Down the Ballot

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ebay Find # 6 Jerry Brown pin

Jerry Brown Oregon campaign pin
1992 saw a very active race for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Major names like Mario Cuomo and Al Gore were talked about early on in the campaign, but these possible candidates ruled out a bid for the White House. It is speculated that President George H.W. Bush's high popularity ratings made them question running a campaign. With no big name national Democrats running a field of mostly unknown candidates were vying for the nomination. Governor Bill Clinton, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Bob Kerrey, Senator Paul Tsongas and others made the political rounds.

President Bush's numbers did not remain high for too long. He was also being challenged by more conservative elements in his party over breaking his pledge not to raise taxes.

By the time the Oregon primary arrived in May of 1992 former California Governor Jerry Brown had built himself a grassroots campaign that was accumulating a following. He had won the Vermont, Connecticut, and Colorado primaries and  was picking up delegates in many other states. His campaign then set its attention on Oregon where they felt they had a good chance of beating Governor Clinton who was the frontrunner at this point.

AP Writer Jill Lawrence wrote at the time, "In Oregon, Clinton is abandoning a two week strategy of staying off television and launched an ad campaign to stave off any surprise from Brown". Remember what the big environmental issue was in the early 90s in Oregon? That's right the spotted owl. According to Lawrence Brown " has been campaigning as a champion of the threatened northern spotted owl and old growth forests...tempered his message saying it is possible for owls and loggers to coexist".

The Oregon campaign coordinator of Governor Brown's campaign was Scott Spaan. The Oregon campaign coordinator for Governor Clinton was Paddy McGuire.

The day before the votes were to be cast Governor Brown attended a rally of 3,000 people at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland. Joe Mosley of the Eugene Register Guard, reported on Brown taking aim at a then proposed free trade treaty with Mexico (soon to be remembered as NAFTA). Brown furious with Congress and the President believed that if they had jobs that could be outsourced you wouldn't see them promoting it:

What if were possible to move them to Mexico? And instead of paying the president $200,000 with full public housing, with full national health care benefits...we're to lose his salary to $20,000 a year? And we're going to move the whole Congress down to Tijuana and instead of paying them $130,000 a year we'll pay them $13,000 a year...and get the same amount of work out of them.

On Election Day 1992 Jerry Brown would lose to Bill Clinton in the Oregon Presidential Primary. He would still fight on to the Democratic National Convention and only then endorse  Governor Clinton.

This button is the second variation of this pin I have encountered. The other version I own is a white pin with the same lettering. The curl reads the PO box address for the Oregon for Brown Committee in Portland, Oregon. There should be plenty of these pins out there somewhere. Brown won over 30% of the vote in the Oregon primary so these are out there if you look hard enough.

Until the next Ebay find.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Legislate. Don't Hesitate.

The late Senator Ted Kennedy once said,

Senator Ted Kennedy
To those who hesitate to begin the journey because the road appears too difficult or success too distant, I reply that not within my lifetime have I seen such extraordinary opportunities for change and progress on so many fronts as I see today. The strenuous efforts of those who went before us have opened many doors. The torch of leadership is passing to a new generation. All you have to do is pick it up and help guide the way.

You will see many wrongs and evils and injustices on your journey. These flaws in our society and in the world have been caused by human beings, and therefore can be resolved by human beings.

I urge you to nourish these qualities—timeless virtues like courage and compassion, justice and integrity, involvement and concern. These qualities are tools that will not fail. They are waiting for your use and you will find they are more powerful than any weapon of oppression or resistance.

These words may have been spoken in the 1970s, but they are timeless for many of us. Not within my lifetime have I seen such extraordinary steps taken to secure the general welfare and promote the good of all citizens of the United States. While it has not been a perfect first two years for President Obama and the Democrats and other forward thinkers in Congress it has been productive. Many small victories and even some 'big F'ing' deal victories have been secured for the American people.

Examples are ample of Democrats leading the way to a better America. The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, and don't forget all those tax cuts Obama passed through. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 90% of the American people received some sort of tax cut from the Obama Stimulus. For a full accounting of all the cool things Democrats accomplished in the last two years you should check out whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar besides having a funny title it pretty much tells you what exactly he's done with the help of Congress.

