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Why I Am a Democrat: Stephanie Blair

Stephanie Blair is a newly elected Precinct Committee Person (PCP) representing District 44. Being involved in local election politics is new for her, but in her work at Portland State University she has lobbied at the Capitol in support of public education funding. Stephanie is on the House District 44 leadership team and a member of the Campaign Committee. As a part of that committee, she has worked to develop the Multnomah County Democrats Election Volunteer Hub.

She encourages everyone check out the Election Volunteer Hub, which is a virtual campaign office to assist with campaign coordination during this time of social distancing. See more details in this newsletter!

As part of the PCP Endorsement Taskforce, Stephanie researched the Oregon Psilocybin Initiative, now Measure 109 and Initiative PDX02 , to decriminalize natural psychedelics. Both are now endorsed by the Central Committee of the Multnomah County Democrats.

Stephanie would also like to express the importance of local and state elections. While she can’t wait to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this fall, she wants everyone to remember the importance of voting for dedicated, qualified, and empathetic leaders at all levels of government. Improving our country starts on our streets and in our neighborhoods. Stephanie is especially excited about the prospect of Universal Preschool in Multnomah County and eventually all of Oregon.

Stephanie is looking forward to getting to know her fellow PCPs and working to get more Democrats get elected!

Stephanie’s local take-out recommendation: “My favorite place to get take-out in Portland is Chop, a sandwich shop located in St. Johns that is owned by my next-door neighbor who, in spite of being a butcher by trade, is very accommodating of our mostly vegetarian diet!”

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Note: This is the first in a series of articles or Q&A sessions that will be included in upcoming newsletters. If you have a suggestion or would like to be profiled, please let us know!

Multnomah Democrats 2020 Ballot Measure Endorsements

At the August 13 meeting of the Multnomah Democrats Central Committee, the Endorsement Task Force chaired by Jason Allen, submitted 10 Measures with Recommendations for Adoption. Each of the proposed ten Party endorsements were discussed, and votes were taken to Endorse, Don’t Endorse or Take No Position.

Note: All of the following have Central Committee acceptance with one exception – the Central Committee took “No Position” on 5 “Yes for a Healthy Future,” tobacco tax increase. 

1. Universal Preschool Now 

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems Endorses UNANIMOUSLY.

Universal preschool addresses a fundamental social inequality by ensuring all children begin their educational and social educational experience with a guaranteed a strong foundation.. Multnomah County can join other communities across the nation, including Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago who extend this right to all young children.

Preschool for All

2.  2020 Portland Public School Bond Renewal  

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems Endorses.

As stated by the School Board, “Every student in the district is going to benefit from the investments that we’re making in technology, in updated textbooks, in the culturally relevant curriculum and increased building accessibility for students, staff and families…” The $1.2 billion bond will include funds to renovate Jefferson High School and finish modernizing Benson High School.

Portland Public School Renewal

3.  Strengthen Our Libraries  

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems Endorses.

Significant deficiencies exist in our library system now. This measure will enlarge and modernize eight county libraries across the area.  The East County will get the flagship – comparable to the downtown Central Library – that it has long been needed. Seven branches will be built, expanded or renovated – Albina, Belmont, Holgate, Midland, North Portland, Northwest, and St. Johns. All libraries will have gigabit speed internet.

Multnomah County Ballot Measure 26-211

4. Let’s Get Moving – Metro Transport Measure  

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems Endorses.

Investments generated by this measure will significantly improve safety for everyone on all neighborhoods.  It will be easier to get around. Communities of color will be protected from further displacement. The measure provides opportunities for economic growth, improvements to foster healthy ecosystems with clean air and water, and greater resiliency from disasters and emergencies.

Let’s Get Moving

5. Yes for a Healthy Future – Increased Taxes on tobacco and other nicotine delivery systems such as e-cigarettes. 

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems NO POSITION.

After administrative and enforcement maintenance costs, remaining revenue would be dedicated to the Oregon Health Authority for medical and healthcare-assistance programs, including mental health services, tribal health providers, including Urban Indian Health Program, and other programs concerning tobacco and nicotine health issues.

Yes for a Healthy Future

6. Yes for Fair and Honest Elections

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems Endorses.

Oregon is one of five states with no limits on campaign contributions. Committees are not currently required by Oregon law to include disclaimers stating who paid for a communication or advertisement, but they may do so by choice. This will to authorize the state legislature and local governments to enact laws and ordinances to limit political campaign contributions or other contributions that could influence the outcome of an election without impeding candidates or political committees from obtaining resources necessary for to run a campaign or advocate for an issue; limit political campaign expenditures or expenditures that influence the outcome of any election to the extent permitted under the Constitution of the United States; require disclosure of contributions and expenditures; and require that political advertisements identify the people or entities that paid for them.

