by NW Spotlight
As 2015 comes to an end, here’s a look back at the ten most popular 2015 Oregon Catalyst stories. Counting down from number 10:
Ten. Oregon’s homelessness problem among ex-legislators – Our 2015 April Fools’ special followed the plight of former state Rep. Patrick Sheehan (R-Happy Valley) and his “fall from heyday as jetsetter to homelessness.” The crux of the problem? “Oregon legislators quickly become accustomed to an extravagant life style made possible by the exorbitant pay they earn in the Legislature, and when that goes away, they still have the new lifestyle to pay for.” That “exorbitant pay” in 2013 was $22.3K a year.
Nine. State Sen. Mark Hass injured at wooly mammoth preserve – We parodied Sen. Mark Hass’ efforts to protect endangered animals by closing “loopholes” in the sale of ivory – animals that included the wooly mammoth! We noted “Many had thought the wooly mammoth to be extinct and thus technically no longer endangered.”
Eight. Early look at Oregon’s 2016 elections – An early look at all the state and U.S. level elections in Oregon in 2016.
Seven. Oregon judge’s connection to illegal immigrant’s murder of Kate Steinle – It was an Oregon judge who ruled in April 2014 that holding an illegal immigrant for an immigration hold violated their constitutional rights. In the wake of the ruling, 30 of Oregon’s 36 counties quickly became “sanctuary counties.” That game changing ruling was followed by a coordinated campaign by immigrant rights’ groups and the ACLU to push other counties throughout the U.S. to defy federal immigration hold requests (“ICE detainers”). On May 29, 2014 the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department announced that they would “no longer honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers unless they are supported by judicial determination of probable cause or with a warrant of arrest” – expanding San Francisco’s “sanctuary” status. That led to a convicted felon who has been deported 5 times walking the streets a free man – free to kill 32-year-old Kate Steinle.
Six. A glimpse inside the Orwellian world of Cylvia Hayes – Oregon’s former First Lady Cylvia Hayes was a speaker at the 2014 “Global Presencing Forum,” subtitled “From Ego to Eco-System Economies: Creating Well-Being for All.” Throughout the forum and all of its literature, videos and website, Hayes was billed as both Oregon First Lady and as CEO of 3EStrategies – indicative of her conflict-of-interest predicament. Hayes’ radical, self-serving views on the environment were very apparent. If you want to try to watch one of the videos or read any of the forum materials, you will likely need a translator. The forum is saturated with a deliberately contrived use of language – it is filled with doublespeak and Orwellian newspeak, beginning with the new word “presencing.” After her scandals hit the news, the 2014 Global Presencing Forum took down the video of Cylvia Hayes presenting at their forum – but Oregon Catalyst preserved a copy.
Five. Oregon Dems’ scandals & investigations – There were already 4 different federal investigations into the $250 million wasted on the Cover Oregon disaster, and then there were more federal and state investigations as part of the massive criminal public corruption probe into former Gov. John Kitzhaber and former First Lady Cylvia Hayes. Then email revelations brought Patricia McCaig back into the news. McCaig, “a secretive campaign consultant who liked to call herself the Princess of Darkness,” ran Kitzhaber’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. But wait, there was more! We developed a graphic to try to help make navigating all the bigger scandals and investigations a little bit easier.
Four. All Kitzhaber’s scandals in a single cartoon – Great cartoon by Taxpayer Association of Oregon/OregonWatchdog.com showing all of Governor Kitzhaber’s scandal headline friends at one sitting!
Three. Anti-gun bill SB 941 passed in the Oregon House – The flawed and unnecessary anti-gun bill, Senate Bill 941 (“universal” background checks), passed the Oregon House on May 4th of this year. It had passed the Oregon Senate in mid-April. Gov. Kate Brown (D) indicated she would sign it and she did. The only bi-partisan votes in the House were AGAINST the bill. It took a last minute Bloomberg media blitz and backroom deals to roll some soft-spined Democrats into supporting the flawed bill. The Dems rolled by their caucus were Rep Brent Barton (D-Clackamas County), Rep Deborah Boone (D-Cannon Beach), Rep Brian Clem (D-Salem) and Rep Paul Evans (D-Monmouth). All votes cast in support of SB 941 in both the House and Senate were by Democrats. SB 941 would not have prevented the Clackamas Town Center shooting, it did not prevent the shooting at Umpqua Community College, it was opposed by members of law enforcement and it did NOTHING to address mental health.
Two. No wonder Gov. Kate Brown wants to punish the whistle blowers! – Just hours after Kate Brown was sworn in as governor, her highest ranking administrator launched a criminal probe against the whistleblowers who had refused to delete Kitzhaber emails – emails that will be crucial in the numerous federal and state investigations into the former governor and his “first lady.” Some of the emails showed a possible motive for Brown’s stunning and repressive move against the whistleblowers. Willamette Week’s Nigel Jaquiss reported “Emails that former Gov. John Kitzhaber tried to have deleted reveal that he turned decision-making for the troubled state health exchange, Cover Oregon, over to a campaign consultant.” [That consultant was Patricia McCaig – who was not a state employee]. Cover Oregon is also under federal investigation. Brown’s earlier response (in her prior role as Oregon Secretary of State, which oversees elections) to Patricia McCaig “working off the books” on Kitzhaber’s re-election wasn’t even a slap on the wrist for the “Princess of Darkness”: “No need to report McCaig’s in-kind political work.” That apparently partisan call (not Brown’s first) – just before the November 2014 election – may come back to bite Brown.
One. SB 941 closes marijuana-user gun purchase loophole – Anti-gun Oregon legislators Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) & Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) pushed SB 941, a bill that expanded requiring background checks for most personal sales of firearms (which passed and was signed into law). The bill also happened to close a loophole for Oregon marijuana users looking to buy firearms. Sen. Burdick and Sen. Prozanski both sat on the Joint Committee On Implementing Measure 91 (the measure to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Oregon), Sen. Burdick as Co-Chair.
Rounding out the Top 20 (out of over 500 new columns/articles in 2015):
Note: Ranking was determined by number of hits the article received – not the number of Facebook “Likes”