Cartoon: Nightmare

By Jesse Springer of Eugene, Oregon. Jesse is a long-time political cartoonist and illustrator. Previously, he contributed "Trick or Treat!"

Nightmare


Comments

  • Michelle Geller (unverified)
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    Doesn't he still owe $2.5 Million for fraud & racketeering? Why isn't this guy in jail? What does the OR Leg plan to do to (I hate this word) 'reform' the initiative process to prevent Sizemore from abusing the system and making a living at the expense of Oregon citizens?

  • David (unverified)
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    Sign Me up We will beat the Lefties into the Ground

  • Anthony (unverified)
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    Yeah, David, because Sizemore has such a strong track record in recent years, doesn't he? Hell, you Rightists have had such GREAT victories recently, haven't you?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    If we are lucky, Bill Sizemore will be our biggest concern in 2010. Unfortunately, there are prospects of having greater catastrophes to anticipate - budget-busting military budgets, Afghanistan, Pakistan, a Depression greater than the last?

  • rw (unverified)
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    It is our responsibility to produce such intense pressure on our elected officials and concerned agencies that they DO what must be done and MAKE him pay up or forfeit what he has to those debts. And then it is our job to look at the law he is abusing and seek alter of that law to address the abuses he has perfected.

    It is our job to insist upon correction. Sadly, that's how US political process is.

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    I may be wrong but I think David was being a bit sarcastic actually...

  • LT (unverified)
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    After all these years, there is no sarcasm or humor I fined acceptable about "Buffalo Bill Seizemore".

    He owes a court judgement. He should be stopped any way possible from any further political involvement until he pays the judgement, period, end of discussion.

    We need to stop ballot title shopping.

    There should be an IRS investigation of someone getting a 6 figure income and other perks from a "nonprofit". Because the "nonprofit" is not headquartered in Oregon, this represents political action happening across state lines.

  • Roy McAvoy (unverified)
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    I agree with Bill Bodden that Sizemore poses little concern for 2010. But the prediction of a depression "greater than the last" is way over the top. For me, one concern is as extreme as the other.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Basic legal question here. Felons can't vote, right? So, why should they be able to circulate ballot petitions? I'm missing something.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    Newsflash: it's not illegal to owe money, and he's got every right to do what he's doing. With the money flowing into his system, someone else could do it if he didn't. And I'd rather have him doing it, as it allows an automatic percentage of people to say "no" to Sizemore.

    Of course, you can try to change the I&R system. And I think we should. But I'm not hopeful of the chance of getting it changed (Sizemore's antics up the chance all the time).

  • Bob Baldwin (unverified)
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    LT: We need to stop ballot title shopping.

    There should be an IRS investigation of someone getting a 6 figure income and other perks from a "nonprofit". Because the "nonprofit" is not headquartered in Oregon, this represents political action happening across state lines.

    Stopping ballot measure shopping is necessary and relatively easy. Simply require that the signatures to place the measure on the ballot be collected first, not after the ballot measure title is written.

    As it is, even with the increased signatures required, Sizemore can float multiple variations of a single measure, get a different title for each, the push the title which polls best.

    Second, instead of invalidating just the signatures gathered by a paid gatherer if they commit fraud, make it a mandatory invalidation of that initiative. Commit fraud, start over from the beginning. Same penalty for any failure to comply fully with the C&E disclosure requirements.

    Third, require that the name of the chief petitioner be printed on the ballot with the title of each initiative.

    Fourth, require signatures to be submitted to the SOS's office within thirty days of when they were gathered (the first signature on each page). Have the SOS conduct "rolling" signature gathering (and invalidation as required). No more "dumping" a hundred thousand signatures on the last day allowed. Allow public review of the signatures submitted, and challenges by individuals.

    Fifth, advance the last date signatures can be submitted with respect to election day, to allow adequate time for review and challenge of signatures.

  • Bob Baldwin (unverified)
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    Another idea: Licenses for paid gatherers. You can do anything in the process as a volunteer, but to be paid, at all, you need a license.

