Friday, May 29, 2009

2nd Update on Gregory Rold

I'm getting fewer and fewer Google alerts about Gregory Rold and what happened to him in Salem last Saturday night. I have gotten 2 comments from 2 men who go by the last name of Mathews. This first one was written by Brent...

"there were more cops there then they said..and a dog too! what has the media have to really say about gregorys death?? most people there didnt even like the man..but one thing they dont know about that man is that..hes mental, and takes medicines..people hate the fact that he came back to the apartments they decided to call the law enforcement to come arrest him..

but was gregory really a bad man?? he was only visiting hes mother for the holiday...

to the salem police department i would pray for your all need jesus!!


David Matthews wrote the following...

"I am deeply struck by this as Mr. Rold's aunt is my mother's neighbor, they are also good friends as well.

I visit my mom whenever I get the chance and one person that always stuck out to me everytime with his personality was Mr. Rold as he was never shy to yell across the street "How is your day going" or " How are you doing". A bit odd at times but nothing out of the ordinary for a man who is a skitsofrenick.

So when I heard this story and read the articles about it I needed to hear it from a person that was close to him or was there. What I came to learn was that indeed Greg was trespassing but that he was doing so to get a fresh pair of clothe changing. So in other words a man's life was taken over something so stupid.

I spoke to his mother who was present while all this happened she told me that he had wanted to stop by her apartment to get a changing of clothes and head back to his aunt's where he had been staying as he did not have a place of his own. Something that would have taken 20 minutes at most. Within those 20 minutes police officers arrived on a call of trespassing. Mr.Rold was forced to the ground and arrested.. By 4 police officers as you can see above. His mother then told me that while on the ground a police officer shot Greg with a taser and kept sending a series of electric shocks to him that lasted about 5 minutes. While he was completely man-handled, was not going any where, and was of ABSOLUTE NO THREAT.

For those that don't know the power of a taser; someone struck by a Taser experiences stimulation of his or her sensory nerves and motor nerves resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions. In other words you go down within seconds of being hit by one... I did a little studying.

As she teared up she told me that her son's last words to her were "Mom, help. They are killing me". After that Greg was dragged outside where the officers realized that somehow he was unconcious after being shot with a taser for 5 minutes. You don't say?!?! How the heck does that happen? Morons. He later died at the hospital.

My question is why did four officers have to use a taser to subdue a man with no weapon???? Were they not all man enough to take a 5'9" 240 pound man down??"

That's all I got right now.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

American Blackout

Occasionally, I'll write about a film I've seen that inspires or effects me in a big way. I saw just such a film last night. It's called American Blackout, and it's a documentary about Cynthia McKinney's fight to bring about accountability for the way the 2000 and 2004 elections went. They were in fact, stolen.

I've been a fan of hers for the last 8+ years as I've watched her and listened to what she has to say. She is a truly brave woman. She essentially put her life as well as career on the line in her search for the truth. I thought she would have made a great president in 2008, but knew she didn't have a chance. I should have voted for her anyway.

If you want to see how one person's actions can cause the system to shake at its foundation, you've got to see American Blackout. I'm sure you'll come away from it as I did; inspired and determined to continue to work on what really matters. Truth and justice.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Update on Gregory Rold Case

Man, it's been a lot of work piecing together what happened in the case of Gregory Rold, but it's an endeavor worth taking on. The Salem Statesman Journal has been helpful. Here's an update with some new information from their website...

Several residents of the Carriage Apartments criticized police Tuesday for using what they described as excessive force.

"He was a creep, but does that mean you get killed like a dog? They should have hogtied him, detained him and taken him away," Carita Mendez said.

Mendez lives in a first-floor unit at the Carriage Apartments, directly below the unit where Rold fought with police as his mother looked on. Neighbors said she screamed out the window, pleading for help and saying that police were killing her son.

Mendez said the violence left many residents traumatized.

"We've been crying, us girls have," she said. "It's too much for us. It's sad."

Liz Patterson, co-manager of the complex, described the altercation between Rold and police officers as a tragedy.

"It's a tragedy for the family. It's a tragedy for the police department. It's a tragedy for everybody involved," she said Tuesday.

Patterson said that Rold's mother, Felisa Rold, and his brother, Darius Ludwig, had been tenants at the Carriage Apartments since September. The family came to the United States from the Marshall Islands, she said.

