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Multnomah Democrats support District Attorney Mike Schmidt focusing resources on crimes not protests

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County supports the policies put forth by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt to focus on serious crimes and better outcomes for communities rather than to squelch the First Amendment rights of our neighbors.

Read the Multnomah Democrats November 12, 2020 resolution, “2020-17 Supporting Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s Policy to not prosecute non-violent protesters.

On August 11, 2020, District Attorney Schmidt released a policy stating that his office would presumptively decline to prosecute cases stemming from the protests that did not involve deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against another person. This action stands in contrast to the indiscriminate proliferation of charges brought against otherwise peaceful protesters ranging from “interfering with a peace officer,” “rioting,” and “disorderly conduct.”

We do not condone violence and vandalism. That position is not in conflict with our opposition to Portland Police Bureau (PPB) efforts to prevent residents from exercising their First Amendment right to free speech, specifically in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Over the last six months, in the face of a global pandemic and statewide wildfires, our families, friends, and neighbors have taken to the streets in marches coursing over our city’s bridges, and rallies in our streets. They are using our shared right to freedom of speech, a tradition our nation holds dear. It is the right of every American to make their voice heard when they see injustice.

The PPB has routinely deployed tear gas, batons, and rubber bullets at protests. They use techniques known as “bull rushes” to disperse crowds, relentlessly and indiscriminately pursuing them through Portland streets. They have assaulted protesters, legal observers, media, and medics. They have caused injuries and trauma.

We believe that District Attorney Schmidt’s stance is refreshing new leadership that centers our justice system on improving communities. The policy adopted by District Attorney Schmidt acts in alignment with our platform and aspires to the words of America’s founding documents.

We support Schmidt’s policy’s effect of guiding the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute those who did act with malicious intent. Damage to people and property hurts our community. People have the right to be free from government overreach. Police and prosecutors should be focused on increasing personal safety for the entire community, not staunching free speech.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s new approach to fair prosecutions is the right policy in a time when the voters of Portland have made it clear, with over 80% of the vote, that they want police accountability and police reform.

Thank you, District Attorney Schmidt.

Young boy enthusiastically cheering while standing on a stadium seat.

2020 Election: Celebration and Gratitude

In Multnomah County, you, our local Democrats, our volunteers and our donors have inspired me and inspired all of us.

From our committee leaders and committee members who do the behind the scenes work to the District Leaders, PCP’s, Neighborhood Leaders and all of you who have engaged with the Election Hub; we have done so much.

67,765! That’s how many more Multnomah county residents voted for Joe Biden this year than voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016! More of you came out to vote Dem this year than in 2012 and 2008. Your vote will help counter any fictitious claim, and demonstrate that nationally U.S. voters absolutely preferred Joe & Kamala. Thank you for responding to our appeal to build the popular vote total!

You picked up and displayed yard signs, made cookies, and wrote countless letters, postcards, and texts. All that writing, I wager your fingers are likely blue! Locally, we joined together and distributed over 90,000 door hangers. and.we.voted.

You can see the results here in our region immediately. Pre-school for all. Drug policy that is built to heal, not harm. Peter Defazio returning to the House of Representatives. A great new, diverse batch of Democrats heading to the state legislature. Our new Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. This is your election, you left your mark. Thank you.

Be proud of all WE have done. Take a breath knowing that together, we rise. Together, we did what we needed to do.

Of course – once the election results are finalized, we will all be called upon to continue our work to envision and demand a world designed by and for the people. Voting is just part of the story. Our elected leaders need our support and our communities need us to speak up for them. We have seen what happens when Democracy is not attended to. Never again.

With the country so obviously divided, it is obvious that we need a progressive vision. We have more joyful work to do.

Will you be ready? Join us.

From your admin team, committee chairs, and district leaders, thank you from the bottom or our hearts,

Lurelle Robbins, Chair

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County

Chair Lurelle Robbins responds to broken windows at MultDems office

Last night some people broke windows at our building.

We affirm that Black Lives Matter and support those who continue to rally in the streets, even when it seems no one is listening.

We recognize the hurt many are experiencing at this time and we invite you to speak with us. At the Democratic Party of Multnomah County we are committed to open dialogue. We support and affirm the right to protest our government.

Broken windows are just broken windows. Together we might initiate meaningful change.

November 2020 Central Committee

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County Central Committee meets

Thursday, November 12, 2020

ONLINE ZOOM Meeting

RSVP HERE for details

Zoom opens at 6:30 for credentialing – The meeting begins at 7.

