Oct
12
2008

Oregon General Election 2008: Measures 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 64

The measures for the 2008 Oregon General Election have been finalized and posted by the Secretary of State. Following are the measure number, title, and my comments and voting suggestion.

Measure 57:INCREASES SENTENCES FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING, THEFT AGAINST ELDERLY AND SPECIFIED REPEAT PROPERTY AND IDENTITY THEFT CRIMES; REQUIRES ADDICTION TREATMENT FOR CERTAIN OFFENDERS

I oppose mandatory minimum sentences; they decrease crime temporarily by forcing incarceration, rather than treating the problems that cause someone to commit those crimes in the first place.  Many criminals have drug and alcohol problems, and would be better helped through treatment rather than incarceration.

Mandatory minimum sentences also increase the prison population, which requires the state to build additional facilities to house these people.  The money needed to pay for these is either taken from other services, such as education, or through raising taxes.

Written as an alternative to Measure 61, this measure sets more detailed mandatory minimums for more specific crimes, and provides appropriate treatment to those drug-addicted offenders.

VOTE: NO, but if you must vote for one of the mandatory minimum sentence measures, then I strongly urge you to vote for this measure instead of Measure 61.

Measure 58:PROHIBITS TEACHING PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT IN LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS

This measure would require that every “non-English speaking student” be taught in English only after a maximum of 2 years, depending on what age they entered the school system, regardless of their proficiency.  To meet this requirement, the measure calls for “English immersion” classes, but does not explain what those are.  This measure is extreme in that if a student cannot learn the language within the time allotted, they will not get any further assistance from the public school system.  There is a saying “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”  This measure is both hoping and planning for the best case scenario, and could leave many students behind to fend for themselves.

VOTE: NO

Measure 60:TEACHER “CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE,” NOT SENIORITY, DETERMINES PAY RAISES; “MOST QUALIFIED” TEACHERS RETAINED, REGARDLESS OF SENIORITY

The text of this measure is short and vague, leaving it to others to hammer out the details.  While this is an interesting idea, it should be tested out at a few public schools across the state rather than forced on all the of them.  Some alternate ideas are being tested and those would be forced into using this system instead.

VOTE: NO

Measure 61:CREATES MANDATORY MINIMUM PRISON SENTENCES FOR CERTAIN THEFT, IDENTITY THEFT, FORGERY, DRUG, AND BURGLARY CRIMES

(The following 2 paragraphs are the same as the first two paragraphs for Measure 57)

I oppose mandatory minimum sentences; they decrease crime temporarily by forcing incarceration, rather than treating the problems that cause someone to commit those crimes in the first place.  Many criminals have drug and alcohol problems, and would be better helped through treatment rather than incarceration.

Mandatory minimum sentences also increase the prison population, which requires the state to build additional facilities to house these people.  The money needed to pay for these is either taken from other services, such as education, or through raising taxes.

Specifically, this measure sets minimums for several first time offenders, and does not offer any form of drug treatment.

VOTE: NO

Measure 62:AMENDS CONSTITUTION: ALLOCATES 15% OF LOTTERY PROCEEDS TO PUBLIC SAFETY FUND FOR CRIME PREVENTION, INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTION

From OPB:

The Register-Guard estimates Measure 62 would result in $439 million for public safety over four years.  According to the state budget office, the 15 percent of lottery funds allocated for parks and natural resources as well as the 18 percent that goes to the Education Stability Fund is untouchable, and won’t be affected by Measure 62. The proposed allotment of lottery dollars for public safety would have to come from $778 million in discretionary funds, a large chunk of which goes to K-12 education.

From me: This money will mostly come out of education funds, where it is more desperately needed.

VOTE: NO

Measure 64:PENALIZES PERSON, ENTITY FOR USING FUNDS COLLECTED WITH “PUBLIC RESOURCE” (DEFINED) FOR “POLITICAL PURPOSE” (DEFINED)

Many unions collect dues through an automatic payroll deduction.  With some of those dues, they advocate on behalf of their union members through lobbying and giving contributions to organizations which they believe will help their members in some way.  This measure would force public employee unions to gather funds for those advocacy activities in some way other that the use of payroll deductions or from gathering those funds in a public building, even if the costs for the meeting area is reimbursed. This also goes for any organizations or groups that meet in public buildings; Parent-Teacher associations, neighborhood associations, etc.

You could take the generality of this measure so far as to say that even a person standing in a public building who hands $50 to another to donate to a candidate or campaign for them would be subject to a fine.

VOTE: NO

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