Gregory Rold had served jail time for crimes ranging from assault to giving alcohol to juveniles, according to court records.

In 2004, he spent a week in jail when he was convicted of assaulting a public safety officer. In 2005, Rold was convicted of fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and sentenced to five days in jail.

Rold was convicted in 2006 on a trespassing charge. He served 25 days in jail. Rold's most recent conviction was in October 2008, when he was convicted of furnishing liquor to a minor.

About two weeks ago, he was banned from the apartments.

"The action was taken because of inappropriate behavior and remarks to other tenants," Patterson said.

The fact that his family moved here from the Marshall Islands may explain part of the problem. Beside the cultural differences, there may have been language differences as well. The population of the Marshalls is largely Micronesian. Over 50% of the people are Protestants and there other Christian groups. Marshallese, a Malayo-Polynesian tongue, and English are the official languages; Japanese is also spoken. Of course this fails to explain why 10 of the 20 Taser related deaths so far this year in the US have been black men..., nor does it answer the question of whether or not he had a developmental disability, which would further complicate things.

I asked the Chairwoman of the Salem Human Rights Commission if she felt the Salem police have had satisfatory training on dealing with people who have developmental disabilities yesterday, but she didn't answer that question.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why Isn't The Media Reporting On Gregory Rold's Death?

On the KOIN6 website they have a story on Gregory Rold, a black man in Salem who was Tased and beaten to death by 4 Salem police officers Saturday night. In the article they mention he did, in fact, have a developmental disability "with the mind of a toddler". My question is, why is so little media attention being paid to this case?

Maybe it's because he was viewed as yet another "throw away" person who deserved to die. I've read that view several times in comments about the story on the internet. Main stream media is working overtime trying to keep a lid on this story, so I'm giving it as much attention as possible.

If he had a developmental disability, why was he not receiving support? He was reported to have been peeking in people's windows, and making lewd comments to adult women and children in the apartment complex. Tht's why he wasn't allowed on the grounds. Anyone who understands developmental disability knows issues like these can be dealt with through good psycho-sexual counseling. Was this offered to him?

Another disturbing aspect to what happened, is that one neighbor was quoted as saying; "I heard him yelling out at first" said Shelietha Edwards, who lives in a nearby unit. "After that I didn't hear him yelling out at all. But I heard the Tasers going off. I heard the sticks still being used." Edwards says she's had problems with Rold, but "nobody deserves to die like that."

There needs to be a thorough investigation into this matter, not attempts to keep the story quiet. I was told he is the 20th person to die in the U.S. while being Tasered this year.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Not A Lot Of Info.

The Oregonian reports that the man tasered and beaten to death was 37 years old, and KPTV says he was 30. Looks like their trying to make him look like a bad dude now. From

SALEM, Ore. -- A 30-year-old man died after a fight with police officers Saturday night, according to the Salem Police Department.

Police said they were called to an apartment on Royvonne Avenue to investigate a man trespassing at the home. Officers said they encountered Gregory Rold, who they said violently resisted police.

The officers used their Tasers and batons to eventually take him into custody, police said. While they were restraining and handcuffing Rold, officers noticed he was unconscious and unresponsive.

Police called for paramedics and rendered emergency medical aid until they arrived. Rold was taken to Salem Hospital, where he died at about 9:27 p.m.

Officer Jacob Pratt was injured during the fight and was treated at Silverton Hospital. He and the other three officers -- Eric Brown, Adam Waite and Darron Mumey -- have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated by Oregon State Police, per the police department's policy.

Hello...? Media...?

Why is there such a failure of local media in reporting about the man who was tasered and beat TO DEATH in Salem last night? I've been googling, checking the Statesman Journal, and finding nothing new.

Is it because he was Black? Is it because he had a developmental disability? Is it because there were 4 policemen involved? What's going on here?

I really do believe what my lying eyes saw on the KPTV news this morning. A female witness who said she couldn't believe they beat and tasered the man the way they had. Give us the story, damn it!

Salem Police Taser Man To Death

Yesterday, a man who was trespassing at an apartment complex in South Salem was beaten and tasered to death by 4 Salem police officers. According to a witness, he was beaten and tased repeatedly. It's also been reported that this man had a developmental disability. There's not a lot of information out there yet, but as soon as there is I will update this posting. It's looking like there are a whole lot of unanwered questions that need answering!

