Our Oregon and the Corporate Kicker for K-12 campaign won’t be participating in the so-called “Citizens Initiative Review” process because it’s a poor use of public resources and campaign time, and there’s no evidence that it has any impact on voters.
Since 2010, the CIR project has cost at least a half a million dollars, costing at least $210,000 just for the two upcoming panels. If the backers of the Citizens Initiative Review were serious about increasing public engagement, they could spend that money instead on voter registration. With $210,000, they could have registered some 30,000 Oregonians to vote.
The CIR is funded in large part by private organizations, but staffing has been paid for by a loan from the state. So far, no accounting has been made public about how much of that money has been paid back, if any.
While Oregon is facing ongoing cuts to schools and basic services like health care and public safety, the state shouldn’t be giving or loaning money to ineffective projects like this one. How ever much money or staff time has been given or loaned to the project is money that should have been spent in Oregon classrooms or on critical projects.