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Council resolutions take on money in politics, Afghanistan war

'Corporate personhood' and bringing the troops home are on Thursday's agenda

Portland's City Council is scheduled to consider two politically charged resolution supported by Occupy protesters on Thursday.

Both are introduced by Mayor Sam Adams.

One would establish a council position that corporations should not have the same rights as people, that money is not speech and that independent political contributions should be regulated. It attempts to overrule a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned federal laws intended to limit political contribution by corporations and labor unions.

The resolution does not mention unions but says, 'corporations are legally required to put profits for shareholders ahead of concerns for the greatest good of society while individual shareholders as natural persons balance their narrow self-interest and broader public interest when making political decisions.'

The resolution supports amending the U.S. Constitution to reverse the decision. It also asks the City Council to determine the legality and process of referring an advisory measure on the matter to city voters.

Since the ruling, so-called 'corporate personhood' has become an issue among Occupy protesters who believe it favors the wealthy and Democrats, including Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley and Oregon Congressmen Kurt Schrader, Earl Blumenauer and Peter Defazio, who have introduced similar measures in Congress.

Testifying in support for such a resolution before the council last week, Donna Noonan said a ballot measure on the matter would help educate the public about the issue and help support a national campaign to back the proposed constitutional amendment.

Ironically, most of the unregulated political money being spent now is being used against various Republican presidential candidates. That is expected to change in the general election, however, when much if not most of the money will be directed against President Obama.

Adams' second resolution praises U.S troops and their families, applaud the end of American operations in Iraq, calls for further drawdowns of troops in Afghanistan, and says the savings should be redirected to meet domestic needs. Programs supported in the resolution include job creation, rebuilding America's infrastructure, aiding municipal and state governments, reducing the federal debt, and developing a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy.

The council is scheduled to hold a hearing on the resolutions at 2 p.m. on Dec. 12.

The position on "corporate personhood" is also included in the city's proposed 2012 Legislative Agenda, which the council is expected to consider after the hearing.