Sockeye Blog Archives

Monday, we took a look at the statewide trend of support for community services. In the primary election, 70% of all local money measures passed.

Today, it’s time to take a look at the other 30% and what it means for Oregon counties.

Monday, we took a look at the statewide trend of support for community services. In the primary election, 70% of all local money measures passed.

Today, it’s time to take a look at the other 30% and what it means for Oregon counties.

The League of Oregon Cities put together a summary which of the local money measures passed and failed (PDF, see pages 2 – 4.)


 

Here’s the rundown: Of the 40 measures asking community members to pay a little more to protect the services they value, 28 (70%) passed – which means that 12 (30%) failed.

These failed measures include two K12 school levies and a community college bond. With school funding from the state down, many communities asked their denizens to help support their schools. While 80% of school measures passed, the students of Canby, Curry, and Umpqua Community College will continue to operate with inadequate resources, as districts will now be forced to reduce staff and school days.

In Josephine County, City Commissioners are similarly being forced into difficult decisions after residents rejected a levy to support jail services. Commissioner Don Reedy suggested to the Oregonian that “voters apparently thought there was a bluff to call...  They just don't believe it. They just don't believe we're broke." Clatsop County voters also rejected a bond to fund jail services.

Voters may very well have believed that they were “calling bluff” in the communities where community service bond and levies were rejected. This is, after all, exactly the result that Tea Party groups aim for when they allege that government has plenty of money. In some of these communities, the link to far-right messaging is quite pronounced. One failed school levy, for example, was the Canby School District, located right in the middle of the current hub of conservative funding and tactics.

But, in reality, this Tea-Party type messaging has no place; these community pleas are no bluff. The rejection of the Josephine County jail bond measure, for example, had direct consequences as the county was forced to lay off 70% of the sheriff’s office staff (effective May 31) and release about 75 prisoners. A chilling image, “Sheriff Gil Gilbertson told the Associated Press that inmates were laughing in their cells on election night.”

But, there is a silver lining when looking ahead to possible future measures. It's worth noting that of the 12 measures that failed, 25% failed by 20 votes or fewer. In Estacada, a vote for a general obligation bond to construct a new fire station failed by just 13 votes – or one half of one percent (0.5%) of the total vote. These communities could very possibly see a shift to majority support next time around.

November may be a great opportunity for these local areas. But in the meantime, unfortunately, the communities that rejected the needed funding measures are going to have to live with the consequences of slashed funding to schools, prisons, and other vital services.

Slate and the New America Foundation have compiled an incredibly powerful "poverty map" of our country - it details the change in poverty rates from 2007 to 2012.

Oregon is prominently featured in the header paragraph in Slate's piece, only one of two counties nationwide mentioned. -- "While some counties saw their poverty rates increase only slightly, and some even saw them drop, the number of people under the poverty line in Oregon's Malheur County doubled to nearly two-fifths of its population."

Slate and the New America Foundation have compiled an incredibly powerful "poverty map" of our country - it details the change in poverty rates from 2007 to 2012.

Oregon is prominently featured in the header paragraph in Slate's piece, only one of two counties nationwide mentioned. -- "While some counties saw their poverty rates increase only slightly, and some even saw them drop, the number of people under the poverty line in Oregon's Malheur County doubled to nearly two-fifths of its population."

Take a look for yourself:

A local filmmaker was on hand to capture the May 11 UPSET march and rally for schools, focusing on Grant High teacher (and dad) Don Gavitte, who came up with the idea for the UPSET movement. A wonderful look into an inspiring day.

A local filmmaker was on hand to capture the May 11 UPSET march and rally for schools, focusing on Grant High teacher (and dad) Don Gavitte, who came up with the idea for the UPSET movement. A wonderful look into an inspiring day.

Oregonians voted on 40 ballot measures last Tuesday that asked them to support local fire and ambulance districts, police forces, libraries, and other community services. Several of the measures focused on providing funds to local schools to help with the reduced school funding from the state.

Oregonians voted on 40 ballot measures last Tuesday that asked them to support local fire and ambulance districts, police forces, libraries, and other community services. Several of the measures focused on providing funds to local schools to help with the reduced school funding from the state.

