Blue Oregon: How the editors rocked the vote

Carla Axtman

If you're one of the many Oregonians who has yet to crack open that ballot envelope, well... get crackin'. It's too late to mail the thing, so you'll have to schlep it over to your local drop box.

The editors here at Blue Oregon (Kari Chisholm, Jeff Alworth, Charlie Burr and myself. All except Jesse Cornett -- I emailed ya, man. Guess you can leave your picks in comments if you're up for it) thought you might be interested in seeing how we came down on candidates and issues. And feel free to share your own voter's guide in comments. Who knows? Maybe you'll be the one to persuade that Jim Huffman voter to break on through to the other side.....

Kari, Jeff and Charlie live in Multnomah County. I live in Washington County. So a few of the races and ballot measures will be different for me.

Of course, we decided early on that Governor, Senate, Congress, State Treasurer, and the legislature were all gimmes. On the partisan races, we're all voting Democratic (ding!). No stunners yet.

One quick reminder - BlueOregon doesn't make endorsements. These are our personal picks on nonpartisan races and ballot measures:

Jeff AlworthCarla AxtmanCharlie BurrKari Chisholm
Metro ChairBob StaceyBob StaceyBob StaceyBob Stacey
Multnomah County Commission District #2Karol CollymoreKarol CollymoreKarol Collymore
Washington County Commission District #2Greg Malinowski
M70 (veterans home loans)YesYesYesYes
M71 (annual sessions)YesYesYesYes
Alworth: "One of the most important good-government measures in a long time." Axtman: "An absolutely necessary change. Next up (hopefully) a pay increase."
M72 (bond financing)YesYesYesYes
M73 (minimum sentencing)NoNoNoNo
Alworth: " This is a classic example of an issue that should be address by the legislature, not Kevin Mannix." Axtman: "An epic waste of resources. Crime is already way down and we badly need that money going to education." Chisholm: "Really? Prison time for stupid teenagers sexting? This is a state priority?"
M74 (marijuana dispensaries)NoNoYesYes
Alworth: "I'd vote for California's Prop 19, but this is an unnecessary work-around. Legalize it!" Axtman: "What Alworth said."
M75 (taxable casino)NoNoNoYes
Chisholm: "I'm supporting Measure 75 because I think Oregon needs to do something to break the cycle of underfunding of our schools and city/county services. In Measure 75, we've got outside investors willing to drop hundreds of millions of dollars in building and operating a business in Oregon. Yes, it's a casino - but it's also a massive entertainment complex that will draw national and international tourists. (After all, Portland is two hours closer to Tokyo than Las Vegas is, and Oregon's brand in Japan is huge. Dad gambles while Mom shops and the kids ski.) Measure 75 would create thousands of long-term family-wage jobs, and deliver tens of millions in funding to schools and local governments all over the state -- at zero cost to the taxpayers. Do I like funding services on gambling dollars? Of course not, but I don't see revenue reform happening anytime soon, and we have do something to break the downward spiral in Oregon."
M76 (parks & wildlife)NoNoYesYes
Alworth: "Aside from being leery of measures that restrict funds, this one seems poorly-crafted and premature."
Jeff AlworthCarla AxtmanCharlie BurrKari Chisholm
TriMet 26-119YesYesYes
Alworth: "Although this one REALLY chafes, the people who would get most screwed are those who most need the service. Pony up."
WashCo 34-179 (public safety)Yes
WashCo 34-180 (library)Yes
Beaverton 34-184 (school cmte)No
Portland 26-108 (voter-owned elections)YesYesYes
MultCo 26-117 (fire)NoYes
Burr: "I don’t think Randy Leonard’s made his case, but I fully expect it to pass. Not that I’m pro-fire."
MultCo 26-118 (historical society)YesYesNo
Alworth: "This bad choice pits doing the right thing when the rest of the state won't versus putting OHS at risk. OHS is more important than principle." Chisholm: "I've been torn about this one. The historical society is an important statewide resource, but I'm not convinced that Multnomah County taxpayers should be the ones keeping them afloat - especially in such a tough economic environment."

