Friday, July 31, 2009

Operation Cool Air 2

Just got home after installing 3 more air conditioners for folks with developmental disabilities in Portland. I feel GOOD. These were new air conditioners donated to the project from United Way, partnering with Standard TV and Appliances. It's only July 31, so I'm thinking these will be invaluable during the month of August.

It's not tooo late to get involved silent readers. Simply email me with the info. for your new (yeah, you heard me; NEW) or used air conditioner to make a very important difference in someone's life. If it was your family member, you'd want them to be cool during the heat, right?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Salaries Anyone? Part 2

Ahhh... another Opinion piece in the Oregonian today about how the wealthy will leave the state if taxes go up for them. This time it was written by Robert Millen, chairman of Jensen Investment Management in Lake Oswego. He’s also a Portfolio Manager who reportedly “helps” invest between 2.5 and 3 BILLION dollars for his company.

According to their website, he “joined the firm in 2000. He received his BBA degree in finance from the University of Iowa and graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking, Rutgers University. Bob has over 30 years experience in banking, investment management and financial services, including serving as Vice President of Principal Financial Group (1997-2000) and Group Vice President of Wellmark, Inc. (1990-1997). He was President of First Interstate Bank NA in Des Moines, Iowa and has held senior management positions at Norwest Bank NA also in Des Moines.”

I’m going to take a stab in the dark here, and guess that MAYBE he’s one of those rich people who don’t want their taxes to go up. Of course I could be wrong. It could be a volunteer gig.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sorry Joseph...

Yesterday I had to cancel my nephew's scheduled visit to our home this coming Sunday. He comes over monthly from the foster home he lives in for dinner and sports on TV. The reason I had to do this is because of the inconsistency of LIFT coupled with the expected heat.

A few years back they had a recorded message on their voicemail stating that the temperature in their buses is only 10 degrees cooler than the actual temperature outside. That means if it's 95 degrees (as expected) the bus would be 85 degrees. That's just too hot in regard to his safety. I don't want to risk his health.

Then... when you factor in the possibility that he could be in the bus for an hour and 40 minutes like the last time he came over, it's just not worth it. It's not fair, and it stinks of discrimination, but people with developmental disabilities are discriminated against daily in Oregon.

Salaries Anyone??

Have you noticed how the wealthy folks in Oregon have begun their unified grumbling about the proposed tax hikes (on them)? Yesterday’s Oregonian newspaper is a prime example of how the plan is to try to influence the working class to believe that those who voted for the tax hikes for the wealthy in the Legislature don’t care about unemployment in our state. In fact, the Senate Republicans Office sent out a press release of the letter today.

It was written as a Guest Opinion by Jon Chandler who happens to be the chief executive officer of the Oregon Home Builders Association. I believe the acronym for his job is “CEO”. I wonder what his salary is? Could this be a rich man pretending to be a working class stiff? That’s my guess. He apparently doesn’t believe the wealthy should have to pay their fair share of the tax burden.

Then you have the Oregon Catalyst, which again is a conservative republican website which also cares about the middle class. Why just the other day a similar article was written by Larry Huss, a regular contributor. Did I mention he’s also the Vice President of US West and a lawyer? Wonder what he makes each year?

Bottom line is that these cry babies who want to maintain as much money from their weighty salaries need to quit their complaining on behalf of the “common man”, who they really don’t seem to care about.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I have been dealing with Tri Met LIFT service up close and personally for the past 20something years. LIFT is the transportation service used by people with disabilities, who for one reason or another are unable to use the bus/MAX systems in Portland.They receive payments from both federal and state government to provide rides as needed. In fact, there is an oversight committee that meets monthly which is comprised of people with disabilities, whose job is to ensure that this service as well as fixed route (buses and MAX) adhere to ADA requirements, making transportation "user friendly" for people with disabilities in Portland and its' suburbs.

For the past few years I've been receiving the agendas and minutes for these committee meetings as I like to see for myself what is being discussed. I've also been aware for years that Tri Met skews the reality of LIFT performance, probably to make sure the dollars keep coming in. I mean, if the funders of LIFT knew how badly they truly perform, they may choose to not continue to pay for bad service. On July 10th I received the minutes from their meeting back in June. As I read along, I was taken back by what one of the committee members said. A member "commented the LIFT performance report statistics on complaints being down 40 percent is good, and he noticed a reduction in LIFT ridership."

