Writings and observations

idaho RANDY
STAPILUS
 
Oregon

Only one side gets to win in an election, and that’s the side with the most votes – even if the loser got almost as many.
As the old saying goes, second-place matters only in horseshoes.

Sometimes in politics, though, it can mean a little more than that. Measure 92, the statewide Oregon ballot issue intended to require labeling of certain GMO food products, lost at this election. But three elements of that loss may almost ensure it comes back around again, with maybe a better shot next time.
One aspect is the sheer closeness of the vote. Fairly close on election night, it got tighter and tighter and by the end of last week, just 4,539 votes – out of nearly 1,5 million cast – separated the two sides. That was in a low-turnout election in which the population probably skewed more against the measure than a larger, presidential-year, electorate probably would.

Simply for that reason, you have to suspect that if this same campaign had been run two years hence, the measure would have passed.

Second was the massive money influx – mainly on the “no” side. Watch Portland television in the last month before the election and (this isn’t an exaggerations) every other commercial during many time blocks on station after station was anti-92. It was a stunning deluge of TV spots, vastly outweighing everything else (all other political campaigns combined). (The spending for the antis was reported in several places as topping $16 million, and that may have been an incomplete figure.) That message may have been well enough crafted to achieve the short-term result, but quite a few Oregonians may, in hindsight, wonder if that issue wasn’t simply bought.

The third aspect of it was the nature of the negative message. I’ll not here get into the matter of how accurate its contentions were. But they were sharply challenged, and a campaign of dishonesty was alleged. Whether right or wrong, that’s not a situation likely to simply be allowed to sit.

You can expect this one to return. Oregonians are perfectly willing to reconsider their voting choices, as their decisive vote to legalize marijuana this year demonstrated.
Will they do the same on GMOs in 2016 or beyond?

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Oregon Oregon column

Washington at 215

 
Hundreds gathered in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday afternoon to join in the state’s 125th birthday celebration. Among the state officials speaking at the event were Gov. Jay Inslee (First Lady Trudi Inslee also spoke) and Secretary of State Kim Wyman. (Here Wyman, at the podium, shares a laugh with the governor, to the right.) Lt. Gov. Brad Owen and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn also attended. Former Secretary of State Ralph Munro emceed the celebration, which included the introduction of the 2014 Capsule Keepers, who were sworn in by Wyman near the Centennial Time Capsule at the south end of the Legislative Building. (photo/secretary of state)

 
Moving on from the elections, a range of other topics came to the fore last week – education policy, environmental concerns and more. Not to mention the first big snow storm of the season.

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Briefings

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Otter still beseiged by broadband contract trouble (Boise Statesman)
Notus tries to find cheap repairs for school (Boise Statesman)
Columbia River tribe seeks riverside housing (Boise Statesman)
The politics of semi-Democratic Teton County (IF Post Register)
Glitch in WA health exchange website (Lewiston Tribune)
Legal battles over Idaho Co private forest tracts (Lewiston Tribune)
Federal funding short for road projects (Nampa Press Tribune)
Statewide school officials seek bonding help (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello and ISU police developing issues (Pocatello Journal)
Schools dealing with broadband uncertainty (TF Times News)

Tree-like Eugene cell tower concerns neighbors (Eugene Register Guard)
Legislator Hoyle said to interfere in lawsuit (Eugene Register Guard)
Reviewing crime stats in Klamath area (KF Herald & News)
Klamath commission votes against water agreement (KF Herald & News)
White City operations sending out bogus bills (Medford Tribune)
The cost of state workers suing the state (Salem Statesman Journal)

Violent crime rates fall sharply in Kitsap (Bremerton Sun)
Low voter turnout in 2014 (Bremerton Sun)
Cowlitz County faces budget cut next year (Longview News)
Glitches in health exchange on first day (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian, Longview News)
Dorn proposes cutting high school graduation test (Olympian)
Port Angeles port hit with audit complaints (Port Angeles News)
Kenmore Air ends service at Port Angeles (Port Angeles News)
Spokane presses for ‘green bonds’ for sewer system (Spokane Spokesman)
Police tracking phones must disclose intent (Tacoma News Tribune)
New wing of Tacoma Art Museum opens (Tacoma News Tribune)
Clark Co home prices not yet fully recovered (Vancouver Columbian)
First pot auction in state held at Prosser (Yakima Herald Republic)
Nitrate pollution found at Yakama Nation (Yakima Herald Republic)

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First Take