Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oregon Ballet Measures 49 & 50

How's this for a spooky Halloween castle?
Chateau de Menthon St Bernard, Haute Savoie, France
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As our November 6th election nears, the television and radio ads are sending us enough mixed messages to make our heads spin.

Measure 50 has to do with taxing tobacco and using the money for children's health care. That sounds like a good idea. Then, you hear the conflicting ads, and both sides seem to make valid points. One argument against the measure claims that we already have a program for children's health care in place, but it hasn't been effective due to disorganization and/or apathy. Why not, the ads ask, get the existing program working, rather than adding new taxes? We can't help but be suspicious of those ads opposing the measure, though, because the fine print reveals that they've been paid for by tobacco giant Phillip Morris. Plus, the ads in favor of the measure are supported by the cancer and heart associations, who you would hope have the public's best interest in mind.

Most of the ads against Measure 50 place great emphasis on the fact that it would make an amendment to the state constitution, in order to make sure that all of the funds would go to kids' healthcare and would be untouchable by politicians for other purposes. The actors in the ads pretend to be so appalled by the fact that the constitution would be affected. Right, like people would rather leave children without health care than, gulp, amend the state constitution. How lame. Nice try, Phillip Morris.

Measure 49, on the other hand, involves a property owner's right to develop land. It supposedly makes changes to a prior measure that passed a year or two ago, which opened the door to increased development. Again, hearing the opposing views, it would seem both sides are right. This one will probably take some serious reading to decipher. The voter information pamphlet looks like War and Peace. It's got about fifty pages of microscopic type, most of which is undoubtedly very dry subject matter. The thing is, you hear land owners giving sob stories of the possibility of losing their family farms if they aren't allowed to develop the land as they please, then you hear the other side saying that these people are really just hoping to cut subdivisions through the middle of the forest. Given the fact that our state has sort of pioneered restrictions on urban sprawl, this is a touchy issue. We're not looking forward to reading that exciting pamphlet, but it looks like we'll probably have to in order to make an informed decision.

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