On Tuesday of this past week, Hardy Myers confirmed the well orchestrated rumor that he would not seek re-election as Oregon Attorney
General. That means every statewide office (except governor) is an open seat. Bill Bradbury is barred by terms limits from running again for Secretary of State. Randall Edwards will not be seeking re-election as State Treasurer and now Myers has announced he will not seek re-election. It’s a trifecta. And nobody is more focused on getting their candidates to fill those offices than the public employees unions.

Please note that I said public employees unions and not their political action committees. After all, the public employees unions do just about nothing other than politics. And there is a good reason for that. Politics is what guarantees them higher salaries, bigger benefits, ease in organizing and assurance that money for the unions will continue to be collected by the government and remitted monthly to their coffers. That amount collected by state, county and municipal governments is the tidy sum of about $58 million every election cycle. That amount of money goes a long ways to making sure that Democrats control every statewide office and both houses of the legislature. And control is what matters.

With the Democrats in control of the legislature for the first time in over a dozen years, the public employees unions gained significant salary increases, preservation and funding of the gold plated PERS system, and a new law that eliminates the need for elections for union organizing efforts. Now the public employee unions are free to confront employees one at a time, without observation, and “convince” the employee to sign a union preference card without a follow up election.

And with that kind of money, the public employee unions control who gets the nod for the Democrat nominations and, thereafter, who gets those vast sums of money, coupled with the legions of paid volunteers, to make sure that they are elected. Here is where you begin to understand the nuances of power politics within the Democrat Party. There isn’t a public declaration by the public employee unions as to who should get the nomination. It is a lot more subtle than that. But in the end, nobody brings as much as the public employee unions to the table and they generally get their way.

And the corollary of that is also true. If there is an incumbent that has not toed the line, money and support is withheld until that incumbent remembers who is really running the show. Just ask Gov. Kulongoski. When Kulongoski tried to do the right thing regarding reform of the burdensome PERS mess, the public employee unions went ballistic. What should have been a cake walk to re-nomination turned into a fight for his political life. And Kulongoski learned his lesson will. Not only did he endorse every union measure, he promised to veto any further attempts to fix PERS. He promised to create more public employee jobs and to make sure they got big raises. He promised to endorse sole source contracts that prohibited government from seeking savings by outsourcing non-critical functions. And then to top it off he made two union officials his two top administration officials. First he made Skip Terhune chief of staff and then Tim Nesbitt deputy chief of staff. (Insiders in the capitol are so used to dealing with Nesbitt for decisions that they now commonly refer to him as Gov. Nesbitt.)

So who is it that will get the unions’ approval for the nominations for these various offices? Well, it’s pretty obvious that Rep. Jeff Merkley has already secured the nod to run against Sen. Gordon Smith for the United States Senate, especially after Alan Bates recognized the handwriting on the wall and withdrew from consideration. It’s a pretty good bet that Sen. Kate Brown will get the nod for the Secretary of State race even though current treasurer Randall Edwards is eyeing the race. But the most interesting one will be whether Republican turned Independent turned Democrat, Ben Westlund, will get the nod for State Treasurer. It is doubtful that the unions trust Westlund anymore than the rest of the politicians and that they will seek and find a better candidate.

The public employee unions are in substantial control of the political process. There is no countervailing force within the Republican party. The system is out of balance and the unions are not shy about pushing the levers of power.

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Posted by at 06:02 | Posted in Measure 37 | 27 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Dan

    I think we have a couple more statewide offices than just the big four….

    Labor Commissioner?

    State Superintendent of Schools?

  • Jerry

    Yes, you do, and that is why unemployment is up and test scores are down!

  • eagle eye

    Waaahhh! The public employees unions are in control and the Repbublicans are weak. Maybe this says something about what the people in Oregon want? They certainly don’t seem inclined to change anything. Maybe it means something that they keep throwing cold water on the Republicans?


      Gotta agree with you on that one 🙁

  • Peter

    egle eye,
    Maybe it means the perpetual dishonesty from public employee unions and their pals in the press have been effective at creating a public perception not resembling even close the realtiies of socialism, dishonesty and dysfunction the Oregon Democrats truly represent.
    Just as the democrats assualted our schools with 15 years of CIMCAM and the press covered for them so goes the assault on our property rights, assaults on our paychecks, assaults on housing affordability, assualt on our transportation systems and the endless schemes to dominate all policy making in the state, always under false pretenses with detrimental outcomes.

