Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011 Special Election Endorsements

05/19/2011 RESULTS UPDATE: The only big election surprise to me was that the Portland Public School's $548m levy, 26-121, narrowly failed by 1%, but the $308m levy, 26-122, passed handily by 16%. Considering the economy and the usual anti-tax rhetoric, I assumed voters would either be either all or nothing. However, some voters presumably studied the issues and decided teachers were more important than buildings and/or decided passing one levy was a good compromise.

ME

WILLAMETTE
WEEK

THE
OREGONIAN

PORTLAND
MERCURY

CANDIDATES
MULTNOMAH EDUCATIONAL SERVICE DISTRICT: "...An ESD acts like a co-op that delivers regional educational services. Among other things, it provides speech pathologists, special education teachers and school nurses to school districts. And, oh yeah, the ESD offers local kids Outdoor School..." (WWeek.com)
Dir., Pos. 7, Zone 3
SPELLMAN ELECTED
71% (15k)
SPELLMAN SPELLMAN
"...Kay Bridges, a nice woman who owns a flower delivery service, has no grasp of the issues facing..." WWeek.com
"...We see no reason to replace Kevin Spellman, ...Spellman has a strong understanding of budgetary issues and policy..." WWeek.com
Dir., Pos. 6, At Large
MONTGOMERY ELECTED
51% (39k)
MONTGOMERY MONTGOMERY
"...'While the April 20, 2010, Regular Board meeting was in session, [incumbent] Director Delman chose to listen through earphones to radio commentary on a basketball game and, upon both private and public admonition from the Chair, continued while the meeting proceeded.'..." WWeek.com
"...We’ll go with Montgomery, a smart and highly qualified candidate who taught public policy at Portland State University and once served as a board member for the Northwest Regional ESD." WWeek.com
PORTLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT #1JT
Apparently I live in PPS Zone 1, but my ballot includes zones 1, 2, 3, 7. Do I vote for all the zones and elections sorts it out somehow? (PPS Zones map - large PDF)
Dir. Zone 1
ADKINS RE-ELECTED
74% (46k)
ADKINS ADKINS ADKINS
"Adkins first ran in May 2007 on a platform of not closing schools. She won. Three years later, in October 2010, Adkins voted to close Marshall High...we don’t fault Adkins for realizing the district needs to consolidate resources..." WWeek.com
"...Adkins, a Yale graduate who works for a housing nonprofit, is a smart and tenacious board member who thinks strategically without missing the fine print..." OregonLive.com
"...Larry Lawson, a network security manager and a photographer. ...he lacks any record of improving schools. ...He doesn’t offer a compelling reason for unseating Adkins." WWeek.com
"...Glen Livingston, a self-described community activist, is also on the ballot. His inexperience makes Adkins a clear choice." WWeek.com
Dir. Zone 2
MORTON ELECTED
52% (33k)
MORTON MORTON MORTON
"Morton is the deputy director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. As a tribal member, he has a solid record working on issues related to poverty and the achievement gap...." OregonLive.com
"Brister-Mashia is a regular volunteer at Jefferson High and brings a grounded perspective to issues of school quality and parent involvement. This race is a close call, but Morton's experience with boards and budgets give him the edge." OregonLive.com
"Sweeney has run for almost every office available in Portland. We have yet to find one that fits his skills." WWeek.com
Dir. Zone 3
REGAN RE-ELECTED
64% 40k
REGAN REGAN REGAN
"Incumbent Bobbie Regan is running for a third term and faces token opposition from two challengers: Martha Perez, who works in customer service, and Christine Nelson, an artist specializing in pet portraits. Neither has mounted a serious campaign..." OregonLive.com
"...Critics say Regan protects the interests of wealthier parents and students with programs like 'school choice.' That lets middle-class white parents who buy homes in gentrifying neighborhoods send their kids to schools in wealthier neighborhoods where the schools have more resources. We don’t always agree with votes she casts, but Regan is a knowledgeable board member who deserves another shot." WWeek.com
Dir. Zone 7
BELISLE ELECTED
96% 45k
BELISLE BELISLE BELISLE
• Greg Belisle is the only candidate to file.
"...Belisle will have two young children in school at a time when most other board members have grown kids. Also, he's a member of the no-frills nonprofit world, where benefits are decidedly non-plush. His insights will be helpful as the district tries to improve classroom quality and keep labor costs aligned with what the community can pay." OregonLive.com

ME

WILLAMETTE
WEEK

THE
OREGONIAN

PORTLAND
MERCURY

MEASURES
PORTLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT
26-121
REJECTED?
50.7% 51k
YES YES NO YES
$548m construction bond to rebuild nine schools and update others. Bojack.org has a handy calculator that calculates tax increase for both PPS measures. For us, the measures will increase our annual property tax $377.33 -- although probably more as assessed value increase 3% each year.
• "...Ballot Measure 5, passed in 1990, and Measure 50, passed in 1997, capped local property taxes. Before Measure 5, local property taxes supplied 2/3 of Portland’s education funding; now they supply only 1/4 and state income taxes supply 3/5. As the state equalized spending per student around the state, it left Portland Public Schools with less ability to fund the operation of their schools, and facilities maintenance was deferred..." (LWVPDX.org PDF)
• NEARLY A HALF BILLION DOLLARS is a lot of money even for a large school district. This construction bond isn't comprehensive meaning more bond levies are sure to follow for the schools that are left out.
• What I find the most troubling is that the levy's authors seemed to choose schools based on political considerations instead of need. However, it is understandable that a comprehensive billion-plus dollar levy would be unlikely even in self-taxing Portland. Also, the political considerations are inherent since school improvements depend on neighborhood, city, and state.
• This is far from a perfectly-written levy; however, its faults don't outweigh the urgent need. Only complacency stopped critics from offering an alternative levy.
• I can't say that I'm overjoyed to pay nearly $400 more in taxes each year. However, I also realize that without Measure 5 and 50 from the 1990s, my property assessment and taxes would have been much higher. I agree with WWeek's reasoning, "...If taxpayers are willing to dig deep for elephants, fireboats and salmon, shouldn’t they also be willing to provide the setting for a proper education for our kids?..."
26-122
PASSED
57% 57k
YES YES YES YES
Five-year $308m levy renewal to keep 400 teaching jobs under the current levy and add 200 teaching jobs.
FAVOR:
• Funds remain local - not diverted to state.
OPPOSE:
• Why should Portland taxpayers pay more than the rest of the state?
"Urban Renewal Districts in Portland utilize property taxes that could fund the operation of schools..." (LWVPDX.org PDF)
• Besides the usual anti-tax extremists, it's hard to find anyone opposed to this measure. If anti-tax nihilists think 'the gummit' is so wastefully managed, why aren't they volunteering on the school boards or remodeling schools?

2 comments:

Kay said...

Nice that WW called me a "nice woman" but accurate journalism the rest of that IS NOT !!! I have never owned a floral delivery service. I owned and operated a full service Floral business for 25years, delivering over 700 vases of flowers to individual customers back in the 8o's with 12 drivers. I'm currently an Independent Nikken Wellness Consultant. Kay Bridges, Candidate for Multnomah EducationService District.

Norm! said...

Hi Kay,

Yes, I thought WW's "nice woman" comment was a bit patronizing -- considering they didn't refer to any other man or woman candidate nice. Not being in the industry, I'm not sure of the difference between owning a "flower delivery service" and "full service floral business".

WW has been the only media I've found covering the race. I wish candidates for these obscure offices would publish websites telling more about themselves and why they should be supported.