[right: "Rock the Goat" by the Honorable Vice Dork Emeritus Fingerstothebone, used without so much as a how-do-you-do]
If you live here in the Beaver State, no doubt you are wondering what to do with those ballot thingies that came in the mail the other day. Well, you're in luck! Here are the official L&TM5K endorsements for the Oregon ballot measures!!! I recommend just blindly following them without question.
YES on 54 (eligibility for school board elections) -- This is an uncontroversial housekeeping measure, an obvious yes.
YES on 55 (changes operative date of redistricting plans) -- Another uncontroversial housekeeping item.
YES on 56 (property tax elections are decided by majority of voters voting) -- This measure repeal's Oregon's recent "double-majority" law, which requires property tax measures to win a majority of votes in an election in which a majority of registered voters cast ballots. The double-majority law has been a grotesque perversion of democracy, forcing "no" votes into the mouth of every person who is out of town, isn't paying attention, loses their ballot, or decides to to sit out an election. It never should have been passed, and it stinks, and it really needs to go.
YES on 57 (increases sentences for repeat criminal offenders) -- Not really an especially great plan, but it needs to pass to rule out Measure 61, below. Isn't democracy fun?
NO on 58 (prohibits teaching public school student in language other than English for more than two years) -- Here's an idea: maybe people who have trained for years to be teachers and then spent years in the classroom, teaching, know more about education than other taxpayers. Maybe we could back off and let them figure out what works best? Just a thought.
NO on 59 (creates an unlimited deduction for federal income taxes on individual taxpayers' Oregon income-tax returns) -- I am in general opposed to special tax cuts for the wealthy. They have so many already.
NO on 60 (teacher "classroom performance," not seniority, determines pay raises; "most qualified" teachers retained, regardless of seniority) -- Another attempt to micromanage school administration by a committee of the entire citizenry. Offensive to common sense.
NO on 61 (creates mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain theft, identity theft, forgery, drug, and burglary crimes) -- Crime is, contrary to public opinion, way down in the Beaver State. I would prefer my tax money to be spent on education, libraries, and proactive policing, rather than to warehousing the additional 5000 prisoner wards of the state this measure would create. But that's just me. Lamentably, this measure really appeals to kneejerk tax-and-spend Conservatives, which is why we are pretty much forced to vote yes on the more moderate 57.
NO on 62 (allocates 15% of lottery proceeds to public safety fund for crime prevention, investigation, prosecution) -- Whenever you allocate lottery proceeds to anything, you make government dependent on the promotion of gambling. I've always felt that it is unjust to put a special tax on the mathematically unsophisticated.
NO on 63 (exempts specified property owners from building permit requirements for improvements valued at/under 35,000 dollars) -- Much as people like to yak about the restrictions placed on what they can do with their homes by building codes, they are really among the most progressive laws we have. Building codes recognize that your house is likely going to be around longer than you are. They are not, as people sometimes complain, "the city protecting your from yourself," but rather the city protecting the future inhabitants of your house (not to mention your neighbors) from you. Or, if you prefer, protecting you from the former inhabitants of your house, not to mention your neighbors. It's a good thing.
If 63 passes, houses are going to get pretty ugly. It would be a boon for the fly-by-night contractors and a big green light for the kind of Sunday carpenters who don't realize how complicated a project is until they are halfway through it. It wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would make life a little shabbier for everyone.
NO on 64 (penalizes person, entity for using funds collected with "public resource" for "political purpose") -- A crude, heavy-handed union-busting measure.
I HAVE NO IDEA on 65 (changes general election nomination processes) -- I don't know what to think of this one. It sounds daft, but it has some smart people signed on as supporters. Anybody have ideas on this one?
Au Contraire, Mon Frere!
I haven't filled the ballot out yet. If you want to tell michael5000 what to think, the comment button is down yonder.
But I Don't Live in Oregon. Any Advice for Me?
Well, for the national Presidential election, I am inclined to a candidate who, although young and not as experienced as I would love, has nonetheless shown himself to possess remarkable skills of leadership, administration, and policy development. He has had the good judgement to choose for a Vice Presidential candidate a seasoned, highly competant politician who can complement his strengths and remedy his weaknesses.
Which is to say....
Obamarama, baby! Barack the House!!
Wednesday Weigh-In: Still 213, which is now four over plan. May have to step this whole thing up.
On a positive note, I forgot to drink any diet cola last Sunday...