Sockeye Blog

It's time, folks. Today is the very last day you can register to vote in Oregon in time to cast a ballot in this November's election.

You have no excuses not to -- and lots of good reasons to. So, go on. Get with it:

  • Register to vote here.

It's time, folks. Today is the very last day you can register to vote in Oregon in time to cast a ballot in this November's election.

You have no excuses not to -- and lots of good reasons to. So, go on. Get with it:

  • Register to vote here.
  • Update your registration if you're already registered.

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The nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) has released their report on the revenue implications of Measure 84, Kevin Mannix's Estate Tax Break for Millionaires.

Their findings? It's gonna cost us.

In short, if the measure passes, it will cost the state between $256 million and $600 million (or more) per biennium, once fully implemented. 

The nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) has released their report on the revenue implications of Measure 84, Kevin Mannix's Estate Tax Break for Millionaires.

Their findings? It's gonna cost us.

In short, if the measure passes, it will cost the state between $256 million and $600 million (or more) per biennium, once fully implemented. 

The report also thoroughly debunked Mannix's claim that the repeal might increase financial activity for the state. (Yes, he really went there, with another attempt to put forth the tired "Job Creators" argument.) The LRO examined national studies and found that the estate tax repeal has little to no impact on state migration.

For more information on the LRO's findings, read Our Oregon's press release here. The Oregonian also weighed in on the LRO's findings, stating that the Legislative tax experts found that the measure "could have twice the drain on state revenues than officials first thought."

Of course, the LRO was examining only direct revenue implications, so they didn't even touch the matter of tax fairness. Because along with the report of how much this measure would cost the state should come a direct question of fairness around our state's priorities:

Should we be giving even more tax breaks to millionaires when it comes at the cost of crowded K-12 classrooms, increasing cost of college tuition, and reduced human services?

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The Koch family is making headlines this week for two different reasons -- but both boil down to the same deluded presumption that the Koch family can and should control other people.

The Koch family is making headlines this week for two different reasons -- but both boil down to the same deluded presumption that the Koch family can and should control other people.

First up: Mike Elk's report on the Koch Industries' latest mailer to its workers, which threatened Koch Industries workers' future employment, should Obama win re-election this November.

The Koch brothers sent a mailer to 45,000 of their employees this month that included an anti-Obama letter, a pro-Romney letter, and a Koch-approved voter guide. (See image for their Oregon voter guide. While the Koch brothers claim they aren't affiliated with any one party, each of their endorsements is; all listed candidates are Republican.)

Also included in the mailer were barely veiled threats that should Obama be re-elected, Koch employees could probably kiss their jobs goodbye:

If Obama and other Democrats win this November, "then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills" (italics mine.)

See In These Times and Gawker for more on this story.


Second up
: Billionaire William Koch, aka 'the poor Koch brother,' is being sued for alleged kidnapping and imprisonment of an executive employee.

You can read more about the suit -- in which William Koch kidnapped and interrogated an employee  -- but the real take-away is this: William Koch believed that it was his right -- not the right of the police -- to determine through any devices necessary whether an employee had committed fraud.

***

Two different stories, one repeated theme. We've all heard the adage that money is power -- but apparently the Koch family truly believes it and is not afraid to abuse it.

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On Friday, we filed a formal complaint with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General's office, asking for a thorough investigation into the tens of thousands of bogus robocalls that have gone out to voters in recent days. Here's the statement that we sent to the press along with the complaint:

Our Oregon Files Complaint in Robocall Case

This afternoon, Our Oregon filed a complaint with the Oregon Secretary of State and the Oregon Attorney General’s office regarding tens of thousands of robocalls made to Oregon voters.

The calls—falsely claiming that recipients’ voter registration is inactive—have been widely reported in the press. At present, GOP political operative (and former Bill Sizemore associate) Tim Trickey and Rep. Julie Parrish have claimed responsibility for the calls. Our Oregon believes a thorough investigation is necessary.

"With all the many people involved, this was either a conspiracy to confuse and disenfranchise 73,000 voters or a confederacy of dunces,” said Our Oregon Executive Director Patrick Green. “Either way someone should be held responsible for breaking the law."

Today’s complaint outlines apparent violations of Oregon’s robocall statute as well as the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

The full complaint is attached.

On Friday, we filed a formal complaint with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General's office, asking for a thorough investigation into the tens of thousands of bogus robocalls that have gone out to voters in recent days. Here's the statement that we sent to the press along with the complaint:

Our Oregon Files Complaint in Robocall Case

This afternoon, Our Oregon filed a complaint with the Oregon Secretary of State and the Oregon Attorney General’s office regarding tens of thousands of robocalls made to Oregon voters.

The calls—falsely claiming that recipients’ voter registration is inactive—have been widely reported in the press. At present, GOP political operative (and former Bill Sizemore associate) Tim Trickey and Rep. Julie Parrish have claimed responsibility for the calls. Our Oregon believes a thorough investigation is necessary.

"With all the many people involved, this was either a conspiracy to confuse and disenfranchise 73,000 voters or a confederacy of dunces,” said Our Oregon Executive Director Patrick Green. “Either way someone should be held responsible for breaking the law."

