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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 26, 2006 12:26 AM. The previous post in this blog was Fiddling while Portland crumbles. The next post in this blog is I know that guy. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

No, thanks

I strongly dislike what's become of Oregon's citizens initiative process. I refuse on principle even to look at, much less talk to, the paid signature gatherers who hover around where I do my personal business. When they asked, "Are you a registered voter?" I used to reply, "Sorry, I'm a convicted felon." But now I don't even do that -- I just keep walking.

If I hear about a petition that I'm interested in (a rare occurrence), I'll seek it out from a source that I feel I can trust. Otherwise, I don't care what they're selling, those greaseballs can leave me alone.

And if previously you didn't have a good reason to do the same, now you do: Check this one out.

Comments (1)

If somebody calls you and you don't know them, it is perfectly okay to hang up on them. If somebody you don't know comes to your home, it is perfectly okay to close the door on them. If somebody you don't know wants to talk to you on the street, it is perfectly okay to ignore them.

My question is, with computer chips in everything from furniture to pets to sex offenders, why can't we have a lawn sprinkler that waters at right angles? Must I be an engineer to water the corners of my lawn?

Posted by: skyview satellite at July 26, 2006 12:53 AM

You can't help wondering why people put lawn in their corners, as long as there's no good way to water there. That's not much different from casually signing initiative petitions without reflecting on the consequences. It's not popular or "democratic" to say so, but as a political or governing process, the initiative stinks. Government -- if it's to be any good at all -- requires representatives who can craft legislation, hold hearings, take input, modify proposals, and be accountable to the public for the results. This has been obvious, more or less, since then-Gov. Atiyeh's out-of-state hired crooks foisted the state lottery on us all, injecting yet another poison into the process: the idea that, through a stupidity tax, you can get someone else to pay for the government you need.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 26, 2006 07:31 AM

skyview satellite My question is, with computer chips in everything from furniture to pets to sex offenders, why can't we have a lawn sprinkler that waters at right angles? Must I be an engineer to water the corners of my lawn?
JK: It seems like a simple problem. Start with a rotating sprinkler and just have a means to adjust the vertical angle (or the water pressure) as it rotates. Perhaps a disk, like on old fashioned 24hr timers, but fixed, that the spray head rests on. Just place a "thing" that causes the sprayer to tilt up or down by a setable amount as the spray head rotates over it. Or make the disc bendable.

Thanks
JK

Posted by: jim karlock at July 26, 2006 07:33 AM

I'm reminded of the notion that when guns are illegal only criminals will have guns.

The sequence of coincidences that have placed a property tax levy for PPS on the ballot, not to mention the formulation of the budget itself, must mean that it was all a nice clean consensual affair, not anything at all resembling an unclean bum with an unzipped fly holding out a tin cup on a street corner.

Should your response be a little like boycotting an entire election?

The pin-striped punks are the big time white collar crime folks that have mastered the art of "organized" crime. Attacking them should be more rewarding, or at least more intellectually challenging.

Keep trying to carve out a genuine public interest path, without nary a dime of aid, that can simultaneously box in (or box out) ALL the pretenders. The pool of people that can see through it, and retain a hint of courage, is too damned small.

"greaseballs" is a relative term.

Posted by: Ron Ledbury at July 26, 2006 07:34 AM

And another thing: where in town these days can you walk down the sidewalk without being accosted by Greenpeace, Ospirg, Mercy Corps, the DNC, initiative signature gatherers and a collection of other mendicants? We must be feeding these folks -- otherwise, they wouldn't multiply like this.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 26, 2006 07:34 AM

I'm always happy to give my completely truthful response: "Washington resident."

Posted by: jud at July 26, 2006 07:51 AM

"""That's not much different from casually signing initiative petitions without reflecting on the consequences."""

The "consequences" of signing petitions are public votes with plenty of opportunity to "reflect" prior to the election and actual voting.

I see no problem at all with the intitiative system enabling the debate and voting.

Some just don't like the outcome of the votes so they would like to see less voting.

I read a letter to the editor from the League Of Women Voters a while back urging people to NOT sign the spending limit petition.

Imagine that. An organization of voters advocating to disallow a vote.

It's abundantly clear that those who treat petition signature gathering the same as voting and think it all stinks, are those who think the voting results stink.

I guess the only way they see a way to stop the results is to stop the voting.

However, all the twisted drama over signature gathering doesn't seem to be stopping any voting.

What's the next move?