    Make the license good for 4 years. A simple at-home test, as we do for Notaries. It proves you know what the laws are. Also required: status as a registered voter in Oregon. Lose that status (say, by registering in another state), get a new license.

    A nominal fee applies, to cover a finger-print and background check. Any conviction for fraud or other dishonest act, or any felony, and you can't be licensed. Getting paid without a license would carry a fine, prevent getting a license in the future and invalidate any/all initiatives you were paid to work for.

    Applies to all gatherers, treasurers and chief petitioners.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    I've still seen no reason to change my mind about the desirability of simply abolishing the initiative system and expecting our legislators to do their jobs.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Zarathustra:

    Basic legal question here. Felons can't vote, right? So, why should they be able to circulate ballot petitions?

    Bob T:

    Sure, so long as felons can still be elected I see no reason why they can't circulate petitions.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Bill Bodden:

    ...budget-busting military budgets...

    Bob T:

    Hmmm, any concern over ballooning entitlements? The military budget did actually shrink starting with the Bush I admin (and I mean it really went down as opposed to having cuts to the annual increases), but entitlements have continued to grow and grow and grow.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Dirty Turbin (unverified)
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    You know who else does hate comedy real well is Rosie O’Donnell.

    Maybe BO could commission her to do some articles?

    Here's some topics she cover: 1) Why I should be allowed to own a gun, and you shouldn't 2) Fire does not melt Steel - facts revealed. 3) 9-11 the Inside Job. 4) Your Heterosexual daughter and what to do about it 5) Why Aliens refuse to Abduct Me.

  • Pedro (unverified)
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    I agree with many of the ideas Bob Baldwin expressed above. Any members of the legislature or their staff who are reading this please take this up.

    Bill Sizemore will eventually end up in prison where he belongs or retire. Some other nut job will take over and there will be plenty more Parks or Jeld Wen guys to fund the fraudulent signature machine. A thoughtful approach to solve the issue of collecting the signatures of registered voters for citizen initiatives is the real answer.

    During the Nov 4 general election, our friends at ACORN were struggling with some of these very same issues. People who were paid by ACORN to register voters were under pressure to get more voters registered. A few (very few) succumbed to that pressure and submitted false registration forms. Many ACORN chapters did their level best to separate out these bad forms and call them to the attention of the local election officials. The problems included homeless people being bribed with cigarettes to register to vote and forms were submitted for the Dallas Cowboys football team and Mickey Mouse. All of this due to the pressure to produce numbers of registrations. Bob Baldwin's license suggestion would work well for both the initiative process and voter registration.

    As a liberal (proud one at that!) I don't want my access to the initiative process restricted. I signed at least a dozen different initiative petitions to shut down Trojan. I also want voter registration to be simple and accessible to all citizens over the age of 18.

    Just a few years ago, Republicans had their corrupt hands on enough of the levers of power that cleaning up these problems was out of the question. Karen Minis is gone now. Let's act this year to prevent Loren Parks from paying for fraudulent signatures in the future and help ACORN and others to register citizens to vote and not be the subject of Faux News stories!

  • anon (unverified)
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    Zarathustra,

    1) Sizemore wasn't convicted of a crime, his organization was. That's why they've had a difficult time collecting the money.

    2) Yes, convicted felons released from prison are permitted to vote in Oregon

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    @Bob T:

    ...The military budget did actually shrink starting with the Bush I admin (and I mean it really went down as opposed to having cuts to the annual increases) ...

    Pete F:

    Huh? I don't have numbers at my fingertips, but that just sounds crazy to me. The spending on the Iraq occupation alone has been outrageous! Can you supply some links or specific numbers on this subject?

    Denny Crane!

  • Sizemoric (unverified)
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    I think Sizemore is a convicted racketeer and I think he has also been found in contempt of court like 22 times.

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    Bob is likely referring to a very specific part of the defense budget (much like most of the talking heads who have a specific agenda for wanting it to look like it is shrinking) as opposed to all of the money combined (defense, Pentagon, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) that is not usually counted in that number.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    michelle,

    Dont you think its a little hypocritical to demand that Sizemore be thrown in jail when all you bleeding heart liberals where all for measure 57 which supported hugs and pats on the head for crimainals as opposed to jail???

