Pricey transit, outdoor smoking and ballot privacy: Opinion roundup

Voters in Colorado, like those in Oregon, will soon decide whether or not to legalize marijuana. But ganja use isn’t the only vice receiving editorial page ink these days. The Denver Post is urging Boulder City Council not to ban cigarette smoking over a several block area downtown, reasoning that it’s a legal activity that doesn’t necessarily harm others when done in the open air. By contrast, Boulder’s paper, The Daily Camera, argues that the ban “has merit.”

If all of this sounds familiar, perhaps it’s because Portland State University recently made rumblings about asking the city to ban smoking in the South Park Blocks, which run through campus. In case you wondered, we on The Oregonian’s editorial board thought that was a pretty bad idea.

Sorry about double-dipping in the Denver Post’s editorial page, but the paper also has an interesting editorial about a U.S. District court decision on ballot secrecy. Apparently, some counties in Colorado are printing ballots that carry bar-codes linking them to voters. This violates the state constitution’s secret-ballot guarantee, the Post argues. Nonetheless, a legal challenge by privacy advocates was dismissed.

And speaking of voters and elections, The Orange County Register notes that the percentage of registered voters claimed by both major parties is slipping in California while the ranks of nonaffiliated voters are growing. Nonetheless, the paper notes, “even as they account for less than half of California’s registered voters, Democrats could be close to achieving total control of state government …”

Closer to home, The (Eugene) Register-Guard urges city council to support an extension of the Lane Transit District’s rapid-transit bus system, which travels along dedicated traffic lanes. But the extension, which relies heavily upon federal money, has its opponents, who would prefer a public vote. Sound familiar?

Check out The Oregonian today for our take on the dysfunctional Clackamas River Water Board and a proposal to rezone a Wilsonville property in the hope that Cabela’s will use it. They can be found at The Stump.

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