On April 26, after finishing my folk show on KMUN, I headed over to see the County Clerk about changing my voter registration from Pacific Green to Democrat temporarily, so I could vote for Bernie Sanders for president. Little did I suspect that the switch would open up several other local, state and federal offices to my research and potential vote, and thereby require more time than I had thought to fulfill my citizen duty to participate in the political process.
In order to attempt to influence your vote, I’m publishing this guide in as many publications locally as possible, and on Facebook and other social media. Unlike some, I heavily believe in the caucus system, where you get the chance to influence others’ votes while voting in primaries. With the mail-in voting system here in Oregon, you don’t get that chance, even to talk about it at a brick-and-mortar polling place.
This guide should supplement the Voters’ Pamphlet put out by Clatsop County that I just finished reading. It is full of hyperbole and asinine statements by the candidates, but it sure entertained me for an hour or so. I also read the Independent Party and Republican Party sections for more entertainment, but will focus here on the Democrats. There’s enough there for endless good times.
I received the Democratic Party ballot in the mail one day after my nonpartisan ballot arrived. When I got the first ballot, which only included judges and a tax levy proposal, I thought I was going to be one of those disenfranchised voters we keep hearing about on the news. We have closed primaries in Oregon, but you can switch registration pretty late in the game (two days before ballots go out) if you want to participate in a partisan race, and you can switch back after the election is decided so you can participate in your party’s nominating process also.
But then a day later I received the Democratic ballot, so I will have to find out whether I can just use that one, or I have to do more paperwork. Fortunately, our county elections department is very accessible and amenable.
Below is something like what my ballot looks like filled out. I’ve included the reasons for my choices, and welcome any feedback from readers. I will wait a little while for feedback before actually sending my ballot in, so you have a chance to influence my vote as well.
♥ Bernie Sanders
Like I said, the main reason I switched parties temporarily was to vote for Sanders. I’ve been following the campaign in the news and on the web and social media, and think it would be a gas for Bernie to get a chance to bring his ideas before the entire voting public. I think Hillary is too hawkish and too embedded in the establishment to accomplish anything very positive as president. Plus, it would put Bill back in the White House.
Paul B Weaver
♥ Kevin H Stine
Wyden lost my vote when he came out for the TPP. Weaver is not in the voters’ pamphlet, and seems to be a nice-enough retired guy who is quite religious and is Republican in his stances, but is running Democrat for some reason. From his website: “Personally, I don’t think Senator Ron Wyden is a Oregonian any longer! He married a younger woman who co-owns Strand Bookstore in New York City. They own a home in Manhattan and I assume their children go to school there also. Wyden has been in Congress for thirty-four years, a Senator since 1996. During this time he has amassed a personal fortune of around 8 to 10 million dollars and a campaign war chest of over 7 million dollars! These millions of dollars do not include assets held by Mrs. Wyden! As a Senator he has done little to push back against Obama and his scandal ridden administration. It is long past time for Senator Wyden to officially retire and live in Manhattan with his wife and children!” Now Stine is one of those young “Bernie bros” who is on the Medford City Council and served 9 years in the Navy, and is against the TPP and even says in his statement to vote for Bernie! He points out that Wyden also voted for NAFTA, CAFTA, the China Trade Bill, and for the repeal of Glass-Steagall. This is the kind of candidate that the Bernie movement is trying to get into Congress. Please vote for him!!
♥ Shabba Woodley
Bonamici also lost my vote when she came out for the TPP (actually, she never got my vote, because I usually vote Green). Now Shabba Woodley, a 25-year-old black dude from the Bronx and Portland, is another one of those young folks that the Bernie revolution could sweep into Congress. He’s running his own campaign, and his website looks like it. In an article in the Oregonian, the author says this about Woodley’s chances: “Then again, if we’re ever going to elect a young, single-parent slam poet in the U.S. House of Representatives, this might be the year.” Come on, how can you not vote for this guy?! He even says his top priority is to listen to his constituents, especially to those on the other side of the issues.
♥ Julian Bell
Kevin M Forsythe
I’m going with Julian Bell, another youngster who is a Bernie supporter and seems to have the same priorities, especially on climate change. Here’s a short bio from his website: “Julian Bell is an intensive care physician who works in southern Oregon where he lives with his partner, Stella Burkett, and their two children. Julian was born in Australia, attended Cornell University in New York state graduating with honors. He became a US citizen in 1998, and received his medical degree from New York Medical College in 2000. Julian has lived and worked in Oregon since 2006. He drives a Mitsubishi electric car, rides a Brammo electric motorcycle, and has solar panels on his house. Julian spent 3 years as a climate change activist before deciding to run for office. Julian formed a group called “Hair On Fire Oregon” with 3 other southern Oregon residents which paid for direct advertising in conventional and on line media. They opposed the Jordan Cove natural gas pipeline and South Dunes power plant project (which would have become a brand new greenhouse gas factory second only to the Boardman coal plant) that Governor Kate Brown does not seem to have an opinion about, and advocated for cap and trade/cap and invest legislation for Oregon which Governor Kate Brown also does not appear to support.” Having lived in Oz, and pining for an electric car, and opposing LNG, Bell seems to be the best chance for representation for me. Kate Brown is too establishment. Stauffer is very interesting, proposing schemes to move water from Spokane to Oregon and California, and build water slides to and from Portland to and from Vancouver, but I’ve tired of large-scale solutions like these over time. Vote for the Aussie (even though he’s a doctor)! The other three seem to be Republicans in disguise or have no information available (they’re not in the voters’ pamphlet, and I looked for info on them elsewhere). Good to see 6 names here in any case!
Secretary of State
♥ Brad Avakian
All three are big-time politicians, but based on endorsements and the advice of my friend Steve Berk, I’ll go with Avakian. Unfortunately, their statements in the voters’ pamphlet don’t say much about fixing elections, which is a big part of what I want the person holding this office to do.
Judge of the Circuit Court, 18th District, Position 2
♥ Ronald D Woltjer
David M Goldthorpe
Dawn M McIntosh
I happen to know Ron, through the Astor Street Opry Company and from when his daughter and my son were swimmers at Astoria High School. He’s a really nice guy, and has been judge for quite some time now, unlike the other two candidates. He doesn’t seek endorsements, as he feels that a judge shouldn’t have them, and he’s pretty much his whole campaign (like I was when I ran for city council). But even if I didn’t know him, I would vote for him based on the endorsements of the other two candidates. Goldthorpe has endorsements from law enforcement, church pastors and politicians, and McIntosh is the darling of the local establishment. Her endorsement ads in the Daily A are disgusting.
The other races on the ballot, including the precinct chairs, are unopposed races, and I have no interest in them. I actually don’t think judges should run for office at all. And a precinct chair should just be a volunteer – no need for an election.
Finally, there’s a ballot measure for a tax levy to continue to fund the county fairgrounds. I’ll support it. It’s less than they’re charging currently, and even though I don’t visit the fairgrounds too often, I like it being there and don’t mind funding it. I figured it out – it cost us a little under $10 a year. We can afford it.
I encourage you to write in yourself or anyone else you think could do the job for any of the positions up for grabs if you can’t live with any of the candidates listed on your ballot. In general, these votes are not counted – unless there are multiple votes for the same candidate – but at least you put down someone you could live with, and write-ins have won before, even in state and federal elections.
I hope this guide is helpful to you in making decisions on Democratic (and some non-partisan) candidates and the ballot measure. Your input is encouraged and appreciated. Even if I didn’t change your mind, let me know how you voted.