Misrepresentations Spread Through Medford School District

CRIME VICTIMS UNITED


Executive Summary

1. Someone used the Medford School District email system to blast a mass emailing about Measure 94 to district employees. We believe this may be a violation of election law. The email contained many blatant misrepresentations.

2. We requested of the superintendent of the school district that Crime Victims United be permitted to send a refutation to the same email addresses.

3. The superintendent agreed, to the best of our recollection, to send a refutation that we had emailed to him.

4. The superintendent sent a mass email on the subject but did not include any of our refutation.

5. We emailed him saying that we found the response disappointing. 

The improperly sent email is but one facet of a massive disinformation campaign launched by Measure 94 supporters just as ballots for the 2000 general election are being mailed.. Other misrepresentations are appearing in letters to the editor, on the radio, and in email campaigns.


10/17/2000 Email Sent to Hundreds of Medford School District Employees

I am writing this because of the alarming number of young first time offenders who for little more than a bar room fight are receiving sentences of 7 years with no opportunity for parole or time off for good behavior. 

I voted for Measure 11 because I thought it would stop repeat offenders. 

What is happening is that our prisons are now being pushed to the maximum imprisoning young, first time offenders which for many are with drug related charges. IF MEASURE 11 STAYS IN EFFECT MORE THAN ONE BILLION DOLLARS IS SLATED FROM THE STATE BUDGET TO GO TO THE PRISON INDUSTRY. This money is already being siphoned away from education. 

We are creating overly harsh conditions for these young people, who are incarcerated with hardened criminals and are now learning unspeakable things which could scar them forever and create more hardened, hateful and angry men when they are released. 

MEASURE 11 IS AN EXCESSIVELY SERVERE (sic) LAW WHICH BESIDES BEING VERY EXPENSIVE AND DISASTROUS TO THE STATE BUDGET, IS VICTIMIZING YOUNG FIRST TIME OFFENDERS WHO SHOULD HAVE A CHANCE TO REFORM. 

Please, STUDY THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS MEASURE AND VOTE AGAINST MEASURE 11 IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION BY VOTING FOR MEASURE 94. 


10/19/2000 Email from Crime Victims United to Medford Superintendent Dr. Steve Wisely

Dear Superintendent Wisely:

I am the chairman of the Crime Victims United No on 94 Committee. We are the primary opponents of Measure 94. 

It was brought to my attention that someone used your school district's email system to send a message about Measure 94. I have seen the message and it contains several false and misleading statements. I am sure that you and your district do not condone this action. 

The disinformation in the email is no surprise. Measure 94 proponents have spread blatantly false disinformation for many months, including 30 false statements in the voter's pamphlet (http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/Measure94/misstatements.htm). 

For some Oregonians, including many school children and their parents, Measure 94 is a life-or-death issue. If Measure 94 passes, 3300 violent criminals and sex offenders, people convicted of robbery, assault, kidnapping, sex abuse, rape, manslaughter, attempted murder and murder, including hundreds of child molesters, will be resentenced under lenient guidelines. The sentences of most will be reduced. Many, including rapists and murderers, will have their sentences reduced by one-half to two-thirds. Many murderers will be released after serving 8 years. All future violent criminals will also benefit from this leniency, at the expense of law-abiding, innocent citizens. 

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, which writes the rules for the Measure 94 sentencing system, estimates that 800 violent criminals and sex offenders will be released from prison in the first 90 days alone. More will follow. The 111 murderers sentenced under Measure 11 will start coming out in the year 2003. 

I mentioned that this is literally a matter of life or death for some Oregonians. I want to illustrate with two cases. 

Three year old Christopher Peraza of Gresham, OR was abducted, tortured and murdered in late August. The person arrested for this obscenity was convicted of Assault II six months before Measure 11 went into effect. If Measure 11 had gone into effect six months earlier, the murderer would be in prison today and Christopher Peraza would be alive. 

