Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Marking the Ballot

Time for another Oregon election, time for marking our ballots. I should say up front, in local races, my primary focus is on the environment and education. With that being said, here's how I voted:

Governor: Ted Kulongoski

Kulongoski is the man Oregonians love to hate. Nobody seems to be sure exactly why, he's spent most of the past term mixing in with the wallpaper. Maybe his blandness is a magnet for our frustrations. To be honest, there just isn't anyone on the Democratic side that I can support. I had an opportunity to glimpse Jim Hill in the state legislature a few years back and found him to be Arrogant with a capital 'A'. The other contender, Pete Sorenson, is a complete lightweight. In Kulongoski's defense, I do think he did a decent job of guiding the Oregon economy through the Bush-induced 2001 recession. If Westlund gets on the fall ballot as an independent, I'll reconsider how I'll vote, but for now, Kulongoski is my guy.

City Council, Position 2: Erik Sten

Last week, I met with Commissioner Sten regarding some police oversight committee business. I wasn't sure if I would like him, I'm still not sure, but I did find him to be straight forward, savvy, and astute. Another factor in his favor, is that he's been willing to go after Portland General Electric and Enron hammer and tong. His chief rival, Ginny Burdick, is a shill for the Portland Business Alliance. Portland is one of the most livable cities in the nation because business doesn't completely rule city government. I hope that doesn't change.

City Council, Position 3: Dan Saltzman

Saltzman's albatross is a hare-brained idea to cover the city reservoirs. But other than that, he's provided sound leadership for our city. Besides, anyone that's willing to take a crack at the Police and Fire Disability and Retirement program has my vote.

City Auditor: Gary Blackmer

Gary is running unopposed, so he doesn't need to worry about reelection, but I'd like to say that working with him has been a pleasure. He's smart, honest, dedicated and knows his business inside and out.

County Commission Chair: Diane Linn

This one was a very close call for me. Diane Linn has absolutely no finesse when dealing with sensitive issues or it seems with her fellow Commissioners. She may have done more harm than help with her approach to the gay marriage issue, but I people tend to forget that she wasn't the only commissioner pushing that issue. Gay marriage is a concept whose time has come and that I support whole-heartedly, Linn just tried to sneak it in the side door and got caught. I think she's made a strong commitment to the environment and trying to find funding for local schools. An environmental wonkette friend of mine urged me to vote for Ted Wheeler, but his only claim to fame is millions in the bank and a lack of governmental experience. The Oregon League of Conservation Voters endorses Linn. I agree.

US House, District 3: Earl Blumenauer

Running unopposed. He's quietly effective and a strong advocate for Portland and the environment. If the Dems take over the House, he'll be well-placed in the House hierarchy.