The current shout-riot passing for national discourse has seeped its way into our local and statewide political rhetoric, and while all that inflammatory boldness may be entertaining, we would much rather a boldness balanced with studied and coolheaded insightfulness. We are an alt-weekly after all, so enough said about that.
Our Editorial Board conducted public debates with all the candidates contesting for the County and City office, and we’ve researched their past records and statements. One member privately interviewed each of the County Commission candidates as well. We’re only endorsing for contested races.
We also scrutinized all the ballot measures, and researched the platforms and records of candidates for state office.
We endorse Sami Al-Abdrabbuh, he is a compelling and passionate leader already engaged with a diversity of groups and subcultures, and he takes a studied research-driven approach to issues.
Al-Abdrabbuh’s time as a Corvallis Public School Board Member has proved his ability to work with just about anyone, and to get things done. During The Advocate debates, Al-Abdrabbuh was clearly the candidate with the best grasp of the County’s issues, and what can be done to address them with solutions that take the long view.
Of all the candidates interviewed, Al-Abdrabbuh has the deepest knowledge when it comes to issues of homelessness. Talking with him, it becomes clear he has dedicated extensive time and research into the subject. Given the county’s reputation and history with homelessness, this is invaluable to us.
We also like Sami’s chief opponent, frontrunner Democratic candidate Pat Malone. Running for this seat as well are Pacific Green candidate Tim Dehne, and Libertarian candidate Erik Gradine. All these candidates have proven deeply thoughtful and committed to the community.
Max Mania is running without party affiliation, and has prior experience as a City Councilor in Port Angeles, Washington. Mania’s pool of knowledge about our local governmental structures concerned us. For instance, during The Advocate debate, Mania contended that there is no job description for the County Commissioner position, which was corrected by Al-Abdrabbuh, referring to the description in the County Charter. Also, given Mania’s platform statements, we are concerned he may not be familiar with how state laws preempt some types of county action in Oregon.
Mania regularly uses oppositional and denouncing language when referring to the two Commissioners he seeks to serve with, making us doubt his ability in getting the votes he’d need to move county action.
Having run for the state legislature in 2016 as a Progressive, Al-Abdrabbuh now runs as an Independent Party candidate. We suspect that at heart, he is non-partisan.
Sami Al-Abdrabbuh represents progressive values, and we believe he is the most action-oriented candidate in this field — as well as being most ready to incite change which endeavors to consider everyone’s needs.
We endorse Biff Traber for a second term. Traber is deeply knowledgeable over a variety of complex issues, and he can be counted on to be thoughtful and fair-minded. Traber’s ability to balance competing constituencies and priorities with care is a learned skill which inspires our confidence in him.
Traber has proven to be an able executive as goes the City’s fiscal policies, which is especially impressive given the challenges all municipalities are currently facing. Traber’s responses to The Advocate debate attendees were deliberate and multifaceted — he was seemingly not driven to get an emotional reaction from the crowd. Biff Traber has, in turn, become a very level-headed leader.
Chief opponent Roen Hogg, a four-term City Councilor, could also prove an able executive, but he does not show the same inclination towards balance as Traber, nor sensitivity to citywide concerns. Hardworking tertiary candidate Riley Doraine is a compelling voice concerning social justice, but she does not have experience with the full range of issues a mayor needs to work through — we hope she continues gaining and seeking experience in the field, as we hope to hear from her again.
Finally, we appreciate Traber’s lobbying for better affordable housing legislation out of Salem, and we want him to know someone in the press actually noticed it, even though he never mentioned it to us.
CORALLIS CITY COUNCIL
City Council Ward 1
We endorse Steve Lee. The soft-spoken Lee presented more knowledgeable over a wider variety of City issues than his opponent during The Advocate debate. We believe Lee takes the needs of many demographics to heart, understands complexities, and seeks to find consensus for reasonable solutions.
Steve Lee is the only candidate in any race that talked about going directly to service and care workers, as well as recipients, for advice. He makes clear he will also be reaching out to citizens. Both Lee and opponent Jan Napack have opposed downtown shelters, Napack quite a bit more vociferously. Napack was a proponent of the Flomacher site even after many of its problems had come to light.
City Council Ward 2
Our endorsement goes to Charles F Maughan. He concentrates on environmental and affordable housing issues, conflating the latter as an inclusivity issue as well — which we support. Maughan balances lofty vision with a pragmatic sensibility, and is well regarded, generally, having gained a number of notable endorsements.
