Lane County officials enhanced critical public safety and health services in 2016, Board of Commissioners Chairman Faye Stewart said Monday in his State of the County speech…
Stewart noted Lane County last year approved a reduction in the county’s five-year jail property tax levy…
In a bid to curb costs, the county also eliminated vacant jobs, shifted to a self-funded health insurance system for employees and started using existing legal staff for litigation rather than paying legal fees…
The jail expanded its number of local beds to 317, which reduced the number of early releases…
In addition, the sheriff’s office in March returned to 24-hour deputy patrol coverage in rural areas…
Last year, county officials worked with the city of Eugene to shelter more than 400 homeless veterans, he said…
We Respond & Your Comments
Today we’re very pleased to present you with an example of good government
This year Lane County citizens are safer thanks to our Commissioners. And isn’t that the primary purpose of government? We think so.
Then the Commissioners did the unheard of – they cut a tax. How rare is that?
And they did this while addressing the needs of homeless veterans and other vulnerable citizens.
Join us in thanking our County Commission for truly representing us. And remember them the next time you mark your ballot.
– Ashland Mail Tribune, June 2, 2014
Editors’ note: Lane Solution is not taking sides on this issue. Rather we are calling attention to the inevitable unintended consequences of governmental social engineering.
…Convicted felons in Jackson County and around the country face an uphill battle trying to land a job…
“I think if given the opportunity, most felons could prove themselves as more than capable to work anywhere,” said 24-year-old [convicted felon] Keith Farnsworth…
It’s one of the first questions on most job applications: Have you ever been convicted of a crime?..
In Oregon, Multnomah County and the city of Eugene have agreed to put off asking whether applicants have a criminal conviction until later in the interview process.
There are a dozen other states with laws requiring employers to “ban the box,” [Maurice] Emsellem [a program director at National Employment Law Project] said…
…” ‘Ban the box’ is not saying you cannot conduct a background check. It’s saying that employers have to take the question off the application and ask it later in the process.”…
Our Response and Your Comments
Allow us to gaze into our crystal ball and make a few predictions – all based on government’s tainted history of past attempts at applying “compassion” to the pursuit of “fairness” and “level playing fields.”
- Oregon will eventually “ban the box.”
- The “deadly duo” of lobbyists and lawyers will carve out a few dozen exceptions to ensure that rapists won’t be considered for jobs at women’s gyms and embezzlers won’t be interviewed for cashier positions.
- Felons will advance in the hiring process only to have their hopes dashed after the second or third interview.
- Companies will be sued for doing simple Internet background checks and tossing felonious applicants out without interviewing them.
- When the lobbying, lawyering and evading are all done, companies that are open to hiring felons will still hire felons and those opposed still will not.
In the long, sordid and failed history of governmental social engineering, thus has it been and thus always shall it be.
Link to article: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140601/NEWS/406010318&cid=mostclicked
Oregonians are about to embark on a difficult yearlong debate on public safety: Would Oregon roads be safer if undocumented immigrants had driver’s licenses and vehicle insurance?…
It is no secret that many undocumented immigrants in Oregon overstayed their visas, or crossed into the country illegally, in search of a better life for their families and themselves. They are driving — to work, to medical appointments, to church and to other activities.
Instead of ignoring that reality, it is good government policy to have them drive legally — with knowledge of Oregon and U.S. driving laws and customs, which differ from those in some countries, and with liability insurance in case of accidents…
The Salem Statesman-Journal
October 20, 2013
Lane Solutions responds & your comments
Drivers’ cards for illegals may or may not be a great idea – that debate’s for another day. Our objection is to the Statesman-Journal’s argument.
A couple hundred years ago poet Samuel Coleridge coined the term “willing suspension of disbelief.” This is why you get tense when the bad guy’s going to ambush Agent 007 in a movie or laugh when Larry pops Moe in the noggin with a pipe wrench. You know that neither is real but you get a kick out of them anyway.
