the . . .


Do you ever wish you had more control over the decisions made for you by our government? Do you wish you were more informed?

Do you ever wonder why certain things do not seem to get much press? The concerns of those making less than $20,000 per year? The state of our justice system? The place of spiritual values in political debate?

Do you ever feel that some topics are indeed discussed, but always in the same sterile terms? Why do politicians see things the way they do? Are they isolated from the concerns of other citizens?

You can make a difference!


A few places to get started:

I am not asking you to agree or disagree, just to think.

Project Vote-Smart

(This site is truly incredible, and needs to become much more well-known. It has more political info than you can shake a stick at.)

Online Voter's Guide

(This is just what it sounds like: the Voter's Pamphlet online.)

Political articles and editorials that have appeared in the Oregonian

(They are in the process of doing a series on all 26 of the state ballot measures.)

Voting Suggestions and Election Commentary

Abbreviation Key


Presidential Race

Sigh. Well, I have changed my mind. I'll think I'll vote for Al Gore instead of Pacific (Green) Party candidate Ralph Nader.

Why not Bush?

Bush is, well, apparently not too bright. He sucks up to factions of the right that I do not approve of, and I get the feeling that his strings are being pulled by shadowy forces I do not fully understand. There is also the whole "two oil company men on the same ticket" concern.

Then there is the following, straight out of Molly Ivins' column, as reprinted in the 10/30/2000 Oregonian:

A little bill said the state of Texas should not execute people who are seriously retarded. We have polls on this; the great majority of Texans --- as great a majority, as it happens, as those who favor the death penalty in most circumstances --- are against offing people who aren't sure what their name, much less their crime, might be. Bush opposed it, it died, and don't you ever try to tell me that compassionate conservatism means anything. It wouldn't even have cost money.

For these and a hundred other reasons, I cannot vote for Bush.

Why Gore over Nader?

Gore exaggerates too often --- he admitted to several instances of this during the second presidential debate. Where Bush seems friendly but manipulable and insipid, Gore seems quite bright and focused, but willing to bend the rules and/or the truth a lot to get where he is going.

I am heartily sick of the two-party system as it stands in this country. A few weeks ago, I had plans to vote Nader all the way.

However, more now than in any election that I have ever voted in before, I see, I feel in my gut that my vote can make a huge difference. Gore and Bush are neck and neck in the latest polls (see the front page of the 11/1/00 Oregonian). Oregon is a swing state. Do I actually believe the Green party rhetoric that Bush and Gore are basically indistinguishable? No, I certainly don't.

Nader may do more for me than Gore does, that's true. But Gore does a lot more for many of my friends and allies than anyone else --- that is presumably why they are voting for him.

And right here, right now, I can make an enormous difference in how this election turns out.

Later, when the dust settles, I can do many many other things to advance the Green party's goals. Research, volunteer work, you name it. Heck, this being Oregon, there are many other races I can vote Green in, right now!

Consider yourself served notice, Mr. Gore. I may throw in with you now against the smiling anti-feminist anti-environmentalist pro-corporate hollow man that is Bush, but I expect results from this. I expect all the Naderites to serve as a wake-up call that much of your constituency does not appreciate your rightward drift. We've been watching you since you were in the Senate, Mr. Gore, and we'd like to be a lot more impressed than we are.

Carry through with some of this campaign rhetoric. Make us proud of your protection of the environment, your standing up for gays, your outreach to the poor. Then perhaps we won't conspire to toss you out of office in 2004 by voting Green, and you won't find yourself replaced by Nader.

Or even by a good-looking elephant you cannot stand.

Why does my heart even head towards Mr. Nader in the first place?

To quote Tonie Nathan (although I still believe that the Libertarians are too extreme), "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

I am angry that Nader did not get into the presidential debates. He is ten times more the "outsider" than either the Democrat or the Republican. I am pleased by his environmental record, his desire to limit the powers of big corporations, and his willingness to speak unpleasant truths.