There is a lot of anger out there this year and it is directed unfortunately at President Obama and the Democratic Party. The party in power usually takes a hit during a midterm. Senator Kennedy was right, you are going to see some injustices and many wrongs on the journey that awaits tonight. One of the most ardent defenders of personal liberty and freedom (yes I'm talking about Russ Feingold) may find himself out of a job in Wisconsin. We can only hope that the folks of Wisconsin return one of the best passionate and reasonable voices to Washington DC (where that voice is desperately needed). We in Oregon are fortunate that our senior Senator Ron Wyden will more than likely get to continue working hard for all of Oregon.

What this anger will manifest itself into after the election should be of great concern to all of us. Will we see a dismantling of the efforts made by President Obama and the Democrats during the last two years? Will we see a gridlock occur between the Senate, the House and the President? Will a divided government force the Republicans to actually participate in the governing process? So many questions.

Over the last year since the Tea Party has grown more prominent and a new level of rancor and discontent has engulfed politics in Washington DC there have been concerns that it has become too partisan of a place. So many people have come to think of Washington DC like this that over 130 former members of Congress have called on our leaders to be more civil to each other. Has Washington really become as bad as people make it out to be? Hard to say. Some might argue that year by year Washington DC has become more civil. In the early days it was unwise to annoy some members of Congress for fear of being canned like Charles Sumner. As Obi-wan-Kenobi once said, "Washington DC: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious". Oh no wait that was Mos Eisley spaceport. You get the idea though. We must be cautious in DC and never forget why we send folks like Russ Feingold and Ron Wyden there.

It is not all doom and gloom in DC. When we put our heads together the most amazing things can happen. This last year it was getting access to health insurance for nearly every American. It is by no means perfect, but it is a start. Don't believe what the Tea Party says about it either. It is not socialized medicine. We still operate in a for profit system run by the health insurance companies. Millions of young people get to stay on their parents health insurance plans until they are 26, insurance companies cannot deny you coverage because of preexisting conditions. It was a big step for this country.

It was just proof that 'courage and compassion, justice and integrity, involvement and concern' are just the tools we need to solve these problems. Now it is time to help guide our leaders forward again. It won't be easy, but governing never has been.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Election Night Parties 2010

If you enjoy a good party with good progressive folks here is the start of the list of parties you can attend. As I find out about more parties they will be added. Here are the first that I have found out about for November 2nd 2010. Campaign Parties are represented by dark blue markers, County Election Night Parties are represented by the teal markers. The Yellow Marker is for parties sponsored by a non political organization.

Celebrate Election Night with Senator Ron Wyden
Tuesday, November 2nd.
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Benson Hotel – Crystal Ballroom
309 Southwest Broadway, Portland

Celebrate with John Kitzhaber and Volunteers!
 7:30 p.m. to midnight, tonight
Portland Hilton – Grand Ballroom
921 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204

Ted Wheeler Election Night Party

Hotel deLuxe, The Screening Room
729 SW 15th Ave, Portland

Yes on 76 Election Night Party!!!
The Hilton Portland, OR
921 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland, OR

David Wu Party! 
  7:30 p.m. 
Portland Hilton – Galleria Room #1 
921 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204

 Kurt Schrader Party 
Jimmy O's Pizzeria, 
1678 Beavercreek Road, 
Oregon City

Bob Stacey Election Night Party
600 East Burnside
Portland, Oregon

Tom Hughes Election Night Party
The Portland Spirit
SW Naito Parkway & SW Salmon Street
Portland, Oregon

Karol Collymore Election Night Celebration
Bar Bar @ Mississippi Studios
3939 North Mississippi Avenue
Portland, Oregon

Loretta Smith Election Night Party 
921 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland, OR

Greg Mecklem Election Night Party
Mecklem Campaign HQ 
246 E. Main
Hillsboro, OR 97123

Washington County Democrats Party
Featuring Margaret Doherty, Chris Harker, Tobais Read, Chuck Riley, Suzanne Bonamici and lots of legislative candidates.
Stockpot Restaurant
8200 Southwest Scholls Ferry Road
Beaverton, OR 97008

Cheryl Myers for District 51 Party
8:00pm - 11:00pm
Cliff Inn
17900 South Clackamas River Drive
Oregon City, Oregon 97045

Yamhill County Democrats: Election Night Results Party

Featuring Mary Stern & Susan Sokol Blosser
7:30pm - 9:30pm
McMinnville Grand Ballroom
325 NE Third Street, McMinnville, Oregon

