Updated September 18, 2012 Published September 18, 2012
Itâs rare for charitable groups to make political contributionsâfederal law discourages them from converting donations (deductible to the giver) into political cash. But a couple of local 501(c)3 organizations, the Oregon Symphony and the Portland Opera, each donated $25,000 to support an arts tax on the November ballot. Both stand to benefit from the $35-per-head tax, which would split $12 million annually between arts nonprofits and schools. âBecause it syncs so tightly with our mission, our board approved a donation,â says Symphony spokesman Jim Fullan. âItâs our understanding that we canât support candidates, but we can do this.â
The marijuana campaign has suddenly lit up. The Oregon State Sheriffsâ Association last week created a political action committee to oppose Measure 80, which would legalize pot in Oregon. Now thereâs a new group supporting the measure: Oregonians for Law Reform, which hopes to distance itself from the initiativeâs sponsor, Paul Stanford, and re-brand Measure 80 as a mainstream fight against prohibition and wasteful law enforcement. âWe want to appeal to soccer moms and grandparents,â says group co-chair Sam Chapman. The group hopes to attract big donors such as Progressive Insurance chairman Peter Lewis, whoâs been dumping millions into the Washington and Colorado marijuana campaigns.
Gov. John Kitzhaberâs ambitious education reforms depend in part on âachievement compactsâ that have school districts writing plans on how theyâll improve classroom outcomes. Oregon Chief Education Officer Rudy Crew and some Education Investment Board members wanted parents included in discussions. But the Oregon Education Association, which opposes many of Kitzhaberâs reforms, told the board Aug. 31 that parents werenât specifically included in the enabling legislation. âWe do not agree that parents or other non-education professionals ought to be appointed to the Achievement Compact Advisory Committees,â OEA wrote. Board members agreed to OEAâs demand but will seek a legislative fix that includes parents in the compacts.
An Oregon Heath & Science University researcher is co-author of a study that slams the U.S. military for not effectively addressing a binge-drinking and drug-abuse âculture.â Dennis McCarty, a professor of public health and preventive medicine, helped present the study to the Defense Department in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14. âOne in three active-duty service members scores on a screening test at a level that suggests an alcohol-use disorder,â McCarty tells WW. âTheyâve got individuals that have been deployed seven or eight times, and as a result, theyâve got high risk for drug and alcohol abuse.â