Measure 64

Jeff Alworth

Title:  Penalizes person, entity for using funds collected with "public resource" (defined) for "political purpose" (defined)
Sponsor: Bill Sizemore, Alan Grosso
Type: Statutory
What it Does: Prevents unions from collecting dues for political purposes
What it Costs: Requires marginal spending increases; effectively no cost

The last of the Sizemore measures will be the most familiar to voters--it has already appeared twice before on the ballot (and if this edition fails, he's got #4 lined up for circulation after the election).  An anti-labor measure, it's designed to weaken public employee unions' political influence by tinkering with the way they raise funds.  Currently, payroll deductions can be used for political action.  Members can opt out of this system, but unless they actively do so, funds flow into the muscley political arms of unions.  This tweaks Sizemore, so he wants to flip the system, so that union members have to actively opt in. 

I have not relied on the voices of the MSM in these pieces on the ballot measures, but both the Oregonian and Willamette Week comments on this measure are so good, it's hard to see how I could improve upon them.  First the O:

Few other states have such a law, but since unions are the most active opponents of Sizemore's multiple measures, you can see why he and Loren Parks -- the eightysomething Las Vegas multimillionaire who finances most of Sizemore's signature-collecting efforts -- would want to silence their voices.

Of course, this would have the effect of giving Oregon firefighters and nurses less voice in Oregon politics than Loren Parks, which is not most Oregonians' view of how things should work.

But the measure also runs the risk of badly hurting Oregon charitable organizations, which is why so many of them have raised their voices loudly in the campaign. Oregon public employees contribute to many state charities through payroll deductions, and the charities are concerned, after reading the measure's language and consulting attorneys, that they will be banned from speaking on behalf of their clients.

Next, WW:

There’s also an equity issue here. Private-sector union members and employees commonly use payroll deductions, so to prohibit public employees from doing so would constitute separate and unequal treatment.

By putting this measure on the ballot, Sizemore has already won: he has forced unions to spend their money playing defense on M64.  It's vindictive, unfair, damaging, and unnecessary--classic hallmarks of a Sizemore measure.  Not only should this measure be defeated, but it should be defeated resoundingly so we don't have to see the damn thing again.  Three strikes and you're out, Bill.

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    Oh, I should also mention that I am a unit representative for AAUP. I didn't speak to anyone in the union before posting this and speak only for myself.

    But even if I wasn't a union member, I'd urge you to vote no!

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    You vote NO because Sizemore wrote it. End of story. The issue is irrelevent when it involves 'ol Billy Boy and his abusive ways.

  • mp97303 (unverified)

    I have never seen an election where the singular opposition to so many ballot measures is WHO wrote them. A good measure is a good measure no matter who wrote it.(I am not implying any of the measures mentioned are good or bad.) Would you vote against a good bill just because a R proposed it? And you talk about the Right being the party of stupid people. I got news for ya, with the way you are acting this year, you aren't far behind.

  • mara (unverified)

    Measure 64 is written poorly and hurts all sorts of nonprofits. It would prohibit people from donating through the Charitable Checkoff program, harming nonprofits including the Children's Trust Fund (preventing child abuse), Habitat for Humanity (building housing for low-income families), SOLV (cleaning up beaches, forests and neighborhoods), and the Oregon Food Bank (distributing food and eliminating the root causes of hunger).

    Measure 64 goes so far as to prevent the Food Bank from conducting food drives at schools, libraries, and other public buildings, decreasing the amount food available to distribute to the hungry. To give a sense of the size the hit would be, the State Employee Food Drive alone brought in more than 750,000 lbs of food last year.

    Please vote NO on Measure 64.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    "Would you vote against a good bill just because a R proposed it?"

    Yes I would. Especially if that R enthusiastically abused the initiative system like Sizemore, Mannix, and their ilk do. Hopefully, if we keep telling them NO on a consistant basis, they will just quit out of frustration, just go away, and thier abuse of the system will cease.

  • RW (unverified)

    Remind me again: what did the unions ever do to Sizemore? Whence this obsessive compulsive rot?

  • Scott J (unverified)

    I really don't care too strongly whether it passes or fails. I do have a slight preference to see it pass though. Here's why...

    A few years back, I worked for a large, national firm in downtown PDX. The company was adding a payroll deduction check-off for United Way. My boss hosted a lunch explaining this to everyone and then made the comment he'd like to see 100% participation. This wasn't so much a suggestion as a veiled threat. He was keeping track of who was on his team and who wasn't. The implications for promotion and being on the "favored" list were pretty obvious.