In early September, Calvin Schwarz of Cottage Grove, OR was shot in the head and killed. The person arrested for this crime committed a Robbery II and Assault II on March 1, 1995 - one month before Measure 11 went into effect. If Measure 11 had been in effect one month earlier, the murderer would be in prison and Calvin Schwarz would be alive. 

These are but two of a large number of such cases. See 
http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/issues/repeatoffendersdata.htm 

The email sent to your school district spoke of an:

"alarming number of young first time offenders who for little more 
than a bar room fight are receiving sentences of 7 years"

First of all, no one is serving a Measure 11 sentence for a minor fistfight. This is a fiction propagated by Measure 94 proponents. Second, all juveniles, including juvenile rapists and murderers, make up only 11 percent of all Measure 11 offenders. 89 percent are adults. 

August figures from the department of corrections show that there have been a total of four (4) juveniles convicted off Measure 11 offenses in Jackson County since Measure 11 went into effect in 1995. That is less than one Measure 11 conviction per year. 

The email speaks of "first time offenders which for many are with drug related charges". A Multnomah County study (http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure11/measure11study.htm) found that 84% of Measure 11 offenders in a random sample of 50 had previous convictions. Among those who did not were two people who molested a child over a long period of time and one person who abducted a 13-year-old girl at gunpoint and raped her. Furthermore, Measure 11 covers NO drug crimes - not using drugs, not selling drugs, not manufacturing drugs. 

The email speaks of "young people, who are incarcerated with hardened criminals". ALL juvenile offenders, Measure 11 or not, go to the Oregon Youth Authority, not to adult prison. Even the tiny number (7 as of 8/1/2000) of juveniles who are now in adult prison because they assaulted staff or other youth, even they are segregated from the adult population. 

The email says the Measure 11 is disastrous to the state budget. What percentage of the state budget is devoted to Measure 11? 50%, 25%, 10%, 5%, 3%? No, it is less than 1%. This is $15 for every Oregonian. For this we receive protection from the worst violent criminals in the state. Violent crime has been down every year since the passage of Measure 11. Taxpayer savings from the preventive effect of incarcerating the worst criminals dwarfs expenditures for Measure 11. 

Dr. Wisely, this kind of disinformation spreads rapidly and becomes ingrained in public concsiousness. I know this because I routinely hear Measure 94 supporters parroting the lies their leaders are propagating. We can not allow the voters of Oregon to be misled, especially through the vehicle of the school district's email system. 

For this reason and because of what is at stake, I ask you to allow us to send a message to the same mailing list used by our opponents. Voters will start voting in the next few days. Please respond promptly. 

Thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,

Howard Rodstein
Chairman, Crime Victims United No on 94 Committee 


10/19/2000 Email from Superintendent Wisely to Medford School District Employees

Please accept my apology for the opinion regarding Measure 94 expressed by a school district employee on global e-mail to other district employees. 

While the sender may have given false information and possibly violated an election law, it is my intent to not place the district in similar jeopardy. Therefore, I have sent to all employees in a routine "all employee letter" which had already been prepared to inform them of news about the latest school board meeting, the following message: 

"Lastly, in the past few weeks there have been two global e-mails sent out by staff members. This is a reminder that NO GLOBAL E-MAILS are allowed. The last one sent to employees was an opinion regarding one of the initiatives on the November ballot. First, there is to be no campaigning using this process. Secondly, I have received an e-mail from a representative of an organization in opposition of the global e-mail sender's opinion indicating that the information that was distributed contains numerous errors. Please do not place yourself or the district in this situation." 

Steve Wisely
Superintendent


10/19/2000 Email from Crime Victims United to Superintendent Wisely

I'm rather disappointed in this response. This gives the people of your school district no way to learn the truth of the matter. Disinformation takes on a life of its own if not refuted. At a minimum, I request that you send in an email to school district employees the following web link: 

http://www.crimevictimsunited.org/measure94/misstatements.htm 

Please let me know if you will do this.

Howard Rodstein
Chairman, Crime Victims United No on 94 Committee