Voter’s Guide to Local Elections
Ryan Degan. Staff Writer
It is too late to register to vote, but students who did sign up may find this quick voters guide helpful for election day, May 17. This guide only refers to local elections, readers will have to look elsewhere for information on the presidential primaries. It is important to keep in mind that Oregon has closed primaries which means citizens can only vote for a member of their registered political party.
Oregon voters have a historically low turnout rate for primary and midterm elections, according to Oregon State Government, in 2014 only 35% of Oregon citizens voted. Turnout for students is even lower, in 2014 only 19% of the 18-29 demographic turned out to vote. So if you feel like voting is pointless because politicians don’t listen to the youth vote, it may be a chicken or the egg kind of situation. Who knows if students really turn out to vote, our voice will be heard*. Enough with the lecture on voting, most students have already heard this from ASSOU’s vote or vote volunteer ambushes around campus. For those of you still interested, what follows is a brief explanation of the major measures on this year’s ballot in Jackson County.
15-141 Local Option Tax for Sustaining and Expanding Local Bus Operations
This measure will particularly affect students who rely on public transportation. If approved the measure will potentially raise property taxes from 2-3%. The tax increase will allow Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) to maintain current bus routes, increase services on Saturdays, add routes, and increase frequency of busses on overcrowded routes. If NOT approved RVTD will begin preparations for eliminating routes, and will be unable to invest in local transit systems in the future. RVTD has not seen any increases in funding for 31 years, but has suffered numerous cuts. Measure 15-141 will restore past cuts and maintain public transportation.
17-69 Rogue Community College (RCC) District General Obligation Bond for Training/Education
Proposed measure will provide RCC with up to $20,000,000 in funds from the county. The funds themselves will be allocated to build new and renovate current RCC facilities in order to improve and modernize students and faculty members education. Including new state of the art Nursing training facility and Science Education Center. Its goal being to help the over 17,000 students at RCC achieve careers here in the Rogue Valley. The funding will be raised through property taxes over the next 21 years, landowning Jackson will pay approximately 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value annually. An example being a home with an assessed value of $200,000 would pay $10 per year. Jackson county citizens who do not own property may still see a slight increase in rent as property owners attempt to match the new tax.
A nonpartisan position the County Assessor basically assesses the value of property and compiles a list of taxable land that the county can use. A very important, albeit not very sexy, job this year there are 5 candidates running for the office.
David Anderson: Anderson acknowledges that the position of Assessor” is often despised, but is vitally important to the role of government.” Claiming that the position can often be a “cookie jar for corruption,” Anderson promises to conduct impartial and accurate work on current and future assessments and procedures.
Education: International Association of Assessing Officers; Embry Riddle
Occupational Background: (in his own words) Assessor, Appraiser, Supervisor, Manager, Mechanic, Blue Collar Worker
David B. Arrasmith: Citing education as one of his best strengths, Arrasmith claims to have taken over 500 hours of continuing education courses in appraising most types of properties. He will use this education to inform local businesses and property owners of their rights and how specific property law affects them. Arrasmith believes he has the best understanding of Oregon’s complex property tax statutes.
Education: San Jose State University, B.S. Degree Accounting
Occupation: Jackson County Deputy Assessor.
Ruth Staten: The cornerstone of previous Jackson county Assessor Staten’s campaign is experience, having over 15 years of experience working with the Assessor’s office. Staten claims to continue her methods of efficiency and transparency if elected. “I am a voice of integrity for the Assessor’s Office,” Staten said “Once elected, I will be responsible to ensure there is transparency and accuracy in every job done in our office.”
Education: North Valley High School, Grants Pass; Southern Oregon College, Ashland, Oregon 2+ years.
Occupation: 2011 to Current Program/Project Coordinator II, Jackson County Assessor, Medford, OR
Angela Stuhr: Stuhr also claims vast experience as one of their strengths, having worked with the assessor’s office for 21 years. Stuhr promises to continue her policies of diligence and service to the community. “Service to Jackson County is the cornerstone of my career,” said Stuhr explaining a desire to give back to the community. “If elected, I promise I will do my utmost to increase your understanding of the tax laws, ensure that all property is valued and assessed accurately,” Stuhr said.
Education: University of Iowa, Bachelor of Business Administration.
Occupation: Lead Appraiser/ Appraiser 3, Jackson County Assessor’s Office.
Michael Wright: Wright believes his vast experience in both the private and public sector put him far ahead of his competitors. An apparent Maverick candidate, Wright claims that he has a great understanding of the current appraisal system and the changes it needs.
Occupation: Property Appraiser III, Jackson County Assessor’s Office
Education: Southern Oregon University, Economics and Computer Science, 1991/1992; Appraisal Institute.