Saturday :: May 15, 2010

Oregon Election - WW's Recommendations


by Mary

When trying to make sense of the candidates for the May 2010 election, I turned to the Willamette Week's endorsements as they have always been a good place to get some solid insight into the candidates. This hasn't made them too popular with some of the politicians, but it has always been a benefit for the public.

They judge the candidates after conducting extensive interviews which they tape and provide online so the public can make up their own minds. Their criteria for endorsement?

WW’s endorsements are far more art than science. There is no litmus test of issues candidates must pass in order to win our blessing. What we seek is actually quite simple. We tend to favor candidates who have 1) a basic understanding of the job they want and the body of government where they hope to work; 2) something in their political or professional past that evidences some ability to accomplish something; 3) an ability to think independently and a willingness to deviate from political orthodoxy of any stripe; 4) passion; 5) collegiality; 6) integrity. If a candidate emerges passing five out of those six, that’s damn good.

I'd say this year they've done a good job in the recommendations except for one which frankly was astonishingly bad.

They thought the current incumbent for Public School Superintendent had been bad enough that it was time to pick the other guy. But -- and here is where I was flabbergasted -- the other fellow, Ron Maurer, doesn't have the basic requirement I look for in anyone who seeks to influence our public education system.

[H]e’s torn between faith and science. “I am not a supporter of creationism,” he says. “I am not a supporter of evolution.”

The last thing Oregon needs as a Superintendent of Public Education is someone who is reality-challenged. Too many Republicans today are bad for our country not because they are bad people, but because they do not engage with reality. They start by denying scientific evidence on evolution, proceed to denying the scientific evidence pointing to catastrophic climate change due to man's use of carbon-based energy, and end up believing practically anything because they cannot trust scientists or other policy experts. Oregon needs teachers and students who understand critical thinking and how to base intelligent decisions on real empirical data if we are to have a chance of solving the very real problems that face us.

Electing someone who "doesn't support evolution" is tantamount to picking a blind man to drive the car down a dangerous mountain road. So what does that mean to not support evolution? It's not a question of support, it's a question of looking at the evidence.

Frankly, I am shocked that the WW's editors didn't get this.

Mary :: 1:07 PM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!