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Our view: Endorsements include Bates, Talbert, Hoppe

We have not written endorsements in every race in this year's election, instead focusing on the races that we felt were most critical or closely contested. We also have postponed a few endorsements until later this week, in part due to scheduling conflicts in meeting with candidates. Following are summaries of the endorsements we have written to date:

State Senate District 3: State Sen. Alan Bates has come in for some scurrilous attacks from his opponent, Dave Dotterrer, but the negative half-truths have served only to discredit Dotterrer. Bates, a Medford Democrat, has a record he is deservedly proud of, including authoring health care reform legislation that has improved services and reduced costs. Senate District 3 voters can return a strong senator to Salem and send a message that negative campaigning does not work here.

Jackson County commissioner, Position 1: Neither Republican Rick Dyer nor Democrat Tonia Moro entirely won us over in their campaigns for the county Board of Commissioners, but either of them would be vastly superior to the minor party candidates on the ballot. We believe either Dyer, owner of an energy-efficiency business, or Moro, a lawyer who has worked with several local governments, would be a competent commissioner.

Jackson County commissioner, Position 3: Kevin Talbert, a retired administrator from Southern Oregon University, is an intelligent and thoughtful moderate who believes the Board of Commissioners is no place for partisan politics. Colleen Roberts is a tea partier who if elected would make every effort to take this county down the ungovernable path blazed by nearby Josephine and Curry counties. Roberts is so extreme that Talbert has been endorsed by both outgoing Republican commissioners and by The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County. She has virtually no support from community leaders of any political persuasion. 

Circuit Court judge: In the May primary, we endorsed Adam Peterson to remain in the judgeship to which he was appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber. In light of more recent events and information we've gathered, we are changing that position and endorsing prosecutor David Hoppe. Both of these men are intelligent and capable, but there is a vast disparity in their experience, and that experience level — or lack of it on Peterson's part— has raised legitimate questions that ultimately swayed us to Hoppe's side.

Medford City Council: Medford voters have some interesting — and good — choices to make in filling three council seats. Our picks go to: Ward 2, representing southwest Medford, Clay Bearnson, a downtown business owner and member of two city commissions; Ward 3, northwest Medford, Kevin Stine, a nine-year Navy vet who comes from a poverty background; and Ward 4, southeast Medford, Donna Lane, chairwoman of the School of Business at Southern Oregon University and a former small business owner.

Measure 86: Yes — This measure would give lawmakers the ability to help Oregon students attend college and pursue vocational and technical job training while incurring less debt by creating a permanent scholarship fund. The measure would direct the Legislature to create a permanent Oregon Student Opportunity Fund, investing the proceeds and spending only the earnings, not the principal, to grant scholarships to Oregon students.

Measure 87: Yes — This measure would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow sitting state judges to serve in the National Guard and to teach at public universities. A section in the Oregon Constitution now prohibits public employees from being employed by two branches of government. But allowing judges to serve in the National Guard and to share their expertise with students does not run counter to the spirit of that law and just makes sense. 

 Measure 89: No — Discrimination on the basis of gender is deplorable and never justified, and preventing it is an important goal. If we thought Ballot Measure 89 was needed to do that we would support it. But we don't:  An Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution might still be worthwhile, but that doesn't mean Oregon needs to add unneeded verbiage to a state Constitution that already provides the protection.

Measure 90: Yes — This measure would help curb the current out-of-control partisanship by advancing the top two vote-getters from the primary to the general election. That would require candidates on both sides to reach out to voters in the middle and help diminish the number of far-left and far-right office holders who have created the gridlock. And it would give a primary voice to the state's disenfranchised independent voters. 

Measure 91: Yes — In 2012, we recommended voters reject a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana because it was badly written and likely to create more problems than it solved. This year, a group of legalization advocates have put forward a very detailed, carefully worded initiative that has none of the drawbacks of the 2012 measure. We think Ballot Measure 91 strikes the right balance between Colorado's overly permissive law and Washington state's excessively restrictive statute. 

Measure 92: Yes — This measure would require the labeling of food sold in Oregon that contains genetically modified organisms. Measure 92 is about consumers having enough information about the food they buy to decide whether to purchase it. That's a reasonable request.