Here is how I am voting on the ballot questions I have. I will also explain why I am voting the way I am voting.
Statewide Ballot Questions
I am voting yes on Measure 107.
If you’re interested in reducing the amount of money corporations and the wealthy can spend on Oregon elections, you need to vote yes on 107. Oregon is one of five states that has no limit on contributions a person or corporation can make to political campaigns. This allows corporations and the wealthy to publish loads of false information convincing people to vote against their best interest and in favor of corporations and the wealthy.
If 107 passes, the Oregon Legislature, local governments, and the people through ballot questions would have the ability to put limits on the amount of money that can be spent influencing our elections.
I’m voting no on Measure 108.
While this may be surprising to some, my reasoning is consistent: I don’t like taxes that hurt poor people more than wealthier people. If someone making $20,000 a year and someone making $100,000 a year are taxed the same amount, the tax costs the person making $20,000 more in terms of their disposable income.
Had the authors of 108 limited the measure to taxing vaping products, I would have supported it. I have no issue with ensuring vaping products are taxed. By throwing in another increase on the cigarette tax that will cost poor people more of their disposal income, I became a no vote on Measure 108.
Let’s tax corporations and the wealthy more before we unfairly tax poor people.
I am voting yes on Measure 109.
Measure 109 would legalize the manufacturing and use of psilocybin, mushrooms, to help folks living with certain mental health conditions. If Measure 109 passes, a two-year process would be followed to create the conditions for the distribution of psilocybin to those who could use it to aid in their treatment.
The cities of Oakland, California and Denver, Colorado voted to decriminalize mushrooms, but Oregon could become the first jurisdiction to make them available to those who have a medical need while establishing processes to make sure abusing them will be difficult. Since some Oregonians could potentially be helped, why not?
I am voting yes on Measure 110.
Measure 110 seeks to decriminalize small amounts of drugs and enable folks battling addiction to get treatment. Given the sad reality that Oregon has one of the highest rates of drug abuse in the nation and the reality that the so-called war on drugs has been an abject failure that has disproportionately left people of color with unfair criminal records, Measure 110 is worth a try.
I appreciate the concern of those unhappy that some of the marijuana tax revenue will be taken from local governments and schools to support treatment programs established by 110, but we must do everything we can to reform our racist, classist injustice system. Measure 110 is a good step in that direction, and it recognizes that personal consumption of drugs is a question of addiction–not illegal conduct.
Multnomah County Ballot Questions
I am voting yes on Measure 26211.
For me, Measure 26211 is the easiest call on the ballot. If adopted, Measure 26211 would raise revenue through bonds to improve Multnomah County’s library system and would allow for the construction of a new library in the underserved East County. Even though my property taxes will increase, I am a strong supporter of 26211.
As an avid reader, I will support anything that promotes reading. But the truth is libraries are becoming increasingly important community centers as the wealth gap increases. Some people rely on libraries to access the Internet. Others take free classes at the library. Supporting libraries is in everyone’s best interest.
I am voting yes on Measure 26214.
Measure 26214 would create a universal preschool program in Multnomah County by raising taxes on individuals earning more than $125,000 annually and joint filers earning more than $200,000 annually.
There is no question about the value in preschool to the development of children. The lack of affordable, available preschool is another way the children of wealthy parents are advantaged. Universal preschool should be a nationwide effort. Since it’s not, let’s do the right thing in Multnomah County. Since we can also raise taxes on the wealthy, 26214 is a slam-dunk.
City of Portland Ballot Questions
I am voting yes on Measure 26213.
Portland Parks & Recreation is facing serious budget issues. If 26213 is not adopted, many programs will be cut and facilities will most likely close. For many Portlanders, programs offered by Parks & Recreation are an important part of their lives. Through these programs, people learn new skills, meet new friends, enjoy activities (like swimming) they can’t enjoy many places, and become a bigger part of their community.
Even though 26213 will also raise my property taxes, I am voting yes. During this difficult time, people need more opportunities to feel a part of their community than maybe ever before. Also, we can’t forget the thousands who would be out of work if 26213 doesn’t pass.
I am voting yes on Measure 26217.
Measure 26217 amends Portland’s charter to create a new independent police review board.
While Measure 26217 does not create the kind of oversight board I would create, it’s a major improvement over the current system. No entity should be able to investigate its own possible misconduct or determine its punishment. That simple truth makes a yes vote on 26217 an important vote to cast.
I am voting yes on Measure 226219.
Measure 26219 addresses how money generated by our water bills can be spent. Under existing rules, revenue generated by our bills can only be spent on projects “reasonablyrelated” to water providing service. If the measure passes, revenue from our water bills could be used for purposes having nothing to do with providing us water.
At first blush, some of you may be thinking that you don’t want money you pay for water to go toward anything that doesn’t have to do with providing you water. While I understand that reaction, the Portland Water Bureau controls lots of land that could be put to interesting public uses. Our community could have access to more green spaces for things like parks and community gardens. Since the new public spaces would be run by Portland, they would also have to provide accessibility to people with disabilities. Recognizing this fact, those promoting Measure 226219 acknowledge some of the money will go toward accessibility.
Since there are still way too many places people with disabilities can’t enjoy, I am happy contributing some of my water bill toward the creation of accessible public lands.
Metro Ballot Question
I am voting yes on Measure 26218.
While I don’t believe all of the projects are the best possible expenditures of the money that will be raised by 26218, the truth is transit in this area is badly underfunded. Corporations are using some questionable funding decisions to argue against the entire project. But we can’t be distracted by their nonsense. Anyone who drives, takes public transit, rides a bike, or walks will eventually see benefits from the passage of 26218. As a society we all win when better transit options take cars off the road and make not driving them easier.
We will never agree with the way government spends every dollar on a project of this size, but on the whole this project does a lot to improve transit in this area.