A friend of mine has a clearly written, polemical essay about voting for Nader, and I agree with his main points.

Also on the subject of Nader, Michael Moore has written an open letter to folks planning not to vote.

Oregon Congressional District #3

My vote will probably go to Pacific (Green) Party candidate Tre Arrow.

He is running against Earl Blumenauer (D), Walt Brown (Socialist), Bruce Knight (Libertarian) and Jeffery Pollock (R). On any issue where I know both Arrow's and Blumenauer's positions, they are essentially identical (see for example p. A14 of the 10/19/00 Oregonian), and I would like to see third parties (especially the Pacific Party) flourish, so I'll probably vote for Arrow.


Oregon Statewide Ballot Measures

For the actual texts of the measures, click on the measure number below, or see the Online Voter's Guide.

If you do not want to give the measures too much thought, just vote No on everything!!

My only Yes votes so far: Measures 83, 84, 94, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

83: (AC) Authorizes new standards, priorities for veterans' loans; expands qualified recipients.

My vote: Yes

This seems like a good idea. I have heard some folks say that since we pay our soldiers in cold hard cash, and right now there is no draft (so our soldiers are volunteers), we do not need to give them extra benefits. But we do not ask folks holding most other jobs to charge into gunfire, and I do not mind giving the soldiers a few extra benefits.

84: (AC) State must continue paying local goverments for state-mandated programs.

My vote: Yes

Voting Yes on this maintains the current status quo, and this seems like a good idea.

85: Modifies population, minimum area requirements for formation of new counties.

My vote: No

The only strong sentiment I have about this one is, no matter how much Gresham might be feeling like they are getting the shaft from Portland's dominance of Multnomah county, seceding is not the answer. Bureaucracies are expensive to replicate --- this would be a real waste of Oregon tax dollars.

86: (AC) Requires refunding general fund revenues exceeding state estimates to taxpayers.

My vote: No

For my feelings about putting inappropriate things in the state constitution, see Measure 87. For my feelings about taking money away from the state government right now, see the second paragraph of my argument against Measure 88.

87: (AC) Allows regulation of location of sexually-oriented businesses through zoning.

My vote: NO

To me, this is a freedom of speech issue. Also, there are many measures (including this one) which I would vote against simply because I do not think that they belong in the Oregon Constitution. State constitutions should be relatively simple documents outlining broad parameters, not masses of scar tissue that elaborate upon a myriad of tiny details better left to the executive branch to implement.

This measure is unlikely to have the effect that its supporters desire, anyway. Plus, it is opposed by author Ursula Le Guin, whom I have great respect for.

88: Increases maximum deductible in Oregon for federal taxes paid.

My vote: No

This measure is much better than Measure 91. It is not a constitutional amendment. It does not lower the amount of tax paid by big business. It merely raises the amount of federal tax one can deduct on one's personal Oregon return from $3000 to $5000. If I wanted to take money away from the government and give it back to the people, this would be one of the best ways to do it that I have ever seen actually make it to the ballot.

However, none of that changes the fact that I do not actually want to take money back from the state at this time. By my calculations, if this measure had been in effect when I paid my 1999 taxes, it would have saved me about $160. That is not a lot of extra tax to pay to help the schools and the roads and such along, especially since right now the economy is booming. If this measure (and 91) do not pass, perhaps we can try to direct some of this money we're leaving in the state's hands toward good causes like smaller school class sizes. While there may well be some waste and fraud in state government, as supporters of 91 allege, useful changes like smaller class sizes actually do cost real money.

89: Dedicates tobacco settlement proceeds to specified health, housing, transportation programs.

My vote: No

Measure 4 and this measure address the same topics but appear to be mutually exclusive. 4 hands over a lot of the money to the Oregon Health Plan; 89 gives the money to a more diverse list of (good) causes. I feel at this time that 4 represents a better approach than 89, for this tobacco money. Also, if 89 and 4 both fail, the Secretary of State's office has told me that control of the tobacco settlement money reverts to the Oregon legislature. Who knows what they'll do with it --- or how much time and political courage it will take them to decide. Thus, I do not want them both to fail, so I am voting No on 89 and Yes and 4.

