John Laird: Multiple Prop. 1's, balanced opinions and calming advice

By John Laird, Columbian Editorial Page Editor

Published:

 
photoJohn Laird is The Columbian's editorial page editor. His column of personal opinion appears each Sunday. Reach him at john.laird@columbian.com.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes about the Nov. 6 election, the one we thought would never arrive:

Pay attention — Any voter who can't tell a parks Proposition 1 from a C-Tran Proposition 1 from a Yacolt Proposition 1 needs to brush up on current events. Some folks are complaining that multiple Prop. 1 signs are confusing, and they can't tell the difference.

For the clueless, I have good news. No voter in the county has three Prop. 1 decisions to make, and only 27.3 percent of voters have two Prop. 1 decisions to make. (There are 65,313 ballots with both Vancouver parks and C-Tran propositions, and 741 ballots with both Yacolt and C-Tran propositions). All told, 241,107 ballots were mailed to Clark County voters. The C-Tran service district includes 81.7 percent of those voters.

More cluelessness, perhaps? — For those who might not be sure about Referendum 74, it regards approving legislation passed earlier this year that allows same-sex marriage. R-74 does NOT call for banning same-sex marriage or repealing the legislation. In other words, vote "Approved" if you support same-sex marriage, "Rejected" if you do not.

Plenty of reasons to be angry — Readers who complain that The Columbian is just a den of far-left loony liberals will no doubt point to the 10 Democrats we endorsed in the Nov. 6 election as evidence.

Conversely, readers who insist the editorial board is just a bunch of radical right-wing extremists will quickly reference the 12 Republicans we endorsed.

Other complaints could be lodged about our views on statewide ballot measures. The Columbian took liberal stances on same-sex marriage and marijuana (supporting Referendum 74 and Initiative 502, respectively), and we took conservative stances on charter schools and two-thirds legislative approval for tax increases (supporting Initiatives 1240 and 1185, respectively).

The editorial board reviews candidates and ballot measures on a case-by-case basis. Wherever the philosophical needle falls on the overall endorsements list actually is immaterial.

Speaking of endorsements — The statewide list published here is a feature we compile during major elections to provide readers with a broader spectrum of opinions. The fact that I take all of the credit for this, and letters coordinator Fay Blackburn does all of the work, is something we don't like to discuss.

Among the interesting findings: Republican Rob McKenna has eight of nine endorsements for governor, incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell has seven of eight endorsements for senator, and the presidential endorsements so far are falling four for Barack Obama and two for Mitt Romney. All nine newspapers reviewed have endorsed charter schools. All nine support same-sex marriage. Four of seven endorse legalizing marijuana. And six of eight support two-thirds legislative approval of tax increases.

As more endorsements are announced (The Columbian has completed its endorsements), we (Fay) will update the list for next Sunday's Columbian.

Let's all just relax — As political rhetoric heats up, my favorite advice comes from Nadeen at Burger Castle. In the "Saturday Night Live" sketch, cashier Nadeen (Cheri Oteri) constantly yelled for burger customers to "Simma down now!"

Even better advice is circulating on the Internet these days, attributed to John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement. Wesley wrote in his journal on Oct. 6, 1774: "I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them (1) to vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy; (2) to speak no evil of the person they voted against; and (3) to take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side." Which helps explain why preachers make better company than columnists.