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Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Oregon Politics: Ron Wyden, Ellen Rosenblum, City of Portland

Friday, December 12, 2014


Every Friday, GoLocalPDX breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Oregon politics. Check out who made the lists this week.


Ron Wyden: The U.S. Senator from Oregon reinforced his stance against torture this week in response to a report released by the CIA. As GoLocalPDX reports Wyden said “I hope this report is the catalyst CIA leaders need to acknowledge that torture did not work.”

Carolyn Tomei: The 78-year-old representative from Milwaukie made a bold stand Tuesday against the Oregon Lottery. Representative Tomei chaired an interim human services committee and heard testimony from Lottery Director Jack Roberts, who proposed giving more profits to lottery retailers. It was “galling to see the millions and millions that go into commissions,” the representative remarked. Tomei did not seek reelection and is retiring this year. 

GMO Recount: Today is the deadline for counties to finish the recount for Measure 92, which would require labeling of genetically modified food products. Advocates for the measure received a blow Tuesday when a Multnomah County judge denied their request to count about 4,600 ballots that were rejected due to mismatching signatures. 

Ellen Rosenblum: In a bold effort protect privacy laws, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum asked lawmakers Wednesday to strengthen laws preventing technology companies from obtaining and selling Oregonians’ personal information. As the Oregonian reports, a proposed bill will prohibit companies from gathering and selling student information to marketing companies. “We essentially need a consumer bill of rights so that people know what their rights are online,” Rosenblum told reporters. 

Jeff Merkley: The U.S. Senator from Oregon announced Wednesday his plans to introduce sweeping legislation that would ban discrimination against LGBT Americans in the workplace and in public accommodations. In 29 states it is still legal to fire, refuse housing, or deny service to Americans because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. 


Anti-Gentrification Deal: Critics are calling an anti-gentrification deal struck between Mayor Hales and black leaders “toothless” and “inadequate.” As GoLocalPDX reports, the city’s promise to invest $20 million in affordable housing and develop a jobs plan for a north Portland neighborhood is seen by some as a mere band aid to a much larger issue. 

City of Portland vs Uber: The fight between the City of Portland and rideshare company Uber just got uglier. After Uber launched in Portland last Friday despite government resistance, the city filed a lawsuit against the company. It’s clear that city officials are upset about more than taxi rules. Commissioner Novick told The New York Times “Lyft seems like a respectable company, and Uber seems like a bunch of thugs.” Mayor Hales wrote in an op-ed to the Oregonian “We won’t be stampeded into someone’s self-interested ‘solution’.”

Dr. William E. Johnson: The surgeon and president of Moda Health allegedly cheated on recertification exams for his license back in 2008. “It’s not a direct reflection of who I am,” Johnson told Willamette Week. “Sometimes good people to bad things.” Johnson joined Moda Health in 2009 and helped the company make headlines last year with the purchase and rebrand of the Rose Garden, home to the Portland Trailblazers.  

60%: The percentage of Oregon students expected not to meet newly established writing and math test score standards, as projected by the state officials. The new test standards are part of the recently adopted Smarter Balanced tests, which education officials are hopeful will better indicate how well prepared students are for college. One might ask how such demanding score levels affect students’ moral and motivation to succeed. 

Oregon Department of Corrections: State prison officials have decided to cut a 4-year-old program that helps women in prison stay in touch with their children and learn parenting skills. The Willamette Week reports that officials made the decision to cut the program due to a $37 million shortfall in its budget, but failed to provide any sort of alternative solution to keep the program running. 

Gus Wendel is a writer, organizer, and musician. Originally from Eastern Oregon, he now resides in Portland.


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