Ballot Measure 107

7. Police Oversight Charter Change 

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems Endorses UNANIMOUSLY

The mission of the City of Portland Community Police Oversight Board (Board) is to independently investigate Portland Police Bureau sworn employees and supervisors thereof promptly, fairly, and impartially, to impose discipline as determined appropriate by the Board, and to make recommendations regarding police practices, policies and directives to the Portland Police Bureau and with a primary focus on community concerns A Board is hereby authorized and it shall comply with any legal obligations the City may have under the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act, other state and federal laws, and upon adoption by City Council of an implementing Ordinance . 

Police Oversight Charter Change

8. Drug Addiction and Recovery Act

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems Endorses.

The measure would reclassify personal/non-commercial drug possession offenses. Possession of a controlled substance such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines, would be reclassified from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E violation resulting in a $100 fine or a completed health assessment. Individuals who manufacture or distribute illegal drugs would still be subject to a criminal penalty. The health assessments would be conducted through addiction recovery centers and include a substance use disorder screening by a certified alcohol and drug counselor. Health assessments must be completed within 45 days of the violation.

Oregon Measure 110

9. Oregon Psilocybin Services Program

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems Endorses.

This would establish a Psilocybin Services Program, which would manage, regulate, and enforce policies related to the licensure, production, sales, and purchase of products containing psilocybin. The authority would also keep informed about emerging research, clinical trials, and public policies to consider their impact on the program’s rules and guidelines.

10. Decriminalize Natural Psychedelics in Portland – Psilocybin Service Initiative  

EDF Recommendation: Endorse.

MultDems Endorses.

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms. The program established under this measure will allow for the licensed production and distribution of psilocybin.by qualified and licensed individuals, and the dispensing of this substance to consumers by qualified and licensed individuals.

The Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon

Social Shares

MultDems 2020 Legislative Priorities Natural resources Election integrity Basic needs and basic rights Justice, racism, and equity Education

The Top 6 Planks of the Multnomah County Democrats’ Platform

The Multnomah County Democratic Party have adopted a progressive platform to ensure that our community thrives in the 21st century. Here are the top 6 items that the party is focusing on.

Read our platform

1 – Natural Resources

Is it reasonable to ask that we and our children should count on breathing clean air?  Multnomah County Dems support passage of state legislation to reduce Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and at least 50% reduction by 2035. We will act to require that electricity be produced entirely by renewable sources by 2040 and require net zero carbon building codes by 2030.

We support: Expanding public transportation systems; Advance an early transition to electric and zero-emission vehicles; Advance weatherization and structural improvements in existing buildings; Support implementation of solar energy production; Advance new net-zero-energy buildings and methane-free new construction; Incentivize energy efficiency in Oregon’s industries; Improve tree canopy and rooftop plantings where possible in all urban areas to reduce heat island effect.

Should Oregon’s forests be sold off to private developers and exploiters?  Multnomah County Dems support the development and passage of a Forest Protection and Restoration Act that will: Eliminate clear-cut forestry on all publicly held and managed lands; Eliminate all tax incentives to industrial forests not employing climate resilient management practices. We will act to maintain incentives and subsidize to independent landholders who protect sensitive wetlands and fish habitats, reduce landslides, protect municipal water supplies, and restore floodplain functioning, and we will continue to evaluate the property tax structure for Oregon’s commercial forests.

2 – Election Integrity

Should the desires of big corporations control our government?  We demand campaign finance reform. We demand that the state Attorney General challenge corporate personhood, and that state and federal legislators pass laws and a constitutional amendment clarifying that corporations are not people and money is not speech.

3&4 – Basic Needs &  Basic Rights

Isn’t now the time for affordable health care for all?  Multnomah County Dems call on our state legislators to pursue universal publicly funded health care for the state of Oregon. We call for Oregon’s Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor and actively work for the passage of expanded and improved Medicare. We support the continuation and expansion of Medicaid. 

Should women have the right to control their bodies?  Be treated equally in the workplace?  Multnomah County Dems support women’s rights to reproductive freedom of choice including unfettered access to reproductive health care services regardless of their ability to pay. We oppose any legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood.  We demand equal pay for equal work for women from all employers in Multnomah County. We demand the reintroduction and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

Should living in Multnomah County be affordable for all?  Multnomah County Dems recognize that there is a housing crisis in our local communities and across the state. We direct Multnomah County and the City of Portland to develop affordable housing for individuals and families with zero to moderate incomes.

