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Friday, October 05, 2007

Power To The People

Since 2002, I've been writing and then blogging about PERS issues. I've had access to thousands of documents, none private, but many not circulated widely. Others I know have their own set of documents. Over the years, it has become increasingly hard to lay hands on a document related to PERS, the PERS "crisis", the PERS Legislation, and the PERS litigation without a lengthy search. A few months ago about 5 of us decided that we had to put our heads together to solve the document access problem. Pretty soon a plan developed, largely due to the skills and motivation of Greg Scott, to put all these collected documents into a searchable library. Our plan involves developing a search engine that will enable interested readers to find documents by keywords, phrases, author, possibly date. The search engine is under development. We have marshaled many documents - more than one thousand -- and collected them into a single place - http://oregonpers.info. As is noted at this site, it is dedicated to the memory of Martha Sartain, an incredibly smart, persistent, and avid chronicler of PERS. Martha not only sacrificed her life (perhaps not literally, but figuratively) by agreeing to be the OPRI plaintiff in the Strunk case. Martha's case - Sartain v PERS - was about the retiree COLA freeze. It was one of two cases where the Oregon Supreme Court ruled in retirees favor, agreeing that the Legislature had already made the COLA integral to the retirement contract and could not arbitrarily withhold the COLA from benefits. Although PERS has still failed to implement the Supreme Court's version of the COLA freeze - and Martha died before this issue was resolved - it was her intellect, her sense of righteous indignation, her understanding of PERS history, and her ability to communicate all this to OPRI's lawyer that resulted in an excellent and winning case to the OSC.

This library is now open, although the intelligent search functions are not yet ready, and is devoted to our collective belief that "knowledge is power". Information is knowledge in this day and age and we believe in power to the people. Please visit http://oregonpers.info and see for yourself the vast array of documents assembled. Please make sure you send comments, opinions, documents, criticisms, and suggestions to the link at the site. I will have a link on the left for this new site in a day or two. (Puppy calls).

2 comments:

Alan Bluehole said...

This is great! Thank you.

mrfearless47 said...

Alan:

Thanks for your compliment. Please look at the post carrying the date November 15, 2007 (Livin' in the Future) for more information and a frank appeal for some funding help. We would sure appreciate your help, however much.

mrf