Issues

Top Priority Issues

INCREASE AVAILABILITY OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND REDUCE HOMELESSNESS

1. Increase the notification period for no-cause evictions to 90 days at the local level and rigorously enforce landlord-tenant provisions and building code provisions to prevent unfair evictions.

2. Expand emergency rent subsidies and other services to families to prevent children from experiencing homelessness

3. Provide incentives for developers to include a specified number of affordable housing units as part of major construction projects.

4. Seek adjustments of the section 8 program so that section 8 vouchers are sufficient to cover rent in a modest apartment

5. Assist partners in creating shelter, transitional, and permanent housing that includes wrap-around services provided on site to improve the lives of residents and reduce the impact of chronic homelessness on other community members.

IMPROVE ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

1. Empower county health care workers to identify improvements that can be made in our county's provision of healthcare services

2. Maximize the efficient use of county health care resources through public-private partnerships, partnerships with other government agencies, and multi-county coalitions.

3. Review and consider improvements and expansion of the county's mental health, transitional, and reproductive health education services

INCREASE LIVING WAGE JOBS

1. Do not grant subsidies, incentives, and tax breaks to companies that fail to increase employment or create living wage jobs. Require that public subsidies, incentives, and tax breaks to businesses as a means for economic development have enforceable standards on overall employment and living wage jobs.

2. Work with partners, including schools, universities, unions, and employers, to create better pathways to living wage jobs for young people.

IMPROVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Work collaboratively with cities and other partners within the county to create a cohesive transportation system throughout the county and, if needed, advocate that the state provide funds to aid in such expansion.

Increasing affordable housing and reducing homelessness, especially among children and families

Increasing affordable housing and taking concrete actions to reduce homelessness must be one of the top priorities of Marion County. Unless a person has a roof over their head and a place to call home, they can accomplish little else.

Our community does not have enough affordable apartments and homes. The residential rental vacancy rate in Salem, for example, is less than 1% --far below the 4% level that a city would normally experience. This extremely strong demand has allowed rents throughout Marion County to skyrocket, far beyond the resources of many families. The average family in Marion County cannot afford the mortgage on a home without sacrificing other necessities – and even the most modest rental costs more than the section 8 voucher available for lower-income families. Rental costs are more than the average wage earner can afford. This often forces lower-income families to choose between having a home and having food.

The Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative Strategic Plan has many good ideas, but those ideas need to be implemented and other creative ideas should be incorporated into Marion County’s approach to affordable housing and reducing homelessness. Above all, the county's plan needs to be formulated by a group that purposefully includes people who have experienced homelessness and those who work serving them on a daily basis. The group that formulated the current plan only included a single community member. As County Commissioner, I will make certain that our county policies are informed not just by the usual bureaucrats but by the people affected by those policies and those working day to day in the trenches.

Marion County needs to take a comprehensive approach to affordable housing and homelessness problems.

We need to:

• Expand construction of affordable housing by taking a hard look at zoning and building codes that prevent developers from constructing good quality affordable housing

• Increase incentives to developers to build affordable housing – both subsidies for affordable housing such as reduction of system development charges as well as regulations that require developers to build a certain amount of affordable housing in exchange for approval of high-profit housing developments.

• Expand emergency rent subsidies and other services to families to prevent children from experiencing homelessness

• Expand the availability of transitional housing and ancillary social services for children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness

• Seek adjustments of the section 8 program so that section 8 vouchers are sufficient to cover rent in a modest apartment

• Provide housing for chronically homeless residents that integrates necessary substance abuse and alcohol counseling, health care, vocational counseling and other social services along with providing them a stable home

Reduce underemployment and attract family wage jobs with good benefits and working conditions

The employment problem for workers in Marion County is not unemployment, but underemployment. Many of our residents cannot find permanent full-time employment in jobs with wages adequate to support a family and with good benefits and working conditions. The County should seek to attract responsible employers who will provide more jobs like this.

This approach to economic development will provide the people in our community with more and better job opportunities and overall higher quality of life.

The greatest factor in attracting desirable employers is to assure them that a high-quality workforce is available. That requires either that the existing county workforce is well-educated and has the necessary skills or those with such skills find Marion County an attractive place to move.

To improve the quality of our workforce, the County should work with Chemeketa CC, local school districts, business and the Oregon Employment Department to improve the matching of worker skills with business needs, enable workers to develop marketable skills, and create more economic opportunities/pathways for youth and young adults.

The County should also urge the Legislature to

facilitate dramatic improvement in education in Oregon. by increasing class time and lengthening the school year and by substantially reducing class size. According to US News, Oregon ranks 33rd overall and 37th in K-12 education. Other rankings go put us as low as 48th in K-12 education. Our educational system is not an asset to attract employers. It neither provides a skilled local workforce nor does it allow companies to attract top talent to come to Oregon.

