There's a ballot measure coming up in November that could potentially destroy Oregon. And research suggests you're pretty likely to vote for it, unless you get educated about its pitfalls. To that end, I'm hosting Brewhaha next Tuesday night at the Edge of Belmont, 7pm—to discuss Kevin Mannix's bizarre and frightening mandatory minimum ballot measure with attorney general elect, the mafia and Enron crusher, John Kroger, and Portland's most outspoken public defender Chris O'Connor.
ONE STRIKE, YER OUT: Mannix wants you in jail, punk...
Former State Representative Mannix wants Oregon to vote for the measure that would send crack dealers, identity thieves, and felony property criminals to jail for at least three years on a first conviction—without the option of drug treatment. Mannix has built his reputation on being "tough on crime": He was the architect of Measure 11 in 1994, which created mandatory minimum sentences for violent person-to-person crimes like assault in the first degree. His new measure is his most conservative—and controversial—yet, targeting a more emotionally charged type of crime, at least for most Portlanders.
"Most people don't get the gun stuck in their ear, or their daughter raped," says District Attorney Mike Schrunk, referring to Measure 11 crimes. "But pretty much everyone has had their mail stolen, their car stolen, stuff broken into. And this drives people crazy."
"People say 'go after murderers,'" Schrunk continues. "But if it's your lawnmower that gets stolen or your car that gets stolen, people want property offenders shot."
Indeed, sources say early polling for Mannix's measure indicated it would pass easily in Oregon—Mike Riley of Riley Research says he has done research for Mannix, but refused to confirm or deny having done polling on the initiative. Still, even those opposed to the measure can see why it might attract votes.
"Identity theft is such a sensitive issue that when we see something on the ballot that's supposed to save us from identity thieves, it's not a problem to vote for it," says Alex Hamalian, a criminal defense attorney who sits on the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association's (OCDLA) legislative committee.
Unfortunately, defense attorneys like Hamalian say Mannix's initiative does nothing to tackle the fact that most felony property crimes have their roots in drug addiction. There's also the projected $128-200 million annual expense of sending up to 4,400 more people to prison, should the measure pass.
Read more here, or come along on Tuesday night. There'll be beer and conversation. And hopefully, JUSTICE. In the end.