How I voted!
Because the Presidential vote in Oregon is entirely symbolic (Oregon is not a swing state), I was rather torn between giving my meaningless but fun vote to Jill Stein of the Green Party, whose policies I strongly agree with; Rocky Anderson of the Progressive Party (ditto); or Barack Obama.
In the end, I voted for Obama. Since it’s an empty symbolic vote anyway, I get to decide what it symbolizes, and I’ve decided my vote for Obama symbolizes support for good legislation like the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the stimulus package, and also his administration’s support for lgbt rights and for doing what environmental good the President can do without Congress. It doesn’t symbolize support for Obama’s more horrible policies.
Romney, of course, was not even in the running in the Presidential Election in Amp’s Mind.
Representative in Congress, 3rd District
Earl Blumenauer, Democrat, is a shoe-in to win, and I’m not pleased with his eagerness to cut Social Security benefits. So I voted for Woodrow Broadnax, of the Pacific Green and Progressive Parties, a long time anti-gang activist whose priorities include helping at-risk kids avoid becoming criminals, and making Juneteenth a recognized national holiday.
Secretary of State
Green Party candidate Seth Woolley argues that Democrat Kate Brown has acted in a number of ways to prevent smaller parties from having reasonable ballot access (see the “about the incumbent” section of his overly fancy, poorly designed website). I find Woolley’s arguments persuasive, and I also like the way he’s been holding the Democratic Party’s feet to the fire when it comes to Charlie Hales, who claimed to be a Washington state resident on his tax forms but claimed that he was still an Oregonian for election laws. I also like Woolley’s support of Instant Runoff Voting.
Republican Knute Buehler seems not-too-awful as Republicans go, but who can tell how he’d act once in office? He has no experience in elected office at all, and seems to be running more as a party activist than as someone who knows a thing about government.
So I’m voting for Seth Woolley.
I’m voting for the incumbent, Eagle Scout1 and Democrat Ted Wheeler. Cameron Whitten of the Progressive Party seems like a good guy (who does things like go on a hunger strike to call attention to poverty issues), but he’s a college student; State Treasurer is not, it seems to me, a good position for someone’s first government job, let along someone’s first post-college job.
Republican Tom Cox, while long out of college, has zero government experience and seems to offer nothing other than a promise to attack the pensions of retired government employees.
Normally I’d at least consider Chris Brown, the Progressive Party candidate for Attorney General. But he or she didn’t even get it together enough to get a statement printed in the voter’s pamphlet this year; if Chris Brown can’t be bothered to take that simplest of steps to tell me why s/he should get my vote, then forget about it.
The Libertarian Candidate, James Leuenberger, also didn’t bother to get into the voter’s pamphlet. So the choice is between Republican James Buchal, an antigovernment activist with no government experience, and Democrat Ellen Rosenblum, the current Attorney General, who has been endorsed by Basic Rights Oregon, NARAL, and the Violence Against Women PAC, among others. I voted for Rosenblum.
State Senator, 23rd District.
The choices are Independent Tracy Olsen, who has suspended his campaign, or Jackie Dingfelder, who is running as the Republican, the Democrat, and the Working Families candidate. Dingfelder has a record of practical environmentalism (such as expending what kind of bottles get recycled) that I like, so I’m happy to vote for Dingfelder. (So don’t say I’d never vote for a Republican candidate! :-p )
Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries
Bruce Starr claims to support workers rights, but not a single workers organization is listed among his endorsements; instead, he’s endorsed by bosses’ groups like The Oregon Business Association and the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce. Starr wants to lower the prevailing wage in Oregon, and to weaken Oregon’s unions with so-called right-to-work laws. In short, if elected Starr will work tirelessly against workers rights and be a reliable tool for whatever rich Republicans want.
Avarkian is endorsed by a bunch of unions and by women’s groups, and takes both workers rights and civil rights seriously. I’m voting for Brad Avakian.
Judge of the Supreme Court, Position 3
In his Willamette Week interview, Richard Baldwin said that the superpower he most wants is “to be able to instantly understand a person’s experiences and background.” Good answer, and one that indicates that Baldwin has thought about this before – a secret nerd, perhaps? From OregonLive:
[Baldwin’s] first job was at Multnomah County Legal Aid, where he represented low-income clients fighting for custody of their children, suffering from domestic violence or struggling to keep housing in landlord-tenant disputes.
