Wednesday, February 28, 2007

We stole your money to save 300 jobs (that we may cut anyway)


One week after the Lane County Commissioners voted to enact a county income tax against the voters will to save proximally 300 jobs in Lane County, Lane County commissioners due to a budgeting deadline, may still be faced with making those same cuts.
The cuts "would hurt so many vulnerable people," Lane County Commissioner Bill Dwyer said. He said he voted for the income tax because "I couldn't in good conscience stand around and let that happen. (Referring to his voting in favor of the Lane County income tax)"

Dwyer’s efforts to save those jobs may be futile due to a technicality that the county must submit a balanced budget by June 30 for the fiscal year starting July 1. The income tax itself the county enacted, would take effect July 1, and by law, within the budgeting process, the county can't assume that it will receive the income tax revenues. (Oops) in addition, there is always the chance that opponents of the tax will be able to successfully refer the income tax to the voters (again) in May.

The jobs on the chopping block is their usual list of services, to include police (detectives), domestic violence, search and rescue, mental health, women, infants and children's, Lane County animal regulation Authority and other programs cuts designed to directly have an immediate impact on the general public. you know the drill, it happens every time.

Monday, February 26, 2007

GAWD: $10 million earmarked for aesthetics to beautify local bridge


"... it's the shape and texture of the guard rail." Said David O'Longaigh, supervising bridge engineer for the city of Portland.
The state is pledging to spend $10 million (5.5% of the total $180 cost of the new bridge) to beautify a planned freeway bridge across the Willamette River along the Eugene-Springfield border.

A bridge worthy of a grand entrance to Eugene in Springfield dreams Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken, referring to the bridge over Franklin Boulevard that was closed two years ago and replaced by a temporary bridge to carry traffic on I-5.

Of course, what is beautiful to one person may be ugly to another as in the old saying, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." In Portland, a nonprofit group recently raised $66,000 to illuminate the Morrison Street Bridge with a 32 fixture LED lighting system which produces an unlimited palette of colors.

"Lighting can be used to put lipstick on a pig," said David O'Longaigh, supervising bridge engineer for the city of Portland. "It can make an ugly bridge look pretty at night. However, when the sun rises you're still left with an ugly bridge."

A public meeting will be held this winter to show feasible designs and to gather community opinions.
The county is hurting so badly that it has to STEAL money from us in order to pay for basic services such as public safety, and then less than a week later, we've read articles like this one where once again, they (the government) seem to have no problem at all coming up with money for "feel-good" projects.

As I have said before, "right pocket, left pocket, it is all the same pair of pants."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lane County income tax will be REDUCED (however not eliminated) if the following happens...


The recently passed Lane County income tax of 1.1% on personal and business income earned in Lane County is said to be necessary to maintain the county's current public safety service (and other programs) levels with the expiration of the federal payments to the county's program.

"The situation has changed dramatically, not just for Lane County but for the whole state with the lapse of this safety net program," said Commissioner Bobby Green, who currently serves as the Association of Oregon Counties president. "All the information we have lets me know that we can't wait."

The income tax itself will be reduced if Federal Secure Rural Schools is replaced by June 1.
If Congress provides the funding, the board will hold a hearing and decide how much to reduce the tax rate. how generous

In addition to public safety, 2.2% of the Lane County's current property tax revenue will be dedicated for extension services, 0.7% dedicated to stabilize funding for veterans services, and the income tax ordinance itself will be dedicated to maintaining public safety including adult and use corrections, crime prevention, detention, supervision, patrol, mental health, and crime victim services including alcohol and drug treatment programs.

to quote Commissioner Bobby Green, "the situation has changed dramatically..."
Bobby Green is right about one thing... the situation has changed. The Lane County commissioners STOLE our money from us by enacting a tax that the voters less than four months ago said no to. In any other situation, stealing money would be a crime.

in this case, it is not about the money... it is about the principle.

this is another blatant example of how our vote DOES NOT COUNT in Oregon.

To quote Abraham Lincoln
...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."{The}--

This concept has changed to "for the government, by the people."

In my opinion, any chance now of Lane County getting voter approval for any money is going to be very difficult. Of course, what we say will not matter. They would just take it from us anyways.

