Dreaming in Red Oregon

Over at Red Oregon blog Gullyborg (where the slogan is "Resistance is futile!"), they're all up in a lather.

Last week, Gullyborg predicted the political fallout from Measure 37 getting overturned:

This will also have a huge impact on the Legislature. I think we can expect the Oregon House to gain Republican seats, and the Oregon Senate to shift into Republican control.

...the sheer outrage among Oregonians against the status quo in light of Measure 37 could be so great that even Jim Feldkamp might have a very real shot at defeating Peter DeFazio.

This just might be the one single issue capable of causing enough of a shift in voter perception to put Oregon seriously into play for the 2008 Presidential election.

Friday, October 14, 2005, just might have been the day that Oregon became a conservative Republican "red state." I may need to buy that judge a beer.


  • (Show?)

    Is there any polling data on this issue in the last six months? Clearly a lot of issues were raised in the public's mind recently that were not communicated before the election. I think it is still clear that this is totally a question of what issue is being debated. Is it one of fairness to elderly, long time property owners? Then the public supports the Measure 37 position. Is Measure 37 fair to neighbors? Then they don't. Do you want to eliminate the urban growth boundary? People say no. Do you want to modify it? People say yes.

  • JustaDog (unverified)

    Our state of Oregon can not stand much longer under liberal leadership. We are going downhill FAST.

    I do have a question for blueoregon: You quote Gullyborg yet you ban him from commenting. Is blue afraid of red?

  • Varner (unverified)

    Measure 37 passed with a ballot title many found enticing. I just don't believe that there's a huge groundswell like those righties believe on this issue.

    Sometimes it's a real bummer to start getting too psyched about your own rhetoric. But hey, if that's the one issue they want to campaign on I'm not going to stop them.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    I think information circulation -- the 'news biz' in old-speak -- so quickly evolving as it is, has had not total but significant effect in informing voters on M.37, even in only two years or whatever it has been since the signature gathering and campaign-controlled misrepresentation stealthed the vote and got as far as it got.

    And all around, I think more information is going to be available for voters, and more voters are going to gather it more widely for a better balanced opinion before they vote, in today's and tomorrow's politics.

    More information, more comprehension, more voters, is the A-B-C antidote for conservatives' narrow-mindedness. No doubt and no wonder the rabids are lathering.

    I say it's the internet. False stories and half-stories simply lack the capacity they once had to fill inquiring minds. Education happens.

    Oregonians had strong feelings in the news M.37 was unjust and unfair. However it wasn't a feeling they their personal thinking was wrong, rather that the leaders they listened to were wrong. It's going to affect conservative voters, all right, in the opposite way the Red Rad bloggers are trying to convince themselves it will. The more the blog, the less neo-con fog. And it doesn't take any Official Poll Results to know that -- just ask that voter sitting across from you wherever you are.

    The summary word on this, the most profound thing I heard Clinton say and the quote of his that corporate media denied most and tried to bury deepest:

    Democracy is what comes out the end of the internet ... uh, and cell phones.

  • (Show?)

    I just don't believe that there's a huge groundswell like those righties believe on this issue.

    Even more potently, they're ignoring the fantastic damage their own party is currently inflicting upon itself. There's a change afoot in politics, but I think the signs Gullyborg sees may be merely the figments of Lars Larson's fantasy.

    (And keep in mind that Measure 37 is by no means a liberal/conservative issue. Urban righties seem blind to this fact, which mystifies me.)

  • djk (unverified)

    Most of the people I knew -- all staunch liberals -- initially were in favor of Measure 37 based on the ballot title and the short summary. Without any particular knowledge of the effects M37 would have, it just sounded like a good idea to them. I even had a couple of friends who scanned the ballot title and thought it was about paying market value for land condemnation.

    All of those people wound up voting against 37 after they got more information.

    At the risk of generalizing from the specific ...

    I suspect that a lot of people who voted "yes" did so on a gut-level, "sounds like a good idea" reaction to the general premise, without concerning themselves too greatly with the details.

    I would be very surprised if the judge's decision sparks any kind of backlash. Most of the people who are passionately pro-Measure 37 vote Republican already. You look around the state, there are very few people (relative to total voting population) who actually want to pursue a Measure 37 claim. There are probably an equal or greater number who don't want to see the neighbor's farm turned into a residential subdivision. And the vast majority of voters don't have a dog in the fight; they'll shrug and say "whatever" and vote on stuff that has a more direct impact on their own lives.

    Backlash? Not much. Varner's right: they want to campaign on this ruling as their main issue, they should go right ahead.

  • (Show?)

