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The Real Agendas Behind the November 2018 Statewide Ballot Measures


Oregonians have become used to misleading ballot measures that claim to have some public benefit but are actually designed to favor a few corporate special interests over the rest of us.

The Rogue Action Center supports Measure 102 on affordable housing and opposes the other measures on the ballot this year. Here are the facts to help voters make up their minds.

YES on Measure 102. This measure is supported by affordable housing groups throughout the state. It would remove a roadblock that has made it harder for cities and counties to support more affordable housing development. It would no longer require that local governments themselves administer affordable housing that they support. This common sense, bipartisan measure was endorsed unanimously by the Oregon House of Representatives and by a majority of both major parties in the Oregon Senate.

NO on Measure 103.  Corporate special interests have spent more than $2 million to put this on the ballot. It would permanently prevent the state, cities, or counties from requiring major chains like Walmart that sell soft drinks, candy, or groceries to pay their fair share of taxes. Other types of businesses have joined the opposition to Measure 103 on the grounds that this one industry should not get a free ride when it comes to supporting education, transportation, health care, and other basic public services

NO on Measure 104. The Automobile Dealers Association and Oregon Association of Realtors are some of the leading special interests funding this measure that would make it nearly impossible for the legislature to take any action if it would raise revenue to fund basic services. Instead of a majority vote being enough to pass, any measure that would result in increased revenue, such as discontinuing a special interest tax loophole, would require a three-fifths vote.

NO on Measure 105 (IP22).  This measure is supported by white supremacists aiming to scapegoat people of color and immigrants in our communities. It would repeal a successful state law, passed 30 years ago with bipartisan support, which makes clear that it is the job of the federal government, and not local law enforcement, to enforce immigration laws. As Oregonians United Against Profiling points out, passage of Measure 105 would open the door to profiling, stopping, and detaining any Oregonian solely because they “might” be an undocumented immigrant.

NO on Measure 106. This measure attacks the rights of women and families by taking away access to the full range of reproductive services from many Oregonians including public employees such as nurses, firefighters, and teachers, people on the Oregon Health Plan, and immigrant women. Measure 106 would amend Oregon’s constitution to prevent any public money from being spent on abortion. Oregonians oppose cuts to healthcare access, as we saw earlier this year when more than two-thirds of Oregon voters defeated Measure 101, another attack on healthcare access.

Please join Oregonians across the state in looking behind the curtain to see who is really behind Measures 103, 104, 105, and 106 and what their real agenda is, and vote NO on all four. And please join us in voting for Measure 102 for affordable housing.

Make sure you can vote on November 6th, 2018

In Oregon you can update your voter registration information until 8 p.m. on Election Day and still cast a ballot. However, if your registration is updated close to an election, your ballot might have to be issued at the county elections office.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The Oregon Secretary of State’s Office website has all of the information, and a secure web portal where you can check your voter registration status, register to vote, or update your voter information such as address.

If you have moved and not updated your voter registration information, you will not get your ballot!


Share this!

Download and share this handy graphic and encourage your friends and family to vote by 8pm on Tuesday November 8th! Click on the graphic to view a larger version or to download:


 

Building Community Leadership

Southern Oregon Land Use Leadership Institute 2018 Cohort

Right now, across Southern Oregon, important decisions are being made that impact all of us. These decisions are often made without community input, creating a mismatch between decisions made and the real and growing needs of our community for things like affordable, accessible housing, public transportation, access to locally produced healthy foods, and a stable climate.

Since 2012 the 1000 Friends of Oregon’s leadership training program (LULI) has trained emerging community leaders on Oregon’s land use system and how it shapes the most-pressing land development issues such as housing and transportation. LULI works to prepare participants to be effective stakeholders in local and state decisions about issues that matter to them.

LULI is about much more than land use. It brings together emerging community leaders with a wide range of perspectives to work together for the outcomes our communities need. Together we’re building diverse, grassroots capacity to engage on land use debates and issues. We hope that you’ll apply to join us!

2018 Southern Oregon Program

The 2018 LULI Program will consist of six training sessions from September through December. Each session will focus in-depth on one specific issue to provide participants with a deeper understanding of land use advocacy. Topics include: Land Use 101, Urban Growth Boundaries, Housing, Transportation and Public Transit. Food, childcare, and transportation assistance available. There is no cost for participants.

