Monthly Archives: March 2007

Where’s Walden?

A group of over one-dozen mothers and grandmothers met with Congressman Greg Walden’s local staff in a narrow hall outside Walden’s East Main office in Medford, Oregon.

Hallway Meeting

The women brought a list of grieviences for Waldens attention, funding for the Iraq war topped the list but also on their minds were librarys, healthcare. “What kind of state are we without libraries?” asked Arlene Aron of Applegate.

A pair of well armed security guards took positions in the lobby, as city police circled the block. Outside Walden’s offices, around 50 protesters and Walden supporters mingled, exchanging stares and partisan soundbytes. Advocates for troop safety and government accountability, waving signs stating “Where’s Walden?,” “Fund Books Not Bombs!” and “Bring Our Troops Home Now!”.

Protesting Walden

Several Walden supporters waved flags and held signs stating “Walden for President” One Walden supporter scolded protesters, fearing the harm that might become it funding is abrupting cut. “I have a son in Iraq … We want to bring him home.” Walden 4 President

“It’s not a real war” replied one agitated protester.
Activists for Citizens for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice Applegate Citizens for Political Change, Veterans for Peace of Josephine County, and others organized the action, setting up a pink phone booth in the Phone Waldenparking lot for citizens to call their congressmen directly. The group wants Walden to commit to scheduling several public town hall meetings across the 2nd Congressional District with plenty of notice to the public as to when they will be held.

Inside Walden’s office, the group of women were met by Walden’s staff members who insisted they meet in the narrow hallway outside Walden’s office, perhaps in effort to avoid a repeat of last weeks sit-in protest in Bend.

Delivering citizens’ e-mails, letters and a resolution of the Rural Organizing Project (ROP) to Walden, the women reminded Walden’s staff that his constituents overwhelmingly support withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Walden’s staff was professional, taking a position that Walden represents all citizens in the 2nd District, reaffirming the position as stated on Walden’s congressional website, “Congressman Walden makes it a priority to personally meet with every resident of the Second Congressional District. “

The women countered with personal accounts of their own experiences and frustrations with Walden’s lack of accountability. Mori Ink of Ashland challenged “all the facts we’ve brought to you, we haven’t had no answers, no replys.”

It was clear that both groups were frustrated. One Walden staffer who refused to give her name, declaring “I feel I can’t have a real conversation with any of you.”

Walden’s staff said Walden was in Lakeview on Friday, but claimed that they have no idea where he will be next Thursday or anytime next week. Walden is one of the few members of Congress who does not have a calendar on his website, making it difficult for citizens to know when and where he will appear. “He does try to visit us anytime he can” assured Walden’s spokesperson, but was unable to say when his next visit might be.

“We just want a public meeting sometime soon.”
snaps Arlene Aron.

Debbie Herzog lamented “how can a government offical run it that way?”

In the end, the group left with little more than a pledge that Walden would address their concerns in the future. Walden’s staff invited them to return at 11 am next Thursday, April 5, at which time they expect to be able to schedule a conference call with the congressman.

Walden has a history of avoiding unfriendly constituency. Walden doesnt make public his schedule, leaving staff and citizens in the dark.

On March 20, six grandmothers were arrested at Walden’s office in Bend, Oregon. They had waited 12 hours to speak with Walden, hoping to deliver petitions, testimonials and other stories from a locally arranged Town Hall Meeting on the Cost of War. The town hall meetings were put on in four of Oregon’s Congressional districts and were attended by more than 700 rural Oregonians. Neither Walden nor his staff attend the public meetings, despite being on notice for several months. http://rogueimc.org/en/2007/03/8127.shtml

Wes Brain, videographer and organizer for Jobs with Justice, recalled that four years ago, back on the day the Iraq war started, Greg Walden’s staff slammed the door on constituent’s faces saying “Greg supported the war and that protesters should, too”, As they slammed the door on democracy Walden staffers added, “We are closed.” Several protesters were arrested that day too. A video called “The Walden Lockout” documents that event. http://rogueimc.org/en/2003/06/847.shtml

Activists are asking citizens to send an e-mail letter to Congressman Walden, addressing his refusal to attend the Cost of War Iraq Town Halls; his refusal to meet with the six women in Bend; and his consistent pattern of voting for funding the Iraq Occupation. For cost statistics, see the National Priorities Project website, http://nationalpriorities.org.

Send your letters to Congressman Walden, c/o Citizen’s for Peace and Justice.

Allen Hallmark

Is Lithia Park For Sale?

