Senator Wyden trying to shine a bright light on “dark money”

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Sep 252018
 

Sen. Ron Wyden
D-Oregon

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden has introduced legislation that would overturn the U.S. Treasury Department’s controversial new decision that allows “dark money” groups to hide the identities of their major donors from the public and law enforcement officials.

Wyden and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution, an expedited legislative tool that can force a Senate vote on the issue. “This measure reverses course on an undemocratic Trump agenda to empower shadowy groups that seek to buy our elections,” said Wyden, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee. “It couldn’t come at a more important time. Over the next few weeks, political ads will be flooding the airwaves. Because of the Trump administration’s new dark money rule, tax authorities won’t know whether those ads are being paid for by foreign governments or individuals.”

In July, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service eliminated the requirement for certain tax-exempt organizations to report the identities of major donors to the IRS. This allows certain “dark money” groups and politically-charged organizations to hide the identities of their donors from tax authorities. The rule was announced hours after alleged Russian spy Maria Butina was indicted on charges of using the National Rifle Association as a conduit to influence our elections.

“The IRS’s decision to give Mega-Donors and Big Money special interests more secrecy with their political spending goes against what the majority of Americans want. Voters deserve to know who’s behind the seemingly unlimited money that’s trying to influence their vote and their government,“ said End Citizens United Action Fund President Tiffany Muller. “ECU thanks Senators Tester and Wyden for their leadership, and Congress should pass this measure immediately. It would shine a much-needed light on political nonprofits that spend hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle in the shadows.”

In July, Wyden introduced the Spotlight Act to overturn the Treasury Department and IRS rule and take it one step further by requiring tax-exempt non-profit organizations to disclose their donors to the public, not just the IRS. This legislation is supported by 29 senators.

Lincoln City Homeless Center and Shelter update

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Sep 252018
 

Lincoln City Warming Shelter, on 48th near 101.
Google Maps

Letter to the Lincoln City City Council from the Lincoln City Warming Shelter at the Old Taft Fire Hall

With winter knocking on the door, the Lincoln City Warming Shelter faces a funding crunch and needs your support in order to continue its valuable work.

Our operation is dedicated to two aims — helping the homeless with emergency basic needs; and helping those who are ready to change their lives take the first steps in that direction. In both areas, we have seen enormous success. Last winter, our severe-weather shelter was open for 49 nights, providing 649 bed-nights of safe, warm respite from the elements. At the same time, we were helping clients start to turn their lives around through the Resource Referral program offered at our daytime resource center. To date, the program has served 51 clients, 43 of whom have gone on to find employment, accommodation or both — a success rate of 83%.

The end goal of this program is to turn people into taxpayers. And it is working.

In order to fund these activities, our group has strategically sought and applied for funding from local, state and federal sources. While we have seen great success in several of these applications, the amount of funding received has fallen short of our budget. Further grant applications are in the works, but the earliest we can expect to receive funds from these efforts is January 1. In the meantime, we face the challenge of keeping the doors open for our clients at the time they need our help the most.

Our most recent funding shortfall, and the one that has been the subject of significant discussion on social media is the decision by Lincoln City Council to award $4,600 from its Outside Agencies Fund in response to our request for $12,000.

The council is to be commended for its foresight in allocating $150,000 for two years in a row to benefit local nonprofits. For a city of our size, that commitment to assisting volunteer endeavors is truly inspiring.
 The $45,000 grant that our group received last year formed the financial bedrock of our operation. We are grateful also for the $4,600 awarded this year and will put the money to good use. That said, even a cursory look at this year’s donations shows that our request under-performed compared to the rest of the field and it is clear that councilors had issues with our operation.


One of these issues concerns our legal ability to host clients overnight at Taft Hall. Our group has been working with the planning department since March toward a solution that would allow overnight use of the shelter as an Accessory Use to our daytime resource center. We worked toward that goal in good faith for six months, culminating with a zoning amendment application filed with the city on August 31.


However, on Sept. 14, two weeks after that application was filed, City Manager Ron Chandler told us that Accessory Use was simply not an option for the overnight shelter. He said the only way to have legal overnight use of Taft Hall would be to amend the zoning to specifically allow for Emergency Shelters. 
While this clarity is helpful, it is unfortunate that it came so late in the year. There is now no conceivable way to go through the three-month zoning-amendment process, followed by another months-long Conditional Use permit application that would be required to operate a shelter in time for this winter.


