Craigslist

May 12 – Sunday Headlines

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Morning Headlines

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  • Fatal crash near Fall Creek
    The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal crash on Jasper Lowell Road near Fall Creek. Deputies tell NewsSource 16 one person died and three others were taken to…
  • State bars Lane County grant requests for three years
    In an unusually severe penalty, the state has barred Lane County from applying for federal community development block grants for three years because of numerous mistakes county government made in overseeing a $1 million federal grant to upgrade a wate
  • Two men dead in River Road crash
    Two men died in a car crash early Saturday morning when a Camaro rolled  and crashed on River Road, the sheriff’s office said.
  • FOOD for Lane County collects 61,064 pounds of donations
    FOOD for Lane County’s one-day Stamp Out Hunger food drive collected 61,064 pounds of food on Saturday, according to preliminary figures provided by the agency that do not included collections from rural areas. That’s considerably less than
  • Grand opening of new women’s shelter at Eugene Mission
    About 200 people this yesterday morning attended a grand opening ceremony for the new women’s shelter at the Eugene Mission. Many in the crowd were donors and Eugene Mission supporters whose contributions helped build and furnish the new $1.6 million, 12,1
  • Casting for Independent Film
    Casting additional roles for an Oregon independent short film slated for submission to 3 Oregon film festivals and possibly wider exposure.Currently looking for…
  • Oregon takes two from the Buckeyes

    Mitchell Tolman did his best to end No. 10 Oregon baseball’s drama late in Saturday’s opening game of a doubleheader against Ohio State. Cole Irvin made sure the Ducks stayed ahead from the very beginning of the secon 
  • Oregon State’s Sara Almen hits new heights in high jump at Pac-12 championships
    Oregon State freshman Sara Almen didn’t get the personal best she wanted on Saturday, but it’s hard to be unhappy with third place in the high jump in her first appearance at the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships. T
  • Oregon softball tops Arizona State 4-2 in final game of season.
    Oregon softball picked up their first win of the series against Arizona State this afternoon to avoid the sweep. In their final game in Tempe, the Ducks topped the Sun Devils 4-2. Junior Alexa Peterson scored Oregon’s first run in the second inni
  • Oregon golf advances to NCAA Championships
    After dropping four spots in the second round, the University of Oregon women’s golf team rallied back to tie for sixth place with No. 6 ranked Arizona and San Jose State in the NCAA West Regionals. With the win, Oregon will advance to the NCAA C

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Finding the Absurdity in Craigslist

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There must be an art to selling things on Craigslist. About a month ago my sister decided to upgrade our living room by buying a new sectional. Me being a guy, and someone who doesn’t like much change, it hadn’t really occurred to me that there was anything wrong with our current living area.

But Lindsay saw a piece she liked, so we (more like she with me just nodding “Uh… okay”) decided to go ahead and change things. In order to make room we needed to sell each of our existing pieces of furniture: My post college futon and her overrated leather couch. I took the photos, she posted them on Craigslist and we waited for potential buyers. We got offers, negotiated the price and eventually sold my futon.

A perfectly appealing couch don’t you think?

The leather couch however, remains pushed to one side of the room, we just haven’t been able to sell the damn thing! It’s a little surprising considering we posted clear photos (You’d be surprised by how many people have blurry photos) of the couch, provided a description and have even pointed out a couple of dings on the left side so that buyers are aware of its minor deficiencies.

Even the price has gone from $225 down to $195 and currently sits at $175. We’ve had an offer to donate it, but post graduates need cash people! We’ve even had a person offer to send us a check for it (SCAM!!). Who knows how long it will sit there, taking up space, no longer wanted by us.

Perhaps we’re going about this the wrong way. Maybe our post is too conservative, too boring. It has to be, compared to a Portland resident who a few days ago, posted a listing for a basement for rent. But it’s not just any ordinary basement.

“I have a basement that turns into a spaceship. I’m not kidding.”

That’s the opening sentence. Is anyone else intrigued? Who ever this person is, they’re fully committed to this spaceship theme.

Can your basement turn into this? Didn’t think so.

“Nice carpets and windows throughout. It’s like a one-bedroom apt with its own family room and bedroom with full bathroom. Only thing is… it turns into a spaceship. Great for a couple of astronauts that’s respectful, clean and quiet.”

There was one stipulation if you were interested.

