Archive for the 'Harris' Category

Aug 06 2014

More IPO candidates ahead?

Published by under Harris,Oregon

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Under Independent Party of Oregon rules, the nominating caucus may fill vacancies for any elective position.

Following the July online primary vote which nominated numerous candidates to office, The IPO has declared several House and Senate positions vacant. These seats are ones where no candidate applied, or was qualified by the caucus. Applicants have until August 15th, 2014 to apply.

IPO leaders indicate that they are particularly interested in candidates in districts where currently only one major party candidate will be appearing on the November general election ballot.

They say that in heavily gerrymandered districts where the winner of the dominant party primary is the presumptive winner in November, an independent candidate would offer independents, voters from the non dominant party, and even moderate voters of the dominant party, more choices.

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Jul 23 2014

Two of one party in November?

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Critics of Oregon’s proposed top two open primary say one weakness is that in some districts the top two who advance to the general election may be from the same party. A report from the Independent Voter Network, takes a look at California Senate District 28, where two Republicans advanced onto the November general election.

Their conclusion? It’s a good thing. With Republican voters making up just 40% of the voters in SD-28, it means that the two Republican finalists will now be forced to appeal not just to Republican primary voters, but to all voters. This has caused the candidates to minimize ideology and focus on local issues that matter to more voters.

Wedge issues aren’t nearly as effective when you have two candidates from the same party.

Frankly, all the wailing that a top two open primary will occasionally result in two Republicans or two Democrats taking the top two spots is a red herring. In fact, it’s one of the strengths of the proposal.

In Oregon, under the current closed primary system heavily Democratic or Republican districts produce a single candidate in November. In 20 of the 60 Oregon House races this November voters will get one major party candidate to vote for. In the 66 Oregon Senate seats up for election, 6 of them will likewise feature one major party candidate. Over one third of Oregon’s Legislature is basically uncontested and features a single major party candidate.

At least under the open primary system there’s a likelihood that these 26 races would feature two major party candidates, even if they are from the same party. This would give voters a choice. And for candidates in heavily R or D districts, they couldn’t just pander to either the public employee unions leaders or the Chamber of Commerce in their respective primaries and then prepare for their coronation in November.

When Our Oregon supporter or a tea party member claims that a top two open primary may result in two Democrats or two Republicans advancing to the November ballot. Say…GREAT! That doubles voter choice of major party candidates in a third of our Legislative districts.

Note: This isn’t an endorsement of the open primary initiative, on which I’m undecided. It is a critique of the Democratic and Republican hypocrisy in their criticism that the open primary reduces choices.

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Jun 19 2014

Independents choose primary candidates

Published by under Harris,Oregon

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

After a long caucus meeting last night, the Independent Party of Oregon announced the first round of candidates who will appear on it’s primary ballot this summer.

The IPO received requests from 62 candidates to be included in it’s primary election and approved 18 to appear on it’s primary ballot. Prospective candidates included Republicans, Democrats, IPO members, non affiliated candidates and Libertarians. Some had already received their party nominations and some had not. The IPO had candidates applying for County Commission races, State races, and Federal races.

The featured primary race will be for Governor between Republican Dennis Richardson and Democrat John Kitzhaber. Other hotly contested races that will appear on the ballot include Senate Districts 3, 13 and 15, where an Independent cross nomination could make a difference in a close November general election.

In two races, IPO candidates Chuck Lee (HD-25) and Drew Kaza (SD-16) won’t face any primary opposition so their nomination will set up one on one general election races against a single major party candidate. In HD-25 presumptive Independent candidate Chuck Lee will face very conservative Republican Bill Post and in SD-16 presumptive Independent candidate Drew Kaza will face Democrat Betsy Johnson.

The IPO will continue to review pending applications and more candidates are expected to join the approved list by the end of the week. Once approved, the IPO intends to publish it’s own voters guide and send it to all 100,000 members.

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Jun 10 2014

Open primary for OR Independents?

Published by under Harris,Oregon

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Democracy reform continues to gain momentum. Fixing the process in a way that empowers voters, not donors, is gaining grassroots momentum. Mainstream media is publishing more articles about primary reforms.

But there is one way to have an open primary for all Oregon’s independent voters who were shut out of the State sponsored and paid for elections of our most important offices.

The Independent Party of Oregon is in the midst of preparing for a primary election. With 100,000 members, it’s more than six times larger than any other minor party, and is nearing 5% of total voters. Non affiliated voters, those not registered as belonging to a recognized party, make up about 23% of the electorate. Together i/Independents number almost as many as registered Republicans.

So, perhaps the IPO should open up it’s primary this election to NAV’s. If as Democrats like to claim most IPO members really think they are NAV, then the IPO is almost obligated to open it up. If as the IPO leaders state the party exists to allow non major party candidates a legal roadway to enter the political marketplace, then opening up the election to NAV”s is a logical step now that it has neared major party status.

