This morning’s Oregonian reports that Governor Brown has seized direct control of the State’s e-mail servers, and removed the bureaucrats who courageously stood up to former Governor Kitzhaber’s request to delete e-mails from those servers. They are now threatened with criminal prosecutions. It is remarkable how fast the Democratic machine can move to protect against public disclosure: less than a week for this criminal investigation to commence, but many months before anyone began to investigate former Governor Kitzhaber.
In a potentially related action, former Governor Kitzhaber is now demanding that the Oregon Department of Administrative Services give Kitzhaber’s attorney a chance to remove all the allegedly “privileged” e-mails from state servers before the State complies with a federal grand jury subpoena. Even more remarkably, although Attorney General Rosenblum has previously let attorneys for government officials simply refuse to produce relevant information, Kitzhaber’s attorney is now taking no chances and threatening Willamette Week with potential liability and demanding that Attorney General Rosenblum recuse herself from any investigation because she is married to the Willamette Week publisher.
Every attorney knows that confidentiality, even of attorney-client communications, is destroyed through voluntary disclosure to a third party. Former Governor Kitzhaber asked the State to hold copies of his personal e-mail, presumably because he was unwilling to simply read it in a browser and wanted it mixed with his other e-mail in a single, state-maintained box. In so doing, he was intentionally disclosing it to a third party and the leading Oregon evidence treatise says that “knowledge or lack of knowledge of the existence of the privilege appears to be irrelevant”—once he disclosed the material, the privilege was lost forever. The claim that this was all just a “mistake” for the e-mails to come into State possession does not pass the laugh test, and if Governor Brown and her appointees accept it, it will be clear that they are simply part of an ongoing criminal conspiracy masquerading as state government.
What does it mean when 64% of leading reporters think the Obama Administration is spying on them? What does it mean when 14% of them say that just in the past 12 months, such concerns have kept them from pursuing a story or reaching out to a particular source, or have led them to consider leaving investigative journalism altogether? (Source: http://www.journalism.org/2015/02/05/investigative-journalists-and-digital-security/)Read more
Leading Oregon Democrat says Kitzhaber/Hales scandal "presents a potential crisis of confidence in government"
UPDATE: Less than five minutes after this post went live, the Oregonian says that Kitzhaber MUST RESIGN.
From Willamette Week:
“The facts need to come out sooner rather than later,” State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, a fellow Democrat, tells WW. “This presents a potential crisis of confidence in government.”
Kitzhaber’s insistence on drawing the public’s attention to the ethics commission, which can only levy civil fines, suggested he was diverting attention from a more serious concern: that he and Hayes may have engaged in criminal behavior.
Read the whole thing at Willamette Week.
OPB Think Out Loud: A chance for Republicans to comment on the Portland mayor's out of control spending plans
Tell Portland's mayor what you think of his lack of leadership and his out of control spending plans.
Portland Mayor (and former Republican) Charlie Hales will be on OPB's Think Out Loud today at noon on 91.5 FM.
This is the mayor who couldn't balance his budget, so he tried to force a $43 million tax increase on Portlanders ... without a public vote.
Now ... all of a sudden, Mayor Hales has found money to
- Offer a $15 minimum wage to all full-time city employees,
- Provide a $5,000 a year tax credit for business that hire ex-cons,
- Open a new multi-million-dollar psychiatric emergency center, and the list goes on ...
Listen in an hit the comments section on OPB's website.
Let's give the mayor a lesson in Fiscal Responsibility 101.
Multnomah County Republicans call for legislative leaders to put a hold on all legislation tainted by Cylvia Hayes
Today, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber held an extraordinary press conference. The presser was originally publicized as an opportunity to shed light on the new allegations of wrongdoing by his fiancée Cylvia Hayes.
Instead, the governor dodged the most important issues regarding Hayes, her consulting work, and allegations of influence peddling in the governor’s office. Less than 20 minutes into the press conference, Kitzhaber stormed out, leaving many questions unanswered.