An Ashland May, 2007 ballot measures empowers City of Ashland to sell Lithia Park to developers, according to a community watchdog group.

According to Art Bullock of the Ashland Constitution dialog group. The power to sell Lithia Park to developers was included by using the “model charter” template written by a Portland attorney, whom City hired as consultant. “It’s one of several powers transferred from the people to City government…”

Bullock reveals in a webpost on Rogue IMC, “… I discovered it by digging for details, and disclosed the hidden power transfer to council on Feb. 20, 2007. Some councilors gave me that “deer-in-the-headlights” look. Others didn’t. City attorney Mike Franell, … confirmed (without checking, he already knew) that the proposed charter does indeed give City the power to sell Lithia Park.”

Charter Review Committee member Michael Riedeman dismissed these fears, in a email to Ashland Community Action listserve,
“Lithia Park could only be considered for sale if it is no longer being used… plus, the governing body (city council) would have to determine, according to specific legal guidelines, that public interest would be furthered by such sale.” Insisting that neither the charter committee nor city council ever discussed the power to sell Lithia Park to developers.

On Wed, Apr 4, 6:30-8pm in Ashland Public Library, there will be a special Voter Education presentation on the 2 charter ballot measures. Library closes 3 days later. Please don’t miss this closing-door opportunity to learn about proposed power shifts in Ashland’s Constitution on the May 15 ballot.

AshlandConstitution.org, the community dialogue group sponsoring this voter education presentation, is not a PAC and does not endorse or oppose either ballot measure.

You can find frequently asked questions, plus updated voter education schedule, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OfThePeople
You can publicly email your letter to the editor (questions or opinions) to OfThePeople@yahoogroups.com

Ashland Weekly Lowdown Podcast

Jason Houk hosts a weekly lowdown of news and information for Ashland Oregon and the Rogue Valley. This is concentrated civics. Get the latest on city council and city government, activities, events and news you can use.

4th Week of March 2007  >>> Listen Here

Media responsibility, Chiquita’s death squads and “The Wall” …an interview with Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Robert Plain

Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Bob Plain joins a discussion on media responsibility, his role as a journalist for a community newspaper and relations with “The Wall” – the newspaper’s advertising department. March 23, 2007 >>> Listen Here

Digg it

 

 

icon for podpress  Brain Labor Report – March 23, 2007 [31:44m]: Download

Where computers go to die … A discussion with Jon Dowd.

Where computers go to dieJon Dowd of ComputerDropOff.com joins a discussion of the environmental and health threats of discarded computer equipment.

March 22, 2007 >>> Listen Here

Since 1999, Computer Drop Off  is the local option for recycling and refurbishing used technology.

Visit them at 1200 S. Pacific Hwy, Talent Oregon –  (541) 535-8100

Photo: Woman in Guiyu, China about to smash a cathode ray tube from a computer monitor, to remove the copper yoke at the end of the funnel. The glass is laden with lead but the biggest hazard from this is the inhalation of the highly toxic phosphor dust coating inside. December 2001. Copyright Basel Action Network.

Digg it

 

icon for podpress  Brain Labor Report – March 22, 2007 [31:51m]: Download

Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice Is Here

Local Coalition Earns National Recognition

SO JwJ

 

Local Coalition Earns National Recoginition With Local Charter
SOJwJ recent approval for charter application to the National
Board validates the more than two years SOJwJ has worked in the Rogue Valley in solidarity with other organizations to make an economic impact.

Begining with an explatory committee in 2005, SOJwJ followed the lead of other Jobs with Justice coalitions, including Central Oregon JwJ and
Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN)

SOJwJ has recruited five community groups and five labor groups, over 100 organizational members and nearly 200 members returning pledge cards. In December 2006, SOJwJ was awarded a grant from the McKenzie River Group for use in organizing activities.

As stated on its website, SOJwJ’s mission is to improve working
people’s standard of living, fight for job security, and protect workers’ right to organize.

Whereas two organizations might disagree on principles, such as
emphasizing environment instead of labor or vice versa, coalitions unite organizations that disagree by agreeing on the spirit of principles.

Depending upon the philosophy that it takes more than individual effort to impact economic change, SOJwJ is a non-profit coalition of labor unions, student organizations, faith-based groups and other community organizations. SOJwJ’s Chair Wes Brain states, “A coalition like SOJwJ strengthens its participating organizations and facilitates economic change.”

Fighting for economic change is often an uphill battle. SOJwJ brings together labor unions, religious congregations, and community organizations to support the civil and economic rights of all working people – especially the right to a decent standard of living, the right to a stable job, and the right to organize.

