Proposed Initiatives Have Conservative Lean

Proposed ballot initiatives for the 2008 election to date are by and large conservative, the Register Guard reports:

With the Legislature in Democratic control and fellow Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski ready to sign its bills, conservatives are turning to the initiative system as an outlet for their goals of reducing government, curbing union clout and advancing their ideas on how the legal system should treat gays, illegal immigrants and women seeking abortions.

“We see no chance of any conservative, limited-government laws being enacted, which makes the initiative process the only venue in which we have a chance of winning a few fights,” longtime initiative promoter Bill Sizemore said.

Of the 31 initiative petitions approved for signature-gathering, 23 involve conservative causes or advocates — chiefly Sizemore, Kevin Mannix, Russ Walker and Lon Mabon.

Similarly, more than two-thirds of the 95 initiatives in contention for the 2008 ballot are of a conservative bent.

In the mix are proposals to:
-Ban teaching students in any language but English for more than two years.
-Allow state and local governments to restrict strip clubs.
-Limit what lawyers can charge in civil cases.
-Eliminate the current statewide system for land use planning.

The article describes some other proposed conservative measures:

Many of the ideas being pursued as possible initiatives for 2008 have gone to voters before. Sizemore is pushing several proposals that echo earlier, unsuccessful measures. One proposes to cut state income taxes. Another would restrict payroll deduction for union dues. A third would replace seniority-based pay for teachers with merit-based pay.

Mabon, former head of the religious-right group the Oregon Citizens Alliance, is promoting an anti-gay rights measure that’s nearly identical to the OCA’s unsuccessful Measure 9 in 1992.

And as in the past, measures also have been proposed to outlaw or restrict abortion rights.

Read the rest. What are the worst initiatives thus far? The best initiatives?


  • Holly Martins (unverified)

    “Mabon, former head of the religious-right group the Oregon Citizens Alliance, is promoting an anti-gay rights measure that’s nearly identical to the OCA’s unsuccessful Measure 9 in 1992.”

    To quote Big Dan Teague “It's all about the money boys. That's it! Gol... durned... money!”

    Nice cultural reference, eh?

    These folks, Sizemore, Mabon, et. al. are working the room and trying desperately to stay off the dole. Putting forth their little schemes is simply a way of making money and rousing the rabble.

    Not that it’s not dangerous and ugly, particular Little Lonnie Mabon’s anti-gay hysterics.

    Actually, Big Dan’s a nice metaphor for the far-right: a vile, one-eyed, Bible salesman who’s also a Klan member. Pretty much describes Oregon’s far-right cons.

    “See ya in the funny papers.”

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    Why is Bill Sizemore still speaking? Not in jail?

    Doesnt the guy owe like 7 Million dollars or something to the unions? How is he allowed to use money to pay for intiatives before paying back his debt?

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    Here's an update on Sizemore's legal troubles...

    New lawsuit filed to force Sizemores to obey law

    AFT-Oregon and OEA have filed a new lawsuit and motions for contempt against Bill and Cindy Sizemore for “fraudulent transfer of funds and civil conspiracy.”

    The suit is based on evidence that Bill Sizemore with the assistance of his wife Cindy and the Americans for Tax Research Foundation has been hiding income, in an attempt to avoid his legal obligation to pay amounts owed to AFT-Oregon and OEA as a result of a 2002 court-awarded judgment against him for fraud and racketeering.

    Sizemore claims he has little or no money. But has also admitted that the Sizemores' firm, CBS Consulting, a company operating under his wife’s name, receives $7,500 per month for website design. The monthly payment comes from the firm’s only client, Americans for Tax Research Foundation, who coincidentally also pays some $2,500 per month for the Sizemores' rental payment on their residence and additional amounts for the family vehicle, office space and equipment.

    “Bill Sizemore has stated under oath that he receives a salary from his wife, who, in turn, is on the payroll of Americans for Tax Research. It seems pretty clear what is going on here,” said Richard Schwarz, AFT-Oregon Executive Director. “This is not only illegal, it’s unconscionable.”

    Motions for contempt, which call for jail time, were also filed against Sizemore for repeated violations of a court injunction which bars him from raising and spending money through a political action fund until the judgment is satisfied.

    Press links:

    Oregonian blog article:

    Register Guard’s blog article:

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    Apparently Sizemore, Mannix, and Mabon haven't learned there lesson when the peoplr have said NO!


    When we say NO, we mean it!

    This is why I tend to vote NO on everything - because of self serving vermin like these.

    Any initiative with these people's name on it - Don't sign any papers and vote NO!

  • LT (unverified)

    FYI, "Allow state and local governments to restrict strip clubs" was not originally a Mannix measure.

    The other 2 chief petitioners listed are women from a neighborhood where a strip club opened in a former steak house, facing a busy street but not very far from a playground. You may have seen news stories on Portland TV about outrageous behavior by one of the dancers out in the parking lot during rush hour. OLCC granted the place a liquor license over strong local objections, the neighborhood group went to city council and city council discovered how few options they had.

