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How gullible will we be for Mannix? September 22, 2007

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Here’s a letter to the editor in the Daily Astorian that rightfully warns about Measure 50. This measure will continue the horror and unintended consequences that began with Measure 11. Judges must be allowed to rule on a case by case basis, not some blanket verdict that’s required to be handed to everyone.

Prison time – not quality education – has become Oregonians’ only birthright

If an even-numbered year is approaching and Kevin Mannix is short on money, there must be a ballot measure coming. Sure enough, Mannix is promoting a knock-off of his successful Measure 11. His new initiative would mandate prison time for burglars, car thieves, identity thieves and low-level drug dealers.

Measure 11, enacted in 1994, caused Oregon to double its prison space over 12 years. The operational budget that goes into running those new prisons has caused corrections to become a ever larger share of state spending.

During the period that Measure 11 kicked in, public schools across Oregon cut programs and the number of teachers, counselors and librarians. Arts curriculum and school bands bit the dust in many districts. Even athletics programs were curtailed. Oregon also disinvested in higher education during that same decade.

You see, prison, not quality education became Oregonians’ only birthright.

Mannix promotes these crime measures because they are easy to sell. If a politician can’t demagogue crime, he can’t demagogue anything.

The inconvenient question is: “At what cost?” That’s a question that Republicans who call themselves fiscal conservatives used to ask. Here’s the answer. Mr. Mannix’ latest concoction will crowd out other things this state must accomplish.



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