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A last-minute voters guide

With just days to go until all the General Election ballots are due - Nov. 7 - it's probably safe to assume that quite a few voters have not yet turned in their ballots.

Whether these last-minute voters are carefully considering their options or are Grade A procrastinators, there's still time to get out those ballots and make a difference in local, state and national government.

To make it easy for the eleventh-hour voters, here's a comprehensive list of Sandy Post/Pamplin Media Group endorsements, with excerpts from previous editorials:

GOVERNOR

Ted Kulongoski, Democrat: 'As governor, he has directly addressed issues most important to Oregonians. He recognizes that more needs to be done, and his candidacy has defined a vision for Oregon in much greater detail than Saxton has provided.'

STATE REPRESENTATIVE

Patti Smith, Republican: 'In her first three terms in the House, (Smith) has proven that she is in touch with the needs and issues of the district. Smith's proximity, breadth of experience and membership in the majority party make her the best choice.'

STATE SENATOR

Rick Metsger, Democrat: 'It's nice to have someone in Salem who represents the Sandy area well and advocates positive change statewide. Metsger is a high-profile legislator who has statewide appeal, yet shows local commitment. We believe his record, his stature and his accessibility have earned him re-election.'

U.S. CONGRESSMAN

Earl Blumenauer, Democrat: 'Portland's Earl Blumenauer has worked as an effective advocate for Oregon's 3rd Congressional District. Since he was first elected to Congress in 1996, Blumenauer has gained a national reputation and influence. Recently, he worked in bipartisan cooperation with Oregon U.S. Rep. Greg Walden on a House-approved bill to expand wilderness protections on Mount Hood - the first such expansion in 25 years.'

COUNTY COMMISSIONER

Lynn Peterson, Democrat: 'Peterson has attainable visions for the county and understands the need to make it more of a regional player. She has shown that she is interested and engaged in the Sandy area. And what's more, Peterson's able to carry on a conversation about the issues our area faces because she's paying attention. Although she's from Lake Oswego, we feel comfortable saying that she will represent our interests better than her challenger. Even Sandy's mayor, Linda Malone, thinks so.'

LEVIES/BONDS

Mt. Hood Community College bond (26-83): VOTE YES

'The proposed Mt. Hood Community College bond levy means the owner of a home assessed at $200,000 would see a property tax increase of $34 a year. For that price, local property owners will be preserving an institution that is vital to this community's quality of life. The college provides training for local workers, it offers transfer students an affordable head start into the university system and it has a huge - and often under-appreciated - effect on the local economy.'

Metro bonds to Preserve Natural Areas (26-80): VOTE YES

'Voters have a chance to match their investments with their opinions by supporting a second round of bonding to purchase and preserve natural areas and valuable habitat within the Portland-metropolitan (Metro) region. For $38 extra in taxes every year (for a $200,000 home), the proposal is frugal, productive and incentive-driven. Passage of this measure would continue a legacy of regional environmental stewardship and success.'

Five-year public safety local option tax (3-246): VOTE YES

'The Clackamas County Jail in Oregon City has become a virtual revolving door in recent years with many arrestees being back on the street almost as fast as their arresters can return to their patrol cars. Clackamas County has among the fewest jail beds in the state for housing inmates. Currently, 84 beds at the county jail are not in use due to funding constraints. Among other things, the measure would allow the county to use those beds. The measure would cost 24.8 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. That would equal about $8.16 a month for a $400,000 home.'

Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District permanent rate limit (3-221): VOTE YES

Five bucks a year. If you have a $200,000 house, that's how much the Soil and Water Conservation tax is going to affect you. The organization, known for its environmental conservation and restoration work with urban and rural landowners throughout the county, is dependent on fluctuating grants for its funding. But many grants need matching funds. The tax rate would provide such matching funds. Although the district's work isn't the most glamorous or publicized, district manager Rick Gruen said it best: 'Most people don't know who we are, but if we didn't do our job - they'd know it.' Vote yes for this cheap, important service.