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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 11, 2004 5:51 AM. The previous post in this blog was Scheduled outage. The next post in this blog is The new Oregon state budget. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Whoop, whoop

Readers, help me with this one: Portland Tribune columnist Phil Stanford says that if Commissioner Erik "the Idea Man" Sten's proposal for "clean money" public financing of municipal campaigns is successful, Stanford's going to run against Sten for mayor. Seems that Phil has some great plans for his $200,000 handout from the city's taxpayers.

Man, so do I.

But should I run for mayor, or just try to get the job of Stanford's campaign manager? Since he's setting up headquarters in Maui, it might be nice for me to just run the campaign office for him while he does all the hard work of snorkeling and eating pu-pu platters. On the other hand, if I run against him, I'll get my own war chest to play with, but I'm going to have my hands full all day, body surfing my way through the Carribean and posting inspirational messages to the Portland electorate on my $8,000 laptop.

Or how about this for a plan: I run for mayor, get the $200,000, spend it, and then throw my support behind Phil at the last minute?

Decisions, decisions.

Comments (50)

If this plan goes through, you don't think every pastor, CEO, and mildly influential public figure, isnt going to run for office? I don't doubt that a lot of these people will sincerely think they can win the race and will run legitimate campaigns. But its easier to convince yourself you're a winning candidate when you're spending someone else's money.

Ok, so I have a question, then. Anyone have a good explanatiion for why none of these scenarios have come to pass in the places that already have such campaign financing plans in place? Or are you all just saying that it's something unique to the character of Portlanders that would lead to such abuses?

(And no, Stanford hasn't addressed that hole in his pet theories either.)

b!X - I think Portland (in it's unique, silly way) has come up with public funding law that would allow Stanford's plan to work as advertised. Granted, I haven't seen the actual law written out - but we ARE building a tram in this town (for crying out loud!). So I think Phil's plan is a go.

And I don't see why we can't send me on an Asian junket with public funds as I run for mayor. As stated on this board, I have pledged to run for mayor long before the carrot of free public money was granted. So with that grandfathering of myself done, I will start planning my campaign.

The biggest hole in the theory is the idea that it's easy to raise $5.00 apiece from 1,000 people. It reminds me of the beginning of an old Steve Martin routine. "Do you want to know how to make a million dollars without paying any taxes? Well, first you make a million dollars. Then . . ."

b!X - I think Portland (in it's unique, silly way) has come up with public funding law that would allow Stanford's plan to work as advertised. Granted, I haven't seen the actual law written out - but we ARE building a tram in this town (for crying out loud!). So I think Phil's plan is a go.

This still doesn't address my question. The proposal here is modelled after similar plans in other localities which do not appear to have suffered these hypothetical abuses.

So if such abuses are neither inherent nor inevitable in the plans themselves, why are people so convinced they are going to happen here?

You don't think Phil Stanford, Lars Larson, or even I can get $5 from 1,000 people in exchange for the promise of making the City Council look foolish? Even Extremo and Spagg might have been able to do it, since they had nothing better to do with their time.

The majority of the population is going to hate this idea. Five bucks each would be a cheap price for them to pay to kill it.

What if enough candidates get the thousand checks to effectively empty the general fund? Are they going to hand out the money on a first come, first served basis?

You don't think Phil Stanford, Lars Larson, or even I can get $5 from 1,000 people in exchange for the promise of making the City Council look foolish? Even Extremo and Spagg might have been able to do it, since they had nothing better to do with their time.

So you're subscribing to the "Portland would abuse it" perspective, since I've still not found any evidence that people in other places with this system did any such thing.

"Abuse" is in the eye of the beholder. If this idea isn't put up for a public vote, it deserves whatever it gets.

Perhaps we should make it a one-day or two-day thing. Everyone interested in making a five-dollar donation would have to show up at one venue. This would limit the specter of an already well-heeled and well-organized political action powerhouse from simply leveraging their power on behalf of someone they would otherwise donate money to anyway. This would turn the tables around, propaganda-wise, and the well-heeled folks would then be appealing to the crowds to NOT give five bucks to this person or that person. It could be set up like a classic jobs fair, with booths scattered about.

And if Stanford wins, require him to actually serve as mayor. That would be a deterrent.

Jack - "And if Stanford wins, require him to actually serve as mayor. That would be a deterrent."

