Hot off the Press
|What an incredible evening for Oregon Democrats!
When we began this campaign, we said we had three big jobs to do — and I’m proud to say we accomplished each one of them.
We re-elected Governor Kate Brown, thanks to an amazing statewide outreach effort.
We re-elected our great Oregon Democratic Congressional Delegation and made a big noise in Oregon’s Second Congressional District, a noise that is still reverberating. I can’t say enough about Jamie McLeod-Skinner and her team — the campaign that they ran truly exemplified the spirit and heart of Oregonians in the district, and she earned the best result for an Oregon Democrat in CD-2 in at least 20 years.
And last but not least, we defended and expanded our Oregon Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature in Salem.
Over the last two years I’ve had the privilege to travel across Oregon meeting with Democrats in all 36 of our counties. And one of the things I’ve said to them is that we want to send a message with this election.
We do not want to make ourselves great at the expense of anyone else. We want to have health care for all and public education for our children. We want humane immigration policies, strong unions, retirement plans for our seniors, and for women to have control over our own bodies.
Last night, Oregonians resoundingly said that we will not allow our state to cut reproductive health care, that we would not return to the days when racial profiling was legal, and that we will not hamstring our state and local governments just to protect corporations and the well off from paying their share of taxes.
This was a great night filled with great results, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your support. For that, we cannot thank you enough.
Now, as we look ahead toward the work to be done in 2019 and beyond to defend and uphold our Oregon Democratic values, I hope you’ll keep standing with us.
Support our work to elect more Oregon Democrats, and protect the Democratic values we hold dear. Donate today.
A simple message from a local Democrat:
A few points to be published for the general public:
1. Are you receiving a Social Security check? Thank a Democrat. Franklin D Roosevelt.
2. Are you on Medicare? Thank a Democrat. Linden B. Johnson.
3. Are you getting healthcare or Medicaid? Thank a Democrat. Barack Obama. And the list goes on.
Vote Democratic in 2018!
I interviewed Darin Fowler for the Illinois Valley News. Here it is, below:
What is your vision for the future of JoCo law enforcement and how do you anticipate funding that vision?
Fowler proposed a three-legged funding strategy, stating that “every effort should be made to fully fund the Josephine County Criminal Justice system in order to keep every citizen safe. This includes all aspects of criminal justice including 24-hour patrols, full-time detectives, jail services, and operation of the youth detention facility.”
He stated that alternative funding to an increase in property taxes includes a local cannabis production tax on commercial grow operations, fighting for a greater share of the state’s dispensary tax, and the need to continue work on the lawsuit that multiple Oregon counties, including Josephine, have undertaken against the federal government to seize back full logging rights of the O&C lands.
But when pressed, Fowler agreed that none of the proposed funding sources are wholly within the county’s power.
For instance, the county is already taxing dispensaries at the maximum allowed by state law: three percent.
“We’re already getting that three percent off of dispensaries and it’s not very much,” said Fowler. “But that’s only at the dispensaries. The thing I’m talking about is at the source: the farming of the cannabis.”
State law as it stands, does not allow counties to tax cannabis production, only the retail end of the industry. Counties like Josephine where marijuana production is a large part of the local economy as opposed to the retail end of the industry, have been lobbying the state legislature to allow local taxation of recreational marijuana grows.
“[Commissioner] Dan DeYoung .. has a proposal at the state level,” said Fowler. “It didn’t make it through the state legislature this year, but probably will, yes or no, next year. That’s the one I put a lot of stock in. They [cannabis growers] need to be taxed just like a regular business and not think they have a golden goose and can just come and make money off of us.”
Fowler added that, although there are no guarantees, there seemed to be an initial promising reaction by legislators.
“I think if we’re going to fund more [above the current level of law enforcement funding] we’re going to find it from the state or federal government. I don’t think we have to go to the property owners. They’re already tired.”
What are your specific proposals for encouraging economic growth and job creation in the rural areas of the county?
Fowler stated that economic growth and job creation can be encouraged by improving both of our county’s airports and its industrial parks and building a motel/resort to cater to those wanting to visit the Illinois Valley. He added that there is ample property to create additional biking, hiking, and horseback riding trails, and suggested the county could enhance Page Mountain Sno-Park, our county’s only snow recreation area.
Fowler also suggested working with local businesses to develop internship/apprenticeship programs.
“Too many of our young people feel they have to leave Josephine County in order to embark upon a career that earns a living wage. ”
He added that there needs to be a change in attitude among county officials from putting up barriers to local business to helping them, whether through tax breaks or giving them a break on permit fees or charges for new infrastructure.
“But,” he said, “I don’t think we need to create new opportunities for new businesses until we come alongside existing businesses and make sure they can do the things they want to do to create jobs.”
What role do you see the marijuana industry playing in rural economic development and job creation?
“Long-term careers in the market will be few,” said Fowler. “But other businesses could benefit from the success of the industry.”