As a result our group has scrambled to find alternate premises for overnight shelter. We are pleased to report that First Baptist Church on N.W. 17th Street has agreed to step-up and fill the gap this winter. This site is currently under review by planning staff. 
We will continue to operate the daytime resource center in Taft to help motivated clients start to turn their lives around.

This cobbled-together provision of services will serve for this winter, but in order for our group to continue to operate a severe-weather shelter for the winter of 2019-20 and beyond, we need a clearer idea of what the city wants to achieve in the area of homelessness and how it wants to empower non-profits to help reach those goals.

The appropriate format for such an exchange of views would be a workshop session, potentially one that sets the stage for a larger community discussion involving other governmental entities, service groups and the business community. With elections on the horizon and upcoming retirements in the city planning department, the best time for such a workshop would be in spring, after our shelter season is over for the year.

In the meantime, we must face the task of keeping our doors open. Our most pressing need is financial support and, as a 501c3 nonprofit, we are glad to provide tax receipts for all monetary donations. For details on how to donate, go to www.LincolnCityWarmingShelter.com or contact our program director Amanda Cherryholmes at 541-264-0457.

We also need volunteers to help in all sorts of areas, from checking in clients at the front desk of the resource center to providing overnight security on nights when the shelter is open. To learn more contact our volunteer co-ordinator Sharon Padilla at 541-992-5748.

Patrick Alexander
Lincoln City Warming Shelter
Board President

The Blob, El Nino and big changes to marine ecosystem!

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Sep 252018
 

Laurie Weitkamp
NOAA Salmon Biologist

Pyrosome

Since 2014, an extended marine heat wave has been present across the Northeast Pacific Ocean. This has resulted in dramatic changes to marine ecosystems at all trophic levels from diatoms (microscopic algae) to fish to marine mammals. The MidCoast Watersheds Council invites the public to attend a presentation by Laurie Weitkamp on changing ocean conditions on October 4th, 2018 at 6:30 PM in Newport. The meeting will be held in room 205 (upstairs) at the Newport Visual Arts Center at Nye Beach. Refreshments will be served.

This presentation provides an update on how the Blob and El Niño have changed the ocean and what the biological response to those changes has been, including on salmon and other fish found in our local area. These impacts are continuing, due to biological lags and invasions of new species such as pyrosomes, commonly called “sea-pickles”. These strange looking creatures can be found in huge numbers and rockfish have been found with these indigestible creatures filling their stomachs.

Laurie Weitkamp has been a Salmon Biologist at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center since 1992. Her research focuses on the ecology of salmon in estuarine and marine environments, including how physical conditions influence biological processes that are important for survival. This topic includes documenting the impacts of recent anomalous conditions on marine ecosystems across the North Pacific Ocean.

Come hear about what has and is going on in the ocean with predictions for the near future. We hope to see you on Thursday, October 4th at the Newport VAC, Thursday October 4th, 2018 6:30 PM Newport Visual Arts Center, 777 NW Beach Dr. Newport, OR

Notification of Spraying in the Vicinity of Seal Rock

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Sep 252018
 

Typical backpack sprayer


From Lincoln County Community Rights

We have learned through the Oregon Department of Forestry notification system that 29 acres of the property off Parkview Street that was logged this past winter/early spring will be sprayed this fall. The slash will be burned. The spray could happen as early as October 2 or as late as December 31. The chemicals to be used are a mix of Rodeo (glyphosate, also sold as Round-up), Polaris AC, Oust Extra, Garlon 4, Escort, MSO surfactant, and possibly others. They will be applied from the ground, probably with backpack sprayers.

To read the entire notification with map, you must register with the FERNS notification system using this link: https://ferns.odf.oregon.gov/e-notification, then look up NOAP 2018-553-12688, Seal Rock Site Prep. If you have any questions, please call the Oregon Department of Forestry at 541 336 2273.
Special alert to Vietnam veterans living in the area where the spraying will occur, so that you can take the necessary precautions!!! If 2,4-D is being used, or any compound containing chlorine, it can re-expose you to dioxin, which is already in your tissues from your Vietnam service. Ask the Oregon Department of Forestry for a 24-48 hr. notification. Close doors and windows of your home, keep pets inside, or leave the area.

Be as safe as you can be under these circumstances!

Lincoln County Community Rights

Baby’s pulling through! Thank you for all your help!!!

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Sep 252018
 


Today, Mama says Solstice is doing well, had his first bath, & the family is SO HAPPY to be back together again! Solstice is much loved by his 4 sisters, brother, & mommy & daddy, of course!