The League of Oregon Cities compiled the results of the measures, which came in the form of levies, bonds, and permanent rate increases. Their findings? 70% of the measures passed. Even more impressive, 80% of the K12 school measures passed. Oregonians overwhelmingly voted in support for their community needs.

 

The Statesman Journal examined the ballot measure results and called the support a “statewide trend.” They spoke with many voters and found positive messages of hope for the future and support for the services they value.  From the Statesman Journal:

Voters said they valued those services.

“We need something. We need books and pools,” said Mark Kester, who noted that the library was important to him and his children. “We don’t need this town going to decay. It’s infrastructure that we need.”

Added T.J. Sanders: “These are things that children need and they need all the things they can get. I’m all for the library and pool, even though I rarely use them.”

Mary Fery supported the city’s parks: “The parks here are really nice. A lot of older people around here don’t drive, and parks aren’t too far to walk for them.”

Multnomah County was one of four counties that asked residents to support funding for their local libraries. All four of the library measures passed, and nowehere more triumphantly than Multnomah where 82% of voters supported the library levy.

Of course, not all of the local tax measures passed. Most notable of the measures that failed was the local prison levy in Josephine County, leading to the release of up to 75 prisoners into the community on top of sheriff office staff layoffs. Additionally, a measure limiting city spending passed in Gladstone, hub of conservatives' latest focus. The measure was sponsored by Tea-party members who opposed the city’s plan to build a library for residents.

We'll take a closer look at the measures that failed later this week.

Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

Happy Friday, folks! Here are a few (space) stories that brightened things up around the OO office this week:

Let’s face it, the news today can be downright depressing. It’s important to remember that things aren’t all bad — in fact, there are some really great things happening around us all the time. Introducing, The Bright Side of Life!

Happy Friday, folks! Here are a few (space) stories that brightened things up around the OO office this week:

On Sunday, we'll be treated to a solar eclipse -- the first in 18 years.

An engineer is working on a plan to build the USS Enterprise, the famed disc-shaped ship from Star Trek. Not just an aesthetic model, the ship is slated to be fully functional. The engineer behind the plan believes we have the technological ability to get this ship up visiting stars and planets.

NASA released a map of the galaxy, where users can search for habitable planets. And? "So far, NASA’s spotted about 2,300 of these exoplanets, including 48 that appear to be in a sweet spot distance away from the sun."

In this time of deep budget cuts across the state that are leading to larger class sizes and shorter school years (examples here and here and here), it seems fair to take a look at what priorities the Oregon Legislature spent money on du

In this time of deep budget cuts across the state that are leading to larger class sizes and shorter school years (examples here and here and here), it seems fair to take a look at what priorities the Oregon Legislature spent money on during the last legislative session. It turns out that at the same time the Legislature was choosing to underfund Oregon’s schools, they were also increasing tax breaks to big corporations and the richest Oregonians.

Last year, the Legislature gave away a new tax break to big corporations to the tune of $93 million.  They additionally allowed Measure 66 to expire on January 1, 2012, leading to a tax cut for high-income households that will cost the state $118 million in just this first year alone.  Together, this amounted to $200 million more dollars in tax breaks across just one year.

It’s not a new trend. In recent years, tax breaks to corporations and the rich have soared while spending on schools has stalled.

In the chart below, over a decade of state spending on tax breaks and K12 schools are plotted. Leave aside for now the glaring gap in how much more the state gives away in tax breaks versus what it spends on schools and just take a look at the spending rate trend.

 
Total Tax Break source: State of Oregon Tax Expenditure Reports. Total State Spending source: Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office. Dotted lines indicate projected or approved spending when summative data is not yet available.

When we zoom in on the most recent five year spending period (2007-present), we find that total tax breaks grew at a +12% increase while school funding dropped by -5%.

 
Total Tax Break source: State of Oregon Tax Expenditure Reports. Total State Spending source: Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office. Dotted lines indicate projected or approved spending when summative data is not yet available.

The drumbeat for school funding gets louder

It was another fantastic week for signature gathering—we’ve now brought in more than 67,000 signatures statewide.

Volunteer Spotlight

We continue to have a great response from volunteers around the state. This week’s Volunteer Spotlight shines on schools advocate and parent Barbara Smith Warner. Barbara has gathered more than 100 signatures largely by talking to other parents at her kids’ events.

