I'm a registered voter in the city of Portland, Oregon. Here is how I have planned my ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
Oregon Measure 107: Campaign Finance Limits Amendment
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports authorizing the state legislature and local governments to (1) enact laws or ordinances limiting campaign contributions and expenditures; (2) require disclosure of contributions and expenditures; and (3) require that political advertisements identify the people or entities that paid for them.
A "no" vote opposes authorizing the state legislature and local governments to (1) enact laws or ordinances limiting campaign contributions and expenditures; (2) require disclosure of contributions and expenditures; and (3) require that political advertisements identify the people or entities that paid for them.
Supporters: Kate Brown (D) - Oregon governor, Jeff Golden (D) - Oregon state senator, Mark Hass (D) - Oregon state senator, Tim Knopp (R) - Oregon state senator, Rob Wagner (D) - Oregon state senator, Dan Rayfield (D) - Oregon state representative, Multnomah Democrats, Common Cause Oregon, Honest Elections Oregon, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Unite Oregon
Opponents: Kyle Markley (Libertarian Party) - Party chairman
My take: When there are unlimited campaign finance limits, candidates with the most money or who are connected to those with the most money or whose platform caters to those with the most money tend to win. Democracy is enhanced when we limited the influence of money in politics. Most Americans agree, according to a 2018 Pew Research study.
Oregon Measure 108: Tobacco and E-Cigarette Tax Increase for Health Programs Measure
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports the measure to increase taxes on tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems (such as e-cigarettes) to fund the state's Medical Assistance Program and other healthcare-related programs.
A "no" vote opposes the measure to increase taxes on tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems (such as e-cigarettes) to fund the state's Medical Assistance Program and other healthcare-related programs.
Supporters: Kate Brown (D) - Oregon governor, Cheri Helt (R) - Oregon state representative, Greg Smith (R) - Oregon state representative, Yes for a Healthy Future, Oregon Nurses Association, Cancer Action Network, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, American Heart Association, and the Oregon Medical Associated. Top donors include: Providence Health & Services, Legacy Health System CPC, LLC, PeaceHealth, Kaiser Permanente - KP Financial Services, and Asante.
Opponents: Bradley Witt (D) - Oregon state representative
My take: Smoking is the #1 cause of preventable death in Oregon, and imposing higher taxes on tobacco products is a proven approach to help reduce consumption and prevent people from starting up in the first place. It's also an important source of sustainable funding from a non-essential product toward critical and underinvested health resources that would benefit all Oregonians.
My district's Representative Rob Nosse (D) made this point, "HB 2270 contains the final installment of funding we need to pay for Oregon's share of the Medicaid expansion. Keep in mind, if we don't pass this bill, we will have to reach into the General Fund for the remainder of the money we need for the Medicaid expansion. Passing this bill means we will have the money freed up from the general fund to help seniors, foster children, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and frankly the poor." Also, as of 2019 there were already eight other states that tax between $3.03 and $4.35 for a pack of cigarettes.
Oregon Measure 109: Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports authorizing the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to create a program to permit licensed service providers to administer psilocybin-producing mushroom and fungi products to individuals 21 years of age or older.
A "no" vote opposes the creation of a psilocybin program, thus maintaining the state prohibition against the possession, manufacturing, and consumption of psilocybin.
Supporters: The Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS) , Earl Blumenauer (D) - U.S. representative, Michael Dembrow (D) - Oregon state senator, Lew Frederick (D) - Oregon state senator, Jeff Golden (D) - Oregon state senator, Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D) - Oregon state senator, Chris Gorsek (D) - Oregon state representative, Democratic Party of Oregon Multnomah Democrats, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, ACLU of Oregon, Black Resilience Fund, Heroic Hearts Project, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Moms United to End the War on Drugs, Oregon Cannabis Association, Oregon Counseling Association, Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Opponents: American Psychiatric Association, Oregon Psychiatric Physician Association
My take: Psilocybin is non-addictive and has been designated by the FDA as a breakthrough therapy to treat severe depression and clinical depressive disorder. If this measure passes, it would be regulated by the Oregon Health Authority and administered only in medical contexts. I'm in support because it appears to be a safe and effective way to address various mental health concerns.
Oregon Measure 110: Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports making personal non-commercial possession of a controlled substance no more than a Class E violation (max fine of $100 fine) and establishing a drug addiction treatment and recovery program funded in part by the state's marijuana tax revenue and state prison savings.
A "no" vote opposes reclassifying personal non-commercial possession of a controlled substance from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E violation, thereby maintaining the existing maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor of one year in prison and a $6,250 fine.