Those who would like to donate a little something, feel free to click here!

Oregon organizations slam Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings and rebuttal

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Sep 252018
 

From various Oregon Human Rights qroups

Knute Buehler wants to claim being “pro-choice,” but he refuses to stand with pro-choice Oregonians against the appointment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July, fulfilling his pledge to appoint justices who would gut Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to access abortion in this country. Since then, two women have come forward with credible allegations of sexual assault.

Buehler’s response? He’s still undecided.

Yesterday, Buehler told KATU-TV that Brett Kavanaugh “deserves to be heard.” He said, “I will reserve my judgment until after I have heard both sides deliver testimony.”

Statement from Emily McLain, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood PAC of Oregon:

“Knute Buehler has waited nearly three months to comment on the most consequential Supreme Court nominee of our lifetime, and he’s still giving Brett Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt. Let’s be clear: Brett Kavanaugh has already been heard — when he ruled to block abortion access and birth control, and when he failed to give a straight answer on whether Roe v. Wade was rightly decided.

“These serious allegations of sexual violence only further confirm why Brett Kavanaugh is unfit to serve on the nation’s highest court. Knute Buehler is clearly placing partisan politics ahead of protecting Oregon women’s health and rights.”

Statement from Grayson Dempsey, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon PAC:

“By refusing to speak out against Brett Kavanaugh, Knute Buehler proves that he cannot be trusted to stand up for women, for sexual assault survivors or for reproductive freedom. From lying under oath to sending secret emails misleading the public on his view on Roe v. Wade, Brett Kavanaugh has shown his true colors. And now even with two very credible accusations of sexual assault, Knute Buehler says he will reserve judgment until after a hearing.

“In a time when the stakes have never been higher, there is no room for uncertainty. Oregon women need a champion to stand up to the Trump administration’s ongoing assault on women’s rights, and Buehler has shown once again that lacks the courage and conviction to lead on these important issues.”

Statement from Governor Kate Brown:

“Oregonians know they can trust me to stand up for abortion access and fight back when the federal government tries to take Oregonians’ rights away. I have been 100 percent clear since July that Brett Kavanaugh shouldn’t be confirmed to this court because of the threat he poses to women’s health across the country, including here in Oregon.”

McLain, Dempsey and Gov. Brown participated in the National Walkout and Moment of Solidarity yesterday in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and all survivors of sexual violence.

================================

But one Oregon resident forwarded this letter to NewsLincolnCounty.com containing a statement from Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Senate Judiciary Committee which maintains his innocence – that he never accosted young women in high school or college.

September 24, 2018

The Honorable Charles Grassley
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:

When I testified in front of the Senate three weeks ago, I explained my belief that fair process is foundational to justice and to our democracy. At that time, I sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than 31 hours and answered questions under oath. I then answered more questions at a confidential session. The following week, I responded to more than 1,200 written questions, more than have been submitted to all previous Supreme Court nominees combined.

Only after that exhaustive process was complete did I learn, through the news media, about a 36 year old allegation from high school that had been asserted months earlier and withheld from me throughout the hearing process. First it was an anonymous allegation that I categorically and unequivocally denied. Soon after the accuser was identified, I repeated my denial on the record and made clear that I wished to appear before the Committee. I then repeated my denial to Committee investigators—under criminal penalties for false statements.

All of the witnesses identified by Dr. Ford as being present at the party she describes are on the record to the Committee saying they have no recollection of any such party happening. I asked to testify before the Committee again under oath as soon as possible, so that both Dr. Ford and I could both be heard. I thank Chairman Grassley for scheduling that hearing for Thursday.

Last night, another false and uncorroborated accusation from 35 years ago was published. Once again, those alleged to have been witnesses to the event deny it ever happened. There is now a frenzy to come up with something — anything — that will block this process and a vote on my confirmation from occurring.

These are smears, pure and simple. And they debase our public discourse. But they are also a threat to any man or woman who wishes to serve our country. Such grotesque and obvious character assassination — if allowed to succeed — will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service.

As I told the Committee during my hearing, a federal judge must be independent, not swayed by public or political pressure. That is the kind of judge I will always be. I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed.

I have devoted my career to serving the public and the cause of justice, and particularly to promoting the equality and dignity of women. Women from every phase of my life have come forward to attest to my character. I am grateful to them. I owe it to them, and to my family, to defend my integrity and my name. I look forward to answering questions from the Senate on Thursday.

Sincerely,

Brett M. Kavanaugh