If somebody lies in a political campaign, that's a sign of desperation. So hopefully the pack of lies being told by the Stop 49 spokespeople is an predictor that Oregon's Measure 49 will pass.
Oregonians don't like liars. Nobody does. And the brochure that came in our mail today from the Oregon Family Farm Association PAC is disgustingly full of outright lies.
Below you'll find the truth, as exposed by the Yes on 49 campaign.
I'll add to the truth pile by pointing out that the Oregon Family Farm Association has little or nothing to do with farmers. In 2006 this political action committee supported Oregon Ballot Measure 39, which dealt with eminent domain.
Eighty-two percent of the PAC's funding came from just seven donors: Loren Parks $200,000 (32.1%); Norman Brenden and Swanson Group, Inc. $60,250 (9.7%) each; A-Dec Dental Equipment and Seneca Sawmill Company $51,250 (8.2%) each; Hire Calling Public Affairs (Jeld-Wen) and Columbia Helicopters/Wes Lematta $43,750 (7.0%) each.
Hmmmm. Seemingly not a farmer among them. Looks like the Oregon Family Farm Association started telling lies as soon as they came up with their name. Here's the truth behind the lies in the brochure.
"Stop 49" Spokespeople Hide True Development Plans and Lie About Impacts of Measure 49
Opponents of Measure 49, some of whom are asking for up to 140 homes, issued a glossy 8-page brochure to Oregon voters this week making hysterical and often patently false claims about the effects of Measure 49.
Among the most egregious lies—
CLAIM: The Netters say: "If Measure 49 passes, we'll lose the value of our property. We want to see the tradition go on... we want to farm."
WHAT THEY'RE NOT TELLING YOU: The statement is patently false. The Netters filed a Measure 37 claim for a 60-lot housing subdivision on their 98 acres of exclusive farm use land. The state denied the subdivision because the land was already protected farmland when Fred Netter acquired it in 1977. Under Measure 37 they are allowed up to 3 houses—Measure 49 would preserve these rights.
CLAIM: Marla Robison says in the brochure: "Measure 49 is about stopping us from passing our property rights on to our grandchildren."
WHAT THEY'RE NOT TELLING YOU: The opposite is true. Measure 49 specifically allows property owners to pass development rights on to their grandchildren, which is not allowed currently (by Measure 37). Marla Robison has proposed an 18-home subdivision, but her property was zoned agricultural when she bought it. Now she's trying to create 2 homes—which Measure 49 would allow.
CLAIM: The Laraways say in the brochure: "If Measure 49 passes, our whole way of life -- as farmers -- as we know it, would be gone."
WHAT THEY'RE NOT TELLING YOU: The Laraways have filed Measure 37 claims to build 144 housing units on their farm land: 42 houses on 10.5 acres, 70 multi-family units on another 10.5 acres, 26 houses on another 26 acres, and 6 units on another 34-acre parcel.
CLAIM: The Currys say in the brochure: "If Measure 49 goes through…we won't have anything left at all. Measure 49 would just take it all away."
WHAT THEY'RE NOT TELLING YOU: No property would be taken away under Measure 49. The Currys are trying to build a 110-home subdivision on their property even though their voters' pamphlet statement says they just want homes for their kids and grandkids. Measure 49 would allow them between 1 and 10 homes.
CLAIM: Ollie Wilcox says in the brochure: "If Measure 49 passes we will lose all our rights – not only our rights, but our children's and grandchildren's."
WHAT THEY'RE NOT TELLING YOU: Measure 49 won't take the Wilcoxes' rights away. She has proposed a 16-home subdivision on 8 acres of rural land. Measure 49 will allow her between 1 and 3 homes, and will specifically give the same rights to her children and grandchildren—rights they don't currently have under Measure 37.
CLAIM: Jennifer Helberg says of her mother, Mary Holtan: "If Measure 49 passes it means my mom can't retire. Under Measure 49, families like ours have to go back to square one and even then we're not assured of any rights…I'm worried about her…we all are. The farm is all she has."
WHAT THEY'RE NOT TELLING YOU: Mary Holtan has applied to have one lot divided into 3 parcels and a second lot divided into two – Measure 49 would allow both.
CLAIM: The Bitzes say in the brochure: "We told our kids we would give our property to them...We'd like to keep our farm for future generations."
WHAT THEY'RE NOT TELLING YOU: Measure 49 will allow property rights to transfer to an owner's children, which Measure 37 does not. But the Bitzes don't need it: under current zoning (without Measure 37), Jerald Bitz can divide his property into seven lots.
If these lies by the Stop 49 campaign haven't exhausted your gag quotient, head to Peter Bray's blog to learn about how the Stop 49 sleaze machine is using throwaway cell phones to annoy people with anti-49 text messages.
Wow, that's brilliant campaigning. A spam text message – just the thing to make a person vote "Yes" on Measure 49.
I've emailed four of the organizations listed on the brochure as supporters of Stop 49, asking them why they're endorsing lies. This hall of shame includes: Salem Chamber of Commerce, Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, Oregon State Grange, and Oregon Cattlemen's Association.
The other five groups listed as "major agriculture and business groups" are so "major" they don't have a web site or an obvious Internet presence.