The Oregon Blog
Under grey skies, self-medicating with black coffee


Wednesday, May 26, 2004  

Consider this an official announcement: the Oregon Blog is on hiatus. There are several things you can do about this:

1. Visit Notes on the Atrocities, my national blog, where I will be writing about Oregon issues.

2. Contact me and become a contributor to the Oregon Blog to help keep it going (emmasblog [at] yahoo [d0t] com).

3. Check back the third week of June, after which I will have returned from a swing through NY and Vermont, and see if I'm blogging. (Announcements to follow.)

4. Visit any of the dozens of great Oregon Blogs that are still active and which, to be honest, have had better content over the past three months than this one.

Thanks.

posted by Jeff | 1:16 PM |


Monday, May 24, 2004  

[Ummm]

Well, things are busy presently. No idea when I'll be blogging more regularly. It's possible the Oregon Blog is nearing the end of the road...

posted by Jeff | 2:49 PM |


Friday, May 21, 2004  

[GOP Watch]

Listen to this and tell me if it seems a little ... off.

"We believe Asians share a lot of Republican principles; from hard working, entrepreneurship, lower taxes, family values, and quality education, to fighting for our liberty and freedom. Our party is the only party defending those principles. It is natural for our party to reach out and to invite more Asians to join our party," said Solomon Yue, ORP National Committeeman.

Nothing like a little racial stereotyping to build a rich, diverse party.

posted by Jeff | 12:53 PM |


Thursday, May 20, 2004  

[National Politics]

Hey, Kerry didn't thank us! Below is an email Kucinich sent out this morning thanking Oregonians. Such a good guy--

Hello Oregon,

Thank you for the great support that you gave our primary election campaign. Because of you we'll be going to Boston with more delegates to the National Convention. Because of you we were able to travel the length and the width of Oregon to be able to visit community after community to see not only what is going on in the state, but to see Oregonians' aspirations connect with the aspirations of all Americans. What a great state you live in, and what a great opportunity we have with your help to take our country in a new direction.

I want to thank you so much for welcoming me to the Beaver State, for giving me the opportunity for me to meet so many of you. For turning out at my rallies and meetings, and for your friendship and your support.

I thank you so much and I look forward to meeting with you again in our common effort to make this not only a better state, but a better world.

Dennis Kucinich

posted by Jeff | 11:18 AM |


Wednesday, May 19, 2004  

[Primary Election Analysis]

Another winner: Erik Sten. In what looked like a pretty risky venture, the Councilor decided to endorse Tom Potter. If Francesconi wins and becomes mayor, Sten has already given him the vote of no-confidence--not a delightful way to start a working relationship. On the other hand, if Potter wins...

Incidentally:

$22.20 - cost per vote spent by Jim Francesconi
$1.36 - cost per vote spent by Tom Potter

posted by Jeff | 3:05 PM |
 

[Primary Election Analysis]

Whooee, whoever said this was going to be a boring primary didn't take into account the upsets. Although very serious results were at stake about our leadership, I have to admit, going into this election, there wasn't much excitement. Ameri-Phillips seemed intriguing, the fifth district race between Winters and Zupancic, the Portland mayoral race, Portland City Council and ... well, that was about it. Ah, but then the results came in. Let's go through some of the big winners and losers of the night.

WINNERS
Grand prize goes to Tom Potter, the little mayoral candidate who could. With a mere 75 grand in the bank, could he possibly force a run-off against Jim Francesconi, finanicial behemoth? A better question would have been whether Francesconi could. At various points last night, Potter crept toward 50%, raising the specter of an outright win. He may have only raised 75k so far, but expect Potter to run as the favorite in November. Shocking.

Goli Ameri was a tight second with a crushing victory in the First District, the supposedly "hotly contested" primary with Tim Phillips. In a three-way battle, Ameri almost won a majority and gets a shot at David Wu in what will be a battle royale.

The Portland City Council had a similar battle between Nick Fish and Sam Adams. It was supposed to be close, but Fish gave a sound thumping and almost got an outright win.

Darlene Hooley was supposed to beat Andrew Kaza, but I don't think anyone expected her to crush him.

Ron McCarty, running against Lisa Naito for Multnomah County Commissioner, ran such a tepid campaign that the Oregonian failed to endorse him--and they were trolling for any candidate they could find to punish the commishes for their gay marriage decision. Nevertheless, he forced a run-off.

Sara Gelser, trying to oust incumbent Kelley Wirth in Corvallis, didn't win, but she came close.

LOSERS
The neighborhood rebellion died on the battlefield. Hey Randy, you have a mandate now.

David Wu, whose seat is never safe, has to look at Ameri as his biggest challenge ever. She's organized, professional, well-financed, and an immigrant from the Middle East. He's got his work cut out for him now.

Vera Katz was wise not to run. If the failure of Sam Adams is any indication, people are damn tired of the old mayor.

Jim Francesconi's financial supporters. Whoops--you backed the wrong horse, folks. Are you going to keep riding him to a November defeat, or will you put the smart money on the people's choice? Oh right: you can't. He only takes $25 checks.

DRAWS
Phil Busse was in the right place at the wrong time. After major candidate after major candidate decided not to run for Portland mayor, Jim Francesconi started looking like he was running unopposed. Busse jumped in to offer some competition. He ran a solid campaign, excited a portion of the electorate that's been completely forgotten, and forced some interesting ideas into the discussion. Unfortunately for him, the Smarty Jones of candidates decided to join, too.

In the battle of the little kings, Al King managed to win the nomination against Ron Wyden. That's a big victory for Al King, but if you're wondering who the hell Al King is, you know what the result is going to be in November. Good going, Al. Now duck, there's a buzz saw headed your way.

posted by Jeff | 9:16 AM |


Tuesday, May 18, 2004  

[Election]

Well, here we are in the national denoument--electing a nominee whose already been elected. I can't complain too much, though--at least Dennis Kucinich is still on the ballot. It's rare that I get to actually tick the box with the candidate I supported before Iowa.

Here's a question: should the primaries be held on a single day? (They won't, because the parties and the states don't want it. But I'm talking hypothetical here. Adopt the position that the health of the democracy is more important than the pissing rights of a few small constituencies.) Clearly, the current process means that very often the election is complete by the end of voting in the New Hampshire primary. It was this year anyway.

(Robbing a paragraph from Notes here.) The Democratic candidate was selected by two states whose populations voted 907,932 to 904,865 for Bush. Or put another way, 1.7% of the votes cast in the 2000 election by moderate-right rural populations decided the nominee for the entire country in 2004. Had California (53% Gore), New York (60% Gore), or Illinois (55%) been one of the first two states, it's quite likely my choices today would be Dean instead of Kerry.

Instead, we get Kerry. And I mean "get" in the sense of "inherit," "have no control over." While the state of Oregon may be instrumental in deciding who gets elected President, we certainly have no role on who gets to run for the job. That's undemocratic, unrepublican, even. It's just crap.

But what's a better system? In the more distant past, the primaries didn't determine the nominee--electors did, at the convention. Sometimes they went against the will of the people, too, which is itself somewhat antidemocratic. But that's not so much an option now, while the general elections are decided by attack ads.

So what, a national primary? That would cost a ton of money, severely penalizing the underfunded candidates. How about primaries by party rather than state? Why exactly must the Democrats and Republicans both start in Iowa? Maybe the Dems should find the five "most democratic states" and let them go first. That'd cut down on the whining. Or how about waves, but rotating states, so that a place like Iowa doesn't always get all the glory?

I don't know what the solution is. But I'll tell you what--we live in a state wherein almost every voter can tell you the downside to the current system.

posted by Jeff | 3:28 PM |


Monday, May 17, 2004  

[Race]

Celebrating Brown

Despite Portland's multicultural values, Oregon's history with race is pretty grim. Here are a few of the key watersheds in our history.

Slavery was outlawed in 1844 (good), but lest black Americans feel too encouraged to move west, the "lash law" is passed. It required all blacks be whipped twice a year until they "quit the territory." Later reduced to forced labor.

1850
Free Oregon land is offered to all but blacks.

1850s
As Oregon moves toward statehood, Southern Oregon residents--mostly from the South--push to legalize slavery.

1865-'70
Oregon passes the 13th Amendment banning slavery, but not the 14th, which gave them citizenship. Oregon also fails to pass the 15th, giving black men the vote. Oregon's law banning the practice is overruled by the federal law.

1880s and '90s
Cali and Washington make strides on black rights; Oregon languishes as the least free place for blacks on the West Coast.

1926-'27
Oregon finally passes laws repealing exclusion laws and laws denying the right to vote.

1951
The ban on interracial marriage is lifted.

1959
At long last, Oregon ratifies the 15th Amendment.

1964
After the NAACP charges Portland with having racially segregated schools, PPS begin integration.

____________________
Sources: Oregon Trail Foundation and the Oregonian.

posted by Jeff | 5:37 PM |


Sunday, May 16, 2004  

[Endorsements]

Oregon Blog Endorsements

I'll keep these at the top of the blog until Tuesday at 8 pm. Don't fail to vote, folks! Scroll down for newer posts.

President
D - Dennis Kucinich

US Senator
R - Pavel Goberman

US House
First District
R - Tim Phillips

Fifth District
D - Darlene Hooley
R - Jackie Winters

Oregon Senate
District 25
D- Vern COok

District 28
R - Doug Whitsett

Oregon House
No Republicans endorsed.

District 5
D - Peter Buckley

District 7
D - Shirley Cairns

District 8
D - Paul Holvey

District 16
D - Kelley Wirth

District 29
D - Elena Uhing

District 32
D - Deborah Boone

District 33
D - Mitch Greenlick

District 37
D - Jim Morton

District 42
D - Diane Rosenbaum

District 42
D - Tina Kotek

Portland Mayor
Phil Busse

Portland City Council
Position 1
Nick Fish

Position 4
Randy Leonard

Multnomah County Commissioners
District 1
Maria Rojo de Steffey

District 3
Lisa Naito

District 4
Lonnie Roberts

posted by Jeff | 8:50 PM |
 

[Election]

Here's an incredibly unscientific pre-election survey: a visual inspection of lawn signs in Sabin (where I live) and Irvington (through which I bike to work).

City Council
Sabin: Nick Fish leads Sam Adams marginally, say five signs for every four. Sam Adams is leading Fish strongly in Irvington, 2-1.

Mayor
Potter by a landslide. For every ten signs, seven are for Potter, two are for Posey, and one is for Busse. This holds true for both neighborhoods. I have yet to see a single Francesconi sign in our 'hood.

District 43
In Sabin, Tina Kotek has the barest margin--eleven of twenty, I'd estimate. But in Irvington, Chip Shields has a pretty good lead, say three of five.

Who will actually win? Who can say. But the activists in my neighborhood have spoken.

posted by Jeff | 3:42 PM |


Friday, May 14, 2004  

[State Politics]

I have spent the last week ruminating on the Goldschmidt news, waiting to see what bubbled up. You know what--nothing has. The truth of this story is that it resists clean conclusions. No matter how you try, you can't hang a single label on Goldschmidt. It doesn't function as metaphor. There's no "lesson." The two things exist there side by side, neither one refuting the other. He committed statutory rape (or child abuse, or simply rape--pick your verb). He was one of the best mayors and most important policymakers in Oregon history. Neither one alters the other. For a country with a pathological desire to cast everything from Britney Spears to Abu Ghraib in black and white terms, this one's a pickle. It's black. And white.

I will weigh in on the politics of the story. First: it was a newsworthy story and kudos to the WW for breaking it (and shame on the Tribune and Oregonian for trying to steal their journalistic glory). It's inconceivable that some would argue that the facts should have stayed buried. Democracy isn't always pretty, but at the end of the day, we have nothing if we don't have facts.

Second: the Oregonian wasn't despicable for using the word "affair" in the headline of the lead story. The pique of those who regarded this as apologetic is misplaced. It comes from the desire to call the situation black or white. They wanted Goldschmidt dismissed as a rapist--period. The Oregonian, in using a polite term, was actually being more objective by allowing the reader to digest the facts and not move immediately to that (false) monochromatic conclusion. (Better still--a headline that avoided using either term.)

posted by Jeff | 1:02 PM |


Wednesday, May 12, 2004  

[US House - 5th District ]

EXCLUSIVE - The Oregon Blog interview with US House District 5 candidate Andrew Kaza.

I have a late-breaking interview for all you folks who (like me) haven't yet cast your ballot. Below is the text of an interview conducted this morning, via email, with Andrew Kaza, who's challenging Darlene Hooley in the Democratic Primaries.

Brief bio (from Kaza's webpage):
Andrew L. Kaza, making his first-ever run for public office at the age of 44, is a native-born Oregonian. After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985 at University of Portland, Mr. Kaza went on to spend nearly 20 years in the media and entertainment industries. Mr. Kaza worked for one of the largest cable communications companies in a variety of management roles for nearly eight years, helping lead Comcast's expansion into Europe in the 1990's. By 1999, Mr. Kaza himself returned to the corporate fold as a board member and a divisional Managing Director of the BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Part One: General Questions
Part Two: Policy Issues
Part Three: The Election

----------------
Part One: General Questions

Oregon Blog: You're running for the 5th District seat held by Darlene Hooley. You decided to jump into the race because Hooley had backed a number of President Bush's initiatives. Why is Andrew Kaza a better choice?

Andrew Kaza: For starters, I'd be more accountable. My opponent has ducked debates throughout her career and even now refuses to discuss her positions on the "big" issues facing Congress and America. Her signature issue is "identity theft" - which is on nobody's Top Ten list of major issues. She is beholden to special interests, particularly the banking industry (she sits on the financial services committee of the House), which accounts for roughly half of her million-dollar warchest. She is a career politician who still lacks clout after eight years in Washington DC (Oregon was recently ranked 49th in terms of per capita Federal spending); she really hasn't accomplished much of anything.

By contrast, I'm a respected international businessman who has operated at the highest levels of my industry. I've negotiated with bureaucrats from the European Union and done business in over 20 countries, and have lived and worked abroad for over a decade. This is experience unmatched in Congress today, and such international experience is invaluable as we begin to truly deal with the complicated 21st century issues of globalism - trade and security. And yes, if President Bush were re-elected, I would be a stalwart foe of his policies, unlike my opponent who scored a 40% conservative rating from the National Journal last year, making her by far the most conservative Democratic rep from Oregon. And I believe only a true Democrat can hold this seat in November.

OB: Poll after poll shows that Americans think the US is headed in the wrong direction. What's the right direction? How will you help guide the country in that direction?

