This week on Voices from the Edge, Jo Ann and Dave talked with Wray Harris, president of Iraq Veterans Against the War (Oregon) about who is paying the real cost of America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Oregon lawmakers are considering several bills aimed at sex-trafficking, including tougher sentences and fines, publicizing names of johns, and detention of child prostitutes. This week, Jo Ann and Dave took a look at these bills and at other strategies for stopping sexual exploitation of Oregon youth.
Harming poor kids: a look at Gov. Kitzhaber's proposed "reform" of TANF
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, better known as TANF, provides poor families with cash assistance for basic necessities while also offering parents job training to get them into the workforce. Even in the best of economic times, it is an essential safety net for thousands of Oregon families. Governor Kitzhaber is proposing what has been called "draconian" changes to the program that would limit eligibility, reduce an already meager cash payment and impose an 18-month lifetime limit in the midst of a recession marked by record long-term unemployment. While the governor's plan may cut TANF costs, it may also swell the ranks of homeless families and children in foster care.
Avel Gordley was the first African American woman elected to the Oregon Senate, a distinction earned through years of struggle. Gordley's experience growing up black in the Portland of the 1950s and 1960s illuminates an important piece of city and state history as well as casting a light on "the politics of being an African American woman."
This week, Jo Ann and Dave spoke with Avel Gordley about her life as a community activist, lawmaker and educator, and about her memoir, Remembering the Power of Words, which reflects on the personal and professional challenges Gordley has faced and overcome.
Thursday afternoon, Portlanders had an opportunity to air their feelings about a Portland joining the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, or "JTTF." Mayor Adams has put forward a resolution that he, other council members and some groups say would preserve Oregon constitutional and statutory constraints on Portland police when working within the JTTF.
An estimated 137,000 Oregonians suffer from serious mental illness and nearly 39,000 children live with serious mental health conditions. How well do we support these individuals and their families?
Oregon's public mental health system provides services to only 43 percent of adults who live with serious mental illnesses, spending only $117 per capita or 2.1 percent of total state spending. With the legislature struggling with budget cuts, how will mental health services fare?
Foreclosure filings are soaring and lawmakers are balking. Voices from the Edge hosts JoAnne & Dave talk with Economic Fairness Oregon's Angela Martin about what needs to happen to protect Oregonians from the foreclosure tsunami.
Each month, nearly a quarter million Oregonians ate meals from emergency food boxes provided by the Oregon Food Bank network. Last year, the network moved a record 72 million pounds of food to hungry people. Who are these Oregonians? Are their numbers growing? Are the resources available to meet this growing need?
How seriously will the Feds look at police practices?
The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division is beginning an investigation into the policies and practices of the Portland Police Bureau to determine whether officers routinely use excessive force to violate Portlanders' civil rights. Community leaders who have been calling for such an investigation were finally joined in their request by Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Dan Saltzman following the January 2010 police killing of Aaron Campbell. While the DOJ determined no federal law had been violated in the Campbell case, the agency did feel a review of bureau policies and practices are needed.
The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that their plan for investigating policies and practices of the Portland Police Bureau to determine whether individual's civil rights are being violated allocates only six hours to meeting with the community. Such a narrow window has raised concerns with community leaders who have been pressing for the investigation and fears within the community that the investigation is yet another paper chase.