Saxton, Westlund, Kulongoski on Gay Rights

This week, Later this month, Basic Rights Oregon is expected to make its endorsement for Governor. Here's a rundown on the candidates for governor with respect to gay rights:

Ron Saxton has made his anti-gay views crystal clear. According to the BRO Blog, Saxton "has allied himself with the most virulent anti-gay forces in Oregon":

Ron Saxton actively courted - and won - the support of the anti-gay Oregon Family Council. In fact, they liked him even more than Kevin Mannix. Even OFC Director Tim Nashif personally sent a recorded phone endorsement to 160,000 Republican voters, telling them to vote for Saxton over Mannix in the primary election.

Governor Ted Kulongoski has well-known and long-standing views on gay rights, and won the BRO endorsement during the primary election:

As a movement, we are lucky to live in a state where the fact is our Governor has done more to stake out a public position in favor of GLBT equality and use the office to advocate for equality than any other Governor in the country--period.

Some gay-rights supporters are making the case that Senator Ben Westlund deserves the Basic Rights endorsement. After all, he supported SB 1000 - the civil unions bill - and has this to say on his website:

As Governor of The State of Oregon, I will continue to fight to ensure that gay and lesbians, as well as their families, are protected under state law. For over thirty years Oregon has made attempts via the Legislature. We've come close, but not close enough. It is time to put an end to discrimination against our fellow Oregonians. Together, we can make Oregon a state of equality.

But other gay-rights supporters continue to point to Westlund's words just two years ago - in the 2004 Voter's Pamphlet:

While many people might expect me to break once again from my party and oppose Measure 36, they will be interested to know that I am a strong supporter of Marriage being defined as being between one man and one woman. ...

Measure 36 is simple. If it passes, and I hope that it does, it will simply confirm what most of us thought already to be true—Marriage in Oregon is legally defined as being between one man and one woman. Of all our cultural institutions, few are more important and more worth protecting than marriage. Please, Vote Yes on 36.

Those words weren't a group statement. Rather, they were signed "Senator Ben Westlund" and were printed with this disclaimer: "This information furnished by Senator Ben Westlund."

How does Ben Westlund explain the inconsistency? He claims he was under the influence of pharmaceuticals. According to Just Out:

According to Westlund, he was asked to endorse the discriminatory measure as he crossed the lawn of St. Charles Hospital for his third cancer operation. He calls the decision a mistake and chalks it up to being drugged in preparation for surgery.

What do you think? Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Westlund's answer is a copout. If he really had a change of heart, then he should say so. So why doesn't he?

    It's simple, he's playing to both conservative and liberal. If he came out and said, "people I've had a life changing experience and I really think this is a better position to take," then the conservatives would run away from him faster then lemmings jumping off a cliff.

    So Ben, how about telling the truth?

  • IloveTed (unverified)
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    Westlund's Mantra is "I didn't mean it." Whether it was sponsoring the three priority bills for Right to Life in 2005 or sponsoring the roll back of the minimum wage in 2005. However, these we of course after the cancer.

    The question you have to ask if do you believe what a politician says or their voting record.

  • Sponge (unverified)
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    If Westlund gets elected, we can only pray he never gets a headcold.

  • BobTucker (unverified)
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    If I am at the hospital for a major procedure and someone approaches me with a statement to sign that is not related to that procedure, the answer would seem to be pretty simple: No thank you, I'm having surgery. Go away now.
    He knew what he was signing, or else he just couldn't say no to the fine folks on the right. Either way, not good, not very honest.

  • Theodore Nugent (unverified)
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    Well, based on the info you've provided I guess Ron Saxton is the way to go. I mean, we certainly wouldn't want to encourage Homosexuality in Oregon now would we? The only type of sausage smoking I endorse involves Johnsonville Brats and a hot grill full of hickory embers. The way God & Nature intended! Pardon me now, but I have to go and clean my handguns and hunting rifles.

  • Brandon (unverified)
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    Savor that moment people: it may be the only time a political candidate for such a high office actually used "I was on drugs" as an excuse. Sweet Moses, that's awesome!

