Want somebody to tell you how to vote? Of course you do! You probably just don’t want it to be me. Oh well, one out of two ain’t bad.
I’ve long been opposed to those MTV-style “Rock the Vote” efforts which, for my money, only encourage ignorant people who otherwise wouldn’t vote to sign up and to cast a presumably uninformed ballot that’s bound to negate the vote of someoneâ€”like me, franklyâ€”who’s spent time studying the issues. For the record, I have no problem with the vote of someone who disagrees with me; I just want them to have reached informed conclusions before they play a role in bringing the Nazi party into power.
Given my feelings about uninformed voters, the best solution I can think of is to propagate minions with my own particular mindset. To that end, I hereby offer my political opinions as gospel and formally express my desire that weak-willed individuals (and groups!) will heed the advice.
Call it an attempt to form a cult if you wantâ€”usually people apply the moniker “political action committee.” Either way, I think it’s highly unlikely this is going to change anybody’s mind. But I feel better already.
Important measures highlighted for emphasis. Updated on November 8, 2000 with results. Some results currently still too close to call; others may flip once all votes are tallied.
Measure No. 83: YESâ€”Result: Yes
Amends Constitution: Authorizes new standards, priorities for veterans’ loans; expands qualified recipients.
Expands the Veterans’ home loan program to include those who have served since the end of the Vietnam War. No organized opposition since the program is self-financing and it doesn’t cost voters anything. Who knows? Might prevent a Rambo.
Measure No. 84: YESâ€”Result: Yes
Amends Constitution: State must continue paying local governments for State-mandated programs.
Helps ensure that local government retains fiscal control of its affairs since otherwise the State could mandate a program and force municipalities to come up with the money to implement it.
Measure No. 85: YESâ€”Result: No
Amends Constitution: Modifies population, minimum area requirements for formation of new counties.
No organized opposition, and why should there be? The Oregon legislature shouldn’t have even punted this to the electorate.
Measure No. 86: NOâ€”Result: Yes
Amends Constitution: Requires refunding General Fund revenues exceeding State estimates to taxpayers.
As rightly pointed out by the League of Women Voters, tax rules have no place in the State Constitution alongside protections for freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc. The current kicker law (requiring anything over 2% in estimated revenues to returned to voters) will remain in place if this measure fails, which is a shame in and of itself since the kicker law is already unfairly tilted in favor of corporations. The kicker law needs amendment, not enshrinement in the Constitution.
Measure No. 87: NOâ€”Result: No
Amends Constitution: Allows regulation of location of sexually oriented businesses through zoning.
Sounds benign enough until you figure out that it partially repeals the First Amendment rights provided by Oregon’s Constitution. Rejected by voters twice before in the 1990s. Should happen again.
Measure No. 88: NOâ€”Result: Yes
Increases maximum deductible in Oregon for Federal income taxes.
Will reduce State revenues by about $130 million per year from 2003-2004 on. A huge tax breakâ€”for the wealthiest of tax payers. Doesn’t give diddley to anybody else, and really sticks it to the poor.
Currently, Oregon taxpayers can already deduct up to $3000 jointly or $1500 individually. This measure virtually attacks state social services and by extension the poor who depend on them just so the wealth can get a tax break. This measure is opposed by so many groups it would make your head spin.
Measure 89: NOâ€”Result: No
Dedicates tobacco settlement proceeds to specified health, housing and transportation programs.
There is a reason we elect legislators, and it’s to deal with issues like these. But if their punt of the issue to ballot measure weren’t bad enough, what does it say when the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the Cancer Society are all against it?
Measure 90: NOâ€”Result: No
Authorizes rates giving utilities return on investments in retired property.
Why taxpayers should allow PGE to make money on a defunct plant at the expense of its customers is beyond me.
Measure 91: NOâ€”Result: No
Amends Constitution: Makes federal income taxes fully deductible on Oregon tax returns.
This Bill Sizemore-penned measure is terrible in more ways than one can count. Even worse than the already awful Measure 88, 91 would be a huge tax break for the rich, offer nothing to the poorest Oregonians, and cut state revenues by roughly $1 billion per year.
Poorly written, there is already debate as to whether the measure applies to corporations and whether it is retroactive (potentially wiping out the kicker law). There are 15 pages in the Voters Guide devoted solely to opposition arguments. They’re not wrong.
Measure 92: NOâ€”Result: No
Amends Constitution: Prohibits payroll deductions for political purposes without specific written authorization
Another awful constitutional amendment by the Bill Sizemore group. First, it has no place in the State Constitution. Second, union members through the US already have the right to opt out of political contributions. Third, this will cost local government about $1.2 million annually to implement. Horrible measure.
Measure 93: NOâ€”Result: No
Amends Constitution: Voters must approve most taxes, fees; requires certain approval percentage.
Even worse than No. 92, is this Sizemore-sponsored bill which would lead to ballot measures on just about every license, fee, or tax. Essentially puts state legislators out of job, which is a much worse thing than it sounds. Theoretically they actually study legislation before the vote on it, putting them one up on the general public.
