If you’re feeling lost this election season, fear not — the Oregon Commentator is here to tell you how to vote. And if you don’t vote like us, well, you’re considerably less cool.
United States Senate
Who we like: Marc Delphine (L)
Third party candidacy is the province of sweaty or desiccated egotists whose eyes are filled with confusion and wavering non-intensity, as if the only thing in which they have any confidence is the idea that soon they will get around to figuring out just what it is they’re doing here. It takes a special kind of hallucinatory opportunism to dive headfirst into a political contest without major-party puppet strings tied to you, perhaps with the idea that you could easily sort out your financial troubles if only you could see your way clear to a U.S. Senator’s salary. Normally, we advise against these people, but let’s face it, everyone in this race apart from Ron Wyden is effectively a third-party candidate; one just happens to ride around in a bus with Michael Steele for ill-attended parking lot events that are photographed only from the side.
Given the choice between that, Wyden and something else, we’ll go for Libertarian Party candidate Marc Delphine. Delphine owns a college planning firm, which is odd for someone whose college degrees are from Portland Community College and the University of Phoenix. He identifies himself both as openly gay and as a Tea Party member. This is an identity that must take iron will to hold together, the kind of iron will popular cinema assigns to people who wake up at ungodly hours to go for sweaty twilit jogs, then spend 48 minutes afterwards chanting “You are a go-getter” to their reflections in the bathroom mirror while weeping softly. This, we say without irony, is exactly what Oregon needs. His platform’s not much, but then it holds together better than Jim Huffman’s, which is basically “Ron Wyden is bad and I’m not him.” Delphine isn’t either.
United States House of Representatives, District 4
Who we like: Peter DeFazio (D)
In case you haven’t heard, Art Robinson is a nut. The man believes in protecting children from prevailing socialist ideology in our public schools and that human-induced global warming is a joke. Crazy people are funny; there’s no doubt about that. But when we only have seven people representing the state of Oregon in Washington, D.C., it is important that they are committed to doing what is best for Oregonians. Peter DeFazio has proven time and time again that he votes for the state of Oregon, particularly for the largely rural population in our district.
Who we like: Deez Nutz
Honestly, Oregon, these are our choices? Former Portland Trailblazer Chris Dudley scraped his way past Allen Alley in the Republican primary on his aggressive “JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS!!!!” campaign, and former governor John Kitzhaber used his insider connections to sneak past Bill Bradbury in the joke we call a Democratic primary. While he was governor, Kitzy called the state “ungovernable.” FUCK. THAT. But has Dudley ever done anything even remotely political? Nope. Our choices here are between lame-dick number one and lame-dick number two, and we can’t in good conscience endorse either of these goobers. Deez Nuts are big and foreboding, and will govern the state far better than Job-publican Chris Dudley or Insider-crat John Kitzhaber. Also, have Dudley or Kitzy ever been in your mouth? Nope. Can you really trust a governor who’s never been in your mouth? We don’t think so.
Who we like: Chris Telfer (R)
It’s not so much a case of who we like as who we don’t like. The two third party candidates, Walter Brown (Progressive) and Michael “Emperor Palpatine” Marsh (Constitution) have some good points, but are kind of creepy. Brown is firmly opposed to Kitzy’s sales tax, but also wants to establish a state-run Bank of Oregon. Marsh, on the other hand, is running a hard-line fiscal conservative platform, but also likes the gold standard and thinks the first step to getting Oregon back on track is “prayer with repentance and hope that God will restore us.” Say it with me now: W-T-F.
Between Republican Chris Telfer and incumbent Democrat Ted Wheeler, who was appointed to replace Ben Westlund when he died in office, it’s a close call; but we lean toward Telfer. She’s a Certified Public Accountant and is in her first term as Senator for Deschutes County. Before that, she served six years on the Bend City Council as a Democrat, where she says she gradually became more fiscally conservative as she watched the city budget inflate. She also has emphasized government transparency in her campaign, which we dig.
