• Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum was Special Guest at November Central Oregon Coast NOW Meeting

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) celebrated its second anniversary with a dinner meeting on November 17 at Stone Crest Cellars Italian Bistro and Wine Bar.  Over 30 members and guests were in attendance.  Special guest was Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

Rosenblum congratulated the NOW Chapter on the recent passage of Measure 89, the Oregon Equal Rights Amendment.  Many members had put in lots of hours working on the campaign.  Measure 89 passed by a significant margin, 64% Yes votes to 36% No votes.

Rosenblum also congratulated Lincoln County District Attorney Michelle Branam on her recent election win (Branam ran unopposed) and pointed out that Branam was one of only five female district attorneys out of 36 district attorneys in the state.  Rosenblum is one of 10 female state attorney generals in the United States out of 50 total.

Of particular interest to chapter members was that the Oregon Department of Justice, which is headed by Attorney General Rosenblum, collects over One Million Dollars each day in child support.   Rosenblum thanked Branam for the help the Lincoln County District Attorney’s office provides in collecting that support.

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) works locally and nationally to eliminate discrimination against women in all sectors of society, to assure access to reproductive health care, to eliminate domestic and sexual violence, and to promote equality and justice in our community.  The Chapter was active for several years before going dormant.  It was reactivated two years ago and now has over 50 members.

Central Oregon Coast NOW will not be meeting in December.  Starting in 2015, the Chapter will regularly meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month.  The next meeting will be Tuesday, January 27 at the Central Lincoln PUD Meeting Room, 2129 North Coast Highway, Newport.  For more information about Central Oregon Coast NOW, please email centraloregoncoastnow@gmail.com or call 503-577-3585.  Website:  www.centraloregoncoastnow. com.

Obama Immigration Speech: CBS, Fox, NBC & ABC Not Airing


UPDATED with ABC decision not to air speech live: President Barack Obama will finally make public tomorrow night his plan to overhaul immigration. However, while his primetime speech will postpone part of Univision’s 15th annual Latin Grammys, it will not be covered by the Big 4.

The administration said today that Obama will be speaking live from the White House at 8 PM ET on Thursday. But ABC has the fall finale for Grey’s Anatomy on at that time, while CBS has ratings powerhouse The Big Bang Theory, NBC has reality show The Biggest Loser and Fox has Bones. As of right now, none plans changes to their regularly scheduled Thursday night November sweep schedules for the approximately 15-minute speech.

Although Obama’s speech will be seen on cable news siblings Fox News and MSNBC, Fox and NBC are not carrying it live on their broadcast networks; CNN will show it live. A CBS News division spokesperson says the network will also not be showing Obama’s approximately 15-minute address on Thursday night. (UPDATE, 2:34 PM: An ABC spokesman “ABC is not carrying the president’s address on the television network —  it will be carried on all our ABC News digital platforms, including Apple TV, and radio.” Which means it is still Shondaland on ABC on Thursday.)

The broadcast networks were not asked for time by the administration, sources tell me. The time zone difference will see NBC, CBS and ABC adding coverage of Obama’s immigration speech to the West Coast versions of their national nightly news shows.

One network will absolutely be showing the speech live, I’ve learned. With an audience very interested in what Obama has to say, Univision has the 2014 Latin Grammys on tomorrow from 8-11 PM. The speech and possible analysis will be cutting into that broadcast. This is how the network said in a statement that they would handle the two events:

Univision Network will air the POTUS announcement regarding Executive Action on Immigration live tomorrow. We will proceed with our coverage plans for the Latin GRAMMY’s, immediately following the President’s remarks. Complete coverage of the announcement, reactions and what it means for the US will  be covered across Univision’s news platforms, as well as on the Network’s “Despierta America” morning show.

Fellow Spanish-language network Telemundo will also show the speech live, with reaction and analysis to follow at least until 9 PM.

Obama’s presumed executive orders on immigration will come just as ABC is kicking off a trio of fall finales for the Shonda Rhimes-produced Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and freshman How To Get Away With Murder. ABC earlier in the day told Deadline it had not made a decision on how the speech could hit their schedule or if it would be aired live. Unless Obama intends on talking for more than an hour, only Grey’s would have been be affected.

Ironically, Grey’s Season 11 fall finale has a Presidential plot line with the White House wanting Patrick Dempsey’s Dr. Derek Shepard to come to D.C. to run a brain-mapping initiative.

Oregon bucks national trend, elects labor-friendly pols

Oregonians bucked the national trend on Election Day, with the Oregon AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education (COPE) coming close to an electoral “sweep,” electing or re-electing labor friendly politicians and passing or defeating ballot measures.

Every Democratic incumbent in Congress and the governor’s office won re-election; in fact, not one was even close. Democrats also picked up two more seats in the Oregon Senate and one more seat in the House. That advantage — 18-12 in the Oregon Senate and 35-25 in the Oregon House — will give organized labor a fighting chance of passing pro-worker legislation next year, like raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing the right to sick leave.

One ballot measure that was fiercely opposed by most unions — a “top-two primary” measure sponsored by centrist millionaires and billionaires — went down to defeat by a two-to-one margin, despite outspending opponents by three to one.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the work that union members did, and I hope the Koch brothers and their ilk heard us loud and clear: ‘stay out of Oregon,’” said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain.

Members of AFL-CIO-affiliated unions took part in an eight-region field campaign that spanned from Astoria to Bend to Medford, Chamberlain said.

“We know that the hundreds of thousands of conversations they had with their fellow union members helped pro-worker candidates like Senator Jeff Merkley and Governor John Kitzhaber win, and beat back Measure 90, which would have made it harder for working people to run for office. This field program bucked the national trend, and Oregon will be better for it.”

Voter turnout in Oregon was relatively strong for a midterm election.   Out of 2.2 million registered voters in the state, 69.5 percent, or 1.5 million returned ballots. When including eligible voters, however, turnout slipped to 52 percent, according to the United States Election Project.

In Washington, only 51.2 percent of registered voters cast ballots — and only 38.6 percent of eligible voters voted. It was worse nationally, where only 36.6 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. Census numbers from 2010 show that more than 70 million U.S. citizens of voting age are not registered to vote.

What follows is a ballot scorecard:

Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate.  A working class hero is something to be.  Merkley, 58, one of labor’s best allies in the Senate, defeated Monica Wehby, a rich doctor and first-time candidate who cribbed even her health care policy proposals from other Republican candidates’ talking points. Merkley won with 56 percent of the vote.

John Kitzhaber for Governor. Kitzhaber, 67, antagonized public employee unions when he led pension cuts that are being challenged in court. But he fought hard for a new I-5 Bridge, and he did broker a deal that kept an anti-union measure off the ballot. And he was better on labor issues than his challenger, conservative Republican state representative Dennis Richardson.  Kitzhaber won an unprecedented fourth term with just under 50 percent of the vote.

Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader were re-elected to Congress by wide margins. [Republican Greg Walden was re-elected to Congress in District 2. He was endorsed by the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council, but not by the Oregon AFL-CIO.]

Measure 89, the Equal Rights measure, passed 63.8 percent to 36.2 percent. It amends the state Constitution to guarantee that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the State of Oregon or by any political subdivision in this state on account of sex.”

Measure 90, the top two primary, was defeated 68 percent to 32 percent.

The Oregon AFL-CIO missed on Measure 88, the driver card for immigrants. It was defeated, 66.4 percent to 33.6 percent.

One of labor’s highest priority races was in state Senate District 8, where labor-endorsed Democrat Sara Gelser of Corvallis unseated Republican incumbent Betsy Close of Albany. Close was appointed to the Senate seat in 2012 to succeed moderate Republican Frank Morse, who stepped down mid-term. Prior to that Close served in the state House from 1999 to 2005. Gelser, who has served as a state representative for District 16 since 2005, won handily, capturing 56 percent of the vote.

In another priority race in the Senate, the AFL-CIO helped re-elect Alan Bates in District 3, Medford. The race was a re-match from 2010, pitting Bates, an osteopathic physician who has represented the Southern Oregon district since 2004, against Republican challenger Dave Dotterrer, a retired Marine Corps colonel. In 2010 Bates was re-elected by fewer than 300 votes. On Nov. 4 he won by more than 3,700 votes.

Other labor-backed senators included Floyd Prozanski in District 4, Eugene; Lee Beyer in District 6, Springfield; Chris Edwards in District 7, Eugene; Peter Courtney in District 11, Salem; Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward in District 17, Northwest Portland;   Michael Dembrow in District 23, Portland; and Rod Monroe in District 24, Portland.

Two union-endorsed challengers — Jamie Damon in District 20, Oregon City, and Robert Bruce in District 26, Hood River County — fell short in their Senate races. Damon, a former Clackamas County commissioner, was a priority race for labor. But she faced an uphill battle against first-term Republican Alan Olsen. That’s because redistricting by the Legislature in 2011 gave Republicans the advantage in District 20 based on voter registration.

Oregon House

The Oregon AFL-CIO backed 32  winners in the Oregon House of Representatives. Top priority races were Democrats Joe Gallegos in District 30, Hillsboro; Brent Barton in District 40, Oregon City; and Shemia Fagan in District 51, East Portland. All won by comfortable margins.

Other labor-endorsed winners were Democrats Caddy McKeown in District 9, Coos Bay; David Gomberg in District 10, Lincoln City; Phil Barnhart in District 11, Eugene; John Lively in District 12, Springfield; Nancy Nathanson in District 13, Eugene; Val Hoyle in District 14, Eugene; Dan Rayfield in District 16, Corvallis; Paul Evans in District 20, Monmouth; Betty Komp in District 22, Woodburn; Tobias Read in District 27, Beaverton; Jeff Barker in District 28, Aloha; Susan McLain in District 29, Hillsboro;  Brad Witt in District 31, Clatskanie; Mitch Greenlick in District 33, Portland; Ken Helm in District 34, Beaverton; Margaret Doherty in District 35, Tigard; Jennifer Williamson in District 36, Portland; Ann Lininger in District 38, Lake Oswego; Kathleen Taylor in District 41, Milwaukie; Rob Nosse in District 42, Portland; Lew Frederick in District 43, Portland; Tina Kotek in District 44, Portland; Barbara Smith Warner in District 45, Portland; Jessica Vega Pederson in District 47, East Portland; Jeff Reardon in District 48, Southeast Portland; Chris Gorsek in District 49, Troutdale; Carla Piluso in District 50, Gresham; and Republican Greg Smith in District 57, Heppner.

Three incumbent legislators who were re-elected had conditional endorsements from the AFL-CIO. That’s because none of them completed a policy questionnaire, which is a required part of the  endorsement process. They were Democratic Rep. Brian Clem in District 21, Salem; Republican Rep. John Huffman in District 59, The Dalles; and Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson in District 16, Scappoose.

Union-endorsed candidates who lost Nov. 4 included Sign Painters and Paint Makers Local 1094 member Scott Mills, running against a Republican incumbent in House District 18, Aurora; Independent candidate Chuck Lee in District 25, Keizer; Stephanie Nystrom in District 52, Hood River; and Craig Wilhelm in District 54, Bend.

Several union activists were among the endorsed winners Nov. 4, including Dembrow, Barker, McLain, Witt, Nosse and Gorsek.