"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

Editors Note: This is a guest opinion on Oregon Outpost by Kyle Markley, an appointed member of the Joint Task Force on Campaigns Finance Reform. Previously, Oregon Outpost published an article by fellow task force member Seth Woolley a longtime supporter of campaign finance reforms. Markley has twice run as a Libertarian for State Representative in the swing district HD30, in 2012 (5.8%) and 2014 (8.9%), and is currently the Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of Oregon.

The Joint Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform was charged with analyzing the subject of campaign finance. I believe the Task Force has fallen short of that goal. The report of the Task Force makes many observational findings, but it is not clear which observations the Task Force believes are problems, nor about which of those problems are best solved by government. That is because the Task Force had little debate, and no votes, on those matters.

Furthermore, when the Task Force examined alternative proposals for a Constitutional amendment, the discussion stopped and the voting started too early. We made observations about the different aspects of the proposals, but we did not debate any of those aspects on their merits. It was premature to make a recommendation to the Legislature without having that debate.

As a Libertarian, I cherish the freedom of speech, and particularly the freedom to speak about politics and to criticize the government and elected officials. I believe that political speech violates no one’s rights, and that therefore it is improper for government to suppress it. I furthermore believe in a right to privacy that includes privacy about one’s political beliefs and activities, and consequently oppose mandatory public disclosure of campaign contributors or of independent expenditures. I look back fondly to the founding of this nation, when the Federalist Papers and the Antifederalist Papers were published anonymously to focus the vigorous public debate on ideas, instead of on personalities.

Everyone should have the freedom to express their political ideas, privately or publicly, openly or anonymously, as much or as little as they choose – and the government should protect that right, not create burdensome regulations that stifle political participation.

The accepted rationale behind campaign contribution limits is that large contributions have the potential to give the contributor undue influence over elected officials, creating the potential for corruption. Of course, no one can define what level of influence is “undue” – in a representative government, elected officials should be influenced by the people. Even setting aside the hollow rationale, it is doubtful that a large contribution made in support of a politician’s declared agenda would “influence” their actions if elected, anyway. (If my campaign slogan is “a chicken in every pot”, and then the National Chicken Council gives my campaign a million dollars, they aren’t influencing me – I was already pro-chicken.)

If the problem is rather that government is too cozy with special interests, then the solution is to take away the government’s power to play favorites – not to take away freedom of speech. The government has too much power, not the people.

The standard Libertarian advice is that people should have as much freedom, and government as little power, as possible. Giving government broad authority is a mistake. It is a responsibility of legislators to define government power narrowly, to prevent it from stifling individual freedom. How is this perspective applied to the topic of campaign finance? Let us assume, for the sake of argument, the standard rationale – that limiting large contributions reduces the risk of quid pro quo corruption.

We can see immediately that there is no justification to limit contributions to ballot measure campaigns: ballot measures are text, not people, so there is plainly no possibility of corruption of elected officials. Campaign contribution limits for ballot measure campaigns would suppress political speech but have no anticorruption effect whatsoever. But limits would reduce the quantity of political speech, taking information away from voters. Surely that is not what we want.

Similarly, recalls in Oregon involve the removal of an official from office, but not the selection of their successor. So recall efforts do not create the potential for corruption of that successor, who may in fact be unknown to the recall committee and its contributors. (In Farris v. Seabrook, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals followed this reasoning in upholding an injunction against enforcing contribution limits against a recall committee. In that decision, the court noted that no one “has presented any evidence showing that contributions to recall committees in Washington raise the specter of corruption, and certainly not in this case.”)

Independent expenditures related to ballot measure and recalls are yet another step removed, and so again pose no corruption risk that could justify the suppression of political speech. More importantly, expenditures for political speech are a direct exercise of freedom of speech, protected by black-letter Constitutional law. Spending your own money on your own political message is your right.

Even when focused narrowly on contributions to political candidates, it is a mistake to limit all contributions without considering their purpose. Political committees may engage in non-electioneering activities that present no potential for corruption, and those activities should not be limited. For example, in Institute for Justice v. State of Washington, the court ruled that “free legal assistance to a political committee in a federal civil rights lawsuit” cannot be treated as an in-kind campaign contribution. (The Motion for Summary Judgment in that case is worth reading.) In Cozen O’Connor v. Phila. Bd. Of Ethics, the court ruled that litigation over ballot access is distinct from electioneering, and that “forgiveness of the Committee’s legal debt, incurred to defend [the candidate] in ballot challenge litigation, would not constitute a ‘contribution’ that is subject to the Code’s contribution restrictions.”