Tentative Training Schedule: *subject to change.*

  • Tuesday, September 11th, 6pm – 8:30pm
  • Tuesday, September 18th, 6pm – 8:30pm
  • Tuesday, October 9th, 6pm – 8:30pm
  • Tuesday, October 23rd, 6pm – 8:30pm
  • Tuesday, November 13th, 6pm – 8:30pm
  • Tuesday, December 4th, 6pm – 8:30pm

To apply: Contact Michelle Glass for application, or with any questions, at: 541.292.8201, Michelle@RogueActionCenter.org, or apply online here.

Southern Oregon LULI is made possible by the following organizations. Thank you!

Candidate Commitments on Community Issues

Nonpartisan Questions for Oregon Senate District 3 Candidates

From the Rogue Action Center

Oregon Senate District 3 voters deserve specific commitments from candidates, regardless of party, instead of “trust me” rhetoric that too often results in policies that benefit only corporate special interests and the wealthiest elites.

No list can include every important issue that will come before the Oregon legislature in the next two years, but answers to this questionnaire will give voters a good picture of the type of commitments each candidate is willing to make.

Note: Questionnaires were sent to all candidates who filed with the Oregon Secretary of State by the deadline for the 2018 May Primary, and to the incumbent, Alan Deboer.

Sen. DeBoer and candidates Curt Ankerberg and Jessica Gomez  declined to respond to the questionnaire.

Candidate responses appear as submitted, they have not been edited.

The Rogue Action Center does not endorse candidates for public office.

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Local cities have tools to address affordable housing crisis

Guest Opinion published in Medford Mail Tribune, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018
http://www.mailtribune.com/opinion/20180204/guest-opinion-local-cities-have-tools-to-address-affordable-housing-crisis

Thousands of households in Jackson County are facing an affordable housing crisis. In the next few months, the cities of Medford, Phoenix, Eagle Point, Central Point and Talent have an opportunity to take action. Residents will be able to help shape changes that will affect these cities for decades to come.

Every city in Oregon is required by state law to have local plans that “encourage the availability of adequate numbers of needed housing units at price ranges and rent levels which are commensurate with the financial capabilities of Oregon households.” The Jackson County cities listed above have been conducting reviews of their plans, and all have found significant shortages of housing types that are affordable for many residents.

That comes as no surprise to anyone who has read the paper or tried to rent a home recently. Currently one in every three renters in Jackson County — and three-quarters of low-income renters — are paying more than 50 percent of their income in rent, leaving little for other necessities like food, transportation and health care. Housing vouchers are going unused for years at a time because affordable units aren’t available. Jackson County has more homeless youth than any other county in the state except Multnomah. Rents have increased 68 percent in the past three years alone.

These problems affect working people across the region. They are tearing our communities apart and will drag our economy down if we don’t find solutions.

Starting with Medford later this month, the cities are about to start a series of public hearings to revise the housing policies in their land-use plans. They will need to show local residents that they are doing everything possible to address the affordable housing crisis within their borders.

In the past, public policy decisions like these have typically been dominated by those with a vested financial interest in the outcome — developers, Realtors and large-scale landlords. Although working families, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and other residents greatly outnumber the few who speak for the industry, the voices of those whose everyday lives are affected the most are rarely heard.

Fortunately, there are positive, constructive steps that local cities can take, drawing on proven experience in other communities. Here are just a few examples:

    • Encourage the addition of more cottage-type housing in residential zones.
    • Allow developers to build additional homes — such as going from a duplex to a triplex, or allowing more cottages in a cottage cluster — if some of them are affordable.
    • Reduce or waive fees for affordable housing projects.
    • Make it easier for nonprofit affordable housing organizations to help fill the need.
    • Enact a small construction excise tax to raise funds to support creation of more housing options.
    • Require that in any development above a certain number of homes or apartments, a certain percentage be affordable.

The problem is not a lack of solutions. What is needed is for city councils to act in the broader public interest.The rental market must be stabilized to prevent a further increase in homelessness and ensure that households have enough money left over for basics. The Legislature will likely consider new tools for short- and mid-term stabilization. For the long term, increasing the supply of affordable rental housing is critical. If we don’t do that, we’ll still be having this discussion 20 years from now.

