This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
October 27th, 2008

One Percent

Lot's of things in the news lately. Writers often write great articles about serious world problems, most of which we can't do anything about. The term for that in "J" school (journalism) is afganistising. A 'coined' word of course, and was adopted many years before the war we are now fighting.

I'd like to tackle, at least address, something much closer to home. You don't have to hold your breath, no political tirade coming.

Everyone in America has an election coming up in November. First, I'd like to encourage everyone to vote. And in Iraq, more people voted in their last election than voted in the entire USA in the last Presidential election. The number I heard this week was one in four vote. If you believe that, and know that JC and I have both voted in every election since Barry Goldwater, that means that six of you did not vote. That's not good.

Worse than that, I don't believe most folks even know who/what they are voting for. We've been researching the issues for the upcoming local election, and the one which seems to be getting the most press is one on property rights. Reading the information, our newspaper mentioned there are 20 or more other states which also have property rights issues on the ballot in November. Interestingly, they are not the same issues. Some states are trying to write special legislation which will protect property owners from eminent domain actions by the local government. This is where your property is seized by the government for "better use." The Supreme Court upheld a particular case this past year where property was taken to be used for 'private' purposes which would bring the local government more tax revenues. What may be legal in one state may not be legal in another - if this sort of issue is on the ballot where you live please research it carefully before you vote.

A few years ago our state adopted a Growth Management Act. It is the law, and had been tested through the courts. There was a huge outcry when it was purposed, lots of public meetings on it, and finally, it became law. The whole point was to prevent urban sprawl, maintain some green belts and public use areas. Some people were hurt financially as they had bought property on speculation planning to sell it down the line for development. It is called speculation for a reason. There is no guarantee in Vegas either.

Another issue here in Washington state is the Death With Diginity law. A similar law has been passed just south of us in Oregon state. There were all sorts of expected or invented problems. They didn't happen. The same safe-guards are in place for the one here as are in the Oregon law. I suppose if we were in our 30's I might find some objections. At this age I've seen too much suffering to believe it is alright to make anyone live in terrible pain - or not to have a way to die if they choose. I don't know if the law will pass, I do know I will vote for it. Regardless, if it does pass I expect it will be challenged in court as the Oregon one was. (The Oregon law does stand.)

We are lucky to live in the computer world. We have a ton of information about almost any topic you can name at our fingertips. I mention this because in all elections (since there aren't any 'truth in advertising laws' where a political election is involved) there are lies and rumors. Even if something is terribly outlandish, there are people who will believe it. The experts say about one percent will believe anything. It could be the number is higher given the conspiracy scenarios that are floating around at any given time.

We do have an important national election too. Frankly it is a scary time. I hope you've made an informed decision on who you are voting for. It is important.

All politics is local. Please pay attention to your local issues. They directly affect YOU. We encourage you to get informed. If your state publishes a Voter Information pamphlet, read it, both sides of all issues are there for the reading.

And one more thing: VOTE! ~ LadyFisher

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