    You quote Gullyborg yet you ban him from commenting.

    We've blocked a few people who were taking up more than their fair share of bandwidth/attention around here - on the left and right. I have no idea if Gullyborg is one of them. (I don't believe we've blocked anyone using that name.)

    In any case, he has his own blog. He's more than welcome to comment there - and trackback a link to us. That's how these internets work.

  • Aaron (unverified)

    As a person that worked on the No on 37 campaign--I have one thing to say the DPO was myopic on the issues(34, 36, and 37) and just focused in on defeating Bush within the state in 2004. The DPO needs to be more flexible on fully supporting issues that progressives and liberals support, just as in the ORP supports issues that their base supports. If not the TABOR initiative will pass and other “conservative leaning” initiatives as well.

  • drivebytrucker (unverified)

    You wake up tomorrow morning to discover that somehow Ted Nugent has become the Governor or Oregon, yet for some strange reason, Michael Moore is the Lt. Governor. You are a special Oregon state agent assigned to protect them both. You suddenly find out that there's a plot by some PETA activists to assassinate Nugent yet another simultanious plot by some Aryan Nation survivalists to assassinate Moore. (In my best Keanu Reeves voice)...WHAT DO YOU DO???

  • Sailor Republica (unverified)

    Gullyborg is right, especially in the face of information that Peter DeFazio may just be retiring from the House.

    Let's face it, 61-39 says a lot. People still believe that Measure 37 was good.

    And yes, this measure is starting a backlash. Especially here on the U of Oregon campus, where the overwhelming cries of equity in property value is now crowding out the cries of the anti-military research backers.

  • (Show?)

    Also, a couple of points on that huge majority that approved M37. While it was passed by a majority, the polling was in freefall as election day approached. The anti-37 forces had gotten the numbers to within four points of the supporters, according to a poll the Oregonian conducted a week before the election. But of course, by that time, many Oregonians had already submitted their ballots. Six months before the election, another poll found that two-thirds of Oregonians like Oregon's land-use laws.

    I'd temper my faith in the public's belief that M37 is a good law--nevermind what the vote was.

  • David English (unverified)

    I think someone fell and hit their head before writing that.

    I agree with djk, many people probably voted for Measure 37 without reading the details of what it was about.

    It would be interesting to see one of the news outlets do a poll of voters and ask them how informed they are when they vote on ballot measures. I think we would be shocked.

    Aaron-You hit the nail on the head, yes the DPO needs to do a better job of supporting other causes. I would have gladly campaigned against Measure 37 if I had been in Oregon at the time.

    Sometimes the focus is too narrow in terms of what causes are deemed important. I'm proud that Oregon was won by a democrat, but however what good is that if we put in all that effor and loose other states. We need to remember that we can't neglect issues at the local level.

  • TomK (unverified)

    In the end, it's always the economy, stupid.

    People care about M37. But, they care more about family wages.

  • Dare!PDX (unverified)

    M37 will not by itself cause a groundswell. The continual overturning of initiative is pulling people to the right though. In Oregon's statewide elections a little goes along way.

    On the day of election people voting for democrats also supported for M37 and I believe they were well informed on the measure. M37 isn't that hard to grasp. If the government removes value from your land by altering your ability to improve it they should pay the difference. The one argument 1000 Friends has beyond stopping growth is 'it costs to much to allow M37.'

    As the voters I talked to learned more they became more pro-37 than against it. If a landowner wants to change the zoning to their property they must pay back taxes for highest and best use because of the preferential tax status for agricultural land. Then there is the residual upwardly mobile property taxes and development charges that the city/county/state is able to levy when developing. With "smart growth" a city could easily become just as choosy for who they allow M37 waivers to cover more than the cost of enforcing the UGB.

    All M37 does is create a formal process for landowner to whine to about a perceived taking. Its a safety valve to maintain the integrity of our existing landuse system in the tradition of what Tom McCall would have wanted. A fair system that balances the needs of long-time property owners against the needs of the evolving community they live in.

    And with the use of "fair" from a conservative perspective I await your opinions in opposition.

  • Xander (unverified)

    Whether Gullyberg is right or not depends a lot on what anti-37 folks do. If we bury our heads in the sand as we did after Measure 7, we will face another initiative and lose. We may also lose seats. We need to recognize that voters supported M-37 because they thought it was fair. We need to also recognize that there is some unfairness in the system because the original land use vision of 1973 was not fully implemented because compensation for some landowners for restrictions was not funded. We must become willing partners in sorting that out. We also need to relentlessly reiterate the message of the court: Measure 37 itself is not fair. If we do that we have nothing to fear.

