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A Faerie's Farthing

Flitting through the internets looking for sparkly bits. All content mine and not to be reproduced without permission.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Measure 37: Concentrated Evil

Measure 37: Concentrated Evil

I was mad enough when this p.o.s. passed; now that Oregon's Supreme Court has ruled it constitutional, I can barely type straight. The big question, of course, is "what now?" Unfortunately, it's not an easy one to answer. The next opportunity for the state legislature to address this issue won't be until 2007, unless we can convince Kulongoski to call a special emergency session. Frankly, we need a bill repealing measure 37 yesterday, but with a republican majority in the state house, it's not likely to happen. Contact them anyway.

I doubt Kulongoski could be persuaded to call an emergency session, but we should certainly contact him - if he has any injuctive power as Governor, he should use it. This is a state crisis and as Governor, he should be taking an active role in mitigating the damage. What damage?

Well, for starters, measure 37 provided no means to pay for its implementation and management - the state is already expending a lot of effort and money just to administrate and investigate claims. We pay those costs; is that the best use of our tax dollars, given the budgetary problems of the state? These claims also impose a tremendous burden on the state's courts - there are already neighbor v neighbor lawsuits cropping up all across Oregon. Who pays for those? Every Oregonian.

And it's every Oregonian who pays for every aspect of Measure 37 - if the state pays compensation, that's your tax dollars. Did people really vote in favor of subsidizing someone else's hypothetical profits? Conversely, if the state relaxes zoning restrictions in lieu of payment, that's your community, your scenic heritage, your natural landscape. Did a majority of Oregonians vote for urban sprawl? I doubt it, but these are the realities of measure 37. It's patently obvious that the state would never be able to pay all the various claims; it was never anything but a thinly veiled push for unfettered land development. In other words, it was a really convoluted mechanism to blackmail the state of Oregon.

It was also exceptionally inartful. I really can't understand for the life of me how our Supreme Court could possibly find the measure constitutional. Its wording is too broad and vague; it sets up a system of unequal compensation (via the use of historical property claims); it forces taxpayers to subsidize would-be developers. It is, simply put, overkill. Oregon's land use laws could definitely use a little tweaking; measure 37, though, is a sledge hammer.

Please keep these thoughts in mind and contact your local and state government members. This includes Kulongoski, your state Senators and Representatives, and I have even contacted my city council members - perhaps cities could be individually persuaded to pass laws overturning m37. I started my phone journey by calling Dan Saltzman, Commissioner of Public Affairs. I don't know if this varies by city, but I was referred to the City Auditor:

Gary Blackmer
City Auditor
1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 140, 97204
Phone: (503)823-4078
E-mail: gblackmer@ci.portland.or.us

A woman in his office then referred me to Chris Dearth, Program Manager for Measure 37. He can be reached at 503 823 1110. Frankly, I'm calling everybody. The public input on this needs to be huge - please share this information far and wide and educate as many people as you can on this issue. The Oregon Task Force on Land Use Planning will be holding a meeting on March 3 that is open to the public - make yourself heard!

The Oregon Task Force on Land Use Planning, established under Senate Bill 82 (2005), has scheduled its first meeting for Friday, March 3, 2006, at 1 p.m., in Hearing Room F at the Oregon Capitol building. [Click here for Meeting Notice warning: pdf]

The first meeting will focus on the organization of the task force and providing task force members with an initial overview of SB 82, the Oregon land use program and Oregon's economy, to establish a context for their work. An agenda of the meeting will be published on this website prior to the meeting.

The meeting is open to the public:

March 3, 2006
1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
State Capitol Building
900 Court St. NE
Hearing Room F
Salem, OR 97301

I also spoke with George Naughton, Assistant Director in the Department of Land Conservation and Development. He said that there's not much to do - measure 37 is law and they are just trying to apply the letter of the law. He said that there's a window of one to three weeks before the new court ruling goes into effect, whatever that might be worth.

I am also calling my city attorneys to see if there isn't some legal recourse for them having this administrative burden thrust upon them. I am also encouraging them to impose filing fees - marriage licenses require it and they're a damn sight easier to manage than these claims. Oregon taxpayers shouldn't have to pay these costs.

Hardy Myers, Attorney General
Oregon Department of Justice
1162 Court Street NE
Salem, OR 97301-4096

The general phone number is (503) 378-4400.
The general email address is: doj.info@state.or.us

I was told that sending letters is the most effective for presenting an issue to the Attorney General. If the state has any legal recourse in this, i.e. suing the measure's sponsors for administrative costs, they should try to stop m37. Basic guideline: call everybody you can think of - city councils, Gov. Kulongoski, city attorneys, Mr. Myers, your city auditors, etc. Explore every angle.

Most importantly, let 1000 Friends of Oregon know you support their efforts to overturn measure 37. They are floating ideas for a new ballot initiative, but won't proceed with it if doesn't look like it would pass. We need to make sure they understand that we've got their back. The deadline for filing the initiative is sometime in July for the November ballot. If you ask me, we have no choice but to file one, no matter what the trial balloon indicates. The more volunteer support they know they have, the more likely they'd be to go for it. They also have a lot of great contact info for state & local officers to contact.

Speaking of ballot measures, some freaknut named Ross Day has filed a slew to boost measure 37 - if anyone knows how to go about contesting those, please drop some info.

And, of course, letters to the editor are always in order. If the general public understood what measure 37 really meant, they would never have voted for it. Conversely, if we have any hope of overturning it, it is imperative they realize what the effects will be. A new ballot measure is the best chance we have to limit measure 37's damage in the short-term. Please share this with every Oregonian (and Washingtonian - it's contagious) you know. And if you have any additional info, please leave a comment.

Keep Tom McCall's spirit alive in Oregon! Thanks!

Other resources: Friends of the Columbia Gorge, 1000 Friends of Oregon,
Land Use Watch, Oregon House Democrats

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is you are a certifiable nut!!

4:22 PM  
Blogger Cedwyn said...

well, that's a bold statement from an anonymous poster!

6:01 PM  

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