The reasons it shouldn’t open it’s primary are: A relatively small group of motivated voters could skew the outcomes of some races. I suppose that is correct, and some of those candidates may be fringe rather than centrist, however, that may be the will of the i/Independents in Oregon. But there certainly is a risk that the IPO (Independent Party of Oregon) could end up with several tea party candidates in Southern Oregon, and several very progressive candidates in the Portland area. But, isn’t that the general makeup of the Oregon voter profile geographically?

And of course there is the time and effort involved in running an election without State support. And sometimes even in the face of actual antagonism from our elected officials. Vote security, broadcasting the availability and process, and actual volunteer hours.

They would all be significant challenges. (Perhaps some of the media would partner with the IPO to broadcast the process. I think public service announcements are still required as a condition of licensing.)

It would be a huge lift. But with the right publicity, assistance from key places, and some additional volunteers, it could be done.

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May 28 2014

Voter turnout plummets

Published by under Harris,Oregon

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Oregon primary voter turnout for the 2014 primary was 32.7% . The lowest percentage of any primary since the Secretary of State started keeping statistics online. This is an acceleration of the trend reported on Oregon Outpost a week ago.

One obvious reason – the drop in major party registered voters. In April of the 14,661 new voters, only 36% joined the Democratic or Republican Party. Thats COMBINED. While 64% opted to not join any party, or to join a minor party. Non Major party voters get ballots full of judicial races – usually with a single candidate – low profile non partisan races, and a few ballot measures.

My ballot – I assume typical for a non major party voter – had two contested races. Both for Washington County Commissioner. While I did vote, I understand why turnout of non major party voters was a paltry 18.9% statewide. There’s little for us to vote on or get excited about.

With the continuing crash in the numbers of registered Democratics and Republicans, expect to see:

Lower voter turnout in primary elections, because there are simply less D’s and R’s to vote.
A tighter grip by financiers of the major parties on financial issues (public employee unions, traded sector corporations), as it takes more money to reach non i/Independent voters who are locked out of the primaries and less interested in finding out about D’s and R’s.
More influence within major parties by those with special social issue interests (anti choice, environmental). When there are less foot soldiers for campaigns, the most motivated become the most valuable and important.
A firmer stance against any democracy reforms that would encourage more participation by non major party voters (tightening election laws that favor the Dem’s and Rep’s, defeating reforms like approval voting, and assuring unfettered money to major party candidates directly or through third parties)

This inevitably will lead to a spiral of reduced primary participation as more voters, particularly new voters, become disaffected from the major political parties power structure and opt to register as i/Independents.

Over the coming days, we’re going to be taking a look at various primary races around the state. Where there was only a single candidate from one party on the ballot. Where each major party had a single candidate on the ballot. And where one party had multiple candidates, but the other party had none.

Stay tuned to see how democratic our election process really is. Or isn’t.

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May 25 2014

Holy smoke! There’s fire …

Published by under Harris

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

I admit it. I read the Andrew Miller generated police report about Dr. Monica Wehby and thought. Whatever. She used bad judgment by entering Millers home, but it wasn’t stalking.

And I still hold to that opinion.

Then in today’s Oregonian are two more reported 911 incidents. One about an incident regarding her possibly using a pad of paper to slap her soon to be ex husband in 2007. That didn’t really alarm me too much either. Again, the heat of a divorce, a husband looking to get an edge. Whatever.

But, included in that story is a link to a 2009 incident. This was apparently towards the end of what was a long divorce process. The husband apparently called the police and reported:

[Husband] called and said that he and [Wehby] are in the process of getting divorced. They have joint custody of the children. [Wehby] will come over and let herself in without permission. Stating she is there to see the children.

[Husband] and [Wheby] have a written agreement that neither is allowed at the others house W/O prior arrangement.

Tonight [Wehby] showed up at [Husbands] house at 2215 hrs, and knocked on the door (Banged). When [Husband] answered the door, [Wehby] said she was going out of town and wanted to say goodnight to the kids.[Husband] said that the kids were in bed already and that she was to leave.

[Wehby] continued to pound on the door until the kids came to the door to say goodbye. The kids were at the door in approximately one min.

(Bold added for emphasis by author)

So, it appears that when Dr. Wehby doesn’t get the type of personal treatment she feels she deserves, she is pretty . . . insistent, that people pay attention to her. This puts the 2013 Miller incident into a whole new light for me at least.

It also raises an interesting question about the role, if any Attorney Jody Stahancyk played in the 2013 Miller/Wehby incident. Stahancyk was Wehby’s divorce attorney, so Stahancyk likely knew about the 2009 incident. And Miller’s attorney is John Crawford, the husband of Stahancyk, and Miller was at the Stahancyk/Crawford home when he called 911 “on the advice of his attorney”. Since John Crawford is a business attorney, is it likely that it was Stahancyk that was advising Miller to call 911 on her former client?

Listen to the 911 tape again. Can you hear Miller talking to two people in the background?

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May 09 2014

The Conger case

Published by under Harris,Oregon

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Because of the rules of the Senate, and because both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate vote with unity, a Senate general election isn’t solely about which candidate you like or are closer to agreement with. It is as much about which party you like more based on their national platform and leadership behaviors.