Measure 94: NOâ€”Result: No
Repeals mandatory minimum sentences for certain felonies, requires re-sentencing.
In 1994 Oregon citizens, sick of violent criminals getting off with very little time served in prison, passed Ballot Measure 11 which established mandatory minimum sentences for violent personal crimes (murder, attempted murder, rape, assault, etc.). Other “property” crimes (burglary, auto theft, etc.) were not effected. My own belief is that violent criminals belong in prison. I have no problem locking them up for a long time. Of course I think the same thing about Amway salesmen, but this measure doesn’t cover that.
[Please note also that the “Arguments in Favor” in the Official 2000 General Election Voters’ Pamphlet contains numerous factually untrue statements. See Crime Victims United for a precise point-by-point refutation.]
Measure 95: NOâ€”Result: NO
Amends Constitution: Student learning determines teacher pay; qualifications, not seniority, determine retention.
Of all the problems facing education, this is the most bone-headed answer. Schools are overcrowded. Lack of funding is leaving kids without textbooks. There is a nationwide teacher shortage. Now which of these problems will be fixed by passing a ballot measure that hurts the very people trying to help kids learn?
Measure 96: NOâ€”Result: NO
Amends Constitution: Prohibits making initiative process harder, except through initiative; applies retroactively
This measure, in a nutshell, sums up what’s wrong with Oregon politics. The initiative process should be harder, not easier to use. Another Bill Sizemore measure, in case that wasn’t obvious.
Measure 97: NO
Bans body-gripping animal traps, some poisons; restricts fur commerce
A poorly written measure with good intentions. Probably unconstitutional but better not to find out. I would support a less expansive measure. This one potentially bars mousetraps depending on court interpretation.
Measure 98: NOâ€”Result: NO
Amends Constitution: Prohibits using public resources for political purposes; limits payroll deductions
This would ban the Voters’ Pamphlet among other things. Defeated two years ago, this Bill Sizemore attempt at squelching the dissemination of political information deserves to be defeated again.
Measure 99: YESâ€”Result: YES
Amends Constitution: Creates commission ensuring quality home care services for elderly, disabled
No organized opposition.
Measure 1: YESâ€”Result: Yes
Amends Constitution: Legislature must fund school quality goals adequately; report; establish grants
Unlike Bill Sizemore’s Measure 95, this measure actually attempts to solve a problem facing education.
Measure 2: NOâ€”Result: No
Amends Constitution: Creates process for requiring legislature to review administrative rules
Opposed by the League of Women Voters, the ACLU, the Oregon Parks Association, the Oregon AFL-CIO, former governors Mark Hatfield & Vic Atiyeh, the Oregon Business Association, Gov. John Kitzhaber MD, the Oregon Education Association, and so on and so on and so on. Administrative rules deal with all manner of government business, and this proposed process would do nothing but gum up the works throughout the state.
Measure 3: YESâ€”Result: Yes
Amends Constitution: Requires conviction before forfeiture; restricts proceeds usage; requires reporting, penalty
Unbelievably, current forfeiture laws allow police to seize property of person even if that person is not convicted of a crime. That might make for a nifty law enforcement tool, but it’s about as un-American a thing as I’ve heard of in recent times.
Measure 4: NOâ€”Result: No
Dedicates tobacco-settlement proceeds; earnings fund low-income health care
This is the role of the legislatureâ€”our elected representativesâ€”not the marginally informed electorate. Measure amazingly allocates no money to tobacco use prevention.
Measure 5: YESâ€”Result: Yes
Expands circumstances requiring background check before transfer of firearm
May not make a whit’s worth of difference in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, but it can’t hurt to try. NRA ideologues may not like it, but the truth is this won’t keep any law-abiding citizen from owning a gun if he or she wants one.
Measure 6: YESâ€”Result: No
Provides public funding to candidates who limit spending, private contributions
Finally, campaign finance reform makes its way to Oregon. Bill Sizemore hates it of course and urges a “no” vote. You should probably resist the temptation to vote “yes” based on that reason alone, but I won’t blame you if you can’t.
Measure 7: NOâ€”Result: Yes
Amends Constitution: Requires payment to landowners if government regulation reduces property value
Estimated cost to Oregon: $5.6 BILLION per year. Bad, bad, bad idea.
Measure 8: NOâ€”Result: No
Amends Constitution: Limits state appropriates to percentage of state’s prior personal income
Another dippy measure costing the State $5.7 BILLION over the next biennium. The consequences of this measure passing are mind-boggling.
Measure 9: NOâ€”Result: No
Prohibits public school instruction encouraging, promoting, sanctioning homosexual, bisexual behaviors
Probably unconstitutional, but sadly puritanical either way. Lon Mabon at it again. Read the tongue-in-cheek “Arguments in Favor” by M. Dennis Moore of the Special Righteousness Committee (pages 347-8, 356-357 in the Voters Pamphlet) for the funniest stuff of the election.