Catherine Mater is the opponent in this race. Mater may over time regret, intellectually, her allusions to lawsuits over the Second Street homeless shelter, and her push for the Flomacher site. Currently, however, we do not believe Mater sees her own conflict of interests clearly. Mater and her family have significant financial interests downtown, and we believe these interests currently leave her too conflicted to serve as a Councilor, in any event.
City Council Ward 3
Hyatt Lytle has our endorsement. We are compelled by Lytle’s hardworking commitment during her first term, and her sheer encyclopedic grasp of City issues. She balances the needs of her ward and the city as a whole, admirably. We are impressed with Lytle’s work on the South Corvallis Urban Renewal District.
Notably, we were also impressed with opponents Rachel Hoffman and Mika Goodwin, both of whom were more articulate than most first time contestants. We hope both stay engaged with city affairs.
City Council Ward 5
We endorse Charlyn Ellis. This down-to-earth public school teacher acquitted herself quite well last term, and her answers over the course of The Advocate debate were decidedly pragmatic. Ellis lives sustainably in her own life, and could rightly be seen as the environmental conscience of the community on the Council.
Opponent Paige Kreisman’s platform has little to do with issues the City can pragmatically tackle, and even calls for actions that would be preempted by state law.
City Council Ward 9
Andrew Freborg gets our endorsement for this ward, though we were also impressed with opponent Andrew Struthers. Freborg first came to our attention last cycle while running for House District 16, where he became friends with both his opponents. In The Advocate debate, Freborg demonstrated pragmatism and willingness to try new compromises.
Yes on 102. Allow cities and counties to partner with nonprofits and others to build affordable housing? Yes, please. That’s what Measure 102 does. This measure enjoys broad bipartisan support.
No on 103. Even if you hate the idea of a sales tax, you should hate this poisonous pill of a measure even more. Measure 103 actually lies to you. It says it’s about grocery taxes, but it’s so broadly and ambiguously written that everything from corporate taxation to gas taxes could be affected. Worse, it could tie the hands of Oregon voters considering future ballot initiatives for decades because this would be a constitutional amendment. Also, consider the likelihood of Salem ever passing a sales tax, this measure is unnecessary on its face, and ill-intentioned at its heart.
No on 104. So let me get this straight: Lawmakers under this measure could offer temporary tax breaks with a simple majority, but they’d need a three-fifths vote to undo the breaks. A three-fifths vote would also be required to raise fees, even to keep up with inflation. This would likely chill practical legislative tools like incentives and stimulus packages. Measure 104 is clearly just a big money power grab.
Hell No on 105. Legislators passed Oregon’s sanctuary law in 1987 by a large margin, and the reasons for it back then still resonate — maybe even more now. Statistically, the places that have sanctuary laws see immigrants more likely to report crimes, and to work with police. These laws protect immigrants from exploitation, and cut down crime rates. Repealing our sanctuary law would be plain dumb.
Wtf with Measure 106. If you think abortion is murder, you’ll vote yes. If you’re pro-choice, you’ll vote no. Supposedly this measure is about barring public funding of abortion in Oregon, which would disproportionately affect low-income women and their families. Our guess is this measure is also about getting certain right-wingers to the polls in some of the closer House and Senate districts. The Pew Research Foundation found 63% of Oregonians support keeping abortion legal in all or most cases.
STATE SENATE & LEGISLATIVE
We endorse Sara Gelser for State Senate District 8. Dan Rayfield, State Representative, District 16 is unopposed. Gelser and Rayfield have performed exceedingly well, and seem capable of balancing statewide needs with local needs. However, we’d like to see more legislative provision for our local circumstances, generally — and more work on housing and homelessness, specifically. Both these endorsees are Democrats.
For State Representative District 23, Danny Jaffer seems like an ideal choice. He is supported by multiple parties, even though he’s a registered Democrat. His chief opponent is Republican incumbent Mike Nearman, who has been tied to Oregon hate groups. And by tied, we mean our reporting in September found him sitting on the board of Oregonians For Immigration Reform, a group founded and maintained by white supremacists. Nearman is a major mover behind Measure 105, which seeks to strip Oregon of its heritage as a sanctuary state for immigrants. Please vote Jaffer.
