Sunday, May 4, 2008

Blake's endorsements

Well, I finally received my ballot in the mail yesterday which means its time for me to lay out my endorsements for our May 20th Primary Election.

Random races that I can't vote it, but still care about:

Beaverton Mayoral Election: Denny Doyle. Yeah, thats right, I care about the Beaverton mayoral election. Residents of Beaverton: Did you know that the mayor of beaverton is the highest paid statewide public official in Oregon? How do you feel about that? Well, thats what you get when a strong mayor (not an adjective, a system of city governance) thats a 16 year incumbent. Beaverton might become the 2nd largest city in our state and I feel its important that people like Bob Drake are kept away from the levers of power.

5th Congressional District Primary: Steve Marks. I haven't been particularly impressed with Kurt Schrader as ways and means committee chairman. As Kitzhaber's chief of staff Steve Marks has worked on some important issues and would bring a more progressive voice to congress, as well as bring a more effective challenge to Mike Erickson or Kevin Mannix (that race will be pretty interesting to say the least).

Races I vote in:

US DEM Presidential Primary: Barack Obama. I've written pretty extensively about my support for Senator Obama. It is both an affirmation of his character and a repudiation of the Clintons and the DLC wing of the Democratic party. Rather than rehash myself I'll refer you to Andrew Sullivan's landmark article "Why Obama Matters" . The guiding principles for me as a primary voter are: Can they win? Can they be effective? Do they share my values? The answer for all three here is YES! Watching him tonight at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in IN only proved this further. YES WE CAN!

US DEM Senate Primary: Jeff Merkley. Its taken me a long time to reach my decision and I find myself at odds with several people whose opinion I deeply respect. But going back to my three questions: Can he win? Yes, I feel Merkley can paint a compelling narrative against Gordon Smith in a general election. Can he be effective? Look no further to his tenure as speaker for proof of that. Does he share my values? I've been pretty disappointed at both Merkley and Novick's senate campaign, but on a host of important issues like predatory lending, the death penalty and education Merkley and I stand united. Do I think Novick could win too? Absolutely, and I will work my ass off at some point as a volunteer to put either of these great candidates in a plane to Washington.

Secretary of State: Kate Brown. As a Brad Avakian supporter it took me a long time to decide between Kate Brown and Vicki Walker. The clincher for me was WWeek's endorsment interview. Kate Brown has command and composure I'd like the person who may end up redistricting our state to have. I think she'll also make an honest effort to keep out of state money from funding so many of our ballot initiatives.

Attorney General: John Kroger, or as I like to call him: J-keezey fo Sheezy. Okay, so I would never really call him that, but I'm sure he'd be down. This cat wrote the book on how to be an effective prosecutor and would expand the role of this already important office in a way that would benefit all Oregonians. This primary is especially important because whoever wins will run unopposed in the general election, unless that Saxton write-in actually takes off.

Portland Mayor: Sam Adams. This comes as no surprise to anyone that knows me well. Back to those three questions, more than any other person listed on my ballot Sam embodies the values I like to see govern public policy, especially in my city. The belief that government CAN be used as an effective tool to make our communities more livable, the belief that we should all benefit from the strength of our community and the belief that we should constantly move forward as a community. I've watched Sam in several debates and read several interviews and I have no doubt that he will be one of the greatest mayors in the history of our city and he may represent the future of our state and our nation. Needless to say: I'm with Sam.

Quick n' Dirty

PDX Commish 1: Amanda Fritz

PDX Commish 2: Jim Middaugh


Orin said...

Blake, I don't know what you do for a living (this is my first time here--a Google Alert brought me), but you don't seem to know much about the Attorney General's office.

Let me assume that you aren't an attorney. But you may understand the difference between a Legal Counsel for a county and a District Attorney: the Legal Counsel's office gives legal advice to local government departments and represents the county in court on civil matters (when it is sued, or when it sues), and the District Attorney prosecutes persons accused of crimes.

There is a District Attorney's office in each county in this state, and those offices prosecute almost all of the violations of state law.

Now, Kroger has campaigned as though he was running for some non-existent position, District Attorney in Chief or something. But the main work of the Attorney General's office is giving advice to departments of our state government and representing the state and state government in court. In cases where a statewide approach is needed, part of that office does prosecute crimes. The state, hobbled as it is by the anti-tax measures which have been foisted on us, still has resources which some of the smaller counties lack (legitimate public services and infrastructure are suffering).

The point I want to make is that the attorneys who work in the Attorney General's office, who have not endorsed a candidate before, voted to endorse Greg Macpherson, in part because he understands the work done by most of the office and because it's obvious to them that Kroger doesn't.

Recently, in the presidential contest, we have seen examples of candidates pandering to public opinion (the proposal to suspend operation of the federal gas tax for the summer may be the prime example). Well, the same thing has been done for DECADES with regard to crime and public security--that's why former assistant district attorneys often have won primary elections for various offices.

Kroger has been doing the same thing, campaigning as if he was running for Multnomah District Attorney. The Attorney General is a leader on various state issues, and that sometimes includes policy regarding criminal matters, but that person primarily is the administrator of an office with hundreds of attorneys which provides legal advice to state government. Macpherson is better suited for the position than Kroger. In addition, he has worked in the legislature, in a leadership role, taking on hard issues, and lived in Oregon for most of his life. Kroger still is learning about the state, and he has practiced law here for less than a year.

Blake said...

Hey, I had no idea that anyone outside of my circle of friends would bother reading this. As you might have been able to tell these endorsements were meant to be pretty light on substance (were I a journalist or some other public figure with any kind of clout I would obviously leave some of the jokes out). I am not an attorney, but would like to be one some day and really appreciate your informative and substantial post, especially the effort you put into it (I can't even get people who are related to me to post responses on my blog). I certainly am aware of the difference between legal Counsel and the work of a DA and although I'm certainly no expert on the office of attorney general I was aware of the fact that the AG provides counsel to local/county governments. I was simply mentioning that he was a prosecutor to also mention that he wrote a book and I happen to find his life story pretty interesting (not that an interesting life story is some kind of pre-requisite for office in my mind, I was just mentioning it). I've watched the WWeek endorsement interview between John and Greg as well as reading several endorsements for both candidates from news papers and I feel that John Kroger will be able to provide that kind of counsel. I would also mention that Macpherson's shtick features some issues that may or may not be relevant to the AG office (specifically some of the issues mentioned in his last ad) and that I'm not particularly impressed with some of his work in the legislature, particularly his handling of the PERS issue (I know its a "tough issue" as he likes to repeat endlessly, but he was on the wrong side of that tough issue IMO). That being said my vote for Kroger has more to do with me liking him than disliking Macpherson and I think they would both do a great job. Again, thanks for the response.