Oregon Center for Public Policy report on "The Gaming and Decline of Oregon Corporate Taxes"
While the OregonPEN agenda includes eventual phaseout of all taxes on income and earnings (in favor of taxes on pollution, use of toxics and non-renewable resources, and socially-created and accumulated wealth), you face each election with the tax system you have, rather than the tax system you wish you had. Thus, in that context, OregonPEN concludes that Measure 97 deserves to pass; the alternative is far worse than passage of this imperfect measure.
by Tyler Mac Innis and Juan Carlos Ordóñez, OCPP
Letting the feds run the show on subjects where the US Constitution puts the feds in sole charge must make too much sense and save too much money
Another recycled idea that didn't make it onto the 2016 ballots has been re-filed for 2018. This one is notable only because it includes a state representative from Medford among its chief petitioners. The proposed initiative, 2018-006, declares itself to be about "Repeal of Oregon's Sanctuary Law." Oddly, the filed text fails to show that the initiative is to delete the language of the statute, which reads as follows today.
Initiative filed to propose constitutional amendment to solve non-existent voter fraud crisis
Frequent chief petitioners James Buchal and Michael Nearman have re-cycled a failed constitutional amendment idea from 2016 by filing it as proposed measure 2018-005. Basically a bog-standard Voter ID provision of the kind that has swept many US states seeking to discourage voter turnout, the backers hope to bring Oregon into the mix by adding the idea to the Oregon Constitution.
It mostly duplicates the prior failed attempt (2016-51) with one interesting change: Whereas, in 2016, the initiative authors proposed 10 years for Oregonians who still wanted to vote to get compliant ID, this year's model has only a 2-year window for everyone to get the necessary ID.
[TO BE INSERTED IN THE OREGON CONSTITUTION AFTER ARTICLE 11, SECTION 2]
Benton County Voters will Decide Measure 2-100
The "Better Ballots for Benton County" campaign to bring ranked-choice voting to life in Oregon has reached a major milestone with the successful effort to present a measure to voters for approval in November 2016. The campaign issued a press release on the milestone:
RANKED CHOICE VOTING ON BENTON BALLOT FOR NOVEMBER
Maine might have to amend Constitution to complete RCV adoption
Happily for Oregon, the Oregon Constitution presents no barriers at all to the adoption of Ranked Choice Voting methods. In fact, the Oregon Constitution expressly permits Ranked Choice Voting. Although our Constitution, like Maine's, refers to elections by plurality, it specifically allowed use of preference voting to find that plurality:
Election by plurality; proportional representation.
In all elections authorized by this constitution until otherwise provided by law, the person or persons receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected, but provision may be made by law for elections by equal proportional representation of all the voters for every office which is filled by the election of two or more persons whose official duties, rights and powers are equal and concurrent. Every qualified elector resident in his precinct and registered as may be required by law, may vote for one person under the title for each office. Provision may be made by law for the voter's direct or indirect expression of his first, second or additional choices among the candidates for any office. For an office which is filled by the election of one person it may be required by law that the person elected shall be the final choice of a majority of the electors voting for candidates for that office. These principles may be applied by law to nominations by political parties and organizations.
In Maine, the provisions calling for plurality elections were not modified by the highlighted phrase above describing ranked-choice voting.
"We understand that there is an open question of whether Ranked Choice Voting would be constitutional in Maine," said Jill Ward, President of the League of Women Voters of Maine.
A better way to vote leads to better behavior by those seeking votes
Analysis by Fairvote.org
In California, Independent voters in RCV cities were more satisfied with candidates' campaigns.
CITIZEN REFERENDUM ON RANKED CHOICE VOTING
How Does Ranked Choice Voting Work?
Getting to the root of the problem. - by Kristin Eberhard
Original Sightline Institute graphic, available under our free use policy.
The outstanding Northwest public policy think tank called "The Sightline Institute" (formerly Northwest Environment Watch) has a writer, Kristin Eberhard, who has been on fire lately with an extended exploration of problems in our democratic process, most particularly those in elections.
Last time, I explained how the rise of independent voters and the popularity of party outsiders Sanders and Trump show that American voters want more options, and how the path to change in the United States is through the individual states themselves. Here, I describe a few ways Oregon and Washington could do what New Zealand did: switch from winner-take-all voting to proportional representation voting. By making the switch, Oregon and Washington could spark a movement towards proportional representation in federal elections, too.
And here’s how Oregon could adopt ranked-choice proportional representation for the state legislature:
LA Times turning anti-SLAPP law on its head
I'm Ted Rall. I'm a 52-year-old syndicated political cartoonist, columnist and occasional war correspondent in New York.