The meeting is open to members of the Central Committee (PCP’s)

You must RSVP in advance for the CC meeting.

Our Central Committee Meeting schedule is as follows:

6:30 PM Registration and sign in to be credentialed. There will be no break out rooms.

7:00 PM Business Meeting

    Revised Resolution: 20-15 for adoption

        Resolution: 20-15 Keep Our States Whole was presented in Oct and referred back to the Platform Committee for review. See above.

People marching in demonstration.

What if Trump tries to steal the election?

WHAT DO WE DO IF TRUMP TRIES TO STEAL THE ELECTION?

While Democrats must focus all of our remaining energy on getting out the vote, it’s important to start preparing in the event that Trump claims victory before all votes are counted.

Trump has already widely circulated the false narrative that the election will be fraudulent to the point where it has become part of the national conversation, and his base believes it. Barring a Biden landslide (a much preferred peaceful and orderly option), we need to be ready for the President to try to hold on to power not just through continued viral disinformation but also by wielding the power of his government – and, some would argue, of his courts – to disrupt and prematurely halt ballot counting at the state and local levels.

With these sobering truths in mind, we must stand united with our messaging and our actions if Trump tries to undermine the will of voters. Here are three things you can do to help prevent Trump from stealing the election:

We need to all be prepared with this simple plan

  1. Remind everyone now that election night is likely the beginning, not the end. November 3 is “election day” not “announce the results of the election day.” There actually isn’t a single state that certifies its results on Election Day. And this year we have an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots. Every vote must be counted. That takes time.
  1. Rally around the key message that every vote must be counted. It will take time to process all of the ballots. About half of states allow absentee ballots to be received and counted after Election Day as long as they are postmarked by November 3rd. And in some states, ballots cannot even be counted until Election Day. There will be a lot of pressure to declare an outcome prematurely, but together we must refuse to accept the results until every vote is counted.
    1. Finally, be prepared to resist. lIn the case of an un-democratic power grab, in the worst-case scenario, we should all be prepared to march, in huge numbers, until democracy prevails. Protect the Results and Choose Democracy are two organizations that are already preparing to mobilize protestors as early as November 4th. Stopping what is essentially a coup could be dependent on the size and scope of the resistance.

Six pack of beer labeled "Brewventure."

Brewventure Bidding for Election Day Quaffing!

As if there weren’t enough at stake on Election Day, November 3rd is the day the winning bidders of BREWVENTURE 2020 packages will receive their booty, perhaps just in time for some celebratory tippling.

In a move to offer a fleeting distraction from the VERY serious matters at hand, the MaltDems (beer enthusiasts of the MultDems) proudly announce that BREWVENTURE 2020 bidding opens today Monday October 26th and run one short week until 8:00PM on November 2nd. The beer bundles will be delivered on election day. In the interest of full disclosure, if beer is not your thing, we have one non-beer package.

Get in on the action at BREWVENTURE 2020.

BREWVENTURE 2020 – The best thing so far about 2020™

"Brewventure: Make your bid"

Know More About Shemia!

Shemia Fagan pronounces her name “sh-me-a,” but she may be one of the most unselfish candidates to ever run for Oregon Secretary of State! 

Shemia worked her way through college and law school to become a civil rights attorney. She says that’s why she first decided to run for public office a decade ago. 

In the 2019 legislative session, Fagan championed Senate Bill 608, which made Oregon the first state to pass statewide rent control. When introducing the bill on the Senate floor, Fagan referenced her mother’s experience with homelessness, calling the bill “personal for me.”

She told the Portland Mercury “That’s why I’ve spent my career—as a civil rights attorney, a school board member, a Representative, and a Senator—breaking down barriers and making sure Oregonians know that, while we don’t always agree, I am always on their side.”

One of the Oregon Secretary of State’s roles is overseeing the statewide election process. “The national trend toward obstruction and election tampering,” she added, “has Oregonians concerned about the integrity and fundamental fairness of our democracy.”

Shemia, just two months after having her first baby, was re-elected to an Oregon House seat. Most recently, just months after giving birth to her second child, Shemia unseated an entrenched, three-term incumbent in the State Senate. This passionate and unselfish divorced single mom never runs from a fight.

Do all you can to advocate for Shemia, as she has done all she can to advocate for you!

Fagan campaign web site: https://shemiafororegon.com/

GM García on the Racial Inclusivity Work Group

We connected with GM Garcia, the 2020 Dick Celsi Award winner and co-chair of the Racial Inclusivity Work Group, to discover how the work of building inclusiveness in the Democratic Party of Multnomah County can happen.

