People of color continue to be stopped and searched by the police than other Portlanders. Racial profiling has not abated according to a draft 36-page report released February 18 by Portland Police Bureau Chief Rosie Sizer. The report, long awaited by the community, outlines Sizer's assessment of the problem as well as steps to eliminate racial profiling by making the police bureau better reflect the community it is supposed to serve. Jo Ann and Dave review the draft plan's strenths and weaknesses.
African Americans in Multnomah County are twice as likely to die from diabetes or stroke than white county residents. Hispanic mothers are two times less likely to have early prenatal care white mothers. Native Americans in the county die from HIV at three times the rate of whites.
Multnomah County, through programs like the Health Equity Intitiative, has made signficant progress in addressing health disparities. But as these figures from the County's March 2008 Report Card on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities show, much work remains to be done. How will the county do this as it struggles with a deepening budget crisis and the economic meltdown worsens the social and environmental factors that influence health equity in our region?
Next week the Portland City Council starts to consider an $85 million proposal by Merritt Paulson to bring major league soccer to Portland. Paulson wants the city to contribute $20-$40 million of urban renewal money - funds intended to combat "urban blight" - to close the deal. The Portland Development Commission's advisory task force has just completed a review that recommends conditional approval. Paulson and his supporters say those dollars will create jobs and enhance the community. Critics not only say that soccer doesn't qualify but that its diverting funds from essential county services.
Central City Concern, with a $33 million annual budget and 23 buildings, is the city's biggest nonprofit landlord in downtown Portland. Some of the nonprofit's tenants, however, say their landlord has let apartment buildings fall into disrepair and disregarded tenants'demands for action or even a chance to speak to Central City Concern's board about the problem.
The play's the thing. Theater offers reflections of reality but can it serve as a specific tool in tackling problems? Jo Ann and Dave talk with members of PassinArt: A Theater Company about their production of "A Sunbeam" by award-winning playwright John Henry. This unique production of a play about a family torn apart by problems includes "talk back" sessions with cast members and professionals from the Avel Gordley Center for Healing.
City Commissioner Randy Leondard wants major league soccer in Portland. Despite a darkening economic picture, the commissioner is pushing hard to close a deal that involves using public dollars to make it happen. But some Portlanders are concerned about the use of urban renewal dollars for upgrading PGE Stadium for soccer and building a new replacement baseball stadium. Dave Mazza discusses the potential risks and pitfalls of the stadium deal as well as other risky "public-private" partnerships looming on the horizon.
Over 440,000 people will be detained by the U.S. government this year. Women, children, the elderly, asylum seekers, torture victims and even long-time permanent residents will be detained for months - in some cases years - awaiting a determination on their status. Many of these people will be detained without a judicial hearing or access to an attorney in a nation that prides itself on the rule of law and due process. Will the Obama adminstration create real immigration reform to ensure the people who come to our shores are treated fairly?
As Oregon's economy continues to decline, lawmakers are faced with a growing budget gap and spiraling prisons costs driven by state mandatory sentencing laws. Some in the legislature say its time to revise state sentencing programs and find more efficient ways to handle convicted offenders. Among the proposals working their way through the legislative process is a bill that would allow judges to review mandatory sentences at mid-point and revise them if deemed appropriate. Dave and Jo Ann talk with Rep. Chip Shields about this proposed bill and other changes lawmakers are considering this session.
May 1, 2009 marks the 123rd anniversary of a rally for the eight-hour day in Chicago's Haymarket Square that ended with a police riot that left over a dozen dead. The political trial and hanging of four anarchists that followed sparked protests around the world and the designation by the Second International of May 1 as International Workers' Day, more commonly known as May Day. But does commemoration of a 19th century incident have relevance for people in the 21st century? Does demonstrating on May Day have meaning for you?
Last week, President Obama reached his first 100 days in office, triggering a media flurry of speculation about how well he's doing. Communities of color - already hurting before the lastest round of troubles - have been measuring up the new president as well. Is President Obama pushing to create justice for all or is he too bogged down in the legacy of his predecessor? What should we be doing to push the president down the path of racial equity?