No Dead People on Ballot
More than anything, this measure is legislative housecleaning. Currently, if a nominee dies after ballots are mailed to voters but before election day, that election will still occur.
This measure would allow for elections to be postponed if a candidate dies; special elections will be held instead, making sure that all candidates are actually still breathing when the election goes down.
Perhaps the only argument against this measure is John Ashcroft. In the 2000 elections, the current Attorney General and mastermind of the USA Patriot Act lost his bid for Missouri's U.S. seat to a dead guy! That's just funny.
Measure 32: VOTE YES
Tax Mobile Homes As Homes Not Mobile Vehicles
Currently, mobile homes are taxed as recreational vehicles (along with campers, snowmobiles, and RVs). Revenue from those taxes and fees goes to highway and park projects. But, proponents say, because mobile homes aren't fun like snowmobiles and, really, are more "homes" than "mobile" road vehicles, isn't it time those taxes went to more appropriate uses? This amendment doesn't change the amount of taxes paid; it only redirects the revenue from parks and highway projects to "building code related services."
Measure 33:VOTE NO
Expand Medical Marijuana Act
This measure would broaden Oregon's medical marijuana program to allow more people to smoke more pot more often. It also allows naturopaths and nurse practitioners to deal--er, dispense--marijuana.
Oregon already enjoys medical marijuana allowances. That voter-approved system is still settling into place. More than 1000 Oregon physicians are licensed to dispense dope to "aid" patients. There has been no compelling argument put forward on why the original plan is insufficient enough to demand even more reform.
This measure actually takes medical marijuana laws in the wrong direction. It adds additional bureaucracy, such as a Government Commission on Marijuana. It also demands more governmental spending, which would prove unpopular. Currently, the state is slashing tens of thousands of poor families from the Oregon Health Plan. How can we justify plowing state revenue into a largely scientifically untested practice while working-class families are not receiving basic medical coverage?
The real issue is de-criminalizing marijuana. This measure only adds to opponents' paranoia that pot-smokers are trying to sneak one by them.
Measure 34: VOTE YES
Balance Timber Production and Resource Management in State Parks
The State Board of Forestry's guidelines say they must harvest timber to secure the "greatest permanent value" from the land. Voting yes on this measure ensures that "permanent value" is not defined by logging interests alone. Measure 34 permanently bans cutting on half the Tillamook and Clatsop forests, keeps logging in the other half at least as protected as under current regulations, and protects school funding at the same time.
Measure 35: VOTE NO
Cap Non-Economic Damages for Medical Malpractice Suits
The folks behind Measure 35 say they've done the math--humans can experience $500,000 worth of emotional trauma, and not a penny more. That's the maximum amount of non-economic damages (meaning things that don't rack up hospital bills but still really, really suck: mental suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium). Sure, $500,000 may sound like a winning lottery ticket. But just to clarify, loss of consortium means "the loss of the company, affection, assistance, and sexual relations of a spouse." If a medical provider makes a wrong snip-snip that ends your sex life, is that worth a half-million to you? Or, say a medical slip-up leaves you looking like the elephant man, what's the emotional damage of having little kids run and hide every time you go to Fred Meyer?
Proponents for 35 suggest that capping malpractice suits would hold down health insurance rates. Unfortunately, that's just not true.
MEASURE 36: VOTE NO, NO, NO
Amends Constitution To Outlaw Same-Sex Marriages
First, let's clarify: Even if you don't agree with same-sex marriage or homosexuality, that does not justify a "yes" vote. Voting "no" does not mean gays and lesbians will be given the right to marry. It just means they will not be subjected to being second-class citizens. This is not about the "sanctity" of marriage as an institution. This is about hospital visitation rights, inheritance rights, and other rights heterosexuals take for granted. Voting "no" at least preserves the opportunity for persons in long-term, committed relationships to have those privileges.
MEASURE 37: VOTE NO
Government Must Pay Landowners
How you vote on Measure 37 says a lot about your deepest personality: Voting "yes" puts you in the category of selfish oafs. Voting "yes" will bankrupt our city, counties, and state.
The proponents behind Measure 37 are the type of people who would sue Mt. St. Helens for blowing its top and ruining their view. Under the guidance of 37, the city or state government would be forced to pay individual landowners anytime landowners feel like some land-use regulation or environmental protection affects their speculative property value. For the sake of helping out developers, this measure will undercut land-use and environmental protection laws.
MEASURE 38: VOTE NO
Abolishes State Accident Insurance Fund
Yes, SAIF--the state-run insurance company for workers compensation--is a mess. But this measure does not propose a good alternative. SAIF insures 35,000-plus small businesses in the state. In spite of mismanagement, their rates are relatively low. Liberty Northwest Insurance, a company that--despite its name--has its headquarters in Boston, leads this measure. It's a Tonya Harding approach to competition. The measure creates a vacuum into which Liberty can move. This is a matter for the state legislature to fix, not another insurance company.
Multnomah County Measures
MEASURES 26-57 through 26-63: VOTE YES
This cluster of measures is cleaning up a mess made two decades ago. It straightens out a few inconsistencies at the county building.
26-57: Amends county charter so that elected officers must receive a majority vote.
26-58: Takes power away from county officials setting their own salaries and gives it wholly to the Salary Commission.
26-59: Allows Multnomah County to hire lobbyists for interests in Salem and DC. (All other counties in state have this privilege.)
26-60: Lifts restriction on elected officials to two four-year terms. (Hell, let the voters decide whom they want.)
26-61: Allows elected officials to run for another office during their term.
26-62: Reduces Civil Service Commission term from six to three years.
26-63: Puts county in line with state laws about what to do when a candidate dies. (Jeez, what's all the fuss this year with dead people?)
Measure 26-64: VOTE NO
Repeals County Income Tax
In May 2003, voters approved a slight income tax increase for the next three years (until 2006). That revenue is largely being guided towards schools and mental health institutions. Now, perennial anti-tax crusader Don McIntire wants to derail the plan that's already in motion.
Sure, we're taxed a bit more (and it's only temporary)--but short-term costs for better education and better health care will provide long-term savings when we don't have to pay for jail beds whenever some poor sap can't get his psych medication and freaks out.