by Paul Jacob
Common Sense - Americans for Limited Government
Most Americans look at the election of judges in their states and counties as, well, boring. In Oregon, the state that's home to a town named Boring, citizens are waking up to how interesting judicial elections can be.
Like common-sense folk throughout the western states, a majority of Oregonians believe that property rights ought to be defended. But, against their wishes, the political hierarchy of the state has centralized land-use planning in the state capital anyway.
So Oregonians, betrayed by their representatives as well as at least one governor, have used the initiative to enact reform -- only to have those reforms struck down by judges with more ideology and creativity than sense and honesty.
Kimberly Strassel, writing in the Wall Street Journal, explains the consequences of Oregon's land-use planning. Since restricting most development to certain favored zones, "Property prices inside the boundary artificially skyrocketed," she writes, "while rural areas were barred from development that would create new jobs."
Not surprisingly, Oregon lags behind most other states in bouncing back from the recent recession.
Now the Oregonians who fought for property rights are turning their efforts where it really counts. One judge had objected to the passed initiative, writing that (horrors!) it would limit the state's power to regulate land. So now she discovers that a group is collecting signatures to recall her. There's a limit she can ponder.
The next election could get interesting . . . for wayward Oregon judges.
This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.