By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Salem rule-makers march in lockstep

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Don Dix

Conscience is defined as ...
1. the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action. 2. the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual.

#2 ... the whole of this definition no longer belongs to the politician. The thoughts and actions of ethical and moral principles have been bought by special interests and other campaign contributors, and favorable legislation is unequivocally expected. The general public deals daily with the unintended consequences of that legislation, while the contributors use that legislation to prosper and further the agenda.

In Oregon, it's about liberals, but elsewhere the conservatives play the same game. And to believe the Independent Party of Oregon will level the playing field (and ignore the big money) is pure nonsense! It just adds another open campaign wallet for the contributors to fill, and fill it they will, and do little to help the general population. In my opinion, 'independent' means not beholdin' to any agenda or cause, and to decide issues and candidates based on their merit, not who, how, or why it/they were sponsored.


No doubt, Don.

Jeb Bladine

As reference, here's the IPO platform:
The Independent Party seeks to provide a moderate alternative that defines itself by the things we agree on … we have realized that there is a great deal of agreement among not only our members, but the general public, on 5 core issues:

Reducing special interest influence over our legislative process.

Increased transparency in government, particularly with how our tax dollars are spent.

The importance of protecting Oregon consumers, particularly with respect to banks, insurance companies and private utilities.

The need for a sensible approach to job creating and economic development.

Advancing the rights of Independent and non-affiliated voters.

Don Dix


Campaign promise sound bites seem to be very similar to the platform of the IPO. These two stood out ...

Reducing special interest influence over our legislative process.

Increased transparency in government, particularly with how our tax dollars are spent.

It is common knowledge who 'influences' the legislature. Your article is specific. And the same applies to 'how our tax dollars are spent'.

If the IPO is to gain a foothold in Oregon's government, is it the idea that the public employee unions (and Portland) will step aside and allow these changes? Not gonna' happen! Without union support, the IPO will be relegated to the sidelines, just like the Rs.

Sal Peralta

Don - You are not wrong about the issue of money in politics. It's a question that I wrestle with every day as I am travelling around trying to recruit candidates. I don't see us as any great panacea, especially on the question of money in politics. But I do think that we will open the electoral map up to greater competition and maybe provide some new gravity to the public interest center.

Don Dix

Sal -- Your idea of adding more choices for the voters isn't the problem, in my opinion. Variety has always been a popular spice! But without catering to the union platform, IPO candidates should expect to trampled by those with union support.

I understand the dilemma -- refuse to 'sell your votes to union pressure', or fall in line and accept the campaign cash, which is vital to being elected. Either way, it seems your party's position is tedious.

Unfortunately, the 3rd party idea would have been much easier to implement 40 years ago (before the unions bought the legislature).

That said, I wish you luck on this endeavor, mostly for the new perspective to government and the possibility that the legislature might actually perform with respect to the citizens instead of the unions and other special interests.


Am I correct in the fact that both Senators and representatives are elected from districts by population?
Should not each district get the same amount of senate representation and the house get it based on population per district.
But this would break the "I 5" liberal corridor that rules the state---never gonna happen.


rebmc, I'm not really following what you are saying. There are 30 senate districts in the state, and two representative districts in each senate district. The districts are apportioned to be roughly equal by population, and the district lines are adjusted after every 10-year census to account for population changes.

I'm don't understand the logic behind your statement, "But this would break the "I 5" liberal corridor that rules the state -"



allocate senators two per county and reps per population


rebmc, Do you really want 72 state senators, instead of the current 30? Not sure that makes any sense. And are you suggesting that as a result of the new senate windfall, we increase the size of the House, too, or leave it at 60?

Jeb Bladine

Actually, rebmc's suggestion would be akin to how we apportion representatives to Congress -- two U.S. senators per state, and U.S. representatives based on near-equal population districts. If, say, Oregon left 60 representatives in its House of Representatives based on population districts, but had 36 state senators -- one per county -- imagine the huge change that would occur in state politics. Suddenly, Multnomah and Lane counties would be offset by Grant and Malheur counties alone!

There would be plenty of opposition, since the metro areas would not stand by idly with their left-leaning politics stake. But it would be a lively statewide debate!


I could get behind that idea, Jeb. It could also involve a significant realignment of the House district lines, since they are currently configured to fit within the Senate districts. The idea would almost guarantee that the Senate would remain a republican stronghold, but the House could go either way. It's an interesting concept.


In following the last 3 or 4 comments would if it would get Sheridan back "home" and out of the hands of Coos Bay and Lincoln City.....I'm all for it.

Jeb Bladine

Unfortunately, I now see, state systems of unequal apportionment were legally rejected. Many states elected one state senator per county, but in 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court made that illegal in Reynolds v. Sims. The courts said the Constitution's 1868 Equal Protection clause (14th Amendment) requires both houses of bicameral legislatures to be elected from equal population districts.

The interesting side note, of course, is that apportionment of the U.S. Senate apportionment -- 2 senators per state -- would them seem to be unconstitutional. That system was created by the 17th Amendment in 1913, so I guess it overrides the 14th Amendment.

There's a current challenge to Reynolds v. Sims that may make its was to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, I guess we get to keep being ruled by Multnomah and Lane counties!

Sal Peralta

Don - You are not wrong about the undue influence of some of the public employee groups. And you are not wrong about some of those groups wanting to squash us. Basically, we are a threat to the social conservatives on the right and the Democratic establishment on the left. We have tried to survive by being Switzerland but now is the time for us to try and gain win ourselves a small share of governing power. That will be extremely difficult because our opening of the electoral map is perceived as a threat by both groups.

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