    But to be more on topic, I wish I could better defend Westlund on this one. I'm personally against marriage as a legal contract for heterosexuals AND homosexuals, but believe deeply in civil unions for both. I would love to say that's where Ben is coming from on this one, but his comments just point more in the direction that he's a snake in the grass whose leftward swing is purely an election-year gimmick.

  • (Show?)

    Minor correction -- I've been told by BRO that their endorsement will come later this month, but not likely this week.

  • Bill Holmer (unverified)
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    I guess Ben voted against gay marriage, before he voted for it. If Kerry can change his mind, so can Ben.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't there Measure 36 supporters who said "civil unions will be OK but not marriage which is a sacrament"? What did Kerry and Edwards say about ballot measures like 36?

    The goal here, folks, is to gain voters who want someone other than Saxton. As I recall, there were people who voted for Kerry and for Measure 36 and people (I know one) who voted for Bush and against 36.

    If you want ideological purity, you aren't likely to win over enough Indep/minor party / people registered with a party only because that gives them the right to vote in a primary but may never have read the party platform because they vote for people, not organizations.

    Lots of people could care less about the BRO endorsement. Or maybe this debate is only among activists and shouldn't discuss how to actually win the votes of people who are not political junkies?

  • Anon (unverified)
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    LT said, "Lots of people could care less about the BRO endorsement."

    LT--

    Lots of people do care what the candidates' perspectives on gay rights are.

    With all due respect to you, could I please ask you to stop acting like the barometer for what the public cares about (something you have done in a great many posts on this site).

  • (Show?)

    If Kerry can change his mind, so can Ben.

    Sure, but Ben isn't claiming that he changed his mind. He's claiming that he's always, forever and ever been a friend of gay rights -- and that he was drugged up when he decided to sign a sole statement of support for Measure 36.

    That, of course, is disingenous. Of course his views are changing. The question is: Are they changing legitimately, because he's having more life experiences? Or are they changing for political expediency?

    The fact that he's pretending to have always had pro-gay-rights views suggests that he's doing it for political expediency.

    [Disclaimer: I built Ted Kulongoski's website in 2002 and 2006. I don't speak for him or his campaign.]

  • anon (unverified)
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    If Ben has always been on the side of gay rights and he was simply drugged at the time, why did he vote in 1999 to refer a proposal almost identical to M36 (HJR 4) to voters?

  • Mike Schryver (unverified)
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    I believe Ben is sincere, and I like him. I think his support of SB1000 makes up for his 2004 comments.

    However, we do know that Kulongoski will be an advocate for us. Gotta go with him this time.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Let's compare what Kulongoski says about gay rights now:

    "I will continue to fight to ensure that gay and lesbians... are protected under state law."

    versus what he said during session when SB 1000 was at stake:

    " ... "

    There's no question that Kulongoski has a better record of rhetoric. But anyone who thinks that his verbage is going to translate into actual progress on this issue hasn't been paying attention.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    BTW, Does anybody remember the 2004 election?

    "I support equal rights, the right of people to have civil unions, to have partner rights. I do not support marriage" for gays and lesbians, he said. - John Kerry in the Boston Globe, 2/6/04

    Does anyone know whether BRO endorsed John Kerry? (Someone in the last thread was talking about double standards...)

  • LT (unverified)
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    Anon-- Regardless of what people in your circle of friends care about (and yes I do know friends who care a lot about the BRO endorsement), what I meant was that in canvassing for candidates it was education, Iraq War, and public safety which have seemed a lot more important to the folks I talked with than any social issue.

    My point was that the BRO endorsement can swing votes about those who care about it. But if someone wants to talk about education or public safety then the BRO endorsement is not their top priority.

  • Clinton (unverified)
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    In response to "Why do people care about the BRO endorsement?"-

    Many people are asking how serious is Ben Westlund's run for Gov? Not in his view, but in the view of politicos and voters. SB 1000 is one of his hot-button issues that sets him as an independant/progressive rather than a neo-con Republican. If he can win support based on that, he's got a much more serious looking campaign. He certainly isn't going to receive support from any women's health groups (NOW/PP/NARAL), and I'll leave others to fill in on environment/union issues.

