Randy Stapilus


Governor’s debate fractured, with 2 candidates on one side of an issue, another opposed

By: - September 29, 2022

In a group of three, two usually line up – and did in the latest Oregon gubernatorial debate A two-way contest of any sort is a relatively simple matter of one side gaining more than the other. Add a third side to the picture and it becomes much more complicated.  In Oregon’s race for governor, […]


Is Oregon ripe for ranked choice voting?

By: - September 20, 2022

With three serious gubernatorial candidates on the ballot in November and the theoretical possibility of a new governor elected with 34% of the vote, Oregon might consider an election tool that recently got a lot of attention in Alaska and seems ripe for consideration here: ranked choice voting.  The probability – at least, if polling […]


Oregon’s unaffiliated voters: more partisan than you might think

By: - September 5, 2022

If Oregon’s registered Democrats vote Democratic in this November’s general election, and the Republicans vote Republican, those numbers alone won’t come close to settling the deal.  A big reason: The largest group of voters in Oregon are the NAVs – those who register as “nonaffiliated.”  (Disclosure: I’m one of them.) But what does that mean […]


Oregon’s public defense system needs an overhaul

By: - August 29, 2022

One of the recurring plot points in the much-praised and just-ended TV series “Better Call Saul” concerned the stretched resources and minimal pay of public defenders, the attorneys who represent accused criminals who otherwise can’t afford to hire legal help.  The show was set in New Mexico (which does have public defender problems) but the […]


Oregon, Washington 3rd districts might decide control of U.S. House 

By: - August 26, 2022

Are the two districts most directly facing each other across the Columbia, the third congressional districts of Washington and Oregon, really the same kind of district – only on opposite sides? Control of the U.S. House next year could hinge on the answer.  Washington’s Congressional District 3, site of a dramatic primary election and possibly […]


Polls that consider a broader picture are more reliable in predicting ballot outcomes

By: - August 16, 2022

On July 20, a tweet that prompted an Oregonian debate looked like an election horse race shocker: a projected Republican win in the state’s 4th Congressional District.  Said one tweeter, “These Oregon ratings are uh interesting.” The tweet was a map showing Oregon’s 4th Congressional District (in southwest Oregon, including Lane and Benton counties) as […]


Is Timber Unity becoming disunified?

By: - August 4, 2022

The rural activist group Timber Unity recently passed its third birthday. How many more it may have has become a notable question – and whether, even now, it is becoming Timber Disunity. The group started as a coalition of farmers, wood industry workers and truck drivers, backed financially by several businesses in that field, aiming […]


Hotline could help in understanding motivation behind hate crimes, but needs improvement

By: - July 18, 2022

Where do hate crimes come from? From mass shootings to those of smaller scope, more understanding of the dynamics behind them can be a critical element to coping with them. A new tool launched by the Oregon Legislature three years ago may help provide some of that insight – if it is put to its […]


Oregon gubernatorial race takes a turn with U.S. Supreme Court decisions 

By: - July 7, 2022

The independent gubernatorial candidacy of Betsy Johnson is predicated on bringing together two dissatisfied groups – Republicans unhappy with the Trumpy side of their party, Democrats unhappy with the Portland-style liberalism in theirs – with independents to form a polyglot plurality.  She took a useful step in that direction with her call for a series […]


State needs information about water use to manage it

By: - June 24, 2022

Like other western states, Oregon has a water department – the Department of Water Resources – and extensive water law and regulation, and there’s a reason for this. Water is an essential resource, our lives depend on it, and ensuring we have water available means regulating it intelligently.  To do that, we need information, and […]


‘Blue dog’ days may be over in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District

By: - June 16, 2022

The Blue Dog Democrats in Congress for years have attached themselves to a piece of hard political logic: If you run toward the center, instead of toward the left, you’ll pick up more votes in districts considered competitive between Republicans and Democrats. That idea, accepted and rejected with equal fervor in various parts of American […]


Confusing decision about what is ‘public accommodation’ could shift issue into public spotlight

By: - June 10, 2022

Here is a pivotal sentence from a just-released Oregon Supreme Court decision concerning a case of alleged prisoner mistreatment: “Buildings do not discriminate; people do.” That simple statement then twists in unexpected directions, reflecting partly that it comes from a dissent in the decision, and which in turn came not from an Oregon court case […]