    This was NOT a union. This was just an employer with convictions they wished to push down onto the employees.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    I belive it is not just the Union as a whole, it is just one or a couple of people he is angry at and is 'getting back' at that those people through the initiative system as a petty form of 'payback'.

    I wonder if 'ol Billy Boy could enlighten us as to who or whom he is so angry at in the union to warrant such petty and unconstructive behaviour.

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    As a legislator, I soon learned that the best way to judge a bill was to look at it sponsor. With ballot measures, this becomes even more true. At least bills are drafted by Legislative Counsel- a group of lawyers hired by the legislature as professional drafters. I have never see a Bill Sizemore measure that didn't have huge drafting problems in the lack of definitions, ambiguities in wording, unintended consequences, effects beyond the purposes of the drafter, etc.
    You can ascertain motives and make judgments in a measure by looking at the sponsor. In Bill Sizemore's case, his philosophy is well known, and he offers no surprises. Actually Bill's real motivation is only to get measures on the ballot, as he gets paid to do this, and his funders want to see progessive organizations spend money to defeat them. He doesn't really care if they pass or fail. His lack of followup campaigning is evidence of this.

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    per mp97303

    I have never seen an election where the singular opposition to so many ballot measures is WHO wrote them.

    I don't think this is true. The "who" question is an element in opposition to most of them because most of them are put up by the same person who operates running initiatives as a cottage industry, a repeated pattern which has bad effects on the system, apart from the fact that he's also been convicted of racketeering around some earlier iterations.

    But in no case of Jeff's analyses and comments has "who" been the exclusive or main focus. Nor has it been in most of the reader comments has this been the only issue; even giving due honors to Eric Parker's simplifying strategies, I think the Bill Sizemore "who" is just the whipped cream and cherry on his basic "vote no on all them" views.

    A good measure is a good measure no matter who wrote it.(I am not implying any of the measures mentioned are good or bad.)

    Quite true, but these are all bad measures.

    And the fact of the matter is that one reason they are bad measures is because of who wrote them. Because Bill Sizemore doesn't care about writing good measures. He cares about measures that are written to push hot buttons ("dogwhistle politics" in the phrase I recently learned from Kari), absorb resources necessary to fight them because they are bad measures, and if they pass and start to mess things up, tangle up the legislature or the courts to try to clean it up, obstructing government, of which he has an unreasonable and unreasoning knee-jerk ideological hatred.

    And the further fact of the matter is that he has been doing this long enough that if Sizemore is behind it, there is a strong, reasonable expectation based on an extended pattern that it will prove to be a bad bill, when I look at it. It might not be on a bad issue, but in fact that becomes a problem because he is so unserious and poor at his efforts that what he comes up with is often a bad way to address a reasonable issue.

    Honestly, I wish it were otherwise. I wish that Sizemore were somebody who used the initiative process to bring well-thought out, well drafted measures to address issues he thinks neglected to the public attention, ones that challenged me to at least think about whether I should rethink something. In their own ways both Measure 57 and Measure 65 have done that this year. But Sizemore doesn't do that. He brings a raft of poorly thought, poorly drafted, often apparently hastily thrown together measures that often seem to have main aims different from their content, usually bad ones, and that show disregard if not contempt for the public good in their obvious lack of care for unintended consequences.

    Would you vote against a good bill just because a R proposed it?

    Of course not.

    I do have to point out that exactly this mode of action in the other direction characterized a great deal of Republican behavior, especially their leadership's, in the last legislative session.

    And, to repeat, not one, not a single one, of the many measures that happen to be put on the ballot by Sizemore would be a good law.

    So this question is as irrelevant to the case as your imputations about why I voted know are spurious and your characterizations of discussion here overdrawn at best.

    And you talk about the Right being the party of stupid people.

    No I don't. Speak for yourself. Nor do I think this is a remotely fair characterization of most of what gets written on BlueOregon, and even less so of Jeff Allworth's writings.

    I don't generalize about Republicans at all, especially at the level of voters.

    Republican means something different in Oregon, where I've spent most of my adult life, than it did in Boston when I was growing up nearby and the history of Italian-American vs. Irish-American machine ethnic politics plus Yankee "brahmin"/ plutocrat admixture made the party an entirely different beast (similar effects for Ds of course). It doesn't mean the same thing even within either of those places, not to mention many others. Republicans vary infinitely, if to some extent in general patterns regarding philosophies and policy preferences.

