Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Endorsements 2006

Here's the Garlynn Woodsong ticket. I'm registered to vote in Multnomah County, Oregon, but I'll start at the top so that people in other jurisdictions will be able to read the most relevant races first. Note that I may have ommitted some races that I'm either not eligible to vote in myself, that have only one candidate running, or which just rall beneath my radar.

Also, because I'm hip to some of the issues there, I will provide a couple of endorsements for California (most notably -- NO on 90!!).

So, without further ado -- ENDORSEMENTS 2006 (summary sheet to follow in separate post):

OREGON

Measure 39

Prohibits Public Body From Condemning Private Real Property If Intends To Convey To Private Party

Recommended Vote: NO

Rationale/Dicussion: People are all up in arms across the nation about the issue right now. Ignore the hyperbole, and ask yourself where the problem is that so desperately needs to be solved. ...I'm waiting? No response? Fine. Don't approve this measure -- it will unnecessarily restrict the activities of local governments, it's poorly written, and it goes too far.


Measure 40

Amends Constitution: Requires Oregon Supreme Court Judges And Court Of Appeals Judges To Be Elected By District

Recommended Vote: NO

Rationale/Discussion: Please read this post if you'd like to become more informed on this issue. Basically, this is a stealth measure by national conservatives to try to load the court system with less-liberal judges, Federalist Society judges like Antonin Scalia. The Federalist types think that they are more likely to get conservative justices elected by district than by statewide election. Don't let them. Oregon's current court system actually works quite well (just check out the link at the beginning of this paragraph if you're not so sure). In fact, this is the problem -- judges in Oregon tend to judge by the letter of the law, rather than taking into account idealogy. This pisses conservatives off to no end. Let them stay pissed. Also, Oregon voters already shot down this scheme in 200. Why are they being asked about it again? Let's vote ABSOLUTELY NOT on this measure in 2006!

Measure 41

Allows Income Tax Deduction Equal To Federal Exemptions Deduction To Substitute For State Exemption Credit

Recommended Vote: NO

Rationale/Discussion: Basically, the greedy penny-pinchers who wrote this measure figure hell, they're already paying taxes to the feds, why should they also pay taxes to the state? Why can't they deduct their federal taxes from their state taxes? Well, screw those tax-dodgers, because they're trying to screw all of us. The State of Oregon provides the most essential services to Oregon residents, and it does so because it receives tax revenue to fund its operations. The Federal Government goes around invading other countries and giving pork to Halliburton. Why would anybody in their right mind want to starve the state government because they were already feeding the federal government? Now, if this measure somehow were to be the reverse -- that you could deduct state taxes from your federal tax return -- I might be more convinced (of course, that couldn't happen, because there is no national initiative system, and the national tax code can only be re-written by the Federal Congress). But, this measure seeks to screw the state government, and uses the federal tax system as the vehicle to do so. Evil, I tell you. Evil. Just say no.

Measure 42

Prohibits Insurance Companies From Using Credit Score or "Credit Worthiness" In Calculating Rates or Premiums

Recommended Vote: NO

Rationale/Discussion: OK, I'll admit that this issue is a bit Vague. You know why I'm recommending a NO vote? Because this measure is sponsored by Bill Sizemore, and I just don't trust that slimy creep. I can't remember a single example of something that he's sponsored that has actually turned out to be a net good thing for the State of Oregon. Not one. Screw him. Plus, this insurance actuary, who claims to not do much business in Oregon, says that this measure will likely just lead to rate increases (perhaps on the order of 20%, but it's hard to say) for the 60-70% of Oregon insurance consumers who already have healthy insurance scores.

Measure 43

Requires 48-Hour Notice to Unemancipated Minor's Parent Before Providing Abortion; Authorizes Lawsuits, Physician Discipline.

Recommended vote: NO

Rationale/Discussion: This is pretty basic stuff. I'm pro-choice, no matter what the age of the woman involved. If she's pregnant and 15 and she doesn't have a good relationship with her parents, this isn't the time for bridge-building. Let the poor woman make up her own mind.

Measure 44

Allows Any Oregon Resident Without Prescription Drug Coverage To Participate In Oregon Prescription Drug Program

Recommended vote: YES

Rationale/Discussion: It's a small step forward towards overall health care reform. Basically, this just expands the safety net slightly to help people without health insurance to meet their care needs.

Measure 45

Amends Constitution: Limits State Legislators: Six Years As Representative, Eight Years As Senator. Fourteen Years In Legislature.

Recommended vote: YES

Rationale/Discussion: Here's what this vote comes down to: Oregon is supposed to have a citizen legislature, which means a legislature composed of ordinary citizens, not career politicians. If a politician wants to make a career out of politics, they must prove themselves in the legislature, then move on to a higher office. "Four years ago, responding to a lawsuit dreamed up by legislators themselves, the courts struck down the most popular initiative amendment in state history. In 1992, term limits had earned 70% approval and 1,005,706 YES votes, but the politicians didn't care about that." (from http://www.oregontermlimits.org/) So, Oregonians have already chosen term limits, but politicians chose to ignore the will of the voters and remove those limits. It's time for the voters to say "stop f'ing with us" and vote again for term limits for the Oregon Legislature.

