Ballots arrived in most mailboxes this past weekend for candidates, local measures and statewide measures. Deadline for dropping off ballots is 8 pm Tuesday, May 18. To mail in ballots, it’s best to mail them by May 14. Candidates in nonpartisan races who get more than 50 percent of the votes in the May primary will appear on the November ballot as uncontested. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent, the top two will advance. Below are our selected endorsements. For races and issues not listed, please refer to your Voters’ Pamphlet.
Ron Wyden (D)
Ron Wyden is a no-contest vote here in the primary. Watch out for anti-incumbent trash talk against Wyden in the fall.
John Kitzhaber (D)
Like most Oregon Democrats, we also like Bill Bradbury but Dr. John wins our vote, in part because of his deep expertise in health care at a time when states will be leading the way. His considerable intellectual skills and experience give us hope. And he can win the general election in November.
Ted Wheeler (D)
The state treasurer is Oregon’s chief financial officer and manages the investment of state money, the sale of state bonds and helps oversee management of state lands. Ted Wheeler has done such a good job with the state’s money after his appointment by the governor that he deserves our continued support. This is a two-year term.
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Susan Castillo’s experience in the narrow trenches of school funding in this state best qualifies her to keep pushing for more support. Her opponent Ron Mauer claims “it is not a question of more money; it is one of transformational reform.” We strongly disagree. Student-teacher ratios are about more money. Castillo is an important role model for both young women and the Latino/a community in Oregon education and Oregon politics. She wins our “Yes” vote in this nonpartisan race.
Oregon Supreme Court. Position 5.
Attorneys, judges and even a former Oregon governor are lining up behind Jack Landow as their choice for the only contested position on the nonpartisan Oregon Supreme Court. Judge Landow has served on the Court of Appeals for 17 years and has earned the respect of his peers, citing both his experience and integrity.
NONPARTISAN CITY OFFICES
City Council Ward 5.
Write in somebody
Voters in north Eugene’s Ward 5 don’t have much of a choice in this election. Incumbent Mike Clark has served as the leading lobbyist for developers on the City Council. The right-wing Republican political consultant was caught drunk driving during his first campaign for councilor. Lucky for him, he was running unopposed. In this election Nadia Sindi, unfortunately, doesn’t offer a strong campaign or relevant experience. Ward 5 is once again without a real race for City Council.
City Council Ward 6.
This is a tough choice. Both are too con-servative on environmental issues to represent the interests of the moderate Democrats in this west Eugene ward. Farr, who works at a Republican political consulting firm, served previously on the council and has a record of serving developers and corporations over citizen interests. Opponent Rich Gaston, a billboard salesman, has done little to distinguish himself from Farr’s positions. Gaston has the endorsement of Sarah Palin admirer Jennifer Solomon, the outgoing Ward 6 councilor. Farr did support some programs for the homeless and needy when he was a city councilor; we expect he will do that again.
EWEB At-Large Position. John Simpson
Back in 2008 we favored Joann Ernst over the incumbent John Simpson for EWEB Commission, Wards 1 & 8, and she unseated him. We liked Ernst’s progressive community activism more than Simpson’s experience, and Simpson had recently helped stack the Community Advisory Team with pro-development members. But in this race for the at-large position, Simpson’s looking better, and he’s picked up some important endorsements. His experience and understanding of the issues far outweigh those of his enthusiastic young opponent, biology student Nicole Hansen. We like her fresh approach, but EWEB is about to transition to a new manager and is also losing Commissioner Ron Farmer. The board needs solid expertise to deal with major issues of aging infrastructure, and the redevelopment of EWEB’s surplus riverfront property.
STATE BALLOT MEASURES
Bonds for capital expenditures. Yes
Measure 68 is a non-controversial amendment to the state constitution to increase school funding for buildings, computers and textbooks. The measure would broaden the definition of the “capital costs” that school districts could ask voters to support in bond measures. Measure 68 would also set up a state matching grant program for school capital improvements. Oregon has done a better job funding new jails than new schools. Kids crowded into crumbling schools with crumbling textbooks need all the help they can get.
Expands borrowing authority. Yes
Measure 69 is a non-controversial housekeeping measure to clarify that state community colleges may use a low cost borrowing tool to purchase existing buildings.
COUNTY MEASURES & CANDIDATES
Extension Service local option. Yes
From 4-H fun to Master Gardeners to nutrition the Extension Service helps Lane County. We say yes, help the Extension restore its services. Cuts have already been made to key programs such as pesticide reporting and emergency preparedness programs. The Extension’s advice keeps people fed and protects the environment and that’s too valuable to lose at $.05 per $1,000 of assessed property value (in other words, the price of a couple of lattés per year). We’ve written extensively about the need to produce more of our food locally. More than 95 percent of what we eat is trucked in from out of the area, and that is not sustainable. The Extension Service is vital to improving our local food security.
Amends County Charter. Yes
It turns out that Lane County’s Home Rule Charter doesn’t make provisions to ensure that it’s in compliance with “state laws or other contemporary issues.” This amendment would create a committee that reviews the Lane County Charter every 10 years and proposes changes, if needed.
Amends County Charter. Yes
This amendment clarifies in the Charter that Lane County requirements for elected office fulfill the state-required qualifications for elected office, and ensures compliance with state law.
Amends County Charter. Yes
This is another Charter measure that would keep Lane County elections in compliance with state law, and clarifies the process to be followed when someone gets a majority of the votes in the primary election.
West Lane County Commissioner.
Rust offers 20 years of experience in a previous stint on the Lane County Commission, moderate positions and a personable style that will serve west Lane voters well. Jay Bozievich, an anti-government Tea Party extremist, wouldn’t offer much credible opposition if it wasn’t for all the campaign cash from timber and development interests.
East Lane County Commissioner.
Faye Stewart has yet to face any serious opposition for the East Lane seat, and we fantasize that next time around someone will really step up with a campaign that gives Stewart a run for his money. This time we say Tom Brandt of rural Marcola leads the pack of challengers in terms of county know-how and throw our vote to him. If we could give a second place endorsement we’d give it to Gary Kutcher. He’s strong on idealism and forestry issues, but weaker on his appreciation of county policy. Let’s hope Stewart does not get 50 percent plus one in the primary and we see a more substantive race in November.
Springfield County Commissioner.
Seven candidates can be found on the ballot for this nonpartisan position, including the mayor of Springfield and half the Springfield City Council. But our clear favorite is Pat Riggs-Henson, the only candidate endorsed by labor groups, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Sen. Bill Morrisette and Rep. Peter DeFazio. Riggs-Henson has served on the LCC Board for 14 years and has practical experience in workforce development and public/private partnerships. She understands the role of government and labor in building our economy. We are told by people who have worked with her that she knows how to prioritize issues, set agendas and run meetings efficiently. As DeFazio says, “She gets things done.”