The pattern in these cases is that the definition of a campaign contribution was too broad, and it took judicial review – meaning lots of time, money, and lawyers – to push the law back to where it belonged. The lesson to learn is that laws should be drafted narrowly in the first place, so they affect only what is intended. The wrong lesson is that there should simply be an exception for legal defense funds – because then you’ve already forgotten that a legal offense fund may be needed for similar reasons, and you’re simply in denial that political committees might engage in any other sort of non-electioneering activity.

It is dangerous for governments to have the power to suppress political speech. The temptation to use that power to benefit incumbent officials is too great – and this risk must be considered against the purported benefits of campaign finance restrictions.

When the government has the power to suppress criticism of government officials, you get lèse-majesté as in Thailand (where a tour guide’s Facebook posts netted a 30-year jail sentence) or Turkey (where a newspaper editor was arrested for tweets critical of the President). Don’t claim that it couldn’t happen here – it already has. In 1798, less than ten years after the ratification of the Bill of Rights, the Sedition Act enabled those same kinds of prosecutions in America. Of course it was unconstitutional. But it happened. Preventing it from happening again requires vigilant defense of your rights.

The Citizens United case, frequently maligned by supporters of campaign limits, was actually a case about protecting the right to criticize government officials. A nonprofit corporation “Citizens United” created a documentary film critical of then-Senator Clinton, and wanted to make it available via video-on-demand shortly before the 2008 primary election in which she was running for President. They wanted to advertise their documentary on broadcast and cable television, which would be considered a corporate independent expenditure – which was totally forbidden (a felony!) in the time shortly before an election.

In other words, there was an association of people pooling their resources for the purpose of publicly criticizing a sitting government official who was running for higher office. But the government had passed a law prohibiting their speech at precisely the time it would have had its greatest impact.

Does suppressing political speech near elections inform the electorate, or keep them ignorant? Does limiting the freedom of people to criticize elected officials make those officials more accountable, or less?

That is the proper context in which to evaluate Hillary Clinton’s stated litmus test for Supreme Court appointments. She said that she will only appoint Justices who would overturn a case which affected her, personally. For that, she deserves unceasing scorn.

I agree that “something needs to be done” about the Citizens United decision – and that thing is reading it. The decision deserves to be widely read. It is an excellent example of the Court standing on principle and defending individual rights against a government and popular opinion that would trample on those rights.

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Harris

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People who are members of a party always reserve the right to change them. That’s happened too tho the Oregon Independent Party, as this release shows. – ed

An announcement by David S. Taylor Jr. , who had previously filed as an Independent Party candidate for Oregon House District 30 (Hillsboro).

Saturday, January 16, 2015

It has been a great experience for me to learn more about the political process over the last few months. In that time I met some really great people and learned a lot about what matters to Oregonians.

I have always considered myself an Eisenhower Republican, meaning that like Eisenhower I believe that: “In all those things which deal with people, be liberal, be human. In all those things which deal with the people’s money or their economy, or their form of government, be conservative”. I believe strongly in individual liberty but also in the responsibility to safeguard those most vulnerable.

I have said from the beginning of my campaign that I was a reluctant Independent. I am appreciative of the avenue of opportunity the IPO offered me to take part in the political process, however after careful consideration I have decided to take a different direction for myself, my family, and my community.

Recently, I have been inspired by the Republican idealism of Marco Rubio and he has renewed my belief in the American system and Republican Party. I have decided to become more involved in his mission for a New American Century.

As such I am suspending my campaign and will be registering as a Republican. This is not the end, this is only the beginning and I am optimistic for what the future will bring to my district and the state of Oregon.

Very respectfully,

David S. Taylor Sr.

While Mr. Taylor isnt eligible to file as the GOP candidate, he could seek the GOP nomination for HD-30 as a write in candidate. So far, there are no Republican candidates for that nomination. Democrat Joe Gallegos now holds that seat.

Taylor is a poverty fighting, pro marriage equality candidate. If elected as a Republican, he could join with Rep. Knute Bueller to form the core of a more modern Oregon GOP.

