There’s more news in the Oregon legislature’s desperate move to rape and pillage the Oregon Cultural Trust.  Perhaps the name should be changed to the Oregon Cultural Slush Fund.  Using the word “trust” in the name certainly does lead one to expect that it wouldn’t be raided when the general fund coffers start to run dry.  This just shows just how little regard is given to the arts in this country.  Please use the “write your legislators” box in the left sidebar to email a letter to your legislators about this matter.  If enough of us speak up and get hopping mad, we can make a difference.  The Oregon legislature assumes that enough people won’t care or notice, that’s why this is on their money hunt agenda.

Here is a direct link to save you some time: link – please take a few minutes to do this, and then forward the page to all of your friends.

And here are some links to the two blogs that are keeping a close eye on this issue:

Oh, and here’s the lame response I got from Rep. Tobias Read:

Dear Mr. Noble,
Thank you for writing me with your concerns about the use of funds from the Oregon cultural trust to support vital state programs.  Please know that the use of the Trust’s funds in this manner is not something we have proposed lightly – it was, in fact, a decision taken only after we had reached the point where the only additional cuts that could be made would either cripple state services vitally needed in the recession or have a further negative impact on our K-12 schools.

As you know, Oregon is currently in an economic situation which we have never before seen.  The legislature has never before been called upon to cut such a large percentage of our budget in such a short period of time.  We are looking at a gap of over $3 billion and growing – almost 20% of our budget – for the 2009-11 budget cycle that begins on July 1. We have been provided some support by the federal stimulus package, but still have a larger gap to fill than any we have experienced before. With shared sacrifice, we will make it through this time despite all the challenges and uncertainty.  Rest assured that in the meantime we are working to make sure our state will be in a position to thrive.

I realize that this is small consolation to you, but the cultural trust is hardly alone.  We were also forced to sweep funds from agriculture,
fish and wildlife, and judicial programs funded by direct payments by stakeholders in those fields.  Please be assured that we’re also working tirelessly to find ways that we can increase and stabilize our revenue stream for future years so that we don’t have to make such difficult decisions in the future.

Please feel free to keep in touch as the legislative session continues.

Tobias Read

sentencing in oquist/svendsen case

I was forwarded this information from Janet George:

Fivea Sharipoff was sentenced June 24, 2008 in a 3 hour hearing. Family members of Kjersten and Angela read statements, Kelly Gronli read her own statement and one from her parents, and members of Fivea’s family read statements as well. In the end, the judge sentenced Fivea to a total of 16 years and 8 months in prison with no chance of early release. Upon her release, her driver’s license will be suspended for 8 years, and she will also be required to be under post-prison supervision for 3 years.

Here is a link to the Eugene Register-Guard’s article.

svendsen/oquist verdict reached

This was forwarded to me by Janet George:

A jury found Fivea Sharipoff guilty as charged today after approximately 2.5 hours of deliberation. Charges are 2 counts of manslaughter in the first degree for the deaths of Angela Svendsen and Kjersten Oquist, 1 count of assault in the second degree for injuries suffered by Kelly Gronli, and 1 count of DUI for driving while intoxicated. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Tuesday 6/24 1:30-4:30 pm at the Linn County Courthouse.