So, BlueOregon readers, how did you vote?

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    Full disclosure: My firm built Karol Collymore's campaign website. I'm also assisting the Yes on 75 campaign. I speak only for myself.

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      From the looks of things if you let kari design your website he will vote for anything you want... including a casino ...but he was consistent in fact kari voted yes on everything except the one entity who needed his vote the most ... I don't think the protest votes against marijuana are going to get it legalized faster ... just like it's time to tell prosecutors to stop creating new criminals and sex offenders out of the sexters it's time to tell law enforcement to stop prosecuting people for MJ ralted 'crimes'. Carla ... A hypocrite unable to see her own hypocrisy to the end votes no on the crime bill (which was the right way to vote) but then tells us all that she would rather have the money for education ...followed by the next vote she cast against the beaveerton school district ...that a girl! Save those schools!

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    Kari -- I'm working on 26-118 and I agree with you on the fact that it's not Multnomah County's responsibility, in the long term. Nobody at OHS thinks that it is, and nobody on the County Commission thinks it is, either. It's not a long-term solution, but it is the best and only solution right now.

    After over 100 years of funding, including during the Great Depression, the state has cut the budgets between 78 and 100% -- this is the one and only option for keeping OHS open, buying the organization breathing room to renew the state's promise to the organization. That said, there are some reasons why it's not completely off the hook for Multco to support OHS - 1) It's one of two counties without its own historical society -- OHS serves in that capacity. 2)Sixty-five percent of its holdings relate to Multco, and the vast majority of its visitors.

    AND, Multco citizens will get free admission if it passes, along with every school group in the state (8,000 kids visit every year).

    Without this levy, OHS will close.

    While again, it's not the perfect solution, Jeff Cogan and the rest of the Commission, Multco Dems, SEIU, AFSCME, NW Labor Council and so on, believed that it's the best for right now...

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      Oh, and -- the WW, the Oregonian, the Skanner, and the Mercury...just sayin'

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      I voted No on 26-118 precisely because supporting the Oregon Historical Society is the Legislature's responsibility, not MultCo's.

      Perhaps Metro should take it over and spread the cost over the region like the Oregon Zoo, which happen to be located in MultCo.

      But since the Democratic legislative supermajority and four consecutive Democratic governors didn't think OHS was worth funding, then as a MultCo taxpayer neither do I.

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        FOUR consecutive governors...uh, no. Totally wrong. Cuts began in 2003. OHS has fallen prey to budget cuts, along with a very long list of very valuable public services. It's not a value judgement, it's about budgets.

        And it is a state responsibility -- again, this is not a long term fix.

        Finally, Oregon would not only be the state with the shortest school year, if the levy fails, Oregon would be the only state without a historical society. How much more of a "Dark Ages" image do we want to have?

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          Finally, Oregon would not only be the state with the shortest school year, if the levy fails, Oregon would be the only state without a historical society. How much more of a "Dark Ages" image do we want to have?

          Sounds like a Chris Dudley ad.

          Again, Kulogonski, Courtney and Hunt should explain to MultCo voters why they - and they alone - should pay for the Oregon Historical Society when those Democratic leaders chose not to.

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      Kristin, thanks for your thoughtful argument.

      One quick question: If this fails, will OHS shut down entirely? Or merely close to the public.

      My understanding was the latter -- that they would have enough funds to continue to store and maintain the records.

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        The board will have to make that decision, but it's certain that key facilities (museum, library) will be on the chopping block. Also, OHS will not be able to accept any additional collections, ending Oregon's ability to collect and store its own history.

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          And besides, if a museum and library isn't open to the public, if school groups can't go, if newcomers can't go to learn about their new home (about 40% of the visitors), then it seems quite tragic.