In addition, a personal note to the Lane County commissioners... do a search on the Internet, the country is watching.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Is Not the Money, It's the Principal Of What They Did That Has Us Angry


Some Lane County citizens are furious over the actions of Lane County commissioners who passed an income tax that was defeated by the voters merely four months earlier.

"I just found something that really steamed me, you know?" explains Ben Pooler of Eugene. "And the irritation factor of what they did, behind our backs, basically."

Pooler and a half dozen coworkers are organizing a fight against the Lane County income tax because as Pooler says, "he's had enough".
"There is no reason this couldn't have gone on the ballot in a special elections in May," explains rally organizer Bob Hooker, "let the people vote on it."

It was not for the recent passage of the Lane County income tax, to cut cost, pink slips would be given to employees as early as mid-April, leaving employees waiting for the results of the May election, explains County Intergovernmental Relations Manager Tony Bieda.

"When you have employees in turmoil, on the edge of their seat, worried about where their next paycheck's going to come from," Bieda says, "they're not really focused on being productive members of an organization."
just like people in the private sector. (Recalling three years ago when three major businesses closed and 1400 people suddenly lost their jobs in Lane County in one week)
it is not really the tax itself that has people so angry, it's the principle behind it that has them all fired up.

"I'd never been a protester, I've never organize a protest, any kind of a rally or anything like that." Explains Bob Hooker, "but it's time we stood up."

Petitions have already started circulating to obtain the needed 5577 signatures to get a referendum on the May ballot.
that is my point exactly. It's not the money, it's the principal.
While I don't think anybody wants to see anybody lose their job, unfortunately, that's life.
Job security is a thing of the past especially in this economy, and I'm speaking from experience where the company that I donated eight years of my life to, packed up one day and left. It happens unfortunately.

The point is, despite the financial need, there is NO excuse for anybody in government to blatantly go behind the voters back and STEAL money out of the voter's pockets for their own agenda, no matter what that agenda is.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Yesterday, Lane County commissioners voted to enact the "public safety" tax WITHOUT voter approval, proving once again that the government in Oregon has no respect for the will of the voters.

In a 3-2 vote, Lane County Commissioners Faye Stewart, Bobby Green, and Bill Dwyer voted to enact the 1.1% income tax for public safety despite the fact that just four months earlier, voters had just rejected the measure.
I’m here today making the toughest decision of my life," said Faye Stewart, board chairman, moments before voting to enact a tax. "There is no way we can fix this problem unless we do this today and stand up."

Peter Sorenson, who voted against the tax said “what we have at Lane County is a very serious problem.... we've got to wait until Congress makes its decision." Sorenson who also introduced a motion to stop work on the income tax proposal, was accused of political grandstanding during the 11th hour by the three commissioners who voted in favor of the tax.

Jack Roberts, executive director of the Lane Metro partnership, a business development organization, stated that a strong public safety system is the key to business that may want to locate here. . However, the fact that Eugene is very business unfriendly has nothing to do with it.
“It’s totally inappropriate to go over the heads of the voters that spoke four months ago,” Springfield resident Linda Dannen said. The commissioners who approved the tax “should be impeached,” she added.{Source}

The Lane County commissioners also directed their staff to prepare an amendment to the county charter that "could" cap the tax at around 2% and dedicate the money to public safety. This amendment could go before the voters in November. why bother?
Developer Steve Lee of Eugene, a high-income earner who helped campaign for November's failed tax, told the board that seeking only to replace the loss of the federal money sends the right message that the county is "just trying to keep what we have right now."
"I don't think anybody could think you're not doing the right thing," he said.

The tax, which would raise $32 million annually ($9 million more than the original amount that was voted on) will become effective July 1. The money will be earmarked to continue adult and youth corrections, crime prevention, detention, supervision, patrol, mental health and crime victim services, and alcohol and drug treatment.

Officials who voted in favor of going behind the voter’s backs are...
Commissioners Faye Stewart, Bobby Green and Bill Dwyer
remember these names!

I agree with Pete Sorenson when he says that "what we have in Lane County is a very serious problem..." and it is not just funding.
The recent actions of the Lane County commissioners makes the point of why voters like myself continue to vote no on any tax increase.