  • Todd Woodward (unverified)

    Feldkamp doesn't have a chance in hell now that he's connected with DeLay.

    Measure 37 was based on fear, ignorance, and a lack of understanding. That's why I stand with Basic Rights Oregon to protect civil rights for everyone. As a straight, married Christian, I am ashamed that Measure 37 passed.

    Measure 37 and other discrimination pushed by the Fake Christians and Wingnut Republicans were used as tools to fool and scare the electorate into voting to keep them in power.

    As Republican corruption continues to boil to a froth and then begins to spill over, Christians and moderates will see that they've been made a fool for supporting these thugs.

    There is no data to support any movement toward the Fake Conservatives in Oregon.

  • (Show?)

    I agree with Dare. I don't think that this decision alone will start a groundswell against the Democratic party.

    However I do think there is a growing judicial fatigue as very popular measures are continually overturned and yet the underlying issue behind each measure is never dealt with by the legislature.

    The legislature did not like M37 yet failed to show any courage in dealing with it in a manner that had the spirit of the voters in mind.

    The same thing happened with the seizures initiative if I am not mistaken.

    Term limits was not only the most popular initiative to pass in this state, but it remained popular (70%) up until 2000 when the legislature decided to overturn it themselves.

    IMHO it remains to be seen what direction the judicial/voter/fatigue will take the Oregon electorate. However the poorly arrived at decision will certainly not help judge James.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Gullyborg has done what Republicans have been doing of late - thinking something is so and making up the "facts" to support it.

    Gullyborg would fit in well at the Bush White House (which is rapidly becoming the bunker.) Wishful thinking is all that this is.

    Around here, people were more or less luke warm about M37. Ultimately more people voted for it by far, but the depth of that support was shallow. Only the general resentment about land use planning bought support for M37, there was no thrill behind it. People who bothered to read it knew it would only apply to that handful of people or their families that had owned land since before 1978 when our zoning laws took effect.

    So, a State issue like M37 is supposed to bring about such a wave of resentment that some nobody candidate with $10,000 from Tom Delay will boot out DeFazio? Reminds me of Bush looking for weapons of mass destruction in the drawers of his White House office. It just doesn't even come close to adding up. -- In my local paper, the Central Oregonian, there has not been one letter to the editor about M37 being over turned. NOT ONE! Doesn't exactly send a message of conservative outrage and uprising.

    Frankly, Gullyborg is just trying to start something. Gullyborg must think that by beating a drum a parade will start. But Oregon is following a different drummer. What has people hot around here are two things - Iraq and the farm bill.

    Did you all know that the Republicans are attempting to gut the farm bill as part of the way to pay for the hurricane disasters? Around here people know it! The fiscal mismanagement of the Bush Administration is 100 times more a hot issue than M37.

    Frankly, Gullyborg's "theory" is a waste of breath, a waste of keystrokes, why am I writing this ...

  • dmrusso (unverified)

    There was a townhall meeting in SE PDX last Thursday night (10/20) with Senator Kate Brown and Rep Diane Rosenbaum along with a member from Metro. The fact is, the Oregon legislature is investigating working on a comprimise law that can pass judicial muster and satisfy the supporters of M37.

    Does anyone who questions "the disconnect" of the Dems in the Legistlature ever attend any of these townhall meetings or are we just assuming things because we are "armchair politicians"?

    Republicans are wishfully thinking that this issue will result in a ground swell that will throw them back into power in Oregon. The fact is, in 16 years of Republican domination in the Oregon Legislature, little was accomplished that addressed the needs of most Oregonians.

    The Dems in the Legislature fought for stronger investment on K-12 and higher education. They had to fight the Reps tooth and nail to preserve funding to education. They also sought to push forward investment in bio-fuels, but the Reps insisted that they add on their tax breaks for big polluters. The Dems have fought to maintain the minimum wage, keep and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit so that low-income families could have most or all of their state income tax refunded.

    There are many more issues at hand than M37. The Reps do not care about Oregon families. They only care about big business. Dems care about improving the economy for people at all income levels. The Reps have created a culture of corruption in which "foot dragging" has become the status quo. The Dems have sought to bring people together and discuss issues.

    Lastly, there has been a shift to the right in the Legislature. This shift has sent more Repubicans further to the right than the mainstream. There are few Reps left in the legislature that are from "the old party". This disconnect with their independant voters could well cost them in the future.

    But, Dems cannot rely on the fall of the Republicans alone to win in '06. Sure, many of us enjoy this bitter taste of hypocracy where the "smaller government and family values" crowd falls victim to their own lack of moral values and selfishness. However, Dems still need to build coalitions that not only win, but win big and often.