From the Oregonian...

Salem man dies after police shoot him with a Taser
by Stephen Beaven, The Oregonian

Sunday May 24, 2009, 7:25 AM

A purported trespasser died Saturday night after he was shot with a Taser as Salem police officers tried to arrest him.

Gregory Rold, 37, died at Salem Hospital shortly before 9:30 p.m., police said today.

Officers were called to an apartment on Royvonne Avenue SE in Salem about 7:38 p.m. following a report of a man who was trespassing. They encountered Rold, who resisted arrest, prompting officers to shoot him with a Taser and beat him with their batons. After he was handcuffed, officers said Rold was unconscious.

Four officers were placed on administrative leave while Rold's death is being investigated.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Could It Be Eugenics?

I believe that when a concerted effort is made to separate people with the same disability it may come from a desire to prevent them from getting married and having children with the possible same disability. Get it? I'm talking about Eugenics. The act of attempting to get rid (die off) of "undesirable" people, who may water down the race. It's been going on for a long time in America, and I have to wonder if it's not a part of the plan to close the School for the Blind, as well as suspend the Oregon Commission for the Blind.

"Let's get these folks away from each other so they won't make disabled babies". Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?

"He's Always So Angry"!

Ok; I admit it... I'm well beyond disappointed that they are going to close the Oregon School for the Blind, suspend the Oregon Commission for the Blind, and remove Vision Services from the Oregon Health Plan. I am PISSED OFF! What is to come for the people with visual impairments in Oregon??

In all the newspaper articles I've read over the past few weeks, they keep on mentioning "the advocates" who are behind this whole thing, without naming them. Why?
I'll tell you why. It's because the "advocates" don't want their actual names connected to this BLATANT discrimination. Once again they are demonstrating their absolute fear of anything and everything.

One person who I PUT on record of being in support of this foolishness is Bob Joondeph, Executive Director of Disability Rights Oregon. I'm quite certain Bob would have preffered his name not be associated with closing the school, but as I've written before, the school's been around for over 100 years, and it took a legislative bill for him to weigh in on how the school violates the IDEA and the Olmstead Decision. Why was he so silent about it until April, '09? Either he's ignorant or incompetant. He gets to choose.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May I Never Go Blind in Oregon

It's not enough to just close the School For The Blind in Oregon. Now the Governor wants to suspend the Oregon Commission for the Blind because of the economic crisis. They also want to remove vision services from the Oregon Health Plan. What the hell is going on here?

Is the secret plan to discriminate so badly that a class action will be filed? By who? Disability Rights of Oregon has already weighed in on the closure of the school. Have they also jumped on board to see the Commission suspended?

What kind of services WILL BE LEFT for blind people in Oregon? Do any of these decision makers really believe they will ever be re-elected, or that we won't remember what they've done to people with disabilities in our state? As capitalism and self importance come crashing down on us, the pain is being shouldered by those with the least. I'm not so sure God will go along with that.

Hard Economic Times Hit My Home

Everyone is feeling the crunch of the economic crisis in our country. My wife and I are not immune from the sting of trying to stay afloat these days. Some of what we’ve been forced to sacrifice has made life seem unbearable.

Last week is a good example. The bill for my Blackberry came in, and I was unable to pay it. I’ll have to return it soon, being stuck without a cell phone, and having to resort to using a land line. To tell you the truth, we can’t even afford our daily trips to Starbucks any more. Times are hard!

We haven’t been out for a meal in over two weeks. If that’s not unfair, what is? Basic cable? It’s on the horizon. Selling off one of our cars? It’s a real possibility. We’ve even started using Walmart’s knock-off conditioner! I’m not sure what we’ll have to do to survive, but please, say a prayer for us.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Long Read Worth Reading

You have to wonder if the closure of the Oregon School For The Blind is on the up and up. Back in early April I began to read stories from the web about how the parents of these students were not included in the discussion(s) leading to the decision. I found myself wondering if this was possible, as the idea was being pushed by Representative Sara Gelser, who has a child with a disability, and should certainly know better than to do things without lots of input from these parents. On April 14th I contacted Jim Wrigley from Disability Rights Oregon to see what he knew...

