Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ballots are here! Time to say your piece!

The general election is finally upon us. Now is the time, people. Whatever it is that drives you-- anger, hope, fear, love, hatred, or something else entirely-- now is the time for you to get it off your chest. Good luck!

My ballot was in the mail on Monday afternoon. Here's how I went.

Candidates

President: Barack Obama, Democrat. See here, here, here, here, here, and here.




US Senate: Jeff Merkley, Democrat. See here, aquí, here, here, and here. I've met Merkley, and I like him. But my vote is as much a vote against Gordie Smith as it is for Merkley.





US Representative, 3rd Congressional District: Earl Blumenauer, Democrat. When Maty and I were at the Oregon State Fair, I met Earl's opponent from the Pacific Green party, Michael Meo. We talked for a bit, and he pointed out that, by voting for him (Meo) I would be putting pressure on Earl to adopt a more progressive stance. I had to agree and I told Mr. Meo that I would consider voting for him because of that. Well, Mr. Meo, I did consider it, but in the end I voted for Earl. There are plenty of Democrats to target for being fake progressives. Earl's not one of them.

Attorney General: J Ashlee Albies, Working Families Party. I don't really care for the Democratic candidate, John Kroger. He sounds too much like "Dirty Harry" with his tough-on-criminals rhetoric. I had to decide between Ms. Albies and her Pacific Green Party opponent, but ended up going with Ms. Albies in order to support a new party on the Oregon political scene.



Secretary of State: Kate Brown, Democrat. I've met Kate, and she is also an impressive individual. My sister, Mia, and her husband know her Republican opponent, Rick Dancer, and they say he's a good, honest man. Well, that may be, but I'll be damned if I vote for any Republican this year. In fact, after the obscene stink of the Bush administration, I may never vote for a Republican again.



State Rep. 42nd, District: Jules Kopel-Bailey, Democrat. Jules faces a minor party candidate, but he'll win handily. The 42nd district is so "blue" that the Republicans didn't even field a candidate.






Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries: Brad Avakian, Democrat. Neither of Mr. Avakian's two opponents is a serious candidate. I'm convinced that he will be a fair arbiter in disputes between labor and industry.





Multnomah County Sheriff: Andre Danielson (no web site available). I don't care for Bob Skipper, and might have voted for Muhammad Ra'oof if he had enunciated any kind of message. But he didn't; his entry in the voter's pamphlet had nothing beyond his basic information. So my vote goes to my old friend, Andre Danielson. It's a write-in vote, but if Andre wins, I'm on Easy Street, baby!



East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District , Director at Large #1: Rick Till. I liked Rick's message in the voter's pamphlet. He's a Friend of Columbia Gorge and he had a strong message of conservation and protecting Oregon wetlands.


East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District , Director at Large #2: Ron McCarty. Mr. McCarty has lived in Portland for a long time and I liked his message in the voter's pamphlet. Besides, his opponent is a registered lobbyist for Ron Tonkin Auto dealerships. I don't feel inclined to trust lobbyists much at this point.



City of Portland, Commissioner No. 1: Amanda Fritz. I've met her. She's competent and I like her positions.



State Measures

  • 54: Standardizes voting eligibility for school board with other state and local elections.

    Yes. This is a house-keeping measure to make elections run more efficiently.

  • 55: Changes operative date of redistricting plans; allows affected legislators to finish term in orignial district.

    Yes. Another house-keeping measure.

  • 56: Provides that May and November property tax elections are decided by majority of voters voting.

    Yes. This removes the requirement that there be a 50% turnout for an election to be valid. It's not fair to reward one side for voter apathy.

  • 57: Increases sentences for drug trafficking, theft against elderly and specified repeat property and identity theft crimes; requires addiction treatment for certain offenders.

    Yes. A good balanced approach of prevention and punishment. Allows for judicial discretion.

  • 65: Changes general election nomination processes for major/minor party, independent candidates for most partisan offices.

    No. Will extend the campaign season, as candidates will have to tailor messages to people outside respective parties. Means more money in politics.
Sizemore Measures

Bill Sizemore has long been an agent of regression in Oregon. He seems to make his living by finding Fat Cat sponsors to fund his mean-spirited initiatives which he words in innocuous terms. His measures always favor corporations over workers, resource-extractors over environmentalists, and laissez-faire capitalists over middle- and lower-income people. His organizations have been convicted of racketeering. In short, he's a pig.

Ever since his ill-fated run for Governor of Oregon in 1998, Sizemore's star has dimmed somewhat. Last general election, 3 out of 4 Sizemore-sponsored initiatives were rejected by Oregon voters. If Sizemore gets his ass kicked again this year, his Fat Cat backers might just decide that his horse has played out.

This year, he has four measures up for voter consideration.
  • 58: Prohibits teaching public school student in language other than English for more than two years.

    No. Sizemore playing the xenophobe. Stirring up fear of Mexicans in typical Republican fashion.

  • 59: Creates an unlimited deduction for federal income taxes on individual taxpayers' Oregon income-tax returns.

    No. Sizemore's "double taxation" doublespeak aimed at reducing tax responsibilities for upper income Oregonians. It's just another tax evasion scheme. Estimates are that $2.4 billion would go from Oregon's tax revenues straight to Sizemore's buddies.

