Sunday, December 6, 2015

Vengeance lust wastes millions, keeps family from answers

By former Oregon State Penitentiary Supt. Frank Thompson:

Allow me to make a well-informed prediction: the imposition of a new death sentence on Dayton Rogers by jurors in Clackamas County this week will prove to be nothing but an expensive charade. Despite this sentence, Rogers will very likely never be executed. Indeed, the state of Oregon has not executed anyone for nearly twenty years. I should know, I was the prison superintendent who supervised the last two executions to take place in our state, in 1996 and 1997. I understand the cost, both human and financial, of the death penalty and why that is not a price worth paying by Oregonians.
Dayton Rogers’ guilt is not in doubt. Nor is the enormity of his crimes. Nor the fact that Oregonians have already spent millions of dollars on a case that is over a quarter of a century old and will now pay millions more for an execution date that will never arrive. That money, which could have been spent on crime prevention initiatives that will actually make our communities safer, will instead be used to fund a lengthy appeals process which is unlikely to conclude before Dayton Rogers dies of natural causes in prison. He is already 62 years old and may have 30 years of appeals ahead of him. This is the exact same outcome that would have been achieved by a sentence of life without parole, but with massive additional cost.

What this new death sentence also guarantees is that Kelli Cervantes, whose mother, Nondace Kae Cervantes, was killed by Rogers and who the Oregonian has reported wants to meet with him in order to obtain answers to her urgent questions, will never get those answers. Prison policy will not allow a defendant and a victim’s family member to meet until all legal proceedings are over. If he had been sentenced to true life, Rogers was ready to waive all possible future legal proceedings, putting an end to the money spent on his case and allowing Kelli Cervantes the encounter that may bring her some solace.
As it is, Kelli Cervantes and all the other family and friends of the victims as well as anyone participating in future court hearings about Rogers’ crimes will undergo further trauma. Each step in the appeals process will bring fresh publicity and turn the media spotlight once again onto Dayton Rogers. How can anyone involved have an opportunity to heal while they experience the uncertainty and dread of waiting for the next twist in the tale?
Dayton Rogers’s case is “Exhibit A” for a broken system that is draining cash from our state’s funds in pursuit of an illusion that the death penalty is doing anything to keep Oregonians safe. Far better that we cease our “tinkering with the machinery of death” and resolve in future to choose the sentencing option – life without the possibility of parole – that will protect our communities from harm while avoiding financial waste and further human suffering.

Action Alert (UPDATED) - Ask Elected Officials to Ensure No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Dear allies in the fight against new fossil fuel infrastructure,

First, a huge THANK YOU  to those who have signed on to our petition calling for an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure on the West Coast! We are making progress! Our endorsers, which can be found on our front page of our website include: Van Jones, Winona LaDuke, Tom Goldtooth, Bill McKibben and many 350.orgs, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and many more. But it's not too late to add your name and organization as an endorser.

In terms of elected officials, we have three mayors endorsing (Portland, Hood River and Milwaukie, OR), another mayor of a major west coast city expressing "strong interest" to our allies in Paris in endorsing our petition, and another mayor--Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, CA-- being strongly lobbied by friends and allies in California and in Paris to sign our petition. Here is a news article which suggests that she, like Portland Mayor Hales, sees the opportunity to constrain coal exports based on health and safety:

And here is Mayor Hales' latest report from Paris, where he discusses the key role mayors have to play in acting on climate change:

Here are the list of elected officials that have signed our petition as of today. Thank you to each and every one of them!

·         Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, OR

·         Amanda Fritz, Portland City Commissioner

·         Steven Novick, Portland City Commissioner

·         Dan Saltzman, Portland City Commissioner

·         Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner

·         Paul Blackburn, Mayor of Hood River, OR

·         Peter Cornelison, Hood River City Commissioner

·         Mark Gamba, Mayor of Milwaukie, OR

·         Eric LaBrant, Commissioner-Elect, Port of Vancouver, WA

·         Gayle McLaughlin, Councilmember. Richmond, CA

·         Richard R. Pennant, Councilmember, Hoquiam, WA

Although Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy was quoted as endorsing our petition in the Eugene Weekly, we are awaiting confirming on her endorsement.

As you may know, the mayors of LA, San Francisco, Eugene, and Seattle are coming to Portland on Dec. 10-11 to discuss climate change.

What can you do to help? In addition to sending around our website for more sign-ons via social media and other means, please send a short note to your elected officials--mayor, city commissioner, etc.--if they aren't on our list already and ask them to put add their name to our short one-sentence statement on our website which reads:

"The following local, state, and provincial leaders have endorsed the principles expressed in Portland's Fossil Fuel Resolution — that fossil fuels pose inherent health and safety dangers throughout their entire life cycle  — and commit to creating similar restrictions on new fossil fuel infrastructure in their jurisdictions."

The sign-on statement can be found here:

If they have questions about what this statement means, please refer them to the bottom of the front page of our website, where Columbia Riverkeeper's Brett VandenHeuval answers frequently asked questions about the resolution, and dispels the Fox News lie that this means, for example, no new gas stations.

The sooner you can do this, the better. If you can get endorsements by Thursday, Dec. 10, awesome!! Our press conference announcing mayor endorsements is Friday morning. But after that is OK, too. We're in it for the long haul, along with you.

Thanks for all you do!

Oh, and if you have a few dollars to spare to help defray the costs of building our website (about $1000), we would love any and all contributions.  You can do so here.

Many thanks!

Daphne Wysham
Director, Climate and Energy Program
Center for Sustainable Economy
Advisor, National Climate Justice Strategy Group, Unitarian Universalist Association