Hi Jim,

I've heard there was little parental input on the idea of closing the School For The Blind. Is there truth to that? Also, I'm wondering what position DRO is taking on this?

I've also heard there are plans to shut down the office for the Long Term Care Ombudsman. Have you heard anything about that?

I'll look forward to hearing from you.


He got back to me the next day with what he called an answer to my question, which is testimony given by their Executive Director to the House Education Committee...

April 7, 2009
TO: Representative Sara Gelser, Chair
House Education Committee
FR: Bob Joondeph, Executive Director
Disability Rights Oregon (formerly Oregon Advocacy Center)

RE: HB 2834

Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) is the designated Protection and Advocacy System for Oregon. We provide legal advocacy services to adults and children with disabilities in order to assist them in obtaining needed services and in protecting their legal and human rights.

Among the most critical sources of rights for individuals with disabilities are the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both of these laws emphasize the importance of freedom from undue restriction and the opportunity to for full integration and participation in the community.

In considering the merits of HB 2834, I believe that it is upmost importance for this committee to keep these values in mind. For your assistance, I have set out below some key provisions of the IDEA and excerpts from the U.S. Supreme Court case of L.C. v. Olmstead, a case in which the court interprets provisions of the ADA which prohibit unnecessary segregation.


SEC. 612 states: 1a) IN GENERAL.--A State is eligible for assistance under this part for a fiscal year if the State submits a plan that provides assurances to the Secretary that the State has in effect policies and procedures to ensure that the State meets each of the following conditions:

(A) IN GENERAL.--To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities,
including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”

L.C. v. Olmstead

“Ultimately, in the ADA, enacted in 1990, Congress not only required all public entities to refrain from discrimination, additionally, in findings applicable to the entire statute, Congress explicitly identified unjustified "segregation" of persons with disabilities as a "for[m] of discrimination." See § 12101(a)(2) ("historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities, and, despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities continue to be a serious and pervasive social problem"); § 12101(a)(5) ("individuals with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination, including ... segregation").

Recognition that unjustified institutional isolation of persons with disabilities is a form of discrimination reflects two evident judgments. First, institutional placement of persons who can handle and benefit from community settings perpetuates unwarranted assumptions that persons so isolated are incapable or unworthy of participating in community life.

Second, confinement in an institution severely diminishes the everyday life activities of individuals, including family relations, social contacts, work options, economic independence, educational advancement, and cultural enrichment. Dissimilar treatment correspondingly exists in this key respect: In order to receive needed medical services, persons with mental disabilities must, because of those disabilities, relinquish participation in community life they could enjoy given reasonable accommodations, while persons without mental disabilities can receive the medical services they need without similar sacrifice.”

Every child with disabilities deserves the opportunity to succeed in their community and not need to leave home in order to receive the services that are essential to that success. This is not only desirable as matters of principle and ethics, it is a qualified legal right.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this information.

Now this is interesting. The school has been around a lot longer than Disability Rights Oregon. Why did it take them until April 7th of this year to begin thinking about the rights of these students with disabilities? This looks to me like some kind of “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” scenario to me. Bob returning some kind of favor?

Then you have the stories of the modified diplomas in 4 Portland high schools. Sara was livid when she heard schools were using a loophole to issue these second-tier diplomas to students who may be less than easy to educate. Does she really believe the blind students will do well in Oregon’s public school system?...

Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian

Saturday May 09, 2009, 8:08 PM

Four Portland high schools used a loophole in Oregon law to inflate their graduation rates by issuing second-tier "modified" diplomas to one of every eight graduates in 2008, an analysis by The Oregonian shows.

Modified diplomas are intended for students with severe disabilities who can't pass regular academic classes even with extra support.

Students who earn them take mainly nonacademic classes in high school, aren't eligible for federal financial aid in college and aren't normally accepted into the military.

Until this year, however, the state had no guidelines governing modified diplomas; schools could issue them to whichever students they chose and could set the standards for the diploma as low as they wished.

The state didn't regulate the diplomas partly because they are so rare, said Jackie Burr, education specialist at the Oregon Department of Education. Statewide, high schools gave modified diplomas to fewer than 3 percent of graduates in each of the past five years.