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Harris

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The scandal is exploding. For several months, information has dribbled out about how Oregon’s Department of Energy ignored the regulations regarding the resale of BETC tax credits. Now, in a Oregon GOP leaders have sent letters to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, the state’s U.S. attorney, the FBI, the IRS and Marion County District Attorney Walter Beglau demanding a probe of allegations that employees at the Oregon Department of Energy and Department of Revenue violated state law on energy tax credits, engaged in favoritism and allowed some people to evade capital gains tax.

Governor Brown and AG Rosenblum have not responded.

But just a few hours ago, Democratic Senate Leader Peter Courtney and Democratic Speaker Tina Kotek demanded an “overhaul” of the Oregon Department of Energy.

Unlike the Cylvia Hayes scandals which involved a few hundred thousand dollars and a lot of personal ugliness, this new DOE scandal looks like it could involve tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidy’s to recoup bad investments from insiders or favored constituents as well as violations of the law by top government officials in the Department of Revenue and the Department of Energy.

Make no mistake. Mr. Courtney and Ms. Kotek were quick to get out of the way of this moving train. Something they were quick to do when the Kitzhaber scandal finally erupted as well.

There will be pressure to not make the names of the BETC tax credits public. There will be pressure in the February session to quickly amend the DOE rules regarding retroactive authorization of the illegal discounting of the BETC tax credits. There will be pressure to blame Kitzhaber alone.

The GOP needs to resist the urge to blame Kitzhaber and Hayes and focus on the crony capitalism that the Democrats engaged in. (Unfortunaetly, the GOP will be pressured by its own financial donor base to not go there. Since they also enjoyed the benefits of the BETC credits).

As pressure builds on the AG to investigate or if the District Attorney or Feds decide to investigate, how will the scandal be used by the Carbon Industry in it’s 2016 Ballot Measure that would terminate the Oregon Clean Fuels Program?

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Harris

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When Sen. Chip Shields (SD22-Portland) announced he wasn’t running for re-election and Rep. Lou Frederick (HD43-Portland) announced his intent to run for that seat, Frederick’s seat became in play. In a city with may more ambitious Democrats than available positions we may expect several candidates in the May primary.

HD43 is 61% Democratic and 5% Republican so commonplace for the winner of the Democratic primary to start ordering furniture to their Legislative office in Salem. And typically in these deep blue PDX districts, the Democratic nominee even wins the GOP nomination with a handful of write ins. So all the non Democratic voters end up with basically no viable choices in November.

So far two candidates have announced for the Democratic HD43 nomination

Tawna Sanchez, is the Family Services Director at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA Family Center). And Roberta Phillip-Robbins, a youth and gang violence prevention specialist for Multnomah County.

Both seem highly qualified and capable. Judging only from their websites Ms. Phillio-Robins has garnered much of her support from the Democratic party stalwarts. A check of her ORESTAR finanical reports confirms that. On Ms. Sanchez’s endorsement page, she lists community activists, parents, educators and small business owners. Ms. Sanchez hasn’t filed any financial reports with ORESTAR yet.

A few other office seekers may jump into this race, but these two candidates seem likely to be at the top given their early start, qualifications and endorsements.

If we had a top two system, these two fine candidates would likely be on the November ballot and HD43 voters would get to choose between them. But we don’t, so one of these two candidates will likely be the Democratic nominee and presumptive new State Representative. That means that just 61% of HD43 voters will be able to vote for their next State representative.

Unless that is, one of these two candidates likes their chances better among 100% of the electorate in November. In which case, they could withdraw their candidacy for the Democratic nomination just prior to the deadline, then run as a write in candidate for the Independent Party nomination. (Because of Oregon’s “sore loser law” a candidate can’t run for and lose the nomination for their own party and then later get the nomination of another party).

My guess is that Ms. Phillips-Robbins wouldn’t consider such a strategy since she seems more invested in the Democratic Party and leadership would definitely frown on such a strategy. But a better case could be made to Ms. Sanchez that come March 2016, if her chances for the Democratic nomination seemed slim, running as an Independent could be the best path to a November victory. Particularly since the IPO has opened up it’s primary and non affiliated voters will be allowed to vote on an IPO ballot.

