ARDY (Resident Detective): Local elections

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Note from the Author/Origin Story: Students at Lincoln are hungry for change. In September, they didn’t just sit in at a PPS board meeting, they stood up, and they walked out. The school-wide walkout was epic, and it showed the passion we students have for what matters. There was more signage at that event than a “Going Out of Business” sale, and a turnout that would make the 55.4% of Americans that voted, embarrassed. And all for what? Why didn’t that work? I’ve got enough questions to shake a stick at and a helluva lot of visions for this town.  I’m banking that you do to and one day, you’ll take a stand for what’s right and fix a few things, but for now I’ll be your “lifter of the veil”, shall I say, for all things Portland. Master Plan, Phase 1: In Progress…

Dear Ardy, damn was that election a $#!^show or what?! Got any good news about politics that’ll give me hope in our government again instead of wanting to move to Canada? – Average Joe Liberal Lincoln student

Dear Mr. Liberal,

F**K the electoral college, amiright?!

Wooh. Getting that off my chest and in print feels good. Also, I know talking about the election makes some of you want to cry, but I would like to use this week to talk about different ways to move toward peace and understanding.

First, I did a little research on Canada to answer this question and found a few fun facts that may intrigue you:

  1. Their election cycle lasts 78 days
  2. They have universal healthcare
  3. They have better bacon

That being said, I get that you probably have a lot of ties to America- friends, family, lifestyle. That’s fine. I think we can make this work.

To answer your question more directly Joe: YES! There is still hope, and you can find it at your local government.

Now, if any of you were so focused on, as Mr. Liberal put it, the “$#!^show” of a general election, that you didn’t see the results for the local stuff, Measure 98 passed, which should up your spirits.

Measure 98, a statewide measure which “requires state funding for dropout-prevention, career and college readiness programs in Oregon high schools”, won with over 64 percent of the popular vote.

According to Fearless Leader/Principal Peyton Chapman, Measure 98 could be huge for Lincoln. “It’s $10 million to Portland Public Schools” Chapman figures, “so for Lincoln it would be $1.3 million, if that money followed the students”.

Now that’s some money in the bank.

While this is all well and good, Chapman explains that the money actually goes to the district and it can decide how to spread the wealth. That brings me to peace and understanding.  

While we may not receive money from the district, Chapman references the September walkout, saying “In January I think the board is saying they’re going to ramp up for the May campaign… We need to finish this high school vision.”

That’s right folks, it’s a classic comeback story: student fights for what’s right, PPS f**ks student over for the umpteenth time, student brushes off, grits teeth, snarls, and heads back into the arena. We’re in act three.

Voting is great, but as I see it, civic engagement takes changemaking to the next level. Here’s a little anecdote. For about a month now, I have been working with the organization Sisters of the Road to help make a hygiene center a reality for houseless people in Portland. The difference between voting and working with Sisters is like the difference between seeing a picture of Robert Downey Jr. in a magazine, and holding that sweet hunky man in your arms. I can see the difference.

And in line civic engagement, it was inspiring to see all of the protests post-election night, showing what people will do for something they really care about.

Go! Make Chapman proud, volunteer, learn about your city, step up, speak out, sit-in, walk out!

Got a question about local affairs, or just want to send me fan mail?: [email protected]. XOXO -R.D.