The City of Damascus is the Metro region’s first city since Oregon started regulating land use. There are many reasons why the City was formed, but my favorite excuse was a demand for Local Control.
Let’s start with why Damascus is such a battle ground. The little known fact of this battle is that those most involved in forming the City are now the ones trying to destroy it. The big reason, they are more worried about who gets to be in control than with results. The battle is really about who gets to claim to be in charge. But much like the Jerry Springer show, the simple problems are insurmountable not because you can’t figure them out. It’s because the people appear to be more interested in slapping other people than focusing on the result they are causing. Disincorporation will not solve the personal differences and might even make things worse. Helplessly delegating your own ability to make decisions has never helped anyone, usually things are made worse. Continue reading
The Vote in Damascus On Disincorporation Is Unconstitutional Says Damascus Resident and City Councilor.
James De Young, long-time resident of Damascus and current member of the City Council, announced on Wednesday, April 20, that he, as a private citizen, is challenging the constitutionality of Measure 93 which the people of Damascus will be voting on during the May 17 primary. Measure 93 is a vote on whether to disincorporate the City of Damascus.
In mid 2015 the State Legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law, House Bill 3085 which forces the people of Damascus to vote on disincorporation a second time (after such a vote failed in November, 2013). De Young has filed his complaint that this law is unconstitutional for three major reasons.
First, HB 3085 violates the Oregon Constitution. The legislature does not have the authority to mandate or initiate a special election on the issue of disincorporation. The legislature also cannot alter Damascus’ Charter and it cannot reduce the necessary majority to pass disincorporation. The legislature’s actions violate clear provisions in the Oregon Constitution that protect the right of a city to determine what legislation it will vote on when that legislation affects it alone. Continue reading
Elementary School Exposes Kids to Depictions of Graphic Sex Acts: School Board and Parents Blindsided
By Lori Porter, Parents Rights in Education.
On April 14, 2016, Portland, Oregon’s KPTV Channel 12 broke a story (later reported nationally) that 9 year-old students at a Rainier, Oregon elementary school were given access to “It’s Perfectly Normal”, a book using graphics to instruct elementary students in sexual intercourse and masturbation. The Rainier School District (RSD) claims that under the supervision of Hudson Park Elementary School (HPES) librarian Allison Dale-Moore, eleven-year-olds “accidentally left the books out” where a 4th grade class found and read them. School officials added that it was “an honest mistake”.
In an April 14, 2016 ‘The Daily News’ (Longview, Washington) report, parent of a fifth grader in the district, Darren Vaughn, said that “several board members were in the dark about the books” even though Superintendent Michael Carter had received multiple complaints as early as March. Continue reading
Flexibility Is Key: The Next Generation of Parental Choice Solutions
By Kathryn Hickok
Families in five states now have access to a special program called Educational Savings Accounts.
Educational Saving Accounts, or ESAs, allow parents to take money the state otherwise would spend on their children in the public system and put it on a restricted use debit card. Parents can spend this money on a wide variety of approved educational options, including private school, individual tutoring, online classes, and other services. Any money not used is rolled over for parents to spend in the future.
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice surveyed Arizona families to see how they are choosing to spend the resources allocated for their kids. The survey found that more than a third of participating families used ESAs for multiple educational purposes, not just private school tuition. It also found that families saved a significant amount of their ESA money for future expenses. Continue reading
The poet Emerson once wrote, “ The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.” The louder the clamor for disincorporation grinds on, the more our voters should consider what eliminating the city would mean when voting on Measure 93. A yes vote would surrender our City’s local governing existence to the County. All cash reserves, city property, citizens property rights and public policy matters would then be in the hands of Clackamas County. A No vote on Measure 93 retains our citizens’ ability to directly influence the course our City takes in the future.
The issues that are facing our city are immediate. We are in a particular geographical location that is right next to growth pressures coming from metropolitan Portland urban development. Happy Valley, on our western border, has absorbed extraordinary urban development in recent years. In addition to the existing stack and pack hillside residences there is the starting of Scouter’s Mountain 600 home project. The new Fred Meyer, under construction bordering Damascus at 172nd/ Sunnyside, now causing traffic delays, will bring more congestion. In addition to shoppers attracted to the mall, there will be a large apartment complex at the site. Continue reading
My travels around Clackamas County have made one thing clear: our citizens want a change in how government behaves. They want to end discord now, and want decisions made that are in their best interests.
Consider this, though, common sense decision-making on behalf of the “citizens” is often different than when done on behalf of the “voters,” politicians often follow what appeals to the voters.
The misinformation circulated in past elections for Clackamas County races, in particular, was targeted to the voters, but loaded with rhetoric and distortions. So much so, that a May 2014 Pamplin Media article described my opposition’s efforts as a defamation campaign. Continue reading