And, if she ran as a write in candidate, there would be no need for her to change her own voter registration. She could remain a registered Democrat, and if she won, she could caucus with the Democratic Party in Salem.

Utilizing the May primary ballot access won by the IPO and now open to all IPO and NAV voters could be a viable path for non career progressives to challenge Democratic party insiders in Portland area districts. It is not an option for those who seek a political career are are tied to the Democratic Party apparatus. But for Democrats who genuinely seek to be citizen legislators, it is a path that is legal, logical, and smart.

And wouldn’t democracy be better served if 100% of the voters were able to choose between these two qualified candidates in November and whoever is elected is beholden to all the voters of HD43 and not just active Democrats?

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Oregon ranks 44th in overall integrity and a miserable 49th in integrity in political financing in a new study published by the liberal Center for Public Integrity.

Oregon’s highest rating came in the category of Electoral Oversight where it rated 11th best among all states.

The Kitzhaber scandal was seen by the study’s authors as a bellweather of the weaknesses of Oregon’s integrity laws.

“For many in the state, Kitzhaber’s resignation is a thing of the past. But the scandal that ensnared the former governor highlighted a wobbly legal framework in Oregon’s government, where good behavior is taken for granted rather than enforced.”

“[T]his year’s failing grade suggests, lines are easily blurred in Oregon government, and ethical lapses and partisan abuses of power – while often not criminal – have been smoothed over by both political maneuvering and etiquette.”

In the prior integrity survey done in 2012 Oregon achieved a C-. But this time Kitzhabers resignation and the surrounding scandals lead the Center to give Oregon an F in the category of executive accountability. The scandals also exposed weaknesses in the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, and highlighted Oregon as one of the worst performing states with regard to access to information – where it received an F and was ranked 34th.

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is an American nonprofit investigative journalism organization whose stated mission is “to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions in order to cause them to operate with honesty, integrity, accountability and to put the public interest first.” With over 50 staff members, CPI is one of the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative centers in America. It won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

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Harris

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From the Oregon Secretary of State:

“The Secretary is Oregon’s chief elections officer, auditor and archivist. Additionally, the Secretary of State promotes job growth by streamlinin​g the creation and expansion of business, authenticates documents for travel or study abroad, and offers notary training and listings. Oregon is the only state where the secretary of state is responsible for auditing public spending. In addition, the secretary serves with the governor and treasurer on the Land Board and manages and oversees Oregon’s Common School Fund.”

The chief duties of the Secretary of State are regulating and bettering our Democratic process as the chief elections officer, maintaining the registration and filings for corporations, notaries, and security interests, and auditing the functions of the State. A less important, but vital job is to act, along with the Governor and State Treasurer, as a Board of Directors for investment of the Common School Fund.

There are three Democrats who want this job. Here they are, along with their priorities as expressed on their announcements and their websites.

I went to Mr. Avakian’s website for Secretary of State to see what issues he lists as important in his campaign. But there are none that seem related to the office that he’s running for. He does cite a long list of work and his record on enforcing labor laws and equity in the workplace. He is particularly proud of his work in wage theft issues. So I looked elsewhere for information on why exactly he is running for Secretary of state and found this in his announcement for Secretary of State:

“Oregon deserves a Secretary of State who will be a champion for a fair economy, healthy environment and a strong democracy. Increasing corporate accountability in the workplace, using a wider range of tools to create good jobs, and combating climate change are just a few of the areas where this office can lead the way.”

So, as far as I can tell, either Mr. Avakian thought he was running for re-election as Labor Commissioner – a reasonable mistake to make given our State’s recent history on the timing of Labor Commissioner elections – or based on his announcement only he may have thought he was running for Governor.

From Richard Devlins website under his “Priorities” tab, his content is a laundry list of Democratic priorities. A Summary:

Prioritizing stable and adequate funding for schools

There are many vulnerable individuals in our communities – abused and neglected children, victims of crime and domestic violence, and many others – and we have the duty to help them however we can.

Richard believes [that we need] a strong and improving economy and ensuring that the Oregon workforce meets the needs of employers.