AK: The right direction is clearly a reversal of the current administration's failed policies on trade, use of military might, tax policy that favors the rich and privileged. This administration (and some Democrats) have clearly condoned the practice of outsourcing by major corporations and our own governments, and we must force some accountability on them by exposing the practice everywhere and bringing consumer pressure to bear.

In similar fashion, we must press for reform in the Health Care arena...I am the only candidate in Oregon this spring that is calling for a 10-year plan to make Universal Health Care a reality in the US. I am tired of Americans subsidizing the rest of the world by paying 10 times the cost of a similar pill in the UK, for example. If all interested parties (drug companies, insurance firms, hospital groups, doctors and yes, lawyers) give up a little piece of their profits, we could extend coverage to all. As the only major industrialized country without universal coverage, I think Americans have been short-changed for far too long.

posted by Jeff | 12:30 PM |
 

[US House - 5th District]

EXCLUSIVE - The Oregon Blog interview with US House District 5 candidate Andrew Kaza.

Part Two: Policy Issues

Oregon Blog: The two main issues cited again and again by Americans are terrorism/Iraq and the economy. Let's start with terrorism. Broadly speaking, how would you make America safer?

Andrew Kaza: Invest in Homeland Security. Our ports remain porous. Our cargo planes and most unaccompanied packages that are shipped on commercial airlines remain unchecked. The fact that we haven't had a major attack on American soil over the past 3 years is primarily due to luck and an appetite by terrorists to pick off even easier targets in places like Bali. The administration and Congress created the Department of Homeland Security but this has led to further unfunded mandates of local and state government and instead of investing further in offensive military equipment for use overseas, we should be investing this money into defensive measures here at home. We have somehow let the Republicans convince us that the war on terrorism is simply a 21st century version of the war against communism and the two are not analagous at all, apart from the fear-mongering it has brought us from certain circles.

OB: President Bush had a strong agenda for defeating terror--proving that a strong plan isn't itself adequate. What should America's approach to terror be?

AK: Beyond investing in defensive measures at home, we should have an active diplomatic effort abroad. Put more emphasis into defusing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for example. Look at the lessons of history - the "troubles" in Northern Ireland and terrorist attacks by the IRA in England went on for over 25 yrs. before some serious negotiations brought a cease-fire. We will never be able to bargain with the likes of Al-Quaeda and shouldn't but we can undercut a lot of their popular support by dealing with the established political arms of the Arab world, like the PLA, for example - instead of shunning them and taking an exclusively pro-Israeli line.

Much of the terror we see worldwide is what the CIA used to call "blowback" - it is a reaction to American policy or wrong-headed use of our military might. You have to do something to break the cycle of violence, which is worsening everywhere, partly due to our own aggressive and culturally misunderstood foreign policies.

OB: No matter how misguided the Iraq invasion was, we now have the responsibility of cleaning up our mess. Yesterday, a US citizen was beheaded by Iraqi terrorists, demonstrating just how dangerous Iraq has become. How can the US possibly exit Iraq while making sure the country and the region aren't dangerously destabilized?

AK: It won't be easy, but we have to first buck the "cut and run" and "stay the course" talk here at home. We have a sad mentality from the Vietnam war...that of failure. We should recognize the only failure of Vietnam is that we stayed far too long in a war we were never going to win. It was a civil war that scarcely needed to involve us, but we trumped it up into part of the "domino theory". And ultimately, we won the Cold War, let's remember.

In similar fashion, this administration trumped up reasons to attack Iraq...we should claim our victory in deposing Saddam and leave the Arab world and the international community to restore order. We can do this by immediately announcing a timetable for withdrawal and begin removing 10,000 troops a month until they are all home within 12-18 months. Some may stay as part of an international peace-keeping force but the US must hand off political control to some combination of the UN/Arab League and give our allies like France and Germany a shot at some of the reconstruction upside. If we don't, they will never back our effort. And if we don't, we will be stuck in Iraq for another ten years with 100,000 troops there on the ground and thousands of deaths and casualties mounting on an exponential basis.

We need to support a tri-partite state in Iraq (many scholars and thinktanks have advocated this, but so far our government has resisted) - allow the Kurds, Shia and Sunni some measure of autonomy as states within a Federal Iraq. This will control the otherwise likely prospect of a Shiite theocracy or protracted Civil War.

OB: The forces of globalism have altered the US economy--even while markets expand, jobs become more mobile. How do you make sure a global economy benefits all Oregonians?

AK: Promote the hell out of Oregon. As an Oregonian living abroad, I was always struck by how little we would promote this state - even for tourism, as opposed to many other similarly "small" US states. I think some of it is the legacy of Tom McCall's "please vist, but don't stay" maxim, but much of it is down to our state's practice of wooing major corporations (who leave when tax breaks end) versus developing an entrepreneurial culture.

This starts by investing properly in education - Silicon Valley was the direct result of two decades of the world's best higher education system (sadly, no longer) in California. We should take a page from history once again. We need a Representative who understands business and understands the international market and I have unique talents in that area as someone who worked abroad in America's number one industrial export (the media/entertainment business topped aerospace several years ago; American product has over 80% of the market share). I think I'd be a great "global ambassador" for Oregon.

OB: America's middle class is slowly withering; recent studies have shown that poorer Americans are less likely to be able to afford college. What will you do to make it possible that all hardworking Americans have a shot at a good life?

AK: The middle class is withering because of a shift in our tax policies, which were historically progressive but have become increasinagly regressive. Corporate tax rates are an all-time low, and counting for various loopholes, actual tax revenues from major corporations are even lower. Tax rates for rich individuals are also the lowest in history...the latest example is the move towards repealing the Estate Tax, which only benefits the wealthiest 1.5% of Americans. This would cost this state hundreds of millions in tax dollars, but perhaps even more in philanthropy. I have worked for two different billionaires in my career (Ronald Lauder and Paul Allen) and I can tell you that the rich don't just give through the goodness of their hearts; they do it because they would rather put it towards something useful, usually with their names attached, than give it to Uncle Sam. We shouldn't remove that incentive (Bill Gates Sr. agrees, by the way).

We must do all we can to promote and create better grants and scholarships for poor people, as well as encourage some schools with large endowments to dedicate more of that money to delivering better education in the short-term. But we cannot afford tax policy that undercuts our basic credo for over a century - the idea that America is best off by expanding the great middle class. Right now, that is exactly what we are doing, and we are beginning to see the terrible result.

OB: Beyond these two issues, what should be foremost on Congress's agenda?

AK: Beyond the aforementioned plan for universal health care, my priorities (and hopefully Congress) would be education, environment and last, but not least, Electoral and Media reform. The latter two seem unrelated, but without some re-regulation of the media industry and an emphasis on returning the "public interest" to our broadcast airwaves, we cannot have an informed or enlightened electorate, something which our Founding Fathers believed was essential to a real democracy. We must have real campaign finance reform, in Oregon and nationally, and eventually replace our current broken system with publicly financed elections, which again are the norm in most of the rest of the world. Then, and only then will we have government by and for the people...ahead of corporate interests and the "best government money can buy". No wonder people are so apathetic and young people so loathe (less than 30% of people under 25 even register to vote) to participate. As far as they can see, it doesn't matter.

posted by Jeff | 12:29 PM |
 

[US House - 5th District]

EXCLUSIVE - The Oregon Blog interview with US House District 5 candidate Andrew Kaza.

Part THree: Election

Oregon Blog: In a House locked down by Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert, liberals cherish every Democratic seat. Why should voters risk sending an incumbent home in the primaries and open this seat up to Jim Zupancic or Jackie Winters?

Andrew Kaza: The conventional wisdom says an incumbent with a million-dollar warchest has to be the better candidate, but Oregonians look for ideas and fresh thinking and a candidate that will engage publicly. My opponent is not in great health and has refused throughout her career (going back to her days as a Clackamas County commissioner) to debate. In short, she is a terrible candidate whom the National Journal called "one of the luckier members of Congress" because she has faced three successive weak Republican opponents. Either Zupancic or Winters is so much stronger than any of her previous opponents, it's not funny. But almost a quarter of this district are left-leaning independents and they hold the key to the November election. If the Greens run a candidate (which they will if Hooley is the nominee), then the 5-6% they garner will be enough to elect a Republican. A progressive-minded Democrat holds a much better chance of holding together a center-left coalition against Winters or Zupancic, who are two "moderate-looking" Rs that could cause a moderate D fits.

OB: Some would argue that Darlene Hooley's leadership represents the views of the 5th District's constituency. How will your views better represent the district?

AK: My opponent's views and "leadership" (if you can call it that) arguably befit the District as it was laid out in 1980, when it was formed, or perhaps 1996, when she was first elected, but not the district of 2004. The 5th was originally comprised of just conservative Clackamas and Marion counties, then later added the coastal counties of Tillamook and Lincoln (in 1992) and in 2002, it traded out the most conservative parts of Clackamas county for a slice of Portland and Multnomah County, and it includes a good chunk of Benton County. One could argue that Benton and Multnomah are Oregon's most liberal counties, so I think the perception of the 5th as "a conservative swing" district is wrong...it is only conservative compared to the 3rd (all Portland) for example. Peter DeFazio is a progressive to the south representing the 4th District, which has a far greater Republican registartion edge. If DeFazio can vote his principles, why can't Hooley? Maybe because she doesn't have very many?

Like DeFazio, I have pledged to give back the "automatic" pay increases that House members have been getting every year. And I will use some of the $500k a year that Congressional Reps get for support staff to open an office on the Oregon coast. The coast hasn't had a member of Congress in over 30 years and has been largely neglected but it's an important part of this district. I am a fiscal conservative who always ran businesses in the black; my opponent signed the historically budget-busting deficit in January. It's a different philosophy but I think more in tune with Oregonian frugality.

OB: America is more politically polarized now than in any time in generations. You're a liberal Democrat--won't you just make it worse?

AK: Are defecits conservative or liberal? Funny how Republicans used to be for a balanced-budget amendment and personal freedoms, but now they want to regulate marriage and control of our bodies...not exactly conservative positions. I think labels are too easy and certainly misleading. I am not a conventional politician and wasn't ever a conventional businessman...I am not pigeon-holed, labelled or put into a box easily.

I would agree with some so-called conservatives about the Patriot Act, for example (we should repeal all of it) and I would favor an amendment to control the growth of spending, especially in unnecessary military programs. I favor local control of schools (another conservative position) and believe that on a subject like abortion, there is a huge middle ground. Nobody likes abortion, so why don't we invest in better sex education, contraception and make products like "Plan B" (the morning-after pill) widely available. An FDA panel recently voted 23-4 for it to be sold over-the-counter but ultra-conservatives have made it impossible. This flies in the face of their supposed desire to reduce abortion. We need common sense approaches on which most sensible people can agree. That is the route to break down polarization. I have made a career in business of reconciling such differences and I can do it again in the House.

OB: Oregon is a mirror of the US in some ways, with blue urban counties and red rural ones. Your own district is a mirror of Oregon. As you know, once we used to consider ourselves "Oregonians" first and Democrats or Republicans second. How will you help heal wounds and begin to work with Oregon's diversity to come up with innovative, creative solutions that Oregon is famous for?

AK: At a Federal level, I promise to work closely with other members of the NW delegation to DC, and to work hard with state and local leaders. Independent leadership is what is required; my political heroes are people like Sen. Wayne Morse (who morphed from a Republican to Independent to Democrat) and Gov. Tom McCall, who defied the party labels and created truly Oregon solutions. To be an Oregonian (and I am an Oregon native) means to retain that independent streak, building on the unique legacies of everything from our open and public beaches, lack of a sales tax, prohibition on self-serve gas, vote-by-mail and even the assisted suicide provisions of our law. Today we have become too much like the rest of the country and the primary reason is money.

Ironically, despite our progressive ways in a variety of areas, we are one of only six states that doesn't regulate political contributions in ANY way. At a completely different level, we must work harder to overcome the divide of rural and urban Oregon...a divide that has increased with the decline of the timber industry. We must make people understand that environment and economy are not mutually exclusive, but really the opposite is true. This will bring Oregon together.

OB: What else would you like voters to know?

AK: There's plenty they can review at our website, but between your insightful questions (some of the best of this campaign) and my overly wordy answers, I have probably exhausted your readers already. I think we should stop there. But if people are looking for change, they should support the choice they have on May 18th. It's the first time since 1996 that Democrats in the 5th District have an alternative to Darlene Hooley, and I hope they appreciate that it CAN be much better than what we've had. All I ask for is that opportunity.

posted by Jeff | 12:27 PM |


Tuesday, May 11, 2004  

[Primary Endorsements]

National Offices

President
Candidates: John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, Lyndon LaRouche

Why should you vote for anyone but the candidate whose already got the nomination? Because you want to send a message. If you vote Kerry, you're showing party unity. If you vote Kucinich, you're speaking for the liberal wing. If you vote LaRouche, you are a nut. There's nothing more at stake, so don't waste your vote.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Dennis Kucinich

Representative for Congress
The only Democratic contest that seriously contested is the 5th district between Incumbent Darlene Hooley and Andrew Kaza. In a weird, stretched district, moderate Darlene Hooley has managed to pick off all comers. Republicans tend to hop far right in the primaries and then can't beat her in the general. This year, she's facing a robust challenge from Andrew Kaza, who is a former Green.

This should be an easy call--a fiery liberal versus an entrenched, unexciting moderate. Ah, but what strange bedfellows politics make. This is a year when the country is literally fighting for the future. It'll either be Tom DeLay's America or something a little less, ah, Hitlerian. Absolutely every seat counts. Looking at the numbers, I don't see how Kaza beats a Republican in this district. You may not like it, but if you care about the war and not just the battle, vote Hooley. (And anyway, she's no Joe Lieberman.)

There are three races for Republicans in the National office category. I'm going to go through them quickly.

Senator
No one's getting within 30 points of Wyden, so why not have fun. Vote Pavel Goberman.

First District
This is the bloodsport that pits Tim PHillips, Goli Ameri, and little-known Jason Meshell. That is, corporate, corporate, or God. All are pretty bad choices--Meshell because he's got that Montana Militia quality, and Ameri and Phillips because not only are they trying to out-salute each other, but they've shown a propensity to gutter politics. Wu isn't so popular that one of these well-funded candidates couldn't beat him. How about this for a tie-breaker: Ameri proudly displays a quote from Don McIntire in her materials.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Tim Phillips

Fifth District
The candidates are Jackie winters and Jim Zupancic, who really, really, really wants to be a politician. Your choices are conservative and lackluster. Go lackluster (even if it's a harder candidate for Hooley to beat).

