By The Rearguard Staff
President of the United States of America: Jill Stein – Pacific Green Party
Forget the Coke-or-Pepsi election, the endless bickering, and the broken campaign spending system. Who is looking out for the poor and middle class, and actually means it? Who’s the only candidate willing to go to jail for what they believe in? Who is the only candidate making climate change issues an active part of their campaign? Jill Stein.
Stein’s running for president on the Green Party ticket nationally, and has been endorsed by the national party’s local affiliate, the Pacific Green Party. The party espouses a social democratic worldview, and advocates a number of key values like social justice, nonviolence, decentralization, sustainability, and more community-based economics, among others. Placed next to the platforms of the Republicans and Democrats in this year’s election, and there’s simply no comparison.
Romney represents all the sociopathy of corporate America bonded into a single glorious Mormon avatar. His views on the lives of everyday Americans range from laughably naive (Want to start a business? “Borrow money from your parents”) to downright callous (“47% of Americans… will never take responsibility for their own lives”).
Obama has his own set of problems, and no, they can’t all be blamed on an intractable Republican Congress. Numerous Bush-era policies remain firmly in place, setting in foundation a new floor on executive power in the United States (whether there is a ceiling remains to be seen). When it comes to the War on Terror, Obama exceeds his predecessor. When the Bush administration didn’t like someone, they kidnapped her and sent her to a torture chamber. When the Obama administration doesn’t like someone, they murder her with a flying robot.
For us, this one really is a no-brainer. We know that there a third party candidate isn’t going to win this election. We’re not that naïve. It’s simply high time people started voting for someone other than the lesser of two evils. Let’s get three or four evils into the mix. With enough variety, maybe some normal people can get a chance to make decisions.
1st Congressional District: Suzanne Bonamici – Democratic Party, Working Families Party
Bonamici is another clear choice. After replacing David Wu in a special election in January, she has yet to be photographed in a single tiger costume. She also has a list of endorsements longer than just herself. She’s been endorsed by the Working Families Party, who focus on issues like well-paying jobs, affordable housing, and investments in public education. Associations for nurses, teachers, firefighters and credit unions have also backed Bonamici in the election. If you don’t trust us, trust them.
3rd Congressional District: Earl Blumenauer – Democratic Party
Fuck yeah, Earl Blumenauer! I can’t tell you how many letters I have written him that if read out of context might sound more than a little amorous. This guy is a rock star in the House. He’s one of the few people out there who’s able to call bullshit in Washington with a smile on his face. We’ve followed his voting record closely and even if we don’t always agree with him, we often respect his stance. He’s reasonable, thoughtful and Washington needs more people like him, not less.
Plus, he makes bow ties look sexy.
5th Congressional District: Kurt Schrader – Democratic Party
We have two reasons for this endorsement: He wants to get rid of special interest money in campaign financing – which is good for the whole country – and he’s actively worked on increasing Pell Grants for Oregon students. Gotta love that.
Secretary of State: Seth Woolley – Pacific Green
State Treasurer: Cameron Whitten – Progressive Party
We know that State Treasurer isn’t an entry level position like Secretary of State (take that Kate Brown!) but if anyone could do it well, Cameron Whitten could. This kid can’t be stopped. He became politically active during the Occupy Portland encampment days, and he then ran for Mayor of Portland. After losing in the mayoral primary, Whitten went on hunger strike outside City Hall to protest the city’s attempts to shutdown the Right To Dream 2 homeless camp. Now he’s decided to trade up to State Treasurer. Honestly, we just wanna see what he’ll do. Go for it, comrade.
(To save time, the Rearguard would also like to endorse Mr. Whitten for Oregon Governor in 2014, President of the United States in 2016, and Emperor God-King of All Humankind in 2040).
Attorney General: Ellen Rosenblum – Democrat
Man the list of candidates here just looks like a pile of awful two-party tedium. We’re veering away from the incumbent because this recommendation comes with a list of referrals as long as this page from unions across the state and Congressman Earl Blumenauer. And if she’s good enough for him, she’s good enough for us.
City of Portland:
Mayor: Jefferson Smith
We don’t care that he can’t handle the media. We don’t care that he’s not as successful city bureaucrat as Charlie Hales. He’s passionate about education, getting industry here for students and getting rid of that awful Columbia River Crossing thing. Plus, he rick-rolled the Oregon House. How awesome is that?
Commissioner, Position 1: Amanda Fritz
She’s had her share of baggage, but if you saw the PSU hosted debate of these candidates, it was pretty clear who was more interested in things that affect PSU students as well as the city, and that’s Fritz. Nolan has too many corporate interests funding her campaign; it’s become pretty clear that she doesn’t have the city of Portland’s interests at heart. The Fritz has got our backs.
Ballot Measures, State:
Measure 77: YES!
This measure makes it easier for the Governor to declare a state of emergency in the case of a natural or man-made disaster. No one is opposing this measure and for good reason. When that inevitable Cascadian Earthquake hits, we’ll need governmental response to react quickly and effectively. Plus, this covers us in the event of the zombie apocalypse which will be super important since Portland is going to be a mecca of zombie activity once that happens.
Measure 78: YES!
This makes grammatical and spelling changes to the Oregon constitution so that it doesn’t sound so dated and change all the male-dominant pronouns to gender-neutral. Yay, progress!