  • Dare!PDX (unverified)


    I don't get this recent democratic obsession with swaying "christians" to their cause like they are a union local. Its not going to happen, they aren't motivated by politics but issues. They are individuals make decisions on their own.

    As long as D organizations censor pro-life (or even pro-choice-light) they will never sway the religous left beyond a city-council race. As caustic as the radical right can get it doesn't even come close to the acidity of response from a NARAL member when you dare to question the logic of their opinions.

    It does make me wish I could have been a fly on the wall at your last Sunriver country-club convention though. I'd really like to see who the hell presented this topic with a straight face. I bet it'd be more fun to dissect than Don't Think of an Elephant.

    And by the way - "wing-nut," we left that term behind in the 70's. Formally, our by-laws refer to our membership as "wack-jobs."

  • Pedro (unverified)

    de·lu·sion (di-loo-zhan) n. 1. a. The act or process of deluding. b. The state of being deluded. 2. A false belief or opinion: labored under the delusion that success was at hand. 3. Psychiatry A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness: delusions of persecution.

    Used in a sentence: Many elephants in Oregon suffer from delusions when it comes to predicting future events.

  • Todd Woodward (unverified)


    Swaying Christians? If the majority of American's identify themselves as Christians, and the majority of American's support reproductive rights, then what "democratic obsession with swaying" are you referring to?

    I can't speak for any "D organizations" and I'm not aware of any "censorship." As a former far-right-wing, Christian Fundamentalist, I know the NARAL arguments backwards and forwards. I used to preach it. I still personally believe abortion is abhorrent. However, my personal religious views has absolutely nothing to do with the reproductive rights of others.

    Back to the topic at hand: Measure 37 wasn't about any real issues. It was the Fake Christians who did the same thing they did in the run-up to the failed Iraq War. Fear! "Protect your Marriage!" From what? The evil Gay and Lesbian Agenda that is out to curve your spine, corrupt your children, and make you eat kale? It was a disingenuous position from the start.

    I really wish that most of the "christians" you refer to were individuals and can make their own decisions. However, dissent and critical thinking skills aren't something that's encouraged within their ranks.

    Hey! Did someone forget to invite me to the Country Club? I wasn't aware I had a membership. Damn! Do they only offer golf, or are there any opportunities for hockey? Country Club Hockey. Yeah...I like the sound of that.

    Did someone say fly? Tom DeLay used to be an exterminator. I'm sure he's got some Raid he can lend you. You have special access don't you? (Don't forget the special handshake.) He sniffs the stuff regularly.

  • LT (unverified)

    As long as D organizations censor pro-life (or even pro-choice-light) they will never sway the religous left beyond a city-council race. As caustic as the radical right can get it doesn't even come close to the acidity of response from a NARAL member when you dare to question the logic of their opinions.

    First of all, take a look at recent elections. In any legislative district, look at the victory margin and the number of voters registered outside a major party. For instance, in the Oregon House district where I live, there are about 8000 such nonpartisan voters. And my state rep. won last time by about 6000 against a weak opponent. Will sarcastic remarks really win over nonpartisan voters?

    I just don't understand this generalizing. It makes it sound as if because someone of the NARAL persuasion was rude to someone more RTL at a specific meeting on a specific date in a specific location with specific individuals in the room, that means "Democratic organizations" have never had civil discussions of abortion.

    Except that I have been to events where that was not true. One faction in a room said all Democrats should support abortion rights and another faction in the same room said a "truly pro-choice person" would give NARAL folks, RTL folks, and folks in the center a right to speak.

    But I do think there is an element of "the pot calling the kettle black" here. I have personally talked with someone who was then an RTL lobbyist and who actually was once elected as a pct. person. Something very interesting happened years ago.

    I once made the point "Why are your folks not willing to answer the following question (about health of the mother, or support for poor families having a hard time raising the children they already had, something concrete like that) and instead telling people anyone who disagreed with the RTL party line deserved every sarcastic remark anyone from RTL said to them? Why is that the way to win friends and influence people to your cause"? And this RTL lobbyist said "You have a point. Some people get tired of negativity".

    A few months later, this person announced retirement as RTL lobbyist, and the new person was really snippy at anyone who did not accept every word of any RTL proposal.

    It strikes me that there are extremists on both sides of this issue--maybe even 20% of the population on each extreme. But 20% doesn't win an election. And 20% + 20% means that if you take the 40% extremists out of the equation, the 60% in the middle are going to decide the election.