Garcia’s impact on the Multnomah Democrats is seen in the organization’s Platform, which was shaped using the Racial Equity Lens designed by RIWG’s Policy & Platform Sub Committee, as well as the ongoing activities among all PCPs. The PCP and retired education administrator who once served as the Oregon Association for Bilingual Education president is trainer and coach at the consultancy she co-founded, Gemini Consulting. She also contributes to the County Democrat Reader

The Work Group aims to advise MultDems as the organization develops common knowledge, practices, and norms necessary to operate in ways that are culturally responsive, racially inclusive, and continuously reflective of equitable policies and practices. These guidelines can prove to be a model for other Democratic Party organizations around Oregon.

Here is an abbreviation of the conversation:

MultDems: What are some of the key issues right now for the Racial Inclusivity Work Group?

GM Garcia: We were about to celebrate the one-year anniversary in March when the pandemic hit.  Some members had already ended a year-long term, so our plan was to recruit new members at the annual Celsi Celebration fund-raiser. After the cancellation of this event, we embraced the challenge for creative outreach. We aspire to maintain a membership of 75% people of color while avoiding “singletons”. Our current recruitment priority is Latino/a, Asian-American/Pacific Islanders, and Indigenous people to become Active Members.

Within the Work Group, we have a subcommittee charged with membership recruitment and retention. Not only are they bringing new people in, they want to  support members and make their involvement in Multnomah County Democrats a productive experience.

A lot of our discussion has been how to keep the meetings open, and to create an agenda with an action plan and specific timelines, and to do so in a way that there isn’t just one person in charge. Especially with meetings all online now, it can be problematic if we are too loose with air time. That can result in not having a BIPOC voice in the room.

Another key subcommittee is Truth & Reconciliation, and Greg Burrell brings his expertise as a philosopher to the role of leading us toward a healthy path of forgiveness, healing, and growing together in a more racially inclusive way of being. 

MultDems: What are some of the issues of race here in Multnomah County?

GMG: My perception is that the makeup of our organization does not currently parallel or represent the diverse people of Multnomah County. The culture of MultDems is centered around white middle class members whose roles (whether they realize it or not) carry a higher level of power. That has been painfully clear to Black and Brown people who try to become involved. We know there are plenty of good intentions, but they are irrelevant when there is a direct negative impact on those who hold less power.

MultDems: What do you think about the recent racial justice protests in Portland?

GMG: My stance can be expressed in 3 words: Black Lives Matter.

Some people in marginalized groups may buy into the idea that this is pie to be divided. If somebody else gets a bigger slice of pie, our group may get less. 

Zero-sum theory does not apply, as a rising tide lifts all sails. When there is racial justice for Blacks, we will all benefit greatly. Let’s avoid the “Oppression Olympics”, “BWAME” (But What about Me?), and center the movement on Blackness. Black people have been standing up for oppressed groups all long. It is time for all of us to listen, follow, and step up for Portland’s Black community. 

I have noticed from my own participation as a brown woman participating in the Portland protests, that the presence and leadership of Black people can easily be supplanted by white liberals with cute signs they use to take selfies for Facebook. As the whitest large city in the country, I wonder what the national organization can teach us about the whiteness of our current protest efforts. I often wonder if the quality control, organizational resources, and purposeful centering on Blackness, could be improved if the city of Portland revisits its decision not to have a Chapter in the national BLM organization.

MultDems: How can white allies support the cause of racial inclusivity?

GMG:  The people who started the Racial Inclusivity Work Group were all white. They had a brilliant idea: “We will have people of color leading.” That is still our goal. Both co-chairs are people of color. The spirit behind this is that “We will listen to POC”. We’re better off than we were before, but we have a long way to go. 

Upon request of the co-chairs, white Active Members of Racial Inclusivity started an affinity group for white allies called “DOW” —  Deconstructing Our Whiteness.  It’s designed for people to create a safe place to productively discuss issues of race in a self reflective way that can deepen their knowledge and strengthen their skills around discussing and addressing race in everyday interactions. All whites who apply for RIWG, and each member of MultDems’ Administrative Team are invited to participate. 

Another thing white people can do is join the new Anti-Racist Book Group .  There are also ways for white people to become involved in RIWG, perhaps via participation in subcommittee work, helping with events and even clerical support. We need help right now to maintain our databases and track new and potential members.