In difficult financial times, state funding for public schools, health care, public safety and services for seniors are on the line, but these critical services must be protected, while at the same time protecting taxpayers’ interests. Richard believes that government should live within its means and be transparent to Oregonians, and that government officials and legislators must make difficult decisions. is committed to not only balancing the budget but also ensuring that the budget is reflective of Oregonian’s priorities

Sen. Devlin is all over the map here. And there was a lot I left out of this summary – for brevity’s sake. While some of his priorities touch on the duties of Oregon Secretary of State, he seems to have no focused idea on how he would use the power of the office, or improve elections and audits, or streamline and protect business filings and data bases.

From Rep. Hoyle’s announcement and website. Her Priorities are:

“Reduce barriers to voting and make it easier for every eligible Oregonian to have access to the ballot;

Look for new ways to streamline government by getting the most out of every tax dollar while protecting critical services;

Be a champion for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Oregon; and

Bring a renewed commitment to improving ethics and accountability.”

Now here we go. Rep. Hoyle is talking more about how she would use the tools of the office of Secretary of State to achieve policy. It still over promises, but at least the promises are directly related to the power of the office. She has obviously sharpened her message and knows what she’s running for.

What’s going on?

All these candidates know that the winner of the Democratic Primary has a close to 100% chance of being our next Secretary of State and Mr. Avakian and Sen. Devlin have decided that the best way to win the office in a partisan primary in 2016 is to just be a solid Blue candidate and not address the nuts and bolts of how they’d run the office of Secretary of State. In effect, Mr. Avakian and Sen. Devlin campaigning as if it’s for the office of “The most Democratic Democrat in Oregon”.

Why should this be troubling? After all, this is just a Democratic primary race. It’s troubling because the Democrats have a tight hold on statewide office, so the Democratic closed primary is the de facto general election for statewide office in Oregon. And the fact is, the Democratic and Republican parties are moving further to the extremes as moderates leave these two parties. So If Mr. Avakian and Sen. Devlin are correct, that Democratic Primary voters care more about a candidates orthodoxy than they do about how a candidate would perform their duties in the office they seek, then the most partisan will be rewarded in our closed primary system and we will continue down the road of hyper-partisanship.

Rep. Hoyle in contrast is speaking to the office and how she would use the power of the office to achieve some Democratic goals. And while I wasn’t invited to the recent Democratic Summit, I did see an email from Rep. Hoyle touting her position on campaign finance reform. Particularly her opposition to the idea that money equals speech. This position is contrary to the position of the Democratic Financial base (The Democratic dark money group Our Oregon is opposed to overturning Citizens United), and could represent a candidate who is more independent and able to represent all Oregonians. Rep. Hoyle has not been overly kind to the growing independent movement as represented by the Independent Party of Oregon. But she doesn’t seem as hostile to the election reform movement as she seemed during the last session. Her emerging/evolving thinking on democracy reform, and her campaign that actually talks directly to the power of the office of Secretary of State is a clear step up from the campaigns of her challengers.

Independents need to watch this race very carefully. The winner will likely be the point person for at least the next 6 years on the very important issues of campaign finance reform, election reform, and voter registration issues. All of these should be at the top of the list for voters who would like to assure that every vote counts. Not just Democratic votes. Not just Republican votes.

As of today, it appears that – to my utter surprise and astonishment – Rep. Val Hoyle is the best candidate for the job of Secretary of State. Go Val.

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Harris Oregon

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I was in Salem at a meeting in the State Capital at 10:40 AM Thursday October 1st when the Umpqua Community College shooting occurred. All of the cell phones of the elected officials and their staff went off. They announced the news to the rest of us at the meeting. My heart sank and I got a bit nauseous. The meeting went on. Though some electeds did come and go during the next hour.

This shouldn’t be happening on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be happening at all. There are things we can do to try to stop or at least reduce these horrible incidents from occurring. Whats stopping action? Several things I think.

Some small percentage of the American people truly have psychosis when it comes to guns. I’m not talking about gun aficionados who I believe would accept reasonable laws if they believed they would reduce gun violence. I’m talking about those gun supporters who are divorced from reality. They believe it’s necessary to have guns, a lot of them, to fight off the government when “they” come to impose a one world order and the UN’s agenda 21. These people vote on one issue. They give money and will show up and protest. They start recall drives. They picket, write letters, interrupt speakers and act….crazy….because of their psychosis. Candidates are afraid of the chaos they rain down on them, and other voters don’t want to deal with them. Because when you argue with psychotics, or even try to point out their lack of reality, some become extremely disagreeable. Basically, the gun psychotics make civil discussion of guns and violence so disagreeable that normal people simply wont engage in the issue. So they win. We can’t let them. You can’t dissuade them from their fantasies, just tell them they’re wrong.