“I would actually like to see many of these marijuana businesses turn to the growing of hemp, a much more versatile and useful product,” he added.
What is your position on the zoning issue with respect to both medical and recreational marijuana farming?
Fowler stated he is against commercial grows in Rural-Residential-zoned lots, and would allow them only on farmland-zoned properties. He cited Jackson County as a model. In 2016 Jackson County passed an ordinance that allows commercial grows only on farm or forest land.
Jackson County defines commercial grows as more than ten plants.
In what specific ways, such as regulatory, public infrastructure and finance, do you see the county supporting the development of affordable housing, especially multi-family housing?
“I cannot overstress the importance of our need to do whatever we can to encourage the building of multi-family and low income housing,” Fowler said. He also said he supports the approval of the Lincoln Meadows project in Grants Pass, a proposed 52-unit low income, multi-family housing development that has been stalled due to neighborhood opposition.
Fowler added that incentivizing property redevelopment by reducing or eliminating permit fees and infrastructure charges would encourage individual developers and property development companies to create more housing opportunities.
With respect to development of multi-family development in rural Josephine County, Fowler pointed out that state land use regulations would probably prohibit higher density development except in or near the two incorporated cities of Grants Pass and Cave Junction.
What are some tools the county is either making use of now or can make use of in the future to ameliorate the homelessness problem?
Fowler distinguished homelessness from vagrancy and transiency. “I think homelessness is more of a temporary thing, where people are by circumstance pushed out of their existing place.” He noted that there are a lot of help agencies for such people, when they have a desire to “pick themselves up and move forward,” He listed United Community Action Network (UCAN), Dorcas Community Services, Gospel Rescue Mission and Josephine County Salvation Army as examples, and reiterated the need for affordable housing development.
But he added that the others, “who have found the cracks in our society and live outside the lines” should be encouraged to “move along to Eugene or Portland.”
Fowler stated that the veteran who is struggling with problems such as addiction and PTSD and may be living in a tent out in the woods is a special case. He characterized such cases as “tweeners,” between vagrancy and homelessness, and noted that the Veterans Administration has the primary responsibility in such cases, as the county does not have the resources.
He suggested the county can encourage vagrants and transients to leave by passing an ordinance against panhandling vehicle drivers and by clearing illegal camps.
Same question as above, but with respect to the meth and opioid addiction problem?
“Josephine County has taken positive steps in dealing with this problem by providing treatment programs, opening a methadone clinic and the Sobering Center, and awareness campaigns to prevent accidental access,” Fowler said. “However, increasing our funding to the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, is equally important to eradicate these problems.”
What is your position on the lawsuit Josephine County has joined with respect to logging on the O&C lands?
Fowler characterized the O&C land use/logging lawsuit as of vital importance. “Not only has the federal government done an extremely poor job of properly maintaining our forest lands, they have taken away nearly all of our rights as a state to responsibly log those lands. We must continue to press the federal government to release our public lands, or at the very least to restart the O&C payments from the original agreements. ”
This is well worth the 2 minutes and 15 seconds to watch. Numerous local physicians tell why they are voting for Jamie McLeod -Skinner.
It was fright-night for progressives at Liberty Watch’s candidate’s forum Sept 13. About 70 or 80 people seated in the Home Arts building at the Josephine County Fairgrounds reacted with amens and muffled cheers as the candidates for sheriff and commissioner told how they support Measure 105 calling for the repeal of Oregon’s 30-year-old Sanctuary Statute, how anyone coming to the county to take people’s guns would be met by a “wall of sheriff’s deputies,” how cutting down trees and opening up mining on public lands will restore the county’s budget, and how Pacific Power is trying to invade people’s privacy, fry their brains, catch fire and raise their power bills with Smart Meters.
If you ask someone in a Liberty Watch t-shirt what their organization is they’ll tell you it’s a 501c3 non-profit just doing projects to help people and finding wheelchairs for the needy elderly and children. However, the Rural Organizing Project pegs this as a right-wing activist group cultivating good relations with elected officials in order to promote their pro-gun and no-new-taxes stands, and trying to win over the public with community service.
In front of this group, candidates tried to out-right each other with fealty to the U.S. Constitution, to guns, property rights, distrust of immigrants, the government, rural vs city resentments, distain for taxes, and conspiracy theories about Smart Meters. They also competed for who was the longest Josephine County resident and who understands the county’s outback better.
The meeting was moderated by a man in a black suit who said he was from radio station 99.3 which translates to KMED, a favorite of those who like an all-day right-wing talk format. He asked such provocative questions as “what will you do about night patrols using current resources, are you a Constitutional sheriff, what would you do if “they” came after firearms in Josephine County, what are you going to do about the ‘let it burn’ attitude of forest officials, and what can you do to stop Smart Meters?”
