Posts with tag "measures":

Oct
12
2008
0

Oregon General Election 2008: Measures 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 64

The measures for the 2008 Oregon General Election have been finalized and posted by the Secretary of State. Following are the measure number, title, and my comments and voting suggestion.

Measure 57:INCREASES SENTENCES FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING, THEFT AGAINST ELDERLY AND SPECIFIED REPEAT PROPERTY AND IDENTITY THEFT CRIMES; REQUIRES ADDICTION TREATMENT FOR CERTAIN OFFENDERS

I oppose mandatory minimum sentences; they decrease crime temporarily by forcing incarceration, rather than treating the problems that cause someone to commit those crimes in the first place.  Many criminals have drug and alcohol problems, and would be better helped through treatment rather than incarceration.

Mandatory minimum sentences also increase the prison population, which requires the state to build additional facilities to house these people.  The money needed to pay for these is either taken from other services, such as education, or through raising taxes.

Written as an alternative to Measure 61, this measure sets more detailed mandatory minimums for more specific crimes, and provides appropriate treatment to those drug-addicted offenders.

VOTE: NO, but if you must vote for one of the mandatory minimum sentence measures, then I strongly urge you to vote for this measure instead of Measure 61.

Measure 58:PROHIBITS TEACHING PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT IN LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS

This measure would require that every “non-English speaking student” be taught in English only after a maximum of 2 years, depending on what age they entered the school system, regardless of their proficiency.  To meet this requirement, the measure calls for “English immersion” classes, but does not explain what those are.  This measure is extreme in that if a student cannot learn the language within the time allotted, they will not get any further assistance from the public school system.  There is a saying “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”  This measure is both hoping and planning for the best case scenario, and could leave many students behind to fend for themselves.

VOTE: NO

Measure 60:TEACHER “CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE,” NOT SENIORITY, DETERMINES PAY RAISES; “MOST QUALIFIED” TEACHERS RETAINED, REGARDLESS OF SENIORITY

The text of this measure is short and vague, leaving it to others to hammer out the details.  While this is an interesting idea, it should be tested out at a few public schools across the state rather than forced on all the of them.  Some alternate ideas are being tested and those would be forced into using this system instead.

VOTE: NO

Measure 61:CREATES MANDATORY MINIMUM PRISON SENTENCES FOR CERTAIN THEFT, IDENTITY THEFT, FORGERY, DRUG, AND BURGLARY CRIMES

(The following 2 paragraphs are the same as the first two paragraphs for Measure 57)

I oppose mandatory minimum sentences; they decrease crime temporarily by forcing incarceration, rather than treating the problems that cause someone to commit those crimes in the first place.  Many criminals have drug and alcohol problems, and would be better helped through treatment rather than incarceration.

Mandatory minimum sentences also increase the prison population, which requires the state to build additional facilities to house these people.  The money needed to pay for these is either taken from other services, such as education, or through raising taxes.

Specifically, this measure sets minimums for several first time offenders, and does not offer any form of drug treatment.

VOTE: NO

Measure 62:AMENDS CONSTITUTION: ALLOCATES 15% OF LOTTERY PROCEEDS TO PUBLIC SAFETY FUND FOR CRIME PREVENTION, INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTION

From OPB:

The Register-Guard estimates Measure 62 would result in $439 million for public safety over four years.  According to the state budget office, the 15 percent of lottery funds allocated for parks and natural resources as well as the 18 percent that goes to the Education Stability Fund is untouchable, and won’t be affected by Measure 62. The proposed allotment of lottery dollars for public safety would have to come from $778 million in discretionary funds, a large chunk of which goes to K-12 education.

From me: This money will mostly come out of education funds, where it is more desperately needed.

VOTE: NO

Measure 64:PENALIZES PERSON, ENTITY FOR USING FUNDS COLLECTED WITH “PUBLIC RESOURCE” (DEFINED) FOR “POLITICAL PURPOSE” (DEFINED)

Many unions collect dues through an automatic payroll deduction.  With some of those dues, they advocate on behalf of their union members through lobbying and giving contributions to organizations which they believe will help their members in some way.  This measure would force public employee unions to gather funds for those advocacy activities in some way other that the use of payroll deductions or from gathering those funds in a public building, even if the costs for the meeting area is reimbursed. This also goes for any organizations or groups that meet in public buildings; Parent-Teacher associations, neighborhood associations, etc.

You could take the generality of this measure so far as to say that even a person standing in a public building who hands $50 to another to donate to a candidate or campaign for them would be subject to a fine.

VOTE: NO

Sep
08
2008
0

Oregon General Election 2008: Measures 54, 55, 56, 59, 63, 65

The measures for the 2008 Oregon General Election have been finalized and posted by the Secretary of State. Following are the measure number, title, and my comments and voting suggestion.

Measure 54: AMENDS CONSTITUTION: STANDARDIZES VOTING ELIGIBILITY FOR SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS WITH OTHER STATE AND LOCAL ELECTIONS

This is a “house-keeping” measure that removes language from the Oregon Constitution that is in direct violation of the US Constitution with regards to voter eligibility.

VOTE: YES

Measure 55:AMENDS CONSTITUTION: CHANGES OPERATIVE DATE OF REDISTRICTING PLANS; ALLOWS AFFECTED LEGISLATORS TO FINISH TERM IN ORIGINAL DISTRICT

The Explanatory Statement is not much easier to read than the Text of the Measure. Currently, the operative date of a redistricting plan, an adjustment of the legislative district boundaries for state Senator and Representative, does not correlate with the start of the legislative session so legislators may represent districts to which they were assigned rather than elected. This measure changes the operative date to the first day of the next regular legislative session after it was adopted, which would be after a general election where the redistricting plan was used when voting, thus less assigned and more elected to cover new districts.  Confused yet?

VOTE: YES

Measure 56: AMENDS CONSTITUTION: PROVIDES THAT MAY AND NOVEMBER PROPERTY TAX ELECTIONS ARE DECIDED BY MAJORITY OF VOTERS VOTING

This measure removes the “double-majority” requirement for property tax measures that appear on regular May and November election ballots. With “double-majority” if the majority of qualified voters do not vote, then even if everyone else votes to pass the measure, the measure would fail, essentially making non-action a NO vote. For those of us that take voting seriously (hopefully you do if your reading this), the fact the someone’s inaction negates our thoughtful decision-making should upset us. It does me anyway.

VOTE: YES

Measure 59:CREATES AN UNLIMITED DEDUCTION FOR FEDERAL INCOME TAXES ON INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYERS’ OREGON INCOME-TAX RETURNS

From the Explanatory Statement:

Under current law, in tax year 2008, Oregonians who owe state income taxes may deduct up to $5,600 of there federal income tax liability on their state income tax return.  [..] Today, most people pay less than $5,600 in federal income taxes and therefore receive the full deduction for federal income taxes paid.

State income tax go into the state’s General Fund, which helps pay for Education, Public Safety and other services.  By reducing the amount going to these services from the General Fund, it also reduces the Federally matched dollars going to these services.

With the current state of financing for services such as public education and safety,  we should be adding more to these services, not taking from them.

VOTE: NO

Measure 63:EXEMPTS SPECIFIED PROPERTY OWNERS FROM BUILDING PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR IMPROVEMENTS VALUED AT/UNDER 35,000 DOLLARS

This measure removes the permitting process, and thus required safety inspections, on improvements under $35,000, but with these improvements can cause severe safety issues for the homeowner performing them or subsequent tenants living there.  Plumbing, mechanical, and natural gas piping work could be performed by the owner with no-one else examining the work, and electrical work could be performed if a licensed contractor “inspects and approves” the work.  These un-inspected improvements could cause serious damage to a home and tenants, even electrical work approved by a “fly-by-night” electrician whom could be very hard to find should problems arise.

The system of permits and inspections protects us, our homes, and our neighborhoods, and should not be subverted.

