Just a heads up, if you haven’t guessed already from all of the intentionally misleading political ads already out there, that the November political season is upon us. As usual, I will be tackling the issues from around Cascadia here, one by one. Just to get you started, here are some of the issues that you will be asked to become expert on in the near future. My commentary will be coming up in the upcoming days.

The following have qualified for the November 2010 Oregon Ballot:

Measure 70: The Oregon Veteran Home Loans Expansion.  The State of Oregon, through the Oregon War Veterans Fund, offers low-interest to war veterans from Oregon.  A quirk in the wording in the Oregon Constitution tends to disqualify many members of the military reserves who were called up and served in war zones from being eligible for this program.  This measure makes the program available to a few more worthy people.

Measure 71: The Oregon Legislature Annual Sessions Amendment.  Oregon is one of the few remaining states where the legislature still meets only every other year.  In modern times, our lawmakers need to meet every year to do the state’s business.

Measure 72: Oregon Property Projects.  The measure proposes authorizing lowest-cost borrowing for the state’s real and personal property projects.  Yes, it’s all pretty boring, but modernizes the state constitution to bring state borrowing options into the 21st century.

Measure 73: Oregon Minimum Criminal Sentence Increase.  Another of those measures that sounds good in sound bites but limits judges and prosecutors ability to give appropriate sentences to meet the needs of particular people, this one covers two very disparate subjects: Sex crimes and drunk drivers.  So, what happens if you agree with the increased penalties for one of these things and not for the other?  Stay tuned!

Measure 74: The Oregon Regulated Medical Marijuana Supply System Act.  Since we allow those people who have a medical condition that would be soothed by the use of marijuana to use it on a limited basis, it would make sense to allow people to grow it for their use. Or not, depending on how you want to vote.  It would make sense, if we are going to use this as a medicine, to research the quality standards of this medicine.

Measure 75:  The Oregon Job Growth Education And Communities Fund Act, Part II.  Don’t you just love the people who write some of these ballot measure titles who try to hide the real meaning of the measure.  Does anything in that title tell you that the point of this measure is to build exactly one privately-operated gambling casino in Multnomah County and nowhere else?  Does it mention that the supporters are the one company that would operate the casino?  And did we mention that it is unconstitutional to do this?  Thank goodness  for the ballot initiative in Oregon, where we can attempt to pass something, even if it’s illegal. Besides, you might wonder whatever happened to Part 1!)

Measure 76: The Oregon Lottery Funds for Natural Resources Amendment.  It will keep giving 15% of lottery proceeds to support development of parks, beaches, wildlife habitat, and watershed protection.  You choose.  I’ll give you both sides of the story.  But the real question is this:  What programs did we take the money from so we could fund parks and wildlife and so forth?

So there they are. Get to thinking about them. In the next few months, others will try to sway your decisions on these questions. Most will not share both sides of the story. Have fun, but beware!