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Tell me how to vote

It's time for someone to tell me how to vote in Oregon, and why. Please and thank you!

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  • I mostly just looked to the Merc and the WW, and then reserved the right to disagree. There's some lefty statewide voters guide out there too but I can't find it, but anyway, they recommended yes on all statewide measures.

    The ones that seem not to have a 'party line' in my social circles are elected vs. appointed Multco sheriff, abolish/keep Multco Commish term limits, and county campaign finance limits.

    Please vote yes on M97 & affordable housing - any argument about how they're imperfect is just not commensurate with the degree of need, and the length of time people have spent trying to fix school funding and housing. We can't dither around on those. If you think you don't agree, let me at least dig up some articles on the subject for you to consider.

    I still like Novick and I wish Eudaly had taken on Fritz or Fish.

    I know folks who categorically object to ballot measures that micro-manage the state budget (e.g. % for vets & Oregon Outdoor School), since that's no way to balance a budget/prioritize/see the big picture. The're both constitutional amendments, too, which gets some people riled up.
  • I'm probably going to write in Teressa Raiford for Sheriff, if only to live up to my belief that if only women were allowed to become cops, police violence would decrease by leaps and bounds.

    http://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2016/10/24/18650795/dont-shoot-portlands-teressa-raiford-wants-to-be-sheriff
  • Thank you, Freddy! I've only barely begun to research 97 but I think I'm leaning toward "no" so your articles would be very much appreciated!
  • I thought wweek endorsed a No on 97?
  • edited October 2016
    They did.

    I have heard such mixed things on 97. I am all about making super rich companies contribute to the community they got rich being a part of, but I feel like if they raised the 25 million threshold to like 100 million it would be less controversial. I have heard a couple OPB stories about these towns that are pretty much built around 1 giant factory that employs everyone in town. Those companies are big but not giants. Their argument being they basically built these little towns and take care of their residents and having to chip in more is making them consider going elsewhere which is understandably making a lot of people in those towns pretty anxious and frightened. It is sorta a bully move by those companies, but also I wouldn't argue with them saying they have contributed a lot to these little communities so yeah. Seems like a pretty tough issue. I haven't really dug into the details on it though.
  • edited October 2016
    I took a deep breath and voted yes on 97. Still not sure that was the right call, can totally see both sides.

    A few places where I surprised myself;

    I went with the Republican Sec. of State as Brad seems like an alien programmed to run a generic progressive campaign.

    Ended up agreeing with Willy Week that the housing bond (26-179) is a gold-plated knee-jerk reaction, and high school career/tech earmarking (M98) is a dangerous game to play right now with our public schools critically underfunded. Maybe if M97 passes and I felt more confident about the state's finances I would change my opinion in the future.

    EDIT: Also went with Chloe.
  • Freddy, what's your view on Novick? I abhor what he has done for Uber so much that I consider it a deal breaker.
  • I like Novick. I think he actually has cojones, which is rare in Portland and in Oregon. He tackled reform of our totally fucked handicap parking permit system, for example, which most people would be too scared to take on, and it was totally successful. I think he's thoughtful and interested in data and evidence, which I respect. And while he's not, like, a bike nut, he has been open and a good partner on transportation and housing issues, he's hired a stellar transportation director, and my friends at PBOT seem quite happy with him at the helm. He was the only commissioner to vote against the police contract too.

    What is it that you think he has done for Uber? Just that he let them in the city at all?

    I haven't evaluated Eudaly at all because I'm mad she took on the one actually interesting/competent city council member. For gods sake why didn't she take on wackadoo Fritz?!
  • I hate Uber for many reasons, but my two primary concerns are:
    1. I support unions and union-dominated industries
    2. Uber is less safe for the rider than cabs (minimal insurance to cover passengers in case of accidents, less stringent background checks, no regular drug testing beyond hire and the investigation of complaints)

    Novick is regarded as having led the deal with Uber. I think it was so unethical for him to direct his campaign consultant into lobbying the city on their behalf--when they were already operating here illegally. It smells fishy and looks slimy.

    Ride share drivers are insured for $50k vs. taxi driver's $1m. I'm satisfied with the level of safety built into the cab industry. Sometimes an Uber ride costs less than a more regulated ride; it also costs less for K-Mart to produce t-shirts in death traps packed with people with no rights and limited power to negotiate them. In my view, Uber is an exploit capitalising on the shrinking value of our working class. It's a hoodwink and I resent Novick for negotiating this insurance clause.

    And another thing... before the housing emergency was declared, I listened to a hearing that he led. He said nothing to acknowledge the concerns of people losing housing or facing now-forbidden rent increases. Of course, he was addressing a particular audience--which in itself is a decision--but the content of his message was "I know urban density sucks and you're looking out of your windows onto new condos."

    Evil on wheels ; - o
  • edited October 2016
    I guess this just isn't my hill to die on. I think Uber/Lyft/etc. were inevitable; I think Novick did an admirable job of keeping them on hold to broker various concessions and agreements. Obviously it is important to you, and so it sounds like you made the right vote for you.
  • edited October 2016
    Exactly--all IMO, all opinions specific to my interests, background, and experience. That said, I do have a lot of respect for the game-playing and the specific skill set it takes to be an effective political leader.
  • edited October 2016
    I love the idea of a lady sheriff of peace but I don't think any problems of violence will be solved from within without the influence of change at a federal level. As is demonstrated in police forces across the US, individuals of any race and gender will be attracted to the power of white supremacy and men's violence.

    edited to add I wrote that without knowing anything about Teressa Raiford, then I read the link, lol
  • strongly agree re: LT's critique of Uber
  • Can anyone explain why M97 is taxing sales instead of profits? What's the rationale?
  • I assume this is why: "Corporations use accounting tricks and advantageous tax rules to report few profits (sometimes nothing) to tax authorities, while reporting much higher profits to shareholders. That’s why Oregon’s existing tax on profits often fails to compel corporations to pay their share. Moreover, corporations are allowed to use tax credits against the profits tax to lower their tax liability, even to zero." [source]
  • I wish I could see real-world examples of companies' tax returns, so I could better understand what's really happening now, and how measure 97 would change things (and compare the impact of a tax on sales vs. a tax on profits).

    Tell me I'm doing my math wrong, here:

    If I am a company with 1 million in Oregon sales currently, my minimum tax is $100k.

    If M97 passes, my minimum tax goes up to $30k (for the first 25 mil) + $1.875 MILLION (2.5 percent of 75 mil) for a total of $1.905 MILLION.

    Can that possibly be right? That seems lIke such a crazy jump to me!

    I want to know the financials of the 1% of companies that will be directly affected by the tax so bad!
  • Flossy, you'll probably like reading the PBA's take: http://portlandalliance.com/advocacy/taxes-budgets.html
  • Oh, we'd LOVE to see real-world examples of companies' tax returns, but they've fought every effort for corporate tax disclosure. They're totally unwilling to share that information with the public. One can only speculate why they would be terrified to share their tax returns with the general public…

    Floss, if you are a company with 1 million in Oregon sales, your corporate minimum tax is $1,000. (If you're at $999,999, it's just $500. Bargain!)

    Under M97, your minimum tax is completely unchanged. You're exactly the kind of small business the measure is designed to protect.
  • I think you might have meant with $100,000,000 in Oregon sales?

    I mean, yeah, it's a significant change from the status quo, but of course it is! Oregon has the lowest corporate taxes in the nation. Every other state taxes corporations at a higher rate than we do, and corporations seem to be doing fine. This would put us in the middle of the pack.

    I think the best indicator of who would pay this tax is who's funding the No campaign. Comcast is one of the top five donors. They're currently making two BILLION in profit every quarter! And while they pay taxes in the other states where they operate, their taxes here are a rounding error to them. Good deal while you can get it, but I'm not sure why we should allow that to continue.
  • Exactly this. I decided to go Yes on 97 after reading about the big donors to the No side, and also how the ads had to be edited to run on Comcast media outlets http://www.wweek.com/news/2016/10/09/yes-on-measure-97-campaign-ads-slamming-comcast-cant-run-on-comcast/
  • Yeah, I meant 100 million.

    The "donors" argument is convincing, but it sure would suck to be Powell's and hear about people voting "yes" because of the Comcasts of the world. When I did the math, I think Powell's tax rate was increasing well over $650k/yr (assuming they do 50 million in sales, which is a totally rough estimate based on stuff I found online). But also, I don't know how much of those sales are Oregon vs. online to other states, so who knows?

    I think I would be fully onboard if the proposal was more modest, and/or targeted profits, and/or targeted sales over 100 million. As it is, I remain torn. :-(

    I'm curious what Kmikey M thinks!!

  • Using your example above … Looking at a company that does a million a week ($50 million a year) in Oregon sales, the idea of M97 is that they would pay about $13,000 a week to help Oregon provide education, health care, and senior services. I still think that seems okay to me.
  • I read that Powell's Books was like, "Waaaa... this is going to hurt us! Don't you love us Portland?! Help us and our thin margin business." And I was like, just become a B Corp, then you're exempt. BOOM. PROBLEM SOLVED (plus, why isn't Powell's already a B Corp?!).

    As a lover of capitalism it's important that companies pay a fair share to the government because without a functional government a company can't exist (it's a legal person!).
  • Portland City Club's report is really good for those who want to get way into the details. They cover pros and cons in depth.
  • From City Club's statement on their majority "Yes" vote:
    "It is imperfect, but..."
    Ever since OR ok'd 420, local and state pols have revealed that they can respond quite rapidly to feedback and continually update the exact details of a new program. "Less-than-perfect" legislation is a good start to me.
  • It's definitely imperfect.

    I just stumbled on this Pro-97 opinion piece in my Street Roots. Linking it here partly because I agree with it, but also because I like to link to Street Roots.
  • I've heard the Powell's example brought up a few times...I guess my perspective is that making Powell's pay an additional ~$600-700k a year in taxes isn't a good enough reason to make me vote no on this.

    These are very large businesses. They can afford to take the tax hit.
  • edited November 2016
    It is a tax on sales and not profits from what I understand. So Powell's can absolutely not afford it. Books make almost no profit and often best sellers sell at a loss. They do a lot of sales but make almost no profit. There are a solid amount of businesses that operate like this. I don't understand what a B corp is, but I would tend to trust Mike on this sort of thing. So it does sound like there is at least a solution for Powells.
  • They'll pay the first quarter of taxes, get some kind of forebearance on the second quarter, then the law will change, they'll get a refund in the third quarter, fourth quarter it never happened. If I'm wrong, ask me for $1
  • I dunno, Powell's will pay you 7.5% of the total cost of a sale if you link it into them as an "affiliate", so clearly there are some costs to sales they can absorb.

    But also what Loose_Thread said.
  • I don't think there is a bookstore anywhere that is doing anything but barely hanging on. I would guess there is an unseen benefit of eating that cost. 7.5% is a very small percent. That's about $1.80 on a $25 book. I would guess there is an increase in volume that works out for Powell's profits wise otherwise they wouldn't do it. Whatever though, I worked in bookstores for 12 years. They are all going to die and I have come to grips with that. Whether Portland kills it with this measure or the ever declining population of book readers does, it will happen eventually. I'm just bummed to see people ganging up on a company who is trying to keep it going I guess. I do think 97 will probably end up doing more good than harm, and that's why I voted yes on it.
  • edited November 2016
    I have a really hard time shedding a tear for Powell's. 40% markup on new books, more for used titles which they process 3000+ per day. I worked retail electronics in college and you'd be lucky to see a 5% markup on most items. (There's a reason Best Buy wants to sell you a basket full of accessories and cables: They made nothing on selling you the TV.)

    Powell's sells ~$50M of product* (I'm giving them a minor bump of the $45M reported in 2009) so they are looking at a $1.25M in state tax. Cut their affiliate kickbacks to 3-5% and boost new release prices by 5%. Done.

    If you can't afford a million-dollar state tax bill on sales of 50 million dollars worth of product then maybe you need to revisit your business plan.

    If we want to feel sorry for business segments I'd start with newspapers or travel agents before I'd worry about booksellers. At least they have a product people are willing to pay for.

    * They also sell games, gifts, stationery, etc. with 50-250% markups.
  • edited November 2016
    I don't really follow your logic on selling $50 million of product. I could sell a billion dollars of product but if I make nothing on any of those sales that doesn't really do me any good.

    Unless things have completely changed, bookstores make almost nothing and often lose money on new books if they are discounted at all. Used books are another story. You are right that bookstores sometimes do well on remainders and used books depending on the prices, and that is probably how Powell's survives. Publishers take half or usually more of anything made on books. Bookstores do get a deal where they are able to sell their unsold remainders back to the publisher for almost all of what they paid.

    So say a bookstore bought five thousand copies of The Da Vinci Code. Half or more of that 40% markup on each book is going to the publisher and then to keep up with competitors like amazon and b&n you will often see a 20-40% discount. So say they sold four of the five thousand before sales dropped off. They sold probably every one of those at a loss. They can then sell the remaining grand back to the publisher and the publisher will hold auctions where the bookstores can buy a title in bulk for a small fraction of the original price. So they will buy maybe 1000 copies for $2 a piece and then sell them for $5 in the bargain book area. That's where they can make SOME money, but anything unsold at that point is a total loss, and anything left unsold as remainders by the publisher will then be turned into pulp which becomes total loss for them, and this all happens a lot. In the death throws of Borders I know there were a lot of publishers who stopped taking back remainders altogether which was really screwing bookstores. The whole brick and mortar book industry was a giant mess where everyone, bookstores, publishers and especially authors, were getting screwed. I don't know if things have changed at all, but I would doubt it with bookstores being dead almost everywhere but Portland.

    Also, a 250% markup on a pad of paper that cost a $1 to make that you sell maybe a few dozen of a day is not exactly what I would call raking in the dough.
  • It's not nearly as much fun to have an "I Voted" thread when so many people are in vote-by-mail Oregon...
  • edited November 2016
    I guess I can't argue that a company that is doing terrible and not making any money won't be put out of business by extra taxes. But Powell's is not some cute neighborhood bookstore one rent raise away from going under, they are a specialty retailer with tens of millions in revenue.

    My last purchase at Powell's was a $25 board game, another $15 dollar game, a $20 notebook and four children's books. If Powell's wasn't on Hawthorne someone else nearby would have got my money. Someone else who probably has to pay more corporate taxes or personal tax via LLC. Someone else who would have put a buck or two of that purchase into my state's general fund instead of the Powell family trust.
  • edited November 2016
    If Powell's wasn't on Hawthorne you probably would've had to just order your books on amazon or drive across town to the other Powell's, but I get what you are saying. I am on board with this line of thinking for most businesses outside of bookstores. I just am especially defensive of bookstores because if there was anything I was "meant to do" with my life it was to be a retail bookseller. I was so good at it and loved doing it, but it's just not feasible financially because bookstores are doing so badly and it bums me out all the time. Saw this graphic while researching a bit today, and it is so sad.

    image
  • In the end, I am sorry 97 didn't pass. Sorry for our most vulnerable populations.
  • Even though it's a real bummer of a morning, the silver lining I'm seeing is that people seem motivated to take action.
  • I feel 100% like an idiot.

    I feel really happy that Novick lost his job; and even more, his replacement is a zinester.

    I feel certain that white supremacy, not class or sexism, is the defining principle of all of this and everything that comes after. And that we white liberals gave it plenty of room to grow because we didn't want to name it, didn't want to do the psychological work to identify ourselves as its enablers.
  • +1

    Also, I think where we are right now is ultimately the result of people being fame, celebrity, or status obsessed and of being unwilling to confront anything and retreating more and more into our personal little bubbles because we are all, especially white people, cowards
  • edited November 2016
    Hrm. NPR said this morning that Drumpf took ~30% of the latino vote. Plus Clinton lost midwest suburban counties that Obama won by 20 points.

    I think the alt-right movement is certainly something to keep an eye on, but I don't think white supremacy had an impact on this race. I would guess that the negatives from his dance with the deplorables did as much damage as the mouthbreathers that he picked up.

    Democrats put up the only candidate that could lose to Trump (Bernie loses WI? Biden loses MI? I don't think so.) In the most anti-establishment election cycle in our lives the Democrats greased the skids for a coronation while the Republicans threw it all in the pot and let the voters pick a winner. That's how primaries should work. Let's see how she would have done without DWS' thumb on the scale and with 4-5 other strong candidates in the race with her; preferably one black, one latino, and another woman... so she actually has to earn primary votes with her policies and vision. She'd be lucky to come in 3rd.

    I've never been more happy to have resisted putting a penny in the DNC coffers --I donate directly to progressive campaigns and organizations. (On that subject, Planned Parenthood will be getting a reactionary donation from me this week.)

    EDIT: And I'm done with trying to save the Democratic party from itself, I'm going back to unaffiliated where I was before Obama's primary. I wonder how many people there are out there like me -- Dems-in-name-only to vote against Hillary in the primaries. If the DNC leaders aren't totally clueless they will change the rules to make every swing state an open primary, safe blue states registered Dems only, and safe red states caucuses. Progressives need votes in purple states, donations in blue states and activists in red states.
  • edited November 2016
    " I don't think white supremacy had an impact on this race"

    Ohh boy. What are you talking about? I'm not saying it's the only issue, but it's in all the issues... it's an emotional motivation that adds energy to any factor you want to name.

    Latino is not a race, but an ethnicity... there are white latinos, too.
  • edited November 2016
    Yeah, I don't know. I get why you would be frustrated with the DNC and with a couple of Hillary's policies, but, not to oversimplify it, I think it is pretty hard to rationally disagree that if Hillary had a penis she would have kicked the shit out of Trump in this election, and that is a deeply deeply disappointing but probable truth.
  • edited November 2016
    I had a chat with someone I know today, someone in a position of power... he is really a "personal responsibility"-focused dem. He believes in education, funding for social programs, arts, acknowledging climate change, etc., but he still has a kind of bootstraps attitude.

    He shared with me his opinion about the party--about how, when things go wrong, we should assume responsibility for what we have done/can do. He's older than me and way more "better" of a person, but I disagree with him on this point, or at least with the weight that he places on it. I have no love for the party but I believe it's the way we do things; I definitely have a personal desire to participate in it. But at the end of the day, my first feeling is "they did this," then "we let this happen," and not the other way around.

    I can also tell he has opinions about what he sees as "victimhood culture." For example, campus politics: he thinks today's students are too coddled, too entitled, that identity politics are immature, that they're just overly dramatic. "Trigger warnings" are completely ridiculous, these kids have no idea about how difficult the real world is. "Microaggression" means "a tiny nuisance, but I will not accept even that, I want everything to be perfect."

    No real point to the above, at least that I can think of right now... maybe I'm thinking about how, even though we share a common culture, all of those ideas are wrong to me. I actually tried to explain microaggressions to him, I said "it's just a new way to explain 'death by a thousand cuts' for bigotry." But even as I re-read what I just wrote, I catch myself falling into the "let me explain this to them" trap: I don't think you can change anyone's mind. In my experience, people have to have an open mind to begin with, they have to know what they want to learn.



    I really wish that Joey was on the other side of this comment thread. I didn't always necessarily agree with her on every topic, but the sheer vitality of her anger would feel really good to see right now.

  • I miss Joey a whole lot. I've been listening to her music this week for the first time since she got sick. It helps.



    I think it's a mistake to blame the loss on any one factor. Misogyny, white supremacy, tactical missteps, decades of republican conspiracies about HRC, failure to emphasize economic progressivism, the media, Facebook, the electoral college. It's all those things in tandem.
  • Sexism was certainly a big factor, that was pretty ugly to watch. And a new low for the fourth estate, which I thought had already found bedrock.
This discussion has been closed.