The May 2015 cartoon by Ted Rall in the LA Times that prompted LAPD Chief Beck to demand Rall's firing.
Austin Beutner, billionaire, ex-publisher, LA Times
The Los Angeles Police Protective League's blog gloating over Rall's firing. The LAPPL has since taken it down.
Angry LA Times subscribers' comments supporting Rall.
Details of GoFundMe thank you premiums at https://www.gofundme.com/tedrall
Co-Sponsored by OregonPEN
Portlandia's favorite Midwestern Republican Conservative will bring the Strong Towns message
Last year, former Portland Metro council president David Bragdon got the prize as the little boy who noted the Emperor's nakedness when he penned a screed and gave talks pointing out that Oregon urban and transportation planning is a cesspool of incompetence and dishonesty.
One of OregonPEN's heroes, Chuck Marohn, a professional engineer and recovering planner, will be in Portland and Salem the first week in October to participate in a series of events and share the vision of the nonprofit he founded to find and activate "a million people who care" about their towns and who have to wrestle with the kinds of problems that Bragdon identified.
Portland, OR Monday, October 3, 9:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m
Salem, OR - Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 9:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
To help those unfamiliar with Chuck and his importance, OregonPEN presents excerpts from a lengthy "Q&A" interview that he gave at the most recent Congress for the New Urbanism in Detroit. (Text loosely edited for clarity and grammar.) Labels of each segment by OregonPEN
The S.I. Hayakawa Moment
Semanticist and one-term U.S. Senator S.I. Hayakawa told a story about being awed by the august personalities in the Senate, at first. He said that he was at first intimidated, thinking "What am I doing with these 99 great men" but that, after a while, he found himself thinking "What am I doing trapped with these 99 idiots."
Jared: When you were working on fixing water infrastructure for small towns in Minnesota and you got that realization that, “Gosh, this isn't working out,” did you have any idea that would lead to something where somebody's sitting at a dinner and says, “Chuck, I find you so inspiring?”
On the Use of Data in Urban Planning
Life as the voice of a movement
From talking the talk to walking the walk
An alternative model for paying for access
The evolution of the Strong Towns message
Initiative to stop abuse of "emergency" legislation in Salem a problematic response to a real problem
Most legislation is relatively self-contained, in that the bills don't affect the distribution of power within the legislative body itself. The bill passes or fails, and the project or program is started or stopped accordingly or a new crime is added to the books or taken off the books, and life goes on.
Some bills seem to be relatively self-contained but carry within them, more or less subtly, aspects that alter the power relationships in the Capital. It is not lost on legislators that entirely new programs create entirely constituencies for legislated benefits, which can have the result of strengthening or weakening political parties unequally.
These bills tend to be hotly contested in a way that seems all out of proportion to the casual observer who fails to note the more subtle effects. The so-called "Clean Fuels" program in Oregon is a perfect example. Considered narrowly, the bill does nothing to alter they power dynamics in Salem and is hardly worth even a tiny fraction of the partisan hostility is has spawned in Salem.
However, the sparring over this program has been intense and pervasive, for good reason. Indeed, while the program will do little or nothing to benefit Oregonians from the perspective of avoiding or mitigating climate disruption --- and it may even harm Oregon's ability to get serious about tackling the climate chaos that we are already getting a taste of --- the bill makes a serious change to the existing power relationships in Salem by creating a river of money that escapes the misbegotten 1942 Constitutional amendment (when the state gas tax was just a nickel) that dedicated all motor fuel taxes to highway purposes.
The "clean fuels" tax evades the Constitutional kidnapping by calculating the tax of various fuels based on their carbon intensity (how much climate-altering greenhouse gas each fuel causes to be emitted per unit of fuel) -- so, presto, it's not a fuel tax, and therefore it isn't fed to the Oregon Department of Transportation (the pseudonym that the 1913 Oregon Highway Department adopted in 1969, the same year Nixon was inaugurated after claiming to have a secret plan to end the Vietnam War).
Breaking the Highway Department's stranglehold on funds generated by driving will have enormous effect on the power of legislators, both urban and rural, all across Oregon. Rural legislators have a visceral, instinctive realization that their districts depend on funds generated in the more densely populated areas, and that a vital component that causes the funds to flow away from the voters who generate them is the Constitutional prohibition on doing anything else with them. Nearly all the heated rhetoric about the Clean Fuels program is thus entirely beside the point. From an environmental standpoint, the program is less than nothing, or worse than nothing depending on how bitterly the partisan battles get over it. The battle is all about the power of urban vs rural legislators.
