Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Election updates

The measures in California that were supposedly designed to reform the political environment down there got shot down in flames (see last post).  By reform I suppose it could be interpreted as trying to upset the Democratic hegemony in the state legislature.

In related news, the Kansas state Board of Education voted to approve science education standards that treat evolution “with skepticism.”  Also in Texas, the public upheld a ban on same-sex marriage.  And so as some states waltz further to the left, some waltz further to the right.

The Virginia and New Jersey governor races seem to, by the sounds of the press, give Democrats hope.  I however fail to see how electing Democrats to the top state spot, when the gentlemen leaving the post were also Democrats, can be construed as a major victory.  I don’t think the Dems should be over-confident.

In the fine state to our north, Washington had several measures worth looking at.  One was a repeal of the gas tax that the state enacted last election cycle.  The tax was 9.5 cents per gallon.  Considering the price of gasoline these days I’m surprised that measure failed!  But it was close.

It’s also harder to smoke in Washington now, thanks to voters overwhelmingly approving more restrictions on public smoking.

In another interesting twist, Washington had a dose of what Oregonians went through last year with two measures designed to reform the medical malpractice lawsuit arena, one from the trial lawyers and one from the Doctors associations.  Both failed miserably.

Oregon didn’t have any elections this month, but the process is starting to build steam for the elections we will have at the beginning of next year. 

Roguepundit visited the Oregon Elections Division site to see how many initiatives have been submitted this year, and it’s a whopping 96.  Most of which will not get the required signatures.  But he noted that an increasing number of measure are being submitted by congressmen from Salem. 

I know that the initiative process is there because at times average citizens feel like there are important issues that congress fails to address, but when congressmen start using that system instead of the one they are getting elected and paid to use, then you know there’s a problem.

In my county, Multnomah, a temporary tax that was designed to help schools through the early 90s economic doldrums is on it’s way to becoming more permanent.  The mayor proposed that the measure, which would tax income at about half the rate that the old “temporary” tax did, not only include this county, but two of the surrounding counties. 

Now it turns out that those other two counties want nothing to do with the measure.  So Multnomah is alone again in desiring to be only one of the four urban counties in the nation to impose an income tax.  That’s a shame, really, because I think Multnomah is the only place that would willingly enact a local tax on itself, so that adding the additional counties would hurt it’s chance.  And that would suit me just fine.

Also, the push for open primaries begins in earnest.  I already talked a bit about that here.

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