Another major hurdle to changing the way America treats with guns is the gun industry. This is a 3 billion dollar per year industry. They manufacture over 8 million guns per year, and import another 3 million guns per year. Guns don’t really wear out very quickly, and the number of gun owners in the US is in decline. That means one of the best ways to assure the continued expansion of the gun industry is to sell more guns to fewer people. Why would someone need 13 guns instead of 5 guns? Well if there were ever more powerful and exciting guns. Guns that were smaller, or larger, or evaded detection, or had higher magazine capacities. Or, if one had psychosis and believed that Obama and the UN were about to confiscate all guns, or come and register them, or if there were to be a great breakdown in civilization, it would be great to have a whole arsenal to protect you and your family. The gun industry funds the NRA and directs its policies to inflame and motivate gun owners and specifically encourages psychosis. It creates and supports hysteria about “gun grabbers”. Any proposal or bill to require expanded background checks, or magazine limitations, or any type of gun regulation is just more evidence to stoke the fires and that creates yet another run on guns at the local gun store. Polling shows without a doubt that about 75% of Americans, and a large majority of gun owners, support universal background checks.

Responsible gun owners need to quit the NRA and make sure that politicians know the NRA doesn’t speak for them, it speaks for the gun industry and people who have gun psychosis.

We also can’t forget the social and mental health problems that cause mass murders. Today social isolation can be a lot more damaging than it used to be. It’s a tragedy that people are lonely, mentally fragile and sad. Today at risk people go online and alienated from peers and family, angry at the world, and goaded on by the idiots who also habituate the internet, become time bombs. And if they or their families have a gun arsenal at home a tragedy can occur. This is exactly what we’ve seen in some of the most high profile mass murders. Mentally unstable and ill people, living on the internet, with a household full of guns. That is not a coincidence.
We have to be more individually responsible and proactive when we we see someone who needs help. Particularly family members. If you have someone like that living with you, get rid of the guns. And call out cyber bullying or cyber stupidity whenever you see it.

And its absolutely true and a contributing factor to violence that we uncritically tolerate- and sometimes celebrate- violence in our culture and art. Through movies, video games and television particularly, but also comic books, artwork and other mediums of communication and entertainment. Shooting, dismemberment, glorification of fighting to the death, is ubiquitous. This can’t be healthy for people already at risk for violent outbursts. No one is saying ban violent content. Just like few are saying ban all gun ownership. But take some responsibility for what you put out there. Just like gun right defenders must take responsibility for their policy positions. Quit being hypocrites Progressives.

So what actions can we take to reduce violence with guns.

Politicians have to be brave and support laws that have been proven to reduce gun violence. Or a more likely possibility is that gun law proponents need to identify and motivate people to make opposition to effective gun laws a disqualifying factor when casting their vote. That may seem impossible, but just a few years ago, who would have thought that single issue voters for gay rights would outnumber anti gay rights single issue voters in much of the US. If gun aficionados would join that effort, we could quickly have effective gun laws that would reduce gun violence.

We as families, friends, and neighbors need to engage the mentally fragile and not let them get absorbed in an electronic world of violence, pettiness and hate. We also need to be advocates for mental health funding in criminal justice, public health budgets and in requiring mental health treatment coverage in private health insurance.

We need to verbally disagree with gun psychotics publicly. Its no use debating, because logic and reality are lost on them. All you need to do is say. I disagree.

The media and cultural leaders have to take responsibility for what they publish and support. And consumers need to hold them accountable through patronage, or lack of patronage.

There is no magic answer. And there will be future tragedies. We can reduce the incident of tragedies, but not if we listen to the gun manufacturers and those with gun psychosis. But the 98% of Americans who do support reasonable gun laws need to decide. Can we let the gun industry make policy. I don’t think so. They’ve done a lousy job of it so far.

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Harris

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My intention to write a straight forward candidate profile piece turned into a more interesting story of how David Taylor, Independent Party Candidate for Oregon House District 30, ended up affiliating with the Independent Party.