One echo of the battle over the program is a renewed appreciation for how the Democrats in the Legislature have learned to adroitly use "emergency" clauses to get laws into effect without the usual Constitutional requirement that laws don't take effect until at least 90 days after final passage and signature by the Governor (Oregon Constitution, Art. VI, Sect. 28).
Section 28. When Act takes effect. No act shall take effect, until ninety days from the end of the session at which the same shall have been passed, except in case of emergency; which emergency shall be declared in the preamble, or in the body of the law.
As a result of the Democrats' increasing use of this bit of legislative artifice -- strewing "emergency" clauses about like confetti and changing the meaning of emergency to "we really don't want to see a referendum on this" -- the Republicans in Salem, mired in the minority and having been unable to elect a single statewide official for more than a decade, are deprived of one of the few tools at their disposal, the threat of a referendum. A referendum is, by definition, a plebescite (vote of the people) on an important proposal. When the "Oregon System" of initiatives and referenda (along with recall of elected officials) was formed, the idea of using an emergency clause to avoid the plebiscite was unheard of.
Thus, now that it is routine for even bills with very little inherent urgency, much less emergency, to get an "emergency" designation, the reaction is predictable -- an effort to make it harder to abuse the emergency designation.
Which is an example of the most-hotly contested kinds of proposals of all: Constitutional amendments that are solely about changing the balance of power in Salem. The latest example is proposed initiative 2018-04 (below, new text in bold) which aims to make use of phony "emergency" designations very difficult by requiring a two-thirds majority in each house.
If 2018-04 reaches the required number of signatures (117,578) and then prevails in 2018, the result will be to greatly increase the power of legislative minorities to extract concessions from legislative majorities. In this post-Citizen's United era of unlimited corporate power and influence, it is a lot easier to hire signature gatherer firms and get a bill referred to the voters in a referendum than it is to persuade your legislative colleagues to change their minds.
Couple this idea with the proposed "Grassroots Petitioning Initiative" (2018-02) that has already been proposed and it's possible to imagine a ballot with dozens of referenda every general election.
So this initiative will bear careful watching. It will not be an easy sell to persuade voters to alter the Constitution to solve a problem that few are even aware of, particularly when the likely outcome is even more partisan gridlock resulting from more power to legislative minorities.
But Democrats would do well to remember that the world turns, and their legislative majorities of the recent past can just as easily become legislative minorities in the future. The abuse of the "emergency" designation on routine bills is a significant problem that increases political polarization and dissipates social capital by letting legislative majorities escape the tether that Oregonians fashioned to restrain them somewhat.
The most widespread wisdom in the world is that you should treat others as you would want them to treat you if your situations were reversed. By using emergency clauses as shortcuts around the need for legislative compromise, the Democratic majority in Salem is doing the exact opposite. When their turn in the minority returns, they will regret it.
A sample of original thinking from Chuck Marohn from his "The Barbell Strategy"
A rethink of sex offender registry laws would be welcome but a simple total repeal proposal seems unlikely to prompt a productive discussion - or reach the ballot
One Thomas Madison of Salem has filed an initiative petition for the 2018 ballot that would abolish entirely all forms of sex offender registries maintained by the Oregon or its subdivisions. The text of proposed initiative 2018-3 is below:
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Oregon, the complete repeal of Oregon's sex offender registration laws in their entirety as it currently pertains to ORS requirements and processes of labeling, categorizing, tracking and registering "sex offenders" who have completed their criminal punishment sentence obligations of prison, parole and probation. This Oregon Initiative, if enacted, will significantly change Oregon Sex Offender Registration laws by modifying, eliminating, superseding or overriding numerous existing Oregon laws in any number of Oregon Statutes and any related Oregon regulatory laws as it currently applies towards present and future Oregon citizens classified as "sex offenders". Major provisions include:
Prior drafts of initiatives sex offender registry - Proposed initiative 2016-70 - Withdrawn
In October 2015, Madison filed a vague idea with a much more detailed preamble, supposedly aimed at the ballot for this November's election (2016-70). The text of that proposal read as shown below. In January 2016, Madison withdrew that proposed initiative and replaced it with proposed initiative 2016-81 using the same very streamlined language shown above. 2016-81 was never formally withdrawn, but failed to obtain the 1,000 signatures needed to obtain a ballot title.
The goal of this initiative is to substantially reform the sex offender registration laws so that they will finally be tied to relevant facts and reasoning regarding the very basis of the SOR law itself. A reformed SOR law will lead to better public safety, based on facts, for all citizens including children and at the same time protecting the integrity of the United States and Oregon Constitutions with respect for the Due Process and Equality under the Law legal rights.
Another idea from the same petitioner: