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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How we're voting, cont'd

Our post of yesterday laid out almost all of our votes in the current election. But as readers pointed out, we left out a couple of important positions -- Portland City Council and Oregon attorney general. Maybe it was because we've already discussed those two races on this blog all year long. Maybe it was because we lack enthusiasm about either of them. Maybe it was a subconscious urge of some kind. Who knows?

Well, here they are for the sake of completeness. DE signifies our degree of enthusiasm, with 0 the lowest and 10 the highest; DC is our degree of confidence that our candidate will prevail:

- State attorney general: Rosenblum - DE 2, DC 10. This one was over months ago.
- City Council: Fritz - DE 2, DC 5. By far the lesser of two evils.

We probably won't mark our ballot until close to the last minute, and so we're still open to suggestions. We're stubborn, but we do change our mind occasionally. The last time, we recall, was in 1993.

Comments (13)

Yup. With you on nearly everyone of the recommendations.

Firstly, I know Tim Volpert, and he's a great guy. I cannot recommend him highly enough, and your association argument is easily trumped by his integrity.

I'll vote for 79, whether it clutters the ballot or not, the people have to vote in the Oregon system to change the language in the constitution, and removing gender specific language is perfectly reasonable (even admirable), if only symbolically.

I'll also vote for 80. I think the comments on your other post already cited a lot of the good reasons. But I'd add 1) that the current black market system of sales makes it easier for younger people to get a hold of the substance; 2) fighting the federal government on an issue of fiscal and moral responsibility is more than appropriate; and 3) Pot is great for a lot of people, and the system of prohibition makes that seem like an inappropriate thing to say, even though it's true.

All of these pot measures seem so disingenuous to me, wrapped up in arguments about sick people, and prison costs, and civil rights and so on. Proponents are by-and-large pot smokers who want it to be legal so that they can buy it and smoke it more conveniently. Just be honest about the motivations and we can have an honest vote on it.

The idea that it will be harder for young people to get it is ludicrous. If they can't find a way to get at the "legal" supply, then other people will just keep growing it at home to meet that demand.

I'm totally a pot smoker, and have no shame about that. However, your argument is bunk: as Jack pointed out in his first post, I have no problem getting weed right now. It is also currently untaxed. It's unclear whether the price would go up or down post measure 80 (I can tell you prices have already been falling over the last 10 years here in Portland, and rather dramatically in the last 3). Which isn't to say my educated guess isn't that they'd fall further, at least eventually. Further, convenience would not necessarily increase: currently, there are about 4 "retail outlets" within 3 blocks of my residence, and delivery is free. That will not likely be the case post measure 80. Do I want my habit to be legal? Yes, of course. Why would I want people who don't understand a substance that does great things for me to have legal leverage over me? But do I want measure 80 to pass because it would be more "convenient"? No. I have no evidence that that would really be the case. Weed is currently considerably easier for me to procure than liquor.

The argument regarding youth is obviously impossible to demonstrate, because it relies on a counter-factual. However, it also relies on perfectly sound logic and shouldn't be dismissed so easily. Demand is not static, it is partially manufactured. The current system has created a network of retailers that, largely because they are already outside the law, do not have many scruples about selling to minors. Indeed, many minors belong to that network. It is a common (and in my experience correct) statement that it is easier for high schoolers to acquire weed than to acquire alcohol. Would they still get their hands on it through a (slightly less) black market post measure 80? Sure. But by disincentivising the larger black market retailers, who rely on high school middlemen, it is very likely that there would be less supply, and then less manufactured demand, among Oregon's youth.

Right, you want pot to be legal because you smoke pot. That is the conversation that proponents need to have with voters. It is the honest conversation.

I don't agree with your second argument. I don't think this measure would reduce availability to minors. But it probably wouldn't make it more available either.

Pot is getting more affordable because California's current law, and to a lesser extent our current law has created a gray area for growing and trafficking. If legal, pot would become a lot cheaper (before tax) because it is just a crop that can be grown as a commodity.

Sportsmen and women care more about hunting regulation. Gay people care more about gay marriage. Pot smokers care more about pot. Duh.

That's not at all the point though, or "the honest conversation." I know plenty of non smokers who want this law to pass, and indeed, I know plenty of smokers who will vote against it. In particular, dealers, who risk being out of a job.

The honest conversation is one that investigates the effects of current policy and the possible effects of alternative policies.

Regardless, note my original third reason: "Pot is great for a lot of people, and the system of prohibition makes that seem like an inappropriate thing to say, even though it's true." Do you think I don't realize that more or less outs me? I was attempting to be couth, not to hide my habit.

I wasn't trying to out you. I don't care whether you smoke or not.

My point was about how the pot measures have been presented in Oregon for a long time now. I think they obfuscate that fact that they are about Oregon's pot users wanting to legalize pot. Even the medical pot bill was really about that. They are all trojan horse measures.

Admittedly Measure 80 is more up front about it then some in the past. But if you look at their materials its all about regulations and protecting kids and raising tax revenue.

I just wish that the actual motivations were presented openly to Oregon: "We, Oregon's pot smokers, would like pot to be legal so that we can use it more openly. Do you agree with that or not?"

