Down the Ballot

Friday, May 20, 2011

The First Debate of 2012

The first GOP presidential debate took place in Greenville, South Carolina this last week. It featured a few of the many candidates expected to be in the race.
Congressman Ron Paul (TX), Herman Cain (Georgia), Former Governor Tim Pawlantey (MN) Former Senator Rick Santourm (PN) and Former Governor Gary Johnson (NM) were the five that showed up in what many consider the first true primary for the Republican party. New Hampshire and Iowa have tended to lean Democratic and there is a good mix in state between Democrats and Republicans holding state and federal offices. In South Carolina 8/9 statewide elected officials are Republicans, 7/8 federal office holders are Republicans. Both houses of the state legislature are controlled by the Republican party so this is prime ground to judge a Republican presidential candidate.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Election Over: Winners & Losers

2011 Elections are over...finally. Here's a run down of the winners and losers from the May results.

Losers: Everyone. Not to be snarky, but yeah we're all pretty much losers. Without change in any serious form all the school boards that re-elected incumbents or found themselves with some 'fresh meat' ready to be flattened by business as usual in the district will continue to putter along. Even after all the heads roll, and all the money is gone the 200 some Oregon school districts will still be doing business as usual. Don't get me wrong; I love government. I love government that works. Our current system of 200 school districts was built in a different time, and like our aging national infrastructure it is starting to show its age. What's the difference between a student in Lake Oswego and a student in Tualatin? What's the difference between a student in Eugene and Portland? There is no difference, so why do we need a school district for each? We have a Metro government why couldn't we have a Metro School Board? Serious consideration should be given to school district consolidation in the coming years, especially if the state plans on exerting more control of the powers of the purse and academic standards.

Winners:  People who graduated from an Oregon high school before Measure 5.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Robert Reich Speaks....

Be you living in California, Oregon, or somewhere else in this country you should listen to him connect the dots. If you enjoy this speech, check out his blog: for more great material. I particularly enjoy his mini math lesson on Median vs Average.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Campaign '11 Not that Scary...

We are in the midst of the most important election of our lifetimes....nah I can't sell you campaign 2011 with that recycled rhetoric we hear from candidates and pundits every election year. In the grand scheme of things this election might not be very important to most of us, but for some this year this election means more than any presidential election or gubernatorial election they've ever been apart of. Yes, I'm talking about the candidates for school board and all the special district boards and commissions out there. You may know one of them and never realize they are an elected official.
Homer trying to vote on election day.

 Election Day is May 17, 2011 this year and I hope to have my ballot turned in by then. In this 'off' year election ballots that are turned in sometimes only reach into the hundreds in some communities and those few hundred votes decide who will be overseeing the fire district, the water district, the community schools and maybe even the local parks and swimming pools. These are the public service functions we have interactions on a day to day basis. More attention should be given in these campaigns than they traditionally receive. Who gets elected to the fire district might determine how fire services are or are not delivered to residents in rural areas. The local water board could decide that a more expensive source is needed for drinking water. A local aquatics board could decide that due to budget issues the pool can't be open on your one day off during the week. Lots of issues come before these boards so it is important to know who the people running for these offices are and what they plan to do if elected. Sometimes that's tough, especially if no one files a statement in the voters pamphlet.