12-01-2021  11:10 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Dozens of Oregon Workers Fired for Not Getting COVID Shot

Officials in Oregon say at least 99 state workers have been fired for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Attorney General Rosenblum Says She Won’t Run for Governor

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Monday put to rest rumors and officially said she will not enter Oregon’s crowded race for governor.

Portland’s Black Population Grew in the Last Decade, but That’s Not the Whole Story

The Black population in North and Northeast Portland declined by 13.5% over the last 10 years as more than 3,000 Black residents moved away, new numbers from the 2020 census show.

City’s Budget Windfall Means More for Police, Despite NAACP Demands

Group calls out lack of engagement from City Hall.

NEWS BRIEFS

Open Enrollment Deadline Is Dec. 15 for Health Insurance Coverage Starting Jan. 1, 2022

Help applying and financial assistance is available through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace ...

Commissioners From Three Counties Select Lawrence-Spence to Fill Senate District 18 Vacancy

District 18 includes portions of west Portland and Tigard. ...

Congressional Black Caucus Issues a Statement on the Passing of Former Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek

Meek, the first Black person to represent Florida in Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction, died Sunday, Nov. 28 at her...

Vsp Global Partners With Black EyeCare Perspective to Eliminate Inequities and Increase Representation of People of Color in the Eye Care Industry

Partnership includes scholarships, leadership development, and outreach to prospective optometrists ...

Shop Local and Earn Free Parking With Parking Kitty

Find the purrfect gift for your loved ones by supporting small businesses and shopping local this holiday season, thanks to the...

Rep. Peter DeFazio, the longest serving U.S. House member in Oregon’s history, is retiring

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Rep. Peter DeFazio, the longest serving U.S. House member in Oregon’s history, is retiring....

Longtime Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio won't seek reelection

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Rep. Peter DeFazio, the longest serving U.S. House member in Oregon’s history, said Wednesday that he is retiring and will not seek re-election next year The 74-year-old Democrat is the powerful chairman of the House Transportation Committee. ...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

Mizzou's Drinkwitz returning to Arkansas for rivalry game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Just 45 miles of interstate highway separate Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he is now as Missouri's head football coach. Raised in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkwitz will come full circle Friday when his Tigers visit No. 25...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

Just by being alive we can be sure of having moments of sadness as well as happiness. When you’re active in politics, you experience both wins and losses. Sometimes it can be hard to feel grateful. ...

Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

Climate change affects us all, but its effects aren’t distributed equally. ...

Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Death of bullied Utah girl draws anger over suicides, racism

DRAPER, Utah (AP) — When her 10-year-old daughter tried spraying air freshener on herself before school one morning, Brittany Tichenor-Cox suspected something was wrong with the sweet little girl whose beaming smile had gone dormant after she started the fifth grade. She...

Biden HIV/AIDS strategy calls racism 'public health threat'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration in its new HIV/AIDS strategy calls racism “a public health threat” that must be fully recognized as the world looks to end the epidemic. The strategy released Wednesday on the annual commemoration of World AIDS Day is meant to...

Editorial Roundup: U.S.

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: Nov. 30 The Wall Street Journal on U.S. Supreme Court at abortion crossroads: The Supreme Court takes up its most important abortion case in years on Wednesday, and the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Q&A: Mel Brooks, 95, is still riffing

NEW YORK (AP) — Leave it to Mel Brooks to blurb his own memoir. There, along with laudatory quotes from Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Conan O'Brien and others is one from “M. Brooks," who hails “All About Me!” as: "Not since the Bible have I read anything so powerful and...

Louis Vuitton show pays tribute to designer Virgil Abloh

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Louis Vuitton's first ever U.S. fashion show turned into a somber yet whimsical tribute to groundbreaking designer Virgil Abloh days after his death. The Miami menswear event, an unofficial kickoff to the prestigious Art Basel fair, had been in the...

CNN suspends Chris Cuomo for helping brother in scandal

NEW YORK (AP) — CNN indefinitely suspended anchor Chris Cuomo on Tuesday after details emerged about how he helped his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to face charges of sexual harassment earlier this year. The network said documents released by New York's attorney...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Explosion of WWII bomb in Munich injures 4, disrupts trains

BERLIN (AP) — A World War II bomb exploded at a construction site next to a busy railway line in Munich on...

