Announcements

What’s What in Our Government? Let’s Get Smarter about Portland, Oregon

Contributed by Dannelle D. Stevens, Chair of the Election Integrity Platform Sub-committee

Portland City Hall

Portland used to be called “the city that works”.  Now, it doesn’t seem to work!
What can YOU do about it?  A lot!

First, note that a citizen-oversight group is working on making a difference and has the power to make a big difference!  The Portland Charter Review Commission was created by law and meets every 10 years to assess how our city government is working. Check out the Commission here!. This current citizen-oversight group of 20 mostly young, diverse, and politically active people can recommend to the current council and send to voters their recommendations for changes in our city government STRUCTURE and OPERATIONS!

Second, recognize that this Portland Charter Review Commission needs to hear from all of us.
Submit only your email for updates for Review Commission meetings and activities.

Third, ACT!  Pay attention to the Commission website because they are in “the-seeking-public-comment” mode.   To comment on changing the form of government, you can enter your comment here: PublicComment Form of Government. Submit your comment by 8:00 AM two days before the meeting.To attend the Form of Government meeting via Zoom, go to the EVENTS page on the Review Commission website and click the Zoom link on the day. There are other meetings on the Events page that you might want to attend, as well.

Form of Government Sub-Committee: Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, 6-8 PM and Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, 6-8 PM

Here is a quick summary of the problems and suggestions for improvement in Form of Government.

Fundamental problems with the structure of the city of Portland government

Currently, there are only five Council members.  We have a COMMISSION form of government. All Council members are elected at large, meaning by all the people, not by geographic districts. The Mayor is elected at large and is one of the five members of the City Council.

After Commissioners are elected and as a commission form of government, the Mayor divides up all the city agencies and each Council member manages that agency. They must manage key city agencies like housing, water, police, parks and recreation, development services, social services, etc.

None of these commissioners are elected with the idea that they know anything about managing, for example, the water bureau. None are prepared to manage these large and complex agencies. It takes a long time to learn how to work with the agencies, implement policies, and meet the city’s needs like addressing the homeless crisis.

Many observers have concluded that the commission form of government might work for a city of 10,000, but, not for a big city of more than 800,000.

There are experts who do know and can manage these vital departments in a non-partisan way. These experts would be accountable to the City Council. Many cities around Portland have a city manager-council form of government.

Suggested Ideas for addressing these structural problems.

1. Fundamentally change the form of government from the commission form to a form with a City Manager who is hired and can be fired by the City Council, and a City Council of at least nine members with or without a mayor elected separately.

 2. Fundamentally change job descriptions. City Council members would maintain its legislative role–making policy and allocating money to implement policy.  The City Manager would manage all agencies.

 3. Elect a non-partisan mayor in a city-wide election. Elect non-partisan council members by districts that are drawn by an independent, non-partisan commission. Districts should be equally populated, contiguous and compact, and represent the diversity of the city’s residents. Each district would have the same number of representatives; 1 or more.  4. Create citizen oversight and advisory boards to to inform bureaus and departments–such as policing, land use, homelessness, civil rights, parks and recreation.

This is part of a series of articles about how government works. For more information about the Election Integrity Study Group, visit the Volunteer Opportunities page. To contact Dannelle D. Stevens, email

photo credit: Wikipedia

JOIN US! For our Annual Picnic!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 12, 2021 ~ 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

RSVP HERE

SAVE THE DATE!

WHAT: Multnomah Democrats Annual Picnic

WHEN: Thursday, August 12 from 6 to 8pm

WHERE: Red Sunset Park in Gresham (2403 NE Red Sunset Drive)

RSVP: Let us know you’re coming so we’ll cook enough for everyone. RSVP at https://secure.ngpvan.com/gcM2vLssn0KvP7PD_M0u9A2

CARPOOL: If you want to arrange a carpool, check this app: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/6yir7m

Questions? Contact  

We look forward to seeing you there!

Democrats Select Candidates to Fill Legislative Vacancy in House District 47

Democratic Precinct Committee Persons (PCPs) from House District 47 selected three candidates for the Multnomah County Commissioners to choose from to fill the legislative vacancy in House District 47. 

The candidates, in order of preference, are:

Andrea Valderrama

Adrienne Enghouse

Robin Castro

PCPs were required by Oregon statute to select at least three candidates. The names of the three candidates will be forwarded to the Multnomah County Commissioners in ranked order. The Multnomah County Commissioners will meet this month to select one of these candidates to fill the vacancy.

For more information about the nomination process, visit dpo.org/HD47.

Run for Something!

Want to run? Local elections deadlines are coming up fast!