As a judge, he started Multnomah County’s mental health court, which is now 3 years old and aims to connect chronic, low-level offenders with services to treat mental illness.
Judge Baldwin has 11 years of experience as a full-time Judge, whereas Nina Cook has spent most of her career defending corporations against employee lawsuits. Cook is overwhelmingly the choice of District Attorneys – so if elected, expect her to be hard on workers, soft on corporations, and hostile to defendant’s rights.
I’m voting for Judge Baldwin, and you should too.
Judge of the Court of Appeals, Position 6
As Jack Bog says, this one is a coin flip. Volpert has more experience, but the single thing he’s most famous for is arguing for the rights of schools to search kids for drugs (a view that some have claimed he no longer holds). Both Volpert and Egan are spoken of glowingly by lawyers who know them (see the comments here). Since it’s a coin-flip, I’m going to hold Volpert’s anti-civil-rights past against him. I’m voting for James Egan.
CITY OF PORTLAND and MULTNOMAH COUNTY
Mayor of Portland
Jefferson Smith is famous for having twice been arrested for punching people. If he intends to keep this up, it would certainly make Portland City Council meetings more lively. Smith’s opponent Charlie Hales is a greedhead who has lived in another state for tax purposes and denied it until he was caught.
On the other hand, Hales has fought to force unions to accept more women and people of color as members, supports public transportation, and wants to see Portland become more densse – all good things.
So I am unenthusiastically voting for Charlie Hales.
Commissioner, Position 1
The race between Mary Nolan and Amanda Fritz is another coin-flipper; either one could do a good job. But Mary Nolan says that she would have voted against trying to fire a police sniper who killed an unarmed citizen. Fritz disagrees, calling it a matter of justice. I’m voting for Amanda Fritz.
Director at large, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
One of my housemates knows Kelly Caldwell and says that she’s smart and has good views. That’s good enough for me.
STATE BALLOT MEASURES
Measure 77: Amends Constitution to let the governor divert money temporarily to respond to a disaster. I voted yes.
Measure 78: Fixes spelling and grammatical errors in Oregon’s Constitution. Also, revises language that assumes the Secretary of State is male. I voted yes.
Measure 79: Prohibits real estate transfer taxes and fees. I voted no.
Measure 80: Legalizes pot. I voted yes. This is an entirely rational measure that would do a lot of good, and Oregon voters are going to send it down in flames.
Measure 81: Prohibits the use of gillnets in Oregon, and allows use of seline nets. The gillnets catch and kill animals who aren’t intended to be caught. I voted yes. [Edited to correct spelling.]
Measure 82: Amends Constitution to allow the establishment of privately-owned casinos.
This measure would take money away from Oregon’s tribes, and would leave Portland taxpayers partly on the hook for the work that would have to be done to allow all those cars to drive in and out of the proposed area. It would also take away money from the Oregon Lottery, mitigating the good it would do in terms of new revenue for the government. On the other hand, it would create some jobs. On the other hand, the more prevalent gambling is, the more gambling addicts and their families are hurt. I hesitatingly voted no.
Measure 83: See measure 82. Again, I voted no.
Measure 84: Eliminates inheritance taxes on large estates, and pays for it by taking money away from education. If I could vote no a hundred times, I would.
Measure 85. Amends the Oregon Constitution, so that the corporate tax “kicker” refund would instead be used to fund public schools. I voted yes.
COUNTY AND CITY MEASURES
Measure 26-143 raises our taxes a little to support public libraries. I voted yes.
Measure 26-145 is a technical measure improving the way that police and fire workers have their final year’s salary calculated for retirement purposes. I voted yes.
Measure 26-146 taxes everyone in Portland who is above the federal poverty line $35 a year, and applies that money hiring art and music teachers to public schools, and to nonprofit arts programs serving schools and “underserved communities.” I don’t like the regressive tax structure, but on the whole I like this measure. I voted yes.
Portland School District #1JT
$482 million in bonds to make repairs and upgrades to school buildings, which will be paid for by raising property taxes a bit. I voted yes.