“You need to be a certified and experienced pilot, or simply have a job. Shoot me a cosmic email with your phone number and info about you and your flying aspirations. Thanks.”

Now that’s a Craigslist post! That was inspired, original and creative. I don’t even need a place to live right now and even I’m considering moving in. They even threw in a picture of the USS Enterprise in case you were questioning their commitment.

You can find a slew of odd things on Craigslist. In Cottage Grove, someone (I’m assuming a guy) is selling 90 Playboy magazines, including a 45th Anniversary Collector’s Edition and the 2000 Collector’s Edition, for $70. Unfortunately no photos were provided.

Here in Eugene, somebody has “a bunch of broken watches” for $5. Only 5 dollars? Sold!  How about 30 eight-track tapes featuring such artists as Janis Joplin, Rod Stewart and Jefferson Airplane. These can all be yours for the low low price of $30. I’d consider it if they threw in the DeLorean so I could go back to 1970 to enjoy them.

As odd as these posts are, they’re still real, as is mine. But other than making money and getting rid of “stuff,” there is no fun in waiting weeks for legitimate interest in your things. I’m staring at this couch right now and it’s very intrusive. Someone please buy it.

The essence of Craigslist is that it’s a form of communication, or perhaps a bridge for people to buy or sell stuff, join groups who have similar interests, look for a job, and many other things that bring people together. But it feels a little too boring. A little too Yellow Pages. Where can one look for a little absurdness on Craigslist?

A funny ebook that’s also really short. Perfect!

There’s potential to have some fun in the Discussion forums, a little in the For Sale section as we found out from the Portland spaceship basement, but you could get really creative in the Personals section. Short of humiliating someone, the Personals section is the one area of Craigslist where you’re not selling something, you’re selling yourself and that can open up a world of creativity.

But how does one come up with a fun and outrageous ad? To find out, I got a hold of Tom Nardone, author of Craigslist Bombs – Outrageous Personal Ads Including 27 Shades of Grey. The titles of the chapters or Craigslist Bombs in his short book include “I Might Be Your Vampire Lover,” “Cobra Starship” and “One Night Stand.” None of the posts in his book are real, they’re just funny personal ads he came up with and posted on Craigslist. But how did he come up with the idea to do this?

“Actually, I came up with some of the ad ideas first. One example is the ‘I might be a vampire’ ad. I wanted my friend Teon to run it because he is kind of dark and gothic, but he refused. Almost all of the ads were made for a friend but then turned down. After my friends chicken out, I usually can’t just let the idea die, they get stuck in my brain and bother me. Instead I ramp them up until they are utterly ridiculous and then run them for fun.”

Despite the ridiculousness of them, Nardone did get responses from some of his ads.

“The vampire ad got a good response, possible 10 responses. One or two of the responders have become Facebook friends but I’ve never met them. The best ad ever for responses was ’27 Shades of Grey’ which was receiving responses weeks after the ad ran,” said Nardone.

So while Craigslist is, for the most part, a place to communicate, it’s still the Internet and it can create some truly unique characters. Nardone found that a little bit of strange is pretty common.

“I think people are just naturally weird. Craigslist just removes the filters that society normally uses to hide our own weirdness from one another. Most people get their information from the media and the media is full of smart people. So when you offer everyone a venue to speak, the result is much more odd.”

Despite the absurdity that can breed from the Personals section, other areas tend to be more straight forward. With the risk of scams and fake ads, as well as accusations that Craigslist promoted prostitution with its Adult Services section (The section was eventually removed from the site in 2010), the site has become much more strict; allowing people to flag anything even remotely sketch. But there seems to be a grey area.

A person can read an ad like the one for the spaceship apartment and it won’t be flagged because it’s humorous and creative. But go to the jobs section and anything even remotely unusual is flagged. Nardone runs a company that sells sex toys so when he has posted a job listing on Craigslist humorously detailing what his company does and what the job entails, the ad is ultimately removed.

Author Tom Nardone.

“I think it is too easy to ‘flag’ ads. When my company places a help wanted ad that has some personality, people ‘flag’ it and it is removed instantly. I think there should be some standard for that,” said Nardone.

He’s referring to an ad his company posted called “A Crappy Summer Job.” The highly creative and hilarious ad was legitimate, but because it was just a little too “out there,” it was flagged and eventually removed.