    • Anonymous

      oh hi there mr conspiracy theorist.

      IT’S ALL A FIX!!

      • Anonymous

        I think you’re right it is a conspiracy. I’m serious.

    • eagle eye

      Peter, maybe, but I doubt that the unions and liberals are that diabolically clever. The Republicans have had at least two election cycles where they had what looked like decent candidates — Mannix and Saxton — and they lost both times, the second time pretty badly. I haven’t seen much reflection on what, if anything, they can do to become competitive again in Oregon elections. Just moaning and groaning about the evil unions isn’t going to cut it.

      Maybe the best the right can do in this state is to win referenda and then have the liberal Democrats in office to try to govern. That’s pretty much what it’s been since Measure 5 way back in 1990. I happen to think that the property rights initiative will be the end of the one of this. A good indication might be Measure 48 (TABOR-style spending limits) losing worse than 70-30 last time out. Maybe I’m wrong. Even so, having liberal Democrats in office to try to pick up the pieces after conservative referendum victories is a hell of a way to govern.


      If people aren’t smart enough to think for themselves instaed of getting their opinions from a poorly managed paper then they deserve what they get! In this case it’s bad government ran by public unions!

      • eagle eye

        I think we’re more or less on the same page on this but I’m a little less skeptical about the wisdom of the voters. If they keep saying the Repbulican offerings don’t smell right, maybe it’s worth heeding. I would like to see an alternative to the Democrats in this state but I just don’t see much that is attractive and saleable here. Simply moaning about it isn’t going to do any good. I don’t have the answer but I wish somebody would try to come up with something better than we’ve gotten lately.

        • CRAWDUDE

          I think as long as Portland is such a huge voting block in this state there will be no solution. I do agree that the GOP candidates seem to have a huge personality problem. I can only assume it comes from the fact that they don’t have a concrete platform that they all stick to. Instead many break ranks on various issues which in-flames the traditional conservative voter and drives a wedge into their base.

          Until the GOP in this stae has someone who can unite their party it’ll stay 2nd fiddle. Unfortunately that destines the state to being run by public employee unions and special interests……………the results of that aren’t exactly stellar(unless you’re in a public employee union).

  • Peter

    Oh I’m sorry eagle eye, are you confused? You didn’t respond to any one of the examples I gave.

    You and your democrats do indeed perpetrate the following and the press covers and promotes for you.

    Just as the democrats assualted our schools with 15 years of CIMCAM and the press covered for them
    so goes the assault on our property rights,
    assaults on our paychecks,
    assaults on housing affordability,
    assualt on our transportation systems
    and the endless schemes to dominate all policy making in the state,
    always under false pretenses with detrimental outcomes.

    • eagle eye

      Right, Peter, I’m confused. Keep everyone clear-headed about the leftwing/union conspiracy, and you’ll keep winning those statewide elections just like you have been.

      Maybe a rerun of Measure 48? Maybe the 2-1 drubbing Susan Castillo gave whathisname for state school super? Maybe you can get Ron Saxton to try again. Or even Bill Sizemore. So many winning formulas, it’s tough to choose.

  • Marvin McConoughey

    The CIM/CAM had widespread support from both parties in the legislature when it passed, and continued support for years after, from members of both parties. The past State Superintendent of Schools, Norma Paulus, was a strong supporter in an influential position. Rather than blame one party, I put the blame on a lazy work ethic in the state legislature and in the state education establishment that failed to ask enough questions, demand competent answers, and then to act on the findings.

    • eagle eye

      Thanks for the memory update, Marvin. Yes, Norma Paulus, onetime candidate for Governor as REPUBLICAN was heavily instrumental (as state school super) in the introduction of CIM/CAM. Barely ten years later, the Oregon House voted 55-2 to abolish them. I guess it was all 55 Republicans in the Oregon House against the 2 Dems!