Seats are open for the May election, across Multnomah County, including school boards, community college boards and more. The Campaign Committee asks you to think about running, and to reach out to Democratic neighbors and friends who can represent us well and ensure excellent, safe, and equitable service for our county’s residents, families, staff and students. Could this be you?

The Multnomah County filing deadline is  March 18th, and the deadline to submit a candidate statement for Voter pamphlet is March 22nd. Ballots will be mailed to voters on  April 28th, and Election Day is Tuesday, May 18th!

For all Democrats: Have you moved lately? Make sure your voter status is current and confirm that you are a registered Democrat. It’s easy and quick to register and update.

Go to My Vote

Quick links:

Multnomah County Elections office- Who’s already filed?

Which seats are open?

How to file and more information

Candidate Training February 27

#runforsomething: MultDems Candidate Training February 27th

Your community needs you! Are you ready to take the leap and run for elected office? School board and other positions are coming up in the May Election and MultDems want to help you get started. Democracy runs on our representation and involvement! Those who hold these positions make a difference now. They are also building experience for future endeavors.

Join the MultDems Candidate Training Saturday February 27, 12-4 pm via Zoom.

Sign up for the event!

This four hour class will get you started on your campaign. Working with experienced candidates who have a few campaigns under their belt, you will learn about messaging, campaign planning, and voter outreach.

You will also learn how to use the Democrat’s VAN application to reach out and connect with voters through phone banks, canvassing, and get out the vote projects.

We are ready to empower Democrats in our communities! And we can help you be ready to win!

What: Multnomah Democrats Candidate Training

When: Saturday February 27, 12-4pm

Sign up now to reserve your spot!

Sign up for the event!

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

Statement to the 26 September 2020 PDX for Basic Income Event

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County, Mission and Vision states – 

“We envision and Demand a government designed by the people and for the benefit of the people.”

At this moment we demand a return of the dividends due, we the people, who have over the past 40 years contributed our hard earned funds and delayed our profits as the money has been shifted and shared upwards to the wealthy among us.  Trickle down never trickled down – rather it provided mechanisms by which our money flowed up to the wealthiest among us.     $2000 NOW is the beginning of the return on our investment.

  • With houselessness and evictions and unemployment on the rise
  • With too many people struggling even before the current crisis as a result of 40 years of decreasing wages and increasing disparity
  • With CEO’s and the dramatically wealthy like Jeff Bezos and Amazon, like Bill Gates and Microsoft, like Google and Facebook and Home Depot and Fauci and Trump in control of our narratives

We the people are left struggling. If we are making zero or $20,000 or 50K or even 300K it is nothing compared to the trillions that of dollars flowing into the hands of Jeff Bezos and friends.

It is time to demand $2000 NOW and I call upon each of us to spread this message to our friends and neighbors across the country and to our legislators.  When an uprising of people and their demands and calls for relief truly get loud – then and only then will something happen. $2000 NOW.

Congress struggles to pass an 1800 page bill that would dole out money at the top and mollify the lobbyists, but what about, we the people who have been funding their largesse?

We believe that 1800 pages are not needed to solve this crisis.  We can say it in one sentence.

“The US Treasury will disburse $2000/ mo to every US resident for a 12 month period to provide relief to the people and to stimulate the whole economy.”

$2000 NOW    $2000 NOW    Today we are here to demand action and to spread the message of uprising for change.  But first we must recognize that the Native Americans and American Descendants of Slavery have endured this struggle far longer , for 100s of years, and let’s remember that reparations must be made to create a more equitable future for all.

The $2000 NOW dividends will repay us all for the 40 years of declining wages and theft or shift of our wealth upwards.

Let’s not forget that the 2008 crisis lead to a bailout of the banks, who then thanked us by taking many of our homes through foreclosure, only to resell them to wealthy investors like Blacstone and others.    DID WE GET OUR DIVIDEND – NO!   IT is time for $2000 NOW.

Now with covid and then the fires across Oregon and with the struggles for justice in our streets our people, our neighbors and our small businesses are shutters, houselessness increases and Bezos and the wealth get trillions of dollars in rewards.   IT IS TIME FOR $2000 NOW

With the top 3 families currently having the wealth of the bottom 50% or 1 ½ billion people we have given away our income and our wealth and we must demand a return of our investment.

Demand the 1 sentence bill.  Demand $2000 NOW.   Check out HB 6496 and SB 3784 and make them known by calling for action.   Spend your money locally, grow mainstreet and our neighbors not wall street.

