Sockeye Blog

In their ongoing quest to alienate their remaining readers, the Oregonian Editorial Board is now urging you to let large, out-of-state corporations keep their corporate kicker refunds, rather than putting those funds into K-12 schools.

By doing so, the editorial board is rejecting its own position from just a few months ago. In April, they wrote:

In their ongoing quest to alienate their remaining readers, the Oregonian Editorial Board is now urging you to let large, out-of-state corporations keep their corporate kicker refunds, rather than putting those funds into K-12 schools.

By doing so, the editorial board is rejecting its own position from just a few months ago. In April, they wrote:

“[T]his is a step that needs to be taken. Oregon's boom-and-bust tax structure is broken, condemning the state to a destructive cycle of building up programs and institutions in good times, only to tear them down in bad. Repealing the corporate kicker should be part of the solution.”

Now, they apparently think you should reject this historic reform and go back to waiting and hoping for lawmakers do something about the funding crisis in our schools. The editorial writers are not only out of touch with their readers—they’re out of touch with themselves.

Sound Off: Tell the O they got it wrong

Sunday’s endorsement reads like it was written directly by someone at the Cascade Policy Institute, the right-wing think tank funded by corporate interests (and so far the only real opposition to Measure 85). It’s another example of how far to the right the Oregonian has jumped under publisher N. Christian Anderson III and Editorial Page Editor Erik Lukens.

By endorsing a no vote on Measure 85, the Oregonian is holding the future of Oregon children hostage to the ideological agenda of Anderson and Lukens. Rather than reform the kicker, they’d rather we do nothing and continue sending refunds to out-of-state corporations.

This puts the Oregonian outside of every other civically minded group. For more than a decade, there’s been broad agreement—including the business community—that we need to reform the corporate kicker policy so that we’re protecting Oregon’s priorities, rather than giving it away to large corporations outside the state.

Let’s be clear: Oregon schools have been in a state of ongoing budget cuts for far too long. We have the third largest class sizes in the country and one of the shortest school years. We’ve lost 7,000 teachers and school employees due to budget cuts just since June 2010. (Even the Oregonian, just this week, reported on classroom overcrowding in its news pages.)

And for more than a decade, nothing has happened. Not even a committee vote in the legislature on a kicker reform policy. Our K-12 students are suffering as a result of this inaction, but the Oregonian Editorial Board thinks you should just keep on waiting. Measure 85 puts the decision in your hands, and Voting YES is your way of choosing to make schools a priority.

Give the O a piece of your mind. Go here to write a letter to the editors and tell them that our schools can’t wait for help.

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In their relentless pursuit of the truth (so that they can run it over and call it untrue), the folks over at PolitiFact Oregon have once again redefined what a “fact” is.

This time, they’ve taken on the Democratic Party of Oregon’s statement that Republican State Senator (and candidate for Labor Commissioner) Bruce Starr cast a vote that “would have thrown 6,000 Oregonians off unemployment.”

The bill in question is House Bill 3483 from 2009, which provided a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits. It passed overwhelmingly (because, well, duh), but got a few No votes, including one from Sen. Starr.

If Starr had gotten his way and the bill died, it’s true that at least 6,000 people would have lost their unemployment benefits.

In their relentless pursuit of the truth (so that they can run it over and call it untrue), the folks over at PolitiFact Oregon have once again redefined what a “fact” is.

This time, they’ve taken on the Democratic Party of Oregon’s statement that Republican State Senator (and candidate for Labor Commissioner) Bruce Starr cast a vote that “would have thrown 6,000 Oregonians off unemployment.”

The bill in question is House Bill 3483 from 2009, which provided a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits. It passed overwhelmingly (because, well, duh), but got a few No votes, including one from Sen. Starr.

If Starr had gotten his way and the bill died, it’s true that at least 6,000 people would have lost their unemployment benefits.

According to the Oregonian’s own reporting: “Without the bill, it’s clear, based on numbers from the Unemployment Department, that 6,000 people would have been cycled off unemployment. (In fact, that number is closer to 12,000 if you consider the full life of the extension.)”

So, the DPO’s statement is true, right?

Well, apparently not according to PolitiFact Oregon, which rated the statement “Half True.” Whaaaaaaat?

No, really—what?