      I’m afraid it’s going to take more than rewriting the history of CIM/CAM to bring the dead Oregon Republicans back to life.

  • Peter

    Marvin and eagle eye,
    Your CIMCAM spin was classic Oregon Democrat deceit.

    Every single Democrat defended CIMCAM during the last 10 years of it’s assualt on our school. It had become a Democrat policy through and through. The fact that RINO Norma Paulus helped initiate it in 1991 and popped up a couple times with Vera Katz to defend it means nothing.
    I watched 100% of democrats defend it and in doing so sustained it for many years more than it should have been retained.
    And Democrats did so with rampant dishonesty from the Democrat dominated ODE, OSBA, OEA and COSA.
    There was extensive questions and critiquing by many and Democrats ignored it all as they locked arms to defend the CIMCAM reform.
    The bullshit they came up with to lie to the public was disgusting.

    Now you add more disgusting behavior in it’s aftermath.
    The tremendous waste fraud and abuse that YOU and YOURS have perpetrated upon our public school system is never ending.

    And you lying pigs try to cover up the Democrat fraud and deceit.

    Where do you get the “barely ten years”,,, ass?
    1991 to 2007 = 16 years
    That 55-2 vote was only after Castillo quietly gave up on the fraud she had recenlty defended again.
    Yes every democrat stopped or voted against getting rid of it earlier.
    You are such a band of lying, ignorant jerks.

    • Marvin McConoughey

      Peter, I was startled to find out that I am included in your view that the “lying pigs try to cover up the Democrat fraud and deceit.” My recollections of Oregon’s K-12 education reform attempts come from having attended the long legislative hearings process that preceded adoption of CIM/CAM and much else in the early 1990s. My wife served on work groups, and together we learned much. Were you there? Vera Katz was a strong proponent of education reform, but at the final vote the total opposition was confined to two or three fairly weak objections. The reforms passed overwhelmingly and without much discussion. There was plenty of intellectual laziness to enable both parties to share the indolence. I was, and always have been, an opponent of CIM/CAM.

  • Peter

    Well then Marvin you must have dropped out if you missed the years of Rebublican dominated efforst to get rid of the early recognized flop and democrats chorus of defense that it was education sliced bread.
    You can’t tell me anything about the adoption of CIMCAM I don’t already know. Yeah it was passed by both parties. So what. So was the 24 school crosswalks a couple sesssions ago.

    Yes you are a cover up pig. Democrats have meddled with our schools for years and the mother of all fraudulent meddling was CIMCAM whihc was heavily dominated by Democrats pushing it for it’s entire life.
    Now those same democrats are rewritting history and embarking on more meddling. It never ends. The dishonesty never ends. And the unethical asssitance by our jounalists never ends.
    However today’s O does mention “his party” opposed CIMCAM for years in talking of Krummel.
    But today’s education misrepresentations and deceit continues by Democrats.
    Too bad you dropped out after CIMCAM was adopted. But then you probably didn’t want to alienate yourself by taking a principaled stance by fighting CIMCAM’s damage.
    After all Democrats don’t like their people to sway from the party line.

  • Marvin McConoughey

    You say, “Too bad you dropped out after CIM/CAM was adopted.” Not so. I remained continuously attentive and attended the legislature’s subsequent reform reviews. I still remember the meetings chaired by Tom Hartung and his courteous “Strong testimony, very strong,” responses to witnesses. Unfortunately, Senator Hartung was not an opponent of CIM/CAM. The CIM/CAM was also extensively discussed on the OregonBlue website where many democrats voiced opposition. My later involvement included a lengthy written input to the State Board of Education in response to its “Request for Comments regarding: Alignment and Adequacy of Oregon’s Education Standards, Requirements and Assessments Within K-12, Between K-12 and Postsecondary Level.” Subsequent to that very long input, Susan Castillo announced the end of CIM/CAM.

  • eagle eye

    Peter: you are as good an example as I’ve seen in a long time of why the Republicans/conservatives are turning people off in this state. Of course, you’re not running for any office — I hope — but your attitudes come across in many of the candidates the Republicans choose.

    You can call Norma Paulus a RINO all you want. The fact is she served in Congress and two statewide offices as a Republican, and ran for governor. Go ahead and pick “real” Republicans from now on. They’re doing swell, and the Republicans have guys like you to thank.