Posted by: Steve Schopp at July 26, 2006 08:52 AM

I wonder how a initiative petition to reign in or abolish the PDC would be recieved in these ranks?

Posted by: Steve Schopp at July 26, 2006 08:54 AM

Very, very well, I would guess.

Posted by: Don Smith at July 26, 2006 09:01 AM

Initiative 25-17: Seeks to place ball-gag on Bruce Warner and require "Yes, Mistress" response to all City Council inquiries; Seeks to allocate all TIF money to litigation against past PDC "Most-Favored Developers" to recover monies spent on boondoggle projects; Defines boondoggle as any project decried on bojack.org.

I'm gathering signatures at the base of the tram...

Posted by: Don Smith at July 26, 2006 09:05 AM

i have had to tell about 100 people that I am from California just to avoid these people.

Posted by: Rodney at July 26, 2006 09:29 AM

Forgers and identity thieves as paid petition signature-gatherers...fortunately, I ignore signature-gatherers; if I want to sign a petition, then I get the petition, sign it, and send it in. I don't do business on the streets - and neither should you.

Posted by: Max at July 26, 2006 10:49 AM

I get Ospirg and other orgs at my door all the time... the people seem to be generally legit and thoughtful, but I'll be damned if I'm giving my personal info to a stranger. I kindly explain this to signature gathers and donation seekers, to puzzled looks. I don't think it's a complicated matter to empathize with, as identity theft and fraud is something we all need to be vigilant against. I ask for a website, and they mention that they don't get credit for any donations that way.

Well, I'm sorry...

Posted by: TKrueg at July 26, 2006 11:07 AM

I strongly dislike what's become of Oregon's citizens initiative process.

I couldn't agree more. A recent story in the Oregonian detailing the out of state money that funds these things causes me to question whether the name: 'citizens intitiative process'. I don't believe the initiative process was created for certain individuals/organizations to make a very comfortable living.

Posted by: jimob at July 26, 2006 11:26 AM

I need to start proofreading my comments, but I believe I made my point.

Posted by: jimbo at July 26, 2006 11:46 AM

Jack, you'll have to come up with a better excuse to avoid them...being a convicted fellon in Oregon does not disqualify you from voting or signing a petition (like some states). Only if you are currently in jail are you not allowed to vote (or sign a petition).

Posted by: anony at July 26, 2006 12:16 PM

When they ask if I am registered to vote, (I am) I have tried to tell them "no" in the past, but then I get a freakin lecture on "doing my part" as a citizen...which pisses me off more. So now I just ignore them, walk around them. Its a pretty sad state when you notice yourself unconciously moving to the other side of the street to avoid signature gatherers. Of course I work downtown, so it becomes a zig-zag operation because they everywhere.

I guess just to be an ass, one could sign a bogus name and address, voiding the whole sheet of signatures.

It really doesnt matter if an initiative makes it to the ballot, or even passes. The "powers that be" will overturn the will of the voters if the dont like outcome. Just look at light rail.


Posted by: Jon at July 26, 2006 12:41 PM

What about the illegal aliens that are signature gatherers? Some may be felons convicted as such, and then they are felons (unconvicted) for being here illegally.

Posted by: lw at July 26, 2006 01:55 PM

Steve Schopp:
If voters should be voting on everything, then yes, of course the initiative process makes sense. In fact, all the folderol about getting real signatures from real registered voters, and having approved ballot titles and descriptions and such are just impeding the process. But wait. The process produces junk law even as it is. No, you're absolutely right, I don't like the results of the voting, and neither, in fact, do you: litigation, uncertainty, public expense. I'll say the truth so you can next judge me for the elitist, arrogant snob that I surely am: the issues being decided by voters through the initiative process are too complex for voters to decide.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 26, 2006 01:56 PM

Jack, you'll have to come up with a better excuse to avoid them...being a convicted fellon in Oregon does not disqualify you from voting or signing a petition (like some states). Only if you are currently in jail are you not allowed to vote (or sign a petition).

Then I'm going to have to go with, "Sorry, I recently escaped from jail."

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 26, 2006 02:12 PM

I have just taken to rather abruptly stating that I no longer trust the voters of the state of Oregon to make an intelligent decision on an initiative measure. If they then have the wherewithal to ask why, I'll just bark, "Property Tax Limitation! Whoever petitioned for that sad measure should be drawn and quartered."

Posted by: godfry at July 26, 2006 02:17 PM

"Property Tax Limitation! Whoever petitioned for that sad measure should be drawn and quartered."