    Personally, I don't like it. Westlund makes a great talking point out of how his experience with cancer helped him understand the need for health care reform. Civil Unions and Non-Discrimination could similarly be supported through quick stories that would win over hearts and votes. 'I was duped/doped' is a pretty stupid talking point.

    The fact of the matter remains, Teddy K has done more for LGBT rights than any Governor of Oregon, ever, as well as any current governor in the US.

  • Stella (unverified)
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    JHL--

    Are you kidding me? You want to know what Ted said about gay rights during the 2005 Legislative Session. Let's start with his State of the State Address, which set his policy agenda for the session:

    "In addition to economic challenges, we also face a great moral challenge: To make sure that opportunity is an open door through which every citizen can pass – not a revolving door that turns for some and doesn’t budge for others. This is a moral challenge because if we do not defend social justice, tolerance and diversity – then the progress we make on the economic front will be bought with compromised principles and a weakened human spirit.

    "That is not a trade-off I can accept – which is why I will introduce a bill adding sexual orientation to state laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Ask yourselves: Do we really want to push ahead by leaving others behind? And do we really want to risk our future by turning our backs on the talent and drive of women, minorities, gays and lesbians, and our native brothers and sisters?

    "We need to bring people in – not shut them out. This is the right thing to do. It also happens to be the smart thing to do. Diversity is a strength – not a weakness. ... Standing up for diversity will help us strengthen the state of our state by tapping the abilities of all our citizens. Just as important – standing up for diversity will affirm that we really are one Oregon with one common destiny.

    Now check out his speeches during the Legislative Session:

    "I want you to understand: It is the policy of my administration – and my deep personal belief – that creating civil unions for gays and lesbians is no less important than ending discrimination against gays and lesbians. As far as I’m concerned, they stand on the same moral plane.

    "It is also my deep personal belief – as well as my view as a lawyer and former Oregon Supreme Court justice – that denying same sex couples the benefits and protections accorded to opposite sex couples violates the Oregon Constitution. The Oregon Legislature now has the opportunity to remedy that violation by providing same sex couples all of the legal benefits and protections accorded to opposite sex couples. ...

    "Civil unions will give gay and lesbian partners the same right to make end of life decisions as married spouses. The same right to workers’ compensation survivor benefits and to collect insurance proceeds. The same right to statutorily guaranteed health and disability benefits. The same right to create a family and parent children. The same right to protection under Oregon’s intestacy statutes. The same right to sue to for wrongful death that spouses currently have. And, yes, the same right to dissolve the union with the help of lawyers and the courts. ...

    "It is hard for me to imagine what my life would like without this freedom. But it is not hard for me to understand how fundamentally unfair it is to deny this freedom to others. To tell another human being: Your longings don’t matter. Your choice of who to love is illegitimate. Your family isn’t a socially acceptable family. All of this is wrong – and I think ultimately hurts not just gays and lesbians, but our entire community.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Yeah... I've always said that the Governor is very bold from behind a podium.

    Here's an Oregonian story regarding Kulo's fortitude in actually standing up for gay rights:

    Westlund, in fact, thinks Gov. Ted Kulongoski should announce that the Legislature won't be going home until there's a vote on civil unions, and that he will be vetoing things until it happens. Kulongoski, a strong backer of the bill, doesn't think that would work. "I never give up," he said this week, "but I know that [Minnis] feels strongly about this."

    So... did he not want to roll Minnis on this... or was he just not able to? How can you claim that Kulo is a strong advocate for gays and lesbians when he bowed to Minnis' "strong feelings?"

    When the going gets tough... Kulo makes a speech. (And sometimes creates a task force, too!)

  • JHL (unverified)
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    BTW, Source: Oregonian, July 22, 2005

  • red (unverified)
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    Hey Westlund campaign - That's the stupidest reason I've ever heard. I don't believe Ben said it - it came from his handlers. I've got 20 bucks on the fact that most of what Ben is saying now is coming from his staffers, not from him. Ben said all through the session (while he was pushing SB1000) that he was pro-marriage and pro-civil unions. So where'd this "I was drugged" line come from?

