What Gov. Kitzhaber said about Ballot Title tinkering

The Oregonian’s Dave Reinhard wrote a masterful article exposing the ballot title deception on Measure 49 (MUST READ HERE). Key to his article is the fact that the politicians passed a referral bill to gut Measure 37 property rights, and did so without allowing a judicial review of the ballot title. Years ago, Governor Kitzhaber made the same complaint when the Republicans tried to do the same awful act for a different ballot referral. Here is the full text of Kitzhaber’s complaint referenced in Reinhard’s article:

By limiting access to the courts, this bill poses a dangerous threat to the right of Oregonians to freely and fully participate in the electoral process. I cannot allow this important right to be eroded.

SB 1120 bill would prohibit judicial review of the ballot title that will accompany SJR 41 which places before Oregon voters a proposed constitutional amendment relating to obscenity. This means that Oregonians will completely forgo their rights to appeal this issue to the highest court in the land””a right we hold dear.

Regardless of the merits of SJR41, I think it is important to preserve the right of Oregonians who may disagree with the Legislature to challenge the proposed ballot title in court. Oregon voters deserve a fair and objective description of the effects of proposed ballot measures. Anything less undermines our rights as citizens. The proper place to make this determination is in a court of law, removed from the influences of the political process.

I’m aware that the Legislature has chosen to bypass this appeal process in the past. This rare exception was invoked only when the Legislature needed to get a quick answer from the voters. It is never appropriate to avoid the appeals procedure in an effort to thwart court scrutiny and bypass citizens who may have an alternate point of view on the objectivity of the proposed ballot title.

John A. Kitzhaber


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Posted by at 07:35 | Posted in Measure 37 | 10 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Philo

    I think Kitzhaber was as animated beacuse he didn’tlike the measure to begin with, especially since he had such a vehement relationship with the Legislature. Still, it is refreshing to hear the Governor come to the side of the people on such a basic issue.

  • iop

    It is nice that the elected desire to give us a vote on the measure, but since they are actively lying and tricking voters in order to do it makes it a double bad in my book. Not to mention that they refuse to implement the measure after voters clearly spoke last time.

    This is a good exampel of government working at its worst!

  • Jerry

    There is nothing nice at all about “the elected desiring to give us a vote on the measure”. We already had the vote and it passed.

    • Anonymous

      apparently you think the public never changes its mind? especially when something doesn’t work out as planned?

      • Steve Plunk

        The public can change it’s mind but the legislature is not the public. I would suggest that if this is a case of buyers remorse then the public should gather signatures and put an initiative measure on the ballot. That’s how we got measure 37, through the hard work of many Oregonians. This legislative referral is a trick.

        Measure 37 has not been bad for the state but has been bad for government agencies and planning officials who can longer control land owners. It is working out well and is exactly as it was sold to the voters.

  • Jerry

    Anon – if the public changes its mind it can always put the measure up before the voters. What kind of person are you?? How you can so blindly trust these morons to do anything is beyond my belief. Man, no wonder the legislature keeps trying to do this stupid stuff – people like you encourage them.
    Apparently you don’t understand how the public can react if the public changes its mind.
    By the way, just who has changed their minds? I did not see or hear any clamour from “the public” to vote on this again. None.
    None at all.

    • Anonymous

      thats because you’re deaf – or ignore all those who said they voted for it and realized it wasnt what they thought

  • Jerry

    Then they must be stupid…it wasn’t hard to figure out…maybe they could not read…just listened to the blather…who knows, but vote it they did….if they are unhappy they can refer it again through the same process that got it on the ballot in the first place. But, you know what, it would never qualify because NOT THAT MANY people are that upset with it. You wish they were, but they are not.
    PS – I am not deaf – I am just not a left-wing wack job who wants the government to do everything for me like you do…
    Your name-calling shows that you can not win the argument on facts…
    sad, very sad…pathetic almost…
    In fact, it is.

    • Captain_Anon

      I would have to agree with the other poster and disagree with you. representatives head from thier constiuents that they wanted it changed. and so they did it. they aren’t stupid, or deaf. they just have a different opinion than you. and believe it or not, disagreeing with you does not make someone mentally retarded or stupid.

      MANY people believe it was something other than it turned out to be. sound bites can certainly have a way of misleading people or changing perception – otherwise the ad time wouldn’t be bought. Even the lumber company who had filed claims on tens of thousands of acres of land withdrew its claims because as they said, the measure wasn’t intended for such mass develeopment as they could have done – it was intended for folks wanting to build thier retirement homes.

      And Jerry, c’mon. you’re the #1 name caller on the board. Pot, meet kettle. You probably shouldn’t be criticizing someone for name calling.

    • Captain_Anon

      I would also say that the sheer number of claims and time required to process them required a quicker response than the measure process would have taken. originally, the legislature was going to remedy the fix themselves last session, but couldn’t cross party lines. the same was true of this session. however, whereas previously they dropped the ball, they got a bill written, but wanted to give it to the people to see if they got it right, so they referred it to the voters for confirmation. the process changed as they drafted the legislation.

      and frankly, the legislaters are much better at crafting legal language than the common everyday person. the wording of the original measure 37 proces that. as it was written, it does not allow M37 rights to be transferred. and that’s in the plain language of the measure. the other language is so vague it has spurred lawsuit after lawsuit seeking clarification. i don’t see how that’s ‘working perfectly’ or ‘as it was meant to.’

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