The measure would reclassify personal/non-commercial drug possession offenses. Possession of a controlled substance in Schedule I-IV, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines, would be reclassified from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E violation resulting in a $100 fine or a completed health assessment. Individuals who manufacture or distribute illegal drugs would still be subject to a criminal penalty. The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission estimated that convictions for possession of a controlled substance would decrease by 3,679 or 90.7%. The health assessments would be conducted through addiction recovery centers and include a substance use disorder screening by a certified alcohol and drug counselor. Health assessments must be completed within 45 days of the violation.
Supporters: A Better Oregon, Multnomah Democrats AFSCME, Oregon National Association of Social Workers, ACLU of Oregon, American Civil Liberties Union, American College of Physicians, Clergy for a New Drug Policy, Crime Victims' Rights Alliance, Drug Policy Action, Human Rights Watch, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, New Approach Oregon, The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Unite Oregon
Opponents: Kevin Barton - Washington County district attorney
My take: We've been treating drug use and addiction as though it's a problem that is improved by treating addicts and users as criminals, but it's not. Incarceration only further perpetuates the circumstances that often lead them to drug use in the first place, including reducing their ability to seek gainful employment, maintain positive relationships, and secure stable housing, income, and health conditions. Much of the drug problem in Oregon is visible in our most struggling communities and is a symptom of larger issues that I believe in addressing at the root instead of wasting money and valuable time and human resources putting people behind bars.
There's a great example of this being done in Portugal, where they intentionally invested in public health resources that addressed drug use and decriminalized drug use. I also highly recommend reading the book Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, which dives into the various core issues plaguing working class America and practical solutions for addressing those issues, including that which has been proposed in this ballot measure.
Multnomah County, Oregon, Measure 26-211: Library Bond Issue
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports authorizing the county to issue $387 million in bonds to finance library renovations and imposing a property tax of $61 per $100,000 of assessed value to repay the bonds.
A "no" vote opposes authorizing the county to issue $387 million in bonds to finance library renovations.
Supporters: Susheela Jayapal - Multnomah County commissioner, Deborah Kafoury - Multnomah County commissioner, Sharon Meieran - Multnomah County commissioner, Jessica Vega Pederson - Multnomah County commissioner, Lori Stegmann - Multnomah County commissioner, Multnomah Democrats
My take: I was initially hesitant about voting yes on this measure because our state's budget is struggling so much as a result of the pandemic. However, the idea of developing a new flagship library in East County could be a really powerful investment in bridging the digital divide that is hurting communities of color, like those in East County, disproportionately. Investments in these communities' access to digital tools and education will pay huge dividends for the state in the long term, and this is not the time to put it off.
Multnomah County, Oregon, Measure 26-214: Income Tax to Fund Tuition-Free Preschool Program
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports establishing a tuition-free preschool program; imposing an additional 1.5% income tax on households with income over $200,000 and an additional 3% income tax on households with income over $400,000; and increasing the additional rate for households with income over $200,000 to 2.3% in 2026.
A "no" vote opposes establishing a tuition-free preschool program and imposing an additional income tax to fund it, thus maintaining the existing income tax rate of 1.25%
Supporters: Democratic Socialists of America-Portland Multnomah, Democrats Oregon Progressive Party, Oregon Retired Educators Association, Portland Association of Teachers. League of Women Voters, Portland Jobs with Justice
My take: "Universal preschool is not only proven to benefit child development and improve their economic outcomes later in life, but it's also really important for working parents, especially single mothers, who are already struggling to make ends meet, put food on the table, and scrape together the exorbitant cost of childcare in Oregon." -Portland Jobs with Justice.
It's important to note that this isn't just a feel-good change. Funding free childcare and preschool for families who need it can be a huge game changer for parents and guardians who have to choose between work and the cost of taking care of their children. Women are disproportionally impacted by the lack of accessible childcare options because they are more likely to be the ones who need to stay home or reduce their work hours to care for children, which contributes to the wage gap. Also, in models around the world, we've seen that when we invest in children it pays off down the road for our economy. This ballot measure would also ensure a pay increase for preschool teachers. (Having worked in childcare myself, I know that many childcare workers and preschool teachers in the Portland area make minimum wage with miniscule pay increases for their work that is critical to the development of our children while many parents are barely able to afford care.)
Portland Metro, Oregon, Measure 26-218: Infrastructure and Transportation Payroll Tax
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports authorizing the Metro Council to impose a payroll tax not to exceed 0.75% on employers with 26 or more employees, excluding local governments, beginning in 2022 to fund infrastructure improvements and transportation programs.
A "no" vote opposes authorizing the Metro Council to impose a payroll tax not to exceed 0.75% on employers with 26 or more employees, excluding local governments, beginning in 2022 to fund infrastructure improvements and transportation programs.