    I don't think being pro-marriage and pro-civil unions is a double standard. I think marriage should be between a man and a woman - mostly for religious and traditional reasons - but I also see the need for some type of civil unions, and I'm a pretty conservative Republican. (Technically, I lean more toward reciprocal benefits, but I wouldn't really have a problem with going a little further).

    Ben is disappointing me. I know him personally, and it's hard for me to watch him change positions and pander to whatever liberal group he's speaking to at the time - since I've yet to see him in front of a conservative group. I voted in the primary, making myself ineligible to sign the petition, but from time to time, I've seriously thought about voting for Ben in the general - not any more though.

  • Jamie (unverified)
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    Red: I am pro-marriage, too. And I'm gay. And I want to be able to get legally married to my choice of spouse. I will allow people like you to hold their own view on this, as much as I may disagree, but I refuse to allow people who do not support my view to construe themselves as "pro-marriage," and to cast me as something else. That's BS.

  • red (unverified)
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    alright, alright...you have a point, Jamie...though we disagree.

    To clairfy: I'm pro-marriage between one man and one woman.

    Semantics...I thought it was clear...

  • Brian (unverified)
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    The Green Party and Joe Keating unequivocally support the rights of gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered people.

    The Pacific Green party and all of our candidates support the rights of adults to marry whom they wish.

    Why doesn't this progressive website ever cover the progressive party?

  • Kulo - the only option (unverified)
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    Ted recently said (On Nick Fish's show in May) that this next Legislative session he would not let people go home until we had a vote on a civil union/anti-discrimination. I don't have the exact language in front of me, though he did vow to not let them go home until a vote happened in both the Senate and the House. Strong words from Kulo...

    The problem is that Ben will NOT win. A vote for Ben is a vote for Saxton. This reminds me way too much of the Nader situation. Do NOT let Oregon go red.

  • (Show?)

    Well said Kulo! A vote for Westlund is a vote for Saxton.

  • Kulo - the only option (unverified)
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    Here is what was said on Nick Fish's show:

    Fish: Ted, you have been an outspoken supporter of civil unions and amending state law to provide for anti-discrimination protections for gays and lesbians. In the last session of the Legislature the Senate passed SB1000, the civil unions bill, but the Speaker of the House would not put it up for a vote. Now as the Governor you carry a big whip. In the next biennium would you commit as a condition of any budget that gets adopted that there be an up or down vote of civil unions in the Legislature?

    Kulongoski: Well let me tell you first of all, that all things aren't equal in this process. And if my Education Enterprise comes along and gets fully funded, I'm going to sign it. I'm going to be very candid with you... I'm going to tell you this, we're not going home unless there is an up or down vote on this measure.

    Fish: So there will be an up or down vote on civil unions in both bodies of the legislature?

    Kulongoski: Yes, yes before we go home.

    For this reason and MANY others - I am voting for Kulongoski.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    Yeah, Ted said a lot of strong things in 2002 and forgot about it in 2003 and 2005. Are you really that naive to beleive him again? Or do you think that Democrats are just incapable of election-season fibbing?

    Back in October or November, Westlund said on a sattelite radio show that the governor should keep the legislature there until they at least have a floor vote on SB 1000. It took the Governor only seven months to copy Westlund on that issue... far less than his imitations on tax reform and children's health care.

    At this rate, I'll expect Kulo to start selling bull semen in a few months.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    Just another reason to have debates with all registered candidates.

    Clarification of the issues from the mouths of the candidates. If the organizers of the Saxton/Kulo debate wanted to give the heavies more time, then set up additional debates.

    That why we need a democracy more than a republic.

  • LT (unverified)
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    It took the Governor only seven months to copy Westlund on that issue... far less than his imitations on tax reform and children's health care.