Apparently a majority of the citizens of Oregon, most of whom are just as intelligent as you in spite of what you believe, disagreed with your elitist opinion. Get over it.

Posted by: Sasquatch at July 26, 2006 02:35 PM

What about the illegal aliens that are signature gatherers? Some may be felons convicted as such, and then they are felons (unconvicted) for being here illegally.

Untouchable...they are the new "protected" class in this country.

Posted by: Jon at July 26, 2006 03:18 PM

Just saying "NO" seems to always works for me. I'm still breathing and walking. Then again, I'm most often in tune with the initiative process and I'm not threatened by any gatherers of signatures. I actually look forward to the opportunity to sign the petitions when I want to.

Now concerning the initiative process, it's probably the most effective way citizens have to push the legislative process forward for the people while the legislature is sitting on their hands deciding who gets to be the majority/minority leader.

Posted by: Carol at July 26, 2006 03:38 PM

Apparently a majority of the citizens of Oregon, most of whom are just as intelligent as you in spite of what you believe, disagreed with your elitist opinion. Get over it.

Oh, I will...When the citizens of Oregon realize what a dumbshit law it is and rescind it.

It was not a majority of the citizens, but a majority of the citizens who happened to vote in that election.

And...

"If fifty million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."

The same applies to the majority of voters in any given election.

Posted by: godfry at July 26, 2006 03:38 PM

Armed with cries of 'elitist!', people deny we have a misinformed, ill-informed, disengaged public. Poll after poll show how 'snowed' we've become. Just the other day, Harris Interactive noted 64% of Americans believe there was a 'strong link' between Saddam and Al Qaeda. (huh?? they HATED each other!) It also shows 50% believe Saddam had WMD, UP FROM 36% A YEAR AGO. (Ooookaaay... why the big jump? Is the public privvy to something Bush hasn't coughed up? Yeah right)

http://harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=684

Americans need to feel humility/shame of how little we know about even the most prevalant issues of the day. I doubt people know more about mundane, local issues that we vote on each November. It's come down to a battle of who's campaign and talking points appeal most to our base-est notions, and generally nothing more.

Conservative or liberal, we all need to make voter engagement and participation a priority if we want to sustain a healthy democracy.

Posted by: TKrueg at July 26, 2006 04:28 PM

Far from a process that energizes or motivates the legislature, the initiative process removes any incentive they might have to act.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 26, 2006 05:18 PM

Who said that the I&R process was intended to motivate or, God forbid, energize the freakin' legislature, Allan?

Is it such a complicated notion that its purpose isn't clear?

When citizens feel they aren't being represented by the legislature, they have recourse to direct democracy.

After using the I&R process, citizens should then be motivated and energized to throw the bums out

Posted by: rickyragg at July 26, 2006 06:43 PM

When citizens feel they aren't being represented by the legislature, they have recourse to direct democracy.

That's not the case with most of the initiatives in Oregon these days. They're bought and paid for, particularly by corporate types. Plus now the process is staffed with many a shady character. Just say no, with your feet.

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 26, 2006 07:17 PM

Note that convicted felons CAN VOTE in Oregon as long as they aren't in prison.

But none of the petitioners know this. I always say I'm a felon, too, and the first petitioner who knows that I can still sign is the one I'll talk to.

Posted by: no one in particular at July 26, 2006 08:08 PM

"Who said that the I&R process was intended to motivate or, God forbid, energize the freakin' legislature, Allan?"

This was a response to a comment above that said that, in substance. What's with the extreme language? Chip on your shoulder?

Posted by: Allan L. at July 26, 2006 09:10 PM

Those corporate types corrupt everything if you let them, and the process can be abused. But I think there is a place for the initiative petition process as a check on government. I would appreciate hearing a defense of the process from those who work with it regularly. Even when it functions imperfectly,as it did with M37(imo), at least it initiated some discussion that wasn't happening here in Omertaville.

Posted by: Cynthia at July 26, 2006 10:34 PM

""If voters should be voting on everything, then yes, of course the initiative process makes sense""

Huh? Voters voting on everything is nonsense.
The initiative process wouldn't make it any less so.

"""In fact, all the folderol about getting real signatures from real registered voters, and having approved ballot titles and descriptions and such are just impeding the process."""

No those are the reasonable rules that are needed to keep the process viable.

"""But wait. The process produces junk law even as it is""""

The junk law came from Mary Marten James (M37) as our State SC clearly stated.