It is time to send a clear voice to our state and local government that we will no longer tolerate the voters will being continually ignored.

It is time to start talking about recalling those who act against the will of the people.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Don't let Mexico take the Dog

the Honolulu advertiser --

Duane "Dog" Chapman, who arrested convicted rapist Max factor heir Andrew Luster back in June 2003 after he fled from California to Mexico where Dog caught up with him, will himself face arrest and extradition to Mexico by request of the Mexican government, because bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico.

A friend of mine recently wrote this letter to Lars Larson.

Dear Mr. Larson, I have never written to you before. I have recently become interested in the legal travesty that Duane "Dog" Chapman and his family are being forced to endure. I feel that as law-abiding citizens we are all in Dog's debt. Every one of us sleeps a little bit more safely thanks to the efforts of the Chapman family. He certainly committed a legal transgression when he went into Mexico to capture Luster. However, the crime was a misdemeanor. When Mexican authorities searched Luster's residence they found "rape drugs." journals of crimes he planned to commit, and a "hit list" of those who he planned to take retribution on. Dog not only saved American tourists, but also Mexican residents from an extremely dangerous serial rapist. As we know from psychological profiles of serial rapists and killers - the atrocities of their acts only escalate. The Mexican government owes Dog a debt of gratitude for protecting their valuable American tourist dollars. "No greater love can a man show for his brother than that he lay down his life for him." Dog and his family have laid down their lives to protect us. I feel so small and powerless, so I come to you and ask: Please, Mr. Larson, Please help to find a way to 'Save the Dog'."

If this had been anybody else, you could bet that the federal government would in no way honor the request of the Mexican government to extradite anyone back to Mexico on misdemeanor charges. However, because of Dog's notoriety and popularity is in my opinion the only reason why the federal government is allowing this to happen. It took somebody like Dog Chapman to do what the police and the FBI had failed to do, which was to locate and capture Andrew Luster, who is now serving a 124-year prison term in California.
For more information, go to Dogs web site--

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Police make several arrests in Cottage Grove over car theft


Cottage Grove police make arrests over car theft ring, which has stolen at over 30 cars within a six-week period in the Cottage Grove area.
"I've been here for 12-14 years and I don't remember having some many cars being stolen with in such a short amount of time," said Corporal Scott Shepherd, detective with the Cottage Grove Police Department.

According to Cottage Grove police Chief Mike Grover, the thieves used shaved keys to get into the cars.
After an investigation by police, a warrant was issued and arrest were made at a home outside of town where they found evidence of stolen property which included weapons and stolen car parts as well as car radios and amps.
Since the arrests, the number of stolen cars in Cottage Grove has dropped off, however they (the police) believe that more people are connected and expect more people to be arrested soon.

I personally would rather see headlines "police bust car theft ring" versus "police go after prostitution" which would encourage me more for wanting to vote "yes" for funding for public safety. Instead, what we have been hearing for a long time is them threatening us by stating “we’ll cut enforcement if we don’t get our way.” That is no better then an employee saying that “I’ll work harder if you pay me more”, which yields about the same result.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Since when has deciding which laws that we are going to enforce depend solely on our budget system?

Oregon Daily Emerald--

With the loss of $47 million funding from the federal government, places Lane County in the unique position of asking its citizens to approve the "public safety tax" to make up the difference. The payment, which served as the lifeblood for schools, roads, criminal justice and public health has expired in September 2006 and there is very little sign from Congress that they will be renewed again.
"If the county loses the (federal payments), and this is not made up in some way, we as a community and a region are facing a public safety crisis we've never seen here," Eugene Police Chief Rob Lehner said during the Feb. 15 Police Commission meeting. "If a Eugene police officer catches someone stealing a car red-handed, the only action the officer could take is to make the thief give the car back, and then let the criminal go free if the DA decides to stop prosecuting auto crimes.
which adds to the list that the DA has already publicly advertised of other crimes that he will no longer prosecute
maybe they (Lane County and Eugene) should go back to the "right pocket, left pocket, it's all the same pair of pants" rule of funding and decide what's more important. What I have been saying, and I think what the public has been saying for a long time, is live within your means and decide what is more important.
Why is it very easy to get money to build new parks, spend $1 million on a special bus Project, and numerous other feel-good projects, however when it comes down to the basics of running a city we suddenly are unable to find the money to do so.