    And that is the real point. Even if everyone on Blue Oregon agreed on SB 1000 and the BRO endorsement, and whether rhetoric is more important than action, that doesn't mean all voters agree.

    Before anyone makes a sarcastic remark like "With all due respect to you, could I please ask you to stop acting like the barometer for what the public cares about ", may I point out that just now when I went to the home page of Blue Oregon, the top story on the "Lefty Blogs" side column was Caudle (running against Scott) talking about underfunding public safety and first responders. Would you folks who think this issue is so important rather have Caudle win by talking about funding services, or talk about SB 1000 even if that means he loses to Scott?

    Today the SJ lead editorial said something like "Westlund isn't even on the ballot yet, but he is doing more serious discussion of the tax and spending situation in this state than all the other candidates".

    If someone campaigning for Ted says that Ted deserves the BRO endorsement and a voter responds "but I care more about fully funding education and public safety", what makes anyone think that voter will support Ted based on SB 1000 and the BRO endorsement? What campaigners want to talk about and what voters want to talk about can be very different.

    I suspect this is why there is a rising number of people who actually register outside major parties or only register with a party to vote in the primary. Each individual has the right to decide their top priorities. If SB 1000 and the BRO endorsement are someone's top priorities, more power to them. That doesn't mean their next door neighbor or the folks in the next block will vote for Ted simply because someone says something like "A vote for Ben is a vote for Saxton."

    If a voter says "answer my question if you want my vote" and the response from a campaigner for Ted is not responsive (in the eye of the voter), that voter has just as much right to remain undecided as they have not to shop in a store where a clerk was vague or unresponsive.

    There has been a lot of talk here about framing and reaching voters. There are a number of us who have worked in retail at some point over the last several years. And people campaigning for candidates are missing a bet if they don't realize how many who work in retail/ customer service have a very nonpartisan attitude: "I have to answer any question from a customer, no matter how stupid, with a smile on my face. The campaign that wants my vote gives responsive answers, and the campaign that doesn't want my vote tells me what I should think".

    I realize there are "Kulongoski all the way" people who post here. But also, there are those like Mike Schryver, Brian, JHL who are entitled to their own views of Ted. And I will remain undecided until October if the campaign is Ben talking serious issues, Ron talking nonsense, and Ted's people saying "a vote for Ben is a vote for Saxton" rather than saying "Last week, Ted made a very intelligent remark about...which is a good reason to support him".

    In the end I may vote for someone who bashes opponents if no one better comes along. But I reserve the right to make that decision at the end of October and not lift a finger to help the campaign before then. If that drums me out of being a good liberal Democrat, maybe I should register Indep. now that the primary is over. But I would prefer to hear Ted be the intelligent person I know he is instead of claiming he should be re-elected because he's "running against 2 Republicans". If that is his attitude, then working on legislative campaigns is more important than getting involved in a slanderfest.

  • Jesse O (unverified)
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    Why doesn't this progressive website ever cover the progressive party?

    Here's my thought: start being newsworthy, and the gossip from BlueOregon will follow. Right now, the Green Party hasn't really proven itself by yielding strong candidates and well-run races. Lord knows, if the Greens ran a strong campaign in certain legislative districts, you could win. If you organized and got someone on the City Council ballot in Portland with public funds, you would be noticed, and given Portland, you could win.

    If you simply wish people would pay attention, you're not going to get much. Organize, be strategic, campaign hard -- and then we'll talk about Keating. Yes, I know some of it is chicken-and-egg (voters become interested if you're in the news, and the news is interested if voters are interested), but there's some shells to break, first.

  • (Show?)

    I must say that even though I am heterosexual, gay rights, civil unions, and marriage are a big deal to me in this election. They're almost as high on my list as education, a better economy for the poor, and true affordable housing (not "cheap" apartments).

    As I've said time and time again, marriage should be completely removed from our legal system. Everyone should be under the same terms-- whether it be civil union, legal union, etc.

    "Marriage" can then be used in religious terms, since that's how the religious right sees it anyway.