Putin demands NATO guarantees not to expand eastward

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow would seek Western guarantees precluding any...

Outside Supreme Court, crowd amplifies abortion arguments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of abortion debate partisans crowded the plaza in front of the Supreme Court on...

EU chief calls for debate on making COVID-19 jabs mandatory

BRUSSELS (AP) — The chief of the European Union's executive arm said Wednesday that EU nations should consider...

Iceland police say homemade bomb found in Reykjavik dumpster

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Three men were arrested after a homemade bomb was found in a residential neighborhood...

Man arrested after breaching security at UK Parliament

LONDON (AP) — A man was arrested Wednesday after breaching security at Britain’s Parliament. ...

Greg Bluestein the Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) -- The nation's largest private prison company made an enticing offer to 48 states that went something like this: We will buy your prison now if you agree to keep it mostly full and promise to pay us for running it over the next two decades.

Despite a need for cash, several states immediately slammed the door on the offer, a sign that privatizing prisons might not be as popular as it once was.

Corrections Corporation of America sent letters to the prison leaders in January, saying it had a pot of $250 million to buy facilities as part of an investment. The company is trying to capitalize on the landmark deal it made with Ohio in the fall by purchasing a facility, the first state prison in the nation to be sold to a private firm.

Prison departments in California, Texas and Georgia all dismissed the idea. Florida's prison system said it doesn't have the authority to make that kind of decision and officials in CCA's home state of Tennessee said they aren't reviewing the proposal. The states refused to say exactly why they were rejecting the offer.

"Knowing the state government, it has to have something to do with the potential political backlash," said Jeanne Stinchcomb, a criminal justice professor at Florida Atlantic University who has written two books on the corrections industry. "Privatization has reaped some negative publicity, so I can only assume that despite the possible benefits, there would be a price to pay for supporting it."

Bruce Bayley, associate professor of criminal justice at Weber State University, said he hoped something other than politics drove the states' decisions.

"It's always hard for politicians to turn down the money," said Bayley. "On the flipside, though, it speaks well to the professionalism of corrections departments of these states who don't want to sell out to companies just to add some money to their bank accounts."

Critics of private prisons called the offer a backdoor way to delay the sentencing reform movements that have sprung up in many states looking to cut prison budgets. Lawmakers in many conservative states that once eagerly passed tough-on-crime laws are now embracing alternative sentences for low-level offenders who would otherwise be locked up.

CCA said selling a prison to a private firm doesn't block states from pursuing sentencing reform. The company also said it was still too early to say whether any state would take them up on the bid.

"It was an outreach letter making them aware of these offers, it's yet another tool in the toolbox," said company spokesman Steve Owen. "We can design and build and own facilities from scratch or manage government facilities, but this is a third business model."

CCA said the offer was inspired by the $72.7 million sale of Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Ohio. CCA and its main competitors, which have said they don't plan to make a similar offer, typically build their own prisons or manage state-owned lockups.

"We want to build on that success and provide our existing or prospective government partners with access to the same opportunity as they manage challenging corrections budgets," Harley Lappin, the company's chief corrections officer, said in the letter to prison leaders.

Eligible facilities must have at least 1,000 beds, must be less than 25 years old and in good condition, and have to maintain at least a 90 percent occupancy rate.

The private prison industry boomed in the late 1980s and 1990s as states sought cheaper ways to jail people and voters began resisting building more prisons. Now companies like CCA and its main rival, Florida-based Geo Group Inc., operate dozens of private prisons throughout the nation.

But efforts to privatize prisons have become highly-charged political debates in many states, partly because a sale often requires legislative approval or an OK by the governor.

In Louisiana, lawmakers last year defeated Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposal to privatize and sell several state prisons to generate $90 million. Relatives of prison employees aggressively fought the move, fearing that they would get lower pay and less benefits working for a private firm.

An effort to privatize a chunk of Florida's prisons also met stiff opposition from lawmakers in February. They blocked what would have been the largest prison privatization in the U.S.

Some critics of CCA's bid said their concerns extend beyond the financial costs of a deal. About two dozen religious groups signed a letter saying that accepting the proposal would be "costly to the moral strength of your state."

"Mr. Lappin's proposal is an invitation to deepening state debt, increased costs to people of color who are disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration as well as their families and communities, and decreased public safety," said the letter, sent by groups including The Episcopal Church and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.



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