We also must invest in building a better community together. The most significant inducement for high-quality employers is to make Marion County an attractive place to live with by increasing affordable housing, assuring excellent parks and recreation opportunities, earning an outstanding reputation for sustainability, reducing traffic congestion by expanding transportation options and encouraging homes to be built closer to jobs and services.

Once we improve workforce quality and increase the livability of Marion County, we can attract good employers with good jobs. But we should not passively wait for the type of employers and jobs we want. The County should aggressively identify and recruit regional and

national firms that provide those jobs. We should condition tax and other concessions to employers locating in the County on specific and enforceable commitments to provide good jobs-- and the County should secure from the legislature the power to do so.

Finally, we should build a statewide and even national coalition of cities and counties dedicated to preventing destructive local government competition for economic development. We should end the race to the bottom. That race is a losing proposition because it doesn't attract high-quality employers and only reduces the capacity of local government to provide services to improve livability.

Protect our farms and forests

One of the chief accomplishments of Oregon's land use law is the strong protection it provides for farm and forest land. As County Commissioner, I will seek to protect our farms and forests from the development pressures caused by an expanding population.

Detroit Lake

As I indicated in April 2018 at the Mainstreet Business Alliance candidate forum, I oppose the Army Corps of Engineers plan to drain Detroit Lake for two years. The Corps needs to go back to the drawing board and create a plan that will protect both fish AND people.

Some misrepresent the Detroit Lake issue as a question of fish vs people under the Endangered Species Act. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need to cool down the lake both to eliminate the growing problem of algae blooms in the lake, which adversely affects downstream drinking water quality, and to allow our iconic salmon to survive after they reenter the historic habitat from which they were cut off by the construction of Big Cliff and Detroit dams.

The Detroit Lake issue seems to reflect a failure of political imagination and will. We can build bridges across the Willamette and Columbia rivers without draining them. So I find it impossible to believe that we can't build a cooling tower at Detroit without draining the lake.

We need to work with Governor Brown, and our congressional delegation, to secure adequate resources to attack this problem head-on. Senators Wyden and Merkley and Rep. Schrader have already called upon the Corps to reexamine the Detroit Lake proposal. We can sit down together and find a solution if we work together to meet the needs of the people of Santiam Canyon, the people of Stayton and Salem, and the salmon.

Improving public safety - enforcing gun safety laws

The people of Marion County deserve to be safe, everywhere, whether they are in their schools, churches, workplaces, or homes. Horrific mass shootings have devastated communities around the country. From the concert in Las Vegas to the school in Parkland, and to those closer to home, at Reynolds High School, Umpqua Community College and Clackamas Town Center, military-style semi-automatic weapons have been used to harm and kill innocent people.

Shelaswau Crier supports state and federal laws banning these weapons, bump stocks that increase firing rates, and high volume ammunition magazines. Shelaswau Crier supports other common-sense gun safety reforms that will make such tragedies less common.

The county is responsible for diligent and fair enforcement of laws critical to public safety. She will work to ensure that the county's law enforcement personnel have the resources necessary to fully and fairly enforce these laws.

Shelaswau applauds state and federal laws:

- prohibiting gun sales or transfers without proper background checks and waiting periods to prevent people who pose a danger to themselves or others from possessing guns;

- requiring gun safety training prior to gun ownership or possession;

- requiring safe storage of guns; and

- banning possession, transfer or sale of military-style assault weapons, bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at rates approaching those of automatic weapons, and high capacity ammunition magazines.

Young people from the Parkland school, and around the country, have taken the lead in gun reform efforts, despite threats and shaming by conservative commentators. Our young people reject the NRA's stranglehold on gun policy. Shelaswau supports and marches with our young people as they quite literally march for their lives.

Military style assault weapons are designed for killing people, not legitimate wildlife hunting or self-protection. Additionally, civilian possession of these weapons poses a severe, unacceptable danger to law enforcement officers. Other restrictions on gun possession and ownership are justified when they decrease the serious risk of accidental or self-inflicted death. Guns should not be freely available to the wrong people or used without appropriate safety training and safe storage.

Shelaswau also supports the right of citizens to own and use appropriate weapons for legitimate purposes. Shelaswau grew up in a family of hunters, and was a member of her schools’ gun clubs in both high school and college. Hunting is a part of her family's culture. She remembers her cousin pictured on the front page of her local newspaper for killing the first deer of the season. She deeply understands the importance of gun safety, and the distinction between weapons used to hunt animals and those used to hunt people. Hunters don’t need or want military style weapons, bump stocks, or 100 round clips to hunt.

