I hope Oregonians are reading between the lines as legislators and top officials begin to talk about their plans for the future.
Example: The governors budget proposal that protects education and state employee’s and proposes cuts to programs for our most vulnerable seniors and the disabled. I admit, I have a brother in-law who is disabled and gets help from the state. Yes, I’m bias on this issue. But come on, what’s really going on here? Why is he protecting these particular employees? You have to ask these questions and really think about it. I don’t see anyone in the media asking do you?
Our new Secretary of State and Attorney General announced this morning they want to crack down on abusers of Oregon’s Initiative Process. Boy, that sounds good doesn’t it. But what does it mean to the people of Oregon? What do we lose in the process? Will the process become even more difficult for us to use? Is this a move to protect us or those who hate the initiative process? Why do they hate the process so much? Is it really because people abuse it or is it because it keeps them accountable and brings up ideas they don’t like? That’s what elections are for, we get to decide, not the government. Yes, we all know of those who seem to make a career out of the process but Oregonians have the final say and as we saw this last election decided against most of the initiatives on the ballot. I’m not saying we shouldn’t crack down on abuse but instead of grandstanding perhaps we should enforce the laws that already exist. When someone is caught faking signatures, we should prosecute them and make an example of them. We don’t do that right now for each case, only the ones that create the biggest headline. I’ve talked with signature gathering businesses who told me they turned in names of employee’s they had caught faking signatures and the state never prosecuted them. Wouldn’t that be cracking down on abusers? And we wouldn’t have to change anything simply enforce the laws that already exist.
So, voters, January is just around the corner and we have a job to do. We can’t just take what’s said at face value. It’s unfortunate but we have to ask more questions. We need to look at what’s behind each move. If we don’t “we” stand to lose the most. Before you take anything at face value, you must “read between the lines” or forever hold your peace, and that’s exactly what some are hoping we do.