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Posts published in “Day: August 3, 2006”

District delimiters

You have to wonder if the advocates of the just-certified Initiative 24 recognize the double-edged nature of their proposal.

The initiative's idea is this: The members of Oregon's Supreme Court, which has seven justices, and Court of Appeals, which has 10, would be elected from districts around Oregon, rather than at large. The effort seems to have special appeal among people in rural areas, especially east of the Cascades: The justices and judges always seem to come from the Portland-Salem axis - and if not exactly all of them, then certainly a whole lot of them. You can understand the frustration.

One problem with the idea though is that, once elected, the judges and justices are going to live in and operate out of Salem anyway. If they weren't Willamette Valley types before their election, they will be afterward. Unlike state legislators or even members of Congress, they won't be headed back to their districts to hear from constituents.

The up-side to the initiative, from the rural interest viewpoint, is that they'd be guaranteed a presence on the court. The downside is the limitation of that presence. On even the 10-member Court of Appeals, all of Oregon east of the Cascades would get just about . . . one seat. And that's as much as they'd ever be able to get; under the present plan, you could in theory elect judge after judge from the big wide open. They'd get less than that on the Supreme Court. Meantime, under the new plan, the Portland metro area's domination of the courts would be locked in.

Before Oregonians cast their ballots on 24, someone might want to point this out.

Sinking roots

In launching a partial defense against the idea - cited here some days ago - that Idaho Democrats have a tough job ahead in trying to capture the 1st District U.S. House seat, the Red State Rebels site acknowledges some of the difficulties. It adds, "What Randy doesn't mention (and maybe doesn't know, since he's moved to Oregon) is that the Idaho Democratic Party is more organized this year than it's been since I've lived here (17 years)."

Actually, we did know that- at least in part. Certainly the central offices and party organizations are better staffed and more active than in many years, and currently more active - by all appearances - than the Republicans. There is some serious organization building going on. Those are positive developments for the party, but most of the people heavily involved with these activities (and we've talked this over with not only some of the Idaho but also some Democratic organizers elsewhere) is that this is a long-term investment, not something likely to pay big dividends in a single election cycle.

That said, we will admit to being surprised - that's putting it mildly - at what we saw at the new web site of the Idaho County Democrats, which we ran across the other day. Go on, take a look - it's worth a moment or two. Especially if you know something about Idaho County. (more…)