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Jackie Winters

posted by Jeff | 9:31 PM |
 

[Primary Endorsements]

State Representative - Democrats

District 5
Candidates: Peter Buckley, Judy Uherbelau

The two candidates here are strong. Judy Uherbelau has served in the legislature ('95-'01), and co-authored the "Best Interests of the Child" act, which had a major influence on social work in the state. She was term-limited out and jumped into the race late when, she says, "there was real concern about the lack of familiarity with the Legislature and how it works."

Her opponent, Peter Buckley, is a classic Ashland liberal who moved north from Humboldt County in 1997. He hasn't held public office, but heads the nonprofit Democracy's Edge, which encourages citizen involvement in government.

It's very hard not to endorse Uherbelau, who helped found Rogue Community College and has served the state so well, but that's what I'm going to do. I like Buckley's message about overcoming divisiveness, which is my central hope. Democracy's Edge is a group with Harry Lonsdale on its board and also forwards this ethos, which shows his conviction. He really wanted to run and has a plan; Uherbelau, at 65, has had her turn and didn't appear to have a particular motivation for running. Let's give Buckley a try.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Peter Buckley

District 7
Candidates: Shirley Cairns Greg Thorne

"Republican Bruce Hannah was recently appointed to fill the District 7 seat left vacant when Jeff Kruse left to run for a Senate position. Democrats need to pick a strong candidate to run against Hannah in the fall." (Eugene Weekly) This is a pretty easy call. Shirley Cairns seems like a solid candidate whose politics are Democratic while still conservative enough to appeal to Douglas County voters. Greg Thorne is a conservative Republican running under the Dem ticket.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Shirley Cairns

District 8
Candidates: Mitzi Colbath, Paul Holvey (I), Hart Williams (not in the Voter's Pamphlet)

The question when you have an incumbent is whether s/he earns a trip back. The Eugene Weekly described his performance thus: "Holvey is knowledgeable, active and effective on issues of labor, business, education and the environment. He's advocated for living wage and labor standards, along with full disclosure and accountability for businesses getting tax breaks. He knows forestry issues, appreciates the folly in unsustainable sprawl and supports 'green' building." Hey, don't fix what ain't broke.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Paul Holvey

District 16
Candidates: Sara Gelser, Kelley Wirth (I)

This is an interesting race. Incumbent Kelley Wirth, who racked up a reputation of missed votes and accusations of constituency avoidance, finds herself in a battle against Sara Gelser, a candidate recruited by disgruntled Democratic insiders. The party has rallied around Wirth, and she has endorsements by Kulongoski, Kitzhaber and more. Both are solid liberals and both have similar platforms.

There's a feel here of a marital spat, and it's hard from this distance to know which side to take. So instead of taking sides, I'll go with the established formula: did Wirth do enough to get re-elected? It's tight. She didn't do much in her last term. Even her Voters' Pamphlet guide doesn't boast many successes. But is it enough to endorse a plucky challenger? I'm going to go with the incumbent here, hoping that this serious challenge will make her more responsive in the future. Sometimes it's better to lay low and get your bearings in the beginning. I'm not totally comfortable punishing Wirth for that.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Kelley Wirth

District 29
Candidates: Chuck Riley, Elena Uhing

Chuck Riley has been running to represent Hillsboro and Forest Grove since losing in 2002. He's racked up endorsements from everyone--Willamette Week, Oregonian, everyone. Most of them can't explain why he's the best, but in person, they all agreed he was. I looked through their platform and lean toward hers. Furthermore, her experience on the Forest Grove Planning Commission is roundly praised. Somehow, Chuck's got some mighty mojo in person. But then, I didn't meet him.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Elena Uhing

District 32
Candidates: Rosemary Baker-Monaghan, Deborah Boone

I could find precious little about this Clatsop County race. And so in ignorance, I have only the Voters' Pamphlet to go with. Based on that, I like Deborah Boone for her extensive background as a legislative assistant.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Deborah Boone

District 33
Candidates: Mitch Greenlick (I), Frank W. Saxton

This is one of those cases where a dominant incumbent is challenged by a regular citizen with no political background or experience who just wants to fight the power. Those kinds of candidates almost never get any support and get crushed in the election. Therefore, I always consider them carefully. But in this case, Saxton offers very little to go by. His Voters' Pamphlet statement (the only info I could find), essentially admits he's in the race so the incumbent won't be running unopposed. At this point, it seems semantic. Greenlick, a professor emeritus from OHSU, has done nothing to lose the endorsement.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Mitch Greenlick

District 37
Candidates: Jim Morton, Gerritt Rosenthal

This seat probably isn't actually in play for the Dems, but two candidates are vying for it anyway. In the WW endorsement of Gordon, the paper writes: "Morton, 56, who serves on the West Linn Budget Committee, has the kind of background desperately needed in Salem. He's a social progressive and fiscal realist who, for more than 25 years, did what many lawmakers only talk about: He created jobs. While Morton had his share of frustrations in seeking zoning changes, he thinks complaints about government regulation are often exaggerated and promises of "growing jobs" too simplistic. That kind of realism is crucial to finding common ground in the Legislature."