The drumbeat for school funding gets louder

It was another fantastic week for signature gathering—we’ve now brought in more than 67,000 signatures statewide.

Volunteer Spotlight

We continue to have a great response from volunteers around the state. This week’s Volunteer Spotlight shines on schools advocate and parent Barbara Smith Warner. Barbara has gathered more than 100 signatures largely by talking to other parents at her kids’ events.

Thanks to her help, we’re that much closer to reaching the ballot in November. Thanks, Barbara!

Will you help get signatures from family and friends? Go here to get everything you need.

Parents, Students, and Teachers March

Last Friday, as many as 2,000 parents, teachers, students, and community members rallied in Portland to demand an end to school budget cuts. It was an inspiring action by people who see the impact of cuts every single day.

Did you miss it? Never fear, we were there with video cameras. Here’s a short video of the event!

Great News from the May Election

They may not have been the most prominent races on your local ballot, but there were school bonds and levies that were decided in this May’s election.

The results held great news for school supporters: There were 10 communities that had school measures on the ballot, and a whopping 8 of them passed. From East Portland to North Douglas to Klamath Falls, voters lined up to support their local schools.

It’s yet more evidence that local communities have had enough of ongoing cuts to their schools. 

They may not have hired an actual corporate shill, but the Oregonian today signaled that they’re moving even further to the right by hiring Erik Lukens to be the new Editorial Page Editor.

Lukens comes from the Bend Bulletin, widely viewed as the home to the most conservative editorial board of any major paper in the state. While there, he built up a back catalog of right-wing opinions, steadfastly opposed to taxes, union protections, and spending on basic services like schools. (Unless you’ve got a paid subscription, you won’t be able to read his Bulletin editorials, but here’s a sample courtesy of—surprise surprise—the Oregon Republican Party: http://www.oregonrepublicanparty.org/node/231)

Bottom line: The Oregonian Editorial Board has long been out of touch with its community of readers, taking positions diametrically opposed to their readership on just about every important issue and candidate.

By hiring Lukens to run the Editorial Page, Oregonian Publisher N. Christian Anderson III has made it clear that his intention is to push the paper even further away from their base of subscribers. Oregonian readers who believe their paper should be a reflection of the community will be sorely disappointed.

They may not have hired an actual corporate shill, but the Oregonian today signaled that they’re moving even further to the right by hiring Erik Lukens to be the new Editorial Page Editor.

Lukens comes from the Bend Bulletin, widely viewed as the home to the most conservative editorial board of any major paper in the state. While there, he built up a back catalog of right-wing opinions, steadfastly opposed to taxes, union protections, and spending on basic services like schools. (Unless you’ve got a paid subscription, you won’t be able to read his Bulletin editorials, but here’s a sample courtesy of—surprise surprise—the Oregon Republican Party: http://www.oregonrepublicanparty.org/node/231)

Bottom line: The Oregonian Editorial Board has long been out of touch with its community of readers, taking positions diametrically opposed to their readership on just about every important issue and candidate.

By hiring Lukens to run the Editorial Page, Oregonian Publisher N. Christian Anderson III has made it clear that his intention is to push the paper even further away from their base of subscribers. Oregonian readers who believe their paper should be a reflection of the community will be sorely disappointed.

 

The cry for help in our schools continues to grow louder, and Oregon voters are listening: In Tuesday’s election, Oregonians approved multiple local bonds and levies in attempts to keep their local schools afloat.

Voters faced five K-12 school bond measure and five K-12 school levy measures across the state. Results tallied after Tuesday's elections showed that 8 of 10 education measures passed.

Our schools across the state continue to face tough times. Deep budget cuts are leading to a still more dire situation for our students and community. Classrooms are overcrowded and class options are dwindling. Schools are understaffed and teachers are overburdened. But this election, Oregonians showed that they have had enough and took action to work towards restoring funding to their local schools. 

Klamath Falls City was among the eight that supported a school funding measure. This was the first time in at least 15 years that voters in Klamath passed a school levy. (The last attempt in 2006 failed, and there hasn’t been an attempt at the ballot since at least 1997.) Yet 57% of voters voted yes this May, in response to the needs of their community.

The other successful measures spanned the state, including measures in Washington, Morrow, and Douglas Counties.