    At that point, the ballot measure campaign was started--with Kevin Mannix volunteering to help the campaign, as I understand it. That is the only reason he is listed as one of the chief petitioners. The other people behind the measure had no ballot measure expertise, and not a lot of political experience.

    The Sec. of State website lists this measure under the category "rejected", although I have no idea why.

    There are people who signed the petitions because they live in the neighborhood, like to patronize the ice cream shop or the restaurants across the street, or just plain thought the owner of the strip club was a bully saying "I'm putting my strip club here and there is nothing you can do about it" .

    If any Blue Oregonian stereotypes such voters as "conservative", they may risk losing supporters who might agree on a wide range of issues, but they don't want a strip club near a playground and on the edge of a residential neighborhood.

    And as I recall, the owner has now put the strip club up for sale--because he wants to get out of the business due to public pressure?

    Unless you would like to see a strip club in a residential neighborhood near where you live, be aware that the Oregon Constitution has a very broad Free Speech clause. But lots of people who don't consider themselves "conservative" think putting a strip club on the edge of a residential neighborhood should not be described as "free speech".

  • Marshall Collins (unverified)

    While I too agree that a residential neighborhood is not the best place to put a nudie bar I still feel this measure is conserative. Like many ballot measures of the past (5, 11, 9, 36, 37...the list can go on and on) this will cause more problems than it solves. While I do sympathize with the parents that live in the neighborhood I see them being hijacked by Mannix and is ilk into turning this into just another right wing wedge issue. I can see the campaign adds and messages now "Protect the children, protect your family. You can build a strip club, just not right here. Build it downtown, uptown, on the outskirts, etc. We won't mind at all". The measure passes and by Jan 1 2009 every single nudie bar in the state is being pulled in front of their respective city/county government, no matter what neighborhood or area they are located in or how inconspicuous they make their roadside signage.

    While I think this measure may have started with the best of intentions it is turning into something very much different.

  • LT (unverified)

    Marshall, would you be willing to stand in front of the neighborhood assoc. which originated the ballot measure and tell them what you said here?

    Or is this a matter of theory being what matters, not what people encounter in their everyday lives?

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    LT, if you start amending the Constitution to ban one kind of expression you don't like, don't you open the door to other people amending the Constitution to ban another kind of expression THEY don't like? This is a can of worms Oregon never needs to open.

  • LT (unverified)

    So, it is OK to have a strip club in your neighborhood, and we don't need campaign finance reform, because strip clubs and "money is speech" are protected by "free speech" in the Constitution?

    And some people wonder why lots of people think politics doesn't make sense in their everyday lives?

  • Peter Bray (unverified)

    This overwrought "for the kids" mentality that LT is displaying is nauseating.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    Actually, correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the Oregon Constitution lables free speech as "freedom of expression" which makes it broader by definition if anything else? "Speech" is one thing, "Expression" is entirely different. Most of the recent court rulings have been based on the term "Expression". This is why we have so many nudist bars and such (especially in Portland).

    Good luck trying to ban the nudies. I do not like them either, but the courts have thought otherwise for us. Nice to know that our courts think of us common folk as stupid.

  • Marshall Collins (unverified)

    Marshall, would you be willing to stand in front of the neighborhood assoc. which originated the ballot measure and tell them what you said here?

    Would I be willing: no, an extra trip to Salem (or anywhere else for that matter) really isn't possible this time of year for me.

    Do I have the intestinal fortitude to go before the neighborhood association with my thoughts: yes.

    It's pretty obvious that the neighborhood has built enough pressure on this guy for him to want to sell the business (either because he no longer wants the hassle or the negative attention was cutting into his sales) and I seriously doubt that any buyer is going to retain the same format for the space knowing what the former owner went through. Its just not smart business. I think the neighborhood did a great job putting the thumbscrews down on this guy but a far reaching and broadly written ballot measure is overkill and will cause much more problems than what it is worth. The only "good" thing that will come of it is a new issue for the con's to grasp on to in future elections.

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    Eric, you're right and--correct me if I'm wrong--hasn't the Oregon Supreme Court already ruled against banning strip clubs? Why is this thing even taking up our time?

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    Sizemore, Mabon, and Mannix. May I propose a nickname for this three as these initiatives move forward? The Triumverate of Futility. There are hardly three people in Oregon history who have had less success than this crowd. Let it be so again.

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    Nickname for these three

    How about "the Axis of Weasels?"


  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    Or how about "The Vermin Stooges?

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    All these guys gotta do is be lucky once---it doesn't seem to matter to them, or their pimps, how many times they lose, or what it costs. One win out of 10 attempts seems to be enough. Two of the biggies that come to mind are BM 11 and BM 47.

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    Hi Peter.

    I like the strip clubs, personally.