What I saw from Rosenthal in the VP was also positive, but I'm leery of a person with no more campaign than a VP entry. Morton thinks he can actually win the seat and he's busting a move to try. What the hell, let's get on the train.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Jim Morton

District 42
Candidates: Diane Rosenbaum (I), Gordon Hillesland

Another case with an established incumbent and a kind of nutty challenger. In this case Gordon "No Sales Tax!" Hillesland agrees with most of what Rosenbaum has done, but he wants to assure what?--oh right, No Sales Tax! Okay, man, we got the message.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Diane Rosenbaum

District 43
Candidates: Chip Shields, Tina Kotek

This seat, replacing outgoing Deb Kafoury, is about as solidly Democrat as any in the country. It also happens to be my district, so I'm more than a little interested in the outcome. Both candidates are solid. Shields founded Better People, a nonprofit that helps convicts find jobs. Tina Kotek, as the WW describes her: "was a lobbyist for the Oregon Food Bank before taking her current job as policy director for Children First for Oregon, a nonprofit best-known for producing an annual report card on how well the state meets the needs of kids and their families." Tough choice, right?

The Willamette Week gives three reasons--two of which are bogus. According to WW, he has special insight into "some of the most vexing problems facing the state: drug addiction, criminal recidivism and job training." Next, they say that his endorsements list is impressive, proving that they did no more research for their endorsements than I have here. Hey, I'm a blogger--what's their excuse? If they'd dug around, they'd find out that Shields jumped into the race first, when he picked up the majority of his endorsements. Kotek has amassed a decent array since she joined the race. Last, they say he plays well with conservatives. That's a real bonus and is noted.

So who gets the nod (and the vote) from this voter/blogger? Kotek, for reasons neither scientific or politically sound. It is, rather, because of a conversation I had with a person who knows both candidates pretty well. She has been consistently impressed with Kotek and is excited by her candidacy. Hey, they say the number one way to change a person's mind about a candidate is to speak to them personally. Worked for me.

Oregon Blog Endorsement: Tina Kotek

posted by Jeff | 3:55 PM |
 

[Apology redux]

I've obviously been pretty lame here lately. My calendar has become tighter and I've been putting all my blogging time in Notes. Two things. First, I hope to make a strong push here before the election (and have some post-game wrap-up). Beyond that, it's hard to say. Second, I think the intent of the Oregon Blog remains unique in the blogosphere, and I'd love to see it function a little more robustly. If anyone wants to contribute, gimme a holler.

(The Oregon Blog is a progressive blog that covers politics and news with political implications from across the state. Oregon's strength has historically come from honoring its diverse voices by crafting innovative solutions that serve the public--from ranchers in Ontario, fisherman in Newport, loggers in Grants Pass, and small businesspeople in Portland. I wanted the Oregon Blog to be a voice promoting a return to those politics.)

posted by Jeff | 7:35 AM |


Friday, May 07, 2004  

[Doh!]

Two big, ugly pieces of news re Oregon:

1) Portland Seven Lawyer linked to Madrid Bombings

and

2) Neil Goldschmidt Got Busy With a 14 Year Old Girl While Mayor, Resigns

I don't have much to say regarding either, but I'm sure Jeff or Fred will chime in later with something relevant.

posted by iggi | 9:15 AM |


Wednesday, May 05, 2004  

[Primary Endorsements]

State Representative - Republicans

Looking through the Republican candidates for the House is a depressing endeavor. There may well be a decent candidate or two in there, but the truth is, I don't care enough to put in the several hours of research it would take to learn--hey, Candidate X isn't a barking mad conservative nut! Mostly the candidates try to out-conservative each other.

For example, "I am not afraid to challenge those who call evil good and good evil, the first step toward fixing these problems." (James Buchal)

In the more benign cases, the candidates seem not to understand the problems of Oregon or have the vaguest ideas about the solutions. Mostly, it's tired bromides that have long since lost any meaning. "Cheryl will hold the line on discretionary state spending. We can?t afford new or different taxes." (Cheryl Lentsch)

Or, in some cases, people simply seem to be crazy. "Government's primary function is to protect people and their property." (Jim Welsh)

I'm not constitutionally anti-Republican. But while we're in such frighteningly conservative times, it seems deeply irresponsible to endorse any of these candidates.

posted by Jeff | 2:44 PM |


Tuesday, May 04, 2004  

[National Politics]

John Kerry's coming to town on May 25th. Details to come.

posted by Jeff | 1:14 PM |


Monday, May 03, 2004  

[Apology]

Slow blogging lately. I'll finish up with my endorsements midweek.

posted by Jeff | 3:33 PM |
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