Clackamas County Commissioner Election

Oregonian: Clackamas County Commissioner Races

Election underway.  Ballots due Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

A new term has entered the political lexicon of Clackamas County: Portland creep.

Those two words, intended to denote density, crime, congestion and tax-happy bureaucracy, appear on two can’t-miss billboards along Interstate 205 near Gladstone. The conservative Oregon Transformation Project’s political action committee paid for the billboards to support a slate of candidates who, if elected, would take majority control of Clackamas County government.

The new phrase also sums up what’s at stake in this year’s race for three seats on the five-member Clackamas County Board of Commissioners: Should the county be a cooperative partner in regional efforts or become more politically independent and fiscally conservative?

Board seats are nonpartisan, though many decisions fall along party lines. Currently, four of the five seats are held by Democrats, causing friction with the county’s burgeoning conservative movement.

This election is in many ways a referendum on whether the county is on the right path. If the Oregon Transformation Project’s slate wins, Clackamas County could reverse course and end support of regional planning and transportation efforts.

All three candidates supported by the Oregon Transformation Project – John Ludlow, Jim Knapp and Tootie Smith – vow to fight the Portland-Milwaukie light rail extension, for example, even though Clackamas County signed contracts approving the project years ago and construction is under way.

The county’s largely conservative, grass-roots movement already chalked up two significant reversals of county policy over the past year.

In May voters resoundingly approved a referendum that reversed the commissioner-approved $5 annual vehicle registration fee intended to help build a new Sellwood Bridge. In November, voters overwhelmingly supported requiring countywide approval for new urban renewal districts in unincorporated parts of the county, a move that effectively kills urban renewal.

Voters face another important decision on the Sept. 18 ballot, where they will decide whether to require countywide voter approval before officials can spend money to finance, design, construct or operate any rail lines in the county.

And in recent months, whispers started circulating among discontented conservatives about withdrawing from Metro and TriMet.

oregon transformation project billboard.JPGView full sizeEverton Bailey Jr./The OregonianA billboard along Interstate 205 near Gladstone urges Clackamas County voters to support Tootie Smith, John Ludlow and Jim Knapp, candidates for the Clackamas County commission. The billboard was paid for by the conservative group Oregon Transformation Project PAC.

But voters have eight other candidates to choose from, including several who support light rail and pledge a more friendly attitude to regional partnerships in line with current positions. Jim Bernard, the one incumbent not involved in the May election, is the former mayor of Milwaukie and a long-time supporter of light rail.

Paul Savas, a current commissioner running for chairman, would remain on the board even if he fails in his bid to move up, creating the possibility of a reversal from a 4-1 majority favoring Democrats to a 4-1 majority favoring Republicans.

It all makes for the county’s most important and competitive commission races in years, with consequences sure to extend beyond the county lines.

Yuxing Zheng

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Clackamas County Taxpayers vs. County “Government”

From remarks forwarded to me by a concerned Clackamas County Citizen:

Have you wondered how Clackamas County was taken over by “Big Government Advocates”,  Lynn Peterson, Ann LIninger, Jim Bernard, Jamie Damon & Charlotte Lehan?  

Look look at the members who make up the Clackamas “Business Alliance“.

A disinterested 3rd party cannot help but conclude this alliance is nothing more than a self serving scheme designed to block public scrutiny or influence over enormous taxpayer funded spending decisions. This “Alliance” of mostly government and private benefactors has lined heir pockets with enormous taxpayer funded wealth.  They produced a voter’s pamphlet statement supporting a contrived ballot measure solely intended to defeat the citizen’s measure.  A contrivance so unethical and misleading that a judge threw out the ballot title they wrote.  These are our “representatives”?

They have nothing to offer Clackamas County.. What they are is an extension of the Portland planning regime that preys on uninformed, unwitting, uninvolved citizens.. in a system that they’ve learned to manipulate to line the pockets of their benefactors and to grow wealth siphoning, sprawling government beast.

Clackamas County has no integrity being a contributing member to this racket.  I mean, take a look at the “members, sponsors, and director”.  Is there the possibility/ probability of “insider” corruption?  Don’t be stupid.

http://www.ccba.biz/1201.html   Premium sponsors

http://www.ccba.biz/22187.html   Board of Directors

It’s essentially all government and benefactors who have grown fat at the trough.. and making millions off the Portland/TriMet/Metro agenda. All dues paying members (using funds which originate from the taxpayer).  Once again, taxpayer money being used against taxpayers to  grow an ever growing assault on the private sector, while enriching a very narrow class of “insiders”. 