Measure 46

Amends Constitution: Allows Laws Regulating Election Contributions, Expenditures Adopted By Initiative Or 3/4 Of Both Legislative Houses

Recommended Vote: YES

Rationale/Discussion: All this measure does is to amend the Oregon Constitution to make campaign finance limitations legal. Currently, the Constitution forbids such limitations. This measure does not actually enact such limitations, it just authorizes them.

Measure 47

Revises Campaign Finance Laws: Limits Or Prohibits Contributions And Expenditures; Adds Disclosure, New Reporting Requirements

Recommended Vote: YES

Rationale/Discussion: In short? GET THE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS. Measure 47 is the companion measure to Measure 46. 46 makes campaign finance reform legal in the State of Oregon; 47 enacts such reform.

Measure 48

Amends Constitution: Limits Biennial Percentage Increase In State Spending To Percentage Increase In State Population, Plus Inflation

Recommended Vote: NO

Rationale/Discussion: Actually, we're hoping that people will vote HELL NO on this measure by overwhelmingly disapproving it. This is really awful policy. In the first year, it would mandate billions of cuts to state government, only to be followed by more cuts later. And what is it that the state government does that is so bad that it needs to be cut and have its growth limited? Educate Children? Protect the Environment? Maintain the road system? No thanks -- I want the State of Oregon to remain strong, competitive and healthy. This measure stinks of sabotage to the Oregon political system by out-of-state political players.

Statewide/National Office:

United States Representative in Congress, 3rd District

Recommended Vote: Earl Blumenauer

Rationale/Discussion: The only problem with re-electing Earl to Congress is that we're not electing Earl to the Senate yet to replace that jackarse Gordon Smith. Earl's been our man ever since he was on the Portland City Council. He single-handedly started the Washington D.C. Bicycle Caucus, for representatives who ride their bikes to work and/or generally support the cause. Need we say more? He more or less created the Small Starts program, to help new, small, efficient transit lines like the Portland Streetcar and the Eugene/Springfield BRT project get off the ground. He's just an all-around great guy.

Governor of the Great State of Oregon

Recommended Vote: Ted Kulongoski

Rationale/Discussion: (See separate endorsement post here. Ted's just a great guy. He's holding the line, he's keeping Oregon green, he may even be a hero. Don't let the Republicans get any victories in 06, they don't deserve it. Vote Ted in 2006.

Nonpartisan State Judiciary, Position Six

Recommended Vote: Virginia Linder

Rationale/Discussion: Jack Roberts was the former GOP candidate for Governor, who then redrew his application in the face of low poll results, and submitted one for the State Supreme Court instead. Tell him to just go home and, say, retire or something. Vote for Virginia Linder -- she's already a judge, she knows what she's doing, and let's keep women on the bench, rather than replacing them with men, shall we?

MULTNOMAH COUNTY MEASURE

26-81

Referred to the People by the Board of County Commissioners
Renew Five-Year Local Option Levy to Continue Library Services

Recommended Vote: YES

Rationale/Discussion: Multnomah County has one of the finest library systems anywhere, bar none. This is because the voters of the county consistently back the library with their wallets. Portlanders value knowledge, books, education and community. This measure is a litmus test for whether you are a true Portlander or whether you should just move (back?) to Orange County.

METRO MEASURE

26-80

Referred to the People by the Metro Council
Bonds to Preserve Natural Areas, Clean Water, Protect Fish, Wildlife

Recommended Vote: YES

Rationale/Discussion: This measure will also help fund the build-out of a regional bicycle/pedestrian trail system. I can't wait to ride my bike all around the region on the finished product, and observe the local flora and fauna close-hand in the habitat that is preserved as a result of this measure. See above -- this measure is another litmus test for whether you are a true Portlander or whether you should just move (back?) to Orange County.

Portland School District No. 1JT

26-84

Portland Schools Levy for Teachers, Classrooms, Educational Programs, Learning Materials

Recommended Vote: YES

Rationale/Discussion: OK, so there seems to be some tax increases on the ballot this fall. You know why? Because Bill Sizemore and other anti-tax types managed to hoodwink the voters into passing Measure 5, way back at the beginning of the 1990s, and the state, at all levels, has never found a suitable replacement funding mechanism. So, you know what? The state now has to come back to the voters, over and over again, cap in hand, in order to fund those basic services which we take for granted. This is a third measure that is a litmus test for whether you are a true Portlander or whether you should just move (back?) to Orange County.

City of Portland

Measure 26-86

Amends Charter: Changes Fire and Police Disability and Retirement System

Recommended Vote: YES

Rationale/Discussion: This measure claims to fix the fire/police retirement system in Portland, which if left unfixed, will grow to include billions in unfunded liability over the coming decades (according to this. Virtually nobody is opposed to this measure. It's a needed fix to a broken system, not a referendum on anything.