Marion County Democrats Party
Grand Ballroom (Top Floor)
183 High Street NE
Salem, Oregon

Clatsop County Democrats Party
7:00pm - 11:00pm
Fort George Brewpub
1483 Duane St
Astoria, Oregon

Deschutes County Democrats Party
Bend Community Center

Jackson County Democrats Party
Redrock Italian Eatery
17 W 4th St
Medford, OR 97501

Polk County Democrats Party
Rick's Place
123 Main St E
Monmouth, OR 97361

Willamalane's Lane County Party
Featuring Peter DeFazio and other Lane County Democrats
Willamalane Park and Recreation Adult Activity Center,
215 West C St., Springfield, Oregon

View Election Night Parties in a larger map

If you know of more feel free to post them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chris Dudley has little faith in Oregon Voters

Or at least that is what his debate schedule makes it look like. Last month we went through the hoops of learning that Mr. Dudley skipped out on a debate because he was on 'vacation' in Aspen, Colorado. Well it wasn't a vacation, but a political event of the Republican Governors Association. He took his family with him, I'm sure they loved seeing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour sunbathing by the pool, sippi'n champers' and getting a tan. They sorta apologized for not being entirely truthful and upfront about the 'vacation'. But then a group of Oregon Mayor's Conference invited the candidates to come share the stage. Kitzhaber said he would come at one time and Dudley said he could only come at another time during the event. Governor Kitzhaber then decided to just come when Dudley would be there, but that wouldn't work for Dudley. He wanted to not debate and just address the mayors by himself.

In response to this Dudley claimed that the reason he was holding off on attending debates until the fall was because voters are not paying enough attention. Yet his campaign has spent lots of money running ads in August. If voters are not paying attention for debates why on earth would they be paying attention to ads?

The Kitzhaber campaign came back with 7 debate opportunities. Dudley countered with one that was not on the list of the 7. Fine, make it 8 debates then how simple is that? Most likely the KGW 8 debate is because well hate to bring this back to basketball, but KGW is the home of some of the Blazers games locally. Dudley and campaign have said in the past that they intend to meet for two televised debates in the fall. Two debates?

The Dudley campaign has established that voters are not paying attention. Will they be paying more attention in the fall? Maybe. Maybe not. Instead of trying to determine how much attention voters will be giving the race governor, why not just provide ample opportunities for them to view the candidates side by side across the state?

How much faith does it show you have in Oregonians if you are only willing to show up twice before your challengers and explain your positions and how you can make Oregon better? Twice? My debate students debate at minimum of three times a Saturday when they are at debate tournaments and you can't even find the time to debate more than once on two separate days? At least show more effort than a high school student.

Here's a thought for the Kizthaber campaign. Set up a debate at the State Fair. I mean come on, if 2,500 people would go see Gallagher at the Washington County Fair, someone ought to show up to watch Kitzhaber and Dudley and the rest of the candidates. Believe me, you guys are a lot more entertaining than Gallagher.

Public discussion, a healthy public debate is important. Oregon was founded on holding public meetings and having a vibrant public discussion. Debate is critical in our political arena. If we have resorted to just running ads and speaking before groups that already agree with us than perhaps we deserve more candidates that will duck and dodge at the first sign of having to explain themselves to their opponents.

Mr. Dudley ought to give Oregonians multiple opportunities to explain how he wants to make Oregon better. John Kitzhaber and the other candidates ought to be there so they can also explain their visions and perhaps have a discussion over points where they all disagree. To do that Mr. Dudley, you need to show up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Skipping Debate? Ok I guess

The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association is meeting this summer in Salem pretty soon and they are hosting a debate between John Kitzhaber and John Kitzhaber. Republican nominee Chris Dudley has declined his invite stating he will be on vacation during that time. While I applaud Chris Dudley for opting to spend time with his family over a political function I also question his sanity for skipping this particular political function.

Make no mistake about it, I'm for spending time with families. I think going on vacation, snapping a few pictures, taking in a little of Oregon in the summer will do him some good. I don't want to make it seem like ONPA is more deserving of a one on one debate than lets say the OLCV or any other group. Yet the politically savvy minded person would at least ponder this....Free media is good. Oregon Newspaper Publishers...publish newspapers which give candidates access to free media. They allow letters to the editor to be published, run stories with the candidates name in big bold letters on the front page if they feel so inclined. Newspaper publishers have newspapers with editorial boards that can write scathing editorials or wonderful editorials of the candidate. Thousands of Oregonians open up a newspaper or login to a newspaper website every day and read. Of all the groups to blow off because of a vacation why this group?