Craigslist needs to be more transparent, that’s obvious, but after discovering Tom Nardone and his outrageous book, the site can be a lot more fun if you put your mind to it.

“My silly personal ads were just a break from the monotony of life. As a semi-pro humorist, I know that if something is always the same, you can mess with it for a laugh,” said Nardone.

We eventually sold my sister’s couch. She gave in for $150. Maybe we should have said it’s a time machine as well as a couch. We might of gotten more for it. That or people would have thought we were just nuts and flagged it.

 

July 17 – Morning Headlines

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Headlines

The Casanova Center expansion?
  • Eugene family scammed on home rental
    A local family of three found a listing on Craigslist for a house for rent. They met with the alleged owner, exchanged cash, and later found out it was a…
  • Maverick councilor wants to be mayor
    Two weeks after surviving an attempt to force a recall election, Creswell City Councilor A.J. O’Connell has declared his candidacy for mayor. Since his arrival on the council in January 2011, the 24-year-old O’Connell has clashed openl… 
  • Springfield replaces prosecutor
    The City Council has decided to hire a new firm to be Springfield’s municipal prosecutor, a move that will save $56,000 a year and potentially more, but that will jettison current prosecutor David Logan, whose firm has held the contra… 
  • Analysis favorable for EmX extension
    A key environmental analysis of the controversial extension of bus rapid transit lines into west Eugene has determined that the project would not cause significant harm to the region. The finding, which was expected, is another milestone in the effort ..
  • Damian Lillard Starts Blazers Career as Floor Leader
    Damian Lillard wowed fans and set high standards in his first professional outing, scoring 25 points and leading a huge second-half comeback. But are expectations too high in the Rose City?
  • UO’s football palace
    This story has been corrected by the Register Guard. The correction can be found here.
    Massive concrete pillars to hold together the $68 million operations center that Nike’s Phil Knight is building for the University of Oregon football program are shooting up next to Autzen Stadium. The new center will feature two skybridge-linked bui…

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Tim Chuey Weather:

The chance of showers and thunderstorms will stick with us through midweek, then back to sunshine and dry weather.

High: 78
Low: 52
Forecast: Thunderstorms

closed low (brown circle) is sliding south from Canada through Oregon into California bringing us more clouds as it moves through, but I don’t think we’ll see any significant precipitation just a chance of a shower or thunderstorm. A frontal system will swing in Wednesday and Wednesday night, again bringing only clouds and not a significant chance of precipitation. We will dry out and warm up as we head into next weekend.

[gn_note color=#eee]
The pollen count for the Eugene-Springfield area is:
Grass- Moderate (17) (Observation: It looks like the grass pollen season is just about over.)
Trees- Low (2)
Data from Oregon Allergy Associates
[/gn_note]

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Partly cloudy with a (30%) chance of showers this AM, mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of thunderstorms this afternoon and evening (under 0.10 in. of rain possible, more in storms), then a slight (20%) chance of showers late tonight (under 0.10 in. of rain possible) and again Wednesday AM, a mix of clouds and sun with a slight (20%) chance of showers Wednesday afternoon and evening, then partly cloudy Wednesday night through Thursday night highs 76-78 lows 55-52. Partly cloudy Thursday through Friday night, then mostly sunny Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with mostly clear nights highs 80-90 cooling to near 87 Monday lows near 54. (seasonal averages high 83 low 52)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

July 10 – Morning Headlines

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Headlines

As pertussis cases continue to climb in Oregon, Lane County health officials have decided it’s time to sound the alarm with a town hall meeting.
  • Officials call pertussis alert
    As pertussis cases continue to climb in Oregon, Lane County health officials have decided it’s time to sound the alarm with a town hall meeting. Pertussis, more commonly known as “whooping cough,” is defined by the Oregon Health Authority as a hi…
  • Eugene postpones decision on coal trains
    Some members of the Eugene City Council on Monday night appeared ready to oppose the transport of coal on trains running through town, while others weren’t quite prepared to take that step. So the council decided it will consider the issue again in a…
  • Utility leader’s lawsuit appears headed to jury
    A jury most likely will hear Eugene Water & Electric Board Commissioner JoAnn Ernst’s claim that Eugene police used excessive force and violated her family’s civil rights during a 2009 drug raid on her home, a federal judge said Monday. U.S. Di
  • City Hall options unveiled
    With Eugene’s City Hall scheduled to be emptied in about six weeks, the City Council on Monday talked about how to replace the mostly unloved 48-year-old building in the heart of downtown. Councilors heard from a report by city staff and from a pair …
  • Charter school official aids pranksters
    In the realm of senior pranks, the one that hit HomeSource Family Charter School in Eugene last month was relatively benign. No cans of paint were involved, no live animals tethered to the school grounds or pools of baby oil on the floors to send stude…
  • Livestrong Texas 4,000 Bike Ride Passes Through Eugene
    More than 4,000 miles–that’s how far a group of young bikers will trek this summer. This group isn’t on this massive bike ride purely for fun, though. Forty-two people in their early 20s set out from Austin, Texa…
  • Man Walks Thousands of Miles to Raise Diabetes Awareness
    Erik Bendl, his dog Nice and his globe are walking from Washington to California to raise awareness about diabetes and what each of us can do to prevent it, maybe even reverse it. “I started this walk from Seattle, sa…

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Tim Chuey Weather:

We’ll still have plenty of sunshine this week, but it will be warm instead of hot.

High: 85
Low: 52
Forecast: warm with clouds

An upper level trough of low pressure will slide closer to us bringing some clouds and cooler temperatures. The high pressure ridge that gave us the sunny and hot weather has a little to the east allowing the trough to move in behind it. This week will be much more comfortable with high temperatures near or just a bit above average (from 80-85).

[gn_note color=#eee]
The pollen count for the Eugene-Springfield area is:
Grass- High (103)
Trees- Moderate (38)
Data from Oregon Allergy Associates
[/gn_note]

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis:  Mostly cloudy this AM, mostly sunny this afternoon, mostly clear tonight, partly cloudy Wednesday AM, sunny Wednesday afternoon,  mostly clear Wednesday night, a mix of clouds and sun Thursday AM, mostly sunny in the afternoon, then partly cloudy Thursday night highs 82-85 lows 52-55. Partly cloudy Friday AM, mostly sunny in the afternoon, partly cloudy Friday night and Saturday AM, mostly sunny Saturday afternoon, partly cloudy Saturday night and Sunday AM, mostly sunny Sunday afternoon and Monday with mostly clear skies Sunday night highs 82-86 cooling to 84 Sunday lows near 54. (seasonal averages high 81 low 51)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

Sign My Petition or I’ll Lose My Job – Part Two

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The Human Cost of Canvassing

Part 2 of a series on Oregon’s initiative and referendum process

Robert Mueller is all smiles. He talks with great optimism about the future: he has an upcoming job interview, he loves his four year old daughter, and his phone still has four more days of service. Listening to him talk, you might not catch that, well, his phone has four more days of service. Or that, after working professionally as a custom home theater installer in Eugene, the recession hit his family really hard. He lost his house, he is living out of his car, and he struggles to support his little girl.

Robert was understandably excited to get a job at Democracy Resources.  While a home theatre installer by trade, he has plenty of campaigning experience. He had already petitioned on behalf of numerous campaigns, including Oregon’s indoor smoking ban and the 1996 push for medical marijuana legalization. He knew this was a job he could do—and do well.

After working at Democracy Resources for two days, Robert was fired.

On Mother’s Day. He was assigned to work at the Eugene downtown bus stop. For hours Robert did his best. But, as photos he took demonstrate, there was not (nor is there normally) anyone at the downtown bus stop on Mother’s Day. After not reaching his 75-signature-a-day quota, Robert was canned.

“It was Sasquatch Brewfest the night before and Mother’s Day that morning. Even Voodoo Doughnuts was dead, that’s how dead downtown was. None of the people on my crew made quota,” Robert said. “And only ten people out of all twenty five employees that worked that day made quota. And I wasn’t even on the schedule that day! They called me and asked me to come in—”

—Robert emphasized this part—

“—I came in as a favor to them. And apparently, they fired me to return that favor.”

Robert’s story is unfortunately not unique. He is one of several employees speaking out against perceived unfair and demeaning treatment at the Eugene office of Democracy Resources. In this article, EDN looks into what work looks like for the average signature gatherer.

What we discovered, unsurprisingly, was this job is not a walk in the park. But what was surprising were the stories we heard about bait-and-switch tactics used in the hiring process, the intense pressure placed on employees, and the difficulties some allegedly face when trying to get paid.