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    Here were the ones I thought interesting:

    Multnomah County - Smith. I like both candidates but tipped based on the Oregonian endorsement.

    M71 - Yes. I went with the fact that most states do annual. I'm surprised at Jeff's comment given how little attention (on either side) this has received.

    M72 - Yes. There was a piece here a few weeks ago that was pretty compelling.

    M75 - Yes, but I wish I could take it back in light of the position taken by the Lottery Commission. I think the only people who will get money if it passes are lawyers.

    26-108 - Yes. I was leaning the other way before the Francesconi piece.

    26-118 - No. Where do you draw the line on what deserves tax support? Having a business model that works matters, even if you are a non-profit that serves a socially admirable goal.

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      FYI -- Every historical society in the United States receives state support -- that is the business model for historical societies. Oregon is dead last in terms of state support, and if the levy fails, Oregon would be the only state in the union without a historical society.

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        And what do Peter Courtney and Dave Hunt say about that, since they control GOP-proof supermajorities in the senate and house?

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        "Oregon would be the only state in the union without a historical society."

        Unless you count the state GOP platform committee, of course.

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        Hey KT -- How is the historical society different than the state archives? And why not make it a state agency entirely?

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          A lot of states do that. The levy will allow OHS to buy the time to explore that option more (it is indeed, one of many options), as well as many others (a statewide ballot measure, renewing past funding streams, etc.)

          And the archives collect only official government papers and legal documents. They don't collect, say,say, the private papers of Tom McCall or Edith Green. They don't collect a vast array of other items as well (private collections, photographs from area newspapers, personal photos, news microfilms, documentaries, documents from businesses, etc.) They are a crucial aspect of state history, but they don't exist to replicate what OHS does.

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            woops...too many "says"

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            They are a crucial aspect of state history, but they don't exist to replicate what OHS does.

            Perhaps they should.

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              That would, of course, require expensively re-creating an already existing wheel within an institution that neither wants the responsibility nor is currently equipped to handle it, nor was created to do so. The Archives charges fees for simple research, and requires permission from whatever jurisdiction is being researched before releasing materials, making conducting research there far more challenging than at OHS. Not to mention that it's not in Oregon's population center.

              Perhaps folks don't realize the enormity of the OHS collection --

              85,000 unique artifacts, 25,000 maps, 30,000 books, 8.5 million feet of film and videotape, 16,000 rolls of microfilm, 12,000 linear feet of documents and nearly 3 million photographs. The storage facility in Gresham is far bigger than a football field. It also has the history not only of Oregon, but of the Oregon Territory, so, if you want to learn about Washington or Idaho, you gotta come here.

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    I voted no on the fire and trimet measures (and M76) not because they are bad but because I couldn't see funding them when education is so under-funded. I almost voted against the historical society measure for the same reason but convinced myself that their educational programs (and my free admission) made a yes vote OK.

    I am for legalizing marijuana (and hope Prop 19 passes in California) to take the profits away from the drug cartels and gangs.

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    I will comment on a couple of items, my full list of recommendations is posted at (this covers items that appear on my ballot, in North Portland, I notice the editors did not comment on all measures and local races).

    In my opinion Measure 75 should not get any support. It is amending the Oregon Constitution to provide a monopoly exception for one company, that is an outside firm, looking to make profits from Oregonians.

    I prefer Loretta Smith for County Commissioner. I think Karol Collymore would also serve well, but I have seen Loretta's work over the years, and know her to be an excellent choice. Loretta is a very thoughtful person who understands the needs of working people, and what the county is able to do to help.

    For Metro President, I felt we had three very good people to choose from, and now two very good people to choose from. While Stacey has clearly established himself as the environmental candidate (which I normally rank very high in deciding who to support), I feel that Hughes has been unfairly attacked. He is definitely not anti-environment, and in reality is closer ideologically to Stacey than the advertising would lead you to believe. I feel Hughes would make a very effective Metro President who would work to accomplish Metro's mission, including much of what Stacey sees as the goals of Metro.

