By the way, I ended up voting for Jefferson Smith yesterday. I figure I'd mention this as I asked for advice here. I also say this ex post facto because I didn't want to be seen endorsing any particular candidate - the last thing I want is for this blog to become overtly political. I am comfortable taking a stand on something when I think the economics are clear: funding public education for example, or kicker reform that leads to a permanent rainy day fund, or even the repeal of the ban on self-service gas. But in this case the differences were small and just thinking in economics terms there is not a clear favorite.
What swayed me in the end was Smith's more skeptical stance on a number of things about which I am very skeptical: the CRC, the new Portland urban renewal district, the Oregon Sustainability Center. As far as I can tell, he still hedges a bit but I like the evidence of critical thought that, to me, evidences an understanding of opportunity cost. I was also impressed by a number of Smith supporters known to me in other capacities, and whom I respect, who reached out to me with thoughtful words in support of Smith.
That said, I understood there was a good chance of a Smith - Hales runoff and my vote in that election is not yet sealed. I will enjoy what I hope will be a deeper discussion of policy in the coming months and the result of these discussions will determine my vote.
I look forward to exploring some of these issues here in the future.