I got my ballot in the mail yesterday. And that means – time to vote! Time to go through the whole ballot and figure out who I want to be Circuit Court judge (4th district position 12), who should be the east soil & water director-at-large 2, and many other exciting races!
I live-tweeted filling out my ballot, and used those tweets to make this post.
And before anyone asks, yes it is legal to take photos of your ballot in the state of Oregon.
The Federal offices come first.
For president, I’m voting for Biden. I don’t have to – Oregon is a safe state, so I could vote third party – but I’m hoping Biden’s popular vote win will be enormous, and taken as a repudiation of what the GOP has become.
For Senator, our main choices are Jeff Merkley, who by some measures is the fourth most liberal Senator, or the Republican candidate for the Senate, who is literally a Q-Anon follower.
Gosh, WHAT a tough decision. Merkley it is.
I’m in the third district, so the winner for the House race will be Democrat Earl Blumenauer, possibly the whitest man in the world. Earl’s been in office 25 years, so he has seniority up to his bow tie, and he’s very liberal. Plus, I want a resounding Dem victory. Earl it is.
Secretary of State!
The GOP candidate, Kim Thatcher, is very very concerned about a handful of alleged voter fraud cases, which is GOP-speak for “I will try to prevent Black people and college students from voting.” And she hates Oregon’s vote-by-mail system, which works great.
I realize I’ve just been voting straight party line so far. Boring, I know. The Democrats aren’t that good (although Oregon has some good ones), but the Republicans are that bad.
State Treasurer, we have Tobias Read, who is experienced and has been working to grow Oregon’s state-sponsored retirement programs (oregonsaves.org). His opponent is Jeff Gudman, who has zero relevant experience and would try and cut back such programs.
The same two candidates ran for Treasurer last time, and Read beat Gudman by a fairly small margin. So this isn’t a race to make a symbolic vote for the Progressive party.
Read it is!
The Republican candidate is a joke, which won’t prevent people from voting for him, alas. He’s not a lawyer and knows nothing about the job, but he thinks it’ll be a good position to keep Gov. Kate Brown (D) from doing anything.
The incumbent, Democrat Ellen Rosenblum, was a judge before becoming Attorney General, and says she sees corporations and President Trump as the enemy, not Oregon’s own governor.
Given the choice, there really is no choice. Rosenblum.
Next come a number of state races where someone is running unopposed. State senator 23rd district, Judge of the Oregon Supreme Court – really? No one decided to challenge the incumbent?
I’m writing in “April Ludgate” for all those positions.
Judge of the Circuit Court, 4th Distinct, Position 12. A race where I haven’t heard even remotely of either candidate.
Time to consult Oregon’s 177-page “voter’s pamphlet.” I love my state!
Actually, both of these women – Adrian Brown vs Rima Ghandour – seem terrific. Neither one seems likely to be a rubber-stamp for the police.
When two candidates seem similarly good in most ways, I go to identity politics as the tie-breaker.
Ghandour would be Oregon’s first Arab-American women on the bench. And she’s an immigrant. In a time of raging anti-immigrant sentiment, that could matter. Ghandour it is.
Time to vote for Portland Mayor!
Iannarone is a smart activist with great positions on affordable housing, on police reform, and other issues. She’s an ally of Jo Ann Hardesty, who Iannarone would put in charge of oversight of the Police Bureau.
The downside to Iannarone is that I’m not sure she’ll get anything done. Lack of experience, not at all diplomatic.
Ted Wheeler, on the other hand… Well, he could be worse. And he knows how City Hall works. But he’s been completely incoherent when it comes to the protests.
For this race, I’m going to vote my idealism and hope it works out. Sarah Iannarone it is.
Mingus Mapps vs Chloe Eudaly for City Commissioner, position four.
Many years ago, I’d sometimes chat with Chloe when buying books from her store. I like her. Mapps seems good, but there’s no way he’d be as firm pushing against the police (who endorsed him). Chloe Eudaly it is.
Okay, now comes the big event – the EAST MULTNOMAH COUNTEY SOIL AND WATER DIRECTOR POSITIONS!
There are three contested elections in this category. (And one non-contested, for which I wrote in April Ludgate.)
Hey, remember the Oregon Voters’ “Pamphlet” I consulted before – the 177 page monstrosity?