Is Chris Dudley trying to send a message to the states' established powers? Candidates often go through many hoops over the course of a campaign. If that's his angle then he should just come out and say it. The campaign claims that it will participate in two debates this October. Two? Mr. Dudley's spokesperson said this in response to what will happen when Dudley comes back from vacation and debates in October, "Chris looks forward to the opportunity to stand next to Kitzhaber to discuss his failed record as governor," that's it? You want to talk about Kitzhaber's failed policies from a decade ago? What about new innovative ideas that Kitzhaber and supporters are coming up with? There is a lot of stuff going on at Kitzhaber 2010 website under the got ideas section where people are engaging in policy discussions. Doesn't Dudley look forward to sharing his ideas about how we can make Oregon better? It seems the campaign might be a little too focused on John Kitzhaber and not focused enough on Oregonians.

I think that Mr. Dudley ought to think long and hard over his vacation about how he can engage Oregonians better. Oregonians deserve better than two debates that will more than likely be in a television studio, with an audience made up of supporters. How bout a debate at Pioneer Courthouse Square since the weather is nice? Get some beers and on a cool summer evening let's have a discussion about how we can make Oregon better. Remember that debate in 2002 where Ted Kulongoski, Kevin Mannix and Tom Cox actually looked like they were having fun discussing Oregon's future?

We need more debates, smaller settings, in a diversity of locations. Debates where you don't have to be a member of some organization to get in for special seats. More thoughts later on how might achieve this.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Joe Biden in PDX Today

The room was filled with supporters of Congressman Kurt Schrader of Oregon's 5th congressional district. If voter registrations are to be considered a measure of a districts competitiveness then the 5th is by far the most competitive in the state. Democrats currently hold about a ~5% registration edge over the Republicans, add another 25% of the voting population as belonging to NO party or a minor party and you have an interesting race depending on who returns their ballots in the mail.

Congressman Wu, Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden all stopped by to lend a hand at the event and warm the crowd up for Congressman Schrader. What I love about Congressman Schrader is his down to Earth attitude towards everything. The main event was Joe Biden and I'll have more on what he and Congressman Schrader said later this weekend. I need to absorb it all in first.

The bottom line for Democrats this election year is to keep your spirits up. The Vice President spoke about polling numbers and how he knew that in order for the country to get better, the polling numbers of the administration would have to take a punch. Governing isn't pretty and it ain't always easy, but the steps that have been taken over the last two years have helped us fight the recession and move forward as a society. Lots of great first steps on health care, energy, and getting tough on Wall Street. There is a lot more work that needs to be done.

More to come soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ebay Find #5 PSU for Dukakis

The year was 1988, Mike Dukakis made a stop at Portland State University for a last minute GOTV Portland Rally. This button is from that event. You can watch some of that rally on the link "Portland Rally". "We're taking our case to the American people. He's trying to keep Dan Quayle away from the American people" lots of other great zingers in their from my mentor Mike Dukakis. Enjoy the rally, relive Portland in the fall of 1988.

This button had made its way to Minnesota since the '88 campaign. The fella I purchased it from was very nice and gave me a great deal at $6.00. A great single day event button with a wonderful rose in the center signaling that Portland is the Rose City. My guess is the Democratic Party of Oregon produced this pin.

In the crowd you can see lots of people behind Dukakis, Congressmen Les AuCoin, Secretary of State Barbara Roberts, Carrie Fisher, John Larroquette and many others. Then Governor Neil Goldschmidt also speaks before Dukakis. To see that you'll have to watch the entire event. Governor Dukakis once shared with me that his favorite moment campaigning in Oregon was right before he was to speak at this rally.

It had been a fairly rainy day, but just as I mounted the platform the sun came out bathed us all in warmth and light. It was a very special day.

Dukakis would go onto win Oregon on election day later that week by taking 51% of the vote to the Bush-Quayle's 46%. Vice President Bush would go on to win the presidency though with 426 electoral votes to Governor Dukakis' 111 votes.

This a great pin if you can find it. I have seen it twice on ebay since I started looking. There are some other Oregon Dukakis related items that come up more frequently than this pin.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Congrats Martinis for Monmouth!