    Please explain how someone who abuses the inititive system(your feelings - not mine) should go to jail but the even non-crackhead that steals from others because their to lazy to work should get off with having to report in once a week to a parole officer and can skip out on restituation because he's a poor soul who's mom and dad didn't hug them enough.

    But you folks only think that conservatives can be hypocritical. Sad...

  • Time Has Been Wasted. (unverified)
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    Chris, if you'd take the time to READ the initiatives rather than just accept whatever talking points or lawn signs you happened to bump into, then you'd understand that your premise is idiotic.

    I'm not even going to explain it to you, because you're apparently just too far gone. Suffice to say, you have just demonstrated to everyone that you have not actually read the ballot measure itself.

    Congratulations: You fail at research.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    Time has been wasted,

    Did you hear that? That was the point zipping past your head!

    The point is that why would you be so quick to jail someone who has not commited a person to person crime vs someone who has

    Nice try to turn a valid point into a personal put-down, but i shouldnt expect any more from the Obama-nation

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Hmmm, any concern over ballooning entitlements? The military budget did actually shrink starting with the Bush I admin (and I mean it really went down as opposed to having cuts to the annual increases), but entitlements have continued to grow and grow and grow.

    Time to wake up,Bob. Bush I left office in January 1993. That's coming up for 16 years ago. In case you haven't noticed, Bush II has been in office for the last seven year and 10 months and this isn't a case of like father like son.
    This is just one of many articles on the enormous amounts of money diverted to the Pentagon. Other articles have stated our department of war has a military budget larger than all other nations combined.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Felons/voting: they must go through a specified process to be repatriated to voting rights. It's not automatic, and it's not easy either. But it's not guaranteed you are forever barred from voting due to a felony.

    Petition workers: Bob I like all of your suggestions. Let the petition-hucksters whine. We have to do SOMETHING. And if those who are legit are sufficiently unhappy, perhaps THEY will hop up to doing a little policing within-ranks. The idea of registration and also voting status is an interesting one - wonder if it is constitutional?

  • LT (unverified)
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    The bills which passed (but weren't totally in effect for this election cycle) were a start.

    I'd like to see a legal decision on whether one must be registered to vote in Oregon to be a paid petition circulator. I'd like to see some regulation on re-runs. If an issue tries and fails twice (which I think is true of some/all the Sizemore measures in 2008) maybe it needs to come to the legislature for committee hearings or wait a specified number of years before it can be on the ballot again.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Bill Bodden: please be more specific about what you consider abominable entitlements? VA benefits are an entitlement. The GI Bill is an entitlement. Housing loans for military were a novel entitlement. Housing cost offset programs are entitlements. Social Security is called an entitlement. Food stamps are an entitlement. Treaty-right services (which NEVER stand up to minimal tests of adequacy, I can tell you as a periodic user over decades in far-separated parts of the country on the lands of many different tribes), these are a typically-abridged but jealously-regarded entitlement.

    Bill, to read your tone here, I take it you are bitching about entitlements of some kind? Thanks for telling us what exactly you are against so we can reason together in this wise.

    As to the shrinking military ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY: my cousin, a Naval Intelligence Commander who ran a Pacific Ocean/Cold War listening post, wired the Dayton Talks, blah blah blah.... he explained to me that CLINTON stripped the military down to less than fighting weight. NOT Bush Snr. And so the rush to bulk up once the war-making began in earnest, was wide-open for the invasion of mercenaries (I refuse to use the euphemistic "contractors" - these are MERCENARIES who will work for hire to make war and support war-making)into that arena once reserved mostly for militaries who at one time understood they were to obey command and never strive to become the "head", at peril to the Republic.

    So I'm just not sure what point you are trying to make, Bill? Can you try again?

  • anon (unverified)
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    I know this is off-topic, but I want to set the record straight since people keep posting incorrect information.