He should serve as mayor from his Maui offices. Because if Vera can get chauffered, Phil can phone it in.
(^_^)

b!X - "So if such abuses are neither inherent nor inevitable in the plans themselves, why are people so convinced they are going to happen here?"

Abuse is inherent in the people, never in the plan. Remember, some people who run for office do it for the power. Because power doesn't corrupt - the corrupt seek power.

Count me in for a $5 donation. As far as any other part of the country not doing this, I think it would be more fruitful to explain why registering and then getting $5 x 1000 cannot be done here.

I'll throw in $5 to as many campaigns as advertise to get this money just to sink it.

No one has clearly stated why we need this public welfare for politicians. Again, very simple, why not limit contributions to $25 per person a la Potter?

Then maybe we can use this money for the schools or police.

Just for fun, try writing down the names of all the people you personally know--not people you've heard of, but people who if you called them up and asked them to give you $5.00 wouldn't say, "Who the hell are you?"

I think you'll discover that a thousand people is a lot of people. And everyone one of them has to give you at least $5 dollars. You can't have 100 people give you a nickel for every person who gives you $500.

Don't get me wrong; I don't support this Clean Money proposal. I just think anyone who believes you can just walk out on the street and collect $5 from a thousand people has probably never tried to raise money for a campaign.

Not everybody can do it. But are there 100 people in Portland who can? Yes. And of 100 people in Portland, will at least 50 oppose this proposal? Yes. And of that number, how many are bold enough to try to sink it? Maybe 10.

That's $2 million, plus the "legitimate" candidates.

"Abuse is inherent in the people, never in the plan. Remember, some people who run for office do it for the power. Because power doesn't corrupt - the corrupt seek power."

Sorry, Scott -- I'm sticking with Lord Acton's original: power corrupts, and absolutely power corrupts absolutely. It's really much simpler, as challenging as that is, to structure systems that can be controlled than to try to elect or appoint saints instead of sinners.

Great topic and as per usual brilliantly done, Mr. Bogdanski. Damn, this could be fun to watch. I hope you haven't got my hopes up too high.

Scott said: "Abuse is inherent in the people, never in the plan. Remember, some people who run for office do it for the power. Because power doesn't corrupt - the corrupt seek power."

But again, you're dodging the point I'm trying to make. Please explain what it is you think is the problem with Portlanders which would make them abuse such a system when residents of other places which use such a system have not so abused it?

The longer this thread goes, the clearer it's becoming that it's not a matter of there being people here who will abuse the system for their own gain, but that there are people here who will abuse the system specifically so attack the system itself.

Charming.

It's not the "system" yet. And if it's implemented without a public vote, Sten & Co. are the real "abusers."

Jack Roberts does have a good point: how do you find the 1000 people to give you the $5? The first 50 or so prospects are easy to find. After that it gets harder.

Though I don't like the idea of providing public money to finance local campaigns (at least not for incumbents), I don't think a lot of Portlanders would pungle up $5 to someone who boasted that s/he was running in order to swipe $200,000 from the treasury paid for by the prospective donor's property taxes.

Jack Roberts - 1,000 people is a lot...but a decent radio-station promotion will get a DJ or two listed as 'candidates' - just to mock the system. And that's in addition to the 10-50 folks Jack listed who would run. Plus the fine folks I mention below.


b!X - My point is that the Portland system is *designed* to be more easily abused than other cities. The fault isn't with PDX residents, it's with the goof-balls crafting this proposal. More specifically, they already approved a tram inside the city - there is no silliness they will not stoop to (if it brings them a buck).


Isaac - The folks from [insert organization here] have collected signatures in the past easily enough. I bet a similar trolling for $5 from folks (in lieu of a signature) would gather 1,000 contributions pretty quickly. Imagine, if you would, every goofball organization you know of working hard at getting their leader designated as a $200,000 candidate - some groups will succeed.

So why don't we up the seed money requirement to say, $100 each from 2000 people and make the whole thing self-funding? I'm sure the administrative overhead can't be more than a couple of bucks, eh?

Why 5 dollars? Is it an arbitrary line, drawn out of necessity? If it is merely nominal then we should instead require only a signature. If the arbitrary line drawing is a legislative judgment, factual in nature, that no judge could overturn then the 5 dollar price tag could be scaled up to perhaps 5,000 dollars, or, perhaps even require that signors own land – that way at least the taxpayers who pay the bill would be the ones agreeing upon how it is spent. The Arizona example for clean money allows for higher spending to compensate for the higher spending of a non-clean money candidate. The inherent philosophy of the clean money campaign is to use other people’s money; which is consistent with so much of government these days in its’ quest to appease each and every special interest.

