Listed below are a number of state measures that address issues either important to students or directly affecting us. There are local measures specific to your district or county that you should be aware of. For full descriptions of these and other measures, or to register to vote, visit the secretary of state Web site at www.sos.state.or.us.
Measure 14 – Yes
Many would be shocked to read statements such as this in our state constitution: “When the white population of the State shall amount to Two Hundred Thousand….” This measure is a no-brainer; the extensive racist language and many spelling errors that will be corrected should have been changed long ago.
Measure 17 – Yes
The concept that Oregon citizens over the age of 18 should be allowed to represent their communities in the state Legislature is a controversial one. On the one hand, few of us know an individual between 18 and 20 for whom we would vote. On the other, there are a number of representatives in the state and the country who fall well beyond the legal age, who many of us wonder how they ever got elected.
The bottom line, however, is that 18-year-olds in the state of Oregon can vote and go to war, must pay taxes and hold down “real” jobs. The right to participate in the American democratic process is not something that should be denied to any adult. We, as voters, can decide an individual’s worthiness when – and if – that time comes.
Measure 25 – Yes
Our minimum wage, currently set at $6.50 per hour, has not changed since 1999. Both Washington and California have higher minimum wage rates than Oregon. Oregon’s poverty level for a family of one is $8,590 per year. An individual making minimum wage at 40 hours per week makes approximately $13,500 a year, compared to the median Oregon household income of $42,479 in 2000-2001 (according to Census reports). That is assuming, of course, that an individual actually gets 40 hours per week.
Raising the minimum wage will help young people – including college students – and those in the most need of help. While Oregon businesses will gripe at the increased costs, it is mostly because a raise in the lowest wage will impact the wages of other, more experienced or more educated employees. Is that bad? Not from this vantage point.
Measure 26 – Yes
Ever wonder why the gaggle of signature-gatherers who accost us in the Park Blocks and outside the downtown library are so damned eager? You got it – they are often paid not by the hour, but by the signature. And if they can’t get the signatures legitimately? Well … we’ve all read the headlines.
For your own sanity, for the sake of initiative integrity and for the sake of those poor people who have to stand in the rain begging for the autograph of complete unknowns, vote yes on measure 26. See Jessica Tyner, page 3.
Measure 27 – Yes
Someone said recently that “most Oregonians” prefer to eat organic, locally grown foods. While that seems like a gross exaggeration, it is not difficult to see the rise in organic farming in the area and the increased demand for naturally produced foods in the Portland area alone.
Regardless of whether you check for the “Organically Grown” label on your lettuce or just pick out the one that isn’t brown, Oregonians deserve to know what they are eating, and local farmers need to be held accountable for the chemicals and processes used to make those foods.