    On felon right to vote, wrong again:

    http://projectvote.org/fileadmin/ProjectVote/pdfs/felon_voting_laws_by_state_Sept_11_2008.pdf

    They are automatically restored upon parole. People on probation can vote as well.

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    The 11 measures that Sizemore filed were introduced prior to January, 2008 when the signature threshold increased. Not one measure has qualified for a ballot title since the signature threshold increased to 1000.

    Bob, as of 2008, all paid signature-gatherers in Oregon are required take an online course on the rules of petitioning and get a permit. They may not have a conviction for identity theft. They must carry their state-issued identification card at all times that they are working.

    You should also understand that the legislature has effectively curtailed ballot measure shopping by increasing the number of signatures needed to have a ballot title assigned from 25 to 1000.

    I disagree with some of your other suggestions, but wholeheartedly agree that the names of petitioners should be printed on the ballot, and have circulated that idea to folks in both chambers heading into the 2009 session. Let me add a second suggestion: add a line to the ballot title description that states the fiscal impact of the measure.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Anon, I did research on this during the election, as I was reading extensively on the voter-disenfranchisement drives going on in states where I have native relatives living. I saw it written repeatedly that felons are NOT automatically restored. THey must petition. It was said that it is a grey area being exploited that felons are registering NOT having done the restoration process.

    Is all of the major media as dolefully stupid as that? Remember when the smear was on regarding some buffoon who gathered votes for ACORN back East? And some really loud story about a felon who'd been voting for some years?

    At any rate: interesting. Clearly I cannot believe anything I was reading in a variety of news sources during that cycle. That is disturbing.

    Thank you for this factoid above if it truly is the straight skinny. Wish you had been around to point that out DURING the election. I really hope that wholesale VOTING EDUCATION is deployed in the schools and elsewhere so Americans can get serious about their so-called rights and freedoms, and hold the process to the mythical standards they simply are schooled to believe we have.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Sal: thanks for lining out the anti-Sizemore fixes on the books now. Heh.

    A note on the fiscal-impact idea: in the end it would be meaningless, as anyone presenting anything for signature is going to slice that data so as to minimize the appearance of impact. Also, if the writer is pretty skilled, they can produce pure airy bullshit such as material I've seen on certain legislators' sites that make sounds but say nothing if you actually know the legislation they are referencing. I'm thinking of one particular example I shan't mention for professional safety's sake. Political writers know how to deliver sunlight and vacuum. So, while it's a good accountability concept, it will yield nothing in the end, don't you realistically think?

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    RW - Initiative petitioning firms are required by law to attach copies of their time sheets to copies of the initiative petitions gathered by circulators for review by the attorney general and secretary of state when petitions are turned in. Petitions are subject to three levels of review by the state, not including audits, and are public documents that are available to any interested party.

    The state has made it illegal for circulators (paid or unpaid) to write down information for people who sign the sheets, including things like correcting the date, providing clarifying information such as home address, etc.

    Chief petitioners are now liable for up to $10,000 for each instance of fraud in the circulating of petitions.

    Folks may not like to hear this, but the initiative system has been cleaned up in Oregon. It is easily the most heavily regulated political activity one may engage in. The only way to protect yourself as a petitioner is to have total transparency and significant management oversight.

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    RW - Petitioners do not write the ballot title or ballot title description. That is done by the Attorney General, or if the title is challenged, by the Oregon Supreme Court.

    The fiscal impact suggestion is that the numbers from the legislative budget office be used -- they already provide this data for all ballot measures -- and that petitioners should have a right to appeal the legislative analysis to the state court in the event of a disagreement.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Sal - Love this information. THanks for your patience and for filling in the details.

    I can't imagine why anyone would be unhappy with the cleanup, unless it's becuase they lost something to whinge about, eh? I can't wait to see how this shakes out in the future. Transparency is a word I LOVE.