While Oregonians are left in the dark about relationships between Hayes, her clients, the governor, and his policies, Multnomah County Republicans urge a careful review of legislation promoted by Hayes and her clients.
Multnomah County Republican Chair Eric Fruits has a suggestion for the Oregon House and Senate leaders: "Salem should shelve any legislation that has any connection to Cylvia Hayes, her consulting firm, or her clients until the Ethics Commission and FBI investigations are completed. It’s a simple matter of transparency and good government that crosses all party lines. Oregon taxpayers cannot afford to pay for any more special deals tainted by the possibility of corruption."
Vice Chair James Buchal was harsher, suggesting that "In any state where all government accountability was not crippled by decades of control by the same criminal gang, indictments would already have been issued."
Oregon is one of the least friendly states in the country for small businesses, according to a new ranking released by Small Business Policy Index.
The state was ranked as the 6th worst in the nation by the index that weighed issues such as taxes, regulations, government spending and debt.
“Oregon is pretty good at nurturing startups, but once they get started it hits them in the head with a hammer,” said Brian Vierra, a venture capitalist at Economic Development for Central Oregon. “Once they start making money, they get hit with all the regulations.”
Read the whole thing at GoLocalPDX.
From the Oregonian ... First there's this:
Cylvia Hayes has confirmed she collected $118,000 in previously undisclosed payments from an out-of-state clean energy group.
Then, there's this:
The admitted payouts conflict with other statements Kitzhaber has made regarding his fiancee's consulting work, how his office handled her contracts and most troubling, statements he has made in his annual ethics filings.
And, then there's this:
The income also doesn't match what's reported for those years on federal tax forms Hayes provided to The Oregonian/OregonLive.
Oh ... and there's this:
Yet it appears that Hayes did not complete such disclosure forms for her contract with the Clean Economy Development Center of Washington, D.C., or three others: Waste to Energy of Texas; HDR One Co., of Portland; and Rural Development Initiatives of Eugene.
But, wait, what's this?
While Hayes was willing to disclose to EO Media how much money she'd collected from her fellowship, the first lady wouldn't share what work she'd done with the Clean Economy Development Center. Still, Hayes has highlighted the fellowship on her business website, in numerous biographies that she submitted when she spoke at conferences and on her First Lady of Oregon page linked from the governor's web site.
Did you know: According to the nonprofit tracking site Guidestar, the IRS revoked the Clean Economy Development Center's tax-exempt status for failing to file tax forms over three consecutive years.
Then there's all this:
On the tax return that Hayes provided to The Oregonian/OregonLive, Hayes noted that her salary and business income for 2011 totaled $52,203.
Again, according to Kitzhaber's ethics disclosure forms, that was the year Hayes held four different contracts, including her fellowship with the Clean Economy Development Center that she Hayes now says was worth $30,000.
Yet on Hayes' 2012 tax filing, her business income was noted as $27,361. She listed no wages or salary. That was the year in which she now says her payment from the development center totaled $88,000.
In his own ethics filing for that year, Kitzhaber noted that his household received income from Hayes' 3E Strategies. Section No. 7 of that form directed the governor to list any household income of $1,000 or more from groups with business, legislative or administrative interests in Oregon.
Then, there's one more thing:
Hayes now says she was paid $88,000 by the Clean Economy Development Center that year, yet Kitzhaber wrote "None."
It's becoming clearer and clearer why the FBI has some questions for the Governor and his fiancée.
Four Portland Public School board seat are up for election in the May 2015 election.
Two current members have announced that they will not be seeking re-election, making it a bit easier for some Republicans to shake up PPS.
Zone 1 is in Southwest Portland, covering the Wilson High School cluster. Ruth Adkins has announced that she is not running for re-election. Adkins takes credit for hiring Carole Smith, the superintendent who will be best known for her attempts to destroy Portland's neighborhood schools. More recently, Adkins was responsible for overseeing the street fee work group that pushed the hardest for an ultra-progressive income tax to fund the city council's pet projects.