Next time you are in Monmouth, Oregon you can go into a bar and order your favorite drink. Unless the bartender doesn't know how to make the drink you should be able to get it right then and there.

The residents of Monmouth passed Measure 27-101. It repeals the hard liquor prohibition that had been in effect for 157 years. The folks at Martinis for Monmouth should be pleased that finally you can order a Martini in Monmouth. You can read more about the victory at the Polk County Itemizer- Observer.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Go Vote Oregon

If I could give you all kisses or gold stars or pats on the back I would. At this point there have been some 60,000 ballots returned for the upcoming election. That's about 20,000 more votes than we were at this point in 2006. I hope this is a good indication that we'll have an even better turn out than we did in 2006.

I really don't care who you end up voting for at the end of the day...ok small lie; but you know what I mean. For some of you the decisions at the ballot will be tough, you'll agonize, you'll tabulate and you'll nitpick. For others the decisions will be easier. Some of you will not like any of the choices provided to you this cycle. Again, I can relate with that too. If I could make a suggestion to those of you that may be feeling a bit sour towards politics or political candidates and campaigns.

Write in someone you know that you think would make a fine public servant. That write in line is basically what I like to call the 'no excuse' line. There is no excuse for not filling out your ballot unless there is a mishap that is not coming from your end. Those of you who believe none of the candidates aren't worth voting for I want you to open your ballot and write in the names of people who are worth voting for. You know them. They are your friends, co-workers, and family 'that do good deeds...we call deed doers'

Maybe there is an English teacher in Silverton, Oregon that would make a great State Superintendent of Education, a friend who is an engineer by trade that might make a good member of the city council, a mom, a dad, a friend who could use a job. Bottom Line, you know someone worth voting for. So don't tell yourself there isn't a good choice.

Are the people we vote for just names on a ballot or are they a reflection of the type of government we want? Hard to say exactly; but if you vote and or write in people you respect and admire for public office how bad of a government could it be at the end of the day?

So please, turn in that ballot, read your voters pamphlet, go to some websites and even if you still aren't convinced to vote for someone who has a line on that ballot go vote for someone you wouldn't need any convincing to vote for on the write in line.

Best of Luck to you folks.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

EBAY FIND #4 Unander Cards

A recent find from Oregon's political past are these postcard sized handouts with photos of Oregon State Treasurer Sig Unander and his wife Vivian. These were produced for the 1962 U.S. Senate race against Democratic Senator Wayne Morse.

Unander had twice been elected State Treasurer of Oregon in 1952 and 1956. He was a Lt. Colonel in World War II and participated in the D-Day invasion. In 1962 he fended off five other Republicans, including Congressman Dr. Edwin Durno. He beat out the other candidates by taking just 50% of the vote, Durno came in second taking 34%.

The Fall election featured Cuba as one of the main campaign issues. Unander would attempt to label Morse an appeaser of the communists in Cuba. Unander, the Republican, touted his support of President Kennedy on the Cuban crisis. Morse on the other hand spent a lot of his time talking about all the public works projects he had sent to Oregon. Time magazine did an interesting story leading up to the general election on the differences between the two men. Oregon: The Hare &. the Tortoise. At the end of the campaign Morse beat Unander 54%-45%. Unander would not be the man to beat Morse, that would be left to Bob Packwood six years later.

I have yet to encounter much from the 1962 campaign from either candidate. I was actually quite amazed to find these on ebay. I took them home for a dollar. Some person in Eugene is selling a bumper sticker, but is probably a little out there on the price. Every now and then someone gives me this button which actually looks pretty neat. I'd love to know why Unander selected the slogan "Get Action for Oregon!" The campaign must have attempted to paint Wayne Morse as a man of inaction, which the voters clearly did not agree with. On a style note his glasses are pretty cool.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Polling Local Politics


This is the poll results for Oregon State Senate candidate Steve Griffith. What the poll says about Griffith and his chances in his senate district are not as interesting to me as what Republicans are thinking about incumbent representatives.

The poll participants responded to how they viewed the three candidates. 54% of respondents said they were unfamiliar with State Senator Richard Devlin. If Republicans are banking on dissatisfaction of Democrats to get them into office how can they allow this? Shouldn't they be attempting to frame the discussion to convince voters that that those incumbents are not serving the people? If Republicans were convincing voters in Oregon that Democrats were doing a poor job, that 54% would be a lot lower and Senator Devlin's unfavorable rating should be a lot higher.