Like with my own budget... my family does not go out very often for entertainment because we decided to put the necessities of life such as little things like housing, electricity, food as a more higher priority than going to the movies and spending money that we just don't have.

In my opinion, local government should start doing the same. Until then, I will always vote no on any budget increases.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The U.S. Congress -- our elected officials voting on important matters such as new laws, policies, Tokyo's use of sex slaves in wartime?

BBC News--

A resolution before the U.S. Congress is calling on Tokyo to apologize for the country's use of sex slaves during World War II where at least 200,000 young women were captured and forced to serve in Japanese army brothels.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso describe the nonbinding resolution, which was introduced by Congress earlier this month as being "extremely regrettable".
"It was not based on objective facts," Mr. Aso told a parliamentary committee meeting.
The resolution calls on Japan's prime minister to "formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility" for the comfort women.

Japan acknowledged in 1993 that the imperial army set up and run brothels for the troops during the war. While a special fund was set up in 1995 by the government that relies on private donations to provide compensation to the women, many of the former comfort women are rejecting the fund and want a formal compensation from the government.
is it just me?
Is this really something that OUR U.S. Congress should be donating their time to?
and if so, isn't it a little late?

Friday, February 16, 2007

The selling out of America by Bank of America


Robin's Commentary

By now, everybody has heard about Bank of America's new policy for offering credit cards to illegal aliens who may not have Social Security numbers, a move for which Bank of America claims is not a move that is aimed strictly towards illegal immigrants, however, for people who lack solid credit histories. of course they overlook the fact that you are given a Social Security number when you are born, which has nothing to do with a credit history

Currently, in their pilot program, Bank of America has limited the offer to 51 branches in the Los Angeles area, however, it said that it could go national this year. Bank of America, is not the only bank who has been catering to the illegal aliens. Wells Fargo began a pilot program last year in Los Angeles and Orange counties to offer home mortgages to immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least two years. Customers were allowed to identify themselves by using the ITIN identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service instead of Social Security numbers. The ITIN is also accepted by Bank of America in order to receive a credit card.

While some in corporate headquarters may think that this is a good business move or "filling a need" of the consumer, others say that is giving an opportunity to aid terrorism.

In my personal opinion, not only do I believe that this move is treasonous, catering to the invaders of this country who come here illegally, but will also have devastating long-term financial disadvantages to the banking industry itself.

First off, despite being here illegally would make you an unreliable customer for the simple fact that you risk deportation at any moment. Do these banks honestly think that somebody who is being deported is going to worry about paying their credit card bill? Why should they? All they have to do sneak back into this country, get another ITIN number and start all over again.

Who pays for it? Banks may be federally insured by the FDIC for up to $100,000, however, if you have millions of people the faulting on their loans, the result would be devastating.

Would this help strengthen the economy? Doubtful. For example, according to CNN MoneyJanuary 17, 2007--, mortgage foreclosures or above 100,000 mark for the fifth straight month, which is up 35% from December 2005.

In the long run, who actually pays for the move of greedy banking institutions going after which they claim is an untapped market, being the illegal aliens when the banks fail due to bad loans? We will in higher fees

Finally, the next time you go for a loan at any institution, and they ask you for your Social Security card, just smile at them and say "I don't have one. Now, let's open my account"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Enact the Tax!" Said Eugene resident Jim Hale along with a crowd of 40 people

Register Guard--
Jim Hale and 40 others are referring to Lane County's "public safety" [buzzword alert] tax income tax initiative
If the voters want to rebel against that and shoot their county government in the foot, that will be their decision, said Hale"
The Lane County commissioners are considering the first ever county income tax that could raise up to $25 million annually for "public safety [buzzword alert] to replace the $20 million in discontinued federal-aid pavements as compensation for federal land that cannot be taxed which would be dedicated to public safety.
Jack Roberts, executive director of the Lane Metro Partnership, told the board to enact the tax to ensure that incoming businesses aren't turned off by an inferior public safety system. including our current policy of not responding to burglar alarms by the police
Oregon's business climate ranks among the nation's best, and "a modest income tax won't change that," Roberts said.
The tax would not apply to people filing a gross income of $20,000 or less, and single filers with a gross income of $10,000 or less.
Lane County managers however, may be forced to cut more than 300 jobs by July 1, if voters do not approve the "public safety tax" [buzzword alert] to make up for the loss of federal funding.

