Lane County Commissioners Try Preemptive Strike Against Paid Sick Leave

The Eugene City Council is poised to pass a landmark ordinance on paid sick leave, which is good news for workers in the city. Everybody should be able to take a sick day when their health requires it without having to worry about missing a paycheck—or working while sick and spreading illnesses.

Eugene would join a growing number of municipalities providing such protections for working people.

But the Lane County Commissioners are trying to push through three ordinances that are an attempt to undercut the Eugene City Council’s efforts. It would be a preemptive strike against the city, but highly unlikely to stop the policy. Paid sick leave has the strong support of too many community groups, leaders, and voters to be stopped by the tinkering of the county commission.

Sneeze

On Monday morning, the Commission is holding a hearing on their three proposals. The County scheduled their hearing for just before the City was scheduled to hold its own. Expect much grandstanding.

The County Commissioners, of course, aren’t openly admitting that they don’t want to provide such basic protections for workers. Instead, they’ve shrouded their opposition in “process” and “authority.” Despite the commissioners’ claims, their efforts won’t actually block the Eugene City Council from voting on–or implementing–paid sick leave.

From the Register Guard:

Commissioner Sid Leiken said the board was acting in response to a jurisdictional “overreach” by the City Council in attempting to control businesses outside the city limits.

“What we’re talking about here is way beyond sick leave,” he said. “This is about establishing who has authority, who doesn’t, and how (these types of issues) resolve themselves in the future.”

The folks at Everybody Benefits Eugene, the campaign in favor of the sick leave policy, have collected thousands of letters in support of the ordinance. To add your story and name to the petition, go here: http://everybodybenefitseugene.org/

22 Responses to “Lane County Commissioners Try Preemptive Strike Against Paid Sick Leave”

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MEDIA WATCH: A “New” Face at the Oregonian Editorial Board: N. Christian Anderson III

Sometime in the past two months, the Oregonian quietly added a “new” member to the paper’s infamously right-wing editorial board: Their infamously right-wing publisher, N. Christian Anderson III.

Editorial MastheadSince he took over as publisher in 2009, the entire paper, especially the editorial board, has shifted further to the right to match his views. He sat in on endorsement interviews and in 2010 wrote that, “I always reserve the right as the publisher to determine our editorial position…” (He claimed at the time that that hadn’t happened yet.)

But he also changed the paper’s longstanding management structure. Traditionally, the editorial page editor would report to the executive editor of the newspaper, who in turn reported to the publisher. But Anderson consolidated his authority by having the editorial page editor report directly to him.

After veteran editorial page Bob Caldwell passed away, Anderson was able to hire a replacement who would more directly carry his positions on issues (and whose employment would be more directly attributable to Anderson). He hired Erik Lukens from the Bend Bulletin, home of the then-most-conservative editorial page in the state. Then, Anderson showed the door to David Sarasohn, the editorial board’s most reliably liberal voice. (Sarasohn still writes a column for the paper, but no longer serves on the editorial board.)

Oregonian Publisher N. Christian Anderson IIIThe result has been an undeniable, inelegant shift toward positions that are more conservative, pro-corporate, and anti-worker—frankly, even becoming even more at odds with the paper’s readership base.

Now, they’ve just gone ahead and done away with the façade that Anderson merely has some influence over the board, and have embedded him as an official member, codifying what was already obvious to anyone paying attention.

Meanwhile, circulation numbers at the Oregonian aren’t looking so hot…

22 Responses to “MEDIA WATCH: A “New” Face at the Oregonian Editorial Board: N. Christian Anderson III”

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MEDIA WATCH: Astounding School Funding Hypocrisy at the Oregonian Ed Board

The Oregonian’s readers no longer have any reason to believe that the paper’s editorial board will ever reflect their values—but shouldn’t readers at least be able to count on some level of intellectual consistency from the right-wing opinion writers?

It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Oregonian Editorial Board, led by staunch conservative-libertarian Erik Lukens, doubled down on their campaign to convince the Portland School Board to give away big tax breaks rather than investing funds in Portland classrooms. Lukens & Co. advocated for the board to send back $20 million in tax breaks from the recently passed teachers levy, claiming the school-funding crisis had “abated.”

Overcrowded ClassroomsAt the time, we argued that the Oregonian’s editorial writers had clearly not been anywhere near a public school in the last decade. Talk to any parent, teacher, or student, and you’ll hear that the school funding crisis has anything but “abated.” Classes are still overcrowded, educational offerings are greatly diminished, and we have one of the shortest school years in the nation.

That’s because even with the modest increases in funding provided by the state, and even with the funding provided to Portland Public Schools by the teachers levy, our schools are still dramatically underfunded, especially compared to the 1990s. State funding is at least $2 billion below what experts believe we need just to reach the goal of adequacy. And much of that lack of funding is due to the massive tax breaks and giveaways that go to big corporations and the very rich.

Still, the Oregonian argues, lawmakers should giveaway more in tax breaks, rather than investing every penny they can in our classrooms.

So, imagine our shock when we read this week’s Oregonian editorial calling on Portland Public Schools to strive harder to add more instructional hours.

Greg Belisle, co-chair of the Portland School Board, thinks the state is “overreaching” when it asks Portland to meet minimum standards for instructional time.

Overreaching? That’s like calling a half-piece of toast an overfeeding. The Oregon Department of Education is well within its rights to ask local school districts to comply with state law on class time for students.

Likewise, parents and taxpayers have every reason to ask for something more than the minimum: Oregon students deserve at least 180 days of school, in keeping with the national norms for educational opportunity. The only way they’ll get it is through a lot of outside pressure to make class time a priority.

What the?

Of course students need more instructional time. They also need smaller class sizes, more one-on-one instructional opportunities, better access to technology, and funding restored to art and music classes. All of that will require a significant increase in the amount of money the state sends to Oregon school districts. One place to start would be to limit big tax breaks so that we can make sure that large corporations and the very rich are doing more to pay their fair share.

Lukens and his staff are being deeply hypocritical—not to mention intellectual dishonest—in calling for both big tax giveaways and increased spending on instructional hours. If they were serious about the latter, they’d join us in calling for a tax system that produces adequate revenue by asking for more from those who can well afford it.

When faced with self-contradictory beliefs, most normal people experience what’s known as “cognitive dissonance.” You might not be familiar with cognitive dissonance – so here’s a handy educational video to show you how it works:

3 Responses to “MEDIA WATCH: Astounding School Funding Hypocrisy at the Oregonian Ed Board”

  1. Anonymous

    How uninformed! Oregon schools have a HUGE problem with race and ethnic inequity – both in achievement and in discipline. Calling offices of equity a waste of money indicates a lack of knowledge about the extent of the problem.

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  2. Matthew Vantress

    Wrong the schools are more than adequately funded and when you look at every dollar they really actually get which Our Oregon never does Oregon schools have received more money every single school year since Measure Five passed.Schools have done very little to nothing to eliminate waste like offices of equity,consultants,consultant contracts,outside contracts,no bid contracts,equity and diversity training for school employees.School spending is the whole problem not lack of money Our Oregon. Teachers get raises every year too especially union contract raises,step increases and more Pers money.Schools don’t need another dime they can rein in their spending and live within a budget like we have to.

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  3. Anonymous

    Feel kind of stupid that we keep getting this dreadful rag in our home. So many we know have gave up some time ago. But we are New Yorkers, read the Times daily, have always read the daily where we lived. The other day someone said, “I hear the Tribune is better.” Give me a break!

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