In order to demote the truth to “Half True,” PolitiFact decided they couldn’t just rule on the statement itself, but on Starr’s possible motives, self-reported two years after the fact. He claims that he voted No on the bill because he didn’t like one of the other provisions.

Who knows if that’s true or not (I guess we just have to take his word for it), but it doesn’t matter. His excuse doesn’t change the simple, undeniable, verifiably true fact that Sen. Bruce Starr’s No vote on HB 3483 “would have thrown 6,000 Oregonians off unemployment.”

In the real world, that’s what we call a True statement.

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Yesterday morning, supporters of the Corporate Kicker for K-12 measure (Measure 85) met with the Oregonian editorial board for the newspaper’s endorsement on the measure.

It was a lively discussion, highlighting the obvious need to start reinvesting in our K-12 schools. In an online post, the editors have said their endorsement will be in this Sunday’s paper.

It won’t be the first time they’ve opined on the need to reform the corporate kicker. Here’s what the editorial board wrote in April, just after we announced that we were gathering signatures to reform the corporate kicker:

Second, this is a step that needs to be taken. Oregon's boom-and-bust tax structure is broken, condemning the state to a destructive cycle of building up programs and institutions in good times, only to tear them down in bad. Repealing the corporate kicker should be part of the solution.

Business groups seem willing to accept the ballot proposal. "I'm not detecting from anybody in the business community that I've talked to that there is going to be any significant opposition to it," Jay Clemens, president of Associated Oregon Industries, told The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes.

Yesterday morning, supporters of the Corporate Kicker for K-12 measure (Measure 85) met with the Oregonian editorial board for the newspaper’s endorsement on the measure.

It was a lively discussion, highlighting the obvious need to start reinvesting in our K-12 schools. In an online post, the editors have said their endorsement will be in this Sunday’s paper.

It won’t be the first time they’ve opined on the need to reform the corporate kicker. Here’s what the editorial board wrote in April, just after we announced that we were gathering signatures to reform the corporate kicker:

Second, this is a step that needs to be taken. Oregon's boom-and-bust tax structure is broken, condemning the state to a destructive cycle of building up programs and institutions in good times, only to tear them down in bad. Repealing the corporate kicker should be part of the solution.

Business groups seem willing to accept the ballot proposal. "I'm not detecting from anybody in the business community that I've talked to that there is going to be any significant opposition to it," Jay Clemens, president of Associated Oregon Industries, told The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes.

For Oregon schools, the need for adequate funding has only gotten more obvious since the Oregonian’s ed board wrote those words. Students are going back to school this week finding that classes are even more overcrowded this year than last, and that many of their favorite programs have been eliminated.

It’s now months into the campaign season, and there’s still no organized opposition to the measure.

Given that the crisis in our classrooms has only intensified, what will the Oregonian say about the measure? We’ll find out on Sunday.

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Across the country, news outlets have spent the last 16 hours picking apart the many lies contained in Paul Ryan’s speech to the Republican National Convention.

Across the country, news outlets have spent the last 16 hours picking apart the many lies contained in Paul Ryan’s speech to the Republican National Convention.

From the Chicago Tribune to the Washingto Post to The New York Times to—yes—even Fox News, reporters and editors are a bit aghast at how little disregard Ryan has for the truth.

Fox News contributor Sally Kohn summed up Ryan’s speech with three words: “Dazzling, Deceitful, and Distracting.”

The New York Times Caucus blog called Ryan’s statements “incorrect, incomplete or incompatible with his own record in Congress.”

So, how has the Oregonian covered his speech?

With this, and only this:



By the way, Ryan is apparently coming to Portland on September 10 for a fundraiser. I wonder if the Oregonian will be rolling out the red carpet for him.

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SalesForce.com has announced that they’re moving to Oregon to set up a new major operation center, bringing hundreds or thousands of jobs to the state. The company chose Oregon over their second choice—Salt Lake City—because, in short, Oregon is a great place to live and run a business.

SalesForce.com has announced that they’re moving to Oregon to set up a new major operation center, bringing hundreds or thousands of jobs to the state. The company chose Oregon over their second choice—Salt Lake City—because, in short, Oregon is a great place to live and run a business. From the Oregonian:

The state prepared an incentive package potentially worth millions to the company, but economic development officials say that Portland was simply a more attractive place to recruit the young techies that Salesforce hopes to hire.