    I don't even generalize about conservative or Republican activists or officeholders, many of whom are perfectly nice, decent people with whom I have differences of philosophy or outlook or opinion on many matters, not all, that I can understand even if we don't agree, and think neither stupid nor unreasonable, given certain assumptions I don't share.

    There is a subset of rightwing ideologues and operatives and officials who I think are one or more of a number of things including mean-spirited, anti-democratic, arrogant, self-serving, lying, intellectually dishonest in debate, and reckless in their disregard for the common and public good in pursuing private interests. Unfortunately relatively few of them are stupid, which means their bad qualities become that much more dangerous.

    I think some policy outlooks on the right qualify as stupid in their determination to ignore reasonably obvious bad consequences, a favor which many conservatives regarding their judgment of my outlooks.

    Sometimes some of them say so much more crudely and dishonestly in comments here or elsewhere than anything I ever say about them.

    Your false accusation about regarding the Right as the party of stupid people actually is a decent example, though far from the most extreme. Also I don't have the impression that you come from "the Right" exactly anyway.

    I do think that the politics that result from such degraded discourse become stupid politics. Boiling that down to the shorthand "what a stupid comment" might be something I'd do sometimes.

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    What a nicely-considered response, Chris. And thanks for the kind words--

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    My pleasure Jeff, same to you, and thanks for your whole serious labor of crafting these well-considered analyses and reflections on the measures, which provoked a good deal of discussion I found interesting and in some cases helpful in deciding, along with the original columns.

  • mp97303 (unverified)


    Based on Chris's comment, I wanted to clarify that the following comment:"And you talk about the Right being the party of stupid people" was not directed at you specifically, but bloggers of the left in general.

    As a reader of many blue and red blogs, it saddens me to see the left sliding down to hill to the same level of discourse found on the right.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    Chris, once again stated the cAse very well.

    Really it comes down to equal representation. Unionized and represented workers in the private sector get dues check-off without any problems, this should remain a fundamental right for represented workers in the public/government sector as well.

    Sizemore is facing his Waterloo this November.

  • Runtmg (unverified)

    There is tremendous misunderstanding out there about this bill and something really as innocent as willful payroll deduction for causes that you care about is being vilified by Sizemore and Parks.

    If Sizemore and Parks had their way, the state would be powerless, government would be powereless and the individual would have complete autonomy and control. In theory, this is an ideal state however in practice who would be there to restrain the most vicious person who has the most power?

    Both Parks and Sizemore are well funded, individually and corporate financed. If no one is truly able to oppose them what would Oregon look like? The vision that measure 64 lays out is one of a vicious Oregon where we can't donate to the causes we believe in easily. This is not good for Oregon, it isn't good for charities and it isn't good for working people.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)

    I've heard polling at 50% support - I hope this is not true.

    This would significantly bolster the Sizemore forces in this state.

  • Robert G. Gourley (unverified)

    Sizemore admits Measure 64 would stifle passing the hat at political gatherings.

  • Deb K (unverified)

    People don't understand that its not about party, its about character. Who knows if Sizemore is even registered to vote. He just makes a living by trying to get legislation through that allow his big money supporters to get away with corrupt practices.

  • Stephen D. Carlile (unverified)

    I voted last week, Monday to be precise, and voted yes on measure 64. I am now seeing political ads villifying Bill Sizemore, but have yet to find any truth to those statements. I contacted "Our Oregon," which is supposed to be a non-partisan group, and requested evidence of their claims, but, of course, they failed to respond.

    After seeing so many TV ads against measure 64, I decided to check further to see if I could figure out why people were making these false claims, thinking maybe I didn't read the measure correctly. Apparently, some people believe it is okay to lie if it involves politics.

    This website was the first hit I landed on, and, it appears there is no truth or logic to be found here either.

    First, let me say that one of the reasons I voted for the measure is that my wife was a member of the Oregon Education Association for more than 20 years. The union was able to automatically receive payments from her through a payroll deduction. She had no inclination to join the union; however, since she lived and worked in Oregon, she was forced to join the union. Her union dues pay for political events, political advertisements, political endorsements, political activity, and liberal political agendas that she does not agree with, but she has no choice in the matter, and whenever she spoke up about it, she was mocked, castigated, ostracized, and made to feel like she was nothing more than scum.

    <h2>After this election is over, regardless of the outcome of this particular measure, I intend to review our election process and bring some sanity back to this state to insure that people who make false claims in political ads will be prosecuted.</h2>

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