First, the bad news: Measure 50, which would have imposed an 85 cent tax on a pack of cigarettes to finance a health insurance program for Oregon's children, was defeated. The measure was drowned in a sea of big tobacco money ($12 million).
|Light up, kids! Big Tobacco is keepin' 'em cheap.|
I view the defeat of Measure 50 as residual malaise from the regressive policies that "movement conservatives" have successfully masked over that past 20 years. As progressives, we won't just wake up one morning and find that all the evil schemes of the greedy corporate interests have been exposed.
We'll just have to keep working. The public appetite for national health care is growing. And, at the very least, we can make it expensive for corporations to peddle their lies.
Now, the good news. Measure 49 passed with 61% of the vote. Measure 49 reverses most of the worst effects of the shameful Measure 37, from 2004. Measure 37, the "property rights" measure, was a sham perpetuated by developers and timber interests. These monied interests claimed that Oregon's land use policies harmed land owners by constraining their ability to develop property.
Fortunately, the truth will out, and these same interests could not restrain their greed after Measure 37 passed.
Shortly after the disastrous (on so many different levels) election of 2004, landowners filed some 7500 development claims for strip malls, hotels, and gated subdivisions on Oregon's farmlands and forests.
As voters became aware of the unbridled avarice that was actually behind the Measure 37 scam, they rejected it.
The passage of Measure 49 means that, while rural property owners will have the ability to build individual homes, corporate interests and greedy land developers will be unable to construct their monstrous subdivisions.
It's as if Oregonians took to heart the lament of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi":
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot,
With a big hotel, a boutique, and a swingin' hot spot;
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?
|Be still, my heart!|
For now, and for some time to come, land use planning is safe. Somewhere, Oregon's revered governor, Tom McCall, who once said he loved Oregon more than his own life, must be smiling.
|This one's for you, Governor.|