The issues that David is focusing his campaign on are:

Assuring K-12 education funding meets the needs of students and teachers
Assure that veterans received their earned benefits and help them with employment and health care
Protect consumers, increase transparency in government and reduce special interest influence over the political process
Grow small businesses and expand larger businesses in ways that benefit the public and reduces unemployment.

Several weeks ago, when he was first considering a run for elected office, David set up a meeting with the leaders of the Democratic Party of Washington County. David was a registered Democrat and sought their counsel and advice. David recalled, “(The) Democrats told me my issues were not their issues and instead they were solely focused on keeping Dems in power”. He told them he was interested in running for his House District (30). This presented a problem for the Democratic leaders, since the incumbent Joe Gallegos was a Democrat. However, the word was out that Gallegos may not seek re-election. David thought there was a chance for him to get the party support, or at least their commitment to be neutral if there were a contested primary. He was wrong. “I was told they needed to keep a hispanic in the District 30 seat and I met the other candidate they planned on taking Gallegos seat should he leave office“

And it got worse.

“I was told my wife and me were not welcome with them in the 4th of July Parade (simply because I wanted to carry a banner Saying “Let’s make Oregon work for our Veterans”).

And then“The husband of the former Chair of the County told me that I needed to leave the party.” David was told, perhaps with the intent to actually give him good advice, that he may want to become an independent since his agenda was not the same as the Democratic Party.

Dejected, but not discouraged by the Democratic Party leaders shunning, David decided to approach the Washington County Republican Party. He figured, since HD-30 is seen as a safe Democratic seat, perhaps the Republicans would be interested in a socially moderate former Marine combat vet with a Masters Degree in Administration challenging The Democratic Candidate in a general election.

He was wrong.

“When I met with the republican chair (of Washington County) I was told that my veteran, unemployment and education issues weren’t the republican parties issues and instead Gay Marriage was the only “frontal assault” that they intended to use. I was told that unless I would ‘carry that flag’ I would be asking their party to set aside their beliefs and they wouldn’t. He then tape recorded my defiance to his position as I reiterated that a government that taxes equally better give civil rights equally.”

David then decided to re-register as non affiliated and reconsider his candidacy. It was then that he discovered the Independent Party of Oregon. He did a little more research and found out that the Party platform matched his views. And, fortuitously, the Independent Party of Oregon shortly thereafter achieved major party status and would allow him to campaign for the IPO nomination and appear on the May Primary ballot. So on September 10th, 2015, the first day to file for office, he was the first Independent Party candidate to file. He will be opposing Joe Gallegos – or his heir apparent who will likely not file until 5 minutes before the filing deadline which is standard operating procedure for Washington County Democrats as a way for Democratic insiders to select the Democratic nominee themselves. There may or may not be a Republican on the ticket. I guess it depends if they can find someone to “fly the anti same sex marraige” flag in Washington County.

But at least David is giving voters a real choice. A choice that both the Democratic and Republican parties in Washington Country tried to silence.

Davids experience mirrors that of voters as well. The Democrats need to limit their nominees to known insiders who can be trusted to vote with the financial interests of their donor base. And Republicans maintain a strict social litmus test for candidates they will support, losing election after election in socially liberal districts then blaming the voters for returning Democrats to office.

Come to think of it. Davids story could have been told by the many voters who have also found their way to the IPO.

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Harris

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Yesterday IVN.US one of the most popular news sources for the independent voter movement, published an essay about the origins, emergence, and future of the Independent Party of Oregon.

While the IPO was founded on the more modest goal of assuring that any non affiliated candidate would have access to the Oregon ballot, it turned out that voters of all ideologies started joining the party to achieve much greater goals.

One thing that undoubtedly accelerated the IPO’s growth was that it’s formation coincided with the growing unhappiness with the two major parties. Specifically how they conducted elections, and especially the role that money plays in our elections and within the two major parties internal machinations. However this large influx of members with broadly represented political persuasions caused a bit of a dilemma for the leaders of the IPO who were at heart more progressive and democratic than not. From the essay:

The rapid growth of the party was not fueled by massive voter registration efforts, but merely by the presence of the Independent Party being an option on the ballot and the voter registration card. Democrats and Republicans claim voter confusion, but the reality is that voters *want* an Independent Party option. 11 percent of Oregonians identify as Independent Party members, even though only 5 percent of voters are currently registered with the party.

