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Re: Why I Am Suing PERS

Monday, July 23, 2012

By Daniel C. Re

On May 13, 2011, I filed a lawsuit against PERS in the Oregon Court of Appeals.  The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of three PERS administrative rules that are based on the 1996 Oregon Supreme Court decision that invalidated Ballot Measure 8.  Oral argument in the case has been set for August 23, 2012.  The primary issue is whether judges who are PERS members can decide PERS cases.

PERS was created in 1945. For the first 38 years that PERS existed, Oregon judges had their own independent retirement plan and were not PERS members.  During that period, Oregon judges were neutral when they decided PERS cases. But in 1983, the Oregon legislature passed a new law that required the judges to join PERS.

That law took away the judges’ neutrality in PERS cases and deprived Oregonians of their right to independent judges when PERS cases are decided.  By making all judges PERS members, the legislature stacked the deck totally in favor of PERS members every time a PERS case goes to court.  The invalidation of Ballot Measure 8 in 1996 has required hundreds of millions of dollars every year to go to PERS to make sure most PERS members will never have to pay one cent in PERS contributions.   If Ballot Measure 8 had been upheld, the hundreds of millions of dollars that are now going to PERS members each year would be available to provide vital services, such as education and public safety, to all Oregonians.  But it’s not, it’s just going to PERS members.

Independent judges protect us from governmental abuse.  That is a fundamental right.  I do not believe the government can take that right away from us.  This is a battle that must be fought.  And that is why I am suing PERS.

Daniel C. Re,

Daniel C. Re is an attorney in Bend, Oregon. He will address the Rubicon Society in Eugene on Thursday, August 2 at noon. The meeting is open to the public and there is no charge. Click here for more information:


Enterprise Zone will spur job growth in Creswell

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

By Jacob Daniels

There are a lot of issues being discussed in Creswell. I think it is safe to say that there has been a lot of debate. It is my opinion that the most important issue facing us is the lack of jobs. Lane County unemployment is currently at 8.5 percent; homes are going into foreclosure; families are struggling to make ends meet; and we are all fearful that things will get worse. Times are tough, but if we take the proper steps things can (and will) get better.

At the May 7, 2012 City Council meeting, City Planner Denise Walters and Community Development Director of Cottage Grove Howard Schsesser proposed a Resolution of Consent to apply for an enterprise zone that includes Cottage Grove, Saginaw, and Creswell.

An enterprise zone attracts businesses by enabling eligible businesses to expand or move into the zone and receive total exemption from property taxes for three to five years. After presentation of the proposal and discussion, City Council voted in favor of the Enterprise Zone (with Councilors A.J. O’Connell and Jane Vincent opposed).

An enterprise zone has the ability to stimulate significant economic growth. A recent example is Prineville, Oregon, where an enterprise zone attracted Facebook to build its first data center. Tom Furlong, director of site operations for Facebook told the Bend Bulletin that “The enterprise zone helped direct us to the community.” Jason Carr, from Economic Development for Central Oregon said: “If the enterprise zone didn’t exist in Prineville, this project would not be moving forward.”

Support for enterprise zones is bipartisan. Governor John Kitzhaber is optimistic that the Central Oregon Enterprise Zone will help rejuvenate the natural resources economy.

The purpose of enterprise zones is clear: incentivize businesses to invest in your community. Attracting businesses to Creswell means more opportunities for employment. More employment opportunities for the people of Creswell is something that we can all support.

I’m optimistic that implementing an enterprise zone in Creswell will help bring businesses to two key areas: the former Bald Knob site and the old Foster Farms plant. These two locations were former sources of employment for a significant number of local workers. Foster Farms employed more than 250 people in 2001 and Bald Knob had more than 120 workers at one point.

As of today, the City Council has approved the Enterprise Zone, the Lane County Board of Commissioners has approved the plan, and now all that remains is State approval. All reports indicate that the State will approve the Enterprise Zone. Approval of the plan will be a huge step forward for Creswell. Nevertheless, we can’t stop there… we must continue to work together as a community to find new ways to make Creswell an even better place to live.

As Creswell’s newest City Councilor, I would like the opportunity to meet with you and discuss issues and solutions. As such, I’ve designated Fridays from 10:00am to 2:00pm as “Councilor Office Hours” at my office located at 285 E. Oregon Avenue. I ask that you call at least 24 hours in advance to set up an appointment. I can be reached at (541) 995-0133.

Reprinted with permission from The Creswell Chronicle. Original article can be viewed at the following link

Jacob Daniels is a local attorney, Creswell City Councilor, and a former member of the Oregon Small Business Advisory Council. The views expressed here are his own.