Coleridge would have loved the Statesman-Journal, which asks us to buy their line that people who a) are in the country illegally and b) stole a Social Security number if they got a job are c) going to immerse themselves in our driving laws and d) shell out a pile of money for liability insurance.
If the paper wants to argue for or against driver’s cards for illegals – fine. All we ask is that they don’t treat their readers like idiots who don’t know a moronic argument when they see one.
By Kevin Mannix
Just imagine you’re at home relaxing in the living room with your spouse and kids, when an intruder attempts to break down your door. What would you do?
- Submit, give in to the intruder’s effort to break in and not protect your family
- Protect yourself and your family
Clearly, the choice would be to protect yourself and your family, but this can have legal implications, especially under the civil law.
Under these circumstances, there are two parts of Oregon law to be concerned about:
The big issue is possible civil liability.
An attorney for the criminal intruder may seek damages from you on various legal theories including the argument that you should have retreated, with your family, in your own home. There was a case in another state where a burglar shot and wounded a homeowner; the homeowner returned fire and wounded the burglar, who escaped. The burglar was later found, and tried and convicted of burglary and assault. Yet, the burglar then filed a civil suit against the homeowner for injuries suffered by the burglar when the homeowner fought back and shot the burglar.
Realistically, you would probably win a civil case brought against you by a criminal intruder but only after much time, trouble and expense.
Secondly, it is possible you could be prosecuted; the reality is most prosecutors will not bring charges in these types of cases because the juries will not look kindly at criminal intruders, but the possibility is still there.
Common Sense For Oregon is working to clean the air about your rights through a citizen initiative, The Oregon Castle Doctrine Act. Common Sense For Oregon is currently collecting petition signatures (we need 130,000 before July 1st) to get this major citizen initiative on Oregon’s November 2014 Ballot. To date, 35 states have adopted a “Castle Doctrine.” Now let’s make Oregon the 36th state!
The Oregon Castle Doctrine Act would allow homeowners to defend themselves and their loved ones, without having to later defend themselves in court.
If you would like to know more about supporting The Oregon Castle Doctrine Act you can visit the Common Sense For Oregon website www.commonsensefororegon.com , call 503-480-0523, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to be able to defend yourself and your loved ones against a criminal trying to break-in, without having to worry about being sued, support The Oregon Castle Doctrine Act.
The Sheriff’s Office has been working hard to hire staff and prepare the jail for the July 1 opening of more jail beds.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office (“LCSO”) will bring on new staff and open up more jail beds in two phases, culminating in the reopening of 131 more jail beds by July 8, 2013 – all in the name of making Lane County a safer place to live. Housing areas of the jail that had been collecting dust are being cleaned and refurbished to hold inmates once again.
To keep all of the costs down we have been using inmate workers to complete much of the work. They are cleaning and painting the cells as well as re-grouting the showers in the housing areas that are being reopened. 14 previously laid off LCSO Deputy Sheriffs have accepted recall notices and will return to employment with LCSO. These are positions that were vacant and can be immediately filled and put to use.
We will fill the remaining 32 Deputy positions during a second recruiting campaign. These will be directly paid for with the levy money. In the near future we will be recruiting and filling the remaining 6.5 positions that make up the rest of the positions which will be paid for with the levy.
The Sheriff’s Office is working hard to get the jail beds reopened as soon as possible so the community can begin to feel some relief from the daily capacity based releases that we have all endured for far too long. The planning began well before the levy passed in hopes that it indeed would; now this preplanning is paying off by accelerating our opening of the additional beds.
While the reopened beds won’t eliminate the early releases, they will allow the jail to hold more violent offenders rather than releasing them into the community. Anyone interested in employment opportunities within the Lane County Sheriff’s Office should visit http://jobs.lanecounty.org
I am excited about the progress so far and I have you, Lane County citizens, to thank for this opportunity. We are working on the annual audit of all expenditures of levy funds and I hope the information will be available soon so citizens can track how their money is being spent and ensure that it is spent exactly as you intended. The actual audit is relatively simple, but making the information it generates available on an ongoing basis is what I’m hoping for. It is also important to mention that the money is “carryover” money, so it cannot ever be used for a different purpose. If there is money left at the end of the five years we can continue using it for public safety until it is exhausted.
