Ballots begin to arrive in the mail as early as this weekend. Below you will find reflections from Rural Organizing Project about this year’s ballot, Thinking Through Today’s Dilemmas for a Better Tomorrow. We also share short analysis of theballot measures, held up against the definition of democracy.
This is one of a series of email newsletters from ROP’s STAND Voter Guide, including:
- A Different Way to Look at This Year’s Election and Election Nuts and Bolts
- Thinking Through Today’s Dilemmas for a Better Tomorrow – If Democracy is to Work, Ballot Measure Analysis and more
- Take a STAND for Democracy All Year Round – Reclaim Our Democracy and Get Big Money Out of Politics
- STAND Guia Electoral – Latino Power in Elections 2012, Myths of Citizenship, If You Can’t Vote
Pass this message along to your human dignity group email lists, friends, coworkers, neighbors and others. Let’s make sure as ballots arrive in mailboxes, tools for thinking through the ballot arrive in inboxes.
Thinking Through Today’s Dilemmas for a Better Tomorrow
Ballot measures and candidates require thought. How will ballot measures and candidates impact Oregon for years to come? What is on the ballot and how we vote can uphold democracy or dismantle government of, by and for the people.
This year’s ballot measures are all about where to put our money. Measure 85 would reform the corporate kicker – keeping funds in Oregon and investing in K-12 schools instead of parceling that money to big corporations, most of which are out of state. Watch out for confusing language on Measure 84, the estate tax measure. It would provide a tax loophole for estates worth over $1,000,000 and farms worth over $750,000,000. Both these measures beg the question: is now the right time to give tax breaks to millionaires when our schools are falling apart, our libraries shutting down, and our bridges are crumbling after years of lack of funding?
Campaigns often divert our attention away from thinking critically about the crises facing our communities with divisive issues that play on people’s fears. Worried about the economy? Scapegoat immigrants – but don’t pay attention to the record profits of corporations.
These strategies split communities and prevent us from creating a majority coalition that could force politicians to do right by their constituents. Let’s avoid the wedges and ask concrete questions of our elected officials that keep us focused on the important issues.
Choosing a Candidate
Having trouble choosing candidates amidst election spin and well-crafted talking points? Check out our Candidate Questionnaire that features thoughtful questions that get to the heart of a candidate’s values and beliefs on the issues. For a copy of the “What do you STAND for?” Candidate Questionnaire, visitwww.rop.org/STANDVoterGuide or call 503-543-8417.
Oregon Ballot Measures
Do these measures uphold or advance democracy?
Yes on Measure 85 – Amends Constitution to allocate the corporate “kicker” refund to fund K-12 public education. At least 70% to 80% of corporate “kicker” refunds have gone to large, out-of-state corporations. This measure keeps those funds in Oregon for badly needed support to K-12 education and sends a clear message that Oregonians want a more balanced and fair taxation system.
No on Measure 84 – Phases out existing inheritance taxes on very large estates and property transfers between family members. Under current law, only the part of an estate over $1 million is subject to the estate tax. This Measure would take $200,000,000 out of the state budget and apply to only the most wealthy estate owners. Do millionaires need another tax break?
No on Measures 83 & 82 – M82 amends Oregon Constitution to allow privately owned casinos. M83 authorizes the establishment of the privately-owned Wood Village Casino. These measures are backed by a Canadian investment firm, begging the question of who stands to profit. The establishment of a non-tribal Multnomah County casino was defeated by a significant majority in Oregon’s 2010 election.
No on Measure 81 – Prohibits commercial non-tribal fishing with gillnets. This measure does not alter the total permitted take of salmon, restrict sport salmon fishers in any way, nor apply to Washington commercial salmon fishers who could still use gillnets on the Columbia River. Passage would likely make it harder for Oregon commercial salmon fishers to earn a living and for Oregonians to purchase Columbia River Salmon, impacting our local economies.
Yes on Measure 80 -Legalizing personal growth, use, and tightly regulated sale of marijuana would remove the profit motive from criminal traffickers and free up law enforcement resources for more pressing priorities. Cultivation for regulated sale of marijuana and hemp could offer business opportunities for struggling Oregonians. The tax revenue on sales would improve our state budget.
No on Measure 79 – Who should pay for roads or schools when big, new developments are built? M79 would make it even more difficult for local communities to decide how to fund local needs. This could mean either crumbling roads and schools or higher property taxes for working people. Should developers really be constitutionally guarded from paying their fair share?
Yes on Measure 78 — Sometimes our democratic documents need a tune-up. These appear to be helpful clarifications and language updates.
You Decide on Measure 77—Enables the Governor to declare a catastrophic disaster, to act immediately and redirect some lottery funds, and allows the legislature to meet outside Salem if necessary.
If democracy is to work, it must continue to uphold some basic principles. Here are four principles of democracy according to the World Book Encyclopedia (1994 edition):
1) Inclusion of all; equality for all.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [people] are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” US Declaration of Independence.
2) Majority rule and minority rights.
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.
3) Democracy requires well-educated and well-informed people who participate in the democratic process.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 1st Amendment, US Constitution.
4) A reasonable standard of living – economic justice.
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age and other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” Article 25, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by UN General Assembly (US included) 1948.
-- Cara Shufelt- email@example.com Rural Organizing Project PO Box 1350 Scappoose, OR 97056 503-543-8417 * www.rop.org