"That's where Salt Lake City fell flat, quite honestly," said Colin Sears, vice president of business development for the economic development group Greater Portland Inc. "This is a vibrant, better place to be if you're young and single."

So, the reason they chose Oregon had nothing to do with the big tax breaks that the state is preparing to give them. And yet? The tax breaks could end up costing the state millions of dollars.

SalesForce.com is set to take advantage of a cash grant from the state equal to two years’ worth of the state income taxes paid by their employees. That’s a substantial amount of money to be handing out, especially at a time when we’re laying off teachers and closing schools.

Don't get us wrong. We're glad another business is relocating here. In fact, we've celebrated the business influx with its own website.

What we're wondering is: are we giving away precious dollars, paying corporations to do what they were going to do anyway?

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Just a couple of weeks after landing a big payday for a few speaking gigs in Central Oregon, Republican mastermind Karl Rove has announced he’s got big plans for our state.

Maybe.

Just a couple of weeks after landing a big payday for a few speaking gigs in Central Oregon, Republican mastermind Karl Rove has announced he’s got big plans for our state.

Maybe.

Here’s what he told Politico:

Oregon, which mystifies me. Oregon, as you may recall, was a battleground in 2000 and this time around there is a little bit of evidence that Obama has some difficulty there.

I think part of it is that you do have this sort of weird element … centered around Portland that looks at Obama as a dangerous reactionary. But you also have something going out there, sort of this libertarian, Western, iconoclastic I’m-not-going-to-be-put-in-a-box. But something’s going on in Oregon. They’ve got a 30-30 statehouse. And Republicans came within 15,000 votes of winning the governorship and yet it's the most unchurched state in the union. So it’s a weird conglomeration. Oregon might be next.

Rove has been obsessed with our state since George W. Bush almost won in November 2000. Does Rove’s latest statement mean that his superPAC will be spending money in Oregon? Is he just angling for more lucrative speaking events? We’ll soon find out.

In the meantime, his comments have got us humming this tune:

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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

NPR has a story about how OPB has a story on how small towns have stories... Whoa. Though it may sounds awfully meta, it's awfully nice to see Oregon Public Broadcasting receiving national attention for their creative exploration of and around our state.

The Oregon State Fair kicks off today! Check out a few sneak peek photos.

Check out this sweet story on how one woman's simple acts serve to better her community.

And meet Pusheen: the bounciest, hungriest internet cat.

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Under publisher N. Christian Anderson The Third, even the Oregonian’s business reporters have become partisans, whose orders are apparently to embarrass Democratic leaders at every opportunity while giving away credibility to Republicans.

The latest example comes from tech reporter Mike Rogoway. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi recently visited Portland to meet with technology startup leaders, joined by Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici. Their goal was to find ways that Congress can help tech companies thrive.

Under publisher N. Christian Anderson The Third, even the Oregonian’s business reporters have become partisans, whose orders are apparently to embarrass Democratic leaders at every opportunity while giving away credibility to Republicans.

The latest example comes from tech reporter Mike Rogoway. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi recently visited Portland to meet with technology startup leaders, joined by Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici. Their goal was to find ways that Congress can help tech companies thrive.

But here’s how Rogoway described the visit:

Politicians love technology.

Not iPads, or Twitter, or Facebook – though, to be sure, politicians use all those. No, it’s technology companies that politicos really lust after.

Tech companies – startups in particular – are full of economic upside, new ideas and the promise of tomorrow. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Google turned startups into cultural icons, celebrities of the business world that seem to create jobs out of thin air.

So tech entrepreneurs are irresistible to office seekers, and to office-holders, who love to associate their political brands with that kind of excitement.

Get it? “Politicians” (by which he means “Democratic politicians”) lust greedily after the perceived success and star power of tech companies. They’re not interested in—heck, they probably don’t even understand—the industry they’re throwing themselves at, they just want to co-opt their popularity. Like drooling tweens trying to get backstage at a Jonas Brothers concert.

To underline the fact that he’s talking just about Democrats here, Rogoway throws in the fact that Portland tech companies have also been recently courted by President Obama and Senators Ron Wyden and Maria Cantwell.

That level of political bias masquerading as journalism isn’t enough for today’s Oregonian, so they doubled down, following the Pelosi piece by calling up Oregon GOP Chair Allen Alley in the name of “balance.”

