07 30 2016
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The Wake of Vanport
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  • Russian hackers likely responsible for hacking attack on Clinton HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Giddy if exhausted, Hillary Clinton embarked on a post-convention Rust Belt bus tour just hours after becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. The celebratory mood quickly evaporated amid fresh revelations that hackers had breached a program used by her campaign and Republican nominee Donald Trump promised to sharpen his barbs. "Remember this," Trump said during a rally Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy." And for the first time he encouraged his supporters' anti-Clinton chants of "lock her up." "I've been saying let's just beat her on Nov. 8," Trump said, "but you know what? I'm starting to agree with you." About an hour later, Clinton aides acknowledged that a hacking attack that exposed Democratic Party emails also reached into a computer system used by her own campaign. The FBI said it was working to determine the "accuracy, nature and scope" of the cyberattacks. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said the newly disclosed breach affected a Democratic National Committee data analytics program used by the campaign and other organizations. Outside experts found no evidence that the campaign's "internal systems have been compromised," Merrill said, but he gave no details on the program or nature of the attacks. Partnerships with modern e-commerce companies can allow sophisticated tracking, categorization and identification of website visitors and voters. President Barack Obama and cybersecurity experts have said Russia was almost certainly responsible for the DNC hack. The House Democratic campaign committee reported Friday that its information had been accessed. The developments followed the leaking of DNC emails earlier in the week that pointed to a pro-Clinton bias by party officials during her primary contest against Bernie Sanders. In the furor that followed, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned just as Democrats launched their convention. Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, will attempt to return attention to their positive economic message on Saturday, with campaign stops through economically struggling areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. "When we take that oath of office next January, we know we can make life better. We know we can create more good jobs," she told voters gathered at an outside market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Clinton cited an economic analysis by economist Mark Zandi, a former economic adviser to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, that found more than 10 million jobs could be created in her first term if her economic proposals were put in place. Zandi's analysis of Trump's plans found they would cost the country 3.5 million jobs and lead to a "lengthy recession." Joined on the bus tour by her husband, Bill Clinton, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, Clinton stopped at a toy and plastics manufacturer in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where she and Kaine cast Trump as a con artist out for his own gain. "We don't resent success in America but we do resent people who take advantage of others in order to line their own pockets," Clinton said. Trump is also focusing on Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states where he might make headway with blue-collar white men. That group of voters has eluded Clinton and may be a hard sell after a Democratic convention that heavily celebrated racial and gender diversity. Clinton is playing up economic opportunity, diversity and national security. Democrats hammered home those themes this week with an array of politicians, celebrities, gun-violence victims, law enforcement officers and activists of all races and sexual orientation. Their goal is to turn out the coalition of minority, female and young voters that twice elected Obama while offsetting expected losses among the white men drawn to Trump's message. Democrats continued contrasting their optimistic message with the more troubled vision of the state of the nation presented by Trump and others at the GOP convention a week earlier. Kaine called the "very dark and negative" event a "journey through Donald Trump's mind." "That's a very frightening place," he told thousands of supporters in Philadelphia. Clinton told voters that they faced a "stark choice," calling the coming election the most important one in her lifetime. "This is a moment of reckoning for our country. I don't recognize the country that Donald Trump describes," she said.___Lemire reported from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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  • SEATTLE (AP) — Genetically modified wheat not approved for sale or commercial production in the United States has been found growing in a field in Washington state, agriculture officials said Friday, posing a possible risk to trade with countries concerned about engineered food. The Food and Drug Administration says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are safe and little scientific concern exists about the safety of those on the market. But critics say not enough is known about their risks, and they want GMOs labeled so people know what's in their food. Several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm in 2013. It also popped up in a field at a university research center in Montana in 2014. It wasn't immediately clear how altered wheat cropped up in Washington. But the U.S. Agriculture Department said there is no evidence it has entered the market. If it did, the FDA concluded that "it is unlikely that the wheat would present any safety concerns if present in the food supply," the department said. A farmer discovered 22 plants in an unplanted field, and the wheat was developed to be resistant to the herbicide known as Roundup, created by seed giant Monsanto, the USDA said. An agency spokeswoman did not know where in the state it was found. Federal officials said they were working with the farmer to ensure that none of the modified wheat is sold. Out of caution, the agency said it is holding and testing the farmer's full wheat harvest, but so far it has not found GMOs. The plants are a type of wheat that had been evaluated in limited field trials in the Pacific Northwest from 1998 to 2001 but never commercialized, Monsanto said in a statement. It said the type found in Washington state is similar to the one discovered in Oregon three years ago; it has the same inserted DNA but in a different location. No variety of genetically engineered wheat has been approved for commercial use or production in the U.S. GMOs are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA. Most genetically engineered crops are corn and soybeans eaten by livestock or made into popular processed food ingredients like cornstarch, soybean oil or high fructose corn syrup. Only a handful of modified fruits and vegetables are available, including Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and squash and a small percentage of sweet corn. The FDA also has approved for consumption a genetically engineered salmon that would grow faster than traditional salmon, but it's not yet available in grocery stores. South Korea said Friday that it will inspect U.S. wheat imports for genetically modified wheat, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it has asked the USDA for information on the unapproved wheat and inspection methods. The USDA said it has validated a test that Monsanto developed for the herbicide-resistant wheat, which would be available to trading partners. "Trading partners will get the tests. I believe that once they have those in place, they'll continue buying," said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission, a state agency that represents wheat farmers. "We don't anticipate any major disruptions." The USDA also said it has beefed up oversight of genetically engineered field trials and now requires developers to apply for a permit for those involving GMO wheat starting this year. In 2014, genetically modified wheat plants were found at a university research center in Huntley, Montana, where it was legally tested by Monsanto in the early 2000s. The plants in eastern Oregon were found in a field that had never conducted such tests, and the USDA closed its investigation two years ago unable to determine how the wheat got there. Different strains were found in each state. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers and the Washington State Agriculture Department referred questions to federal authorities.
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  • Six current or former state employees were charged Friday with misconduct and other crimes in the Flint water crisis 
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  • Hillary Clinton cast herself as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world 
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Amanda Fritz with Harriet Tubman STEM families