I plan to provide regular progress reports to the public on our use of the levy funds and to keep up a very robust public meeting schedule to continue to keep the Sheriff’s Office and our progress on everyone’s mind!
From all of us who work in your Sheriff’s Office to keep you safe -Thanks again to all of you who helped make this happen.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have a question or issue.
Tom Turner – Lane County Sheriff
By Susanne Penegor
Local stores can’t keep gun ammunition in stock due to panic buying as consumers worry about the government’s willingness to propose new gun control legislation for law-abiding citizens. This bipartisan issue has turned guns and ammunition into hot commodities nationwide. Local stores limit the amount of ammunition consumers can buy and customers line up early in the morning to buy out ammunition in a matter of hours. A local Bi-Mart store said they had not had .22 shells available for sale for 3 weeks.
Gun clubs are adding gun safety and personal protection classes as women who have never shot a gun before are being told by their families to learn how to use one. Recently there was a proposal in Salem to limit Oregonian households to one gun per house. If that law had passed, the police would go door to door and take away extra guns from law-abiding citizens. Even hunters and gun collectors could have been impacted by this proposed bad legislation.
The panic buying of guns and ammunition fueled by recent proposed gun control legislation nationwide is spurred by rumors that the Obama Administration is trying to take away our Second Amendment rights, not by taking guns off the market–but by taking ammunition off of the market.
While the US doesn’t require gun registration yet, gun buyers are subject to background checks and fingerprinting. According to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, the US has the best-armed civilian population in the world, with an estimated 270 million guns. That’s an average of 89 firearms for every 100 residents. Firearms that do require registration in the US that are subject to the National Firearms Act include machine guns, shotguns and rifles with barrels shorter than 18 inches and silencers.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which handles that registration, there were more than 3.1 million National Firearms Act-registered weapons in the US as of March 2012. The National Rifle Association estimates that 100 million American own guns legally.
Some American cities have their own gun control laws now which prohibit guns in public parks. In Utah it is illegal to display a gun in public at all without being subject to a law prohibiting “brandishing” a gun in public. There is a crazy quilt of local laws for states and cities that have effectively amended the Second Amendment without having to go to Congress to change our Constitution.
The gun control enthusiasts don’t want to address the issue of how gun ownership saves lives or stops crime by using guns for self-defense. A recent Gallup poll noted that 3 in 10 Americans own a gun and most gun owners say they use their guns to protect themselves against crime, for hunting and for target shooting. According to a 2012 Gallup poll, Republican and Democratic gun owners are almost equally likely to say they use a gun for protection against crime, 64% to 69%, respectively. According to Gallup, male gun owners are more likely than female owners to say they use a gun for hunting (53% to 45%, respectively) or for target shooting (68% to 59%), while female owners are slightly more likely than male gun owners to use a gun for protection (74% to 63%, respectively).
History shows that a government that takes away citizens’ guns disarms their populace to gain political control over them. The first thing that Nazis did in Germany was to take away the guns from their citizens. Our forefathers understood the need for self-defense of all kinds, including against a tyrannical government. While various government entities in the US are taking a Big Brother approach to us and would like to strip us of our Second Amendment rights, it is up to us to remain vigilant and to keep our elected officials accountable for their actions–especially involving proposed gun control laws.
Susanne Penegor is an Oregon native, a graduate of the U of O and a former local business owner.
By: Jacob Daniels
There is a case pending in Springfield Municipal Court wherein an individual is being charged with 35 counts of Invasion of Privacy. I make no assertions of guilt or innocence because I believe that we are all entitled to the protections of the United States and Oregon Constitutions.