Today’s complaint outlines apparent violations of Oregon’s robocall statute as well as the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

The full complaint is attached.

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Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

Happy Friday, folks! Here are a few stories that brightened things up around the OO office this week:

Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

Happy Friday, folks! Here are a few stories that brightened things up around the OO office this week:

Mandy Patinkin gave a great interview over on All Things Considered. While many entertainers have complained about being 'stuck' with one famed role or line, Patinkin expresses continued love for his time as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride: "I have a smile as big as, as big as can be from one end of the room to the other."

Turns out we're not just eating chocolate -- we're improving our chances to win a Nobel Prize.

This is amazing: Oregon Student Association has registered 45,333 students to vote. 45,333. Tell 'em congrats.

While the gray skies are sad for some, don't forget that the rain brings all sorts of good news, too: ending the fire season, washing away disease from natural areas, and -- of course -- making way for everyone's favorite pasttime.

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You’re going to vote this November. Right?

After all, you’re already registered to vote… Right??

You’ve even gone on and confirmed that your registration is up-to-date. Right???

You’re going to vote this November. Right?

After all, you’re already registered to vote… Right??

You’ve even gone on and confirmed that your registration is up-to-date. Right???

Ah, of course you’re going to vote. Because if there’s anything that makes no sense, it’s people who don’t vote.

Now, people who do vote? They have lots of reasons: they care about their community, like having an influence, believe it’s their civic duty, and feel a sense of responsibility. They have opinions! And want to make them matter!

Those excuses to not vote? I’ve yet to hear one that’s not utter nonsense.

The Big Picture excuse:
“My one vote can’t possibly make a difference.”
Why this is utter nonsense:
First of all, your vote is actually just as impactful as anyone else’s in the state.  Think about that – because this is possibly the only time in your life where everyone has exactly equal influence. Second, your one vote does make a difference. Because it is yours. And if you don’t cast it, no one else can do it for you. And last but not least, there have been many razor-thin elections in Oregon, where just a few votes did make the difference. (Several local measures in this year’s primary election were decided by fewer than 20 votes!) Imagine if that’s the case this year – your vote most certainly makes a difference.

The Uninformed excuse:
“I don’t know enough to vote.”
Why this is utter nonsense:
First of all, this is really easy to remedy! My guess is that you use google and wikipedia about a million times each week. You are an informal research expert! And, frankly, getting informed on election decisions is far easier than googling for how many seeds pomegranates have. (For the record, it’s allegedly 613.) You can download a free voter guide app or ask for a voter guide in the mail, so you can read up on what trusted organizations recommend/endorse.

The Conspiracy Theory excuse:
“The election is rigged anyway.”
Why this is utter nonsense:
This is just crazy. No one is throwing your vote out. But if you really do believe this, let me ask you this – are you so sure that the election is rigged that it’s better not to vote at all? You, who trust nothing, have complete faith in this one conspiracy theory? Because I don’t believe that you are confident enough that your vote will be ripped up while Evil Election Stealers laugh maniacally and stuff the ballot box with their phony ballots that you can’t spare 5 minutes to vote. And let’s be honest about the fact that you likely spend more than 10x that amount of time surfing facebook every single day.

So, let’s brush our hands clean, as we can all agree that there’s no good reason not to vote.

But here’s the thing. Despite this flawless reasoning, there are still people not voting. And it’s because of none of the reasons above, but something far simpler: they’re just not registered to vote.

Oregon had its highest number of registered voters in 2008 than ever before, with over 2,153,000 voters on the rolls. That meant that 77% of eligible Oregonians were registered! That was great…. but in the grand scheme of things, it still meant that 1 out of every 4 eligible Oregonians weren’t registered.

And since 2008, voters have fallen of the rolls. Despite astronomical numbers of new registered voters, due to amazing voter reg efforts by the Oregon Student Association, the Bus Project, and community groups led by Oregon Voice, we still have fewer Oregonians registered to vote now than we did four years ago.

So there are a few things you can do. First, make sure you’re registered to vote. (If you’re already registered, make sure your information is up-to-date.) Second, talk to your friends and family to make sure they are registered. And third, come be part of the community efforts to register Oregonians. Defend Oregon is launching voter registration events all weekend, in different parts of the state. You can read about those here.

And, of course, don’t forget to vote.

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We're continuing our video series featuring conversations with teachers, parents, and advocates around the state who are speaking out about the K-12 classroom crisis around the state. 

Here's Otto Schell, from the Oregon PTA, on the parent perspective.

Got a minute? It's worth it:

We're continuing our video series featuring conversations with teachers, parents, and advocates around the state who are speaking out about the K-12 classroom crisis around the state. 

Here's Otto Schell, from the Oregon PTA, on the parent perspective.

Got a minute? It's worth it:

Underfunded classrooms: A parent's perspective from Our Oregon on Vimeo.

For previous videos, see here, here, or here. Or check out our entire vimeo series.

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We are really excited to finally announce this. Progressive groups in Oregon have been working together to produce a mobile app that will help Oregonians make smarter, more informed choices on all of the important ballot measures they'll be voting on this fall. And it's now available -- for free -- to download!