    As to the fiscals - good to know that is what you mean. I still have to advocate that bias can creep in according to who runs that office and the tides of the times. An example is that I've heard from non-Republican Clackamas County Elections office employees that their boss, a Republican, made life miserable and mean for everyone after this election. She was very unprofessional, but seems to be protected from sanction for her behaviours. So it is that in that office, you might have some colour creep in here and there, subtle, but present nevertheless....

    At any rate, LBO numbers woudl be wonderful. What is the process for advocating for this and getting it done?

  • rw (unverified)
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    Sal, I was unclear. I am making an example of the pure b.s. I've seen on certain legislator's sites and how fiscal impact numbers could be just as empty of verity. THat was what I meant - and you cleared that up.

    So: what you are saying is that GOING FORWARD, Sizemore might have a transparency muzzle on his ass (mixed metaphor, yup)?

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Bill Bodden: please be more specific about what you consider abominable entitlements? VA benefits are an entitlement. The GI Bill is an entitlement. Housing loans for military were a novel entitlement. Housing cost offset programs are entitlements.

    RW: Go back to where you got on this entitlement kick. It was Bob Tiernan who brought this topic up. I never mentioned entitlements.

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    RW - I am saying that anyone who wants to do initiative petitioning in Oregon had better be very scrupulous and make sure that their employees are acting in full compliance with the law. The only defense in the current system is total transparency.

    I would caution anyone against reforming the initiative process for the sole purpose of stopping Bill Sizemore. Any reform of the process is a knife that can cut both ways. Cleaning up the initiative process is a legitimate goal. Making the process so burdensome that no one can use it is, in my view, bad policy.

    In this decade, we ended unfunded mandates for schools and increased Oregon's minimum wage to $8 per hour and indexed it for inflation via the initiative. When the Republicans finally get their act together, progressives will need the initiative process to move important parts of their agenda.

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    That may be how it's supposed to work, Sal. But at least this election, we had a petition gathering firm that deliberately destroyed its personnel records rather than prove that they weren't paying by the signature. The judge let them off with a slap on the wrist.

    I really think it's time that the legislature outlawed the profession of paid signature gatherer. I know Kari thinks that's unconstitutional, but I'm pretty sure he's thinking of something else. It's pretty well established that you don't have a Constitutional right to be paid for anything. And although there hasn't been a case about this specifically, I really don't see why the courts would see things differently.

  • Douglas K (unverified)
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    Personally, I think there ought to be a minimum wage for paid signature gatherers.

    Say, $40 per hour, with a minimum guaranteed salary of 30 hours per week.

    And they may be paid to circulate only one measure at a time.

    The Supreme Court says we can't ban paid signature gathering. But we can certainly use wage and hour legislation to guarantee a living wage for a part-year job ... and basically make it too expensive for anyone to hire them.

  • Bob Baldwin (unverified)
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    LT: I'd like to see a legal decision on whether one must be registered to vote in Oregon to be a paid petition circulator.

    I would too. Re my suggestions above, requiring that status is one of the lesser issues. Mostly it would make it more difficult for people to "pop in", circulate petitions, and then leave. The licensing idea could work without that, however.

    I'd like to see some regulation on re-runs. If an issue tries and fails twice (which I think is true of some/all the Sizemore measures in 2008) maybe it needs to come to the legislature for committee hearings or wait a specified number of years before it can be on the ballot again.

    Not practical. Sizemore already rolls out multiple versions of the same measure. Limiting anything but a precise duplicate of the previous version would open up abusive interpretations, and allowing "modified" re-runs makes the limitation useless.

  • Bob Baldwin (unverified)
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    Sal: Bob, as of 2008, all paid signature-gatherers in Oregon are required take an online course on the rules of petitioning and get a permit. They may not have a conviction for identity theft.

    Fair enough. Then it's a matter of strengthening the limits from the background check, and the penalties for violating the rules. Also, applying those requirements to teh chief petitioner and campaign treasurer.

    You should also understand that the legislature has effectively curtailed ballot measure shopping by increasing the number of signatures needed to have a ballot title assigned from 25 to 1000.

    That one I knew; I just don't think it's adequate. Get all the signatures, then assign the title.