Well, it’s completely useless for the Soil & Water positions. For Soil & Water, I have to turn to the Multnomah County Voters’ Pamphlet, which clocks in at a relatively modest 120 pages.
120 pages but it doesn’t actually list all of the candidates.
I’m going to take not even getting your case for why I should vote for you into the Voters’ Pamphlet as a signal of being less effective or committed. So if you’re not listed, I won’t vote for you. Sorry, Rick Till.
With Rick Till eliminated, the director at-large position one is a race between Devin Portwood and Jim Carlson, both of whom have submitted photos with wonderfully dorky expressions. (That’s Devin on the left).
I’d happily play AD&D with either of those faces.
Portwood’s statement emphasizes “the practical side to going green,” but gives no specifics, and none of his past experience (veterinary tech) seems relevant. I’m not convinced he’s done the research.
James (Jim) Carlson says he wants to add new ideas to the board, but doesn’t say what any of those ideas are.
Carlson does have experience in local government (been on a couple of committees). Lacking anything else to go on, I’m voting for James (Jim) Carlson.
Now for director at-large position two, which is Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky vs Lars Granstrom.
Granstrom’s only argument for voting for him is his experience as a farmer, but Zimmer-Stucky is also a farmer, so that’s a wash.
But Zimmer-Stucky seems to have more relevant education (barely relevant, but still), and she talks about specific ideas she’d like to pursue. She also has a list of endorsements; Granstrom does not.
Basically, she’s trying harder, and that gets her my vote. Zimmer-Stucky it is.
East Soil & Water, Director, Zone 2.
Laura Masterson vs Grant Eisele. Masterson made it easy for me by (it would seem) not submitting a page for the voters’ pamphlet.
From his listing, organic farmer Eisele seems like a nice guy who’s eager for the position. Eisele it is!
Okay, I’ve now completed the front side of my ballot. The back side, with 11 ballot measures on it, comes next.
The too long, don’t read on these ballot measures: Just vote “yes” for every single one of them. They’re all good.
First, a couple of state legislative measures, which means that Oregon’s congress voted to have us vote on them.
Measure 107: Allows local governments to make laws limiting political campaign contributions, and laws requiring disclosure of spending to influence an election. YES.
Measure 108: This increases taxes on cigs, cigars, e-cigs, and “vaping products.” The money is used for health care. YES.
Measure 109: Shrooms! Opens up the door a crack to allowing patients whose mental health would benefit from it, to legally buy and consume psilocybin, “a psychoactive component found in certain mushrooms.”
A small and cautious step, but it’s in the right direction. YES!
Measures 109 and 110 came from citizen petitions, by the way, not from congress.
Measure 110: Creates free centers to treat drug addiction. Makes having small quantities of coke, heroin, meth, oxy, lsd, etc a “non-criminal class E violation,” with a maximum penalty of $100.
Carrying more than the allowed amounts would be a misdemeanor, not a felony.
Of course, this won’t change federal law, but it’s still a significant step towards legalizing drugs.
That’s it for state measures; now let’s do county measures!
Measure 26-211: Bond to fund improving existing and building new libraries. YES!
Measure 26-214: Free preschool, paid for by increasing rich people’s taxes. YES.
And now, City of Portland measures!
Measure 26-213: Improve and restore Portland parks, paid for by an increase in property taxes of eighty cents per $1000 assessed value.
Measure 26-217 says that the city can create a police oversight board, empowered to investigate and to take disciplinary action.
A world of YES.
Measure 26-219 would make it legal for land already owned by the Portland water bureau to be developed for use by the public. For example, the land surrounding a water tower could be turned into a public park.
A Metro Region ballot measure.
It would fund about 150 infrastructure projects (buses, bridge repair, sidewalks, traffic signals, traffic safety, etc) by taxing employers with more than 25 employees.
Lastly, a Portand School District Measure, measure 26-215. This would replace some tapering-off bonds with new bonds, so the net effect is, tax levels don’t change. The money is for school improvements (textbooks, computers, roof repair, modernization, expansions, etc.)
And that’s it!
Vote, please. It’s not hard, and it’s kind of interesting to learn who some of these people are and what the ballot measures (if passed) would do. And if you can, turn in your ballot early.
End of rant!