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Democracy for Oregon Summit Report

PeterbuckleyI had the chance to speak at the recent Democracy For Oregon Summit in Portland, and took the opportunity to present an agenda that I've been working on with the foundation I'm part of, Democracy's Edge.

In order to make progress again, we need to re-define the relationship between Oregonians and our state government. So our proposal is stated here below. Let me know what you think:

of Responsibilities and Rights

It is the responsibility of every adult citizen of the state of Oregon

--Seek and engage in productive employment, to the best of their
ability, and to contribute a portion of their earnings, on a progressive
scale, towards the overall shared needs of our state;

--And/or to actively participate in education or training for their
individual development and an increased ability to contribute to their
families, our communities, and our state as a whole;

--And/or to care for their children, their elders and our communities in
a direct and significant manner for the benefit of their families, our
communities and of our state as a whole; until the age of retirement.

It is also the responsibility of every citizen of the state of Oregon to
take care for their individual health to the best of their ability.

It is the responsibility of every business operating in the state of
Oregon to:

--Practice good citizenship in all business practices, with the impact
of business decisions considered in terms of the benefits or damage to
its employees, its community and the state of Oregon, in addition to the
potential benefits or losses to shareholders;

--Pay its fair share of its earnings towards the overall shared needs of
our state;

--Observe all environmental regulations.

In return for meeting these basic responsibilities, all citizens of the
state of Oregon have:

--The right to a good education;

--The right to earn enough in a 40 hour work week to provide adequate
food and clothing and recreation;

--The right of every business owner, large and small, to trade in an
atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by
monopolies at home or abroad;

--The right of every family to a decent home;

--The right to clean air, clean water and sustainable use of our state's
natural resources;

--The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and
enjoy good health;

--The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age,
sickness, accident, and unemployment.

--It is the responsibility of the state government of Oregon to formulate laws, policies and procedures based on this contract, and to fulfill its terms to the best of its abilities.

May 24, 2005 by Peter Buckley
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Thanks for representing us so well at this conference, Peter!

Posted by: Rep. Dave Hunt | May 25, 2005 12:56:50 PM


I very much like the pro-active nature of the Democracy's Edge manifesto. We out here in activistland are often prone to what Michael Shellenberger of the Apollo Alliance characterizes as "complaint-based" activism.

I know that you folks in the legislature see lots of this every session, so both your remarks and the general tone of the DFA/DFO summit were very refreshing indeed.

Posted by: Pat Ryan | May 25, 2005 1:16:12 PM

I appreciate the work laying out rights and responsibilities--it's an important direction.
Would like to see inclusion of rights of children/youth for protection, nurturance/guidance, food, housing (in addition to education).
The right to decent home needs to be expanded beyond family.
Would like to see the contract address people with developmental and mental disabilities more explicitly.
Thanks for the framework.

Posted by: Estelle Voeller | May 26, 2005 11:00:51 PM

Rights and responsibilities should also involve elected officials and their staffs. What is perfectly legal might not look good in public scrutiny.

Here is a quote which was just in an Oregonian story. It would seem wise that elected officials at all levels make sure there are not any employment relationships like this that they wouldn't want as a headline story in a newspaper.

>>When TriMet lobbyist Olivia Clark wanted to know the status of the national transportation funding bill, she called Tom Markgraf, an aide to House Transportation Committee member U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

But when TriMet community affairs director Ann Becklund called Markgraf for help on light-rail expansion plans, she was speaking to him as an employee -- a public outreach consultant paid $100 an hour by TriMet.

Posted by: LT | May 28, 2005 12:14:07 PM

Estelle & LT--

Thanks for your comments. Estelle, you bring up excellent points concerning the rights of the most vulnerable in our state, as well as our responsiblity for care. LT, I have to say that I'm not at all sure what you are trying to get at. For me, it's an "of course" for public officials and staff to act with integrity. Are you suggesting that we include something like that in the contract of rights and responsibilities? I'm very open to that--let me know some additional thoughts and suggestions.

Something like "It is the responsibility of every elected official in Oregon to serve in an open, transparent and honest manner?" Throw a suggestion out if you would like.

We are close to coming up with a campaign finance reporting system that would allow for continous reporting of contributions and expenditures concerning candidates and office holders--it is SB 822. It would create a website through the Sec. of State's office that every citizen could check. It's a great step forward, I think. And there are more to come.

Posted by: Rep. Peter Buckley | May 29, 2005 9:36:45 AM

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