    I disagree with some of your other suggestions, but wholeheartedly agree that the names of petitioners should be printed on the ballot, and have circulated that idea to folks in both chambers heading into the 2009 session. Let me add a second suggestion: add a line to the ballot title description that states the fiscal impact of the measure.

    No disagreement from me there. I just think there is likely to be too much confusion around what the "real" impact will be.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Sal, yes, I am sure we are all rational thinkers who understand knife/both ways. However, Sal, the process as it exists in the last election, is not working. It needs tuning up. I am not some zealot, few up here probably are. Overhaul? NO. Tune it up intelligently? Right away.

    I am a bit confused - I thought you were telling us of laws already passed, not things that "ought to be done"? Your last post sounds now as if these are recommendations, not existing rule changes. I read your original post as existing changes we can expect that will result in transparency.

    Dunno.

  • Bob Baldwin (unverified)
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    Sal:Chief petitioners are now liable for up to $10,000 for each instance of fraud in the circulating of petitions.

    Sizemore seems unconcerned about that. And it's the key at issue here. Rather than setting up fines, which may or may not ever be assessed or paid, prevent the benefit of the offense: invalidate the measure.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Sorry Bodden -- whichever Bob got on about a generic boo-word, entitlements, explain what you are kvetching about. It sounds suspiciously like codespeak for anything that equalizes the pain of lower SES citizens. But I would not want to assume that. You might mean something along the lines of corporate welfare in Washington County. Or maybe even the egregious and dangerous whining entitlement thinking that militaries indulge openly now -- "we are the REAL patriots while you pansies who won't MAKE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE just sit at home. WE are doign what you will not.... "..... cuzzy Commander Dean used to explain to me that this entitlement-consciousness on the part of the military, now so open, is a danger sign. It is the military carping about knowing best, and feeling entitled to do what they want, not what they are told.

    Other thing he explained, the power and difference in the American military was specifically that it was legally and (constitutionally?) placed at all times under command of the Chief. So as to protect from coups d'etat and militaristic rule. The true consciousness of being at service/in service is eroded seriously now.

    So.... I will not assume WHICH entitlement you mention. You could surprise me!

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Bob T:

    ...The military budget did actually shrink starting with the Bush I admin (and I mean it really went down as opposed to having cuts to the annual increases)

    Pete Forsyth:

    Huh? I don't have numbers at my fingertips, but that just sounds crazy to me. The spending on the Iraq occupation alone has been outrageous!

    Bob T:

    You've got the wrong Bush. See my next message in which I reply to someone who actually grasped what I was saying.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Bob T:

    Hmmm, any concern over ballooning entitlements? The military budget did actually shrink starting with the Bush I admin (and I mean it really went down as opposed to having cuts to the annual increases), but entitlements have continued to grow and grow and grow.

    Bill Bodden:

    Time to wake up, Bob. Bush I left office in January 1993. That's coming up for 16 years ago.

    Bob T:

    That's just it -- that budget's constant rise stopped during Bush 41 and then the eight Clinton years followed. During that time was anything done about ballooning entitlements?

    I guess not.

    Bob Tiernan

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    RW - I think the process worked fine in the last cycle.

    The problem is that the new rules were only in place beginning January, 2008 and most of the signatures gathered by "the bad guys" were gathered before they went into effect. That includes the signatures gathered for which Democracy Direct was unable to produce payroll records that satisfied the new requirements.

    Steve - I have seen nothing that suggests that Democracy Direct destroyed records from 2007. Frankly, I doubt it. I strongly suspect that they did not maintain records that were adequate to comply with the rules that went into effect in 2008 during the signature-gathering that took place in 2007. I followed this very closely, and to the best of my knowledge, that was the overwhelming majority of signatures that were gathered on the Mannix and Sizemore petitions.

    As to banning paid signature-gathering...

    Yes, it is a violation of federal protections for free speech and free association to outlaw paid signature gathering for initiative petitions. Also, the US Supreme Court has never upheld spending or contribution limits on ballot measures.