For a list of the K12 school bonds and levies, visit the Oregon School Bond Association’s page where they list all education funding measures from the May 15 primary election.

One of the school measures turned down by voters was a levy in Canby School District which, notably, is located smack in the middle of conservatives’ latest strategic grounds: Clackamas County.

 

The cry for help in our schools continues to grow louder, and Oregon voters are listening: In Tuesday’s election, Oregonians approved multiple local bonds and levies in attempts to keep their local schools afloat.

Voters faced five K-12 school bond measure and five K-12 school levy measures across the state. Results tallied after Tuesday's elections showed that 8 of 10 education measures passed.

Our schools across the state continue to face tough times. Deep budget cuts are leading to a still more dire situation for our students and community. Classrooms are overcrowded and class options are dwindling. Schools are understaffed and teachers are overburdened. But this election, Oregonians showed that they have had enough and took action to work towards restoring funding to their local schools. 

Klamath Falls City was among the eight that supported a school funding measure. This was the first time in at least 15 years that voters in Klamath passed a school levy. (The last attempt in 2006 failed, and there hasn’t been an attempt at the ballot since at least 1997.) Yet 57% of voters voted yes this May, in response to the needs of their community.

The other successful measures spanned the state, including measures in Washington, Morrow, and Douglas Counties.

For a list of the K12 school bonds and levies, visit the Oregon School Bond Association’s page where they list all education funding measures from the May 15 primary election.

One of the school measures turned down by voters was a levy in Canby School District which, notably, is located smack in the middle of conservatives’ latest strategic grounds: Clackamas County.

 

BLOG: The day after: Clackamas strategy pays off for conservatives
Sockeye Blog
"Despite a relatively low turnout rate, the election that wrapped up yesterday featured some results that will have lasting impacts for years to come. One of the most intriguing developments has been the shift in political strategy by the state’s top conservative campaign donors. Last week, we outlined this shift: conservative donors appear to have largely abandoned statewide races, and instead are focusing on local races, starting in Clackamas County."

Turnout 32 percent in Oregon primary election
KGW
"Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith will face off in the November election for Mayor of Portland. Eileen Brady, one of the front-runners for most of the campaign, finished third. Amanda Fritz and Mary Nolan will also head to the run-off after neither gained the 50 percent vote required to win outright."

Your lobby report on Oregon's 2012 Legislative primary election
Oregonian
"Hey, forget about how the legislative candidates did on Tuesday night.  How about the lobbyists and the special interests behind them?  They like to think of themselves as the permanent government in Salem anyway. Let's start with Mark Nelson, the influential business lobbyist who is the big force behind the Oregon Committee -- a group of like-minded lobbyists who strategize on legislation and political strategy."

BLOG: The day after: Clackamas strategy pays off for conservatives
Sockeye Blog
"Despite a relatively low turnout rate, the election that wrapped up yesterday featured some results that will have lasting impacts for years to come. One of the most intriguing developments has been the shift in political strategy by the state’s top conservative campaign donors. Last week, we outlined this shift: conservative donors appear to have largely abandoned statewide races, and instead are focusing on local races, starting in Clackamas County."

Turnout 32 percent in Oregon primary election
KGW
"Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith will face off in the November election for Mayor of Portland. Eileen Brady, one of the front-runners for most of the campaign, finished third. Amanda Fritz and Mary Nolan will also head to the run-off after neither gained the 50 percent vote required to win outright."

Your lobby report on Oregon's 2012 Legislative primary election
Oregonian
"Hey, forget about how the legislative candidates did on Tuesday night.  How about the lobbyists and the special interests behind them?  They like to think of themselves as the permanent government in Salem anyway. Let's start with Mark Nelson, the influential business lobbyist who is the big force behind the Oregon Committee -- a group of like-minded lobbyists who strategize on legislation and political strategy."

Voters overwhelmingly pass Multnomah County Library funding measure
Oregonian
"Voters approved a levy for the popular Multnomah County Library by a huge ratio -- 82 percent to 18 percent -- in partial returns. Measure 26-125 will renew a three-year levy of 89 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value to support the library system's Central Library and 18 branches. The current levy expires in June. Portland voters, meanwhile, easily passed nine housekeeping measures to change the Portland City Charter."