That’s why Jason Conger is the best choice to represent Oregon Republicans against Sen. Jeff Merkley in November.

First a reality check. There is very little chance that enough Oregon independent moderates are going to put the National Republicans in charge of the US Senate. Because while the OR GOP sometimes seems to be on its way towards being more modern party, the national GOP does not.

Dr. Wheby is more pro choice? So what? That will carry exactly zero weight in the general election because we know that her position on that issue will have zero effect in the US Republican Senate caucus. In fact, her pro choice position probably hurts her chances for party leadership if she were elected At least if independents vote for Merkley we know that his leadership stock is rising and he can protect Oregon financially at the leadership table. And if we are able to vote for Conger his social policy positions are more like a non-elitist blue collar Reagan Democrat and could help him within the GOP caucus.

What could a Conger nomination do for Oregon Republicans? It would elevate a strong leader with deep roots onto the State leadership stage. A candidate who didn’t just parachute into politics and who you can count on to continue working to make the Oregon GOP a better party – win or lose.

So, OR GOP’ers should do themselves a favor here. Think about which candidate would be better for the Oregon GOP win or lose. Though there’s nothing wrong with believing that lightening will strike at the same time as all the stars align and that candidate Conger will pull a big upset of Merkley. And that’s just as likely to happen with a Conger candidacy as with a Wehby candidacy.

If the Oregon GOP wants to get back in the game. Vote for Jason Conger.

(The opinion expressed here is solely that of the author and not of any other authors associated with Oregon Outpost)

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May 06 2014

A different kind of challenger for Devlin

Published by under Harris,Oregon

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Powerful State Senator Richard Devlin may face a challenge in November after all. Though no Republicans filed for Senate District 19 (Lake Oswego, Tualatin, West Linn), Independent Party Member Rick Miller has formed a committee and has conducted polling to test the viability of an Independent candidacy.

SD-19 registrations are: Democratic 43%; Republican 31%, Non Affiliated 21%, Independent Party 5%.

In 2010 Devlin easily defeated Conservative Charter School advocate Mary Kremer (spouse of Republican right wing activist Rob Kremer), 55% to 45%. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the District is reliably Democratic.

Back in 2010 Republican Steve Griffith, who polling showed would have likely been a much tougher general election opponent for Devlin, was defeated in the 2010 Republican primary by Kremer. Griffith had a stellar resume of accomplishment, including serving as Chair of the Portland School Board. But his candidacy ran into the conservative buzz saw that is now standard Oregon Republican primary politics.

Absent a surprising write in campaign for the Republican nomination, there will be no one appearing on the ballot in November as a Republican.

If Millers polling is similar to Griffiths back in 2010 then a right of center moderate nominee of the Independent Party could result in a dynamic one on one general election. Continue Reading »

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Apr 15 2014

The financial base and the voting base

Published by under Harris

harris ROBERT
HARRIS

 
Oregon
Outpost

Welcome Robert Harris, our latest contributor at Ridenbaugh Press. Harris has lived his entire life in the Oregon and Washington. He is the managing partner of Harris Law Firm, a general practice “Mom and Pop” law firm of ten attorneys located in the Portland Oregon metro region. For 30 years he was a registered Democrat but is now a leader in the Independent Party of Oregon and the editor of OregonOutpost.com.

The US Supreme Court’s line of cases protecting virtually unlimited election spending (and likely soon to make unlimited campaign contributions protected as free speech) has greatly empowered party and candidate financiers. A relatively small number of large corporations, unions, and wealthy donors are a distinct financial base within each major party. And a Party’s financial base is as important as the voting base. Because while money will automatically create a viable candidate (see Monica Wehby) and thus votes, a voting base won’t automatically create a large enough financial base to win an election.

So, it’s fair to now say that each major party has a distinct and powerful voting base and a financial base. And the edge the Democratic Party in Oregon has is that it’s financial base and voting base have greater issue overlap than the Republican financial and voting bases.

OR GOP base parties

The Oregon Democratic financial base is clearly unions and more specifically public employee unions. And the Democratic Party is very clear that it’s number one issue is the well being of employees. Preferably union employees, and more specifically public employees. Whether the issue is PERS, public spending on construction projects or schools, tax increases to pay for these services, government oversight or control of the land use process, the financial base and voting base of the Democratic Party are generally in sync on major issues and policies. Consequently, there is little tension within the Party and it can act very cohesively with less internal disruption or conflict between the two bases.

In comparison, the Republican financial base is more interested in a libertarian capitalism. Less government regulation and low taxes, while it’s voting base is more animated by social issues . Though low taxation and less government regulation are important as well for the voter base their blood boiling issues are immigration, gay marriage, abortion, and religious policies such as prayer in school and evolution. And, while disagreements between the Democratic financial base and voting base are more related to relative importance of a particular policy, the differences between the Republican financial and voter base are more often about the policy itself. Businesses want immigration reform. And think being anti gay is bad for business. Continue Reading »

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Oregon State Highway film from 1966. A few changes since then.

 

Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press.
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