Sampling:

3J Consulting, Inc 
Bank of Lake Oswego
Bernards Garage, Inc      Commissioner Bernard
City of Happy Valley
City of Milwaukie
City of Wilsonville
Clackamas Community College
Clackamas County
David Evans and Associates, Inc         Along with every other boondoggle these Arch/Engineers have been paid $80 million to date for CRC planning 
Davis Wright Tremaine                      
General Growth Properties, LLC – Clackamas Town Center   recipeints of millions in Urban Renewal tax dollars
Group MacKenzie            SoWa property owner, big vender for Portland Development
HM3 Ethanol, Inc
Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce
Metropolitan Land Group
North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce
Oregon City School District
Oregon Iron Works, Inc        Streetcar manufacturer
Portland General Electric
STIVEN Planning and Development Services, LLC
Tri-County Investments, LLC
Worksource Oregon Employment Department

Look at the list of contributors who wish to silence the voice of Clackamas Taxpayers .. Do you see a pattern?  These organizations and people want to control the county commissioners.. and bypass the taxpayer.  It’s muchc easier to buy off a commissioner. 

These are the interests that want we citizens to shut up.. and want to deny us our opportunity to actually vote on the issue.

Clackamas commissioners’ “urban renewal” measure doubly ambiguous

Clackamas commissioners’ “urban renewal” measure doubly ambiguous

We’ve been staring for a couple of days now at the language of the decoy ballot measure that the Clackamas County commissioners have placed on the November ballot to compete with the citizens’ initiative petition that would require countywide votes for future “urban renewal” expansions. The longer we look at the politicians’ measure, the more ambiguous parts of it seem.
In particular, we’re referring to the conflict provision — the part of the commissioners’ measure that talks about what happens if it conflicts with other county laws. It reads as follows:

A number of intriguing questions arise out of this poorly chosen language.
First things first: Does this language even apply to the conflict between the two measures on the November ballot? Specifically, is the measure originally initiated by the citizens’ petition a “referral”? At least to our untrained eye, it doesn’t seem so. There’s a clear distinction made in state law between an initiative and a referendum. A referendum is the situation in which a law or ordinance that the county commissioners enacted is forced onto the ballot by petition signatures. As we understand it, that’s not what the citizens did here — they invented their own measure, which is an initiative rather than a referendum. And so the conflict language in the commissioners’ measure — alluding to “any referral” — may not even apply to the glaring conflict between these two measures. (The crux of the dispute is whether future “urban renewal” schemes should be subject to a countywide vote, or just a vote of the district that would benefit.)
Assuming that the conflict language does apply — and that seems a major assumption — there’s an additional problem with the operative language: “the provisions having received the lesser number of votes in any referral of the measure to an election shall be void.” Does that mean (a) the lesser number of “yes” votes, or (b) the lesser number of total votes, both in favor and against?
Take this example: Both measures pass. The citizens’ initiative passes 10,000 to 5,000, and the commissioners’ measure passes, 8,000 to 7,500. Assuming the conflict language applies, then which ballot measure prevails, and which one is void? The citizens’ initiative has more “yes” votes (10,000 to 8,000), but the commissioners’ measure, which also passed, has more overall votes (15,500 to 15,000). Which “provisions… received the lesser number of votes”? Common sense would say the politicians’ version, but that idea could have been expressed much more clearly than in the commissioners’ drafting.
If somehow the language means that the most total votes wins, then so long as both measures get a majority of votes cast, folks who favor the citizens’ measure might be better off not voting at all on the commissioners’ measure — not even voting “no.” On the other hand, if the measure with the most “yes” votes wins (a more loigcal, but by no means necessary, reading), then it would make sense for the citizens’ group to vote yes on the initiative measure and no on the commissioners’.
Are these two ambiguities deliberate and malicious, or are they accidental? It’s hard to tell. In the original version of the decoy measure, there was reference to actions taken by more or less than 51% of the voters in the “urban renewal” area. That was bad drafting, too. As anyone who’s thought about it knows, a majority is 50% plus 1 vote — not 51%. 5,001 to 4,999 is a majority — you needn’t get to 5,100. Somebody down there is a truly poor drafter, or diabolically clever.
Either way, it’s hard to tell what the heck that conflict provision says. So who knows what the rules are going to be here? Maybe Kate Brown or John Kroger can send out a press release on the subject. But the vote’s less than two months away. Election procedures in Oregon are the pits sometimes, aren’t they?

Posted at 8:42 AM