Anti-driver's card rally set for Saturday in Salem

Article author: 
Carol McAlice Currie
Article publisher: 
Statesman Journal
Article date: 
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
Article Body: 

Come Saturday, rain or shine, the two groups responsible for challenging a state law that would have granted "driver's cards" to Oregonians who couldn't prove legal residency, will be rallying on a street in Salem to promote a no-vote on Measure 88.

It has been a long and contentious issue, and with less than 45 days until the November general election, Oregonians for Immigration Reform and the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses organization, are galvanizing their grass-roots supporters to demonstrate against the measure.

The two groups submitted enough signatures last October to the Secretary of State's office to qualify their referendum for the 2014 ballot. They were propelled into action last spring when the state Legislature approved a bill to grant limited-duration driver's cards (not licenses) to residents who were unable to prove their residency but otherwise complied with requirements for driving privileges and had resided in Oregon for more than one year. With the qualification of the ballot measure, the law was prevented from going into effect in January.

The bill, SB 833, had bipartisan support when the governor signed it in May 2013. It also was endorsed by numerous religious groups, agricultural interests and a few law enforcement personnel who saw it as a way to help educate new drivers, enable more of them to qualify for, and buy, car insurance, and help families meet daily obligations. Some viewed it as a means to make Oregon's roads safer for all.

But the OFIR and PODL groups believed otherwise, and criticized the Legislature for not allowing Oregonians to decide on what they see is an immigration issue.

To illustrate their point, on Saturday, before the sidewalk demonstration, the groups will host Derek Hernandez, vice president of the western region of the National Border Patrol Council. The NBPC is a union representing non-supervisory border patrol agents.

Jim Ludwick, a spokesman for OFIR, said the group is excited Hernandez has agreed to speak about other state-issued identification similar to Oregon's proposed driver's card and how it adds to the immigration crisis at the nation's borders. His position is that residents should vote "no" on Measure 88.

Cynthia Kendoll, OFIR president who recently returned from a border-patrol summit in El Paso, Texas, said she is hopeful the weather will hold out and there will be a strong show of support at the demonstration.

"The number of people really depends on the weather," Kendoll said. "But we're hopeful."

Rep. Sal Esquivel of Medford and Rep. Kim Thatcher of Keizer, who is running for the state senate, also will attend the meeting before the rally. Both are sponsors of the Veto Referendum on SB 833, which became Ballot Measure 88.

OFIR and PODL say they are staffed by unpaid volunteers who work to preserve the safety and well being of the state and nation. However, their campaign has received nearly $100,000 from 88-year-old Loren Parks, a Nevada resident who owns Parks Medical Electronics, Inc. in Aloha, who has financed myriad ballot measure petitions and campaigns since the mid-1990s. He is represented by Salem attorney Kevin Mannix, himself a chief ballot-campaign petitioner.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform and Protect Oregon Driver Licenses will meet at approximately 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 outside of the Best Western Mill Creek Inn, 3125 Ryan Drive SE, Salem. Participants are encouraged to bring American flags and take yard signs for the protest on Mission Street SE adjacent to the Costco parking lot.

NOTE:  The Parks contribution was for the referendum signature gathering campaign. Parks has NOT contributed to the PODL election campaign.

NOTE:  Supporters of Ballot Measure 88 have been given well over $200,000 by unions, businesses that benefit from an illegal work force and groups that advocate for illegal aliens.  Why was that not reported in this story?