Thursday, September 29, 2011
Thirty or so Gorge residents braved the early morning fall weather for a chance to hear the Honorable Kate Brown, Oregon's Secretary of State, speak at the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce monthly government affairs breakfast, Sept. 22 at 7:30 a.m.
Introduced by Mayor Arthur Babitz, Brown offered the attendees a concise summary of the work of the many state government divisions under her direction, with a particular focus on increasing efficiencies in all state agencies in response to tight budget constraints.
Acknowledging a commonly occurring obstacle, Brown noted that many people do not know the work done on their behalf by her office.
"I have four external divisions that I am responsible for," said Brown, "State archives, audits, corporations and elections. I also cover the internal Executive division."
Brown came into office in 2008, and has kept a primary mission with three main goals: delivering better results with more transparency from government services to Oregonians; innovating for the future and engaging Oregonians more effectively.
Brown shared specific achievements within each department under her purview.
A newly developing central business registry has been created to more effectively assist businesses and create employment. "It is a one-stop shop for businesses which combines access to corporate registration, department of revenue payroll tax information, and employment department services," said Brown. An additional Oregon business portal is also under construction that will connect businesses with creation, retention and expansion assistance.
According to Brown, one of the greatest challenges facing Oregon is "how to deliver service more effectively and efficiently with increasing financial constraints."
According to Brown, an effective tool for addressing that challenge is found within her audits division.
"Audits allow us to squeeze every dollar we can from the taxes paid by every Oregonian," said Brown. She went on to share a recent success garnered by her staff in identifying $100 million in unpaid or uncollected state taxes within the Oregon Department of Revenue.
"The revenue department has implemented some of our suggestions and has been able to bring in $30 million of that lost revenue. That is significant," said Brown. "Audits are one of my loves."
Under the elections division, Brown has prioritized increasing successful voter registration and creating accessible voting options for disabled Oregonians, along with other groups with lower voter registration numbers.
"At our site, www.oregonvote.org, you can register, track your ballots, change party registrations, update your address information and located drop boxes on election day," Brown said.
Earning her law degree and certificate in environmental law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Brown began her political career when appointed to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1991.
In 1996, after winning election to two more House terms, Brown won election to the Oregon Senate. Two years later, she was elected Senate Democratic Leader and, in 2004, senators made her the first woman to serve as Oregon's Senate Majority Leader. In 2008, Brown was elected Oregon's 34th Secretary of State. More information on any of the Secretary's programs may be found at: www.sos.state.or.us.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge