Friday, July 18, 2014

What our transportation agencies, city officials, and planners ought to be doing instead . . .

. . . Of building more of the same.  Since Cherriots is going broke and cutting services, the time is now -- we need to build a supple, augmented, 24/7 system of fixed-route buses integrated with tools that support walking, biking, carpooling, jitneys, and shared use of private motor vehicles.

Over in Helsinki, Finland, the local government has announced a bold transportation venture that every Sightline employee can cheer. By 2025, the government aims to integrate shared and public transit into a single network, and the end goal would be to make car-ownership wholly unnecessary.

Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design | Life and style |

Open primary = final step in total corporate takeover of elections

The "open" primary -- brought to you by the very same people who have made politics so toxic and so soul-sucking -- should really be called "closed general elections, only corporate favorites need apply."  This is like the guy who sells tires throwing tacks and nails all over the road -  causing the problem and then hoping to profit off the fix.

To see how stupid this is, think about this:

Why don't we Ask the makers of Bud Light and Miller Lite if stores should be allowed to offer all those off brands of craft beers, or if they should be forced to poll their cities and then only stock the two most popular brands (as determined mainly by people who don't much like beer and who never try anything but the big brands)?

Of course the big two breweries will love it if each store could only stock the top two brands as  determined in a poll of mainly apathetic folks who really don't care enough about beer to have a distinct preference.  Yup, the two "Love in a Canoe" brands would think its a great idea -- after all, their heavily advertised brands of swill seems fine in comparison to the other, and each one starts with billions of dollars of preformed advertising advantages that ensure that they will always be in the top two, no matter how insipid the product. And if they could outlaw craft brewing entirely, they would.

And both would really prefer not to have to compete against distinctive brands that stand out and offer a memorable flavor or mix of unexpected tastes.

That's exactly what the so-called "open primary," does -- it opens the door to complete corporate takeover of all elections, and it lets their servants in the two big parties completely hardware themselves into power, protected from any meaningful competition forever, while letting the rich have even more control of the result than they already do.

If you want to make sure all voters have the same say in determining who gets into office, the obvious way to do it in Oregon is to take advantage of our state constitution, which already allows ranked choice voting (called preference voting). Instead of a primary and a general, paying for two elections to do the work of one, let's just have a single election round in the general election, with each party's nominee on the ballot.  We would let voters rank their preferences 1, 2, 3, and so on. Then all voters get the same power when it counts, and the members of each party can pick their candidates.

Tim Nesbitt: Open primary would be a game changer for Oregon politics
// Politics & Elections

By Tim Nesbitt"Game changer" is an overused term in politics. But a ballot measure that changes the way our elections are organized certainly deserves that billing. And the one that just qualified for the Oregon ballot in November may change...