CALIFORNIA

Measure 90

Bars state/local governments from condemning or damaging private property to promote other private projects, uses. Limits government's authority to adopt certain land use, housing, consumer, environmental, workplace laws/regulations. Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures

Recommended Vote: NO

Rationale/Discussion: This is just bad policy. Bankrupt government so that private property owners can maximize profit on their investment? Hell no. If you're such a bad real estate investor/developer that your only recourse to make a profit is to sue the government, you should just quit now. Get out of the game and let the professionals take over. If you can't win by playing by the rules, don't play. Don't make everybody else pony up out of pocket so that you can still make a profit. Government is for the citizens, by the citizens. Which means that it represents all of our money. I don't want any individual to be able to take all of our money just because they disagree with the rule of law, with particular planning decisions, or with land use and zoning in general.

Marin/Sonoma Counties

Measure R

Funds the establishment of a commuter rail system from the Larkspur Ferry Terminal in Marin County to the most Northernmost Sonoma County city, CLoverdale; also fund a companion bicycle trail along the entire length of the alignment.

Recommended Vote: YES

Rationale/Discussion: Have you ever driven in rush hour on Highway 101 in Marin/Sonoma Counties? I have. They *need* this train, just so those people who aren't already insane, can save their peace of mind by riding the train rather than going nuts in freeway traffic. On a more personal note, I can't wait to ride my bike on the bike path that will be created.

4 comments:

Bong said...

Measures 45, 46 & 47.

I almost voted no for these three measures, just because I was following the recommendation of an organiztion,STAND FOR CHILDREN, who I support. I believe that term limitation is not necessary. If a person is doing a professional job in our state government than they should be allowed to make a career out of it. I believe it still falls back to voters to take more responsiblity in following each of their reps & senators to determine if they're doing a good job or not.

However, with that said, I have seen good arguments on both sides of the coin. And big interests do gain a bigger foothold in our government through having a "seasoned" representative in office that they can lobby around year after year. How many organizations do each of us support that have a "career" politician that they can count on to listen to our lobbists.

It is all so convoluted. Yet, I do believe our political system needs a major change. We can start here at the state level to try to break up the corporatocracy that controls so much of our world, today.

So, with measure #45 we can shake up the mix a bit more often and with the help of campaign finace reform measures like 46 & 47, we can help keep any one corportation or organization "big money" from having too much influence or having to waste so many dollars on politics rather than just educating the populace and maintaining their cause.

Well, that's a whole other facet to this topic that will have to wait for later discussion. For now, I'm glad I have put some thought to this and at this point I will be voting YES for Measures 45,46, & 47.

Garlynn Woodsong said...

bong-

That's a very good point about term limits. I've also heard the argument that we lose legislative expertise with term limits, because every second term, every seat turns over. This limits the ability for educated legislators to stay and work on issues that take a long time to resolve.

However, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the longer a legislators stays in office, the more power they tend to gain, and thus, well, the more the opportunities present themselves for them to become corrupted.

As for Measure 47:

The former chief petitioner for this measure has now come out against it, saying that there is only about a 50/50 chance that parts of it will stand up in court. Apparently, if parts of it are struck down but some parts allowed to remain, the resulting situation might be *worse* than it is today, that is, it would be easier for large contributors like Loren Parks to contribute, and harder for little guys like you and me to do so:

http://loadedorygun.blogspot.com/2006/10/former-4647-petitioner-speaks-vote-no.html

So, I'm not revoking my endorsement of either of these measures just yet, but I do want to shed full light on all of the issues. I think it's better to try and get these measures passed now... with reservations. And if the courts decide to toss some of them out, let's cross that bridge when we come to it. May be that we'll have to draft some follow-up measures for '08 to fix the problems caused by these, but hey, that's initiative democracy for ya.

BTW, my ballot has already been submitted, and I voted YES on all three (45-47).

cheers,
~Garlynn

Garlynn Woodsong said...

BTW, here's the website for the pro-46/47 camp.

http://www.fairelections.net/

The measures were written by Dan Meek (the guy who got you that PGE rate refund recently) and other people who genuinely want to take the excessive money out of Oregon politics. The quibble with these measures -- with Measure 47, really -- basically comes down to the fact that it almost certainly will face a court challenge if passed. It is structued as a plumbing system, with little pipes, medium sized pipes and large pipes. The potential problem is that a court challenge could potentially just remove one or more of the pipes, leaving a large hole much larger than any of the other pipes -- a loophole, which could become a negation of the law, a situation that would almost certainly favor large donors over small ones.

However, I still think we should pass this measure, then worry about fixing it in '08 or 2010, after we've seen what court challenges actually *do* stick.

cheers,
~Garlynn

Bong said...

I may be stupid about the legalities of such measures but what other ways do we have to express our dissatisfaction with the status quo, if not with our votes. (Anarchism, Revolution?)

I doubt if any of these measures will pass because of the bad publicity that they've gotten. Nevertheless, I think we should show our support for such measures in order to gather up momentum towards creating change. Maybe we can get some "legal heads" to wrap their brains around these issues and draw up some iniatives "with balls" ready for the next round of elections.

We need to keep a tight hold on our hopes while we "keep on truckin'" for change.