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I am William S. U'ren and I am dead. I was once a big noise in Oregon politics, an activist back in the days when Republicans were called progressive and there was an actual Populist Party. The history books say I am largely responsible for things like the initiative, referendum and recall here, as well as the direct election of US Senators. I ran for governor, once, when William Howard Taft was the Republican president, and I lost. Then I retired from politics and, thirty years later, I died. And almost everything I accomplished has been turned on its head and against the very people it was meant to help. Enough is Enough in Oregon!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Pair to Draw To

We are going to have HB 2005 and people on both sides are, as usual, deceiving you.

And you need a dead guy to see through this...

One of them, Senator Ted Ferrioli, says it will undermine your wonderful initiative system and the other, Secretary of State Kate Brown, wants you to think it is a significant step toward fixing it. Neither is truthful.

Look, all this new law addresses is signature collection and how ballot titles are selected.

If you think this is big onions you need to look for perspective in someone else's garden.

This bill touches none of the real problems that the initiative causes you. For example, once this bill becomes law:

1. Unfunded mandates benefiting single interest groups will continue to undermine the budget process, changing the spending priorities worked out among the competing interests in that process that your state constitution, like all state constitutions, is required to provide for you if it is to conform to the republican form of government clause of the US Constitution. (Did you ever actually read the Supreme Court cases that uphold the initiative process? I digress...)

2. Expensive, deceptive propaganda campaigns, based on simplistic slogans and the manipulation of symbols and emotions, will continue to limit the amount and quality of information available to voters, especially information about consequences unintended by advocates or contrary to the interest of voters.

3. Un-vetted provisions written by people not artful at drafting statutes will continue to be jammed into law, requiring extensive rewriting and even changing of laws that are already on the books.

4. The Oregon constitutional structure will continue to be distorted, not just by cluttering up that Christmas Tree document with measures that should be statutes but also by limiting the ability of the legislature to make or change policy and by promoting minority rule.

5. The initiative will continue to used to take apart the social and economic infrastructure upon which middle class well-being depends and the burden of paying for what government continues to do will continue to be shifted away from those who benefit the most from that and onto those who are disadvantaged by it.

Ignoring these, only some of the real problems the initiative causes you, both sides in the HB 2005 debate are putting on a show.

See Senator Ted Ferrioli? He speaks for those who have so effectively taken over the initiative to profit from using it to advance their anti-middle class agenda. If HB 2005 doesn't really do any harm to his team, why would he (and they) be so upset about it? Perhaps successfully addressing these meaningless problems will embolden those who might want to do something about the serious ones. Besides, such howling as he has been doing is part of the effort to keep you thinking that in having the initiative you have something valuable to you.

And then there is Secretary of State Kate Brown. Her dog in this fight are those in the middle class or upwardly mobile toward it. These are the people, like you, who have been victimized by the success of the Good Senator's team at hijacking the initiative. Through some mixture of nostalgia, ignorance and wishful thinking you continue believing that the initiative can be fixed so as to fulfill the vision my friends and I had when we implemented it all those years ago. Maybe Ms. Brown has as much hope in small steps as Senator Ferrioli has fear of them.

Well, good luck with that. If you are clinging to our dreams remember we supported the single tax, too. If you don't know what that was use Google.

As I have explained to you in previous posts, there is no way, given the way that money corrupts it, that the initiative system can ever be of use to anyone except Senator Ferrioli and those who run the poker game it's turned into--a game of Oregon Hold Em Down and Fleece Em at which you can never afford to buy a seat.

Is your brain as dead as I am?

The initiative needs to go.

Don't even try to mend it. Just end it.

And while you're at it, next time you think about the average kicker check, ask somebody who gets the ten biggest ones.

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