Historically, voters have shot down 12 straight county measures for public safety since 1996, including the recent income tax proposal. This sent a message to the county commissioners who are considering seeking more than twice the $23 million annually that they wanted in November, the tax rate may be only slightly higher - 1.6 percent, for example, up from 1.4 percent in November's proposal, feel that the initiative should be placed back on the ballot in May or, just be enacted and bypass the voting process altogether.

The Lane County commissioners may decide whether to just enact the income tax or put it on the May’s ballot.

The next public hearing for the dedicated, "public safety tax" [buzzword alert] is at 1:30 p.m. February 21, 2007 in Harris hall.

we have been told thus far that the "public safety" [buzzword alert] tax would be dedicated to "public safety." (And to fighting illegal drug activity, reducing family violence, enhancing treatment programs and providing prevention programs){KVAL}--
Others however would like to earmark the tax to include maintaining or strengthening prevention programs such as "birth to three teen parent", making parenting a pleasure", "4-H youth farmers", "at risk programs for youths" and the "OSU/Lane County extension service", just to name a few very
Why the push now for the "public safety" [buzzword alert] at this time? Could it be the economy, or the fact that we are severely understaffed to handle the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympics trials in Eugene? Hummmm

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Do you favor internment camps for illegal aliens awaiting deportation?

Mother Jones--

five-year-old Inmate Faten Ibrahim lives with her mother at a compound built as a prison for Texas worse criminals which includes parameter razor wire, an 8 x 8 foot cell, and a toilet in an open corner.

The prison is actually a detention center that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agencies (ICE) uses as a detention center for illegal immigrants being held on immigration charges. The agency's decision came in August in response to the controversial practice of "catch and release" in which immigrants with children who were detained on US soil were typically set free and told to show up later in court only to disappear instead. Additionally, the agency will now detained families until their asylum and deportation cases are resolved in an effort to keeping the family units together.

Lawyers and human rights advocates questioned the ethics and legality of imprisoning children. "It's clearly not a setting that is appropriate for families," says Michelle Bran'e, an investigator for the women's commission for refugees women and children who recently toured the facility, "it's deftly a penal environment."

A 1993 Supreme Court decree to the immigration agency requires it to do its best to detain children in the parents together, yet the government argues that family detention centers are generally the most humane way to enforce immigration laws effectively.

In March, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff , said that he plans to open more detention centers in part from a concerned that children are being used as foils to facilitate border trafficking.

The ACLU contends that this problem could be addressed more cost effectively and humanely if the government provides better incentives for immigrants to show up for court dates.
"There have been studies that show if you combine general monitoring with other social services you get a good return rate that is cheaper than detaining people," said Tom Jawetz, an attorney with the ACLU's National Prison Project.

I have said it before... it is the children who are the victims of illegal immigration. Their parents, crossed the border illegally fully knowing the risks. On the other hand, children are left to deal with the consequences that their parents have unfairly placed them into. We have read many articles about children that were brought here at a very young age not knowing that they were illegal only to be traumatized later in life and risk being deported to a country that they have never known.
The end result, is that the children become punished for their parents action in so many different ways.
As far as detention centers go, while I do agree that something has to be done on both sides of the border, I have also expressed concerns in the past of the return of the Japanese internment centers.

As per this article, which is a must read, well I do not have a problem with detaining illegal immigrants while they await deportation, I do have a problem with them not being treated humanely during that detention.
{related article: immigration detention facilities -- ICE}--

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"We can't wait a few more months, because it is going to be too little, too late."


