Ballot Measures Simply Explained

Chuck Sheketoff

Confused about how to vote on the ballot measures this election? Only got a little time? Want to avoid reading all the spin in paid ads in the official state voters' guide?

Check out The Bus Project's Three Minute Voter Guide (PDF).

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    Just read the Bus guide, and I love it.

    It's 95% awesome and fairly written, and just 5% wildly unfair to one side of a measure.

    It's this phrase on Measure 38:

    Liberty Northwest (Liberty Mutual), the Boston insurance company that stands to benefit from SAIF's demise, says "Vote YES." Hundreds of small Oregon businesses and their employees say "Vote NO."

    That's arguably truthful, but very slanted. One could put it this way to slant it in the other direction, and still be arguably truthful:

    Labor Commissioner Dan Gardner (D) and many Democratic state legislators join Liberty Northwest (a private sector SAIF competitor) to say "Vote YES." Many large corporations represented by GOP ally and friend Associated Oregon Industries say "Vote NO."

    Now, I'm not saying the Bus should lean the opposite direction on Measure 38, but the truth is out there - and it's probably somewhere between those two statements.

  • Sally (unverified)

    I am about as liberal as they come, but I am voting no on Measure 34. Unfortunately, under-logging and over-protecting our forests has caused the health of our forests to be in serious jeopardy. The facts are clear, the number and severity of devastating wildfires has dramatically increased since logging and healthy forest practices were curtailed in the early 1980's. Sustainable logging and responsible forest management practices don't mean clear-cutting the entire forest.

    On a totally different subject, I have yet to hear one logical reason why I should vote for the defense of marriage measure. This measure seems so goofy. How does two men or two women getting married threaten or harm anything? Who cares? Republicans are always saying the Democrats put government noses into our private lives, but how much more nosey can you get then telling people who they can marry?? Let's have a ballot measure about a real issue - like perscription drug coverage for everyone.

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    To paraphrase (Oregon-ize) Jim Hightower, the only thing in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead opossums. The self-proclaimed progressives with the Bus Project are neither (at least some of the time; their affiliated Onward Oregon has sat on the sidelines this election cycle).

  • TimC (unverified)

    I'm with the Gov - NO on everything.

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    I think saying it's 95% fairly written is a total stretch -- I'd say 20% is more like it. Which, for an advocacy group, is fine.

    But, because these measures have many provisions, etc. the guide is incorrect in a couple of summaries. And if that uncuts the guide's credibility and effectiveness, that's a problem.

    For example, Measure 35 doesn't limit total damages, it limits non-economic damages (two very different concepts). And Measure 37 doesn't just apply to what is generally understood as land use restrictions, but most laws restricting the use of land (I know that seems Clintonesque, but Oregonians have an concept what land use laws are, and don't put laws limiting the rental of pornography, requiring handicapped access, etc. in the same boat).

    And Kari, clearly the list of supporters and opponents for EACH measure are designed to influence, so they don't list Basic Rights Oregon (M36) or Trial Lawyers (M35), and they also manage to not mention that organized labor is against Measure 34.

    I don't know if the Bus Project chose to get together and do its endorsements, but on measures that the progressive movement is split, they still take a position on the issues. For the Bus, it's clearly Yes on 33 and 34, and No on 35-38.

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    I'm with the Gov - NO on everything.

    Even measure 33?

    It's 95% awesome and fairly written, and just 5% wildly unfair to one side of a measure.

    ITA, K - I was reading it thinking how well balanced it was and then got to measure 38 and the scale just kinda tipped over.

  • lyndon ruhnke (unverified)

    Wow, Sally's comment against Measure 34 is just over the top. The timber industry has obviously been very effective in persuading/brainwashing a large majority of our population into believing that forest health can only be achieved through the "active management" of every inch of public lands. I will not argue that we should let nature take its course on all of these lands because poor management decisions have caused a vast landscape of overcrowded, unhealthy and monoculture forests in need of restoration work (check out what is happening in the Siuslaw National Forest). However, I would point out that unmanaged old growth forests have the lowest risk of wildfire and disease and intensively managed forests have the highest risks. The benefits delivered to Oregonians by these untouched natural ecosystems are indisputable… think drinking water, recreation, and healthy runs of salmon to name a few benefits.

    We see ads promoting active forest management everyday showing us tree farms devoid of biological diversity using the specter of huge forest fires to scare us into buying the lie that only intensive management by the folks who brought us the problem can "solve" our forest health problems. The Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) is partially responsible for this education effort. OFRI is a state sponsored propaganda wing of the industry. The Oregon Board of Forestry and the Oregon Department of Forestry coordinate their public education efforts with OFRI. Go to the statute regulating membership on the OFRI board to see how twisted state sponsorship of these ads is (ORS 526.610) and notice the restrictions on the sole public member. To say that OFRI’s objectives support “the wise stewardship of natural resources for the benefit of Oregonians” is quite a stretch.

    ORS 526.009, regarding membership on the Oregon Board of Forestry (BOF), allows for 3 of the 7 members of the BOF to have direct financial interests in the decisions they make for all of us. However, it is arguable that all of the members of the current board have direct financial interests in the decisions they make in the “public interest.” I know that the timber industry directly employs around 25,000 Oregonians and those are important jobs, but what of the jobs lost in the fishing and recreational industries because of poor management practices by industries regulated by themselves and promoted by the state? Measure 34 is an effort to restore balance in the management of OUR state forests. Right now, decisions on what is in OUR best interests, regarding the management of OUR state forests, are made be at least a bare majority of board members who have a direct financial stake in the decisions they make. Read the measure at and decide if you think your interests might include protections for drinking water, recreational opportunities, and fish and wildlife habitat, if you do… Vote Yes on 34. Don’t let the industry scare tactics about fire decide your vote. Perhaps you will be surprised to learn that the Tillamook Burn was ignited by logging. Ballot box forestry created these forests (1948 constitutional measure) and your vote will restore balance to their management today.

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