It's pretty amazing. You can:

  • Browse by organizational endorsements, by ballot measures, or by location
  • Receive push notifications based on location
  • Take action by tweeting, sharing on facebook, emailing or calling, right from the app
  • Stay up to date on news and alerts you select

Check out the details:


Announcing the Our Oregon Mobile Voter Guide!

Download. Share. Vote!

It just got a lot easier to make sense of the November ballot. Many of the most prominent organizations in Oregon are using the latest technology to provide information and recommendations about ballot measures—all delivered right to your smartphone.

The Oregon Mobile Voter Guide provides voting recommendations from a wide variety of groups, like Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Basic Rights Oregon, Oregon PTA, SEIU, Oregon Education Association, and many more.

Click here for the download! 

We are really excited to finally announce this. Progressive groups in Oregon have been working together to produce a mobile app that will help Oregonians make smarter, more informed choices on all of the important ballot measures they'll be voting on this fall. And it's now available -- for free -- to download!

It's pretty amazing. You can:

  • Browse by organizational endorsements, by ballot measures, or by location
  • Receive push notifications based on location
  • Take action by tweeting, sharing on facebook, emailing or calling, right from the app
  • Stay up to date on news and alerts you select

Check out the details:


Announcing the Our Oregon Mobile Voter Guide!

Download. Share. Vote!

It just got a lot easier to make sense of the November ballot. Many of the most prominent organizations in Oregon are using the latest technology to provide information and recommendations about ballot measures—all delivered right to your smartphone.

The Oregon Mobile Voter Guide provides voting recommendations from a wide variety of groups, like Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Basic Rights Oregon, Oregon PTA, SEIU, Oregon Education Association, and many more.

Click here for the download! 

It’s available for FREE. Here’s how you can start using it:

  • Download the Our Oregon Mobile Voter Guide now to get ballot measure recommendations customized for your location, wherever you are in Oregon, plus up-to-date news from Oregon’s progressive community. Click here to download the app: http://ouroregon.org/app
  • Share information about the ballot measures with your friends right through the app.
  • Vote! And then stay tuned as the app becomes the easiest way to stay up-to-date with the latest news from Oregon’s progressive community.
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The other day, we had a conversation with our friends at Basic Rights Oregon about the Marriage Equality campaign in Washington. We know that members of the Oregon progressive community support marriage equality for everyone, but we couldn't help but get the feeling that some Oregonians were feeling a little detached from what's happening to the north. Maybe it's because they're feeling swamped by our own local and state elections.

The other day, we had a conversation with our friends at Basic Rights Oregon about the Marriage Equality campaign in Washington. We know that members of the Oregon progressive community support marriage equality for everyone, but we couldn't help but get the feeling that some Oregonians were feeling a little detached from what's happening to the north. Maybe it's because they're feeling swamped by our own local and state elections. Or maybe it's because of all the attention devoted to the Presidential election.

But what Basic Rights has starkly and honestly shared is this: Despite the movement's progress, no state has yet to win the freedom to marry at the ballot. That can -- and will -- change. But we need to help.

Why Winning the Freedom to Marry in Washington matters to Oregonians

Sasha Buchert, Communications Manager at Basic Rights Oregon

In just a few short weeks, voters in Washington State will have the opportunity to change history by becoming the first state in the nation to win the freedom to marry through a popular vote. This is a key moment in the fight for the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples in the Northwest and across the nation. For the first time in history, a sitting president has endorsed marriage equality. And here in Oregon, we’re successfully expanding support for the freedom to marry in communities across the state.

The tide is turning. But despite this progress, the fact remains that no state has yet to win the freedom to marry at the ballot. Our movement is zero for 32 at the ballot on the freedom to marry. 32 state votes and 32 losses.

That is about to change. This is the year we start winning.

It is imperative that Basic Rights Oregon play a role in helping win marriage for our neighbors to the north by investing staff, volunteers and other resources into the campaign. Not only is helping Washington win the freedom to marry the right thing to do, a victory in Washington will be critical in building the momentum needed to win in Oregon.

A victory in Washington will send a resounding message that we agree as a community that not only is the freedom to marry a human right, but that we aspire to live in a region that believes in equality and freedom and that we refuse to enshrine discrimination within our laws and constitutions.

A river separates us, but there is so much that bridges us together. Many of us have family and friends that live across the river, and many of us live and work in both states. Our lives are intertwined, and we know that by changing hearts and minds in Washington, that we are expanding the
support for the freedom to marry in Oregon.

For those reasons, we are joining with the supporters of Referendum 74 by directly engaging Washingtonians in conversations about why marriage matters. We are reaching out to Washington voters through door-to-door canvassing, and by making phone calls five nights a week. This work will help LGBT families in Washington, but it will give Oregonians the valuable training and experience necessary to win in Oregon.

It is imperative that Oregon play a pivotal role in winning the freedom to marry in Washington. Their win is our win, and together we will work toward building a community in the great northwest that strives for equality.

Can we count on you to be part of this historic victory? Click here to find out how you can get involved!

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