I have never bought into the notion of benevolent dictatorship, or authoritarianism for our own best interest as decided by an elite. How long would it take before the _right_ to speak becomes a _privilege_ to speak because the dollars originate from the government? Could the government achieve limits on the content of core free speech through this speaking privilege that the government could not otherwise restrict? Could I be banned from saying that when people have sex that that is not a rational reason to justify an inherent entitlement to public dollars for engaging in state sanctioned sexual activity? Could I be banned from saying that payment for sex that is given to public employees should be offered equally to private citizens who do not work for the government and engage in sex in the same way that government folks do? Could I be banned from saying that money for sex within a religious marriage should be provided equally to happy co-habitators who believe that short-term monogamy is perfectly OK and insist that it is the sexual conduct that is the basis for the reward not the length of the relationship? It would be too hard to distinguish between morality questions and economic decisions, whatever, once we cross over and proclaim that speech is now a privilege. I, of course, think that two of the sides of the gay marriage debate are acting like Spagg already, waving their sexual proclivities on their sleeves just to get a quick buck (we are already paying for the campaigns through public dollars anyway). Imagine how Diane Linn would select the criteria for conditioning the release of public speaking money provided to her competition. Imagine if B!x were selecting the criteria for conditioning the release of public speaking money provided to other people. Imagine if Lon Mabon . . (etc. etc.)

If the Secretary of State thinks that obtaining a signature is potentially worthy of a 100,000 dollar fine and five-years in jail I could only wonder what level of punishment is in store for someone who has received public speaking money and somehow gamed the system to show that they had fairly received 5 dollars from each of the required 1000 people. Would we leave such prosecutorial decisions in the classical realm of prosecutorial discretion, kind of like we give the Attorney General the right to authorize the theft of billions of dollars, on behalf of public employees, by calling such gifts something other than theft? How would _I_ condition the speech of recipients of public speaking dollars?

We each have our little wars. Mine is to enhance government accountability, regardless of their silly claims of advocating for the public interest, and the clean money thing does not solve the problem but rather enhances it.

Jack – an absentee mayor would have less time to do harm.

b!X - My point is that the Portland system is *designed* to be more easily abused than other cities.

Cite your source. This is as bad as Stanford's flat declarations without evidence to back them up.

b!X - I am citing my 'opinion'. I am observing that (based on past performance) Portland's idea is more exploitable than other city's similar scenarios.

You are confusing yourself by believeing that Jack B., et al. are simply engaging in talk of "things are always worse here" without any cited evidence. But in this case we are correct....Portland really is in first place for the Bad Idea Trophy.

Once you spend another 10 years in Portland you, too, will have witnessed too much 'evidence' to bother citing in blog posts.

For Mr B!x: You have not made a real point of why we need to subsidize candidates. I don't see any candidates not running because they cannot get the money together.

Again - If influence peddling is the issue, then why wouldn't a $25 (or whatever) limit on contributions work better?

Giving politicians money from what could be spent on roads, schools, police, etc. is lunacy.

Steve,

You said "For Mr B!x: You have not made a real point of why we need to subsidize candidates. I don't see any candidates not running because they cannot get the money together."

Are you crazy? Not only is running expensive, but you also have to have the luxury of leaving your job (most people) to spend the time to campaign, organize, develop strategies, etc... You have obviously never either run a campaign, or been close to the inner workings of one. To run for the City Council or to be Mayor of a city like Portland is itself a full time job. Lots of people would like to run and probably have decent ideas about how to change things in the city, but can't get the capital to run. Nor can they forgo paying rent or their mortgage while they campaign.

B!x is right to ask some one to come up with some evidence that this type of system, which apparently has worked well in other municipalities, would "so clearly" be abused here in Portland. Until that happens, I'm going to be convinced that Phil Stanford and Promise King (among others) are just blowing hot air at the behest of the Portland Business Alliance.

Public financing of candidates allows the public to become candidates.

OK, I am sorry, but Franscesconi and Adams had full-time city jobs and found the time. Face it, these guys want that job badly enough Mr F raised $1M to buy it. You are right about one thing - incumbents always seem to find the time to run while a lot of very qualified private sector people do not have the time.