For the people who formed the party, this created an ethical dilemma: Could a relatively small number of officers claim to speak for a much larger number of people unless they asked members what they actually thought about candidates and issues? The answer is “no,” obviously. So the party opted for democracy.

Yet, the decision to find consensus among party members paid off. Maybe not for all of the leaderships progressive ideals, but certainly for the disaffected voters in Oregon who hungered for reasonably moderate candidates who were interested in the peoples business and not the Democratic versus Republican ideological battles . Because even though party members came from all parts of the political spectrum, it seemed there were policies that most people – regardless of ideology- supported. And that was a bit of a pleasant surprise.

The Agenda has been set and the Party is poised to become a broader movement supporting Independent candidates that are now emerging to challenge the current large donor dominated politics in Oregon.

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The GOP’s state office dry spell makes this summers weather look like a monsoon. Nonetheless, the GOP is still considered the opposition party in Oregon. Even though it hasn’t put up much opposition in statewide races in the last 10 years. In fact, it’s been 30 years since there has been a Republican Governor.

But could the Democratic favorites be challenged in statewide races this year? Possibly, but it may not be the GOP that presents the Democrats biggest challenges.

For Governor, the only GOP candidates who have announced an intent to run for State offices are Dr. Bud Pierce a medical doctor who has never held elective office who has announced for Governor. And Jeffrey Gudman, a Lake Oswego city councilor who announced his interest for the office of State Treasurer and has started raising money(though less than $10,000 so far).

No Republican has announced their candidacies for Secretary of State or Attorney General. And, given the last several election cycles, serious GOP candidates may be hard to come by given the dominance of the Democratic Party.

Meanwhile rumor has it that Sen. Betsy Johnson (For Governor) and Bend City Council person/ former State Senator/CPA / Lottery Commissioner Chris Telfer (For Treasurer) could end up at the top of the ticket for the new major Party – Independent Party of Oregon. A moderate experienced current State Democratic Senator and a moderate experienced former Republican State Senator is an impressive ticket.

Ms. Telfer has already registered as an IPO member so doesn’t have to announce her candidacy until March, 2016. However, Sen. Johnson is (as far as I know) still a registered Democrat. She would have to register with the IPO by September 10th to be eligible for the IPO nomination so she needs to make a decision in the next two weeks. If she does re-register as an Independent it would be a pretty good indication that she is going to seek the IPO nod for Governor. Though she could re-register but not announce her intent until later. But de-registering from the Democratic Party is a serious matter. You don’t leave fight club.

Another possible sign that Sen. Johnson is going to run as an Independent would be Ms. Telfer’s announcement of her candidacy for Treasurer. Having Johnson and Telfer at the top of the IPO ticket would provide more gravitas to the IPO nomination so would benefit both. And since it would be an historical event, and both Ms. Telfer and Sen. Johnson have a plenty of history here in Oregon to mine, an IPO ticket of Johnson/Telfer should provide the media with a lot of story lines and content. Because frankly, there is little GOP news to cover and little DPO intrigue (Except in the Secretary of State race, which according to The Oregonian Editorial Board is shaping up as a race involving Valdemort, Darth Vadar and Marie Antoinette.

Another reason to announce within the next two weeks is the down ticket effect. With Johnson and Telfer at the top, it would encourage other community leaders such as city councilpersons and school board members who want effective public policy to consider running as an Independent. The bigger the number of qualified IPO candidates statewide, the better it is for the top of the ticket.

Assuming Ms. Telfer and Sen. Johnson decide to run as Independents, which opposition party’s ticket looks stronger for Statewide office? The IPO’s Johnson/Telfer ticket, or the GOP’s Pierce/Gudman ticket.

Yes, it’s still very early and more GOP candidates could announce, and Telfer and Johnson may think it’s too big of a lift and the IPO could end up with your crazy uncle Herb as it’s nominee for Governor. But right now, I’d bet on a Johnson/Telfer ticket over any ticket the GOP could come up with. And if it does pan out, it could signify there is in fact a major shift in Oregon politics, and all those Democrats who say – they really do wish there were a fiscally conservative and Socially liberal opposition party because its good for Oregon – may just be tested on how sincere they really were.

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