90: Authorizes rates giving utilities return on investments in retired property.

My vote: No

I need to think about this more, but my attitude right now is: why should we reward PGE for its mistakes, nuclear or otherwise?

91: (AC) Makes federal income taxes fully deductible on Oregon state tax returns.

My vote: No

This is one of many constitutional amendments proposed by Bill Sizemore, who seemingly never saw a sparrow he didn't want to shoot with a cannon. This measure favors the rich, and would cut more deeply into the state budget than I wish to at this time, especially in such a general fashion.

Let's explore the situation a little more. Suppose I pay $4000 in year-2000 federal taxes in April 2001. When I go to figure out how much Oregon tax I owe, under current law I get to deduct only $3000 worth of my federal tax when calculating my income for Oregon tax purposes. Hence Sizemore's term "double taxation": $1000 of the money I made and then paid to the feds I am now getting taxed on so that I can pay the state of Oregon.

However, the law as it stands now is progressive. If I owe $3000 or less in federal tax, I am going to be able to write the whole thing off on my state taxes. The only folks receiving this "double taxation" are (a) individuals paying more than $3000 in federal tax, and (b) corporations, who do not get the $3000 state deduction at all.

This does not bother me. As someone who paid more than $4000 in federal taxes on my 1999 income, I was among the "double-taxed," and I feel that folks like ourselves should pony up, as long as the money is going towards a well-functioning state government. (Which is worth another entire discussion, but I am not getting into it here and now.) As far as corporations, the large ones are making money hand over fist and need to give back to the societies that made them possible. If Measure 91 were merely going to give a tax break to small businesses I would perhaps have been for it, but that is hardly the case with 91 as it is written now.

Let's vote No on this one. It goes too far.

92: (AC) Prohibits payroll deductions for political purposes without specific written annual authorization.

My vote: No

Down with BS!

93: (AC) Voters must approve most taxes, fees. Requires certain approval percentage.

My vote: No, no NO!

This one is dangerously retroactive. It is another measure that convinces me that no matter how much Sizemore says he is looking out for the taxpayer's interest, he is really looking out for his own interest over that of society at large. Plus, just imagine how huge the Voter's Pamphlet will be if every time Tri-Met wants a nickel hike in bus fare, we have to vote on it. Down with BS!

94: Repeals mandatory minimum sentences for certain felonies, requires resentencing.

My vote: Yes

This measure repeals our old friend Measure 11 from (I think) 1996. While I do agree that before Measure 11 some people were receiving sentences that I feel were too lenient, I believe that 11 took too much control away from judges. It made it harder for them to prescribe counseling or other forms of treatment instead of time behind bars (they still can hand it out in addition to jail time).

Some folks are worried about how much it is going to cost (if 94 passes during this election) to resentence everyone who was sentenced under Measure 11. I have two responses to this: (a) they only have to resentence folks who are still incarcerated, and (b) if they want to, they can have a single judge sit down with a pen and give them all the same sentences they had, in only a day's work. New sentences does not mean that the convicted get new trials.

95: (AC) Student learning determines teacher pay; qualifications, not seniority, determine retention.

My vote: probably No

This one is tough. I have been a tutor for a dozen years. I have taught in several non-traditional environments, including a year with a classroom in a very small private school. I feel like I have seen Oregon school districts from close-up, but still from outside. I know that changes need to be made. But I do not think that this forceful measure is the way to make them. And of course, it should not be a constitutional amendment. I'll probably vote against it for that reason alone.

(Also, the presence of Becky Miller among the chief petitioners pulls Sizemore's Oregon Taxpayers United once again out from behind the supporters' curtain on this one.)

96: (AC) Prohibits making the initiative process harder, except through an initiative; applies retroactively.

