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Primary Thoughts

The nonpartisan ballot for the Oregon primary doesn't offer many things to vote on. Ten judges but only one race with a competitor, plus three state measures. Hard to get excited. But I'll try.

At first blush I thought the judicial race between Andy Erwin and (incumbent) Keith Rogers would be difficult to find information for, but then I found this story about the race that makes me believe it's rather heated. My eyebrows go up a little reading the comments about peoples' yard signs being stolen and vandalized multiple times. I can't quickly make up my mind about this race.

Measure 51 sounds like a sure thing. No arguments filed against it, lots of arguments filed for it, and an explanatory statement that makes it sound like it's all good things. But I read the actual text of the measure and am deeply troubled by Sec. 42 (5):

Upon the filing by the prosecuting attorney of an affidavit setting forth cause, a court shall suspend the rights established in this section in any case involving organized crime or victims who are minors.

It does not make sense to me that victims' rights in cases involving organized crime should be different than in other cases. The explanatory statement says this is because the victims may be co-conspirators; I am unconvinced that this is a good reason to suspend their rights. It also does not make sense to me that a minor should be denied the particular rights established in this section. The explanatory statement says minors could be manipulated by the accused; I do not agree that removing rights from a victim who is a minor can be better than leaving the option to assert those rights. I am leaning against this one. It'll pass anyway.

Measure 52 is similar to measure 51 in providing enforcement for victims' rights. I see no troubling language in the text of the measure so I'll be voting in favor of this one.

Measure 53 is pure evil. I have read too many horror stories of asset forfeiture to in any way desire the process be made easier. Oregon's protections against forfeiture are fairly strong but I would want them to be made even stronger, not weaker, as this measure would do. The most offensive thing it would do is to turn justice on its head and put the burden on the accused to show that cash, weapons, or negotiable instruments found near "controlled substances or instrumentalities of criminal conduct" are not the proceeds of crime. I'm voting against!


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Tiny Island