The hearings that are coming up in local cities are our best chance to get started down that path — but it is critical that the voices of those most affected by these decision are heard. We strongly encourage residents to look out for and participate in their own cities — starting with Medford on Thursday, Feb. 15, at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

A recent Mail Tribune guest opinion representing the local Realtors association said that a “progressive approach would not only work, but would be supported by many.” The next few months will tell whether Realtors, developers and landlords are ready to work with local communities to, as that column said, “be part of the solution and not the problem.”

The first step is for decision-makers to hear from everyone who is affected.

— Michelle Glass is director of the Rogue Action Center. Greg Holmes is the Southern Oregon planning advocate for 1000 Friends of Oregon.

Action for Affordable Housing

As described in this guest opinion that the Rogue Action Center and 1000 Friends of Oregon published in the Mail Tribune, the cities of Medford, Phoenix, Eagle Point, Central Point and Talent are going through a process that could lead to expanding their boundaries to include land that would be profitable for developers to build on.

Before expanding, cities must show that they are meeting their obligation under state law to ensure that they have housing that is affordable for local residents.

Statewide Land Use Goal 10 Requires every city and town to ensure it has enough land zoned to meet the residential needs of its current and future residents. It also requires that the zoning allow a diversity of housing types to support affordability and meet the needs of people.

Here are a few examples of actions our elected city officials can take to meet the needs of our community and their obligations under state law:

  • Create a construction excise tax: This would be a small tax on all construction in the city. The money would be used to attract additional state and federal funding, which would all be used to help create more affordable housing in the city. For more information on construction excise taxes and how they are working in other cities in Oregon, click here.
  • Create a systems development charge deferral program: Developers pay fees to the city to help offset the costs that new development brings—such as new streets, water and sewer pipes, parks, etc. Right now developers pay those fees before they begin construction. This would allow them to pay when construction is complete and they sell the homes. The total amount collected by the city would be the same, but developers would save money (and so would consumers) because they did not have to finance those costs up front.
  • Establish a permanent housing advisory committee: This group would be responsible for advising city council on housing policies, and would help develop programs to spend the excise tax revenues and review proposals to recommend which projects got funding.
  • Fix city policies that restrict housing choices: The city just got a grant from the state to revise its regulations to make building different types of housing easier. Encourage this activity. Suggest specific fixes, such as: allowing duplexes in single-family zones, allowing more mixed-use development in commercial areas, allowing developers to build more homes and apartments in a development if some of them are affordable, allowing “cottage cluster” developments and tiny houses, etc.
  • Create economic incentives to encourage more variety in housing: New programs that encouraged mixed-use development, construction of more apartments or of “missing middle” housing, incentives for homeowners to add accessory dwelling units. Funds from the construction excise tax could pay for these programs.

Candidate Commitments on Community Issues

Nonpartisan Questions for Oregon Senate District 3 Candidates from the Rogue Action Center

Oregon Senate District 3 voters deserve specific commitments from candidates, regardless of party, instead of “trust me” rhetoric that too often results in policies that benefit only corporate special interests and the wealthiest elites.

The following questions have been sent to all candidates who have filed for Senate District 3, as well as the incumbent. Candidates have until midnight on Wednesday January 31st to reply. We will be sharing all responses here.

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Exciting Announcement

Our community has decided to take a big step forward by taking the organizing and training work of the Rogue Action Center to a new level.

For many years, we have needed a hub for organizing in Southern Oregon for economic, social, racial, and climate justice that is locally run based on the realities of our region, and not just an arm of a Portland-based organization.

Now, we have one – the Rogue Action Center, also known as “the RAC.

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Talking With a Reporter

This tip sheet is for anyone who is getting ready to talk with a reporter.

Talking with a reporter is your chance to help the public see why they should support us — to help them see that we are not just fighting for ourselves but fighting for them.

Follow these three easy steps: Read More

Writing Sound Bites

This tip sheet gives advice on preparing effective sound bites.

 

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Preparing a Media Spokesperson

This tip sheet is for someone who has to prepare another person to speak to the media, especially if the spokesperson is not used to speaking to reporters.

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