    And no, I do not believe marriage should be limited to heterosexuals. I do not see how two men or two women who love each other and want to commit themselves to each other can in any way harm my marriage.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
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    While much of this thread talks about the BRO endorsement in a positive light, I can't help but wonder if there isn't a down side to having BRO in one's corner, even in Multnomah County.

    The R's will not let Oregonians forget that it was BRO who worked behind the scenes with the Multnomah County Commissioners in the now-infamous marriage license debacle. Scott's Majority PAC features Roey Thorpe and BRO in that video shot at the capitol, and now BRO is being used against Jeff Merkley.

    Here's a heretical rhetorical question: In terms of endorsement baggage, has BRO now become the OCA of the Progressive Left?

    • Wes
  • (Show?)

    Wes,

    Interesting point...are you saying the BRO endorsement could hurt as much as it could help?

    Specifically I wonder if your talking about Westlund? If BRO were to give Westlund the endorsement, would it scare some of the more conservative Westlund supporters away? Or would is simply not matter much (like LT is claiming) because people care about other issues too much.

  • (Show?)

    Honestly, I feel that the majority of the people who would vote against a candidate because they received BRO's endorsement or would look negatively on that candidate wouldn't have voted for that person in the first place.

    Those who care the most about that are the people who are often times against gay rights. They use things like what happened with the Mult Co Commission to try to legitimize their bigotry.

  • The Cheese (unverified)
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    BRO's endorsement is nothing more or nothing less than any other group in the state - there are always two sides to the issue.

    If BRO chose not to endorse anyone in the general, which I highly doubt would happen considering the stakes, then that would be one thing. Though if they simply decided to not 'publicly endrose' anyone it would come out in the C&E's when BRO writes a big ass check to a candidate because this election is just too important.

    It's like this. If the Oregon Family Council endorses someone, I am 99.9999999% likely not to be voting for that person (even without knowing their endorsement probably). Ask Westlund or Kulongoski if the BRO endorsement is big for them. I think that would give you your answer--and that answer would be yes.

    We are a state (err, nation) divided, and unlike what Westlund claims - he will not solve the partisan politics.

  • False Truths About Merkley (unverified)
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    Wow that site - "TruthAboutMerkley.com" is full of lies. Does anyone know who runs it?

    Just looking at the "Week 2 - Marriage". It's complete lies. SB1000 said nothing about what they claim it did.

  • KG Azegami (unverified)
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    Isn't that a campaign finance law violation that it's not clear who runs truthaboutmerkley.com?

  • (Show?)

    Registrant: Bruce McCain PO Box 17727 Salem, OR 97305 US

    Domain name: TRUTHABOUTMERKLEY.COM

    Administrative Contact: Adams, Chuck [email protected] PO Box 17727 Salem, OR 97305 US 1 503-763-0400

  • DifferentSalemStaffer (unverified)
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    Yes, it's a lie.

    But actually, SB 1000 did slightly alter a non-substantive values statement regarding Oregon's public education system as it related to employees. It did nothing whatsoever to the state's curriculum.

    Nevertheless, it was a huge strategic mistake to include the language because to a layperson, it did sound kinda like including things into curriculum. ... And boy, did we ever get angry phone calls about that.

  • DifferentSalemStaffer (unverified)
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    (Undo bold.)

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
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    "Honestly, I feel that the majority of the people who would vote against a candidate because they received BRO's endorsement or would look negatively on that candidate wouldn't have voted for that person in the first place."

    Jenni is right, to a point. But she also knows, as our resident East MultCo pundit, that voters East of I-205 (Lonnie Roberts territory) were pretty steamed about the MultCo Commissioners meeting with BRO in secret while excluding their county commissioner.

    Most of the anger was focused on the four commissioners, but now the R's are pushing hard to remind the Measure 36 supporters that BRO was behind the marriage license issuance.

    The R's will definitely tarnish Westlund if he aggressively seeks the BRO endorsement. The script will be simply, "Westlund is backed by the organization that brought us illegally issued marriage licenses in Multnomah County."

    And as I pointed out earlier, even in House District 47 (which passed M36 by a surprisingly high 62%) we see Minnis-Scott's consulting firm turning up the heat on Jeff Merkley.