  • Peter

    Marvin, you are one typical deceitful person spinning along your dishonest way.

    There wasn’t squat for Democrats trying to get rid of the fraud CIMCAM and you had nothing to do with it’s demise pal. By the time Castillo called for it’s end it had proven to bee a pile of crap even your pals could pno longer prop up.
    So shut up withe Bullshit.

    I watched much of the “OregonBlue”,,,,that’s BlueOregon, website and for you to claim “many democrats voiced opposition” is a joke.
    That same cult propped up everythhing Castillo did to perpetuate the fraud and they played the same game of hide the Democrats responsibility that you do. Progessive staples like Steve Novick was there at every turn and hearing defending CIMCAM. All the usual D suspects lined up with him. And now you jerks are covering it up.

    The State Board of Education “Request for Comments regarding: Alignment and Adequacy of Oregon’s Education Standards, Requirements and Assessments Within K-12, Between K-12 and Postsecondary Level” was nothing but BS to prep for Castillo’s announcement

    Eagle eye,
    You are a typical example of the Oregon progessive who grew too accustomed to Republican dosile ways.

    Norma Paulus was and is a joke as a Republican who did more to lock arms with Katz and Kitzhaber than ever advance anything conservative.

    You’re a classic dishonest and unethical progressive bullshitter who enjoys the Oregon Republican party RINOs and their “best defense is no offense” approach to the conservsative causes in this state.

    Too many Republicans in this State give a shit how YOU view how my “attitudes come across”.

    It isn’t guys like me Republicans have to thank. It’s the RINOs and the party leadership who think they have to listen to creeps like you and play to the Democrat journalists and editorial boards.

    Arguing that CIMCAM was not a lengthy Democrat assualt on our public schools and funding is like arguing Democrats haven’t been in a chorus of oppostion to property rights. Or that Democrats haven’t been pushing all things Global Warming.

    What a couple of jerks.

    • eagle eye

      Peter, I can’t help it, your charm keeps coming across and I think you have a great future as a Republican candidate.

  • Peter

    Eagle eye,
    Your smart ass attitude is not so much charm.
    Your expectations that your dishonest and unethical bullshit should be met with charm is further insulting.
    Understand that I prefer to beat the crap out of you, figuratively speaking of course, and not please you. So if you are offended by my tone or methods then I am on task.
    If you find the Norma Paulus brand of Republican pleasing well big surprise.
    You have blatantly lied on this thread, are among the progressives who forever bullshit along horrific policies, blame others when they don’t work, pretend to be nice about inflicting the frauds and then act offended when you are addressed and named for what you are.
    You can’t utter an honest angle about the long Democrat CIMCAM fraud. Everything that led to it’s demise was beyond evident long before Castillo jumped ship. It was her who led much of the later year’s defense. It was Democrat legislators and Democrat activist like Novick who spewed all sorts of deceit to defend the refrom.
    Those who did this to our schools were and are scum. IMO.
    The fact that you find no charm in that recognition is just more of your usual Democrat avoidance and diverting.

  • Marvin McConoughey

    Thanks for correcting me on my BlueOregon typo. I respond to your entry “Every single Democrat defended CIMCAM during the last 10 years of it’s assualt on our school.” You may be right, Peter, but I wonder….How do you know that every single Democrat defended CIM/CAM? That size of population seems a great many people to keep tabs on.

  • Peter

    I’m talking about Democrat legislators, officials and their activists like Novick. Not ALL Democrats. What’s wrong with you?

    I’ve watched them, read them, listened to them, attended hearings, and talked to them. I witnessed them lie and deceive by getting others to add to their propaganda latent defense.
    It was sickening and full of complete crap.
    Mary Nolan was so out of her mind she suggested Oregon patent CIMCAM and sell it to other states.
    Sure there was afew crazed RINOs like Vick Backlund to fought to keep CIMCAM torturing our schools and their budgets.
    But I could go on and on how the Democrat establishment cooked up bald faced lies to prop up CIMCAM.
    Now they are lying to avoid anyone holding them accountable.
    You are helping them

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