    As a final note: Most important right now - GET VOTES OUT FOR KITZHABER! Second - Talk to people about how important 26-108 is for continuing Voter Owned Elections.

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      As a Portland voter, I never owned that wasteful experiment.

      But I am standing in line to return it for a full refund Tuesday.

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    I recommend a no vote on Ballot Measure #70.

    I think this is another device that perpetuates military culture in this country- just go along with the program, don't raise your voice against the obvious illegality of the invasion of Iraq or the multitude of crimes in both theaters, and you, as a vet, will get economic help.

    Meanwhile, a man (Bradley Manning) who's provided greater service to his nation and the world than any of the go-along-to-get-along types faces possible life imprisonment.

    But I'm sure the measure will get at least 80% approval, this being Amerika.

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    On the state measures[70-76] we voted the same.

    On the Big 6 partisan I voted 3 Dems and for 3 Reps.

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    Kitzhaber Collymore Stacey.


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    I voted the "secret ballot."

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    Thos of us in the rest of the state enjoy watching and rading about Portland city measures and Metro issues. I know I wish y'all the best. Statewide I am willing to go with the unknown and wish to return the legislature to a supermajority free arena.

    On the Measures; Yes, No, No, No, Yes (reluctantly) No and No.

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    Yeah yeah, I've let my email pile up unread a lot these days. My votes basically mirrored Kari's but one race. Because of Bob's scorch and burn campaign against Rex in the spring and Tom this fall, I've decided I cannot vote for him.

    Oh and Robison, have you voted yet? As it turns out M75 is a statutory initiative.

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    oh, just got your email re: 26-118. Thanks and whew!

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    What ever happened to the race for Washington County Commissioner in District 4??????

    Greg Mecklem is just as essential to the greening & smartening of Washington County's Board as is Greg Malinowski: it takes THREE to make a progressive majority on a five-member board.

    Carla's written eloquently about Greg's extraordinary background, intelligence, and leadership skills. So why would you omit all mention of him in the piece? And for that matter, why overlook the very existence of District 4--the eye of the current Urban Reserves storm -- as though it had no Blue Oregon readers/voters, or weren't really part of this region?

    We've come to expect the brush-off from KUIK, the Hillsboro Argus and The Oregonian. But Blue Oregon? Totally incomprehensible.

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      None of the Blue Oregon editors live in WaCo Commission District 4, which is why you don't see a reference to him in this post.

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    OK, sorry for the knee-jerk reaction. How about a follow-up on "people we would have voted for if only we lived in their districts?"

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    Let me clarify re: the OHS measure. I wasn't initially supportive of it because I didn't think MultCo voters should shoulder the burden of a state function. I think it's a slippery slope. That said, I think OHS is too important + the proponents have made the case for us to do that so I ended up voting for it without reservation. When I referred to voting the same as Kari on all the issues I really missed this one.

    Also, I didn't take a stance on the county commission race because I don't live in the district. I know both Carol and Loretta and couldn't think more highly of either of them. The primary they emerged from was an embarrassment of the riches. I think it's safe to say that I've directed friends in that district to both candidates by gushing about both of them and letting folks sort out how good of a decision they got to make.

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      I agree re: Smith and Collymore. Like you, I don't live in that district. And while their politics (like yours) are far from mine, they do fit the politics of District 2.

      As for OHS, I stood on the principle that MultCo taxpayers should not shoulder this burden alone. Once those historical treasures are tucked away in mothballs and out of the public's reach, perhaps the citizenry will get the atttention of your party's leadership in Salem and fund OHS for the benefit of all Oregonians.

      Shutting the doors (like closing a jail or prison) is often the attention-getter required to grease the money wheel.

      Or like I suggested above, give OHS to Metro like the Zoo and spread the costs across the region. But for Courtney & Hunt to punt this mess to MultCo alone was too much for me.

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