Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Trib Gets it Right on Term Limits, but Admits Defeat

Lo and behold, today's Portland Tribune has a strong rebuke of term limits, as proposed by this fall's Measure 45:
Usually, when considering ballot measures, Oregonians can only guess at potential consequences. In this case, we know what to expect. Term limits will sweep away those legislators who have the greatest knowledge of how to set policy and run state government and replace them with novices.

In other words, we will be tossing out those who give Oregon the best hope of a better functioning Legislature and state government and install newcomers who must learn legislative basics before they can even aspire to statesmanship.

Oregonians don’t need ballot Measure 45 in the first place.

In every election, voters have the right to toss out an incumbent legislator who is poorly representing their district. The decision, however, ought to be made district by district, not imposed statewide by term limits. Don’t succumb to an illusion that this measure allows us “to throw all the rascals out.”

We tried that once. The end result was a more partisan, less informed and less effective Legislature. Oregon just now is emerging from that unhealthy period. Let’s not go back there again.
Halelujah! It's almost as if they'd been reading Our Oregon (or even Our Loaded Orygun), although Bob Pamplin and Dwight Jaynes probably wouldn't admit it.

On the other hand, in the "Sources Say" section of the same issue, the Trib falls prey to the shakily-substantiated claim that term limits bring a more varied collection of candidates to the fray, and confesses that they hear the measure is likely to pass:
So far all the gossip about who might run for mayor or City Council in 2008 has concerned such previous candidates or officeholders as Earl Blumenauer, Nick Fish and Charlie Hales.

But a wild card in the future races could be the term limitation measure on the November ballot that most political observers think will pass. It would force a number of Portland-area legislators out of office over the next years, perhaps prompting them to begin eyeing city positions. They include state Sen. Kate Brown, state Rep. Jeff Merkley and others.
Wow, what new blood! Instead of the previously entrenched Democrats of Portland, we might get to swap them with currently entrenched Democrats of...Salem! No offense to Jeff or Kate, either of whom would do a fine job on Council. But it's hardly anyone's idea of "new faces" to simply recycle them from one level of governance to another. Ted Kulongoski for Multnomah Commissioner! Because it's time for a change...