What this poll shows me right now is that neither Mr. Griffith or Mrs. Kremer have much of a chance in November.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tell Me What You Think 'Obamacare' is, I'd really like to figure it out.

So what exactly is Obamacare? Who comes up with this stuff? I don't recall Obama being an M.D. or a porter like Peter Mayhew was in his early days. Maybe if Howard Dean were president it would make some sense, "I ain't going to take this Deancare!" It would actually sound really cool if Bill Frist were president, 'Fristcare'. It just sounds kinky. Seriously though what do Tea Party people think is happening in the country? Healthcare is a largely private venture. Most of us fall under private healthcare plans that our employers sign us up for. All this healthcare bill is saying is that, "YOU MUST HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE OR ELSE". It lets Sorority Sally stay on mothers health insurance plan until she is 26. Which is good because lots of college students have really crappy health insurance plans provided through their student fees that don't cover a whole lot. Just two of the many things this legislation set forth to do. We really wont be able to determine how effective this legislation will be until after 2014 when all of the measures within the legislation have come to full effect. Now we must sit and wait and hope our leaders didn't just hand us over to the health insurance companies.

It seems Obamacare is probably a bad name for a bill that dealt more with insurance rather than health care. Maybe Obamasure would have been a better name.

Bill Moyers has been going to great lengths to get answers about all the 'reform' talk that has been in Washington for the last year. Listen to him interview a former health insurance big wig. Wendell Potter finally had the revelation that people need health care. They need good health care that actually offers care as opposed to administrative roadblocks that deny coverage.

Moyers also held a discussion on his show between the various groups within the reform movement that came to heads before the vote. There were those like Potter who believed that the bill should just be passed as is and those who believed that a reform that did not include a 'public option' was no real reform at all. Below is a good overview before the vote occurred.

So will this reform save us money? Or are we just flushing our money down just a more bigger toilet than before? Only time will tell. 2014 seems a long way away though.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

EBAY FIND #3 Oregon for IKE Sticker

This bumper sticker pops up from time to time on ebay when you search for Oregon political memorabilia. It is bright orange...very bright orange in person.It was made by Oregon Citizens for Eisenhower Committee--Oregon City, Oregon for either the 1952 or 56 campaign. I can't be sure for which. Republican Dwight Eisenhower beat Democrat Adlai Stevenson both in 1952 and 1956.

Eisenhower won 66%-38% in '52 and actually performed worse in '56 with a 55%-44% victory. 1956 was an interesting year in Oregon politics as Oregon Senator Wayne Morse had defected from the Republican Party and was running against former Oregon Governor Douglas McKay as a Democrat. It seems though most voters would prefer to split their vote between the two parties and send both men back to Washington D.C. that year. The article 'Like Ike, Morse at Same Time? That's Top Question in Oregon' from the Sarasota Journal offers an neat perspective into the dynamics of the race in '56.

This item is being offered on EBAY right now. I have seen it sell from anywhere between $5-$15 dollars. For a nearly 60 year old item they have all been in good shape. I own two myself. Look like what they would have looked like had you marched down to your local Ike HQ and picked one up during the actual election.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Let them Drink! Martinis for Monmouth

Citizens of Monmouth, Oregon are hoping to remove the last link to the towns long history of prohibition. This May residents will vote on removing the ban on the sale of “intoxicating liquors” containing more than 14% alcohol per volume. Basically, this will allow bars and restaurants to serve rum, vodka, and any other liquor you could find in your average liquor store. Provided they meet all the current legal requirements that exist in the state of Oregon.

Here is the actual city code they are hoping to repeal:

40.120 Sale of Liquor Prohibited. No person shall sell or barter or offer for sale any intoxicating liquor containing more than 14% alcohol by volume within the limits of this city. (Ord. 697, sec. 2; amended by election of Nov., 2002 )

The previous amendment in 2002 ended the dry spell of the town that had existed since 1859. Starting in 2003 residents were allowed to purchase Beer and Wine at stores, restaurants, and bars. Now, through citizen initiative, residents are hoping to finally do away with the last remnants of the towns dry era.

In December of 2009, Chief Petitioners Cec Koontz and David Sherman helped gather enough signatures to put it on the May 2010 ballot. You can contact the campaign through this website Martinis for Monmouth.

