Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.



For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.







Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!






E-mail us here.

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 20, 2003 2:39 AM. The previous post in this blog was Multnomah County Democrats endorse PUD. The next post in this blog is On to the Ninth Circus! -- er, I mean, Circuit. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Archives

Links

Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
TaxVox
Tax.com
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Conglomerate
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
myCorporateResource.com
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Utterly Boring.com
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
HinesSight
Onfocus
Jalpuna
Beerdrinker.org
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
Sansego
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
Mireio
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
{AE}
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Althouse
GirlHacker
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Frytopia
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
StumptownBlogger
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and Drink.com
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion
LoveSalem

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Misterblue
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
Twisty
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
Pinktalk
Mellow-Drama
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Rosenblog
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Blort
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Maukie
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
KGW-TV
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
KOIN
Willamette Week
KATU
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB
Topix.net - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
KPTV
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

Music-Related
The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Seal
Sting
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, October 20, 2003

You thought hanging chads were bad

The chief of the federal district court judges here in town, Ancer Haggerty, has gone to extraordinary lengths to remedy what he says is a fundamental injustice in the current election here in Multnomah County regarding the formation of a public utility district (PUD). And he's taking control of at least one aspect of the administration of the election in a powerful way.

First, some background: There are two measures currently on the ballot that would create a PUD to take over some or all of the local electric business here in the Portland area, wresting it away from PGE, and possibly from Pacific Power.

The case before Judge Haggerty is in some senses one of first impression, because unlike other states, Oregon requires that all voting be done entirely by mail. Folks mark their ballots and either turn them over to the Postal Service for delivery or hand them off at drop-off stations positioned around the county. It's a system just begging for fraud and mistake, if you ask me, but that's not the point of this post.

What's happened this time around is that the proponents of the PUD have challenged in Judge Haggerty's court a notice that the county Elections Division has printed on the mail-in ballots, as required by state law. The ballots have already been mailed to the voters, with the controversial language on them. (They're due back November 4.) My spouse and I got ours Saturday, and here's what the fuss is about:

The PUD proponents complain that this statement is highly misleading, because the PUD ballot measures, in and of themselves, would raise property taxes only a tiny bit -- only a small fraction of 1 percent -- and therefore nowhere near 3 percent. The elections bureau counters that the notice is perfectly legitimate. State law already allows counties to raise taxes by 3 percent a year, without any vote of the people, and so any voter authorization of additional new property taxes could "cause" the total tax increase -- both under the ballot measure and as otherwise allowed without a vote -- to be more than 3 percent in the aggregate.

On Friday, Judge Haggerty announced that he agrees with the PUD proponents. The legend on the ballots is so misleading as to be unconstitutional, he declared.

You could stop right there and have yourself a pretty good political story. It's a big victory for the left and for revenue-hungry governments in Oregon, not just in the PUD election but potentially in many other contexts in the future. Under this ruling, unless a particular ballot measure in and of itself would raise property taxes by more than 3 percent, the notice may not be necessary, and in fact could be unconstitutional.

But the plot gets even thicker than that. As usual, the devil is in the details. Since the ballots have already been mailed, what's the proper remedy for the injustice?

The judge's highly unusual order requires the county elections bureau to publish, on its web site home page and in paid advertisements in various sections of The Oregonian daily newspaper, notices that the legend printed on the ballot is misleading. The judge has even specified the exact size and wording of the notices. For example, according to Portland Communique, the newspaper notices must be at least five column inches each, and read: "By Order of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, the Multnomah County Elections Division advises voters that the passage of Measure 26-52 by itself cannot cause property taxes to increase more than three percent. This clarifies language printed in the November 4, 2003, ballot that was found to be misleading."

(Communique broke this story Friday evening, and I've been trying to read the full text of the judge's order ever since, but I can't get past the first page of the pdf file that Communique links to without my version of Adobe Reader choking on it.)

As of late last night, the county hadn't put the notice up on its home page, as the judge requires, but I suspect it will do so sometime today.