VOTE: NO

Measure 65:CHANGES GENERAL ELECTION NOMINATION PROCESSES FOR MAJOR/MINOR PARTY, INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES FOR MOST PARTISAN OFFICES

This measure makes most Primary elections into single races by office, with the ballot showing each candidate’s party registration, if there is one, and which parties endorse the candidate.  After the Primary election, the top two candidates move on to the General election.  This means that there are only two choices for the General election, regardless of which party they are from.

The question to ask yourself is, “are political parties good or bad for our system of government?”  The reason for this question is that by removing the individual party Primary elections, this measure reduces the strength of major political parties, while at the same time possibly counting out the minor parties that select a candidate for the General election through other means.  To reiterate, only the top two candidates from the Primary go to the General election.

A possible problem I see from this is in politically active regions where multiple candidates from various parties would like to run in the primary election.  Here is the scenario: one Green, two Democratic, and two Republican candidates are running in the Primary.  If the major party candidates are equally liked, then the votes could split so that the top two candidates are both Republican candidates, even if the region leans slightly to the left, and thus the Democratic voters will be disenfranchised since they do not have a candidate in the General election.  While this might sound good to some, that Green candidate could easily be a Libertarian candidate, and then it’s the Republican candidates that are disenfranchised.

To keep the above scenario from happening, I could also see candidates being coerced out of running prior to the Primary election, and not giving the voters a chance to have there say.

For me, I’m leaning towards political parties being more good than bad, but that the given scenario would greatly hurt our political process by isolating more voters than the current system.

VOTE: NO

Apr
24
2008
7

Oregon Primary Election 2008 Guide: Measures

The Oregon Primaries are coming up in a few weeks, and there is actually more to vote on than just Hillary or Barrack.  Following is my take on several of the measures for this election:

Oregon Measure 51: NO

This measure, which amends Section 42 of the Oregon Constitution, is called a “house-keeping measure” since it helps solidify laws that have already been passed, but are they good ones?  Since our legal system is based off the concept “innocent until proven guilty”, isn’t that how it should be? The defendant, until proven or plead guilty, should be treated as innocent, and therefore their rights, and not the victim’s should be more important.  The “victim’s rights” from that section include, among others, the right to refuse being interviewed by the defendant’s lawyer, which could seriously impact the defendant’s case, especially for someone wrongfully accused of a crime.  This measure strengthen laws that should not have been passed in the first place. 

It is also worth noting that the ACLU (www.aclu-or.org) is “neutral” on this measure.

Oregon Measure 52: YES

This measure, which amends Section 43 of the Oregon Constitution, is also a “house-keeping measure”, but unlike section 42, the “victim’s rights” in this section are reasonable; the right to be reasonably protected from the criminal defendant, and the right to have decisions for pretrial and/or bail based on that reasonable protection and likelihood to appear for trial.  Strengthening these rights, which do not infringe on the defendant’s rights, is a good idea.

The ACLU (www.aclu-or.org) is “neutral” on this measure also, but I believe that to be because they lumped the two measures together.

Oregon Measure 53: (tentative) YES

Reading the text of this measure, I am not entirely convinced that the benefits outweigh the risks of abuse, but I try to have faith in humanity.  The sections that concern me are in regards to forfeiture without conviction.  One section allows forfeiture of property for “crimes similar to the crime for which the claimant was convicted.”  If the claimant committed these similar crimes, then why aren’t they being prosecuted for them?  Another allows that “property of a claimant who has not been convicted of a crime may be forfeited in a civil forfeiture proceeding only if the claimant consents to the forfeiture…”  This is where I see a large chance of abuse; if people don’t know that it’s okay to say “No, you can’t take that” to the police (I’m assuming that the police would be the agents of the “forfeiting agency”) and not have criminal repercussions, then there could be a situation of amoral, but not illegal, “forfeitures”.  Again, I say YES to this measure because I have faith that there are more moral officers than there are amoral ones.

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