But Marshall, Roosevelt, Madison and Jefferson high schools -- the Portland high schools with the highest poverty rates and highest dropout rates -- gave modified diplomas to an average of 12 percent of their graduates last spring. That was nearly five times the rate in the rest of the state.

Modified diplomas: Which metro schools issued the most

Modified diplomas are intended for students whose disabilities impede their ability to pass regular academic courses. Percentage of total diplomas issued last spring that were modified:

• Marshall High, Portland: 16 percent
• Madison High, Portland: 12 percent
• Roosevelt High, Portland: 11 percent
• Jefferson High, Portland: 11 percent
• Reynolds High: 10 percent
• Parkrose High: 8 percent
• Molalla High: 7 percent
• Sherwood High: 7 percent
• State average: 2.6 percent

Source: Oregon Department of Education

Reynolds High in east Portland, one of the state's biggest high schools, also awarded a disproportionate share of nonstandard diplomas, 10 percent.

House Education Chairwoman Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, decried the practice.
Schools need to hold every student to high academic standards and not use the modified diploma "as a back door to get out of having to help kids meet diploma standards," she said.

An advocate for students with disabilities and the mother of a special education student, Gelser wrote a 2007 law that aims to prevent schools from misusing modified diplomas to lower standards for students capable of earning a standard diploma. The new rules didn't cover the class of 2008, however, and start with students who enter high school this fall.

The new rules, she said, "really put schools on the hook to provide academic classes to every student all the way through school. The worst thing you can give to any kid is low expectations."

Normally, students who finish four years of high school but don't pass enough classes for a standard diploma are counted as dropouts under school accountability rules.

For example, if Marshall had played by those rules, its 2008 graduation rate -- listed officially at 58 percent -- would have been worse.

State-issued report cards on high schools and federal school ratings under No Child Left Behind both hinge in part on a school lowering its dropout rate.

Portland officials who know the most about the decisions to grant so many modified diplomas did not return phone calls Friday.

Andrea Porter, special education administrator for Portland high schools, acknowledged the district has done too little to monitor how many students are getting modified diplomas. Some students were inappropriately steered toward modified diplomas merely because they speak English as a second language -- a practice the district has now ended, she said.

She said Marshall, Madison, Roosevelt and Jefferson have a higher share of special education students than other high schools -- as high as 25 percent of their students. But Porter said most special education students should be helped through accommodations and support to earn standard diplomas.

"I can't speak to those decisions that were made" to award so many modified diplomas, Porter said. "We haven't had a system of monitoring those recommendations. ... In the future, we will have such a system in place."

Portland and other school districts are changing their practices because of Gelser's law.

Under the new rules, districts will be able to issue modified diplomas only to students with documented learning barriers that kept them from mastering grade-level academics for many years. A parent would have to sign off on the student opting for a modified diploma at least two years before the student finishes high school. And the student would need to earn 24 credits, including three in English and two each in math and science.

Profoundly disabled students who cannot meet those standards would receive an alternative certificate when they finish high school, not a diploma.
"There will have to be a lot of thought going into it and a lot of documentation to say why the student can't get the (standard) Oregon diploma," said the state Education Department's Burr.

Finally I ran into this story from the Catholic Sentinal which pretty much sums things up in my eyes...

Families Worry School for Blind Closure Looms
By Ed Langlois

For Brianna Holden-Dean, the mainstream was a sinkhole.

The 18-year-old Portland student, blind and hearing impaired from birth, was enrolled in Southridge High for two years. There, she went from having hopes for medical school to being stuck in a class with youths who have behavior problems. The bright girl missed out on key math and science. In one of her courses, she spent two semesters mostly washing tables used by peers.

Seeing her life’s dream slip, Brianna became depressed and, for the first time, pondered hurting herself.

Her family fought to have her transferred to the Oregon School for the Blind in Salem. They met resistance from Southridge officials, but endured. It turns out to have been worthwhile. After only five months in Salem, Brianna is back up to speed in math and will be taking classes at Chemeketa Community College to re-ignite her hope of becoming a pediatrician.

“All of this stuff about mainstreaming is stupid,” says Taryn Seidel-Hart, Brianna’s mother and a nurse practitioner.

Seidel-Hart, who attended the University of Portland and taught there for seven years, tried working with Southridge officials to get an aide for her daughter, large print books and software. She even offered to purchase a laptop for Brianna to use. The efforts flopped and because of school policy, the administrators could not discuss the School for the Blind as an option. Southridge teachers were frustrated that they lacked training and time to teach the girl in an appropriate way.
Stories like Brianna’s are plentiful in Oregon.

But now a bill to close the School for the Blind is advancing through the Oregon Legislature. Sponsors want to develop plans for the 31 students who live at the school, sending them to public schools and programs in their districts.

The House Education Committee passed House Bill 2834 last month. It’s now being considered by a Ways and Means subcommittee. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis.

Gelser says the bill is not meant to save money, but to free up funds that now serve a small number of students. The money, she says, will not only follow the 31 residents, but could be reapplied to help the 840 blind and visually impaired students enrolled in home district schools.

The residents, she says, will get services equivalent to what they now receive.
The state pays $140,000 per student per year to keep the Oregon School for the Blind open.

Gelser says it has become difficult to support a school that lost its accreditation and that has a substandard building.

The bill seems likely to pass both chambers of the Legislature by the end of May, unless something big happens.

Kathy O’Malley, who attends St. Rose of Lima Parish in Portland, has two children, both of whom have a progressive disease of the retina.

Kegan, O’Malley’s 23-year-old son, was never given the option of attending the Oregon School for the Blind while attending North Clackamas Schools. Now that O’Malley’s 17-year-old daughter Kelsey has been in Salem for several years, she feels that what was done to her son is “criminal.”

“School districts don’t want to lose out on the funding they receive for special education, OSB can’t advocate for students attending another public school and employees from regional programs want to stay employed,” O’Malley says.

In contrast to the fights she waged on behalf of her son, O’Malley has been able to watch in delight as Kelsey has made “drastic progress,” with specialized services, equipment and trained staff.

“I speak from experience that the local schools do not equip these kids for the future,” O’Malley says. “Mainstreaming works for a lot of kids with disabilities but hearing-impaired or vision-impaired kids are better off being in their own environment.”

Rebecca Bergan, 20, was hit by a car 15 years ago. Her vision ebbs and flows and orientation is dicey.

The Bergans, members of St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton, tried hard to find appropriate services for Rebecca in their town. That failed.

One day at Beaverton High, staff lost track of Rebecca for an hour as she tried to find her way back from a restroom.

Ernie Bergan, Rebecca’s father, says teachers in mainstream schools lack the time and training to care for students like his daughter. At the School for the Blind, Rebecca’s progress has been “phenomenal,” he says.

“It would be like trying to abolish hospitals and put patients into care in their homes,” Ernie Bergan says of the bill to close the School for the Blind. “Some needs cannot be met at the local level.”

Closing the School For The Blind is looking more political than practical. Sara, Bob, and the rest of the “advocates” in favor of this move seem to care more about themselves than these blind students or their families.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

State of the Union May 2009

We are now involved in a serious revolution. This nation is still a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation. What political leader here can stand up and say, "My party is the party of principles?" The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party?

The revolution is at hand, and we must free ourselves of the chains of political and economic slavery. The nonviolent revolution is saying, "We will not wait for the courts to act, for we have been waiting for hundreds of years. We will not wait for the President, the Justice Department, nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands and create a source of power, outside of any national structure, that could and would assure us a victory."

To those who have said, "Be patient and wait," we must say that "patience" is a dirty and nasty word. We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually. We want our freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for both the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence.

We all recognize the fact that if any radical social, political and economic changes are to take place in our society, the people, the masses, must bring them about. In the struggle, we must seek more than civil rights; we must work for the community of love, peace and true brotherhood. Our minds, souls and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all people.

We must say, "Wake up, America. Wake up!!! For we cannot stop, and we will not be patient."

A Young John Lewis...1963

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Productivity, Integration, and Independence

I've been combing through the new rules around services to developmentally disabled adults living in the community. Beside the fact that these rules often contradict each other, making unterpretation almost impossible, there is a subtle message that the desired outcome is these folks should no longer act like they have a developmental disability. I find this disturbing.

DHS wants these folks to be productive, integrated, and independent citizens. That's what they seem to be saying. However; if that were truly the case, Vocational Rehabilitation would be taking on new customers to help them find employment. There's your productivity. Section 8 would also be taking on new customers to assist in finding them housing in the community. There's your integration and independence.

I don't think DHS cares about much beyond "image" (see yesterday's posts). Neither of these programs are doing anything to help people with developmental disabilities in Oregon. Instead, they write rules requiring Independent Contractors (such as myself), and Provider Organizations to assist in meeting these goals. They've even combined Community Living Support with Community Inclusion Support, which is like saying apples and oranges are now known as apanges. I guess we'll have to see how this all plays out (or fight it).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Conflicting Reports

I just finished writing a post about the need for system reform in the world of developmental disabilities, when I came across Bruce Goldberg's boastful message to DHS employees from Friday. So... which is it? Is the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin just making this stuff up? Or is Bruce Goldberg living in a fantasy land where one simply closes their eyes and whispers; "It's only a movie" as the real world crumbles around them? Here's his message...

May 8, 2009 DHS Director's messages on the web

To: All DHS employees
From: Bruce Goldberg, M.D., director
A week to be proud of

"I'm glad that I'm here in order to help the people of Oregon and keep people safe."
~Laura Tsaknaridis, a microbiologist for the Oregon Public Health Division, on KATU news.
We have a lot to be proud of at the Department of Human Services this week. Our Public Health Division responded well to the H1N1 Swine Flu outbreak and I want to again commend the staff there for their great work. They worked closely with local health departments, school districts and universities on how to respond to cases in their communities and also get the word out to the public about how to protect themselves and others. They also laid the ground work for how we prepare if there is a more serious outbreak of this new strain of influenza next fall. For updated information now and through next flu season, you can go to And to see the TV news story about how the Public Health Division rose to the challenge, click here. Also this week we presented our regularly scheduled rebalance to the Joint Ways and Means Human Services Sub-committee. In spite of record-breaking caseload increases driven by the economic downturn, DHS has been able to manage within our budget and we will not need additional revenue beyond our budget to get through our 2007-2009 budget. This is an impressive accomplishment and one that was praised by lawmakers.

"I'd like to say congratulations for getting us here," said Sen. Alan Bates. "This could have been a real disaster. In December and January we were worried where we'd be in the last two months here. The fact you've basically zeroed out is a real plus for us. I appreciate the hard work you've done ..."

One key reason we were able to meet our budget is that last fall we planned for the anticipated caseload increases, which have grown more than 27 percent over last year for cash assistance and nearly 24 percent for food stamps. Our strategies on meeting the needs and reducing costs have been successful.

"It is absolutely a pleasure now to get forecast information you can really depend on," said Sen. Jackie Winters.

Of course, the biggest factor has been all of your hard work. Your efforts in meeting the dramatic increase in need without additional resourses has been critical.

"I'd just like to thank the leadership of the department at all levels and also the line staff, who have been really carrying the brunt of providing some very important services to all Oregonians," said Rep. Tina Kotek.

Lawmakers also recognized that we will need additional help in the coming biennium. With Oregon's unemployment rate at more than 12 percent, our forecasts show a continued need for safety net services. We predict a 24 percent increase in cash assistance need, a 30 percent increase in food stamp need and a 23 percent increased demand in the Oregon Health Plan.

One message that came through loudly and clearly from constituents during lawmakers' recent statewide budget tour is that Oregonians understand how critical human services are to their families and communities.

A Portland man testified in front of the panel last week about how addictions treatment taught him how to control his anger and take better care of his children.

"Most of all, it showed me I had a soul, I was human, and I was worth saving," he said.

Now as the budget writers sit down to allocate the scarce resources for the 2009-2011 budget, one thing I know lawmakers understand better than ever before is how important our work is to his family and to all Oregonians...and that we are doing that work well.

System Reform 101

The state of Oregon's developmental disabilities system is crying out for reform. 36 counties doing things 36 different ways. 5 county programs being taken over by the state. In Umatilla County they recently found the county’s program suffered from a backlog of protective-service investigations, sporadic file documentation and a shaky handle on crisis intervention.

Who's suffering because of this dysfunction? It's not the administrators, politicians, or DHS. It's people with developmental disabilities. And if this mess isn't straightened out soon, those with silent voices will be to blame. From the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin...

Developmental-disabilities program control shifts
Umatilla County commissioners recently relinquished control of the program
By SHEILA HAGAR of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

Umatilla County residents with developmental disabilities are seeing services delivered differently than in the past, officials say.