    Bob -- My suggestion for ballot title is to keep the 1000 signature threshold and make sure that it is written in plain english that is comprehensible to the average voter and to make the fiscal impact statement part of the ballot title design.

    The best way to mitigate against fraud is to make sure that voters understand what they are signing.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Pedro:

    Some other nut job will take over and there will be plenty more Parks....to fund the fraudulent signature machine.

    Bob T:

    Has Parks done anything you can appreciate? Don't forget that he was probably the sole reason Oregon voters defeated the attempt to undo the Assisted suicide measure because he funded the resistance to the legislature's attempt to get us to reverse it. But as usual, Parks must be seen in black and white terms. You guys need to take these things issue by issue instead of using a broad brush.

    Pedro:

    During the Nov 4 general election, our friends at ACORN were struggling with some of these very same issues. People who were paid by ACORN to register voters were under pressure to get more voters registered. A few (very few) succumbed to that pressure and submitted false registration forms. Many ACORN chapters did their level best to separate out these bad forms and call them to the attention of the local election officials.

    Bob T:

    Oh what a hoot! ACORN is not an organization made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Give me a break. ACORN didn't hire convicted identity thieves for nothing.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Phil Philiben (unverified)
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    Actually keeping Sizemore around might not be a bad idea. All we have to do to beat his initiatives his run commercials with a picture of Billy front and center. I'm leery of some other new wacko initiatives in disguise.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Phil - this could be the Hijack Attack ad of the future. You know how Smith stole and pimped images of others who were only, and sadly, caught in the glare of a photo op flash with him? Special interest campaign groups could pile on the plan,law or person of their choice by simply photoshopping in some recognizable amount of Sizemore, thus deep-sixing the item/person of their choice.

    We must remember to thank Mr. Smith as he departs the scene: that was a handy and low-budget tactic he reminded us to use.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    BB: If we are lucky, Bill Sizemore will be our biggest concern in 2010. Unfortunately, there are prospects of having greater catastrophes to anticipate - budget-busting military budgets, Afghanistan, Pakistan, a Depression greater than the last?

    RM: I agree with Bill Bodden that Sizemore poses little concern for 2010. But the prediction of a depression "greater than the last" is way over the top. For me, one concern is as extreme as the other.

    Predictions are not followed by question marks (?). Possibilities that could materialize in the future but may not be realized require a question mark or something similar to indicate uncertainty - something different than a prediction.

    Consider this article that gives some hope of averting a depression. On the other hand, don't bet on it.

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    Sal Peralta: Yes, it is a violation of federal protections for free speech and free association to outlaw paid signature gathering for initiative petitions.

    It took me a while to find the case law for what you're talking about, because a course I took in college led me to the exact opposite conclusion.

    However, on further review, I did find the following statement in the National Conference on State Legislatures: "Until the 1980s, courts upheld bans on paid signature gatherers. That changed in 1988, when the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Colorado's ban in the Meyer vs. Grant, 486 U.S. 414 (1988) decision." So apparently the law changed since I last studied it.

    Still, I think there may be other things we can do to increase the cost to multimillionaires buying ballot access, despite the right wing Supreme Court's fondness for corruption. Dramatically increasing the penalties for signature fraud, and looking into using RICO statutes, are only a few ideas that might scare people straight.

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    Steve - the penalties for signature fraud are already quite severe. Forgery on an initiative petition is punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison. The civil penalty that accrues to the chief petitioner is $10,000 per violation. Now consider that petitioners are working with an N of 120,000 raw signatures needed for a statute and 150,000 for a constitutional amendment is a very stiff penalty -- one that has kept good people out of the process.

    From what I have seen, since the adoption of the new rules in 2008, the system has been very clean. But that begs the question, are folks primarily concerned with eliminating criminality in the system -- if so, why is there very little understanding of the rules that have already been put in place -- or is this really about a personal dislike for how some folks use the initiative system?

    I believe that the latter is the main concern for most. And if that's the case, the reforms that are needed involve giving the public more information about who is circulating these measures and what they will cost the state on the ballot itself.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Sal - clearly it is the latter - a wide and deep disaffection for the assaultive Mr. Sizemore. He abuses this process in a particular way.

