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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Election porn at its worst

In yesterday's batch of campaign come-ons in our snail mailbox was this wicked little glossy four-pager:

It's a flyer in support of the mysterious Multnomah County ballot measure setting the stage for the formation of a "library district." The mailing is offensive in a couple of ways. First of all, from the looks of it, you'd think that few white guys ever patronize the library. Trying to find a white male face on the flyer is straight outta "Where's Waldo":


But worse than that, much worse, part of the message here is highly misleading:

Get the politicians out of it -- are they kidding? Look at what the ballot actually says:

And here's the full text of the ballot measure itself. (They don't mail this to the voters any more, and so nobody actually reads what they're voting on.) It makes quite clear that regardless of what the voters do, the matter is still left up to a majority of the board of county commissioners:

And if the district is formed, the county commissioners will run it! To say that the measure is "getting the politicians out of the process" is nothing short of fraudulent.

This measure has a bad odor about it -- it's nothing but a setup for a new, permanent property tax for the library down the road. The fact that it's being sold in a highly misleading way makes it a clear case for a no vote.

(BTW, to whichever county legal beagle drafted this thing: It's ad valorem, not ad valorum. Look into it.)

Comments (29)

Yeah, this one is a favorite of mine.

"We, um, just want to have the OPTION to, uh, maybe form a library (taxing) district some day. But, uh, we definitely haven't made the decision to do it. This is all purely hypothetical. And, um, this new taxing district wouldn't involve any, you know, like, um, taxes."

It is confusing. As I read it, they're asking us to let them ask us to create a library district.

The subtext, according to WWeek's endorsement of the measure, is that currently all the cities in Multnomah County would have to approve the new district, so this measure would change things so that the County Commission only has to put it to the voters and not have to shop it around to all the little burgs like Maywood Park and Fairview. I thought it was interesting the little dig WWeek threw in at Sam Adams by saying the measure should pass so that he can't hold the County hostage or horse-trade for votes in exchange for his support.

Funny how the stuff you really want you have to fork over extra money.

The Sh***t you think is borderline criminal, comes right out of the general fund...

Ever seen an election measure for excessive travel junkets?

I will be voting no. thank you Jack.

An example of obfuscation for the textbooks. The response is still, Just Vote No.

I have 15 to 30 books/films out from the library at any given time.The libary is the only place around I could get hold of the Eclipse releases of two Sacha Guitry
pre-war French comedies.

I'm going to attend at least one if not two of the Hatfield Distinguished Historians Forums that is delivered in conjunction w/ the Historical Society.

I gotta vote no.

Nice job Jack.

A similar one could be done with the TriMet Levy.

You know the Levy that we're told is for improving bus service but the measure reads for "improving transit".

One of the multitude of things that has befuddled me in the many years since I've moved here from the east coast is the incredible proliferation of special districts in the state, with separate taxing authority, management and staff, and all with vastly different boundaries crossing other districts and divisions of governments. We have school districts, ESD's, fire districts, conservation districts, water districts, vector control districts, community college districts ...! And now we are to consider a library district and an "historical society" district? What's that about? And in what world could that be efficient and effective?

I see a white guy. He's the homeless guy with the shaved head using the computer with his back to the camera.

We need public libraries like we need Blockbuster video stores.

One of the multitude of things that has befuddled me in the many years since I've moved here from the east coast is the incredible proliferation of special districts in the state.

On the east coast, the bureaucracy and corruption are centralized into city governments. Here, they're distributed, Also, government is the only real industry around here; it's the only sector that grows through boom and bust.

We need public libraries like we need Blockbuster video stores.

That's absurd. Libraries are some of the finest of our institutions.


I know how much you enjoy being against things, but are you really opposed to funding libraries? I use the Multnomah County library a great deal and am always concerned about its ongoing fiscal support. I know you are to...

The entire measure is confusing and misleading. We already have libraries so they must have already been funded somehow. Why do we need this measure now? What is wrong with the existing system that worked well enough to build all the existing libraries?

Dean, I use the library a lot. We have a terrific library right now. If it ain't broke, then don't fix it.

That's absurd. Libraries are some of the finest of our institutions.

True, if you are talking about Biblioteca Angelica, or the library at Trinity College, or the Library of Congress.

But for the general population, there are far easier and more cost-effective ways to convey knowledge than expensive buildings filled with papery things.

Who spends their time counting white guys in campaign fliers? Is there really such a dearth of white male figures in the media that there's a need to worry about it in a single brochure with only a few pictures? That's a little creepy.

"Who spends their time counting white guys in campaign fliers?"

I was wondering about that one too. Once white American males start feeling slighted and start making a case for more attention and respect, then we've reached a new stage of counter-factual weirdness. Which we may have, given the existence of the "Tea Party" movement.

I'm more and more enthusiastic about the Athenian principle of imposing the death penalty for lies by public officials.

"White Guy" - the new oppressed minority.

Are there any white straight men left in Portland?

Just you, John Benton, just you. God bless you. Please don't go down without a fight.

Oh John Benton.... I know some great bars you could visit.... you'd meet some really nice guys... OTOH I am not sure that Jack would appreciate that you are implying he's not white or straight... just sayin

We're voting on taxpayer funded Historical Society, libraries, voter owned elections... the list goes on. In recalling Saltsman's taxpayer funded Children's Fund, where he recently helped to divert a slug of money to his girlfriend, then I'm voting NO on all of them, besides using Jack's facts.

*Ad nauseam*

I count the white guys when they are conspicuous by their absence (except and a source of funding). Frankly, when a white guy speaks up for himself the Portland response is snark. Well, I'm part of that constituency and I don't have any problem fighting for my piece of the pie.

In fact, I'm getting to enjoy it - deflating blowhards is fun. Plus, they don't expect you to do it as the custom has become such that we're supposed to be punching bags. It's a bean counting world.

I count the white guys when they are conspicuous by their absence (except and a source of funding). Frankly, when a white guy speaks up for himself the Portland response is snark.

I suppose if that kind of thing worries you, the presidency is lost to you forever -- even though the previous forty-three American presidents were all (except for a couple of rumors) white guys, everyone knows that once you go partially of African descent you never go back -- but you can take heart that despite the encroachment of women and minorities the US Senate is still three quarters white guys. I can't vouch for the straight part though.

I guess I'm just secure enough in my own straight white guyness not to be particularly worried about the place of straight white guys in society.

I'm a long time reader of this site and also a board member of the Friends of Multnomah County Library (we are not behind this measure, but we wholly support it). I'm surprised at the lack of reasoned objective discourse on this one, although I have to say that's becoming less easy to find around here.

Nobody seems to have even bothered to consider the real reason behind the measure: to provide a stable source of funding for the library system in the future. Currently the library is funded by putting it to the voters to pass a levy every five years. This uncertainty is hardly the backbone of a stable library system, and it makes it very difficult for the library to plan for anything but the short term. The creation of the district provides an opportunity to secure a more stable funding source, although it doesn't do so in and of itself. I've read the comments above, and I fail to see what's objectionable about this measure. I support the library system and I'll be voting yes.

The creation of the district provides an opportunity to secure a more stable funding source, although it doesn't do so in and of itself.

Yes, and you won't come right out and say what that "stable funding source" will be: a NEW, PERMANENT PROPERTY TAX.

"Reasoned objective discourse," my eye. You folks are acting like complete and total weasels on this one, and you don't deserve anyone's vote.

although I have to say that's becoming less easy to find around here.

We don't do reviews of the site in the comments here. That's your one and only Mulligan.


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