Last month, county commissioners voluntarily relinquished control of the Umatilla County Community Developmental Disabilities Program, said Connie Caplinger, director of Umatilla’s Department of Human Services.

An in-depth, on-the-ground visit by state officials brought to light numerous problems for developmentally-disabled clients and their families, she said.

Statewide standardization of developmental-disability programs has never been established, Caplinger said. “Each county interpreted Oregon’s administrative rules differently. This year Oregon did site reviews and they discovered 36 counties doing it 36 different ways.”

In October, 11 state reviewers arrived to look over documents, talk to clients, family members and case managers in a site review.

“We didn’t come out very well,” Caplinger noted.

The county’s program suffered from a backlog of protective-service investigations, sporadic file documentation and a shaky handle on crisis intervention. Investigators also talked to parents of service consumers and “some of them had issues with how we did things,” she said.

“All of those things were taken into consideration. The state felt we had real communication problems and (they) were worried about the health and safety of clients,” which number about 300, ranging from those requiring 24-hour supervision to others using just a little help from the program.

Given all that and adding in tighter federal funding, county officials decided against trying to retool the program. “When the state starts using terms like ‘loss of confidence,’ the commissioners decided to relinquish,” Caplinger said.

The loss of control of the program does not affect the county’s budget, she added. As well, county staff working in the program became state employees in what was renamed the Community Developmental Disabilities Program for Umatilla County.

The goal was to make a seamless transition, said Mary Lee Fay, state administrator of Seniors and People with Disabilities Division.

In looking at the most serious issues Umatilla County had and possible solutions, “it made the most sense the state should manage these programs,” Fay said. “We had been discussing problems for over a year and half ... we had been trying to work through those.”

Umatilla County is the fifth county for which state officials took over, “all for different reasons,” she said. “And in those other situations we contracted with a contractor, but for Umatilla we really had to some work to improve services. We knew this would happen to us some day with some county.”

Lawmakers in Oregon recently passed a bill allowing the state to run a county developmental-disability program for the long term, Fay said, adding that Oregon has 18,000 people enrolled in case management for developmental disabilities services.

Part of the new work will be creating an environment of openness to the community and to help the public know how to apply for services, she said. In addition, training in case management and family support has been brought into the Pendleton office.

The former county employees have “embraced” the measures, Fay said. “I think they have a lot to contribute, I think they feel it is a fresh start for everyone.”

In conversations with Umatilla County commissioners, commitments from the state were made, she added. “We promised that just because this is a state staff, we really feel it is a local program. And we asked to have a standing quarterly meeting with the commissioners to give updates so they can give answers to people in the county.”

Friday, May 08, 2009

Here We Go Again...

Yesterday I received the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities 2008 Annual Report. Suzanne and I went over it together in the evening. She pointed out that if you look carefully at the photo on page 3, you can see me in the background at the community forum in Salem from back in December of 07 dealing with abuse and neglect. I'm the only one with my hand raised; probably asking about accountability.

I decided this morning that I want to do a DAWG Oregon 2008 Annual Report, updating my readers of what DAWG has been up to. Here it is...

* Placed my disability related blog on Leftyblogs Oregon in an attempt to educate the public on disability issues.

* Set up a working group of citizens to figure out what to do around abuse and neglect issues in the lives of developmentally disabled adults.

* Participated in a legislative abuse/neglect group in Salem; putting together legislation around prosecuting abusers and a registry to identify them.

* Suggested to anyone who would listen that Healthcare Representatives should be put in place for non verbal people BEFORE they have a medical crisis. So far that's gone no where.

* Suggested to any one who would listen that protocals should be in place for people who ride Trimet Lift in the summer around heat. So far that's gone no where.

* Became an Independent Contractor for people receiving Medicaid dollars relating to their developmental disability.

* Set up a focus group to deal with abuse and neglect issues.

* Participated in the Portland Police Developmental Disabilities Advisory Committee until one of the people responsible for my friend's death began showing up.

* Testified before the Multnomah County Board twice around corruption in their developmental disabilities office.

* Participated in the Coalition Against Hate Crimes in Portland until I realized their leadership doesn't care about people with developmental disabilities.

2008 was indeed a mixed bag of successes and failures for DAWG Oregon, But at least I'm honest about it.