OR Senate 4
Who we like: Floyd Prozanski (D) / Deez Nutz
Kittelman is exactly the type of candidate that spent eight years this decade discrediting the Republican Party. Fiscal conservatism is exactly what the country needs. Candidates who say they support fiscal conservatism and a balanced budget, then champion government spending are not. At least Floyd Prozanski is honest and clear-headed about his ideas. Deez Nutz would also be good.
OR Senate 7
Who we like: Chris Edwards (D)
You can tell a lot about a candidate from their website. http://karenbodner.web.officelive.com tells me everything I could ever want to know about Karen Bodner, Republican candidate for State Senate District 7. “Creation of a government efficiency commission can identify what we want our state’s ‘core functions of government’ to be and transfer non-essential jobs to the private sector and eliminate wasteful programs” is one of her policy priorities, in addition to increased public safety funding, school vouchers, and “revitaliz[ing] our Natural Resources Industries” using “Best Management Practices.” Bodner is quite simply not a serious candidate, and her campaign materials make me question her ability to perform effectively in state government. While incumbent Chris Edwards, a Democrat, will almost certainly continue to support tax increases and more regulation of private enterprise, I’ll take slightly liberal (as I see no evidence of any real extremism on Edward’s part) over slightly illiterate.
OR House 8
Who we like: Sudsy O’Sullivan
Established Democrat incumbent Paul Holvey is fielding off a challenge from UO Senior Simone Gordon, the latest in a long line of illustrious sacrificial lambs that Republicans have run in heavily Democrat districts. A quick comparison of their voter’s pamphlet statements lends no big insight, but the campaign websites again show the true mettle of each candidate. On her biography page, Gordon culminates her biography with “…now I’m running for State Representative. Everyday is an adventure, to say the least! When I’m not campaigning, I enjoy spending time with my wonderful fiancé, hiking, fly fishing, tennis, skiing, and writing.” It would appear that Gordon confused “how to write a campaign biography” with “how to write a LiveJournal post.” Her only actual legislative goal is to eliminate euthanasia in Oregon’s animal shelters. On the flip side, Holvey’s mildly polished website details a history of support for increasing regulation of every minutia of private life, and the kinds of tax hikes necessary to pay for it. Thusly, the Oregon Commentator recommends that you write in Sudsy O’Sullivan, a long time activist in the district, for this seat.
OR House 13
Who we like: Bill Young (R) (kinda)
Nancy Nathanson, the incumbent representative, is nothing exciting. She’s a Democrat who focuses on her constituents and their community, while still finding time in her busy schedule to vote for tax increases. She’s mentioned supporting the Olympic Trials in 2008, opposition to the renaming of Beltline, and support for railroad infrastructure improvements as some of her top achievements. Bill Young, her Republican challenger, supports increased law enforcement funding to be paid for by a tuition increase at OUS institutions. His legislative goals are unclear in his voter’s pamphlet statement and there is no website for his campaign. The Pacific Green Party candidate, Mark Callahan, is an unemployed computer programmer who would rather use his voter’s pamphlet space to brag about how he is an eagle scout and was the Register-Guard’s Newspaper Carrier of the Year in 1994. There’s no better argument against third-party politics than candidates like Callahan who seemingly don’t know that a campaign is not won by saying why your mother is proud of you. As for the more legitimate candidates, Young seems more willing to take steps to promote private sector job growth, even if he doesn’t say exactly what those steps are. The OC endorses Bill Young, but barely.
Appeals Judge 2
Who we like: Rebecca Duncan
We’re going to let incumbent Rebecca Duncan, who is running unopposed, say it in her own words: “Judge Duncan went to law school to pursue farts, and she is undesirable to have had the opportunity to do so first as a sauce, generally accepted as smooth.. She is deeply committed to hedonism and faithful to Opus Dei. Judge Duncan is sophomoric and porcine. She uses her titties, rocket-propelled grenades, and the narcotic ibogaine to serve Marshall Appelwhite and the citizens of Turkmenistan.”