Zone 2 is in North Portland and includes Jefferson and Benson High Schools. Current board member, Matt Morton indicated that he will not seek another term. Morton is more famous for conflict of interest allegations, rather than any notable achievements while on the board. While on the PPS board, Morton has served as executive director of the Native American Youth and Family Center, which has contracts with PPS.
Candidates for the May 19 election must file by March 19, 2015.
BikePortland.org reports that Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat’s said her goals for 2015 is "getting on offense on parking" by creating a "set of tools" that neighborhoods will be able to use to charge for parking or to remove parking to make room for bike lanes or public parklets.
Treat showed a slide that used Hollywood and Southeast Hawthorne as examples indicating that the business districts may get parking meters for the first time. Still others might see maximum parking time limits to allow turnover, or residential permit systems.
Read the whole thing at BikePortland.org.
The Oregonian reports that Comcast's pending, $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable has divided politicians across the country, with some jurisdictions – including Portland – warning that the deal would create a mammoth company that could deter competition and raise prices.
Some politicians, however, including Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, are enthusiastic supporters:
On Monday, the online tech journal The Verge looked at some of the letters of support from Comcast's political supporters and found they were ghostwritten – sometimes word-for-word – by the company itself. That isn't particularly surprising: Politicians often write letters of support at the behest of their supporters, and legislators frequently propose bills written by lobbyists.
Still, it's revealing to see who Comcast has lined up in support of its bid.
The Verge notes that Comcast has contributed nearly $10,000 to Brown's campaigns for secretary of state. (Comcast is also a big supporter of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who has not registered an opinion with the FCC on the Time Warner deal.)
Through a public records request, The Verge found that Brown worked closely with Comcast in writing her letter of support, using language the company had proposed.
And you thought Republicans were the party of Big Business ...
UPDATE: Comcast did not ghost write Kate Brown's entire letter of support, according to Consumerist, the Democrat "tweaked" three sentences.
I almost never watch television news, but I listened to the local Fox affiliate the other night. The lead story, which was pumped with ads during The Big Bang Theory for two nights running, raised the question whether budget cuts had killed a man.
As best one could tell from the story, there was a young man high on meth, with mental health problems, who attacked the house of his parents and then collapsed unconscious in their front yard. The question of budget cuts arose because at this hour of the night there were no County deputies on duty. So police from a neighboring town were called and came.Read more
GoLocalPDX reports that Democrat state senator (and former Rogue of the Week) Chip Shields has introduced legislation that would permit people to "sleep, sit, lay down, and protect themselves from the elements" in public spaces, including sidewalks.
That means that people can sleep in front of your business or apartment any time of the day. Police and property owners would be powerless to clear to the path to homes and businesses.
The proposed legislation would also allow people to camp in their vehicles parked on any public street.
Seems strange that at a time when government policies are driving businesses out of downtown, the Shields is proposing legislation that would make things worse.
James Huffman is a law professor at Lewis & Clark and ran as a Republican for U.S. Senate against Ron Wyden. He was also an investor in a now-closed restaurant on the edge of Portland's Chinatown.
He reports in the Oregonian, that Portland's selective enforcement of its own laws is driving out law-abiding and tax-paying businesses while encouraging an illegal camp.
The problem for [Greek restaurant] Alexis and other businesses in Chinatown, including now closed Ping (in which I was an investor), is that longtime customers stopped coming. They stopped coming because Chinatown is a mess, and at the heart of that mess is RightToDreamToo (R2D2), an illegal homeless camp the "city that works" has tolerated for nearly four years.
Actually our fearless leaders have not just tolerated the camp. They have encouraged it, praised it and helped arrange for nearly a million dollars to support it. There was a plan to move it in 2013, but the more influential folks in the Pearl District objected. So it remains an open sore in Chinatown while jobs that would help get the R2D2 campers off the streets are lost to dying businesses.
Read the whole thing over at the Oregonian.