It’s important for MultDems (especially whites) to understand the role of RIWG-what we do and don’t do. We are not the equity department that abdicates the responsibility of our leaders. We instead help the leaders better understand different perspectives that empower them to become the stewards of equitable policy and practice. We are not here to recruit people of color to the MultDems. One does not invite guests if the house is not clean. We instead help the current residents learn to see what needs changing in order for POC to feel welcome, included, and meaningfully engaged. This alone has and will continue to increase the number of POC that join us. RIWG is not here to do diversity training. That is something the organization as a whole needs to prioritize and implement. We are a resource that can help guide any of these efforts. 

MultDems: What else do you hope to accomplish?
GMG:  The next action item of importance was a comprehensive needs assessment thorough a racial equity framework. This would help inform the new leaders of 2021 on priority actions, organizational strengths upon which to draw, and resource needs for agreed upon initiatives that align with Officers’ trajectory of Multdems work. 

As the Active Membership is changing during this transition, we are also finalizing our RIWG Charter that defines who and why we are, how we conduct ourselves in meetings, how we mediate conflict, and a complete action plan with measurable goals, specific timelines, and accountability for tracking progress and accomplishments.

For more information about the Racial Inclusivity Work Group, visit: https://multdems.org/riwg/

Contact MultDems Racial Inclusivity Work Group at:  racialinclusivity@gmail.com

Why I am a Democrat: Julio Castilleja

Julio is originally from McAllen Texas, in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley. He moved to Oregon in 2004 with his family and has been an Oregonian now for 16 years. Julio packed up his family and moved to Oregon for the outdoors and open minds. He has spent most of his career as an entrepreneur owning businesses in electrical contracting, food and beverage, and communications. He is currently a Realtor and advisor working in the world of Regenerative Real Estate Development. Recently Julio and his wife purchased a home in Corbett Oregon where they are in the process of starting a farm and education center. 

1. Why did you become involved in the Democratic Party of Multnomah County?
As soon as I decided to get involved in politics, the first thing I did was sign up with the Multnomah County Democrats. I really enjoy the people in the organization. Being part of a political party has many challenges, but the commitment my fellow members have shown to improving the party inspires me. 

2. What are some of the things you do for the Multnomah Democrats?
I have been an elected PCP for two and a half years. Since being elected I have been a Neighborhood Leader, Alternate Delegate to the State Central Committee, and recently was elected to become the District Leader of House District 52. Shortly after that, I became the Chair of the Community Action Committee at Multnomah County Democrats. I am also a member of the Racial Inclusivity Work Group and the New Deal Caucus.  

3. Who influenced your decision to become involved? 
Since I can remember I have always wanted to enter into politics, but avoided it. It wasn’t until the 2016 election that I realized I couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore. If positive change was going to happen, I wanted to be a part of it. 

4. What’s making you hopeful right now?
The amazing energy I feel from people who are inspired to get active and make good trouble.  

5. What advice can you provide to our local democrats for the upcoming election?
Take every moment, and make every effort, to make sure people vote. 

Comedians and Candidates poster with Sold out stamped on it.

Honk if You Love! Comedians & Candidates in Cars Brings Us Together

Comedy and humor is so important to being human, and sharing it is a core part of community. With our 2020 Drive-In Edition of Comedians and Candidates, we managed to make it all happen. Honks replaced applause, but we still managed to hear from great local comedians and fantastic candidates.

Not only that, we beat our goal and raised over $5300 so that our all-volunteer, grass roots party can continue to advocate for our communities through elections and legislation.

MC Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum took to the stage and gracefully led us through the event with her usual warmth. In the improvisational spirit of 2020, the audience quickly figured out how to applaud with their horns.

 “It was so great to come together and enjoy a perfect Northwest autumn night with all these DemocratsEmcee Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum. It turns out our makeshift drive in theatre provided much needed camaraderie and in retrospect an outlet for the talent of our candidates and Portland’s top comedians.”  

Lurelle Robbins, Chair of Multnomah County Democrats

Tons of volunteers put creativity, smarts, and many many hours into the event.

“Let’s hear from all the Prius!”

Comedians Susan Rice, Art Krug, Amanda Arnold, and Nathan Brannan presented. They shared the stage with great Democratic candidates in Multnomah County

  • Dacia Grayber HD 35
  • Sarah Iannorone Portland Mayor (by pre-recorded video)
  • Andrea Salinas HD 38
  • Lisa Reynolds HD 36
  • Tawna Sanchez HD 43
  • Wendy Lawton Fairview City Council
  • Khan Pham HD 46
  • Vincent Jones-Dison Gresham City Council
  • Ricki Ruiz HD 50

While they all made a try at jokes, most of them showed that their service was better in politics than comedy!