This endorsement brought to you by MadLibs!©
2nd District Circuit Court 5
Who we like: Ilsa HR Rooke-Levy
Did unopposed incumbent Ilsa HR Rooke-Levy steal candy from a small child? Did Rooke-Levy travel back in time and kill the dinosaurs because she knew they’d be delicious, surprisingly lean, and great with mustard and pickles? Did Rooke-Levy get drunk at your grandmother’s birthday party, pass out on the cake, and make your grandmother cry? Is Rooke-Levy made of highly dangerous plutonium? Think of your favorite person. What nasty things has Rooke-Levy said about that person? These are just questions. We are just asking.
2nd District Circuit Court 9
Who we like: No contest
Suzanne Chianti doesn’t need your vote. She’s better than that. We’re talking about Suzanne Chianti here. As in the unopposed incumbent in this race. The woman is a judge. You think she needs your vote? How pathetic is that. Suzanne Chianti is trained in the law. She could win this race without your vote or anybody else’s. Suzanne Chianti could run against Suzanne Chianti herself and win. And the Suzanne Chianti against whom she was running would also win, so there’d be two Suzanne Chiantis in the position, which would be impressive. Like Suzanne Chianti. And you think the woman needs your vote? Please!
West Lane County Commissioner Position 1
Who we like: Deez Nutz
On a lot of issues, the two candidates seem pretty similar. Both are channeling anti-spending rhetoric and arguing for more assistance for their rural district, which covers most of Lane County that lies west of Eugene. Rust already beat Bozievich 47 percent to 36 percent back in May, but failed to catch the 50 percent majority and avoid a run-off race.
Jerry Rust had this job before in 1977. He retired in 1996 after moving to the South Eugene seat now held by Pete Sorenson. A resident of Mapleton, Rust thinks the County Commission needs to be doing more to reach out to rural communities. He has more experience that Bozievich by a long shot, but some worry that the former Democrat’s anti-spending rhetoric is just an act.
Bozievich, EWEB member turned Tea Partier, is running an all-too-predictable candidacy about job creation and increased law enforcement. Aside from that, he hasn’t said much, and his nonexistent public record doesn’t help to fill in any blanks.
What it does: Expands availability of home ownership loans for Oregon veterans through Oregon War Veterans’ Fund.
How we feel: Yes
The Oregon Commentator urges you to vote yes on Measure 70, allowing a larger number of Oregon veterans and surviving spouses to receive home ownership loans. Current law only allows a portion of Oregon veterans and families to receive money from the Oregon War Veterans’ Fund, not including certain veterans even though they were honorably discharged. The brave men and women of our armed forces deserve benefits from the Oregon War Veterans’ Fund, regardless of which wars they fought in and how long they were fighting. The best part? The measure requires no additional cost to citizens. Stand up for Oregon’s veterans by voting yes on Measure 70.
What it does: Requires legislature to meet annually; limits length of legislative sessions; provides exceptions.
How we feel: Yes
More accountability in Salem is always a good idea. Currently, the state legislature meets once ever two years for an undetermined period of time. Under the new legislation proposed with Measure 71, the legislature would have to meet every year for a specific period of time (160 days for the odd-numbered years, 35 days for the even-numbered years). This change will force the Oregon legislature to be more efficient with a minimal cost to taxpayers. In fact, it will prevent Oregon taxpayers from having to fund costly special sessions when the legislature inevitably doesn’t get its shit done.
What it does: Authorizes exception to $50,000 state borrowing limit for state’s real and personal property projects
How we feel: Yes
The State Legislature seems hell-bent on borrowing money to pay for things, and who can blame them. We as taxpayers continue to demand more and more social services while refusing to pay more in taxes. If we’re going to have to borrow money, using the cheapest method available is probably the best approach. Student-voters should also be informed that if this measure were to fail for some reason, the Legislature’s next favorite method of getting more funding without raising taxes is to jack up your tuition. Besides, no one, not even the craziest of Oregon’s political crazies, filed a statement of opposition in the voters pamphlet for this one, so it can’t really be that bad.