It is alleged that the perpetrator in the case at hand used a video camera to look through the bedroom window of his neighbors’ minor daughter. Under Oregon’s Invasion of Privacy statute, ORS 163.700, the maximum punishment for this type of conduct, which is a Class A Misdemeanor, is one year in jail and/or a fine of $6,250.
I attended high school with the parents of the alleged victim. They are good people. The mother decided to confront this bad situation and “take lemons and make lemonade.” She created a Facebook page called “Make Video Voyeurism a Felony” and I was happy to join the page.
I watched the alleged victim’s family and friends make lots of noise about the deficiencies in Oregon privacy law. I quietly waited for a legislator to take up the issue. But nobody took action. Finally, I sent a message to the mother of the alleged victim and offered my assistance. I told her that I knew a few people in Salem and maybe I could get them to look at the issue.
I made several contacts with folks at the legislature about changing the law and Senator Tim Knopp’s office decided to grab this issue and run with it. The Senator invited the family to visit him at the Capitol and is working to make the change.
In sum, I was impressed by what can happen when the right people serve in government. Great things can happen as a result and I’m cautiously optimistic that we can increase the penalty for video voyeurism when the victim is a minor child.
This whole situation has affirmed my belief that government can serve “We the People” when the right people serve.
Jacob Daniels is an attorney in Creswell, Oregon
By Michael D. Schrunk and Rod Underhill
Recently Gov. John Kitzhaber was forced to present a difficult budget proposal. Some members of the current Commission on Public Safety apparently feel this calls for a significant redesign of the criminal justice system, including “comprehensive sentencing reform.” Many members of the law enforcement community, however, are puzzled about the need to redesign one of the most progressive and successful systems in the nation.
Only a quarter of convicted felons in this state go to prison, compared with a national average of 40 percent, producing one of America’s lower incarceration rates. We nonetheless have been a national leader in the reduction of violent crime since the passage of mandatory sentencing for some violent crimes. Oregon was the first state whose laws require evidence-based practices for those on probation and parole. Prisons here have a lower percentage of property and drug offenders than in any other state. We have decided on a policy to reserve prison space for violent offenders while we attempt to help those who commit drug and property offenses turn their lives around. We have dramatically reduced our recidivism rate in the past five years. The list goes on.
Soon the Commission on Public Safety will report on sentencing reform, and the question remains: Why drastically overhaul one of the most successful justice systems in the country? The answer proposed by some is that current sentencing laws will produce “unsustainable” prison growth over the next 10 years — requiring more than 2,000 new prison beds. This is a questionable proposition.
First, prison population forecasting in this state has had an uneven history at best. Every 10-year forecast since 1995 has predicted greater prison growth than actually occurred, with some fully 47 percent high. These past overpredictions are invariably used by critics to advocate for wide-ranging changes in sentencing policy, as is being done now.
Second, none of the currently predicted prison growth is a result of mandatory sentences for violent crimes. Violent crime policy in this state has been so successful that the prison population of offenders serving mandatory sentences is stable.
Third, more than 60 percent of predicted prison growth in the next decade will simply result from state population growth. Additional public services required by population growth are inherently sustainable, because population growth produces proportionally increased tax revenue. Indeed, while the state economist predicts a 16 percent increase in prison beds in the next decade, he also predicts a 48 percent increase in state government revenues in that same period. This should provide a solution in itself.
We understand through experience the need to scrutinize government operations for savings. No one should believe, however, that cutting prison spending, which constitutes only 9 percent of general fund expenditures, can contribute much to other areas.
Indeed, the one negative in the overall bright picture in Oregon’s justice system has come when incarceration has been reduced in several counties. Here in Multnomah County, for example, more than 35 percent of jail beds have been cut since 2001, contributing, we believe, to Portland’s increasing property crime rate. Further, a recent look at county and emergency inmate releases reveals that about 75 percent of released inmates commit new offenses on release. That’s food for thought as we examine what we should do statewide.
That said, we also have ideas about how sentencing policy can be reformed safely to improve current practices. Law enforcement representation on the current commission has proposed comprehensive measures that would save money without sacrificing the integrity and effectiveness of a justice system produced in no small part by voter participation. We hope the commission will take these proposals seriously and not press forward unwisely based on questionable perceptions regarding public safety policy.
Michael D. Schrunk has been Multnomah County district attorney since 1981 and is retiring this month. Rod Underhill is Multnomah County district attorney-elect.
Reprinted with permission from Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance
By Jay Bozievich
Domestic Violence Awareness Month recently ended, but our efforts to stop domestic violence and to end the silence should continue throughout the year. That is why I signed a Declaration of Support for the Lane Domestic Violence Council in October and pledge to end the silence.
It is also why the Board of Commissioners used $78,000 in car rental taxes to provide additional funds for the Human Services Commission, $50,000 specifically to prevent deep cuts to rural service providers like Siuslaw Outreach Services. Supporting organizations like Siuslaw Outreach Services and Womenspace financially or by volunteering are great ways of helping those fleeing abusive relationships and educating the public.
Unfortunately, our local economic conditions are not helping in the fight against domestic violence. Economic stress and domestic violence are interwoven and the economy of western Lane County has created a high degree of stress. The percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunches in the rural and coastal school districts is far above the more urban districts. Siuslaw has 46.2% of students eligible, Lincoln County has 62.8%, Reedsport has 65.4%, Blachly has 67.5% and Mapleton has 71.2% of their students eligible! This compares to 36.5% eligible in Eugene School District 4j.
Efforts to escape domestic violence can also have devastating economic impacts. Leaving a relationship might mean losing a job, housing, health care, childcare, or access to a partner’s income. Economic hardship reduces options for someone leaving a bad relationship. A person escaping a violent relationship must be able to financially support themselves (sic) and their (sic) children after leaving an abusive partner. Short term housing and assistance are available from agencies like Siuslaw Outreach Services but these are often limited due to funding.
A Michigan study found that 63% of welfare recipients experienced physical abuse while the rate for the general public is closer to 20%. 51% of those Michigan welfare recipients experienced severe physical abuse during their lifetimes. In Oregon, approximately 80% of people requesting assistance from DHS Self Sufficiency list a history of domestic violence. Economic hardship does not cause domestic violence but economic pressure in homes that experience violence adds to it. It also limits the ability to leave a violent relationship.
A growing economy offers more opportunities to those trying to free themselves from domestic violence and that is why I support efforts to create economic opportunities in Lane County. That support includes projects that would upgrade our freight rail connections that will facilitate redevelopment of the abandoned and underutilized mill sites along the Siuslaw. I have supported efforts to improve Highway 126 that brings tourist and goods to coastal Lane County. In addition, I support efforts to return to active management of our federal forests under a sustained yield model such as proposed by Congressmen DeFazio.
It is also why I supported the Women in Transition program at Lane Community College while I was on the Board of Education. This program helps women access education, training, and employment to become more self-sufficient.
We can all do our part to aid the victims of domestic violence and to help prevent it by contributing to organizations like Siuslaw Outreach Services and other agencies that provide housing, food, legal and other assistance to people impacted by domestic violence as well as education for the public. If you do not have financial resources to help, consider volunteering your time.
One of the simplest things we can do is to recognize that domestic violence is still a problem and promise not to remain silent when you become aware of it. Encourage possible victims and/or abusers to get help. Have them contact Siuslaw Outreach services at 541-997-2816 or Womenspace’s 24-Hour Crisis Line at 541-485-6513 or 800-281-2800 toll free.
Together, we can make Domestic Violence Awareness Month last the entire year and help secure successful pathways out of violence.
Jay Bozievich is a Lane County Commissioner
Reprinted with permission from the Siuslaw News