Again, why not put a limit on campaign contributions? Is this really the best use for public money? These campaigns are turning into arms races, if the challenger spends $X, then the other guy has to spend $X+1. We need some kind of cap.

$5 is something everybody can afford (not just people with money to spare).

Getting $5 out of 1000 people's wallets WILL weed out Standford and his gang. $5 empowers consituents to stay involved (instead of just a signature).

If somebody slips through and actually attempts to abuse the system (partying in Maui for instance), they will be sued and their free ride will disappear in the strike of a judge's gavel. To think that the public won't have these crooks hanging by their toes is to miss the whole point! Pick your poison, JAIL or POVERTY awaits you...

THE PUBLIC WANTS CLEAN MONEY.

Having MORE candidates WHO CAN QUALIFY for Clean Money, having a level playing field created by voluntarily limiting campaign EXPENSES (where the TRUE PROBLEM LIES), and still allowing candidates to run "traditionally" and exercising their free speech and the free speech of their supports, is A PUBLIC GOOD! Like the street in front of your house. Equality and fairness to the consitiuents.

People who think such a system will simply emerge from Potter's example are not facing the reality that what "should be", just ain't in the big politics game. NOTHING WILL CHANGE on its own just because the infamous Potter did something amazing. That was a fluke riding on a wave of media acclaim...

Establish Clean Money, Go for it. And try to bring it down. You'll fail. All these claims of abuse and theft will just wash away as voters return to the polls, representatives and folks stop listening to lobbyists and better laws get passed. Just as in Arizona and Maine.

DON'T BE FOOLED!!! Clean Money will be a major success and someday, a cornerstone of Democracy...

Er, hold the caps lock, the public does not want clean money. Which is why Sten & Co. wouldn't dare put this up for a public vote.

"...Sten & Co. wouldn't dare put this up for a public vote."

Rats. This is the one vote I wish they would get pushed through.
(^_^)

Caps or no caps, the facts speak for themselves about Clean Elections. Consider Arizona:

Clean Money has increased voter turnout by 20%.

A 64% increase in number of candidates meant more choices for voters.

Clean Money barely passed originally but now has 66% support of the public.

Women and minority candidates substantially increased.

After the 2004 election, 47% of the house and 23% of the senate simply can not be swayed by lobbyists because they ran Clean (18 Democrat and 28 Republican)

10 of 11 statewide offices are now held by Cleanly Elected representatives.

Arizona balanced their budget ontime.

Seems to me that Clean Money is a reform that breaks up the logjammed process of our elections. It's sophisticated but fair. It's proven to be robust and flexible.

What does Potter think? Huh?

You may have a beef with Sten but attacking Clean Money is doing a disservice when it's incomplete and misleading.

It's just wrong to ignore the facts.

Who has the best ability to get one thousand checks? Someone who is well connected with, say, the firefighters union, the police union, the teachers union. I.E. incumbents. Also, in an even money race the incumbent has the edge. As far as a candidate that opts out of the scheme, they will be branded as "dirty" and a pawn of industry. This scheme is an incumbent insurance policy to be voted on and enacted by, guess who, incumbents.

Even if it worked perfectly, which it clearly doesn't, the City of Portland can't afford this right now. Give the $1.3 million a year to the Police Bureau.

OK, I'll ask Mssrs Saxon and B!X again - Why not a cap on contributions and save taking the money from police and schools?

They are really avoiding this option to clean up campaigns and I am curious in case I am seeing this wrong. I mean Mr Potter seemed to do OK.

Dave Lister says: "This scheme is an incumbent insurance policy to be voted on and enacted by, guess who, incumbents."

This is one of the most common attacks against Clean Money, and also the most wrong. It's exactly the opposite. In most places, incumbent politicans won't touch a "yes" vote on Clean Money with a ten foot pole. And why's that?

Because they've *already* got a lock on the most money. Who do contributors give to, incumbents or long-shot challengers? You know the answer.

Clean Money actually provides funds to incumbents' opponents. In fact, it nearly assures that their opponents will *have as much money as them to spend*.

That is not incumbent protection. That is providing well-funded challengers to opponents -- something they don't normally have to face.

---

Somebody else said Clean Money was "welfare for politicians". Again, that's completely backwards. Clean Money *ends* welfare for politicians -- special interest welfare for politicians.

Currently incumbents don't really have to work for their re-election. Just dole out favors and taxpayer money to big money contributors and watch enough contributions roll in to swamp any potential challengers. They have a free ride.