Flash back to a LIFT ride my autistic nephew experienced a litle bit more than a month ago. I wrote the following to the membership of the committee that same day..."I'm unsure as to whether or not this is the appropriate place to send this email, but I believe it's important that all the people on this list see it. Of course complaints are down 40%, when the office for LIFT doesn't follow up or return calls to complaintants. I called them over a month ago to complain that my nephew, who uses LIFT, drove around for an hour and 40 minutes with his driver before being dropped off at my house. I left the message on their voicemail with a request that they call me about it. I Still haven't heard back from them regarding my complaint."

A few additional points merit a mentioning here.

1.)6 years ago I met with Bob Nelson (a Tri Met administrator) along with 3 LIFT riders who told him their PERSONAL stories of how badly LIFT was performing. He shrugged it off without taking any action.

2.) I have complained repeatedly over the years, and unless I FOLLOWED UP on my complaint, I never have heard back from them.

3.) When I asked the driver who brought my nephew to my house if he thought lugging someone around for an hour and 40 minutes is an ok thing to do, he said "no", to which I replied "It's time to change the system". His response was "Good luck with that".

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Don't Have To Return Your Calls

Because I consider you to be pesky
I don't have to return your calls.
Because you want the truth
I don't have to return your calls.
Because I am fearful
I don't have to return your calls.
Because people sometimes don't return my calls
I don't have to return your calls.
Because this is modern day America
I don't have to return your calls.
Because I am so full of myself
I don't have to return your calls.
Because I don't want to answer that
I don't have to return your calls.
Because I am not REALLY professional
I don't have to return your calls.
Because I can lie with an excuse
I don't have to return your calls.
Because you are probably right
I don't have to return your calls.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Terrorists On The Home Front

I received the following email from the Southern Poverty Law Center today. I’ve never been a big fan of the mindset which must accompany one to serve in the military, and this only lends credence to my conviction...

July 10, 2009

Dear Friend,

We have uncovered new evidence that racial extremists are infiltrating the U.S. military and have asked Congress today to launch an immediate investigation to ensure that our armed forces are not inadvertently training future domestic terrorists.

In recent months, our investigators have found dozens of personal profiles of individuals listing "military" as their occupation on a neo-Nazi, Facebook-type website. One person, apparently serving in Afghanistan, lists The Turner Diaries as his favorite book. That's the book by neo-Nazi leader William Pierce that served as the blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing by Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh.

We've been warning the Pentagon about the danger of extremists in the military for more than two decades. In 2008, the FBI issued a report indicating that the problem may have worsened. Unfortunately, the Pentagon has not taken forceful action.

Indeed, the Pentagon appears to consider homosexuals more of a threat to the good order of the military than neo-Nazis who reject our Constitution's most cherished principles. While the military has discharged more than 12,500 service members because of their alleged homosexuality since 1994, it has refused to adopt a true "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to extremists in the military.

The overwhelming majority of our courageous men and women in uniform reject extremism and are dedicated to our nation's highest ideals. We owe it to them — and to the American public — to ensure that the ranks are as free of extremists as possible.

Please stand with us on this crucial issue and contact your congresspersons. We recommend sending a personal letter or calling the offices of your U.S. Senator or Representative.

Thank you for your support.


J. Richard Cohen
President, Southern Poverty Law Center

My 400th Post!

I was inspired this morning by a quote from Susan B. Anthony, who once said; “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation.”

This quote came from Oregon Senator Vicki Walker who has accepted a job working with the criminal justice system in Oregon. My guess is that she recognizes that she probably had as many, if not more enemies than friends in the Legislature. It’s the same belief I have of what’s wrong in our state, country, and world today. Too many ass kissers trying to do the best they can for themselves, while leaving those who struggle to fend for themselves. I like Vicki Walker (for now at least).

20 Days Of Absence

Sometimes I feel like owning this blog is like owning a two edged sword. I get to express my opinions, and point out what sorts of things I've both seen and experienced in the world of developmental disabilities. It's generally not real pretty, and I become overwhelmed with the negativity of what I write.

I'm also aware that I probably have more enemies than friends as a result of having a blog that is offensive to some folks who read it. On some deep level I want to be liked, and it causes me to step away from the blog. Then something will happen which causes me to "go back to work."

The other day I was speaking to a person about my blog, saying I wasn't sure why I bother to write about what I see and experience. I told her I get tired of the lack of comments on my posts, and that I feel like no one really cares about what I've seen and experienced. This person caught me off guard when she said; "You do it because they (people with developmental disabilities)need you to." As simple as that thought may be, it was like hearing it for the very first time. This came from the mouth of a mother of an adult child who has a developmental disability.

So, I'm back to it. If that disappoints someone, who cares? I'm thinking I've only got one chance to make the world a user friendly place for people with developmental disabilities, so I need to do this for them.