Steve Novick wins his city council race
Willamette Week
"Steve Novick, a political upstart four years again in a narrow U.S. Senate race, won election to the Portland City Council on Tuesday night, easily getting a majority of the votes against six lesser-known opponents. In early returns, Novick has 73 percent of the vote. His nearest opponent, Scott McAlpine, has 8 percent."

In Metro races, Stacey and Chase win
Willamette Week
"Bob Stacey and Sam Chase have won seats on the Metro council. Stacey leads his opponent, Jonathan Levine, 85 percent to 15 percent, for Metro Council Seat 6. The seat was vacated by councilor Robert Liberty in 2011; former Gov. Barbara Roberts was appointed to fill out the term. In the Metro District 5 race, Chase was leading his four opponents with 58 percent of the vote. They’re vying to replace current councilor Rex Burkholder."

Oregon state Rep. Mike Schaufler and state Sen. Chris Telfer lose seats
Oregonian
"Two incumbent state lawmakers have their  lost seats to primary challengers, suggesting, perhaps, that party regulars are willing to shake things up in Salem. One of the state's most hotly contested primary races occurred in Bend, where Republican challenger Tim Knopp  defeated incumbent Sen. Chris Telfer in District 27. Knopp, who is executive vice president of the Central Oregon Builders Association, isn't a newcomer to Capitol politics. He served in the House from 1999 until 2005, including a stint as Republican majority leader in 2002-2003."

Washington County money measures win, lose; Commissioner Dick Schouten wins third term
Oregonian
"Proposed Washington County money measures were meeting mixed fates Tuesday night, and an incumbent county commissioner won re-election to a third term. In the race for commissioner Position 1, Dick Schouten, in partial returns, was defeating challenger Betty Bode, 56 percent to 44 percent. Schouten, who has held the seat since 2001, is now on his way to a fourth term on the five-member board. This is a very nice win tonight,' Schouten said. 'I got a lot of support from folks who don't necessarily agree with me on everything.'"

Ben Unger defeats Katie Riley in House District 29 2012 Democratic primary election
Oregonian
"Democrat Ben Unger claimed an easy win over opponent Katie Riley, 65 percent to 35 percent, in the race for House District 29. Unger will represent the party in November against Republican incumbent Katie Eyre. The district includes western Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Cornelius. 'Six months of hard work, a lot of volunteer hours and a lot of teamwork went into this first race,' Unger said. 'We'll need every little bit of it again as we head to November.' Unger, a political consultant who ran campaigns for Attorney General John Kroger and Measure 49, raised more than $87,000 -- mostly in cash donations -- for the race. Riley raised nearly $44,000, about half of which was in-kind from her husband, former representative Chuck Riley."

Knopp beats incumbent Telfer for District 27
OPB
"In Central Oregon, former Republican House Majority leader Tim Knopp handily defeated incumbent State Senator Chris Telfer in Tuesday's election. Republican primary voters turned out in favor of Knopp by margins of more than 2 to 1. Knopp describes himself as "Reagan Conservative." And his message to voters was a lot like Reagan’s famous question in the 1980 campaign when he asked "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?" Telfer’s District -- Number 27 -- is decidedly Republican -- and Knopp was able to successfully hammer his opponent on an early vote to raise Oregon’s gas tax."

John Ludlow, Charlotte Lehan lead in race for Clackamas County chair, Martha Schrader appears to win seat outright

Oregonian
"Former Wilsonville Mayor John Ludlow and current Clackamas County chairwoman Charlotte Lehan appear headed for a November runoff in the heated race for county chair. With nearly 90 percent of ballots in hand counted by 11 p.m., partial returns indicate Ludlow leads the four-way race with 28.3 percent, with Lehan in second with 27.2 percent. County Commissioner Paul Savas and state Rep. Dave Hunt trail in third and fourth with 24.3 percent and 20.1 percent, respectively."

Students have mixed feelings about primary election
KEZI
"The majority of University of Oregon students only live in Eugene for four to five years, which is why many of them say they don't feel a need to participate in local elections. But some say they feel like they should have more of an input. If they're registered in Lane County, they can vote here, but do Oregon students care about municipal or Lane County elections? Some say they don't vote because they feel overlooked by candidates and are uninformed about the election. Others say they aren't planning on staying in Eugene after they graduate and don't see a reason to vote."