Measure 79: NO!
Basically, this measure denies the addition to any new tax to real estate properties. This is already the status quo, and codifying as much into the Oregon constitution is unnecessary and potentially hampers us in the future. Sure, it’d be nice to secure your taxes on a property for an entire lifetime, but things change and denying a revenue stream for state and local governments forever is pretty short-sighted. Also, we don’t like it when one guy writes half of the arguments for or against a measure. You don’t get to speak for Construction Contractors, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Diane L. Wolfe, AND Larry Dennis Jr., small business owner in NE Portland, Mr. Paul Rainey! So… no.
Measure 80: Hell YES!
Legalize marijuana. We know this one’s a long shot, but we think everyone agrees it’s long past time to bring an end to the War on Drugs. This would create a whole new industry in Oregon, it’d be a progressive change, and it would implement an entirely new regulatory commission so it wouldn’t be bogged down by the OLCC. While imperfect, this is the best option for Marijuana legalization we’re likely to see for awhile, and legislative corrections are always an option. Also, nearly the only people who are opposed to this measure are the law enforcement agencies. Obviously, this law would be a serious blow to the prison industrial complex that’s taken hold in Oregon. If we stopped prosecuting marijuana in this state, we’d have enough money to fund healthcare, K-12 education and even have some left over for higher education. It’s a slam dunk.
Measure 81: NO.
Make gillnetting illegal in Oregon with exception to current tribal practices. This bill isn’t genuinely about saving salmon; it’s about exploiting the desire to save salmon. What’s happening here is an attempt by one bloc of corporations to crush another, with no upside for the fish themselves. Governor Kitzhaber has vowed to create a compromise bill if this doesn’t pass. This just hurts local fisherman and only pretends to regulate our fisheries. Even tribal leaders are opposed, and they’re exempt from the law – which should tell you something.
Measures 83 and 83: Hell NO!
Legalize a privately owned casino in Wood Village. These measures are offensive on so many levels, they should have their own stand-up special with the Blue Collar Comedy team. Right now, casino business is done on reservations. This would take away from that. Do you really want to take away one of the few viable revenue streams that the indigenous peoples of Oregon have left to them? For what? A giant fucking adult playground with flashing lights that steals your money? Fuck that! The proposed building is a monstrosity that makes comparable Vegas casinos look modest, and even if it wasn’t, stealing from the only people in this country who have historically been shit on for a solid 400 years is morally reprehensible.
Measure 84: NO.
This measure calls for an end to estate tax on inheritance. This bill is bundled under the notion that it’s protecting small family farms, but the reality of the situation is family farms worth $7.5 million and less are already exempt from estate taxes. This would just mean that factory farms can change hands more quickly and our already impoverished state would lose out on $120 million a year. That’s money taken away from schools, roads, and healthcare to create a tax loophole for the wealthy.
Measure 85: YES.
Ends a silly corporate excise tax “kicker” that gets refunded to corporate tax payers for any collection from the general fund over 2% and instead prioritizes that money to go to public schools. Sounds technical? Yes. Tax codes are messy. That’s one thing that everyone agrees on, and it’s the reason accountants are paid so very, very well. Essentially, anytime the state government is taking in more money than they’re spending, the extra goes straight into corporate pockets. Instead, Measure 85 proposes the extra should go to Oregon schools. We’re of the opinion that if you pay your taxes, they should stay paid. And it funds schools. So there.
Ballot Measures, City:
Measure 26-143: Yes.
Form a library district with secure funding for libraries. This would fund libraries with more stable funding than the General Fund, which would mean better budgeting, which would mean better libraries, which of course means a better city. We think so, at least. The main argument against this measure is that Oregon’s per capita spending on libraries is double the national average. We also, however, tend to use our libraries twice as much as the national average We don’t know about you, but we’re proud of that. It shows that we have different priorities than states that allow bastions of free education and information fall to the wayside. Vote knowledge!
Measure 26-144: YES.
Yeah, we know, schools are important, but this is huge. So obviously we’re all terrified of the impending Cascadian Earthquake, but Portland schools, some of the oldest public buildings in the city, are in serious need of an overhaul. This would make them seismically sound, replace deteriorating building materials, and upgrade science classrooms. There hasn’t been a school bond approved in over 17 years. These schools are limping along, and the last thing students need is to be literally crushed by outdated buildings.
Measure 26-145: YES.
It streamlines the pensions of police and firefighters. This was a measure written by City Commissioner Dan Saltzman to fix some problems with the way pensions are given to those that serve our city. It protects police and firefighters, and it saves the city about $47 million a year.
26-146: EGADS NO!
Arts fund to pay for arts and music in schools at the cost of $35 a year. We’re all for paying our taxes. We’re all for our taxes going to arts education. But this is a bloated tax measure where almost half of this tax would go to already well-funded programs like the Opera and the Portland Art Museum. If that’s what they want to pay for with this tax, they should say so. Instead, it’s packaged as a tax to fund arts and music in schools, when less than half of it actually makes it to schools. This is another measure where it looks like it has a wide range of support, but as it turns out it’s mostly written by one person. Maybe you should ask why the office of Jessica Jarratt Miller needs to write 12 of the 14 arguments in favor of this measure. If it really was such a huge benefit to students and the arts, wouldn’t there be a plurality of voices supporting it, not just one?