    I do not see that the rules you cite address his version of abuse. Outside interests are able to fill our voting process with iniatives that have failed before, only retooled slightly and thrown at us again. It's also that Big Law tactic of spending the assaulted entity into the ground having to respond to the falsifications and sloganeering that attend the Sizemore initiatives.

    That's my guess.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Doug K:

    Personally, I think there ought to be a minimum wage for paid signature gatherers.

    Say, $40 per hour, with a minimum guaranteed salary of 30 hours per week.

    Bob T:

    Hmmm...why should they have to pay more than ACORN pays out?

    Anyway, what you're advocating (even in inflated form) might sound nice but your sole purpose would be to limit petitioning (again).

    Bob Tiernan

  • rw (unverified)
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    ps... speaking of ACORN - looks like even tho they set up emails that ostensibly lead to offices in every state in the nation as if it's a local office, there may not be one here, as one still waits for a response from that ostensible link. It would be nice if they did not plump up their profile. I want to keep revering the work they do, please.

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    Sal Peralta: Steve - the penalties for signature fraud are already quite severe. Forgery on an initiative petition is punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison.

    That may be the way it is on paper. But when is the last time you've ever heard of any prosecutions?

    My objection to this isn't based on personal disgust. It's based on noticing the real world behavior of signature gatherers. My experience: there is no lie they will not tell to try to get you to sign. Blatant misrepresentation? I've seem some of them state the exact opposite of what the petition itself says. It's really quite remarkable.

    My other objection is that because we have these paid gatherers in place, it makes real citizen initiatives nearly impossible to put on the ballot. Again, our corrupt, right wing supreme court believes in one dollar, one vote. But even though I'm a member of the ACLU, I don't believe that ballot access should be for sale - which it currently effectively is.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Posted by: Jonathan Radmacher | Nov 28, 2008 11:46:28 AM

    Newsflash: it's not illegal to owe money, and he's got every right to do what he's doing. With the money flowing into his system, someone else could do it if he didn't. And I'd rather have him doing it, as it allows an automatic percentage of people to say "no" to Sizemore.

    Of course, you can try to change the I&R system. And I think we should. But I'm not hopeful of the chance of getting it changed (Sizemore's antics up the chance all the time).

    Hope you're reading the latest topic on Wild Bill. And you can head that line I mention...

    One has to really watch what you teach kids even in jest. After decades of saying "money talks", they're taking it literally!

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    Steve - The reason volunteer measures are difficult for progressives to put on the ballot has nothing to do with paid petitioning. It is due primarily to three factors: First, it is no longer legal to petition in private spaces such as shopping malls. Second, many of the rules that were created to stop Bill Sizemore have a much greater impact on volunteer circulators. Third, progressive organizations have generally not invested the money and energy needed to build true grassroots capacity outside of electoral politics. The one exception to that is Health Care for All--Oregon.

    As to your point about deception...

    The way to prevent the kind of fraud you describe wherein paid circulators misrepresent the petition they are carrying is to make the ballot title and description that are assigned by the SOS more easily understood by the average voter.

    I have done focus group testing on ballot measures to repeal the corporate kicker and to promote campaign finance reform wherein majorities on the focus group got the effect of the statute 180 degrees wrong based on the ballot title language that had been drafted by the AG.

    A common statement is something like "If these people weren't up to no good, they would not make the description so difficult to understand". Most people do not understand that the AG or State Supreme Court drafts these titles, not petitioners.

  • Scientivore (unverified)
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    <h2>I hope this isn't out of place here. I wrote a post today on Congress Matters, the Daily Kos's new sister site, speculating about the committee assignments that our Sen.-elect Jeff Merkley might get. I'm not used to such low traffic -- hardly anyone is reading Congress Matters yet -- and it occurred to me that my post might be of interest to the folks here. If this breaks an etiquette rule that I didn't know about, then sorry!</h2>
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