  • 60: Teacher "classroom performance," not seniority, determines pay raises; "most qualified" teachers retained, regardless of seniority.

    No. Apart from the simple fact that this initiative has Sizemore's name attached to it (which, as far as I'm concerned, is reason enough to vote no), I dislike the idea of some unnamed entity evaluating teacher performance. Were this initiative to pass, how long would it be before things like a teacher's political views or religion be considered when evaluating teacher performance? Besides, my parents were both teachers, I have at least one good friend that is a teacher, and I've dated a teacher; I can tell you they work hard.

  • 63: Exempts specified property owners from building permit requirements for improvements valued at/under 35,000 dollars.

    No. This is Sizemore's attempt to seem like an everyman. Even as he works to starve government for revenue, making it harder to fund fire departments and other services, he would make the need for these services greater by disposing of safety inspections of new construction. What an ass!

  • 64: Penalizes person, entity for using funds collected with "public resource" (defined) for "political purpose" (defined).

    No. This is Sizemore's union-busting measure. He puts one out every election cycle.
Mannix measures

Like Sizemore, Kevin Mannix is one of those unsavory political figures in Oregon that most people wish would just go away. Mannix has more of an ideological bent to him: he's an authoritarian, fixated on punishing people. (One wonders what his childhood was like, eh? Was Daddy mean to you, Kevin?)

Anything Mannix puts up gets a "no" vote from me, simply because it is from Mannix. But the measures are usually so odious that they stink even without that repulsive association.
  • 61: Creates mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain theft, identity theft, forgery, drug, and burglary crimes.

    No. This measure follows in the not-so-grand tradition of "3 strikes and you're out" legislation: it ties judges' hands, and focuses exclusively on punishment; nothing for prevention. With more than 2.3 million people behind bars in the United States, hadn't we ought to try to figure out some alternative to putting people in prison?

  • 62: Allocates 15% of lottery proceeds to public safety fund for crime prevention, investigation, prosecution.

    No. Tax the poor, via the lottery, then use the money to prosecute them. When the lottery was first introduced to Oregon, its revenues were to be specifically used to fund public education. Now, greedy pigs like Mannix see a big pot of money that they are just dying to get their hands on.
Metro
  • 26-96 Bonds to protect animal health and safety; conserve, recycle water.

    Yes. This measure provides funds for much needed renovations at the Oregon Zoo, and will save an estimated 11 million gallons of water every year by upgrading Portland's levy system.

Portland Community College
  • 26-95 Portland Community College bonds to update, expand local educational facilities.

    Yes. This is the kind of thing we should be spending money on.
City of Portland
  • 26-94 Renew Five-year levy for Children's Investment Fund.

    Yes. Again, I'll spend money to invest in programs to make kids ready for school any day. Beats the hell out of bailing out Wall Street.
Two weeks until the Big Day...let's see what happens...

4 comments:

PapaK said...

Both our ballots are in already. Catcher enjoyed putting them in the box. Though he has had no other exposure to the election process. And, at age two, I think that's appropriate.

He was playing with Cath's ballot at home, and he tossed it away. I laughed and asked him if that's what he thought about the way Mama voted. The last two days he has said to me out of nowhere, "Do you remember when I dropped Mama's vote?" And he then laughs. Alas, he's always pushing a good joke too long.

I agree with most of your recommendations. You'll have to guess where we diverge, though. Ah, OK, I did vote for Kroger, and I voted yes on 65. The third party arguments didn't sway me. I think we need to change the process, and that this is a fair first step, even if it's not ideal. And, quite frankly, it gives an enterprising third party a chance to get a legitimate candidate into the final two in some races. Get a name out there, and on a ballot with many primary candidates, the top two may not actually garner that many votes. Anyway, as the system is set up now, I see little real value in any of the current third parties. Just my two cents.

Cheers!

Pete Forsyth said...

Interesting that you support Measure 57, but not John Kroger. I think M57 is pretty close to the core of how he wants to address criminal justice. I'm supporting both.

I am supporting Measure 65, primarily because it restores the ability to vote in significant elections to non-affiliated voters, and members of the party that's in the minority in a given districts. In lots of places, that adds up to a majority of voters -- who get no opportunity to influence their state legislative races in a meaningful way. See the Ballot Freedom Project web site fore more details...

By the way, I think we have a common friend, Blue. Tell her I said hi if you think of it!

sponge888 said...

Go Andre! I think that he'd excel in the position!

PapaK said...

Both our ballots are in already. Catcher enjoyed putting them in the box. Though he has had no other exposure to the election process. And, at age two, I think that's appropriate.

He was playing with Cath's ballot at home, and he tossed it away. I laughed and asked him if that's what he thought about the way Mama voted. The last two days he has said to me out of nowhere, "Do you remember when I dropped Mama's vote?" And he then laughs. Alas, he's always pushing a good joke too long.

I agree with most of your recommendations. You'll have to guess where we diverge, though. Ah, OK, I did vote for Kroger, and I voted yes on 65. The third party arguments didn't sway me. I think we need to change the process, and that this is a fair first step, even if it's not ideal. And, quite frankly, it gives an enterprising third party a chance to get a legitimate candidate into the final two in some races. Get a name out there, and on a ballot with many primary candidates, the top two may not actually garner that many votes. Anyway, as the system is set up now, I see little real value in any of the current third parties. Just my two cents.

Cheers!