Please join me in thanking Chelsea Wilkinson and PDX for Basic Income and Mark Nerys, who leads our Basic Rights study group for all their efforts.  I would also like to thank Neil Goodman, Mitch Rofsky – who is taking this message to the Biden transition planning team and to Faith Ruffing, Bobbi Yambasu and our Congresspersons Bonamici and Blumenauer for co-sponsoring HB 6496 

$2000 NOW

www.multdems.org/2000now

Summary: H.R.6496 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.6496. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:

Introduced in House (04/14/2020)

Emergency Money for the People Act

This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to make monthly payments during a specified 12-month period to certain citizens and noncitizens of the United States and their dependent children. The amount of such payments shall be $2,000 each month ($4,000 for married couples filing joint returns) and additional amounts for their dependent children. The monthly amount shall be phased out for individuals whose adjusted gross income exceeds $130,000 ($260,000 for joint return filers). The payments must begin within 14 days of the enactment of this bill.

The bill allows such monthly payments for individuals who are not U.S. citizens or residents, but have been physically present in the United States continuously since January 27, 2020 (the effective date of the public health emergency resulting from the COVID-19 [i.e. coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic), and continue to be physically present in the United States throughout the duration of the payment period.

If Treasury does not have sufficient tax return information to make payments to an eligible individual, it shall consult with the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Social Security Administration and any agency making pension or annuity payments to such individual.

SB 3784 Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act

The coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis are unprecedented challenges confronting American families. Workers across the country are losing their incomes and struggling to make ends meet. Bills are continuing to come and people are finding it impossible to pay rent and put food on the table. Families need immediate help.The single check Americans will receive from the CARES Act is not enough. As our nation continues to grapple with the effects of this pandemic, families across the country will continue to hurt. Congress a responsibility to make sure that people aren’t left behind.Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced theMonthly Economic Crisis Support Act, 

which would establish a rebate payment program that would provide $2,000 to every individual, including children and other dependents, until this crisis is over.

TheMonthly Economic Crisis Support Act:

•Provides a monthly $2,000 check to every individual with an income below $120,000 throughout and for three months following the coronavirus pandemic.

Married couples who file jointly would receive $4,000.o$2,000 per child up to three children

Retroactive to March•Ensures that every U.S. resident receives a payment, regardless of whether or not they have filed a recent tax return or have a social security number

Uses the data from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income, (SSI), Medicare and housing assistance programs

•Forbids debt collectors from seizing the rebate payments

•Ensures the homeless and foster youth receive payments

In Memory and Honor of the Service of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

How do we define courage? 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was courage personified. From her earliest efforts to gain equal opportunities for women, to her many career accomplishments, to her strength in standing up to extremists on all sides, and in facing the reality of her illness with her choice to pursue the most extreme treatments

Ginsburg persisted on a steady path, proactively seeking justice and equal rights for women but never stooping to pettiness, recrimination, or unprofessionalism. She became a powerful dissenting voice and a role model for younger generations of women.

As Democrats we can honor The Notorious R.B.G. and grasp a bit of that courage to devote some small part of our lives and time to carry on the battle for justice and equal opportunity for all.

Can we, as fellow Dems, reach out to grasp just a bit of that courage? Can we each individually devote just a part of our lives and time to similarly carry on the ongoing battle for equal opportunities for all, for justice, for all our democratic ideals?

In her memory, in her honor!

Ginsburg in 1977

Reparations Resolution FAQ

On Thursday, June 9, 2020, the precinct committee persons (PCPs) of Multnomah Democrats will vote on Resolution 2020-13 The Debt: the Case for Reparations. The resolution’s primary author, Quinton Blanton, provided this FAQ for PCPs to read in advance of the vote.

What is the purpose of a reparations program?

In the book From Here to Equality, Dr. Sandy Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen advance a general definition of reparations as a program of acknowledgement, redress, and closure.

Is it illegal to allocate funds specifically to ADOS?

No. There’s no intrinsic illegality to group specific or race specific policies. Japanese American reparations, for example, were group specific.

How will we be able to tell who is eligible for reparations vs. who is not?

Two criterion can be advanced for eligibility. First, an individual must establish that they have at least one ancestor who was enslaved in the US. Second, an individual must demonstrate that they have self-identified as Black, Negro, or African American on an official document-perhaps making the self-report of their race on the US Census—for at least 12 years before the enactment of programs tied to the funds. This criteria was created by Duke University economist William “Sandy” Darity.

Why is the ADOS distinction necessary?

