Labor Day Prompts Call for Vital Middle Class

By Ken Humberston

Governor Kate Brown’s recently released Housing Policy Agenda is a welcome tool in the fight for affordable housing in Clackamas County. Her focus on housing stability for children, veterans, and the chronically homeless, and increased housing supply for urban and rural communities should be welcomed in Molalla as well as Milwaukie.

This type of comprehensive approach, if funded and supported by all, will go a long way to mitigate the housing crisis currently endangering too many of our Clackamas citizens.

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Are You with the Workers or Management?

By Peter Toll

Labor Day always reminds me of this question. It also reminds me of my first labor strike in the 1950s when I was 16 years old and had just gotten a real job as a box-boy (grocery bagger) at the local A&P supermarket.

Greeting me on my second day of after-school work was a big padlocked chain across the store’s door. Huh? What is this? I need to go to work. I need gas for my beater of a car. What the . . . ?

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Part One: Inequality and Climate Change: Keep Hope Alive

Can we keep hope alive? Is it reasonable to hope for a better, more just economy in which the 1% control a lot less than 50 percent of the wealth and income of our county? Is it reasonable to hope for policies that mitigate rather than contribute to climate change? Can we hope that future generations will participate in civic life and revitalize a democracy now on life support? What must we do today to keep hope alive?

The percentage of annual income collected by the top one percent in Oregon is greater today than it was in 1929. This is also true for Clackamas County. The average annual income for the top one percent in Clackamas County is $1,338,000. The rest of us, the 99%, have an average annual income of $61,062. Continue reading

Inequality and the Need for Unity: An Introduction

By Peter Nordbye, Chair Democratic Party of Clackamas County

The existential crisis of our time, nuclear war, has a new partner: climate change. We have lived under the threat of nuclear extermination since 1945. We have gone from “duck and cover” to bomb shelters to a belief that our institutions have in place safeguards so that no one crazy enough to invoke mutually assured destruction ever could. We have stopped above-ground testing and, with few exceptions, nuclear proliferation. We have even reduced the number of nuclear warheads. We have stared into the abyss of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and said “never again.” Continue reading

There’s Polling and Then There’s Push Polling

By Peter Toll

Has a pollster called lately? Did they try to influence you with an eye to possibly changing your mind? If so, beware. But first a little background.

Independent election and issue polling started in the early 1960s. Some folks named Gallup had a bright idea: “Let’s just ask ’em” when seeking how people felt about a political candidate or a particular issue. Then we can sell the information, they figured, and make some money. They made it statistically sound. Continue reading