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, at left, chats with Jyothi Pulla, at right, and a group of students from the former Harriet Tubman STEM school, during a reception for the city's new Office of Equity and Diversity held in April, 2012. Fritz testified on the school's behalf before the Portland Public Schools board, as did State Sen. Chip Shields and Rep. Lew Frederick, but it was shut down anyway. Photo by Lisa Loving

 

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz announced this week she is running for a third term in office.

The former community organizer and registered nurse is the only official in office who was first elected through a publicly-funded campaign; that system was shut down by voters in 2010 by a margin of less than one percent.

 “I plan to keep doing what I said I would do when Portlanders elected me in 2008, and re-elected me in 2012—prioritizing basic services and spending taxpayers' money wisely,” she said Wednesday in a press statement. “I have been a consistent voice for fiscal responsibility, equity, community involvement, and common sense for the past six years.”

Fritz said that she plans to fund her next campaign in part with the life insurance payment from her husband’s tragic death in a car accident last year.

“It’s money I wish I didn’t have, and I would give it back in a heartbeat if I could spend just one more day with my husband,” she said. “But it’s there, and I know Steve would completely support me as he always did, in choosing to invest it to win re-election in 2016 so I can continue to serve the people of this city we both love.”

Fritz said Wednesday that although she has stated many times that her current term would be her last foray into electoral politics, the death of her husband, Oregon State Hospital psychiatrist Dr. Steven Fritz, changed her mind.

“Prior to Steve’s death in September, many Portlanders had asked me to reconsider and run again. My response was that I believed I would have earned a long and happy retirement with my husband, at the end of eight years in office.

“My life completely changed on September 24th when Steve was killed.

“And now, I have the choice to make something positive out of this horrible loss. I’ve been thinking about this over the past few months. My kids and I went away over the holidays, and I discussed it with them. I want to continue to serve Portland, with their full support and that of Steve’s parents who live in East Portland.”

While Fritz is widely admired by liberal grassroots communities, she has also been under fire from police accountability activists opposed to the City’s appeal of the U.S. Department of Justice agreement regarding final say in court-mandated reviews of the Portland Police Bureau’s compliance with its terms.

Fritz, along with Mayor Charlie Hales, insists that the City Council should have final say; members of the Albina Ministerial Alliance for Justice and Police Reform argue that in the interest of keeping the review process independent of city control, a district judge should have the final say.

The issue is currently before a mediator of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Fritz campaign posted a list of priorities for the rest of her current term and possible future one, including plans to:

●     Fully implement the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement police reforms

●     Address income inequalities and help working families

●     Identify funding to maintain basic infrastructure

●     Fix local campaign financing to reduce undue influence by affluent donors

●     Implement the Parks replacement bond measure

●     Improve equity and opportunity within City government and across all Portland’s neighborhoods and cultural communities

●     Help the most vulnerable people in our community, including people experiencing mental illnesses and people living outside

Her campaign listed accomplishments of the past two years including:

●     Adoption of Protected Sick Leave, now cited by President Barack Obama as a national priority

●     Establishing the independent City Budget Office, which she proposed at the end of 2012

●     Securing ongoing funding to assist survivors of human trafficking, and to train women and youth on strategies preventing domestic and sexual violence

●     Dedicating System Development Charge revenue (fees paid by developers) to build parks in parks-deficient areas of East Portland and SW Portland

●     Passage of the $68M Parks Replacement Bond, with the highest-ever level of support for a Portland Parks funding measure

●     Averting the imposition of transportation funding fees that would have overburdened low-income Portlanders and middle-income families

●     Coordinating the hiring of the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison and appointment of the Community Oversight Advisory Board for the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement on police accountability regarding treatment of people experiencing mental illnesses, in partnership with the Mayor’s office

●     Changing City budget policy to prioritize spending on basic infrastructure maintenance

●     Revising standards for notice to neighbors prior to demolition of single family homes, offering more opportunities for preservation of historic buildings.

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