The recession puts its heavy boot on American workers

In 2008, Americans watched in slow-motion as the American dream began to resemble something more like a horror story. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the recession

“began with the bursting of an eight trillion dollar housing bubble. The resulting loss of wealth led to sharp cutbacks in consumer spending. This loss of consumption, combined with the financial market chaos triggered by the bursting of the bubble, also led to a collapse in business investment. As consumer spending and business investment dried up, massive job loss followed. ”

The stock market tanked, the housing bubble popped, and hundreds of thousands of jobs disappeared. The economy ground to such a halt that economists deemed the moment — a moment we still feel today — the Great Recession.

People say desperate times call for desperate measures. No one really goes into what those measures are. The saying stops there. But we see the results: people switching careers, going back to school, or picking up second or third jobs to support their families and have a place to live. Often, though, we do not hear the other story—that desperate times also create the opportunity to take advantage of desperate people.

According to employees of Democracy Resources, that is exactly what their Eugene employer does.

“It is not ethical”

Democracy Resource’s Eugene office.

“14/hr Canvassing for November 2012 ballot!” When Karen Freeman, a small business owner in Eugene, first saw this ad on the Eugene Craigslist, she was excited.

“I thought, ‘Good, someone is paying a decent amount for work, instead of $10 for experience and a college degree. And part-time is perfect. They [gave] the impression we could choose the numbers of hours we worked. I figured 20 is what I needed.” Karen hoped to get a supplemental part-time job.

The ad stated:

“$14/hr Canvassing for November 2012 ballot! (Eugene, OR). Democracy Resources is hiring employees with positive and outgoing attitudes. Full- and part-time positions available…Compensation: $14.00 per hour.”

At $14 per hour, and full and part time positions available, it almost seems too good to be true.

“Taking time to go to the interview,” Karen said, “I was disappointed when I found out the position did not pay as described on the ad.”

Karen discovered discrepancies in the presented information. Employees are not paid $14 an hour as the ad states (twice). Employees are paid $10 per hour, unless they work over 30 hours a week. Only then do they get a “bonus” of an extra $4 an hour. And there are only two working options: work three days a week or work five days a week. So unless you are willing to work full-time (including a weekend day), you are not eligible to get the wage advertised not only on Craigslist but many other websites.

As a business owner herself, Karen was very blunt about this discrepancy: “Of course it is not ethical.” Not only that, but as Karen explained, “My time is valuable, and I feel they not only wasted my time, but a lot of paperwork by having everyone fill out paperwork when they knew they would not hire everyone. Now I am concerned that they got my personal info, driver’s license, and Social Security number. As the interview unfolded, it was clear they were not going to hire us all, and then they already had our info.”

“Milling people in a desperate job market”

Not only did the hiring managers at Democracy Resources waste Karen’s time and while not being upfront about pay, they were not offering a typical job even for their own organization. The employee handbook says employees must get 75 signatures a week. But the Eugene office imposed its own rules: Employees must pull in 75 signatures a day or be terminated immediately. Not only that, but you must have at least 40 signatures by 2 pm or you will be terminated halfway through the day.

This condition might be less problematic if employees received appropriate training. But according to all the employees EDN interviewed, “training” entails about 30 minutes of cursory information about the petitions and about 30 minutes of roleplay before brand new employees are sent out to the field. If those brand new employees, after a mere one hour “training,” do not meet half their signature requirement in the following 3 hours, they are fired instantly and — consequently — only get paid $10 an hour for their one half-day.

“The job is pretty much milling through people in a desperate job market,” says “Jack” (name protected for anonymity). Jack worked for the Eugene branch of Democracy Resources for about two months and has worked on petitions for several canvassing groups in Oregon and elsewhere.

“There is no rotation between canvassing spots to give new employees a fair chance. The company gives locational preference to the veteran employees and sends the new ones out to either sink or swim. It’s like a slaughterhouse: they take all these poor or jobless people in, use them for a day, and then throw them out the door in a few hours once they deem them useless.”

According to a current employee, the head supervisor recently announced that over the last few months the Eugene office has hired and fired over 1,000 people. (This is with an average staff size of 30 to 40.) Why so many? Some were drunk, the supervisor claimed.*

To Jack, such high turnover is not just alarming, it’s the striking opposite of the kind of values the organization says it fights for.

“Their employment practices are exactly what progressives are fighting against.”

Ironically, while many of its petitions are backed by unions, there is no union for petitioners who work for Democracy Resources. Also, the average employee at Democracy Resources makes far less than the average union member: the average union member makes $23.45 per hour, a far cry from $10 (or $14, if you get the bonus) per hour.

Workplace harassment

“Democracy Resources wants to have complete control. It is very militaristic,” Jack says.

“The phrase ‘You will be fired’ is repeated constantly to invoke fear among the employees. All the staff employ fear tactics. I heard, ‘You’re going to get fired,’ so many times, I wish they would have fired me. I got sick of hearing it.”

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.”

Fear-based management tactics may not technically constitute workplace harassment, but they certainly affected most employees performance mindset.

“You are told if you get 75 signatures a day, you are secure. And then every other day, they say, ‘We’re firing one person today, whoever has the lowest signatures, even if the lowest amount of signatures is above the 75 minimum.’ It messes with your mind.”

On occasion, though, some employees claimed, the situation seemed very close to the legal definition of harassment.

One supervisor, during an employee meeting, told the employees that, if anyone didn’t make their quota, he would “tear them a new as*****”, said “Roman,” who worked with the Eugene office for two weeks.

Jack, referring to that same supervisor, said, “When he made a larger employee wear a uniform that was several sizes too small, and wouldn’t allow that employee to take it off while working, and another employee tried to stand up for the first one, he fired the person on the spot and immediately called the police to say that employee was trespassing, before the employee had a chance to pack his belongings. They treated people like dirt, like no one is better than their cause.”

Oregon labor law violations

According to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and Oregon law (ORS 652.140(1), “If an employee is discharged, the final paycheck is due not later than the end of the next business day.”

This is one of several important laws. Another relevant statute, ORS 652.140(4), states that whatever the method of payment, an employer must “provide an itemized statement and meet the deadlines applicable to final paychecks.”

These laws are expressly communicated to all employees at Democracy Resources. When hired, they are required — by Oregon law — to read the Circulator Trainer pamphlet provided by the Oregon Secretary of State. Democracy Resources provides this pamphlet to each employee.

The pamphlet states:

(1) “If you are fired, your final paycheck is due no later than the end of the first business day after you are discharged.”

(2) “You are required to be provided with an itemized statement of deductions with each paycheck, showing the total numbers of hours worked in the pay period, your rate of pay, and the amount and a description of each deduction.”

After firing Robert Mueller on Mother’s Day, May 13, Democracy Resources was therefore required by Oregon law to give him his final paycheck on Tuesday, May 15. Robert went into the Eugene office.

“They said they didn’t know why they didn’t have my money, and they would get it figured out,” he says.

(Keep in mind that another employee, Jack, has said that the managers at the Eugene office can print a check right then and there, and have done so for him personally.)

So Robert returned that Friday, three days later.

The doors were locked at 2 pm, which is the time the employee handbook says employees can pick up checks. Robert had his child with him and needed the money for their time over the weekend, so he waited. When a manager finally showed up, Robert asked again for his check.

“I got let go on Sunday. They didn’t have a check for me on Tuesday as the law requires. Now it’s Friday, the actual end of their pay period, and there was still nothing there for me.”

Robert told the manager he was in breach of Oregon law, and said the manager replied, “Well, I don’t have a check here.  What do you want me to do?”

Robert answered, “Get ahold of the company accountant or president right now. I need my paycheck to feed my kid this weekend.”

The manager claimed that wasn’t his problem. “I can’t do anything about it, and I don’t know who to call.”

Robert twice asked, “Can’t you just print the checks in this office?”

The manager said no.

Robert and his child left after Robert told the manager he would be contacting the Bureau of Labor.

After calling the Bureau of Labor that weekend and leaving a message, Robert said he never heard back from the Bureau. Not having received his paycheck, he was unable to pay his cell phone bill, and his phone was subsequently disconnected. When Robert returned to Democracy Resources the following Tuesday, a week after the legally required paydate, they finally had his money.

But not just any money.

Instead of a final paycheck, the Eugene office of Democracy Resources handed Robert Mueller a plain white envelope. Inside he found no paycheck, pay stub, tax information, or — as the pamphlet Democracy Resources gave Mueller expressly states is necessary — an “itemized statement of deductions.”

The envelope contained nothing but cash.

After all that, Robert says, he had a litany of questions.

“Why couldn’t they pay me in cash when I first went in? What happened to my check? Why did me threatening to call the Bureau of Labor twice not make anything happen? Why did it take an actual phone call to the Bureau of Labor for Democracy Resources to finally pay me?”

After all he went through, he says, receiving pay in an anonymous envelope only added insult to injury.

“How can you go out and say your line is to create 1,500 jobs in Multnomah County when you go and fire 1000 people in Eugene in two months?”

To Robert, the answer is not storming the castle, though. It is a change in approach.

“This isn’t a huge city. You don’t need the hustle of canvassers in San Francisco. Most of the people coming in were desperate for jobs, they weren’t scummy or drunks. They were willing and dedicated to work hard. And there’s a lot of other people like me, people so excited because this appeared like a lifeline. And then they take advantage of you. And it doesn’t make sense. I feel you could accomplish the same goals with the same pay rate without screwing people over.”

Robert half laughs, half sighs, “This shouldn’t be that difficult.”

Final thought

One afternoon, around 4:30, 30 minutes before employees had to turn in their 75-signature minimum, when most regular jobholders were about to get off work and enjoy the cool evening breeze, one desperate canvasser could be seen rushing frantically around the University of Oregon, shouting,

“Sign my petition or I will lose my job!” 

It is both sad and strange that promoting democracy has come to this.

PART ONE – PART TWO – Part Three: EDN finds out what canvassers are telling voters.

* Note: Democracy Resources did not respond to numerous attempts on EDN’s part for comments or an interview on this or any other part of the investigative series.

Background, discussion and details are available on the R.L. Stollar, Journalist blog.

Zombies, Racism, and Craigslist on EDN: The News Week in Review

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www.tippyandfriends.com

Eugene was a hot topic on the Internet this last week. Not the city, though, sorry. Everyone has been reading about Mr. Eugene, first name Rudy, a 31-year-old man from Miami who took “bath salts. Ingredients in bath salts — usually concentrated with a substantial dose of methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) — can cause hallucinations, psychosis and dangerous behavior — and apparently transform someone into a zombie!. As the drug first surged in use, authorities described its effects as a high similar to LSD-induced trips that could sometimes include amphetamine-like palpitations and paranoia. [1] After consuming this substance, Mr. Eugene was discovered chomping on another man’s face and neck before he was shot and killed by police. But fear not, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially announced on Thursday that zombies don’t exist.” [2]

Zombies might not exist, but racists do, as Lane County was reminded last week when four people chased and threatened a 15-year-old Springfield teenager due to his skin color. The victim told police an older yellow pick-up passed by slowly with four occupants…The victim tells police the truck circled the block and passed again, this time the occupants were yelling racial slurs, and threatening to hurt him. He told police that he tried to walk away, but, was chased into a gravel parking lot where the driver tried to run him over. [3] Springfield promptly condemned the incident. In conjunction with the Community Alliance of Lane County, the city held a rally against racism. Marilee Woodrow, a Springfield City Councilor, said

“the city is absolutely behind the rally. We are all appalled at what happened. This rally, we all support it. This is something important to gather the community together for good. I hope it sends the message that Springfield will not stand for racism.” [4]

Speaking of raising a finger: A Lane County woman says she stumbled upon what appears to be a human finger inside a glass bottle while on a beach trip near Reedsport. Tracie Bindrim says while looking for treasures along a secluded beach outside Reedsport she found …a finger. [5]

Fingers were not the only things discovered on the beach this week. A Japanese dock floated across the Pacific Ocean after last year’s tsunami. State parks employees and scientists scrambled to identify and contain any invasive species that may have hitched a ride on the structure. And now they have to figure out what to do with the 66-foot-long, 8-foot-tall behemoth. [6] Apparently Japan doesn’t want it back.

We do want Edward J. King, Jr., back, though. Edward King Jr. — co-founder of King Estate Winery, avionics pioneer and a lifelong entrepreneur — died Sunday at home at the age of 90. [7] King was considered an icon of the Oregon wine industry. [8]

What we don’t want, on the other hand, is the highly contagious bacterial infection known as pertussis, or whooping cough. Over the course of 2012, the disease has reached near-epidemic status in Washington state and has since passed into Oregon. According to Oregon Immunization Program spokesperson Susan Wickstrom, the state of Oregon reached a yearly total of 248 cases in May, compared to 102 cases at the same time last year. As of May 21, 2012, Lane County has seen five cases of whooping cough. Already this year in Oregon, Wickstrom says, there have been 10 infants — three months old or younger — hospitalized as a result of whooping cough.[9]

Whooping cough is no fun, but online games are. The local gaming industry, therefore, was ecstatic to find out that, Zynga, the world’s largest social game company, has acquired Eugene game developer Buzz Monkey and plans to expand the 50-employee Eugene studio. [10]

Buzz Monkey wasn’t the only thing in Oregon to get a new boss. On Monday the Trail Blazers hired Neil Olshey to be their new general manager. Just a few days ago, it was reported that Olshey had reached an agreement to remain GM of the Los Angeles Clippers. But after contract negotiations with the Clippers broke down, Portland was able to hire Olshey. [11]

In other news, Eugene Daily News is finally being treated like a real newspaper. Meaning, people talking trash about EDN on Craigslist. That’s right, this last week EDN — at long last — received the attention of trolls, aka internet forum intellectuals. Apparently EDN is “another rag out there” that is “all pro-Occupy slanted opinionated crap journalism.” that engages in “guerrilla marketing schemes” to advance our “radical Nazi” agenda. [12] [13]  Who knew.

June 10 – Evening Update

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June 10 – Evening Update

Tim Chuey Weather: Mostly cloudy late this afternoon and tonight through Saturday night, AM clouds, then a mix of clouds and sun Sunday, then partly cloudy in the evening and mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers late Sunday night highs 66-72 lows 48-45.

Feds take aim at marijuana markets – The U.S. district attorney for Oregon has served notice on all medical marijuana growers, saying the federal government will not allow the sale of pot anywhere in Oregon.

OSU study: Broccoli contains cancer-fighting chemical – Scientists at Oregon State University say new research indicates broccoli could prevent certain kinds of cancer. – guess Mom was right…–ed

Street camping: ‘It’s our neighborhood, and it’s a mess’ – A big mess in the Whiteaker neighborhood. The tipster wrote about being frustrated with people camping in the neighborhood and leaving plenty of junk behind.

Man accused in armed Craigslist scam – Springfield police arrested 29-year-old Venus Cishal Chand in connection with an armed Craigslist scam in Springfield.

Springfield man charged with abusing 10-week-old child
A 24-year-old Springfield man is accused of severely abusing his 10-week-old son, police said. The suspect, Nathan Joseph Monnier, was charged today with first-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment.

Welcome Home! Eat your cruciform vegetables.

June 9 – Evening Update

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June 9 – Evening Update

Tim Chuey Weather: a mix of clouds and sun and warmer today, mostly clear in the evening, mostly cloudy with patchy drizzle late tonight and Friday AM, partly cloudy in the afternoon and evening, mostly cloudy Friday night and Saturday AM, a mix of clouds and sun in the afternoon.

Craigslist scam ends at gunpoint in Springfield – A Craigslist scam done supposedly from Salem to Medford ended in gunpoint at a Springfield apartment complex. The suspect got away, the victim is said to be ok.

Sick kitty: Oregon cat gets bubonic plague – A cat in Prineville has been diagnosed with bubonic plague, the fourth case reported in Oregon among people and animals since January of last year.

Bottle bill update: Recycle – or it will cost you – Gov. John Kitzhaber has signed a bill revamping Oregon’s bottle deposit system. The bill includes a provision doubling the deposit on bottles if the recycling rate falls below 80 percent for two years.

Port of Siuslaw: ‘Looks like we’re in business again, finally’ – You may have heard the phrase “you’ve got to spend money to make money.” A community group in Florence has taken the saying to heart with a new ice machine at the Port of Siuslaw.

HONORS – Thurston graduate completes training Army National Guard Pvt. Conley Fry has graduated from the Fire Support Specialist Advanced Individual Training course at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla..

Chamber reaches out to Shelley Street firms – Maybe because it’s just located north and parallel to speeding traffic on the Highway 126 Expressway, the Shelley Street Business District often is overlooked.

Oregon’s Omlid earns all-academic honors, again – For the third time in her Oregon career, senior women’s golfer Erica Omlid, , a 2007 graduate of Thurston High School, was selected to the Pac-10 conference’s women’s golf all-academic team.

Sweet Home man arrested for stealing from aid organization – Verle Strickler is accused of stealing at least $16,000 from Sunshine Industries.

Bottle bill becomes law.