So in search of a little balance, I called Oregon GOP Chairman Allen Alley for the view from the other side of the aisle. "Everybody jumps to the front of the line when there's a little of flicker of success," Alley joked Wednesday from Tampa, where he's preparing for the Republican National Convention.

Before Alley was a candidate for the GOP's gubernatorial nomination, and before he was the Republican Party's state chair, he was founder and CEO of Pixelworks, one of the last Oregon tech companies to hold an IPO (it raised $58 million 12 years ago).

Success among Portland's new generation of startups is extremely heartening, Alley said, and it's impressive that they've established themselves without the big investments that an earlier generation of startup required.

The partisan storyline here is so cliché that I hate to even repeat it, but it’s obvious that Anderson want readers to see Democrats as starstruck dolts with no business experience, and Republicans as the only ones who understand the industry.

That’s not balance; it’s transparent partisanship. It’s also become par for the course at Anderson’s Oregonian. A balanced piece might have pointed out that under Alley’s watch, Pixelworks tanked in a big way, leading to his resignation as CEO in 2006. Under Alley, the company managed to take peak income of $22 million in 2004 and turn that into a loss of $42.6 million the next year by being late with new products. The next year, just before Alley’s departure, saw even more meteoric losses.

The result was big layoffs and outsourcing of Pixelworks employees to San Jose and Shanghai. As of 2010, only 12 of the company’s 230 employees worked at the company’s Tualatin headquarters.

So while the Oregonian is busy propping up Alley—who is rumored to be considering a run for governor in 2014—the rest of us should remember that his alleged business record is one of pretty deep failure. But that won’t stop the state’s newspaper of record from ignoring those inconvenient facts and signing his praises… all in the name of “balance,” of course.

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“Fewer, poorer, gloomier.” No, those words aren’t descriptors of sunny days in Oregon, as we move into fall.

That’s the subtitle to the latest report from the Pew Research Center – and they’re describing America’s middle class.

“Fewer, poorer, gloomier.” No, those words aren’t descriptors of sunny days in Oregon, as we move into fall.

That’s the subtitle to the latest report from the Pew Research Center – and they’re describing America’s middle class.

This report examined middle class families and discovered that the middle class is undoubtedly in decline: wages are down, net worth is down, and even optimism is down.

In th meantime:


 
I’m having a hard time coming up with much to write. Because we’ve written so many times already about these exact findings.

Income inequality is like climate change. Studies, reports, infographics, photos – no matter what type of evidence is produced, Republicans still appear to denounce science and cling to their But-I-Own-The-Lifeboat policies. And this is why we continue to have such shocking policy proposals like tax breaks for millionaires while our schools are closing.

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Last night in Hillsboro, a group of parents, teachers, and activisits met to discuss the issues they are most concerned about in Oregon: the state of Oregon's K-12 schools. The group identified some of the key problems and discussed the proactive steps needed to begin fixing the problem.

Their plan? Help Oregonians understand just how important this November's election will be to Oregon's K-12 schools.

Last night in Hillsboro, a group of parents, teachers, and activisits met to discuss the issues they are most concerned about in Oregon: the state of Oregon's K-12 schools. The group identified some of the key problems and discussed the proactive steps needed to begin fixing the problem.

Their plan? Help Oregonians understand just how important this November's election will be to Oregon's K-12 schools.

Why is this election so important for K-12 schools?

This November, Oregon will vote on two ballot measures that will have broad implications for K-12 schools across the state.

Kevin Mannix's Estate Tax Break (Measure 84) is a tax break for millionaires that will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars -- dollars that should be funding our schools.

Corporate Kicker for K-12 Schools (Measure 85) will reform the corporate kicker by putting money back into Oregon K-12 classrooms, rather than into the pockets of large, out-of-state-corporations.

We know what budget cuts have meant to our schools over the years: overcrowded class sizes, laid off teachers, and school closures. Now, there is an opportunity to begin mending the hole and fight back against further budget cuts.

This November brings a clear choice for Oregon's future: do you think we should vote to support and fund our schools or send more tax breaks to corporations and the rich?

Want to join their conversation? RSVP here for a meeting in your community. Don't see one near you? Email info@defendoregon.org

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