Friday, May 16, 2014

Vote for Hummel, Spear; 'no' on levies

Oregon's two-and-a-half-week-long vote-by-mail period closes on Tuesday, May 20, and it can't end soon enough.

Elections are tedious things with a barrage of negative advertising and letters to the editor that exasperate even the casual observer.

That said, there are just a handful of races worth noting.

John Hummel is the easy choice for Deschutes County district attorney. The incumbent D.A. Patrick Flaherty was such a disaster that he spent more time defending himself from lawsuits than he did defending the citizens of the county.

Plus, some prominent citizens representing the old guard of Bend switched allegiances from Hummel to Flaherty, which is a tipoff that Hummel would represent the new Bend, not the good-old-boys network.

As for the circuit court judge race, which, like the D.A. race, matters little to almost all citizens, a tussle is breaking out in this "non-partisan" race between the would-be Democrat Thomas Spear and the would-be Republican Randy Miller.

Well, since Miller has little experience, he was endorsed by the local daily and other GOPers, who prize ignorance as a prerequisite for government service.

Spear is more than qualified, which means little to voters who are poised to vote along partisan lines.

Let's make it simple. Vote experience. Vote Spear.

In the GOP senate race to face off against incumbent Jeff Merkley, local boy Jason Conger is battling Portland neophyte Monica Wehby.

This week, though, failed presidential candidate and controversial conservative firebrand Rick Santorum endorsed Conger. Such an endorsement would be the kiss of death in the general election, but, amazingly, could boost Conger's chances in the GOP primary, which usually rewards fringe candidates who then get killed in the general election. Also, Wehby was accused of stalking by a former flame, Andrew Miller, who is helping fund Wehby's campaign.

Vote Conger because he could prove disgraced former Republican Sen. Bob Packwood correct when he called Conger "a guaranteed loser."

For the fire and emergency personnel levies in the city and the county, vote "no."

These levies won't improve service, but rather fund the generous retirement portfolios of firemen and EMTs. Now, they deserve a good pension, but, since they are being dishonest about these levies, voters should not reward duplicity.

Imagine if the local school district asked for more money to reduce class sizes and higher more teachers? Oh wait, the district did and lost big time.

That said, these levies will pass because voters are suckers for extortion when "public safety" is invoked.

By the way, these property tax levies are NOT subject to the "double-majority" rule because, in 2008, voters approved a measure that exempted May and November elections from the rule that rewarded inaction.

So, a word to the lazy: Your non-vote will have no impact on the election.

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