Supporters: Sam Chase (Nonpartisan) - Metro councilmember, Shirley Craddick - Metro councilmember, Craig Dirksen - Metro councilmember, Juan Carlos González - Metro councilmember, Christine Lewis - Metro councilmember, Lynn Peterson - Metro council president
Opponents: L. Scott Bruun (R) - Former Oregon state representative, North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce
My take: This one took me a minute to think through because this is a significant payroll tax that could have negative impacts on businesses that might already be struggling due to the pandemic. It's important to keep in mind that this wouldn't affect businesses until 2022 and would also only apply to businesses with more than 25 employees. I think the timing could still be better, but ultimately many of these Infrastructure and Transportation improvements are changes that need to happen as soon as possible.
The investment in broader access to mass transit including in communities of color and electrification of bus fleets, not to mention projects like bridge repairs (did you know that most of the bridges in Portland would crumble in an earthquake?), are all vital changes that will enhance our communities, reduce carbon emissions, and make our city safer and more livable, all while creating jobs. In the development of this measure, stakeholders from communities of color were included in the process to ensure equitable proposals, and a vested community oversight board would also be installed.
Portland Public Schools, Oregon, Measure 26-215: Bond Issue
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports authorizing the district to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to fund school renovations, technology, and safety without increasing the existing property tax of $250 per $100,000 of assessed property value to repay the bonds.
A "no" vote opposes authorizing the district to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to fund school renovations, technology, and safety.
My take: It's not expected to increase bond tax rate and helps deliver better learning and working conditions for Portland students and teachers, which can often leave much to be desired. I don't feel super strongly about this measure though because I don't think it's as urgent as other issues.
Portland, Oregon, Measure 26-213: Recreation and Parks Levy
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports enacting a tax at the rate of $80 per $100,000 of assessed property value for five years beginning in 2021 to fund recreational programs and park services.
A "no" vote opposes enacting a tax at the rate of $80 per $100,000 of assessed property value for five years beginning in 2021 to fund recreational programs and park services.
Supporters: Portland Association of Teachers, League of Women Voters, Portland Business Alliance, Portland Jobs with Justice, APANO, Ted Wheeler (Nonpartisan) - Portland mayor, Chloe Eudaly (Nonpartisan) - Portland city commissioner, Amanda Fritz - Portland city commissioner, Dan Ryan - Portland city commissioner
Opponents: Jo Ann Hardesty - Portland city commissioner
My take: I tried to find opposition to this measure and couldn't find much aside from Jo Ann Hardesty saying that it was half-baked. It has broad support across a variety of groups and establishes a community oversight board to ensure the funds are spent according to voter intent with this ballot measure. This is another important step toward climate justice.
This levy would help support a number of improvements and maintenance to parks, including reducing fees that would make parks more accessible to low income families, adding green space to communities with lower tree canopy, and creating services specifically for communities of color. The Parks and Recreation department is a big part of what makes Portland so lovely to live in, and these services are good for our environment and our community. The services and programs to be funded by this measure are planned to include, but are not limited to:
Portland, Oregon, Measure 26-217: Police Oversight Board Charter Amendment
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports: amending the city's charter to establish a new police oversight board, giving the board the power to subpoena witnesses and request police documents and evidence to investigate complaints made against the Portland Police Bureau, allowing the board to impose disciplinary actions up to termination of law enforcement professionals, and authorizing the board to recommend policing policy to the Portland Police Bureau and Portland City Council.
A "no" vote opposes amending the city charter to establish a new police oversight board, thereby maintaining the existing Independent Police Review that was established by ordinance and operates under the city auditor.
Supporters: Ted Wheeler (Nonpartisan) - Portland mayor, Chloe Eudaly (Nonpartisan) - Portland city commissioner, Amanda Fritz - Portland city commissioner, Jo Ann Hardesty - Portland city commissioner, Multnomah Democrats
Opponents: Mary Hull Caballero - Portland city auditor, Portland Police Association
"Currently, the Independent Police Review (IPR), a city agency under the city auditor, investigates complaints against police officers in conjunction with the Citizen Review Committee, its 11-member advisory board. It was created in 2001 and replaced the Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee. It has the power to investigate police misconduct and issue reports, but it does not have the power to impose disciplinary action. The police commissioner is responsible for disciplinary decisions. IPR also has the power to make policy recommendations to the police chief and is required to publish them for public review. On its website, IPR lists 15 staff members as of August 2020." -Ballotpedia.
Ultimately, I'm voting yes because our current system has not been working, and community oversight of our law enforcement is both appropriate and necessary as a means to hold law enforcement officers accountable. Opponents note that this is an unproven model that challenges law enforcement officers' 14th Amendment rights to due process under the law because this Police Oversight Board has the ability to discipline officers leading up to termination. I take the 14th Amendment seriously, so I took pause at this. However, due process is only violated if the disciplinary actions the Board is allowed to take include arrests. Boards of many other institutions have the lawful right to terminate the positions of employees or otherwise discipline them within the scope of the workplace.
