Monthly Archives: January 2010

Vote YES for the Unemployed Rally in Ashland

No More Tax Breaks for Big Banks: Oregonians Protest US Bank’s Opposition to Ballot Measures 66 & 67

Ashland, OR – Over 60 unemployed people will hold a rally where they will urge Oregonians to vote YES for tax fairness. They will also deliver a petition with over 1,000 signatures, protesting US Bank’s opposition to Ballot Measures 66 & 67.  The rally will be held in front of US Bank at 30 North 2nd Street Ashland, OR at 9 am Tuesday, January 19. Tax Fairness Oregon is coordinating this effort with Southern Oregon Jobs With Justice, Western Regional Advocacy Project, Sisters Of The Road, and Street Roots.

Measure 66 eliminates income taxes on the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits received last year, providing a break for over 270,000 Oregonians who were unemployed in 2009. At the same time, a YES vote on both ballot measures will maintain critical services that these citizens need more than ever by protecting job training programs and career centers, health care services, temporary assistance for families in need, and affordable daycare programs for those underemployed or unemployed.

However, US Bank is opposing these efforts. US Bank is a member and PAC contributor to the Oregon Bankers Association – the banking industry’s lobbying arm. This association has donated $150,000 to opponents of the tax fairness measures.  “I am voting YES for tax fairness. It is simple – if the big banks win, out-of-work Oregonians will lose,” said Demus Martinez, an unemployed firefighter from Madras.

James Amos, an unemployed heating and cooling tech from Talent, said, “I think it is wrong that the very folks who took billions of our taxpayer dollars for their bailout, are now spending big bucks so that corporations doing business in Oregon don’t have to pay more than $10 a year in taxes, while schools have to deal with shortened school years and oversized classes.“

US Bank is the issuer of the ReliaCard, a “prepaid Visa” card through which out-of-work Oregonians receive their unemployment benefits. As a result, hundreds of thousands of US Bank’s unemployed customers would get a tax cut if Oregonians vote YES for tax fairness. Instead of helping their hardest hit customers, US Bank is actively organizing against their interests.

“I am angry. It’s out-of-work Oregonians who deserve a tax cut, not the big banks and their well-heeled CEOs,” said Valerie Wallace, an underemployed educator from Beaverton.

First Amendment Forum in Ashland focuses on shield law for journalists

The pros and cons of a federal shield law for journalists will be explored during the annual Thomas W. Pyle First Amendment Forum, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 11 in the Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

The forum’s keynote speaker is Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The RCFP is a voluntary, unincorporated association of reporters and news editors dedicated to protecting the First Amendment interests of the news media. Based in Arlington, Va., the RCFP has provided research, guidance and representation in major press cases in state and federal courts for 36 years.

Before assuming her position as its director in January 2000, Dalglish was a media lawyer for almost five years in a Minneapolis law firm and, from 1980 to 1993, was a reporter and editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Joining Dalglish will be Celina Montoya and Kim Wetzel, representing the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University. The project gives undergraduate students firsthand experience in investigating wrongful convictions. Montoya, who worked on the project while an undergraduate, has worked as a reporter for KSTX, the National Public Radio affiliate, in San Antonio, Texas. She now is program director for Literacy San Antonio, Inc., a project of the Junior League of San Antonio Inc.

Kimberly Wetzel is a graduate of SOU who participated in the Innocence Project while earning her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern in 2005. Wetzel is a former reporter for the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune in California. She lives in San Francisco.

The Thomas W. Pyle First Amendment Forum is produced by the SOU Department of Communication with a grant from the Ashland Daily Tidings and additional funding from Southern Oregon Public Television, KMVU-DT 26 and Cary and Gail Jones.