This is serious. We're on a Hawaii vacation and Measure 37 is meddling with my Maui mellow.
It looks like back home in Oregon the Land Use Fairness Committee (six Democrats, four Republicans) is about to bail out on fixing this environmental, social, and economic land use disaster.
In fact, given the three hour time difference between Napili Bay and Salem, they may already have done the gutless deed.
If not, I'm pleased to offer in advance an outrage retraction—but given all the signs to the contrary, I'm going to vent my current frustration so I can move my psyche on to more pleasant subjects, like a late afternoon beach stroll.
We were just emailed proposed amendments to HB 3540. It looks like this bill contains all of the positive elements of the Measure 37 fix that the committee has been holding hearings on, such as limiting large subdivisions on high value farmland and groundwater limited areas.
That's pretty damn uncontroversial. We've sat through several of the Land Use Fairness Committee hearings. We've read all there is to read about Measure 37, pretty near.
And we've never heard anyone, other than the claimants who want to build those large subdivisions, defending the trashing of Oregon's agriculture industry and groundwater supply.
So it's astonishing, beyond belief, that the Democratic leadership is considering a bill that describes desperately needed fixes to Measure 37, yet ends with:
This 2007 Act shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at a special election held throughout this state.
Great, just great. The election apparently would be held in November. If the fix was approved by voters, it would go into effect in December, we've been told.
That's seven months of Full Speed Ahead! on Measure 37 subdivision claims, many of which would be vested (since building permits would have been issued and construction started), leaving them immune to the limits imposed by the fix.
Useless. I've written the Dems on the Land Use Fairness Committee, telling them it'd be better for them to admit that they've failed Oregon and do nothing, than put this half-assed measure on the ballot.
Correction: quarter-assed. Because the proposed Measure 37 fix already gives away a lot to claimants. And now the legislature is poised to give away more—eight months of free rein to rape Oregon's farmland and aquifers in groundwater limited areas.
It's a sad day, even on beautiful Maui.
Senators Prozanski and Schrader, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Read and weep.
Prozanski had favored voter referral all along, but the Legislature had come under great pressure to craft a fix of its own. Schrader endorsed the move back to voter referral, saying that was the most democratic solution. "Voters tend to do the right thing," he said.
No, not always. Remember Measure 37, Sen. Schrader? Voters were conned into voting for this travesty. You were supposed to fix it. And didn't.