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Eugene Weekly : Viewpoint : 10.30.08




Echo Down the Ticket

Obama ... mah ... mah ... mah 

by Tony Corcoran

Welcome back students, new Democratic registrants; thanks for voting to ensure the election of Barack Obama. I’m 59 years old, and I haven’t felt such positive political vibes since the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

But please, voters! Don’t forget Oregon! Don’t forget Eugene! Don’t just complete the arrow for Obama on your ballot. We have a critical U.S. Senate race and a huge decision to make about Eugene in the mayor’s race. Vote down the ticket.

In the old days, before vote-by-mail, we produced “palm cards,” voter guides to help friends who, let’s say, didn’t want to read through all 12 goddamn ballot measures. So here are my three critical races and a few of the ballot measures, followed by the rest of the ballot. 

• U. S. president: Barack Obama, community organizer. Sarah Palin makes even Karl Rove nervous!

• U.S. Senate: Jeff Merkley. I have a unique perspective on this race, having served with both Merkley and Gordon Smith in the Oregon Legislature. Jeff is everything that Gordon is not: he’s forthright, he’s thoughtful, he’s intellectually honest. I’m sick of Gordon distancing himself from bad Republican leadership every election cycle. He’s a 90 percent Bushie; he didn’t come out against Iraq until polls showed 68 percent of Oregonians opposed it. With 60 Democrats in the Senate, we can prevent cloture and stalemate with President Obama.

• Eugene mayor: Kitty Piercy. What do Jim Torrey, John McCain and Gordon Smith all have in common? They all try to hide their Republican roots at election time. Kitty inherited this pock-marked, Aster-holed downtown from Torrey’s reign as mayor. Torrey is a pawn of the land speculators greedy for government tax bailouts to artificially enhance their downtown properties. Sound familiar, Wall Street? Torrey has never supported Democrats who support education; he has never supported adequate funding for fire and public safety. He yaps about police support, but adequate oversight never occurred to him when he was mayor. Don’t be deceived. 



Ballot measures (Cliffs Notes version):

• 54 — YES — Legislative referral: standardizes school board elections.

• 55 — YES — Legislative referral: fixes problem with redistricted legislators. 

• 56 — YES — Legislative referral: fixes “double-majority” tax elections. Supporters: teachers, firefighters, librarians, mayors. Opponents: Bill Sizemore and Gary George. Any questions?

• 57 — YES — Legislative referral. This is a lesser-of-two-evils crime bill proposed to counter Measure 61 created by Kevin Mannix. If both measures pass, the one with the most votes is enacted. Measure 61 would devastate our state general fund, thus killing higher education, K-12 and human services funding. So if you vote against 57, make damn sure you vote against 61. 

• 58 — NO — Prohibits teaching in any language but English. In a word: racist.

• 59 — NO — Unlimited tax deduction for federal income tax on Oregon tax returns. Like Measure 61, this would devastate our state general fund — killing higher education, K-12 and human services funding to give the wealthy another tax break. 

• 60 — NO — Foggy teacher “classroom performance” supercedes seniority. Sponsor: Bill Sizemore. Any questions?

• 61 — NO — Harsher minimum prison sentences, no mechanism to pay for additional prisons. See Measure 57.

• 62 — NO — Allocates 15 percent of lottery for public safety. Sounds great, but then how do we pay for gambling addiction and mental health services and parks and economic development? Robs Peter to pay Paul.

• 63 — NO — Exempts $35,000 in home improvements from building permits. Really stupid. Sponsor: Bill Sizemore. Any questions?

• 64 — NO — Permits cheating the public while making money off the initiative process. Sponsor: Bill Sizemore. (You gotta read his third-person rant in the Voters’ Pamphlet ... poor man; sniff, sniff.)

• 65 — NO — Changes general election nomination process. This is not a time to give more power to wealthy members of the Republican Party. Phil Kiesling ought to be ashamed of himself.



Other contested races:

U.S. Congress, 4th District: Peter DeFazio. I’ve never been prouder of my friend than when he voted against the Wall Street bailout — even with the county timber money attached. A principled man.

Secretary of State: Kate Brown. State treasurer: Ben Westlund. Labor Commissioner: Brad Avakian. State Rep., District 7: Don Nordin. State Rep., District 9: Arnie Roblan. State Rep., District 12: Terry Beyer.



Tony Corcoran is a member of the state Employment Appeals Board and co-founder of the Hot Air Society of South Lane, Eugene, and Springfield (HASSLES). The views expressed herein are those of a private citizen of Oregon.