    But even aside from that, the point is that in Oregon, we care enough about freedom to let consenting adults do a lot of things that they can't in more repressive states. I'm glad to live in a place with limited government, myself. Government will always try to grab more power with the very best of intentions. I'm a very liberal Democrat and I am still suspicious of it. I will NEVER vote for an initiative that weakens our Bill of Rights.

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    LT... This conversation would be much enhanced if you would share what the particular complaints were about the strip club in question (and strip clubs in general).

    What exactly do you - and the proponents of these measures - not like about strip clubs?

    Keep in mind that the nudity is inside the building, so the kids on the playground can't see it.

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    Not to mention, btw, that most of the traffic at a strip club happens long after the kids have left the playground.

  • Warren (unverified)

    I think, too, these guys like Sizemore and Mabon are just churning up the money machine to fund their own personal existence on the backs of their ignorant supporters. Afterall, Sizemore lives off his sugar daddy down in Klamath Falls.

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    If you look at LT's original message you will find that he's saying the two original sponsors were responding to a strip club worker taking the activity outdoors & flashing rush hour traffic. I have been trying to find a link to a news story without much success, but like LT (apparently) I saw the stories on PDX local news a few months ago.

    The idea that zoning regulations restricting the sex trade take free speech rights has exactly the same degree of intellectual honesty and merit as the idea that zoning takes property -- none.

    In Oregon today, the city of Salem cannot restrict lap dancing in a strip club, but the city of Portland can arrest me if I refuse a police order to move into a protest pen at a demonstration against a politician.

    Likewise the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that private property rights of the owners of large public spaces (supermarket parking lots, malls) trump political free speech rights. So much for defending freedom of expression for the sex industry working to defend political freedom.

    And this doesn't even get into the (almost non-existent) free speech rights inside strip clubs or any other place of private or public employment for employees, or for customers in private businesses open to the public.

    If someone walked into one of these sex industry supposed bastions of free speech and just stood there with a sign expressing one kind of feminist opinion about what it all meant, they'd be thrown out instantly, possibly not gently. Or perhaps the owner would call the police and deploy state power against the protestor. And if it went to court, the Supreme Court would rule in favor of the rights of property over expression.

    The business and property rights of the sex trade entrepreneurs to make money, and of their clients to conduct their business without interference, have nothing to do with freedom of speech, really. They are about freedom of association, and should be subject to legitimate regulation to protect related freedoms of others to feel secure in their homes and neighborhoods.

    Putting the property-rights freedom of a sleaze entrepreneur to locate anywhere above the freedom of parents to feel a bit more secure about their kids, and of communities to police themselves, is a form of repressive tolerance.

    The "freedoms" involved in the sex trade are part & parcel of the consumer culture bread & circuses used to distract us and build apathy while the political heart of the republic is hollowed out from the inside. Again, repressive tolerance.

    If enough people become convinced that "freedom of expression" conflicts with and trumps their freedom to raise their kids protected from some things near their own homes and schools, it degrades the whole idea of free speech and expression. It also weakens it politically, as people will be unwilling to defend its core because of stupid ideas about its fringes.

    Kari, strip clubs and other sex industry businesses don't only open at night. And the "freedoms of expression" also extend to their outdoor advertising.

    The arguments that neighborhood direct action are a better approach than amending the constitution have something to them. But if we can't have reasonable local regulations to give folks a fulcrum for their pressure, money will win out, as the metastatization of the "Fantasy for Adults" chain in the metro area shows. And how far down a road of vigilantism should we take that argument before we say a law is better?

    Along those lines, one final example of just how detached and unrelated the freedom to make money from ogling is from political freedoms: Imagine a group of people who take the informal "pressure" advice to heart, and mount an aggressive direct action campaign to drive a sex industry business out of their neighborhood. Imagine that they make this goal an openly political one, and conduct non-violent civil disobedience by going into the place and non-violently disrupting its activities, accepting arrest, record and publicize the license plates of clients' cars, post their photos and photos of their cars on the web, etc.

    Under the definition of domestic terrorism now in force, which includes politically motivated actions to coerce behavior with threat of economic loss, such people could be prosecuted as terrorists. In the name of protecting freedom of speech, of course.

  • Miles (unverified)

    I've been meaning to come back here to say that progressives have a role to play in appropriately regulating the time, place, and manner of the sex industry. It may not be through this initiative, but the idea that reasonable regulation is an assualt on free speech is absurd. However, Chris Lowe has laid out the argument far more eloquently than I could have.

    What exactly do you - and the proponents of these measures - not like about strip clubs? Keep in mind that the nudity is inside the building, so the kids on the playground can't see it.

    I have no problem with strip clubs. None. I do have a problem with strip clubs and adult shops that locate near schools and playgrounds. Part of being a progressive means pushing for full gender equity, and you cannot achieve that if you're having to explain to your 7 year-old daughter why there's a picture of a mostly naked woman on that store sign, or what "lingerie modeling" really is, or why she cannot shop at the Castle Superstore for halloween, even though the huge sign says: "Halloween Costume Headquarters"

    They already have to deal with this every day. Let's make it just a little easier for them, eh?

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