Oregon AFSCME E-lert
Oct. 17, 2014
Edited by Don
Council 75 Communications
BIG BUCK$ — Big corporate dollars continue to flow into
Measure 90, the measure that would dramatically change our elections and make
it easier for special interests to elect candidates that side with their narrow agenda — at the expense of working
Michael Bloomberg, the 8th
richest man in the United States, recently dropped $1.25 million into the election.
Bloomberg's contribution is just the latest in a number of large checks sent
from out-of-state billionaires to support the effort to replace Oregon's
primary elections. In total, these special interests have contributed more than
$4 million to date, making Measure 90 one of the most heavily funded ballot
measure campaigns in Oregon's history.
So what's in it for them?
What brings together this elite but small group of out-of-state billionaires, Associated
Oregon Industries, and a number of
other big corporations?
It's not hard to connect the
interests are trying to change how Oregon conducts our elections so they can
more easily elect the types of candidates who will side with their corporate
agenda. Measure 90 would replace our current May primary election with a "Top
Two" system that essentially guarantees that only the two best-funded
candidates would reach the November ballot. Third party/minor party candidates
would never see a general election ballot.
Corporate funders are
spending millions to back Measure 90 because they think they'll get something
out of it. Don't let special interests choose candidates for us. Oregon AFSCME
urges its members to vote "No!" on Measure 90!
* * *
DIRTY LITTLE NOT-SO-SECRET — Ballots are going in the mail this weekend
across Oregon for the Nov. 4 General Election. You should have yours by Monday
or Tuesday. If you have not received your ballot by next Friday (Oct.
24), you should contact your county elections office to see what's up.
Once you have your ballot in
hand, it's in your best interest to vote quickly and return your ballot
immediately. Why? One, you won't forget later. Two, it will stem all of those
little "reminder" phone calls you receive at home — from AFSCME and
Here's the skinny: whether
or not you vote is a public record in Oregon. Not how you vote, obviously, but whether you do. And in the
sophisticated digital age of the 21st Century, county elections
offices are constantly updating their voter file lists as ballots come in. In
turn, AFSCME and a zillion other organizations pay to receive updates on who's
voted and who hasn't, and those updates form the basis of the call lists. Ergo,
the quicker you return your ballot, not only have you performed your civic
duty, you've also gotten yourself off the call list. By the way, such lists are
always 48 hours or so behind, so don't get too irritated if someone calls you the day after you've
mailed your ballot, there is some lag time.
* * *
GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY — We haven't yet taken time in an e-lert you give you AFSCME perspective on Ballot Measure
86, which the union has endorsed.
We're doing so now.
Measure 86 is about making
college education more affordable. Dubbed the Oregon Opportunity Initiative,
Measure 86 would create a constitutionally dedicated permanent fund that will
be invested to generate income. Income from the investment returns will both
increase student assistance in the short-term, and also put Oregon on a path
toward a lasting solution.
The fund could be created in
various ways, such as direct deposits over time, bond proceeds, or periodic
The fund itself isn't spent,
but rather invested — with the earnings dedicated to student assistance
programs. The benefits are proportional to the size of the fund, but are
expected to continue to grow over time.
To maximize the impact of
the grants, program administrators would be asked to design incentives for:
- Critical degree programs in STEM fields;
- Vocational training and other workforce
development programs; and
- On-time graduation (measured by credits), to
reduce infrastructure needs as well as student debt.
Read more at he Oregon Opportunity Initiative
* * *
UNION RECOMMENDATIONS — If you'd like to know who AFSCME has
endorsed in the Nov. 4 election, look for a mailer soon divided by regions. Our
endorsements are intended as a guide. It's a very grass-roots, democratic
(small "D") process. Candidates are interviewed locally by a panel of members.
That panel makes a recommendation to the Council 75 Political Action Committee,
which in turn makes a final list of recommendations to the Oregon AFSCME
Executive Board, which has the final say. The E-Board is elected every two
years at the biennial Oregon AFSCME Convention, and is balanced both
geographically and by type of membership (state employees, city employees,
etc.). You can also review the entire list of endorsements, as well as more
details on the process, on the Election
Central tab of our website.
For those of you in
Clackamas County, the Oregon Education Association is asking AFSCME voters in
Clackamas County to support Measure 3-447, the Clackamas Community College bond measure. OEA notes that Measure
3-447 does not increase taxes, it simply continues the current bond rate for
CCC — a low rate of less than $40 per year for most Clackamas County
property owners. The bond will support Career Technical Education programs
needed for students of all ages into the future, and Measure 3-447 supports
affordable transfer programs that lead to four-year degrees.
* * *
WALK, TALK — Finally, we close this edition of the e-lert with a reminder that with ballots now soon in hand,
it's more important than ever for us to get out the vote. There are several
canvasses and phone banks upcoming that could use some volunteer help.
- For phone banks out of the Salem office, contact
- For information on events in other areas,
contact your staff representative in your area field office.
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