5&6 -Justice/Anti-Blackness/Equity

Power for all of us – or more power used against us? Do you see equal justice for all resulting from the proper allocation of our tax resources – or the greater application of power?  Multnomah County Dems call for responding to drug addiction with treatment not imprisonment. Law enforcement personnel should be liable for inflicting harm through inappropriate use of force.  We demand that there be review of punishments (bail amounts, sentence lengths, amount of time served before parole) being levied at unfairly high levels on Black Oregonians.

We call for the repeal of all mandatory minimum sentencing in Oregon, substituting Guidelines in its place, and allowing a judge to have discretion in all cases

We call for proactive educational programs for all law enforcement personnel and for all local, city, county, and state government personnel to safeguard Black, Brown, and Asian lives and to protect them from race-based law enforcement actions that far too often end in death!

(Extra Credit) 7 – Education

Should the cost of quality public education fall on the those that can least afford it? Multnomah County Dems call for legislation compelling large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes toward full funding to ensure the future of Oregon education.   We support public funding of a full-day, full-year, universal public preschool program for all children -of color, children living in poverty, children that speak languages other than English, and children experiencing developmental delays and disabilities. We support adequate funding of a full range of programs and services for all grade levels, including but not limited to art, music, band, choir, drama, dance, world language, bilingual programs, physical education, library services, civics, counseling, health services, and alternative education opportunities.

Multnomah Democrats Join DNC Council on the Environment & Climate Crisis

DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council: MultDems join the voices in support

The Multnomah County Democrats have been added to the growing list of Democratic, NGO, faith, and Indigenous organizations that are voicing their support for the bold recommendations of the DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council. https://www.dncclimate.org/

The DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council, a permanent entity of the DNC, was established to push the Democratic Party to take bold and urgent action addressing the climate crisis and other environmental issues. The council is recommending a sweeping set of policies for inclusion in the new four year 2020 Democratic Party platform, which will be approved at the August convention.

MultDems statement of support:

The Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee passed Res: 2019-24 declaring a Climate Emergency on Sept. 12, 2019.

The Multnomah County Democrats support the recommendations of the DNC ECCC, which are commensurate with the enormity of the Climate Emergency we face.

#DemPlatform2020 #DNCClimate

MultDems pass Resolution 2020-11 Police Brutality and the Criminal Justice System

Multnomah Democrats pass resolution calling for structural changes to policing to end police brutality

At the Central Committee Meeting on July 9, 2020, the Multnomah County Democrats passed this resolution.

Read and download the full text

Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee

Resolution: 2020 –11 Police Brutality and the Criminal Justice System

WHEREAS We affirm our support for the recent amendments to the City of Portland’s fiscal year 2020-2021 budget, which divests a total of $15 million from the Portland Police Bureau,

WHEREAS Efforts to address police malfeasance and brutality have been ongoing for decades, with limited success, 

WHEREAS Reimagining policing and in some cases, scaling back police departments is necessary,

WHEREAS According to the Sentencing Project, Black American men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men, Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences,

WHEREAS Incarceration, cash bail, and fines generate incomes for suppliers of the prison system, corrections officers, wardens, local municipalities, and private corporations that rely on prisoner labor, 

WHEREAS Article 9, plank three of the 2018 Democratic Party of Oregon Platform states, “We believe no one should profit from criminal incarceration which creates perverse incentives to underserve inmate populations and results in increased recidivism rates,”

WHEREAS Article VII (Justice), Plank 14 of the 2020 Democratic Party of Multnomah County Platform states, “We oppose private prisons. We believe no one should profit from the incarceration of others and decisions about prisoner conditions should not depend on the decision makers’ profit,” 

WHEREAS the medical and mental health professions exist within a system of white supremacy, and anti-Black practices within those professions have contributed to deep historical and ongoing trauma in the Black community.  

NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF MULTNOMAH COUNTY RESOLVES THAT

SECTION 1. Of the $4.8 million reallocated to Portland Street Response from defunding specialty units in the Portland Police Bureau, a certain amount of those monies must be earmarked for establishing and improving anti-racist training as a job-embedded, permanent workplace requirement for all Portland Street Response staff.

SECTION 2. Financial compensation awarded from lawsuits against law enforcement officers and agencies for wrongful death, serious injury, and civil rights violations stemming from police malpractice should come out of the pension funds of the law enforcement agency in question, and not out of municipal budgets. 

SECTION 3. The legal doctrine of Qualified Immunity for law enforcement officers must be eliminated.