            ADOS is a necessary distinction because if reparations do in fact gain traction nationally, people who are opposed to reparations could make the argument that Black immigration to the U.S. has increased significantly since the 1980’s, they were never enslaved in the U.S. so why should they be paid reparations? From a legal standpoint, a reparations claim against the federal government must be specific and requires inclusion and exclusion.

How will the effectiveness of a reparations program be measured?

According to Dr. Darity, the goal of a reparations program for ADOS should be to close the racial wealth gap in its entirety. Therefore, it is essential that the mean gap be erased, rather than setting a far less ambitious goal such as closing the ADOS-white median differential. Establishing a monitoring system to evaluate whether the ADOS-white wealth gap disparity is closing will be desirable.

How to calculate the cost of reparations?

There are a variety of strategies for calculating the size of social debt that is owed. Professor Thomas Craemer has calculated the cost of reparations through a stolen labor framework. In today’s dollars, he arrives at an estimate of $14 trillion for the cost of American slavery to the enslaved. The central argument of Dr. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen, which I tend to agree with is that the elimination of the ADOS-white wealth gap should provide the foundation for the magnitude of the debt owed.

Where will the money for reparations come from

 As journalist Matthew Yglesias has proposed, Congress could direct the Federal Reserve to fund ADOS reparations either in part or in total. Given the overnight transfer of $1 trillion of funds from the Federal Reserve to investment banks during the Great Recession and monthly outlays of $45 to $55 billion to conduct “quantitative easing,” there can be no doubt that the Fed has vast capacity to provide the funds required for a properly designed and financed reparations program, particularly if the funds are disbursed over the course of three to five years. The Fed certainly could manage an annual outlay of $1 to $1.5 trillion without any difficulty—and this funding mechanism would not have to affect tax rates for any American. Moreover, the Federal Reserve is a public bank charged with conducting a public responsibility.

Why should I have to pay reparations? My ancestors didn’t own any slaves.

The culpable party is the U.S. government. Often, the federal government further sanctioned racial atrocities by silence and inaction. ADOS reparations are not a matter of personal or individual institutional guilt; ADOS reparations are a matter of national responsibility. Furthermore, The poverty created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system, just like the wealth created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system.

White ethnics such as the Irish and Italians came here and were discriminated against by the U.S. government, yet they still rose in spite of their handicaps why didn’t ADOS do the same?

It is important to note that in some respects, the Irish were treated worse than Blacks for the most part when they first arrived in the U.S. However, they were eventually absorbed into whiteness due to their willingness to inflict violence against ADOS and by expressing anti-ADOS sentiments. The Democratic Party and early labor unions also eased the assimilation of the Irish into whiteness. Whitness is a social construct that is dynamic. It expands and changes based on its need. I suggest everyone read Noel Ignatiev’s How the Irish Became White.

White people have never received “handouts” from the government, why should Black people get governmental “handouts”?

Framing reparations as a handout or a one time check rather than a debt is a conservative, right wing talking point that is untrue. A program of reparations is much more than a check. It must include multi-pronged policies and laws, protections, therapy, and training to fill the void of knowledge gaps. Also, white America has in fact recieved numerous handouts from the federal government including 160-acre land grants through the Homstead Act, access to New Deal and Fair Deal programs, the G.I. bill and much more. While white America received these handouts ADOS were denied access to them and were never given their 40-acres, which is partly why the ADOS-white wealth disparity is so vast, entrenched, and unshakeable. The wealth ADOS managed to accumulate in the nineteenth and  twentitieth centuries was far too often plundered via white mob violence, lynching, redlining, and credit discrimination.

Reflections on Pride 2020

By Rachelle Dixon and Eric Delehoy

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a neighborhood gay bay in New York City.  They harassed and brutalized patrons, as they always had.  But this time, patrons had had enough.

Marsha P. Johnson, a Black Trans Woman, and Sylvia Rivera, a Latina Trans Woman, led patrons in resistance, and a resulting riot that lasted six days.  They stood up against the racism and transphobia leveled at them, and the anti-LBGTQ sentiment leveled at their community, so that each of us can now be safe in our own skin, no matter what skin that is.

The next year, the first Pride Parades appeared in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

This year is no different than others.  We understand racism, transphobia, and homophobia continue to impact many lives.  And that’s why we stand with you.  Multnomah County Democrats will continue to fight for your rights to be safe, no matter your identities.  For that reason, we are reaching out to you, to pledge that even though we can’t get together to celebrate with a parade this year, we are with you every step of the way. Pride is about embracing and celebrating difference, about taking a public stand to demand safety and enjoy the freedoms the US Constitution guaranteed for all of us.  Keep being your wonderful selves!  We hope to march alongside you, not just at Pride, but every day ahead.