  • (Show?)

    Someone asked if it was against campaign finance laws that the site didn't state who was behind it. Does anyone know for sure?

  • DSS (unverified)
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    Oregon's campaign finance laws in that realm only say that it needs to be fairly clear who is "behind" something. Personally, I think that even with that lax standard, that site is in violation of the spirit of the law if not the letter.

    A mailer for a particular candidate, for example, doesn't need a "paid for by..." if it's coming from that candidate. But if someone else pays for it, then they need to take credit (unless it's obvious, like, "We here at SEIU support Rep. Jones")

    And, of course, federal candidates are covered by extra-special FEC rules (more strict... they do have to put "paid for by"). And anyone on TV or radio is governed by the FCC. Their TV spots must say "paid for by..." for a minimum of 4 seconds on screen.

  • (Show?)

    Editor's note: TypePad crashed today, and all comments made between 12:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. PST were lost. Our apologies. We're not happy either.

  • Bill (unverified)
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    What if BRO endorses Westlund AND Kulongoski?

    Kulongoski gives an occasional podium speech, but failed to lift a finger over Measure 36 (his Attorney General was conspicuously absent, too, despite his brief to defend state Constitutional protections). This is, notably, the Governor's standard approach on other important issues, like funding for public education, tax reform, etcetera. Sound good - do nothing.

    Ben Westlund claims he made a mistake on this issue, and promises to provide state contracts equally; isn't that great news? We know Ted - promises, promises. Ted who? But occasionally, when he takes a golf break, he says some good things. Ben is less tested as a leader, but he also sounds good (and as a leader he can't be any worse than the guy we're stuck with now).

    I think BRO should endorse them both...

  • Nay-sayer (unverified)
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    I disagree with a dual endorsement from BRO. They need to go with one or the other. If you read the blog posting the BRO blog (link above in the post) we see what would happen to the progress that can/would be made if Saxton was to be elected. A dual endorsement would split votes. They need to have one candidate and work their ass off to help get them into office-which Ii know they will.

    I will also agree with many of the comments above that state if you vote for Westlund - you are voting for Saxton. Where is the polling? The Westlund camp "doesn't have any" or so they say. If they had good polling they would release it as it is a great way to fundraise.

  • Neil (unverified)
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    Let's endorse Ted. He made me shed tears down in Salem when he spoke to us that gathered to lobby the Legislature last year. He's a man that believes what he says. He's a man of principle. I want a dyed in the wool Democrat as my governor. I have met Senator Westlund and I believe that he is a good man, but with the polling data and some online polls that I have seen, I doubt that he will win. Endorse Ted. Let's get behind him. Besides the fact that he is the best candidate overall, he has the best chance of beating Saxton and who wants to live in a state with a Republican Governor until 2010? Not me. Canada, anyone?

  • (Show?)

    Wesley Charles wrote: Here's a heretical rhetorical question: In terms of endorsement baggage, has BRO now become the OCA of the Progressive Left?

    Wesley, do you need another cup of coffee, or are you just making a funny here?

    BRO has a broad, deep, and multiple ballot-measure hardened support base around a core concept - equal rights for all - which is near and dear to the hearts of a strong majority of voters in Oregon's 800 pound political gorilla, Portland, not to mention Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, and increasingly Bend (pr, you can look at the issue-support generationally, in which case the numbers really get impressive). When BRO has been dealt setbacks - and it has - we should keep perspective, and remember BRO is fighting a multi-generational fight sometimes involving terms as crude as "faggot" and "dyke", and involving bigotry and ignorance dating back hundreds of years.

    At no point in its history did the OCA earn the level of widespread public respect held by BRO, nor reach its level of relative organizational prowess. Further, OCA's leaders, Lon and Bonnie Mabon, were (and still are) public laughingstocks, in no small part for running the OCA as an income-generating family business.

    <h2>So, while your question involves a cute bit of heresy, Wesley, it's completely unsupported by the facts on the ground.</h2>
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