« Tai Chi as a kick-ass martial art | Main | Oregonians in Action Measure 49 lawsuit: read it here »

August 20, 2007


Here's my cut at it -- don't know how many words it is. In general, avoid the passive voice to shorten things like this.


A subdivision on 42 homes on 125 acres--only possible in this region of limited groundwater through Measure 37--threatens our wells.

Excess draw is already creating water problems in this area, with established residents having to dig new and deeper wells required. The county designates the target area for this Measure 37 development as a “Sensitive Groundwater Overlay” zone, meaning that it cannot support new development.

That designation led the Measure 37 claimant (Leroy Laack) to prepare a hydrological review to try to show that 42 new wells wouldn’t harm existing property owners nearby.

The independent water expert hired to prepare the Hydro Review said the proposed development failed: the neighbors' water supplies would be threatened.

Before Measure 37, that would have been the end, unless the claimant could prove (despite the independent study) there was enough water to supply the development without drying up neighboring wells.

Nonetheless, two Marion County Commissioners ignored the conclusion of the independent water expert. Sam Brentano and Patti Milne voted to let the subdivision proceed.

This case shows why Measure 49 is essential: we cannot rely on elected politicians to protect the neighbors' property rights near Measure 37 claims.

If Measure 49 passes, Mr. Laack could still build three home sites on this groundwater limited farmland, which might still harm nearby wells---but 3 is a lot better than 42!

We represent more than thirty homeowners who support the Keep Our Water Safe Committee. We've come together and raised more than $29,000 to fight this battle.

Many of our neighbors voted for Measure 37--but now they strongly support Measure 49. They’ve seen, up close, how Measure 37 takes away important rights of Oregon property owners, like the right to not have established wells go dry.

(This information furnished by Brian and Laurel Hines, Keep Our Water Safe Committee)

"The Hydro Review was failed by an independent water expert hired by Marion County. Failed!"

Knowing how common it is for a government agency to hire an "independent expert" to provide exactly the "review" they want I don't buy it.

"officially designated"?
I'm not impressed.
In fact I have witnessed the State doing the exact opposite when a government project's well use threatened local neighboring wells. Of course that official review anticipated little or no effect on neighboring wells.

Although I can appreciate you and your neighbor's concerns for your water source I suspect your current and anticipated problems may be more related to aquafir depth and your current wells and not so much this new subdivision.

As aquafirs go and 42 wells on 145 acres I am not buying your prediction of dried up wells.
I suspect your two Marion County Commissioners did more than just "ignore the conclusion of the independent water expert", too.

George, thanks for the suggestions. I got another rewrite emailed to me, so will revise the measure argument after taking these editing ideas into consideration.

I agree: active voice is better. I often write excessively passively.

Wendy, the independent reviewer truly was just that -- independent. If Marion County has a bias (and it does), it's in favor of development. But the peer reviewers who assess water studies do a good job, by and large.

You're right: the county commissioners had other reasons for approving the Laack subdivision. None reasonable.

Brentano and Milne were worried about whether Laack could get "vested" before Measure 49 goes into effect if additional study of the groundwater situation was required, as the county ordinance calls for.

So they approved the subdivision for purely political reasons. They support Measure 37 and tilt toward Measure 37 claimants in every appeal. That's outrageous, of course, because Brentano and Milne took an oath to uphold the law, not their own personal political views.

What about doing this as one of the great satire pieces and have it published in the no on 49 section? I always love reading those in the voters pamphlet. I think they can make a greater impact on people, granted that is just a gut reaction.

Matthew, good idea. But the measure argument (somewhat revised) has been submitted to the Elections Division, and our $500 paid.

I agree that satire is an effective tool in the voter's pamphlet. In looking for examples of measure arguments I ran across some great satirical "pro Measure 36" (which banned gay marriage) statements.

For example:

It ended with:

"Freedom of religion and equal treatment under law is simply the special right to sin, because our tradition is the one and only truth! And our tradition (that is, our personal moral opinions) should become law.


(This information furnished by M. Dennis Moore, Traditional Prejudices Coalition.)"

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Strange Up Salem

Welcome to HinesSight

  • Salem Political Snark
    My local political rants are now made on this badass blog. Check it out. Dirty politics, outrageous actions, sleaze, backroom deals — we’re on it. 

  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • Church of the Churchless
    Visit my other weblog, Church of the Churchless, where the gospel of spiritual independence is preached.

  • Welcome to HinesSight. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.