It turns out that Monmouth really only became dry in the first place to spite a local business owner in the 1850s. Back in 2002, the OSU Daily Barometer covered the fascinating history of the law. For some reason the local store owner wasn't too keen on paying his bills and town elders were getting grumpy so they petitioned the territorial legislature to incorporate them as a town. One of the first things they did was ban the sale of booze. Which drove the naughty store owner out of business. Today we have many different means to collect money from individuals who don't pay their bills. No need to go outlawing alcohol for entire communities to get back at one person.

So far there has been little press outside of Polk County. Mayor John Oberst, who helped lead the first effort in 2002 is optimistic for 2010. You can read more on the developments thanks to the Polk County Itemizer Observer 'Hard alcohol repeal qualifies for ballot','Liquor proponents keep spirits up' and 'Freeing the Spirits'. I'm sure if Oregon had a Prohibition Party we might hear something from them. This is just a fine example of what the fruits of the Oregon system of government can bear. Through the initiative process we citizens can change laws at pretty much every level of government in Oregon. It is something that should be cherished.

As someone who came to Monmouth to attend Western Oregon University in 2003, I was able to witness the transformation of Main Street into what it is today. The changes have been especially stark within the last three years. In 2003, I had very little reason to leave campus and now there are ample shops and restaurants on Main Street. My favorite places were Rick's Place, which had been there for many years and one of the newer establishments Nagani Sushi Bar.

So let them drink I say...or more exactly, let them buy and sell drinks to people who want to have a good night on the town Monmouth style. For more information on what you can do to help contact Chief Petitioners Cec Koontz and David Sherman.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bradbury TV ad -Get Rolling already and watch it.

The first Bradbury TV ad has been uploaded to Youtube. This ad does several things. It introduces Bill Bradbury to voters, and it introduces viewers to some of his issues; like the bank of Oregon. The ad is upbeat and recognizes while we may be a little stuck right now we can get "rolling" again. It is always good to be positive and optimistic about our future. Kudos to Team Bradbury for a nice first ad.

The only thing I wish was different is that the link to the website could have been a little bigger. Some people have small televisions and it may be difficult for them to see. Perhaps something like having Bill say, “to learn more about my solutions visit me on the web”...but that's just me being a nitpick. Great first ad Team Bradbury.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

EBAY FIND # 2 Charles Martin

So the last ebay find I profiled was rather expensive. Here is an Oregon centered political pin that is well within a modest ten dollar spending limit. This is a 1938 Charles Martin for Governor button it is a 7/8" celluloid.

A celluloid button, according to collector Ron Wade is "a button made of paper with a celluloid covering. Both are wrapped around a metal disc and are held in place by a metal rim on the back of the item." These are still used in many modern day political campaigns. The biggest change is that technology has allowed for cheaper, bigger buttons...but back to Charles Martin.

Martin was a military man and served forty years in the service, including stints in the Spanish-American war and World War I. He retired as a Major General and started his new life out in politics by being elected to congress from Oregon's 3rd congressional district. He then found his way to the governorship in 1934. This was in the midst of the Great Depression. For more info on Charles Martin you can read his wikipedia page.

For a Democrat, he was anything but a pro-Roosevelt, pro-New Deal Democrat. He spurred so much ill will in the Democratic Party of Oregon that he failed to win renomination in 1938. He was beaten by Henry Hess, who was himself beaten by Republican Charles Sprague thanks in part to an angry Charles Martin and his supporters actively campaigning for Sprague.

While this button is seventy-two years old, it is still fairly common and most are in great shape. You should be able to find it for between $5 and $10 dollars if the seller is reasonable. It was produced by the The Irwin-Hodson Company which is still in business. Must be a fairly good place to work if they've been open for 114 years. You can find these buttons on ebay right now.

Martin was also the subject of the book Iron Pants by Gary Murrell.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Remember Ben Westlund

This was originally published on Facebook as a note on March 11, 2010

When I heard about Ben's passing I was on a bus heading back to Portland from Spokane. We were heading towards a small rural town called Lind, Washington (a kinda town Ben would have liked) It is home to an annual Combine Demolition Derby. Lind also has one store, one bar and grill and all are named like "Jim's store" or "Sam's Grill". Ben would have gotten a chuckle from the town and probably would have wanted to stop and learn more about it.