What it does: Increased mandatory minimum sentencing from 15 to 25 for repeat sex offenders and drunk drivers.
How we feel: No.
Oregon already has mandatory minimum sentencing, and this Kevin Mannix-approved measure isn’t going to do us a whole lot of good. Repeat sex offenders already get 15 years mandatory minimum, but the “Yes” crowd thinks that an extra 10 will accomplish something that the first 15 couldn’t. And it will. It will funnel $1.4 million dollars from local government in the first year, and by the fifth year is expected to cost us between $18 and $29 million a year. The bill makes no mention of a funding source, so the money will have to – as it does now – come from the General Fund, which is used to pay for things like public education, social services and public safety. The Citizen’s Review Board also worries that the overly broad scope will lead to unintended consequences, including netting sexters as major felons.
What it does: Establishes non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries.
How we feel: Yes(-ish)
It’s been 12 years since Oregon established its medical marijuana program, but unlike other states, we’ve never had a dispensary system. Currently, patients must invest the money into growing their own or go to a caregiver who will grow it for them and isn’t already growing for four people, the legal limit. This may not be too hard in the Willamette Valley, but for Oregonians who live outside pot central, this can mean having to go to the black market for their medicine. This measure won’t restrict the current system. You can still grow your own or go to a caregiver if you don’t want to go to a dispensary. In fact, it increases the amount of weed a caregiver can possess, up from six mature plants or 24 ounces, to 24 mature plants or six pounds of pot. The project is self-funding, with dispensaries paying 10 percent of their gross revenue to fund the system, as well as a scientific research program and assistance for low-income cardholders. Money would also be used to fund other Department of Human Services programs, depending how much it ends up bringing in. The state expects it to bring in anywhere between $400,000 and $20 million the first year. It’s far from perfect, but most of the criticism levied at this measure reflects problems that also exist in the current system. Opponents fear it could lead to a glut of high-potency pot in the black market, make law enforcement’s job more difficult, and even lead to de facto legalization. None of these really sound all that bad, though, when you consider … wait, what were we talking about again?
What it does: Establishes Oregon’s first non-tribal casino in Wood Village, a suburb of Portland.
How we feel: Fuck no.
If you went to school here last year, you probably encountered those guys wanting you to sign a measure for a new tax that would help save our public schools. Well, there was a reason they were so dodgy when you asked where the money would come from. As it turns out, it would come from the first non-tribal casino in the state of Oregon – a proposal that voters have repeatedly turned down over the years. It’s a bad location and it opens the doors to more privatized gambling in Oregon. Provisions could result in less money to state governments, even after they’ve paid their 25 percent tax. Oregon currently has nine tribal casinos, which we promised them in exchange for that whole “taking their land and destroying their entire culture” thing. Remember those old “Keep America Beautiful” PSAs? Think of the crying Indian. Taking away his casino is 1,000 times worse than a cheeseburger wrapper.
The voters’ pamphlet says this would only become operative if a separate constitutional amendment was passed to allow private casinos in the state, but a Marion County circuit court judge recently ruled that the secondary amendment wouldn’t be needed to approve the casino.
What it does: Continues and makes permanent dedication of 15% of lottery revenues to state parks and wilderness conservation.
How we feel: Yes
Since 1999, 15% of the Oregon Lottery’s revenues have gone towards the maintenance of state parks, including beach fronts, wildlife habitat, and watershed conservation. It has worked pretty well over the past ten years. Oregon’s state parks are numerous and enjoyable. People come to Oregon to enjoy the scenic beauty of our state, and state parks, many of which generate revenue in their own right, provided that opportunity. Lottery revenues should be spent on the kinds of things that benefit all Oregonians. Without Measure 76, these lottery revenues will be dumped right back into the general fund to pay for other tasks, like putting more people in jail or regulating a giant casino in Portland, just to take examples from other measures on the ballot.