Kate Brown is the right choice for governor if you care about your pocketbook, the environment, and equal opportunity. We believe that Governor Brown’s reputation for honesty and good practical governance make her the clear choice over opponent Knute Buehler.
For starters, most Oregonians are better off than when Kate Brown first took office. Oregon currently boasts a record low unemployment rate, which conflates well with Brown’s passage of some of the best minimum wage increase legislation in the country. It’s no wonder that our economy is cooking along nicely, and that the state’s finances have stabilized under Brown’s leadership.
Environmentalists laud Brown for passing the nation’s first coal-to-clean energy law, hot on the trail of also having passed a clean fuels law aimed specifically at oil companies. Opponent Buehler supported the coal-to-clean energy law, but not the clean fuels law. Buehler also opposes the carbon cap-and-trade law, which is anticipated for the next legislative session. Brown enthusiastically supports it.
Among Brown’s other accomplishments: Oregon’s largest transportation package in history, which among other goodies, features increased public transportation funding and incentives for consumers to purchase electric vehicles.
Governor Brown has passed over a dozen bills aimed at affordable housing, and has a firm grasp of what needs to be done next in this area of legislation. Also, Brown’s actions have added over 300,000 voters to Oregon’s rolls.
Brown has demonstrated bold and practical leadership as Governor, and while she’s not big on razzle dazzle showmanship, we respect her record.
On the other hand, there is Brown’s chief opponent. Knute Buehler postures to stay cozy with his Republican base, while also mouthing what he hopes will gain him progressive votes, and the resulting doubletalk is worrying.
For instance, Buehler argues against carbon cap-and-trade plans, characterizing them as a $1.4 billion tax on energy, and then turns around and says he’d like to see a “broad based” tax on emissions, which he would offset with income tax reductions. Huh?
Buehler has also made the outlandish claim that he’ll end homelessness. He told The Oregonian he would spend $10 million for 4,000 shelter beds, and 4,000 supportive beds. In other words, $1,250 a bed, which is ridiculous on its face. He also told them that he would end the state pre-emption on local sit-and-lie laws, which would essentially allow municipalities to make being homeless illegal in their communities. Buehler has been touting “tough love” concerning homelessness, but his plans are a recipe for increased homelessness, and could well cost lives.
Buehler becomes more vague after that. Something about $10 million a year for rental assistance, without any sense of how to pay for it. The Oregonian says Buehler would ‘coax’ municipalities to build 20,000 new housing units, and by coax he means hand them state land without funds.
Brown targets a more realistic $370 million figure to be paid with bonds, and appropriately prioritizes families with children. Her proposals are nuanced, and pragmatic – and they account for the need to make some one-time capital outlays, while having the flexibility to pay for them over time.
Somehow worse than Knute Buehler’s doubletalk is when he manages clarity. He supports Measure 105, which would end Oregon’s status as a sanctuary state for immigrants. He was against Measure 101 earlier this year, the passage of which is credited for keeping over 350,000 Oregonian Medicare recipients insured, and reducing anticipated rate increases for the privately insured.
Unlike Buehler, Brown was for 101, and is against 105.
In Brown’s next term, we’d like to see a start on school reform. We suspect current graduation rates issue from longstanding problems, and that further bandaging will not be effective. We recognize it will be some future governor that gets credit for whatever education reform is started now, but we think Brown is uniquely capable, given her previous work as a juvenile rights attorney. We would also like to see nation-leading work on our mental health system, given the rest of the country isn’t doing so great with this either.
Much has also been said about the Public Employees Retirement System’s $22 billion of unfunded liability, and we anticipate that whoever wins this year’s gubernatorial contest is going to have a tough go getting any real fix through Oregon’s legislature. Given both Oregon’s House and Senate likely remaining under Democratic leadership, we believe Brown has a better chance of negotiating a solution to the liability than Buehler.
Brown is one of six governors nationally that are women, and out of those, there is only one other that is a Democrat. She was this country’s first openly bisexual governor. We are endorsing Kate Brown because she has consistently stood up to Washington, DC when she should, and is quite a bit of what we would hope for in any state leader.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS: Editor-in-Chief Stevie Beisswanger, Associate Editor Johnny Beaver, Publisher Steven Schultz, and Interim Member for Governmental Affairs Jay Sharpe