Jonathan Knapp, challenging incumbent Dave Daniels, presented rural Josephine County as a lawless place at night, where criminals come out from under rocks to sell drugs and commit mayhem because the county doesn’t have the resources to put “butts in the seat” of patrol vehicles after dark. Daniels said with his budget everything suffers and priorities have to painfully be made. Then the candidates turned to the jail, with Knapp saying there is no truth to the rumor he advocated closing the jail, but he did suggest perhaps Grants Pass Police could run it. Daniels took that on, saying the county does have an obligation to house and provide for the people it arrests.
Both Knapp and Daniels assured the audience they were Constitutional Sheriffs because they believed in upholding the U.S. Constitution. Knapp emphasized the Constitution is the law of the land which trumps state law and city code. Both candidates agreed they would stand up to anyone coming to take people’s guns. Knapp said gun-confiscators would be met with a “line of sheriff’s deputies” while Daniels recited parts of the Second Amendment and said of his department, “we pump out as many gun licenses as we can.”
Commissioner candidates were excited about having an administration in Washington D.C. that Josephine County might benefit from. Candidate Ron Smith was fired up by his base as he hammered on his favorite theme: Trees, trees, trees. Mining. Trees, trees, trees! The county’s resources sustained it for 80 years, he said, and can do it for another 80 if we get back to using them. Smith didn’t mention anything about sustainable harvesting, and touted his involvement in protesting National Monuments in Josephine County forests.
Candidate Darin Fowler, currently Mayor of Grants Pass, said timber isn’t the only asset in the county and thought should be given to getting more out of cannabis and vineyards. While both candidates had similar long family and community involvement Josephine County, neither got down to any concrete solutions for affordable housing, homelessness, drug addiction, and those pesky Smart Meters. Somewhere in there, the candidate’s feelings about fires and smoke got lost.
The housing discussion veered into a debate about the city annexing people who didn’t want to be annexed because taxes are so much higher in Grants Pass than in the county, then shut down when accusations of selective annexation surfaced. But the candidates did find a subject they could agree on: the high cost of housing isn’t the main cause of homelessness. It’s a nationwide problem caused by meth and heroin, said Smith. Fowler said Grants Pass makes an effort to keep the homeless from being a nuisance downtown by creating a food area around St. Vincent’s on Seventh Street and discouraging them from hanging around businesses.
“But are we really helping by giving them handouts?” he asked.
Fowler pointed out the city has a sobering center that works. Smith said a good crackdown on drug dealers now and then might put a dent in the problem. On the Smart meters, Smith said there are a lot of things commissioners have no control over but they can be a “bully pulpit” for the people’s concerns. Fowler, an electrical contractor, said the commissioners weren’t paying enough attention to people’s concerns and got “blindsided,” which led to misunderstandings.
Smith closed with his theme of cutting trees for prosperity and said only he has a real understanding of the county because he won’t be yet another city council member on the board of commissioners. Fowler said his occupation and community work has taken him into the far reaches of the county and his experience has taught him how to get along with all kinds of people.
Who is Samuel Patten?
Eugene, Oregon–Art Robinson’s deeper connections to illegal activity were revealed in a photo of political operative W. Samuel Patten and Robinson at his home in Cave Junction, Oregon in 2014.
As part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Samuel Patten pled guilty on Friday to working as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukraine and funneling $50,000 of illegal foreign money to Donald Trump’s presidential inaugural committee. Additionally, prosecutors argue that Patten’s business partner, a Russian national, has ties to Russian intelligence.
Patten worked in Oregon in 2014 for Cambridge Analytica, the corrupt political data company that illegally harvested data from 50 million Facebook users and interfered with elections around the world. The company admitted to, “effectively managing Robinson’s (2014) campaign in its entirety” and Robinson was Cambridge Analytica’s first federal political client.
Patten posted a photo on his personal Facebook page with Art Robinson in 2014 at Robinson’s home in Cave Junction, Oregon.
In March 2018, The Washington Post and Willamette Week interviewed Robinson about his engagement with Cambridge Analytica. Robinson did not disclose his relationship to Samuel Patten.
Cambridge Analytica is partly owned by hedge fund billionaire and right-wing political extremist Robert Mercer. Mercer first began meddling in Oregon elections in 2010 when he funded a super PAC aimed at electing Art Robinson and attacking Congressman Peter DeFazio. DeFazio was the first Member of Congress to be attacked by a Wall Street-backed super PAC. Since then, the Mercer family has spent $1.7 million on Robinson’s failed congressional campaigns.
Mercer also funds Robinson’s institute, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which Robinson runs from his sheep farm in Cave Junction, Oregon. Since 2005, Mercer has given Robinson’s institute $1.77 million dollars including a $150,000 donation at the start of 2018.
Robinson is making a fifth attempt at Oregon’s 4th Congressional District. Oregon voters deserve to know the extent of Robinson’s relationship to Samuel Patten, Robert Mercer, and work with Cambridge Analytica.