"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Doing away with an elective job

There’s long been the view in the northwest that you get rid of elective jobs – and make them appointment instead, or end them altogether – at your political peril. After all, the reasoning goes, voters like to make their own choices.

So not many electoral jobs have been done away with in the Northwest for a long time, including a bunch of local ones for which that would seem to make great sense.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of uproar, though, about the current doing-away in Oregon with the elective job of superintendent of public instruction. Senate Bill 552, which does that, has cleared both chambers and is sure to be signed by Governor John Kitzhaber.

One interesting thing about it: The job – which technically is nonpartisan – is held by a Democrat, Susan Castillo.

Another: Both parties were split in their votes on the bill. In the Senate, where 23 members voted in favor and seven against, the parties split: Democrats 13 yes, 3 no; Republicans 10 yes, 4 no. In the House: Democrats 20 yes, 10 no; Republicans 18 yes, 12 no. This was not a partisan split.

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