations does ORA represent?
You mentioned that ORA “supports immediate steps to enhance the care and living conditions of individuals with disabilities.”
As the “representative,” is it not your place to demand rather than "support"?
Was there a step ORA could have taken when the Legislature only gave DD Services 20 million instead of the 65 million dollars originally requested of them last year?
Why did you fail to mention that in your letter?
Did you mention the abuse and neglect travesty when you made your request?
Would that step have assisted you in enhancing the care and living conditions of people with disabilities?
You wrote that wages for group home workers are low. Is that also the case for group home representatives such as ORA?
Why is there such a disparity?
You said turnover is high with group home staff. Is the same true with representatives?
Why is that not the same?
How much time do you actually spend with the individuals living in these group homes?
You wrote that workers in group homes need to be more accountable. To whom do they need to be more accountable ?
Do representatives such as ORA, OAC, OCDD, The Oregon DD Coalition, and DHS need to be more accountable?
Finally, you wrote that “the vast majority of former Fairview residents have enjoyed a much higher quality of life since leaving.”
I don’t believe that this “glass is 4/5 full” philosophy makes one bit of difference to the 1 in 5 who have been seriously abused and/or neglected. If you look at the numbers closely, nearly 50% have had abuse and or neglect charges substantiated, with many more alleged. I’m certain that being in the community beats being at Fairview, but by how much when you run this high a risk of being abused and/or neglected?
Who exactly are ORA’s state partners?
Did DHS hide the data around abuse and neglect or did no one ask?
Are you an employee of the state?
Why is there no mention of this travesty on the ORA website?
These questions are hard. I am well aware of that. However, in light of the article written by Michelle Roberts, I believe hard questions need to be asked. My questions are not “personal attacks”. They are, in fact, questions that need to be answered if system reform is to occur. It’s obvious that system reform that includes real accountability must occur if we are going to do anything about the neglect, abuse, and exploitation of people with developmental disabilities in Oregon. The conversation must begin immediately, and must include caregivers, individuals receiving care, their families, friends and personal advocates. It must not happen behind closed doors, among a secret society that has yet to truly acknowledge the urgency.
David McDonald
DAWG Oregon

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Accountability Vs. Blame

What is with the politicians in our state and in our country? They’ve once again started with the rhetoric around “finger pointing” and “blame” and “not looking backward” to avoid the real issue... accountability. As if wanting accountability BEFORE moving forward is a waste of time and energy.

Sara Gelser doesn’t want to “blame” the people who irresponsibly blew most of the money set aside for our children’s education. Barack Obama doesn’t want to “look backward” at the mistakes his shiny new cabinet members have made. Including Admiral Dennis Blair and his lying to congress. Oops! I guess that’s “finger pointing”, isn’t it?

Unless we learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them. And unless we learn from other’s mistakes we are doomed to allowing them to make the same mistakes again. That is why accountability exists.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

RIP Jett Travolta

John Travolta's 16 year old son with a developmental disability died 4 days ago while the family was vacationing in the Bahamas. It's reported that he had a seizure in the bathroom at the hotel the family was staying at. He apparently banged his head on the floor which may have been the cause of his death. An autopsy is being done today.

Did you know that John and his wife Kelly Preston had a child with a developmental disability? I didn't. No finger pointing here, but I believe the community at large must be made aware that celebrities, politicians, atheletes, and everyone else on the planet are subject to giving birth to a person with a developmental disability.
Maybe then we can muster up the support and compassion these people deserve.

I hope that the Travolta/Prestons can find some solace in their obvious grief over the loss of their son. And may Jett be taken to a place where people like him are welcomed and wanted outside of their family.

Friday, January 02, 2009


It’s 4:00 AM, and there are 24 clicks on my last post on Lefty Blogs. That means there are 24 people who read about the abuse and neglect suffered by adults with developmental disabilities in Multnomah County who don’t think commenting on it as something that’s important. Liberal leaning individuals who don’t give a shit about it.

Who are you? How do you live in your skin? Are the facts I presented to you ENTERTAINING? Is THAT how you see my blog...entertainment?

I tell you. You people are disgusting.