"""No, you're absolutely right, I don't like the results of the voting,""""

Well gee whiz are you supposed to like everything?

"""the issues being decided by voters through the initiative process are too complex for voters to decide"""
Perhaps they are too complexed for you and that's why you don't like the results????

You should speak for yourself. The voters speak at the polls..

The relative few issues the voters vote on compared to the legislature makes the initiative process entirely justified and succesful as the only way to constrain the legislature.

Posted by: Steve Schopp at July 26, 2006 11:17 PM

I blame the enduring specter of campaign donation solicitations and the rise of the business of gathering signatures on the judiciary.

Proof: How much money could I get if I were to offer an initiative that introduced the egalitarian notion of the Equal Privileges and Immunities clause in the present Oregon Constitution? (Or reinforced, or restored, the present one.) Not a bloody dime.

It should be considered a truism that the vast majority of (legislative) initiatives and legislation (each with equal force of law) to some degree conflict with the spirit or letter of the Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause.

One must view the judiciary as just one more layer to protect the public from government action against the individual. That is, if a court were to void a legislative act as not compatible with the Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause it is NOT thereby acting as an activist judiciary.

The court has flipped the notion over to presume that legislative acts (inclusive of initiatives) are presumed to be in the public interest, and then raised the threshold for a challenger to a cryptic and infinitely malleable notion of a "public policy" choice for which no individual could disrupt, let alone gain "standing," via court action lest (almost psychotically) the court would then sit in the shoes of the legislative branch.

Don't blame this on the felon that may gather signatures or sign initiatives, presuming that the felon did not have sufficient eduction to know better and had not used enhanced skill and judgment to act against the public interest.

One more argument, at issue here, a strong judiciary (if it acts uniformly) would help to preserve faith in the government itself. Pick any field of inquiry, any fact set, whatever. Leaving it up to the Secretary of State to isolate on signatures alone could hardly be a preferred method of trying to assure the lack of arbitrariness.

-----

Cynthia & Steve: The Oregon Supreme Court could have vindicated the notion of not creating different classes of citizens in their resolution of M37, but balked. It is a classic illustration of my point.

As a respected City Club Speaker recently noted with regard to free speech -- if people disagree with the broad scope of the free speech protections in the Oregon Constitution then demand change in the Constitution, as it also represents a policy choice. The same reasoning applies too for Equal Privileges and Immunities.

Posted by: Ron Ledbury at July 26, 2006 11:47 PM

I'm a little late chiming in here, but Cynthia said above, "I would appreciate hearing a defense of the process from those who work with it regularly."
Here it is:
My days of working with the process are over (I've sworn off politics), but several years ago I was actively petitioning for several different matters at the state legislative district and municipal levels. None of our petitioners was paid a cent. We usually got from 6 to 10 people to go out, and usually two of us got the most signatures. One becomes obsessed and won't stop until it gets dark.
My take on the process is that it is humbling, enraging (people who sign knowing they are ineligible are the worst), energizing and, surprisingly fun, once you get into it. Most of the people are very sweet and say, "I think you should have a chance to vote on this." Petitioning is an excellent way to get your message out, to educate yourself about what is on people's minds, learn the arguments that they understand and agree with, and to let them know about the issue.
When I was petitioning for minor political party status for me to run against a guy (Republican) who was unopposed, many people told me, "I'm a Democrat, but I think you should be able to run." Others said, "I'm a Republican. I won't sign."
Women were hard to convince, "Well, I don't know much about it... I'd like to think about it." Code for: Buzz off, lady!
Now, for Godfry: here's some history that may change your mind about I&R. These laws were pushed through, I'm not sure how, by the PROGRESSIVE Movement of the early 1900s. They thought, probably correctly, that special interests, especially the railroads, and even more especially Southern Pacific, were controlling the legislatures, especially the California legislature.
The I&R has been a wonderful way for members of a dispirited, increasingly cynical public to make their voices heard. I'm not in favor of paying petitioners, but I understand why it is done for a statewide measure. It would take an almost inhuman effort to get the job done without a huge amount of money, even WITHOUT paying the petitioners because of the huge printing and mailing bills that have to be paid.
Final point: our so-called inactive legislature is that way because they are split almost 50-50 on several key philosophical points. I say so-called, because don't they regularly pass several hundred bills each session?

Posted by: mac at July 27, 2006 08:55 PM

Thanks mac.

Posted by: Cynthia at July 28, 2006 02:57 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


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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: 319
At this date last year: 172
Total run 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


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