It was then that I realized Ben Westlund had rubbed off on me a little bit. Our conversations always started in different places and always ended on either something one of us had seen on National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, or shows like Oregon Field Guide. He loved sharing knowledge he had picked up and he always had so much of it. For that I'll miss my chats with Professor Westlund.

I'll miss his jokes even the corny ones.

I'll miss soup spoons. (you don't want to know...)

I'll miss being charged various amounts of money for borrowing every day items like pens, paper etc.

I'll miss talking about Jackson Browne albums.

One of the stranger things I think I'll miss is the way, when he would get really into something how his glasses always seemed to find themselves resting at the same spot on his nose time after time. He could carry on any conversation, any presentation and those things would just rest there. It would get to points where he wouldn't even need to be wearing the glasses and there they would be on the tip of his nose.

Like many of us, I'm going to miss Ben Westlund, but as Dr. McCoy was famous for saying in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, "He's not really dead. As long as we remember him". Remember Ben in any way you want, but be sure you remember him.

Friday, March 12, 2010


UPDATE So this ebay item ended on the 16th, and the ending selling price after 10 bids was $845.06. Simply amazing.

I am a member of the American Political Items Collectors group APIC. I collect items pertaining to American and Oregon political campaigns. Working and volunteering for current campaigns help in my efforts and I have occasionally put on visual history exhibits at university libraries to inform the public about American and Oregon political history.

Sadly there is a lot of stuff out there and not a lot of money for me to buy items. Collecting older items can be very expensive. Some small little buttons, that most people would have just tossed out after a failed campaign end up years later being worth thousands. One such example is James Cox. Most people would probably go their entire life without ever hearing the name James Cox. He was the Democratic nominee for president in 1920. He got his butt handed to him by Warren G. Harding. His buttons have sold for upwards of $30,000 dollars. You can read about them here. One of those dinky little things could settle my college loan debt. So in an effort to share my hobby with others, I will from time to time post about a button I've come across in my collecting adventures.

This first one is on ebay right now and about $350 dollars out of my price range. It is a 1928 Oregon issued Al Smith for President button. The starting price was $12.00, six days ago. It is now with 4 days left, up to $356.03. As I said, some items are rare and very expensive. Clearly the collecting world hasn't seen many of these buttons turn up issued by a group of Democratic women in the state of Oregon.

Some history: Al Smith lost Oregon 64%-34% to Herbert Hoover. It was the last of a three election streak in which the Republican presidential candidate carried every single county in Oregon. President Hoover was not able to repeat his 36 county sweep just four years later. In fact he lost so bad in Oregon in '32, he only beat Franklin Roosevelt in Benton county.

If you are interested in learning more about the APIC just click.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Oregon GOP and Union Money

Current Oregon Republican Party chairman Bob Tiernan still insists that his attacks are perfectly valid, that Jenson and Smith sold their party down the river to unions in accepting financial support for a vote or two...what Mr. Tiernan wont tell you is that Smith and Jenson are not the only ones who have taken evil money from organized labor interests. How exactly can he tell that money was expressly given for a specific vote? Unions, like any interest group, funnel money to candidates during elections. When I donate 5 dollars am I asking for a vote? Maybe, maybe not who know exactly what I'm thinking when I give money to a candidate. Clearly many GOP legislators feel comfortable taking union money without ever thinking about how the union wants them to vote.

In 2008 labor unions gave money to 35 different republican legislative candidates. 15 of those candidates received more than $5,000 dollars from labor unions. Some of the worst offenders included,

Bruce Hanna HD 07 $15,900, Scott Bruun HD 37 $10,850,Ted Ferrioli SD 30 $14,850, Ed Glad HD 24 $51,708.

How many candidates do you think were supported by AFSCME? 12 GOP legislative candidates were supported by AFSCME: Bill Gerrad,Greg Smith,Bob Jenson,Ed Glad,John Huffman,Scott Bruun, Vicki Berger, Jim Thompson, Gene Whisnant, Fred Girod, Wayne Krieger, and David Nelson.

Mr. Tiernan should ask all these candidates give back this money, instead of limiting it to these two representatives, who have not done anything differently than any other candidate for public office. But Mr. Tiernan wont ask all those candidates to give back this union money, he's just grumpy because they disagreed with him on a vote.

More power to Smith and Jenson.