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Monday, August 17, 2009

Greatest Hits, Vol 1: White tide--not blue--sweeps the Oregon legislature

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—With Margaret Carter’s resignation from the Oregon Senate, Oregon’s Democratic delegation steps backward into yesteryear, when you had to be white to get elected in this state.

The last people of color left in the legislature are both Republicans, giving some serious cred to the “Party of Lincoln” sobriquet.

Every elected leader in the Portland Metro area, at the local, state and federal levels, are all white.

This is no coincidence, but the result of a system where prospective candidates are sifted through a process controlled exclusively by white people.

I wrote about this last November, in these two articles, one printed in The Oregonian:

The Oregonian: “A blue election tide—or a white one.”

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2008/11/a_blue_election_tide_or_a_whit.html

I wrote about the process in more detail in this article below, describing my experience as a minority candidate through a series of endorsement interviews, nearly all conducted by all-white panels. They weren’t going to support anyone that didn’t look like them.

“White tide—not blue—sweeps the Oregon House. The Senate is next!”

http://blogoliticalsean.blogspot.com/2008/11/white-tide-not-blue-sweeps-oregon-house.html

On a similar topic:

Remember the Measure 37 battles of recent years? You had to be white to have a Measure 37 claim, because in those days you had to be white to own property outside of certain redlined areas in the Oregon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

(37) Letters to Angela (Adams)

by Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--Between October 1998 and February 2000, I wrote 37 letters to Ms Angela Adams, one of the Guardians ad Litem that the Utah court had assigned to the case, ostensibly to protect the wellbeing of my children.

You have to understand that the case had been moved to Utah, and theocratic Utah can be as distant from America as Saudi Arabia when it comes to the rights of women, children and non-Mormon parents.

Two and a half years had passed since my children had disappeared, since my elderly and medically fragile mother had had any contact with her grandchildren, and I wrote dozens of letters to Angela, begging her to help us.

Nearly all of the letters went unanswered, these (excerpted) among them:


October 26, 1998

Ms Angela Adams
Office of the Guardian Ad Litem
32 West Center Street, Ste 205
Provo, UT 84601

Dear Ms. Adams:

Please be advised that Gina is again keeping the children incommunicado. Neither I nor any other member of my family has been able to reach them. This is a very typical pattern. It is not unusual, since Gina disappeared with the kids, for no one to answer the phone in the children’s home for weeks—even months—at a time.

My mother (the children’s sole surviving grandparent) continues to lie in a hospital bed without any contact with her grandchildren. She has been hospitalized since June after having been homebound for the past five years. She contracted pneumonia last week.

She has not seen her grandchildren since early February 1996 (the day before Gina vanished with the children).

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

=====================

November 2, 1998

Ms Angela Adams
Office of the Guardian Ad Litem
32 West Center Street, Ste 205
Provo, UT 84601

Dear Ms. Adams:

My mother has still not heard a word from the kids. She does not have a lot of time left, and is suffering memory loss. She really needs to hear her grandchildren’s voices, and the kids need to have a connection to her.

These kids need to be able to communicate with us. I hope that you can do something to help.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

=================

February 3, 1999

Ms Angela Adams
Office of the Guardian Ad Litem
32 West Center Street, Ste 205
Provo, UT 84601

Dear Ms Adams:

I believe that it is important that the children have some quality time with their grandmother this summer. She has been hospitalized since June 1998 and will probably remain in residential care permanently. Gina has not permitted the children to contact their grandmother even once. Out of the $800 per month in child support that I am paying Gina each month, she ought to be able to find a few dollars for a phone call. The children have not seen or had meaningful contact with their grandmother since Gina disappeared with the kids nearly three years ago. Gina unilaterally changed the visitation pattern from daily contact to zero.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

=================

February 22, 1999


Dear Ms Adams:

I have received no communication from either Gina or her last known attorney, Mr. Thomas, in reply to my request for visitation time with my children.

As I stated several times before, I am completely agreeable to visitation circumstances as your office wishes to arrange.

My goal is to restore normal and consistent visitation with each of my children. I also wish to restore my children’s normal contact with their grandmother.


Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

==================

May 17, 1999

Dear Ms. Adams:

Location of my children remains unknown

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

=============

May 24, 1999


Dear Ms. Adams:

I have to say that I am really very unhappy with where we all are in this case at the present moment. I have acted in good faith, with the expectation that all the other parties would act in good faith, and that my family might have an opportunity for healing and normalization, and that my children’s best interests might at long last be served.

I have stated and written many times about my concerns for summer visitation, and have given warnings about how Gina will manipulate the situation so that the entire summer passes and no visitation will occur.

But here we are, with the last day of school three days away, and absolutely nothing is settled for summer visitation, not even a date in court on the calendar. How can any family be expected to thrive under these conditions? I have been asking for court action regarding summer visitation for more than six months.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

==============

October 5, 1999

Dear Ms. Adams:

The children remain incommunicado. I call several times daily. Day after day, week after week, month after month, and now shortly going into the fourth year of this nightmare.

On those occasions when I am able to contact the kids, they always tell me that they are hardly ever home. Either way, whether they are hardly ever home or they are not permitted to answer the phone, these are signs of an unhealthy home environment.

I have been in contact with Payson Senior High and learned that Gina continues to enroll the children without listing me as a parent. She has been doing this for five years. The school continues to list Steve Nielson (her 4th ex-husband) as parent/guardian, which is no longer true. I want to be listed as the children’s father.

Tomorrow, October 6, is Tyler’s birthday. I would like to have some contact with him. According to our lawful parenting plan, Gina and I are to alternate birthdays with each child. She his prevented this contact from occurring, even by telephone, ever since she disappeared with the kids. It is detrimental to a child’s emotional wellbeing to be manipulated like this. I ask that you break through somehow so that I may have a little time with my son.

Sincerely,

Sean Cruz

==============


October 19, 1999

Dear Ms. Adams:

The visitation by phone that you arranged for did not occur. No one answered the phone at the scheduled time, nor at 15 minutes past the hour. Gina’s unwillingness to act in good faith continues unabated.

Is there any portion of our Parenting Plan that will be honored in the state of Utah?

I have a right to access to my children’s medical records. I am particularly concerned about Aaron’s depression. How can I get meaningful information here?

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

==================

November 22, 1999


Dear Ms. Adams:

I briefly spoke to Gina Saturday morning 11/20 at 9:30 a.m. PST. She refused to let me speak to the kids and hung up the phone. She said that she personally is rarely home. The kids are generally left to their own devices, and are not often “home” themselves, so the opportunity to speak to them does not come very often.

The kids have told me—on those rare occasions when I am able to get through—that they receive none of the messages that I leave for them, and that they have no access to the number needed to retrieve messages. They have no way of knowing that their father is trying to reach them, and no access to the messages.

On Sunday, Gina placed a block on her phone, preventing me from contacting the children from my personal phone. I am hereby requesting that you do something to change this. The phone number she has blocked is (503) 701-6036. Gina has stood in court in three states and sworn under oath that she does nothing to discourage contact and in fact encourages it—and yet the truth is in her actions. Someday, there will be a time and a place and a court that will actually examine the record and do something to right this wrong.

Gina continues to have the schools list Steve Nielson as the children’s “step-parent or guardian”, of which he is neither. Can something be done about this?

This week is Thanksgiving. According to our Parenting Plan—as well as normal human decency—there should be some contact. Christmas is coming as well. What do you recommend that we do about this? According to the plan, we are to alternate years. Gina has unilaterally seized all holidays for the past (nearly) four years. The only holiday contact that I have been able to have was two years ago, after the Washington court found her in contempt.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

==========================


November 23, 1999


Dear Ms. Adams:

I spoke yesterday with Cheryl Vernon, Aaron’s resource teacher at Payson HS, and learned the following:

She hasn’t seen Aaron in two months.

She has been unable to contact Gina.

She understands that the kids have moved again.

Aaron’s report card was marked “return to sender” and returned to the school. I think that this simple fact speaks volumes about Gina’s actual involvement with the kids.