Members of SOJwJ have marched with teachers from Rogue River School District during their strike, participated in Ashland’s Fourth of July Parade and organized two Anne Feeney benefit concerts.

SOJwJ holds its meetings the second Tuesday of every month, 7:00 PM at the Central Point Labor Temple.

 

the JOBS WITH JUSTICE PLEDGE

 

I’ll Be There…

…standing up for our rights as working people to a decent standard of living.

 

…supporting the right of all workers to organize and bargain collectively

 

…fighting for secure family-wage jobs in the face of corporate attacks on working people and our communities

 

…organizing the unorganized to take aggressive action to secure a better economic future for all of us.

…mobilizing those already organized to join the fight for jobs with justice.

During the next year, I WILL BE THERE at least five times for someone else’s fight, as well as my own.

If enough of us are there, we’ll all start winning.

 

Grandmothers Arrested In Walden Office

A group of anti-war grandmothers were arrested Tuesday evening in the Central Oregon offices of Rep. Greg Walden after refusing to leave until the Congressman responded to their questions about funding for the war.Wild Bunch

The six women, representing communities in Jefferson, Deschutes, and Crook counties, gathered in Walden’s office Tuesday to deliver petitions , testimonials and other stories from a locally arranged Town Hall Meeting on the Cost of War. The town hall meetings were put on in four of Oregon’s five Congressional districts and were attended by more than 700 rural Oregonians. Neither Walden nor his staff attend the public meetings, despite being on notice for several months.

Occupying a conference room in Walden’s office on Hawthorne Avenue, the mothers and grandmothers held hands, sang John Lennon’s tune and red the names of Iraqis and Americans killed in Iraq, marking each name with the ringing of a small bell. “All we are saying, is give peace a chance”

Frances Davis of Crooked River Ranch were among the women urging Walden to vote against further war funding. “Our grandson is on his 3rd tour of duty in Iraq.”

“We set up an appointment to speak with Walden (from) Washington and present information about the war,” said Francis “Betsy” Lamb. Also arrested were Margaret Brookover, Ann Havill, Peggy Miller and Kathleen Paterno

They were supported by the statewide Rural Organizing Project in Oregon and Code Pink. According to a press release from the Rural Organizing Project, “With the vote in the House expected as early as tomorrow and no indication that the concerns of the 2nd District have been heard by Congressman Walden, the women decided to do what they can to make sure that Walden knows his district is calling on him to vote no on more money for the war. “

“The decision to refuse to leave the office was made after months of frustrating communications with Walden’s office, beginning with Walden not attending or sending an aide to the 2nd District Town Hall on the Cost of War. Today’s action was planned when the women who were delivering testimony and the People’s Resolution from the Town Hall to Walden’s office in Bend were unable to schedule a phone conference with Walden after three weeks of attempting to follow the channels established by the office. “

In after-hour negotiations with Walden’s Central Oregon Assistant, Judy Trego, the group was offered a morning conference call if protesters agreed to leave the offices. “We have arranged a conference call with the congressman tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, 15 minutes with just you and him, but if we could wrap this up tonight,” Trego said. Protesters rejected this offer, deciding to wait.

As the evening progressed, protesters were denied access to bathrooms, even forced to urinate in a bottle. After a failed attempt to wait the protesters out, Around 9:45 p.m. the women were led out, their hands cuffed behind their backs. The women were taken to the Deschutes County Jail, booked on second-degree criminal trespass charges (a misdemeanor) and released around 11:45 p.m., according to jail officials.

According to Walden’s press release

“At approximately 7:30 pm, one of the protesters asked if she left to use the restroom down the hall would she be allowed to return to the sit-in. Judy informed her that she could use the restroom, but if she left the sit-in she would not be allowed to return. The protester expressed understanding, but disappointment, and resumed her sit-in.

“At approximately 8 pm, one of the protesters left to use the restroom, and was not allowed back into the office and apparently departed the office building. At approximately 9 pm, the protesters closed the door to Congressman Walden’s personal office. When Judy informed the remaining five protesters that the door had to remain open, one of the protesters told Judy that if that were the case then she was ‘going to see the woman’s bare butt,’ and the implication was that the woman was urinating.

“The Bend City Police were called and the protesters were removed, along with the bottle the protester allegedly urinated in, from the office at approximately 10 pm.”

Walden’s office is located at 131 NW Hawthorne Ave # 201 in Bend. You can call Walden’s office in DC at: 202-225-6730.