Anyway, if it works out in Washington and/or Colorado, we'll see what the effects are and can reconsider in the future.

- Measure 26-146 (head tax): No - DE 10, DC 8. Classic Sam Rand. Send those fops a farewell message.

The following from city website:

Measure 26-146 will generate the revenue to support the Arts Education and Access fund through an income tax of $35 per adult, income-earning resident of Portland. Residents living in households at or below the federal poverty limit will be exempt: they will not pay this tax.

Details need to be forthcoming. What happens if one doesn't send in the $35. in a timely matter? A huge fine on top of it? Who will be managing this program and what are the costs of that if passed.

Is anyone else concerned or am I misunderstanding something here, as this seems to allow the city to be digging into the financial business of the residents. Since when is it the city’s business of resident’s income level? In my view, I don’t want them to know my financial business. Can we just pay the $35. dollars to avoid “being
looked" at or do we need to file our IRS statements now to the city?

What about an 18 year old who hasn't found a job, they have to report to the city? Clearly an invasion of personal privacy! Some are already stressed with student loans and buying books.

It would be interesting to know what artists who many are struggling to even buy supplies during this economic downturn would have to say about this.
A household of two artists can buy $70. worth of supplies, and I suspect other essentials actually for that $70.
Believe me I am supportive of the arts, but this head tax will hurt many, while the wealthy can attend concerts, etc. subsidized. It is all for the children again.

What is the reason that arts have been taken from the schools and schools hurting financially? That is the bigger question.

If Adams were so concerned about children and arts, he would have stopped the pet projects years ago that have drained our city. Taxes going up and water rates going up are taking discretionary money from many who might have used that money to attend a concert or buy a work of art, or buy art supplies for their own children.

Yes, I care about children and the importance of art and expression, but I would prefer to spend my $35. to buy art supplies and take it to my local school, that way I know where the money will go.
Why don't those who support this measure do the same?

People might vote for this because it sounds good, who can be against the children and arts, but what will they think when the details are disclosed and collections begin.
This measure could lead to a negative attitude towards the arts, as people don't want to be forced on this.

I just wish that the actual motivations were presented openly to Oregon: "We, Oregon's pot smokers, would like pot to be legal so that we can use it more openly. Do you agree with that or not?"

Snards: You are no more than half-right. I've favored legalization for years and it isn't a drug I use. But there are a whole lot of people who see it like Tom Tacredo, R-Colorado, a state entertaining a similar measure:

"I am endorsing Amendment 64 not despite my conservative beliefs, but because of them. Throughout my career in public policy and in public office, I have fought to reform or eliminate wasteful and ineffective government programs. There is no government program or policy I can think of that has failed in such a unique way as marijuana prohibition.

Our nation is spending tens of billions of dollars annually in an attempt to prohibit adults from using a substance objectively less harmful than alcohol."

George Schultz and Pat Robertson have called for legalization, for crying out loud. I don't care what people pay for marijuana. They're paying the least of it. We are all paying billions and billions so they can't have it legally.

There are ways to remedy enforcement costs short of legalization. We would regret the impact of legalizing pot on our city and culture. Just as some places in the Netherlands are regreting it currently. You think we have a lot of 20-year-old burnouts sitting around on our sidewalks now? Just wait.

I used to smoke plenty, and get all fired up about prohibition and industrial hemp and it's not fair, and so on. Then I grew up and realized that society can't really be a free for all. There do have to be rules and by definition they are going to limit freedom for some. That's what rules are.

Right now we have a system where anyone who wants to can get low cost pot, use it discreetly and even if they're caught, get off very easily as long they aren't carrying an ounce or something. It is a good system that employs a wink-wink. I don't need every park and public event in Portland filled up with losers getting stoned in front of my kids.

Being less than honest about why something should be allowed or outlawed is hardly unique to pro pot legalization measures. Hell, its all but the standard these days, the ill-fated "Grange" casino measure and the estate tax measure being perfect examples from this current cycle.

clinaman -

The biggest part of the Arts Tax scam is that half of the net will be turned over as welfare for extremely elitist private arts groups - Portland Symphony; Opera; Portland Art Museum,etc.

Maddeningly, the "explanatory statement" in the Voter's Pamphlet, written by our hero Sam The Scammer Adams, at page M-53 (the pages with the reddish border)never mentions the half that bypasses schools and goes to private organizations. Sammy, liar to the end.

There has been some mass media print stories about the City needing to hire 4 - 5 folks to administer the assessment / collection. Unfortunately, I didn't keeep the reference.

Given the lawn signs on the around town on the Eastside, including in front of his house, it appears Scott Fernandez is waging a write in campaign for Mayor.

If anyone has any doubts, look at the Willamette Week full page ad,
Write-in Scott Fernandez for Mayor and title:
"What will Portland Look Like in Four years with Scott Fernandez as Mayor?"
with his position statements on -
Drinking water
Public Safety
Economic responsibility.
Fernandez gives in depth look at the issues, which is more than we can get from the other two, the press seems focused on campaign financing and personality problems.
Heavens forbid, should someone talk seriously about issues.

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