The police have not proven to hold themselves adequately accountable for their actions when that responsibility is given to our own police commissioner, tragically under-disciplining police officers responsible for excessive use of force against Portland citizens. As City Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty also reassured, police have nothing to worry about if they're committed to serving their community. In my view, this is an appropriate and necessary change.
Portland, Oregon, Measure 26-219: Uses of Water Fund Charter Amendment
My vote: YES
What it is:
A "yes" vote supports amending the city's charter to authorize the city council to spend monies from the Water Fund and increase rates to cover expenses for general public uses, such as neighborhood green areas and community gardens.
A "no" vote opposes amending the city's charter to authorize the city council to spend monies from the Water Fund on general public uses, thus maintaining that monies from the Water Fund can only be used to provide water service to residents.
Supporters: Portland Audubon, Urban Greenspace Institute, Portland Harbor Community Coalition, Human Access Project, Willamette Riverkeeper, Humane Society of the United States, Depave Access Recreation Columbia Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, Oregon Chapter East Portland Parks Coalition, Friends of Hazelwood Hydropark, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Portland Parks Foundation, Rosewood Initiative, Center for Biological Diversity, Onward Oregon, The Intertwine, Portland City Commissioner – Amanda Fritz, Metro (District 5) Candidate – Chris Smith
My take: This measure is basically helping to correct an oversight and would allow the city to convert empty lots to community gardens and other public green spaces that can have health benefits and reduce food insecurity for underserved neighborhoods. This is a step in the right direction toward climate justice.
Oregon Secretary of State
My vote: Shemia Fagan
Supporters: Elizabeth Warren, Planned Parenthood, Emily's List, AFL-CIO, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Oregon Education Association
Mayor of Portland
My vote: Sarah Iannarone
My take: Sarah's platform is very compelling to me. She puts climate, social justice, and the health of everyone in our community front and center. I don't hate Ted Wheeler. I think he's trying his best and has done some positive things for this city, but he's been disappointing in others (including his lack of meaningful leadership in the midst of the protests downtown and unwillingness to ban the use of tear gas and rubber bulltets against peaceful protestors).
More than anything, I'm inspired by Sarah's ambitious yet practical vision for climate solutions and environmental justice, shooting for net-zero emissions by 2030. Sarah says it well here, "We cannot accept tepid leadership and centrist incrementalism if we hope to stave off ecological collapse." In many other areas of her very thorough platform (including getting money out of politics, a publicly-owned municipal bank, and municipal broadband), I'm impressed by her vision and urgency. She also has the endorsements of Shaun King and DeRay McKesson, known for their civil rights advocacy, especially in the Black Lives Matter movement. (PS If you're a fan of Elizabeth Warren, Sarah Iannarone might just be your girl.)
Supporters: Shaun King (Activist, journalist and bestselling author), DeRay McKesson (National Black Lives Matter Organizer), Stephen Green (Entrepreneur), Loretta Smith (Former Multnomah County Commissioner), Portland Mercury Editorial Board, Our Revolution, Basic Rights Oregon, Oregon Progressive Party
Opponents: Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV), Portland Business Alliance, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, Portland City Council, Representative Rob Nosse, Oregon State Representative, The Oregonian Willamette Week Portland Tribune
President of the United States
My vote: Joe Biden
My vote: Jeff Merkley
My vote: Ellen Rosenblum
My vote: Tobias Read
Oregon District 3 U.S. House of Representatives
My vote: Earl Blumenaeur
Oregon Court of Appeals, Position 1
My vote: Josephine H. Mooney
Oregon Court of Appeals, Position 12
My vote: Erin C. Lagesen
Oregon Court of Appeals, Position 13
My vote: Douglas L. Tookey
Oregon Supreme Court, Position 4
My vote: Chris Garrett
Oregon Supreme Court Position 7
My vote: Martha L. Walters
Oregon Court of Appeals, Position 9 (special election)
My vote: Jacqueline Kamins
Oregon State Senate District 21
My vote: Kathleen Taylor
Oregon House of Representatives District 42
My vote: Rob Nosse
Oregon 4th Judicial District Circuit Courts Position 12
My vote: Adrian Brown
Oregon 4th Judicial District Circuit Courts Position 26 (special election)
My vote: Steffan Alexander
Portland City Commission Position 4
My vote: Chloe Eudaly
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District At-Large, Position 1
My vote: Rick Till
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District At-Large, Position 2 (special election)
My vote: Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District Zone 2
My vote: Laura Masterson