Portland observer. (Portland, Or.) 1970-current, July 13, 1983, Page 2, Image 2

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    Page 2 Portland Observer, July 13. 1983
The "Poverty Gap"
There appears to be a move afoot to divide
m in o rity groups and to create com petition
among them fo r public services. Frequently
heard is the phrase "fe m in iz a tio n o f poverty.”
A U.S. Com m ission o f C iv il Rights C om m is­
sion report, " A G row ing Crisis: Disadvantaged
W omen and Their C hildren” details the eco­
nomic hardships faced by female heads o f house­
holds and their children.
Data in the report shows that between 1950
and 1981 the poverty rate fo r white male-headed
families declined by 51 percent ( o f course the
current depression has forced many families
back in to poverty). The number o f persons in
poverty level families headed by women in ­
creased 54 percent.
These facts demonstrate that women still
suffer jo b and wage discrim ination. The report
concluded that ” to ignore these im plications is
unconscionable negligence. The bodies, minds
and spirits o f m illions o f women and children
are being inevitably. . affected by the dispiriting
hand o f poverty.”
The forces o f government must come to the
aid o f women who, in attem pting to raise their
families, are receiving the brunt o f discrim ina­
tion and neglect.
Those politicians who, fo r their own political
ends, are using the hardships o f women to
attempt to fom ent conflict and com petition
between women and ethnic m inorities neglect to
add the other vital statistics contained in the
The situation is even worse fo r families
headed my m in o rity women. In 1981 the poverty
rates fo r persons in families headed by women
w ith children under 18 years was 68 percent fo r
blacks, 67 percent fo r Hispanics, and 43 percent
fo r whites.
It is im perative fo r those who are adversely
affected by discrim ination to w ork together to
force the changes that w ill bring justice and
equality and to resist the influences o f those who
w ould divide and conquer.
No right to know in Oregon
The "rig h t-to -k n o w ” b ill that w ould have re­
quired employers to in fo rm their employees
about toxic substances used in the workplace has
gone down to defeat in the Oregon House o f
Representatives. O nly 23 representatives voted
for it.
W ith m illions o f workers suffering from ex­
posure to asbestos, dioxins and many other
chemicals, this b ill was essential to the public
health. The b ill included long-term record-keep­
ing so that people exposed to substances now be­
lieved to be safe, but later determined to be dan­
gerous, could obtain in fo rm a tio n on their expo­
A pparently the representatives were scared
o ff by those who make heavy contributions to
their campaign chests and, o f course, G overnor
Atiyeh had threatened a veto.
* ’•
asaka :;
Letters to the Editor
The right to eat
by D r M anning M arable
Do poor people, children and the
unemployed have a right to eat?
Ronald Reagan doesn ‘I think so.
For fiscal year 1983. the govern­
ment cut $280 million from child
nutrition programs. $920 million
from food stamps, and another $70
million from the special Food Pro­
gram for W omen, Infants and C hil­
dren (W IC ). Now Reagan wants to
slash another billion dollars from
food stamps, and throw another
100,000 women and infants o ff the
W IC program. In 1984, Reagan says
he wants to cut another $400 million
from child nutrition programs. In
short, the president somehow has
the idea that he is Adolph Hitler,
and that babies, pregnant women,
today’s version o f the tier man Jews.
What are the results of these
ges/apo-like policies toward the
poor? According to the New York
Times, gross hunger and malnutri­
tion are becoming more prevalent
every day across America.
In Detroit, 410,000 men, womer
"F ro m the Grassroots ”
and children receive public aid.
2,500 laid -o ff men and women ruo
out o f their unemployment benefits
every month. The city's food service
programs are too poorly financed to
meet the crisis. Some private groups
have started emergency food pro­
grams, and over one hundred
churches have begun soup kitchens
and meal services to the neighbor­
hood poor. Yet thousands o f Detroit
families are starving.
In Denver, several thousand peo­
ple sleep on the streets and alleys at
night. Fifty food banks and pantries
have been started by the city govern­
ment, and about one thousand peo­
ple are currently receiving free food
from volunteer groups and religious
centers. But many emergency food
service centers say that (hey can’t
keep up with the demand for food.
Reagan says the answer to the
crisis o f hunger in America is ‘ ‘sur­
plus cheese” and “ self reliance.”
Translated into real terms, this
means thousands o f infants dying o f
malnutrition; thousands o f poor
people pushed into crime to feed
(heir families; thousands o f elderly
who die prematurely due to a lack of
Where's (he money going to come
from to guarantee that all A m eri­
cans have a basic right to eat? The
Pentagon budget. Weeks ago. Con­
gress approved part o f the budget
for developing (he M X Missile. I f
we halted production o f (he M X ,
the direct savings over five years
would be S23.9 billion A freeze on
nuclear warhead development and
testing over five years would save
t t .6 billion Halting the air-launched
Cruise Missile could save another
J3.2 billion over the same period.
The choice is ours. Either the
American people spend their taxes
to promote the danger of nuclear
war, or we build a new society where
hunger is abolished, where full em­
ployment exists, and where decent
schools, public medical care and
public housing are considered a
basic human right.
From The Boardroom
by Gladys M cC oy
We did it and with much less pain
and agony than had been envisioned!
You may recall my lamentation in
January, when we realized M ultno­
mah County would be reducing its
General Fund revenues by 14 m il­
lion dollars (six zeroes!). Most of
the special interest groups. A rt,
Libraries, Hom e Extension, were
very visible, recognizing tbe budget
crunch but — don’ t cut these pro­
grams. However, there was no way
such a deep cut could be made
without impacting every program.
The expectation had been approxi­
mately 137 jobs wold be lo s t...o n
top o f some losses already sustained
in December.
W ell, the dust has settled and we
can now see more clearly what the
results are. W hile the cuts were real,
the job loss has been greatly
curtailed. T o date only six persons
actually lost their jobs. This is due
in great measure to Project Save, an
award-winning strategy so recog­
nized by the National Association of
Counties at its annual meeting in
Project Save places employees
whose jobs are eliminated in other
openings within the County. Some­
times retraining is required, but (he
effort is to reduce the number o f un­
employed people in the community.
O f course. A ffirm ative Action is an
area of great interest to me because
if we achieve all o f our goals, in
terms o f minority and female
M ultnom ah County Commissioner
employees, the number is not very
targe. On the other hand, when we
lose one, the impact, percentage­
wise is very great. For instance,
achieve a 5 W goal in management
only requires one person, converse­
ly, if we lose one person, the impact
would be no minority in manage­
ment. (Department head).
Unfortunately, this is the case
currently, M ultnom ah County has
no minority managers. However, I
am pleased to know o f the
employees who lost their jobs, only
one minority position was lost. I
should not become complacent
about this situation, because a
recent update o f our A ffirm ative
Action program indicated some real
disparity between the goals we have
established for ourselves and (he
current work force. Obviously, we
need to pay more attention to our
A ffirm ative Action policies which
have enjoyed full support o f the
Board and the Administration. I f it
is to be an effective program, it
must be systematically reviewed,
there must be expectation from
managers, there must be conse­
quences for non-compliance within
departments, as well as commenda­
tions for those managers who
exceed the approved goals. I will
take that as a personal challenge for
my office.
Another area that resulted from
budget cuts has been a reorganiza­
tion o f the County structure. We
formerly had five departments: A d ­
ministrative Services, Environmen­
Human Services, and O ffice of
County Management. Budget cuts,
plus the reorganization that occurred
as a result o f Ballot Measure 6 in
M ay o f 1982, that required four
more elected officials, plus the State
assumption o f the court system
necessitated our reorganization of
County government.
Currently, we have Environmen­
Hum an Services and a much
reduced Justice Services. The May-
elections also gave us an elected
Sheriff, elected Clerk, (Registrar of
Elections), elected Assessor and the
District Court Clerk. Recently, con­
troversy over the District Clerk
relates to the fact the position was
transferred to the State January 1,
1983, leaving a salaried position
with no functions. The Clerk was
hired by the State to carry on the
acquired functions, however, the
new County Charter change also
stipulated that we pay him. He has
been collecting one check from
M ultnom ah County for the elected
position with no job responsibilities
and the second check from the State
for performing duties. The issue is
currently being litigated and it may
be that money will be returned to
the General Fund when the issue is
To the Editor:
Any political movement is better
than none Why? Because if we look
back into history we will find that
all movements have produced some
positive results.
The U.S. C ivil W ar of 1861 186$
abolished slavery.
The C ivil Rights Movement of the
sixties improved some human rights.
The anti-colonial wars in Africa
have created many free African
The Afghan revolutions o f 1973
and 1978 have created a democratic
government today. Despite the U.S.
support for the feudal counterrevo­
lutionaries, the present government
is the sole representative o f the
masses. D on’t let the number o f
immigrants in Pakistan deceive you.
As soon as peace is achieved, there
will be prosperity and most o f the
Afghan migrants will go back to
their country. In fact, many o f them
are already moving back.
Remember the perverted Italy of
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Certainly i f we compare Rev.
Jackson with M r. Ronald V. Ddlums,
Julian Bond, and Harold Washing­
ton the difference is as big as day
and night. Because the latter gentle­
men are proven progressive politi­
cians who have years o f fighting ex­
perience in the art o f politics.
Certainly M r. Jackson's candi­
dacy at this time might sound op­
portunistic, but any movement is
better than none One needs a place
to learn and practice. Jackson’s
candidacy would create a forum for
the issues that you may have.
Nam e
A d d re s s
Mussolini and compare it with the
Italy o f today.
I could bring you several examples
where even the worst political move­
ments have eventually produced
progressive results. M aybe not im ­
mediately, but eventually.
Certainly any political movement
can be perverted by the commercial
monopolies. Any perversion o f a
movement is a temporary error o f
evolution which can be corrected by
conscious human effort in the proc­
ess o f the movement or after it.
by A.M. Nuljon
Portland Observer
•• M«i »
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Quorum o f One
by Greg Wasson
S A L E M — Tw o weeks ago, this
space contained a discussion of
using income tax increases to fund
property lax relief. One proposal
under consideration would tighten
up use o f capital gains status — an
accounting trick that allows those
who make money from investments
to pay lower taxes than if the same
money comes from working.
The column posed this question:
How does it help me if someone
buys 100 shares o f Pacific N orth­
west Bell, holds it for the required
time, sells at a profit and is taxed at
a lower rate than those who work
for their money?
One reader offers this answer:
W ithout the tax benefits, investors
would choose less risky, short-term
investments and long-term capital
would dry up.
A common sense explanation of
the philosophy behind the system,
and one that illustrates the danger
o f columnists resorting to the short­
hand rhetoric so popular with street
corner communists and college
newspapers. However, even though
the capital gains tax has better
justification than my earlier column
suggested, restricting the system to
help provide property tax relief re­
mains a favored approach.
First, it would appear that no
matter what the lawmakers do, a
lim itation initiative will be circulat­
ed and most likely make the ballot.
Proponents have rented office space
in Portland, are publishing a news­
letter and actively soliciting contri­
The job , then, is not so much to
keep the lim itation o ff the ballot,
but to keep it from being approved.
Legislators would do well to follow
the advice o f Sen. Charles Hanlon,
head o f the Senate Revenue C o m ­
mittee, who contends that tax policy
should be based on sound choices,
not response to threats to organize
another initiative.
is not
to say that
lawmakers should ignore last fall's
near-passage o f Ballot Measure 3.
Voters demanded property tax relief
and the Legislature had best provide
Tbe House spent five months
constructing a system to do that
with a sales tax. However, the idea
barely got the 31 votes it needed to
pass the lower chamber and Senate
President Ed Fadeley has made no
secret o f his intention to see that the
proposal never escapes from the
Senate. Whatever one’s view o f the
idea, any program based on sales
tax revenue is suspect because of its
lackluster support among legislators.
Fadeley and Hanlon have both
endorsed (he idea o f reducing each
home's tax burden by having the
state pay a portion o f the owner’s
school taxes. Oregon’s commitment
to progressive taxation — taking
money from those most able to pay
— calls for driving the program
through the income tax mode.
Salem Democrat Peter Courtney,
co-author o f the most talked about
sales tax plan, responds that it’ s not
that simple.
" L e t ’s get it straight — we've
ruined the income lax; we’ve
destroyed it. W h o ’s kidding who?
The very rich can go out and hire
lawyers and C P A ’s to find ways that
they don't have to pay the income
tax; the low-income people aren’t
paying it. So who’s paying? The
middle income people. It is no
longer a progressive tax.”
By definition, though, it's upper-
income people who most use the
capital gainst treatment. I f money
has to come from somewhere, is
that not a good place to start?
In the photo published in the
Observer, July 6, with the story
"Black studies hosts professors,”
the second person from the left in
the photo is Steven M illner, not
M elaku
regrets the error.