SECTION 4.  Oregon law enforcement officers should be stripped of military equipment and weaponry and Oregon law enforcement agencies must be forbidden from participating in the so-called 1033 Program and other schemes that provide police with military equipment. 

SECTION 5. Oregon law enforcement agencies should be forbidden from participating in schemes that provide financial incentives for officers or departments based on arrest- or conviction-based quotas.

SECTION 6. We urge all employees of our justice system, as well as public servants and employees of our government at all levels, to engage with activists demonstrating in streets across America for Black lives, and to work together to enact substantive policy changes aimed at disentangling anti-Blackness from American institutions.   

ADOPTED ON July 9, 2020

Resolution submitted by Platform, Resolution and Legislative Committee and Quinton Blanton, Anti Blackness Study Group

For More Information, See

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/fostercare/caseworker/roberts.html

https://www.gloucestercitynews.net/clearysnotebook/2015/05/nj-news-commons.html

https://newrepublic.com/article/121186/truancy-laws-unfairly-attack-poor-children-and-parents

https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/how-we-fail-black-patients-pain

https://www.npr.org/2015/10/24/449893318/there-were-fewer-black-men-in-medical-school-in-2014-than-in-1978

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/black-mass-incarceration-statistics_b_6682564

Resolution pertains to the city of Portland’s fiscal year 2020-2021 budget, policing, and the criminal justice system

Send to the following legislators: All Multnomah County elected officials, as well as all state officials, Commissioner Joann Hardesty, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Governor Kate Brown, Congressman Earl Blumeneaur, Senator Jeff Merkley, and Senator Ron Wyden

Campaign – Elections volunteer support


Impact on the community and recent examples or accomplishments:

Democrats are motivated to win the White House and a Senate Majority. We’ll have critical races here in Oregon too. Every volunteer call, postcard, text gets us closer. You can help volunteers be more effective and have way more fun doing it!

What skills this committee or volunteer position is looking for:

Friendly, good explainer, some experience canvassing, phoning, postcards or texting, reasonably comfortable with virtual tools like Zoom and google. Could be a few hours a week or more if you like. You can focus on specific effort or some of each: Senate races, Biden battleground states, Vote by Mail applications.

What other roles and/or positions are in the committee:

This campaign season, our election office will be virtual. We need help to run this “Election Hub” Welcoming, orienting and tracking volunteers; Hosting phone banks and postcard parties – training and supporting volunteers; updating campaign contacts, scripts and event dates.


For more info, email Marcia Schneider at marciapnp@gmail.com

Racial Inclusivity Work Group


Impact on the community and recent examples or accomplishments:

Racial Inclusivity Work Group (RIWG) has a mission to diversify the Party’s membership and leadership, by building a strong foundational for organizational change from within.

What skills this committee or volunteer position is looking for:

People with experience in equity, diversity, and anti-racist leadership

What other roles and/or positions are in the committee:

Currently seeking people who identify as Asian, Black, Indigenous, or Latinx to ensure a membership makeup that is 75% people of color.


For more info, email GM García at equity@multdems.org

Education


Impact on the community and recent examples or accomplishments:

We have been working with Senator Lew Frederick regarding K-12 assessments. We have also been involved with the campaign to fund preschool for all in Multnomah County.

What skills this committee or volunteer position is looking for:

We are looking for folks who are interested in working on public education issues particularly at the local, county and state levels, that includes educators, parents and grandparents.

What other roles and/or positions are in the committee:

We meet monthly on the third or fourth Thursdays of the month from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, currently by zoom. We appreciate participation in our discussions and willingness to work on the local and state level to facilitate change.


For more info, email Margi Brown at margibrown42@gmail.com

Election Integrity Work Group


Impact on the community and recent examples or accomplishments:

Small donor elections program for Portland city elections

What skills this committee or volunteer position is looking for:

Interest in helping pass useful local and state and, to some extent, national legislation

What other roles and/or positions are in the committee:

One conveyor is needed, along with anyone interested in being a workgroup member.


For more info, email Bill Harris at bbharris1936@gmail.com

Communications


Impact on the community and recent examples or accomplishments:

We are the messaging for this party. The communications team projects our values through email, social media, and other means. Recently, we used these tools for a successful online fundraiser. During election season we rally volunteers and activate voters.

What skills this committee or volunteer position is looking for:

Digital communications skills and/or interest is what it takes! Writing, communications, graphic design, email list building, public relations, social media.

What other roles and/or positions are in the committee:

Email administrator, Social media manager, content creator, project management, Zoom administrator.


For more info, email Joel Barker at communication@multdems.org