The anti-tax, anti-government zealots who engineered Measure 50, the 1997 initiative which requires the tax increase ballot notice, must be in a snit. Here's a federal judge defiling their precious political baby, and who's there to defend it? Mostly county and state politicians and bureaucrats, who deeply resent the entire law that requires the notice in the first place. Those officials certainly won't lose sleep if that legend has to be removed from future ballots; indeed, they'll laugh themselves to sleep.

Perhaps the state and local governments won't even bother appealing Judge Haggerty's ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Which is a shame, because the judge's order is an extraordinary exercise of federal power over county elections officials. It literally puts words in their mouths and forces expenditures of public funds to provide public notices to the effect that state law disclosure requirements are misleading. (As they used to say on Seinfeld, not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Perhaps PGE and Pacific Power -- oops, I mean {sarcasm} those grassroots citizens groups that are opposing the PUD {/sarcasm} -- will file an appeal.

Somebody ought to.

I like Judge Haggerty well enough. I see him at the gym from time to time. He may even be right on the merits of this one. But a federal judge literally dictating to a county elections bureau what it must publish in the paper and put on its web site? That's probably worth a higher court taking a second look.

UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.: As for that balky pdf file, I upgraded my Adobe Acrobat Reader to 5.0, and it works fine now. Turns out the court relied on both First Amendment and due process grounds for its order, which is a preliminary injunction.

Although the order requires the corrective ads to start running as of yesterday (Sunday), none have appeared as of Monday's paper. And at the end of the business day on Monday, still no notice has appeared on county elections home page. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Comments (6)

Not sure why the PDF file of the order that OPPC offers up isn't working for you. Maybe it's their connection and not the file? I've put a copy of it here -- see if that works.

"proponents of the PUD." heh heh.

Here's what I know so far: As expected, the County has indeed appealed the decision, and according to Assistant County Attorney John Thomas a motion to stay the judge's order has also been filed with the Ninth Circuit.

According to Dan Meek, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case, the County must "continue to comply with the U.S. District Court order until and unless the Ninth Circuit says otherwise." However, as you note, neither the ads nor the website notice ordered by the judge have yet to appear.

Okay, I have a dumb question, which will require me to reach back into my recollection of how initiatives work back there. (We don't have them on the frozen tundra -- yet.)

Doesn't the DOJ review the initiative titles or something before they go on the ballot? Would it make sense for them to make the call about whether to include that notice, rather than leaving it to the counties to guess? It just surprised me, if the ballot initiatives are being checked for some basic form-and-style stuff anyway, that you couldn't just throw that issue in there too, as to whether it needed the Measure 50 notice.

I'm not really of any particular opinion about the notice, or about the federal-county relationship (which I agree looks wonky here) -- I'm just wondering if it could have been avoided.

My understanding (which is fallible) is that everyone agrees that Measure 50 by its terms requires the notice whenever property taxes are to be increased, at all. Thus, I think the DOJ routinely says you must include it. The court has decided that that's unconstitutional, at least as applied to these facts.

Got it. I was misunderstanding the "three percent" issue. I was thinking it was a three percent cutoff -- that you only had to include it if the tax increase was more than three percent. I should have known the initiative would never be that forgiving. I knew some of the attorneys I worked for at the DOJ did that kind of work from time to time, so that's what made me think of them.

Considering what a hassle it is at the legislature I now work for to get an objective fiscal note for a bill (which fiscal note always arrives with a list of "assumptions" allowing anyone who doesn't like its result to discount it anyway), I'm not surprised that the issue of what does or does not make property taxes go up by so-and-so amount turns out to be sticky as all get out.

TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference You thought hanging chads were bad:

» The trials and tribulations of the PUD ballot from JohnHays.net
In Multnomah County, Oregon there is an upcoming election concerning a couple of PUD initiatives. Now you might think it would be a nice, simple little election, right? Man, would you be wrong. Wev'e got all sorts of counsel, the federal judge, the Nin... [Read More]


Sponsors


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


Clicky Web Analytics