My vote: No

It is rare to see Lloyd Marbet on the left and Bill Sizemore on the right agree on anything, but they both support this measure. I don't. First of all, I think that the threat of the Legislature drastically curtailing the ability of citizens to submit initiatives is a phantom. Second, I want the Legislature to specifically make it harder to amend the constitution, and 96 would prevent them from doing that. Third, even if the Legislature made any sort of initiative next to impossible to get on the ballot, it would be worth it just for the privilege of muzzling Sizemore, even partially. Down with BS!

97: Bans body-gripping animal traps, some poisons; restricts fur commerce.

My vote: I think right now that I shall abstain

On the one hand, I hate to see animals dying painfully when it is not necessary. On the other hand, I want farmers to be able to kill coyotes (for example), and live traps are a lot more expensive. On the third hand . . .

98: (AC) Prohibits using public resources for political purposes; limits payroll deductions.

My vote: NO

This measure would effectively eliminate the Voter's Pamphlet, and ban political rallies of any stripe from university halls. Also, this sort of thing does NOT belong in the Oregon constitution! Down with BS!

99: (AC) Creates commission ensuring quality home care services for elderly, disabled.

My vote: No

Creating a commission will suck money away from actually paying those who care for the elderly.

1: (AC) Legislature must fund school quality goals adequately, report, establish grants.

My vote: No

Tempting as a moral gesture, but overly vague and difficult to implement.

2: (AC) Creates process for requiring legislature to review administrative rules.

My vote: not just NO but NO POSSIBLE WAY

I want this measure to go away. Unless I am mistaken, this measure appeared in essentially the same form in 1998 (Measure 65) and in 1996 (Measure 27). It won't die! (Down with BS!! Down with BS!!) This measure has to be one of the worst that I have ever heard of, scoring very high on insidiousness, wretchedness, and SIQ. Ask yourself whether the legislators know as much about the effect of the rules they would be voting on as the agencies that proposed them. This will tie the functioning of the state up in knots --- a total waste of those taxpayer dollars Sizemore says are so precious.

I am certain that this is Sizemore's pro-developer-at-all-costs side coming out again. See Measure 7.

3: (AC) Requires conviction before forfeiture; restricts proceeds usage; requires reporting, penalty.

My vote: Yes

This seems like a good idea. I would rather not have, for example, a mother's car taken by the government because her son is dealing drugs out of it without her knowledge or permission.

4: Dedicates tobacco-settlement proceeds; earnings fund low-income health care.

My vote: Yes

See my remarks on Measure 89.

5: Expands the circumstances that require a background check before any transfer of firearms.

My vote: Yes

Background checks are a good idea.

6: Provides public funding to candidates who limit spending, private contributions.

My vote: Yes

This sounds like an experiment worth trying, and since (for once) it is not a constitutional amendment, it should be relatively easy for the Legislature to tweak, if we need them to. Plus, it is supported by Rep. Peter DeFazio, a politician I have a lot of respect for from back in my days when I lived in Eugene.

7: (AC) Requires payment to landowner if government regulation reduces property value.

My vote: Absolutely NOT!

This one will have an enormous negative financial impact on the state budget, to the tune of over $1 billion in cuts by even a conservative estimate. Some minor changes could perhaps be made on this issue later --- I am sure that there are cases where the government has been a wee bit too rough with landowners. But Measure 7 is too sweeping, and too pro-private development regardless of the impact. (Do we really want tall skyscrapers blocking our view of Mount Hood?) Plus, this ill-advised cannonfire is yet another attempt at a constitutional amendment! Down with BS!

8: (AC) Limits state appropriations to percentage of state's prior personal income.

My vote: No

I am not interested in taking money away from the state government right now. See the second paragraph of my argument against Measure 88.

9: Prohibits public school instruction encouraging, promoting, sanctioning homosexual, bisexual behaviors.

My vote: no, NO!

This is another rerun we do not need. Lon Mabon's messianic monomania may actually be worse than Sizemore's --- but it's a close call sometimes.

Secretary of State

I shall vote for Pacific (Green) Party candidate Lloyd Marbet.

