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HOPE Health Care initiative update

I wrote Mitch Greenlick to find out the status of the HOPE Constitutional initiative that would have made access to health care a fundamental right in Oregon. Here is his reply and my commentary.
We'll know in two to four weeks. But it seems pretty unlikely. We would need about 88% valid signatures and that doesn't happen very often.


First, I hope we make it on the ballot.

If we don't, this is very disheartening to know we came so close and that the tireless efforts of many, many people will go unrewarded. I am disappointed in myself with respect to this effort. I collected about 40 signatures and made a donation but it was only in the final weeks. I alone could have gotten another 500 signatures with a reasonable effort and commitment.

Same thing is true of other progressives. How many people here expect other people to carry their luggage? I know there are scores of places to invest time and effort but we must figure out a way for our progressive community to understand when we are on the margins of success and where a small collective effort could push us over the top.

This inititative would have likely made the ballot with another 5,000 raw signatures. That represents about 200 collective volunteer hours. Had each of us who post and reads Portland Indymedia invested 1 hour (or one additional hour) to gather signatures for this effort we would have made the ballot for sure.

If we don't make the ballot this time, I hope we have a better effort next time.
RE :HOPE Health Care initiative update 17.Jul.2006 00:34

confused in portland !

The Oregon initiative system is good, but unfortunately it is sullied
by paid canvassers. Who wants to volunteer in collecting signatures when
they will be standing side by side on the street with mercenary ballot
signature gatherers? The required numbers for ballot inclusion should
be reduced to a level where a single day's effort of bone fide voters
is sufficient. A completed checklist of constitutional and basic legal
requirements, in addition to one thousand signatures should be all that
is necessary for a ballot measure that involves only unpaid signature
gatherers. (This may also reduce problems with identity theft and other
personal security problems that paid canvassers pose to Portland's
voting population.)

Been there, done that 19.Jul.2006 16:10


I appreciate the frustration felt by the health care campaigners. Four years ago I was part of the effort to qualify an initiative on the city ballot to create a civilian police review board in order to curb the amount of police abuse taking place in this city. Everyone turned out for the marches, rallies and other actions but no one wanted to collect signatures. In the end, about two dozen activists collected enough signatures to put us two hundred signatures short of making it. In fact, we went to court (and lost) arguing that we fell into the "margin of error" in the statistical sample taken to estimate the count. Throughout the campaign we had over 200 people who signed pledges to collect one sheet of signatures. 175 of them did little or nothing.

One of the arguments for not collecting signatures that we often heard was that it was "reformist" and not going to really change things. I agree that we must always assess whether a strategy is putting energy and resources into something that won't pay off, however, we also need to remember that not every campaign ends in the overthrow of the state. Things like the civilian police review board campaign serves to as something to organize the unorganized. It can cast a light on an issue, offering protected space for other actions aimed at resolving the problem.

We are now stuck with a review board that everyone considers a joke. The police are continuing to move forward with the militarization of the bureau. Now we are hearing the old gang problem as an excuse for repression in large areas of the city and the local police are picking up federal dollars to expand their arsenal.

But I'd bet that if we ran another initiative to create a review board, we'd run up against the same attitude as before.