By William Kronert
Measure 17-116, a ballot measure to change the Josephine County charter, is a perfect example of liberal ideas. Here are five reasons to vote “No on 17-116” next May.
First, Measure 17-116 removes a provision that is in our current charter. It removes a prohibition of income tax. Advocates argue that it will require voter approval and they openly admit they wish to use this as another option for funding government. Given enough time, voters will end up approving an income tax and end up finding out later that additional taxes will be required (just as what has happened to the city of Grants Pass). Removing this provision from our current charter opens the door to county income taxes.
Secondly, it removes other provisions that are currently in our charter such as: Right to Bear Arms and Parental Rights.
Third, Measure 17-116 creates a non-elected, full-time-with-benefits county manager (bureaucrat) without any cap in salary, plus five commissioners who would be paid less than part-time (one at large and four commissioners representing four different districts). Advocates argue they will save money by having part-time commissioners, but the county manager will consume most if not all that savings. Commissioners will be forced to have outside jobs.
In addition, our county will be broken up into four districts with each of the commissioners battling it out to get his or her district the most benefits. The advocates argue our population (88,000) is too diverse with too many differences in our various regions. Yet Jackson County (221,000) still has three commissioners and is not split up into districts. Term limits will be put in place, and districts will be small. That means continually coming up with highly qualified candidates will become a real problem.
Out of 28 counties in Oregon that are governed by a board of commissioners, only six have more than three commissioners (five in total). Out of those six counties that do have five commissioners, all six of them are Democratic, blue counties.
Fourth, both Measure 17-116 and our current charter are “nonpartisan.” However, Measure 17-116 has added one additional line, “Petitions, declarations of candidacy or ballot listings shall contain no reference to any political party or to any political affiliation of the candidate.” This addition brings questions regarding First Amendment rights and why it was added. Many feel this line was added to mask party affiliation so that a minority party in our county would have a greater chance of winning an election. It is a Trojan horse for the minority.
Fifth, your right to vote for all commissioners would be taken away.
The liberal dream: increase taxes, increase government, takes more of your rights away and mask party affiliation, all in the name of better governance. Vote NO on Measure 17-116.
William Kronert is a Josephine Country resident, retired scientist and political commentator.