I went to school with his daughter, and I feel like I can trust him. If he is extreme, it's for a good cause. You can get a better feel for his positions by going to his Website and checking out his positions on the ballot measures.

Plus, this gives me a chance to vote against Republican Lynn Snodgrass, about whom I feel as I do about Kevin Mannix (see the section after next), except less strongly. (I have a hard time believing she was ever a good teacher.)

State Treasurer

I am planning to vote for Democratic candidate Randall Edwards.

Attorney General

I shall vote (again) for current Attorney General Hardy Myers (D).

He is a Democrat, which I frequently prefer, and no Pacific Party candidate is running for this office.

However, my desire to vote for him is strongly helped along by my deep dislike of the political record of his Republican opponent Kevin Mannix. Mannix is presently a member of the state House of Representatives, and he has also been a state senator; thus, he has established a long public track record. His proposals, his comments in interviews, everything points to the fact that he is not just conservative, he is not at all a nice or compassionate person. (My apologies for what I said about him here earlier --- name-calling is not going to help the debate.)

State Senatorial District #7

I shall probably vote for Democratic incumbent Kate Brown. Her only opponent is Socialist Charley Nims, and he does not seem appealing. I need to do more research.

State Representative District #14

I shall probably vote for Libertarian candidate John McEnroe.

I do not normally vote Libertarian, but he lives in the apartment above me, and has never given me any evidence that he is anything other than a nice guy. Besides, I am not thrilled by his sole competition, Democrat Diane Rosenbaum; I have voted against her before. And no Pacific Party candidate is running. (Stan Kahn, call your office!)

Judge of the Supreme Court, Position 2

I shall vote for Paul DeMuniz.

I often have trouble with judiciary races, especially in elections like this one with so many other issues to investigate. However, the 10/24/00 Oregonian reported that DeMuniz's only opponent Greg Byrne is one of Bill Sizemore's lawyers.

Now, there is probably more worth finding out about Mr. Byrne and Mr. DeMuniz, and I will if I have time. But if I don't have the chance to do more research, I shall not be voting for someone about whom all I know is that he is a Sizemore associate.


Metro Ballot Measure

26-10: Amends Metro charter by abolishing executive officer, creating council president.

My vote: Yes

Here's a chance to minimize local gridlock.

City of Portland Ballot Measures

26-6: Amends city charter; exempts bureau directors from civil service

My vote: Yes

Ms. Sherrill Whittemore is a disgrace to the 911 bureau (see page B1 of the 11/4/00 Oregonian), and while 26-6 won't do anything about her, this measure will make it easier to fire anyone like her who might get hired after 12/31/2000.

26-8: Amends city charter; changes the composition of the Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Board

My vote: Yes

This measure will give the public more input into the Board, which seems like a good idea if it will help prevent cases like that of Grundmeyer (below).

26-9: Amends city charter; prohibits disability payments to incarcerated beneficiaries after conviction

My vote: Yes

This was prompted by the case of Lloyd Grundmeyer, formerly with the Police Bureau, who is still receiving $2000 each month while serving an 18-year sentence for sex offenses. The disability payment policy needs to be changed, and 26-9 makes thoughtful provisions for the families of the incarcerated, if applicable.

the Portland Community College Measure

26-7: PCC general obligation bonds: improving classrooms and buildings, upgrading technology

My vote: Yes

I have seen a lot of PCC's facilities, and worked with students there. I agree that PCC could use a bond levy.

Mayor of Portland

I did not vote for incumbent Vera Katz in our little "non-partisan primary" in May, and I am not going to vote for her now. The Greens have put up an alternative candidate: Donald Allgeier. I intend to write him in.

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (Director at Large, 4-year term)

I shall vote for Alexander Patterson. In a case like this, the fact that he works for the Green party is the deciding factor.

Suggestions for changes/additions to this Webpage are welcome and may be sent to me from here. Flames will be dumped to /dev/null/ summarily.

To the Front Room of my Demesne

(Last updated 11/5/02000)