Vote NO on Ballot Measure 105 (anti-immigrant initiative) seeking to compel Marion County to enforce federal immigration laws.

Ballot Measure 105 (previously known as IP-22) has qualified for the November election. The ballot measure is being promoted by OFIR, an organization closely tied to white supremacists. Ballot Measure 105 seeks to repeal a 30-year-old Oregon Law that limits the role of state and local law enforcement in enforcing federal immigration laws. Our current law seeks to conserve scarce law enforcement resources, focusing them on activities and people who pose a threat to public safety. It also serves to maintain community trust in local police and sheriff’s offices, making victims more likely to report crimes and witnesses more likely to cooperate with law enforcement. Finally, it minimizes the likelihood that law enforcement officers will engage in racial and ethnic profiling in enforcing the law. Oregon state and local law enforcement officials strongly support keeping local law enforcement out of the business of immigration enforcement and leaving that as solely the responsibility of the federal government.

Shelaswau Crier opposes using local police and sheriffs officers for immigration enforcement because it wastes county resources, erodes community trust, threatens immigrant families, and jeopardizes our county’s economy, which benefits from the presence and participation of all its residents, including immigrant workers and their families.

Gun advocates have tried to confuse this issue by suggesting that their attempt to prevent county sheriffs from enforcing state gun safety laws is the same as not using county resources for ICE enforcement. They are wholly separate issues given the constitutional right of state and local governments to decline to utilize state and local resources to enforce federal law.

It is unconstitutional for the federal government to compel states and counties to use their resources to enforce federal law -- as the federal government is trying to do with immigration enforcement. But county sheriffs have a sworn duty to enforce state laws and must enforce state gun safety laws. The counties have no constitutional entitlement to resist enforcement of state law because the counties are an administrative mechanism created by state government, not separate governments.

Here is the text of Oregon's current law:

2017 ORS 181A.820¹ Enforcement of federal immigration laws

oregonlaws.org/ors/181A.820

(1) No law enforcement agency of the State of Oregon or of any political subdivision of the

state shall use agency moneys, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting or

apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign

citizenship present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, a law enforcement agency may exchange

information with the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the

United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and the United States Bureau of

Customs and Border Protection in order to:

(a) Verify the immigration status of a person if the person is arrested for any criminal offense;

or

(b) Request criminal investigation information with reference to persons named in records of

the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Bureau

of Citizenship and Immigration Services or the United States Bureau of Customs and Border

Protection.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, a law enforcement agency may arrest any

person who:

(a) Is charged by the United States with a criminal violation of federal immigration laws under

Title II of the Immigration and Nationality Act or 18 U.S.C. 1015, 1422 to 1429 or 1505; and

(b) Is subject to arrest for the crime pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued by a federal

magistrate.

(4) For purposes of subsection (1) of this section, the Bureau of Labor and Industries is not a

law enforcement agency.

(5) As used in this section, “warrant of arrest” has the meaning given that term in ORS 131.005

(General definitions). [Formerly 181.850]

Ballot measure 105 is an outright repeal of the current law, exposing immigrant workers and families to the spector that they will be subjected to police stops based solely on their perceived ethnicity, race, or color and arrested unless they carry documentation of legal residency or citizenship. This will erode community trust in law enforcement, subject all persons of color to unlawful profiling, waste county resources, and impose burdens on undocumented immigrants who contribute to our community and its economy.

Assure affordable, reliable high-speed internet access that is content-neutral and respects privacy

The people of Marion County deserve affordable, reliable high-speed internet access -- and whether internet service is provided publicly or privately -- it must respect privacy and net neutrality.

The county is in the process of conducting a study of broadband internet access in the county to establish an internet broadband strategy for expanding access in underserved areas. However, the current county commissioners have affirmatively stated that they will not consider the public provision of this critical public service. They intend to limit their involvement to identifying barriers to service and convening internet service providers to seek access for underserved areas.

That is inadequate, Public service provision by cities, towns, and where necessary, the county, must be on the table. Even though internet service is critical to education and economic development throughout the county, the current county commissioners are approaching this problem with the interests of internet service providers in mind, not the interests of the public. As your County Commissioner, I will ensure that Marion County considers all options to assure that every resident has such service.

With the removal of FCC regulations protecting net neutrality, our communities need to consider providing publicly owned, high-speed internet service that is affordable and accessible to all Marion County residents. Public provision may be the only means the county has to guarantee affordability in an industry dominated by a few providers, to assure that internet speeds do not depend on who you are or what you are watching (net neutrality, and the privacy of residents.

Publically owned high-speed internet services are already provided in cities, towns, and counties across the country. There are many options for the degree of governmental involvement in providing the services and Marion County should look at all options.