Rep. Linda Flores, R-Clackamas along with Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer are the major sponsors of an immigration package aimed to crack down on illegal immigrants being able to vote, get state jobs and received some state benefits.
"We need to act now," Flores said. "We can't wait a few more months, because it is going to be too little, too late."

Other issues include making English the state's official language and a proposal to require Oregon to comply with the Federal Real ID Act in which Oregon driver's licenses currently falls short for the standards to be used to board an airplane.
Flores said such states would likely fall into line if the federal government fully funded the Real ID Act, adding, "What is really important is that we are able to prove you are who you say you are."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Senate bill would ban the use of personal communications devices by drivers including other distracting activity such as interacting with pets

Two bills that come before the committee next week proposed to ban the use of cell phones were driving.
One bill cosponsored by Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, would fine drivers up to $360 for talking on the phone or putting on makeup while driving.
''It's one thing to pick on cell phones, but there's a lot of other amazing things people do behind the wheel,'' Burdick said.

One of the bills being presented goes a step further to prevent "distracting activity" such as "reading, writing, performing personal grooming, and interacting with pets."
Troy Costales, the administrator of Oregon's Department of Transportation's safety division says "basically your head leaves the car when you're on the phone... you tune out."
Michael Bagley, executive director of public policy for Verizon wireless, said that Verizon supports the ban because they don't include hands-free mobile phone devices that allow callers to make voice activated calls.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2005, five of Oregon's 487 car-related fatalities were linked to cell phone use, as were 234 of its 44,877 crashes, according to state statistics. I'm not a math wizard, but isn't that an awful low percentage?

While three other states including the District of Columbia outright ban cell phone use for drivers, lawmakers in Vermont are considering a bill that would prohibit not just the use of cell phones, but everything from smoking to playing a musical instrument while driving.

Friday, February 09, 2007

EmX: Is it safe for riders to stand while the buses is moving?


A question that I have brought up in the past about the EmX, is what about safety? The bus is designed for maximum capacity of 100 passengers. 44 passengers sitting, while the remaining 56 (including the three bike maximum limit) stand and hold a overhead guardrail.

The question that I have is about safety. What would happen if the bus got into an accident or had to stop suddenly for whatever reason?

We got an insight into this question Thursday morning when the new EmX bus traveling at full speed collided with a van that turned into the bus at Onyx and Franklin Boulevard in Eugene.
"This one was a little bit of a surprise because it is a controlled intersection. Clear signs he was in a through travel lane and that has been posted like that ever since construction started," said Andy Vobora, LTD Spokesperson.

Even though there were no injuries reported, in my opinion, that could have been a different story if the bus was at full capacity at the time of collision.
looking at the road system for the new bus, in my opinion, it is just an accident waiting to happen, just like that stupid roundabout in Springfield.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

LTD Board of Directors would like your input


Lane Transit District (LTD) will be holding public hearings Monday, February 12, 2007, and Monday, March 12, 2007 both at 5:30 p.m. in Eugene library/Bascom room.

The primary focus of the meeting will be on minor route and schedule changes.
The public hearings give the public an opportunity to comment and make suggestions directly to the LTD Board of Directors about the service and fare recommendations.

Pricing: 80% of the funding provided to LTD is provided from payroll taxes and miscellaneous income generated from advertising. Only 20% of the revenue comes from ridership.
I would think that this would be a good opportunity to come on down and share your input about the EmX project

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

“I'm scared to be here.” Says woman after "Operation Return to Sender " raid by ICE

press of Atlantic City--

BRIDGETON --Lazaro Perez Velazces, 25, was one of the more than a dozen city residents taken into custody Monday morning after a weeklong federal sweep dubbed "Operation Return to Sender", which seeks to capture alien fugitives who have ignored court orders to leave the country.

The raids has prompted Hispanic residents to withdraw from civic life and not leaving the house unless it's absolutely necessary.
When I saw them, I just left,” said Virgilio Soto, 25, a city resident who works at a fruit-packing plant in Vineland,. “We're afraid to go out, we're afraid to open the door. I still work, but I'm afraid that I'll leave and never come back.”

