Present: Mike Kohlhoff (Chair), Greg Hunt, Ron Carl, Don Klosterman, Mike DeWitt, Sally Hardwick and Mary Post
We discussed options for funding to improve the Juvenile Justice System in Clackamas Co. Greg Hunt will draft a resolution to use funds previously used for capital punishment.
From the Environmental Sub-Committee
- Reminder of two Sept upcoming climate change events: the Youth Climate Strike and a public forum hosted by the Climate Reality Project
- Clear-cutting near streams continues as the state legislature did not pass remedies
- Zenith Energy is still bringing volatile and toxic oil into NW Portland. Two NGOs — 350PDX and Extinction Rebellion Portland — are still pushing back.
- The Jordan Cove pipeline is still being developed in spite of protests. (Update: in mid-September Oregon’s Dept. of State Lands delayed the decision for a construction permit for a second time.)
From the Racial Justice Sub-Committee
By Donald Klosterman
We live in an era of increasing income and wealth inequality. Many of us have come to accept this as normal. Some see it as an outcome of our technology, others of our culture. Be it nature or nurture, we are no longer in balance with our environment or our society. We see the “other” as someone to be feared rather than helped. We routinely denigrate our environment for short-term economic gain even when we are well aware of the costs of such actions. We allow ourselves to be convinced that our neighbors are inferior in order to justify our waging war against them.
It is ironic that human offspring require more time to mature than almost any other species. From birth through the next decade, without watchful elders, without a protective and nurturing society, few children would ever make it to adulthood. Yet, we create myths that rather than being social creatures, we are independent and born with a right to freedom that justifies us harming our neighbors. Our institutions rarely accept the notion that it takes a village to raise a child.
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.
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
Approximately 29 percent of the poor in Clackamas County are under the age of 18. There are urban neighborhoods and rural communities where the poverty rate for children exceeds 50 percent.
The good news is that, at least based on SNAP data, there is a gradual decline in these numbers as the economy continues to improve. The trend line is for overall gradual reduction of children in poverty not only in Clackamas County but nationally as well since the disastrous 2008 economic crisis. Continue reading
By Peter Toll
After 30 years of elementary school teaching, my wife knows a good deal about educating children. She has lots of powerful stories. One of her favorites is how the fifth grade teacher helped his class understand human nature and social classes. It goes something like this:
With his pupils all at their desks in the usual four rows, the teacher put his waste basket on the floor beneath the white board at the head of the room. Then he gave every student a piece of paper and told them to write their name on it and then wad it up into a ball as if they were going to throw it.
Once they were ready, he asked them all to throw their paper wad into the waste basket at the front of the classroom. Not a lot went in. Continue reading