My concern for Aaron increases with each passing day.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

===============

December 3, 1999

Dear Ms. Adams:

I spoke today with Steven Taylor, Aaron’s former counselor, and learned that they have checked Aaron out of school. Aaron hasn’t been there, and they haven’t seen or heard from Gina in a long time.

Curiously, they have heard from Gina’s friend Dale, and understand that he is playing some sort of foster parent role with my children in Gina’s absence. School officials have the impression that Gina spends very little time at home with the children.

As expected, Gina remains completely non-cooperative regarding holiday phone visitation.

Today is Day 1382 (nearly four years) since Gina disappeared with the children.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

=============

December 22, 1999


Dear Ms. Adams:

Thank you for your reply.

As for Aaron’s schooling, I am completely at a loss as to why anyone is “comfortable” with the present situation.

I would like very much to have some time to speak with my children on Christmas Day. Gina is chronically non-cooperative on holidays, birthdays and other special days, which—again—is a violation of the Parenting Plan and Stipulated Agreement. I will take any time at all on Christmas Day.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

==========

February 1, 2000

Dear Ms. Adams:

I have often stated that Gina’s refusal to allow the children to have contact with their grandmother is detrimental. That situation continues.

Now we have come to a point where my mother’s ability to communicate is deteriorating drastically. Would it be too much to ask that the children have an opportunity to call their grandmother and have what may be their last intelligible conversation?

I have requested previously that I have an opportunity to speak to my daughter on her birthday. That day is tomorrow, and I have heard nothing from your office on the matter.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz


=======================

February 3, 2000


Dear Ms. Adams:


Gina failed to provide my daughter for the scheduled birthday phone visit—once again. I called at 15-minute intervals between 9:00 and 10:00 pm MST per your arrangements, and no one answered the phone.

My mother’s situation is grave. She has been moved to the hospital for pneumonia, and her mental condition has taken a sudden turn for the worse. She is, for example, unable to connect the sound of the telephone ringing with actually answering it. I am able to converse with her only with the help of a nurse. It would bring my mother the greatest joy to hear her grandchildren’s voices. She has not seen her grandchildren since Gina disappeared with the kids four years ago.

I repeat my contention that Gina’s conscious estrangement of the children from their grandmother is abusive.


Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

=======================

February 8, 2000


Dear Ms. Adams:

Last night’s prearranged phone visit did not occur. I called four times during the hour and—yet again—Gina did not provide the kids. It must be clear by now that she has no intention of keeping her agreements or dealing with your office honestly.

When I discussed the scheduled phone visits with Aaron, he stated that Gina had never told him about them. I am able to converse with Aaron regularly by calling the house where he actually lives (with his friends), not the house where children aren’t permitted to answer the phone.

February 12 will mark the fourth anniversary of the day Gina took the kids out of school and vanished.

I remain my children’s father, day in and day out.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

==================

February 10, 2000

Dear Ms. Adams:

My mother is rapidly losing the ability to communicate effectively. Would it be too much to ask that she receive one final phone call from her grandchildren? She is unable to dial the phone herself, and the children aren’t permitted to answer the phone in their “home” anyway.


Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

================

February 22, 2000


Dear Ms. Adams:

My mother’s condition has deteriorated to the point that she may not be able to have a conversation with the kids. She has very little time left. The nurse reports that she is lethargic, doesn’t respond to attempts by the hospital staff to communicate, and refuses food and medication.

I had this dream that she would hear her grandchildren’s voices one more time, and I had hoped that your office might be some help.

Gina continued to fail to provide the children for the scheduled phone visit on Sunday and Monday, once again.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

=====================

February 28, 2000

Dear Ms. Adams:

My mother passed away on Saturday. Gina did not permit the children to contact her before she died.

On Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. MST, I called to tell my kids about their grandmother’s passing. Gina answered the phone. I explained the reason for my call. She told me that the kids were still asleep, refused to allow me to talk to the kids, and hung up the phone.

This week, we will bury the children’s grandmother, and with her we will place a photograph of her grandchildren the way she remembered them—the way they looked 1468 days ago—when Gina stole them away in the dark of night.

Sincerely,


Sean Cruz

=================

I never wrote to Angela Adams again.