To be honest, I don't know what I'm going to do,” Luria Hernandez Escobar said in Spanish, adding that other women whose family members were taken were also given the same notice.[to appear Feb. 12 at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, office in Marlton] “I'm scared to be here.”

agents raided the home of Escobar at 4:30 am.
He has no record,” said Bernarda Escobar , 68, of her daughter's fiance as she was sitting on her sofa, flanked by images of the Virgin Mary on fabrics used as window coverings. “He doesn't drink, he doesn't smoke. He's a good man.”

Michael Gilhooly, spokesman for ICE says that there is nothing illegal about the way in which ICE agents conduct their arrests, referring to section 287 of the immigration and nationality act, which gives ICE the power to investigate without a warrant. "... Were not breaking the law. If we have an opportunity to arrest someone who's here illegally, were going to take it."

Monday, February 05, 2007

ANOTHER non-encrypted government hard drive with personal data stolen

The Observer--

WASHINGTON -- the Department of Veterans Affairs and a lawmaker said Friday that a portable hard drive used for backups containing personal information of 48,000 veterans personal information was stolen from an employee at the VA medical Center in Birmingham Ala.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said that 20,000 of the 48,000 records were not encrypted.

The incident is under investigation by the Veteran Affairs administration. The VA plans to notify those persons affected and to offer one year of free credit monitoring service.

yet another example of how security for personal information is taken for granted. Perhaps, it should be a law that
#1 no personal information used by a governmental agency is to be stored on any portable device such as a laptop or external/removable hard drive.
#2 all personal information is to be encrypted and password protected with limited access.
#3 severe penalties for misuse

Friday, February 02, 2007

What does Microsoft OS and the Oregon Legislature have in common? When you say NO, they both keep asking you "are you sure?"

Our representatives in the Oregon Legislature have proven once again just how closely they listen to the will of the people of Oregon by proposing ANOTHER 5% sales tax.
HB 2530 which needs 36 votes to pass the House includes a 3% cut in the state's income tax to reduce the rate from 9% to 6% if the sales tax is passed.
Governor Ted "tax-and-gouge-me" Kulongoski said that he'd support a consumption tax as long as it was part of a broader package on tax reform. A spokeswoman for Kulongoski said that the governor's focus would be on narrower issues such as raising the minimum tax paid by corporations, and eliminating the corporate kicker.

Sponsors of the bill include Representative Bob Jensen, along with Republican representatives Sal Esquivel of Medford, Scott Bruun of West Linn, Chuck Burley of Bend and Vicki Berger of Salem.

Last fall, Jensen noted that Oregonians voted against ballot measures to limit state spending and put in new tax cuts. Jensen suggests that perhaps there is a change in voters’ attitudes and that a sales tax would allow the state to collect money from out-of-state tourists and from what he calls "the underground economy".

I'm really confused now... Ted "tax-and-gouge-me" has been telling us for some time (after he was reelected) how much better Oregon's economy is doing, so why do we need a sales tax if Oregon is doing so well?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

In a pseudo tight economy, can anybody explain this one to me?


Washington, DC --
A bill which includes spending increases for education, veterans, and the AIDS battle in Africa which covers 1/6 of the federal budget swept through the House on Wednesday by a 286-140 vote, with 57 Republicans voting in favor of a $463.5 billion spending bill
The content is a heck of a lot better than most expected we'd come up with," said the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. David Obey, D-Wis. He worked with his Senate counterpart, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., to add money for initiatives popular with both Democrats and Republicans.

It (the bill) would grant remarkable flexibility to the administration in determining how much money would be an agency accounts.
They were especially pleased with a $260 boost, to $4,310, in the maximum Pell Grant for low-income college students, and with a 40 percent increase, to $4.5 billion, for fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis overseas.

here is what I get confused at. Locally, voters continue to vote down any increases in taxes and spending , yet we have no say (except for writing our representatives of course) on what happens at the federal level.
We're being told by the government at least locally, that the economy is getting better although I am not seeing it personally as I watch my personal expenses go up with increased taxes and fees. Additionally, Oregon's unemployment rate still remains the one of the 10th highest in the nation at 5.5% as of November 2006{OLMIS}--
I guess my point is, even though they say it "federal" money, is still boils down to that it is still "our" tax dollars.