Political lies don't surprise me anymore. But they still bother me. Especially when the lies are aimed at destroying Oregon's livability.
Measure 37 was largely supported by large timber companies and other fat cats. They're out to build subdivisions on irreplaceable farm and forest land. Now Oregonians in Action, a puppet that springs into action when corporations pull the strings, is running full page ads in the Portland Oregonian in an attempt to keep those subdivisions alive.
Sunday's ad was headlined, "We're not greedy developers." Yes, you are. Check out the list of major Measure 37 donors. Note that Stimson Lumber Company wants either $269,000,000 from the taxpayers of Oregon, or have this state's land use laws waived.
Greedy developer? Oh, yeah.
But Oregonians in Action (OIA) can't use Stimson Lumber Company as their poster child. Wouldn't look very cute. So they dredged up Tom and Gloria Gilbert (and their little white dog), who want to partition their seven acre property into nine new parcels.
This would be a very long post if I deconstructed all of the lies and half-truths in the ad. OIA likes to talk about how legislators are disrespecting Oregonians because they want to fix some of the worst flaws in Measure 37, a move favored by more than two-thirds of voters.
Actually, it's OIA that lacks respect for citizens, because they think we can be fooled once again by simplistic rhetoric substituting for facts.
For example, the ad says:
And if you own a business, House Bill 3540B allows state and local governments to take all of the value of your property without compensation – all of it!
It prohibits Measure 37 claims for industrial or commercial purposes. You can't put a pumice mine in a national monument, like one Measure 37 claimant wanted to do. The bill has nothing to do with taking all of the value of existing businesses. OIA should be ashamed of using such a deceptive scare tactic, if it weren't beyond shame by this point.
Not only that, the bill would contain new provisions that allow state and local governments to steal 25% of every Oregonian's property value every five years.
Fact: new Measure 37 claims would have to show a loss of value caused by land use regulation of at least 25% over five years. That is, you actually have to prove that you've been financially harmed to a significant degree before you get to belly up to the Measure 37 trough.
Again, that has nothing to do with "stealing" a quarter of "every Oregonian's property value every five years." Show me how that is going to happen, OIA. If you can't, admit that your campaign plan for defeating this Measure 37 fix is simple: Lie, then lie some more.
It's disgusting. For an example of rational vs. irrational approaches to discussing this issue, check out the side by side arguments by Democrat Rep. Greg MacPherson and Republican Rep. Kim Thatcher in today's Salem Statesman Journal.
Macpherson talks about the bill and the problems it is intended to solve. Thatcher throws up smoke screens about how Republicans were shut out of meetings. So what?
In a recent issue of TIME magazine there's an excerpt from Al Gore's new book, "The Assault on Reason." The OIA ads are a perfect example of this. Don't talk facts; talk emotion. And not even honest emotion. Make up falsities, then express outrage over the falsehood.
Americans in both parties should insist on the re-establishment of respect for the rule of reason…The persistent and sustained reliance on falsehoods as the basis of policy, even in the face of massive and well-understood evidence to the contrary, seems to many Americans to have reached levels that were previously unimaginable.
Yesterday my wife went to a meeting where Measure 37 was discussed. She was told that a Measure 37 subdivision has been built in Polk County. Neighboring wells already are going dry. We need to check out the details to confirm that this is true.
We do know for a fact that a 42-home proposed Measure 37 subdivision near us failed to prove that there is adequate water for that many new wells in the groundwater limited area on which it would be built. For some reason Oregonians in Action didn't put this story in its ad.
The legislature's Measure 37 fix would protect groundwater limited areas from that sort of over-development. We and our neighbors have had to spend $24,000 to do that on our own. Funny. Oregonians in Action didn't mention that in its ad.
Lies. Half-truths. Deceptions. It's going to be a messy six months until the Measure 37 fix ballot referral is voted on, if that happens in November. Hopefully the legislature will pass out an immediate fix and avoid a further assault on reason in Oregon.