    So I am sorry if someone at X Democratic meeting on Y day at Z address with maybe 50 people attending was a rude experience for someone. I had a similar experience (not about abortion) when some people at a county meeting very badly wanted to pass a resolution and how dare anyone like me ask for a quorum call. They directed insults at me directly (as opposed to the more proper "Mr. Chair, the previous speaker is a complete idiot and was wrong to say..."). But that does not mean I believe every Oregon Democrat would yell at any person making a perfectly acceptable parliamentary motion at a meeting.

    Over generalization as a rule does not lead to votes for any cause, be it abortion, Meas. 37, or anything else.

  • Richard Bolcavitch (unverified)

    Given the poor legal wording of M37, I am surprised that it was even granted a ballot slot.

    And the property rights folk have no sense of history. If they did, they’d realize the property they now hold was unjustly acquired by the Federal government from the indigenous population.

    Robert Miller of Lewis and Clark Law School gives a nice short summation of it here.

  • Karl (unverified)

    One of the main things that drew me to move to Oregon in the late '60s was the large amount of self-sufficient people living in the country side. Many were the children and grand children of the settlers. Their lives seemed much in harmony with and living off the land.

    When LCDC came along I joined the CAC (citizens advisory committee) to the planning commission. Their reps painted us an idyllic picture. We tested all the soils so that we could stop building on the good farm and forest land. Since most of the cities were on prime farm land in the Willamette valley, their growth would stop. New developement would take place on poor soil ground. There would be room for small acreage farms. We put in a provision for "homestead agriculture" where people could practice self-sufficiency and organic farming (which, incidentally, contrary to what some believe, can be more productive than chemical farming per acre. It's just more labor intensive.). I voted to not "Californicate" Oregon. I thought it would be good.

    Once LCDC was in place, it was quickly taken over by the big power interests in the state. Big timber, big agriculture and big developers carved the state up between them. Big government decided that the un-rich (they wouldn't call themselves poor) could be better (taken care of) in the cities. It was found impractical to not let the cities keep on growing onto good soils. Huge acreage minimums stopped people from living on land they owned or making room for their children to live the same lifestyle as they. Most Oregonians are now cut off from living with nature. Is this a good thing?

    I just wanted to put out a different view of our land use laws.

  • Winston Wolfe (unverified)


  • Ruth Adkins (unverified)

    FWIW, there was an online poll at the Salem Statesman Journal on Oct. 20 asking if people agreed with the M37 ruling. I figured most would disagree with the ruling-- but by the end of the day the vast majority said they agreed with the ruling. I know these online polls have no scientific validity, but I found it encouraging to see how many people came down on the side of sensible land use planning and protecting the landscape for future generations.

    One of my good friends is another anecdotal example of what I think was a typical M37 yes vote: A busy mom, she told me after the election that she read just the title, thought it sounded fair enough, and voted yes. Only later did she realize the negative ramifications and deeply regretted her vote.

  • Myers fan (unverified)

    Thank God we have Hardy Myers being faithful to his role as Oregon's top lawyer by defending ALL voter-approved initiatives in court -- whether it's defending Oregon's assisted suicide law before the U.S. Supreme Court or defending Measure 37 in state trial court. Just imagine what we would have gotten from Kevin Mannix or Paul Connolly (Hardy's last opponent) as our attorney general.

    Democrats can come out of this Measure 37 ruling happy about the outcome and proud of the process. (An outcome that struck down a bad law and a process in which OUR GUY defended the voter-approved law with integrity and in good faith.) That's way more than our Republican friends can claim!

  • dmrusso (unverified)

    Sailor Republica: Peter DeFazio said he would leave the US House to run for governor if Gov. Kul. would not be running for re-election. The governor is running for re-election so DeFazio seems happy to stay put.

    Vasilating conservatives can verify their political mumbo-jumbo instead of wishful thinking.

  • Unithraxer (unverified)

    If you can't win at the polls then attack legally. What's up with the city dwelling environmentalist telling the country folk how to live? At the same time families are moving out of the city to the red counties to avoid densification and heavy tax burdens. The blue state social engineering is in total collapse and they just don't get it. I have been converted not by the temptation of the red side but for my disgust of the recent blue movement. I’m the purple independent and my numbers are growing. Be careful Oregon may someday go red and you won’t even know why!

    Karl: Can you back up your claims with references?

  • Pedro (unverified)

    Unithraxer, Did you know that four county farm bureaus that represent rural oregonians were plaintifs in the Marion County case that resulted in M 37 being declared unconstitutional?

    Please get your facts straight.

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