Okay, what just happened?

The dust is settling on Tuesday's election, and I'm sitting here trying to sort out what it all means. As far as I can tell, there was some good, quite a bit of bad, and loads of indifferent.

On the good side, Rene Gonzalez ushered Jo Ann Hardesty out of Portland City Hall. The City Council now has a solid majority of adults. They won't be able to bring Portland back to its old self, but at least they can stop the slide if they shut their ears to the bleats of idiots and do the right things.

Also to the good, the Oregon gun control measure passed, although narrowly. It's a disgrace that with the Democratic-controlled state government, the public had to go over the politicians' heads to do this. Now the new law will head to court, where God knows what Clarence Thomas will do to it.

The biggest, nicest surprise is that Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is beating Trumpy Joe for Congress up in the 'Couve. The experts say the race is too close to call, but I called it for Perez early yesterday. To win, Kent will need to win the rest of the votes in Clark County by 5,000 or 6,000 votes. He lost by 2,000 in the votes counted there yesterday. 

A Perez victory would be a big loss for the Trump goons. Had they nominated the incumbent, Jaime Herrera Beutler, the Republicans would have returned her to Congress easily. But instead they went with one of the Proud Boys, and as far as I can tell, they lost.

And finally in the good category, the buffoon who runs the elections in Clackamas County, Sherry Hall, lost 2-to-1 to somebody who actually knows what she's doing. Hall now returns to where she came from, the year 1958.

That brings us to the bad, and boy, was there plenty of it. That stinker of a charter change happy meal for Portland City Hall passed with flying colors. Now the City Council will be expanded to 12 bobbleheads from four districts, all chosen by a Rube Goldberg-style vote-counting system that no one can explain with a straight face. The council roster will be an absolute freak show, with political zombies like Hardesty, and Sam Adams, and Steve Novick, and Chloe Eudaly, and Sarah Iannarone, all prominently featured. Nothing good can come of that. Any hopes of Portland's making a comeback have now been dashed.

The only hope is that the charter amendments get tied up in knots due to some legal problem or other. That's been known to happen. Remember the radical police review system that Portland voters approved a couple of years ago? Where is it today? Lost in some obscure legal wrangle somewhere. Let's hope the new charter provisions meet the same fate. I'd like to see someone challenge the goofball version of ranked-choice voting as violating the principle of one person-one vote. Isn't that in the Constitution somewhere?

Ranked-choice voting also passed for Multnomah County. It won't do as much damage in the county system, but it's still a solution in search of a problem. Here again, nothing good can come of it.

Another bad result is what's happening in Traitor Schrader's old Congressional district. The Democrats' gerrymander didn't quite work. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, red as red can be, is in the lead, and I suspect she will hold on to that lead through the end. The voters over there would apparently rather have a real Republican than a real Democrat, and this time around the fake Democrat, Hamptons Kurt, wasn't an option. So now we will watch LCD kissing up to Speaker McCarthy for a couple of years. Yuck.

The Multnomah County chair race also turned out badly. Pederson beat Meieran, which signals that the county will continue to hold Portland back from cleaning up its several simultaneous disasters. Meieran was the far better candidate, and she was closing fast on her opponent, but she had waited too long to paint the differences between them in bold colors. Another two weeks and Meieran would have won, but alas, it's over.

I wish someone besides me would start talking seriously about merging the city and the county. The future is falling into the huge crevasse between the two.

And lastly to the bad, the bond measures passed by big margins. More money for the Metro spooks "for nature." And more money for Portland Community College, which is burning hundreds of millions in an eternal flame of mismanagement. The kids around here have never met a property tax increase they didn't like. But then they're mystified and "offended" about their rents going up to pay the new taxes.

Finally, the indifferent, which is just about everything I haven't covered here. Tina Kotek as governor? My God. This place has no gag reflex. Drazan would not have been better, but I doubt she would have been worse. Meanwhile, if you stage a walkout to deprive your house of the legislature of a quorum, you can't run for the office again. Okay, whatever. And have you heard? Slavery is out! Correct pronouns are in! There now, did that feel good? Swell.

(Sticker by HudsonRowan.)


  1. Not so fast. The 5th still has a lot of Clackamas County to count and as more is processed it has been leaning more blue. Also some Multnomah and Deschutes County left that is likely blue. I wouldn’t write Jamie off just yet.

    1. Latest vote update just pulled Jamie to within 5,000 votes 1.8%…..still a long way to go.

  2. LCD will be fun to watch. There's fixin' to be a fight for the gavel, especially if the R's only get to 220 or so. Whom she chooses to back will follow her for the rest of her career. Shrader was part of a minor insurrection against Pelosi a few years ago and we see what that got him. Woe unto the rudderless and accidental freshmen. Here's hoping she's sent back to Scottsdale quickly and without doing too much damage.

  3. from OreLive: "City budget officials estimate Portland’s government overhaul could cost anywhere between $900,000 and $8.7 million annually, primarily to pay for additional city staff under the new system as well district offices for council members. Those totals do not include transition costs of between $4 million and $5.9 million annually over the next three years."

    But I'm sure it'll be well worth it. Right? Right?
    Yeah, surrrrre.

  4. Preference voting (as it was known back in the Progressive Era) is enshrined in the Oregon Constitution. There is no violation of one-person, one-vote.

    Explanation repeated from before the election:
    This is not an attempt to persuade you of anything but rather to try to state the explanation for the single transferable vote (STV) counting method just to help anyone who didn’t find the Weed’s attempt very helpful.

    First, a disclaimer — If you want single-member districts/wards, nothing about STV will appeal because it solves a problem you don’t think needs solving. If we vote “as usual” (each voter has one vote for one candidate only) in single member districts, then the election is really decided whenever the lines are drawn, and we will have winners elected without majority support fairly often because our historic voting method often misfires when there are more than two candidates (see Kotek/Drazen/Johnson). And with single winner races, we often end up with voters not having any representation by someone they voted for — for example, the R’s in Portland and Eugene are completely frozen out, as are the D’s in Roseburg.

    The three-member districts idea offers a way for minorities to win some representation in every district while ensuring that the candidates favorited by the majority win the most seats. It does so by trying to find the three winners with the most total support from the most voters. It’s a method to maximize voter power, addressing the problems of wasted votes (votes that don’t help elect anyone, either because the candidate is a loser with little support but also when a candidate has overwhelming support, and all those excess votes were wasted). STV is a method that says “We are going to try to wring the most power out of ALL voter’s votes so that, as far as possible, each vote counts as much as it can - regardless of whether you tend to like the favorites or whether your choices start at the other end. No matter your preferences, we will try to apply your vote so it will help elect someone you listed as worthy of your vote.”

    As you know from explaining the tax code, people are famously allergic to math, especially if you use the F word (fractions). But people aren’t angry because understanding the tax code involves math, it’s because it’s taxes. And right now, people are so angry about dysfunctional politics that explaining how STV transfers votes to maximize voter power gets caught up in the crossfire. (½)



    1. AnonymousOctober 9, 2022 at 9:50 AM

      Imagine if, instead of picking NFL Underdogs, you held a big party where your readers would pick the three charity projects for everyone to support. The way it would work is that you give each reader 100 marbles and they could drop their marbles into a glass bowl with the name of each charity. Each bowl is the same size. The bowls are sized so that when three are full, all the marbles in all the other bowls are less than a full bowl’s worth.

      If we were at your party, we would know not to drop our marbles into a full bowl because it would be wasted — once a bowl is full, we would know to use the rest of our marbles to support our second favorite project, or our third once there are two full bowls. STV just gives us a way to do the same thing in an election where we won’t be able to see how much support any of the projects (candidates) have — it’s a way to say “I want to drop all my marbles into supporting this project if it needs it, but if it’s eliminated (because few other people support it or because it’s already full) then I want to be able to move my marbles to supporting my next choices.

      People are becoming familiar with part of this, because ranked-choice voting in single-winner races is becoming common again — in RCV, the candidate elimination is from the bottom up only … if you really like Machine Gun Johnson but she isn’t going to win and is eliminated, then your vote transfers to your second choice, instead of helping elect the candidate you like the least.

      In the multi-member district setting, the transfers also work “top down” — just like the extra marbles in the most-popular charity’s case . . . Instead of the extra marbles just being wasted and falling on the floor, they transfer to each voter’s second choice, or third choice, etc. It requires math because we do this through ballots in the mail instead of marbles in glass bowls, but the result is the same … we find the three candidates (charities or office-seekers) who actually have the most support in the crowd, instead of having weird misfires where you have officeholders elected from District A with 100,000 votes in a walk-away, but another candidate elected in District B with 32,000 votes because of vote splitting.

      As I say, if you think multiple member districts are stupid, then STV is stupid squared and this is all just unnecessary. But it’s not inexplicable, and if we had been voting this way since kindergarten we’d think it was all just self-evidently easy. (2/2)

  5. Did we allow Illegals to vote?


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