With Clean Money, they actually have to fight to be re-elected because their challengers finally have a level playing field -- and if re-elected, they'll have to work for the people who got them there -- the voters.

Trent,
I guess we'll have to agree to diagree on this one. But consider one thing. The folks who are going to vote to enact this thing come January are the sitting council members, i.e., incumbents.
I'll bet at least three, if not all five, of those incumbents will definitely vote to touch it with more than a ten foot pole.

Dave Lister writes: "I'll bet at least three, if not all five, of those incumbents will definitely vote to touch it with more than a ten foot pole."

That's good for them! You actually might have a city in which some of the politicians think about more than just themselves, at least on this issue. Everywhere else the voters have had to do it over entrenched politicians' cries that the sky will fall if Clean Money passes.

Again: The fact is that incumbents almost invariably have the most money to spend. I'm sure you wouldn't deny that. Clean Money makes it so their best-qualified challengers have just as much money to spend.

That's not a boon to incumbents. That's a boon to the public which finally gets to see a level election where the candidate with the best ideas can win, rather than the candidate with the biggest bankroll.

To sum up for the cynical, quoting Los Angeles Times' columnist George Skelton:

"Either the public buys the politicians, or the special interests continue to."

Why not a cap on contributions

I imagine because with Oregon's expansive free speech protections, the courts would deem it an unconstitutional restriction on contributor speech. The reason why a per-contributor cap, for example, worked for Potter is because it was a voluntary decision on his part.

Mr B!X:

OK, then if a cap doesn't work at all then lets reprise Francesconi's bid, he has $1M + $200K and the challenger has $200K + donations. How does this help level the playing field again?

The big guys (i.e. incumbents doling out favors during their term) will still get the special interest money which will swamp $200K in a few years and then we will have to push that up.

As above, this is an arms race, why not just try a cap first before we do the welfare thing?

Jack: If this clean money plan passes, I think you've got to try to run for mayor. Because, while I love this blog and I think its popular, I highly doubt you could get 1000 people to donate $5.

You've got maybe 100 friends another 100 law students, and then a couple hundred blogsters, but that's about it.

And I realize this totally contradicts my original comment. B!x and Jack Roberts changed my mind.

OK, then if a cap doesn't work at all then lets reprise Francesconi's bid, he has $1M + $200K and the challenger has $200K + donations. How does this help level the playing field again?

Well, first (and knowing that this will make the proposal even less popular here), if there's a candidate not participating in the Clean Money system, those candidates that are participating get a bit of additional money, although it's not an amount which would bring a $200k up to a $1M.

As above, this is an arms race, why not just try a cap first before we do the welfare thing?

Where would the incentive be for a candidate to sign up for a voluntary system which consists only of a cap?

For the record, I don't have a particular objection to the Coucnil referring this to the voters instead of doing it themselves.

To season this good debate with some more facts, here's a link to the actual proposal: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=34093

Vannatta v. Keisling struck down voter approved Measure 9 which limited contributions to candidates. Experts agree that imposing contribution limits would require changing the Oregon constitution. Clean money systems require participants to agree to not take private funding beyond the $5 qualifying contributions and some seed money to coordinate the qualifying effort. Courts have upheld the systems in Maine and Arizona because they are opt in systems, candidates there can choose to continue to run under the any sum from anyone system.

There have been some abuses in Arizona and Maine. Some fraternity guys qualified one of their brothers and used the campaign funds at a strip club. They were held civilly and criminally liable for it.

Special interest groups that controlled the state legislatures before clean money have repeatedly tried to dislodge the systems in Maine and Arizona. So far the efforts have been unsuccesful; as of November 2, 83% of Maine's state senators aren't checking in with big campaign donors before voting on the public's business, 77% of the members of state house aren't either. In Arizona, those numbers are 23% for the senate and 58% for the house. All four Republican clean money candidates for Arizona's Corporation Commission (the rough equivalent of the Oregon PUC) won.

57% of voters in Portland supported Measure 6 which would have implemented a clean money system statewide.

As a staffer for Erik Sten, I've spent lots of time working on this proposal. I'd be happy to answer any substantive questions about it.

Do you have any more detailed documents besides that bit of fluff puffery at
http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=34093

This thing makes some allegations that are pretty much bloviation like your commments above. But I am will to consider the details, if it makes a difference. However, I agree with Mr Bog, this will be one more proposal shoved thru without public comment.

Sorry, I take back my above comment about this being fluff I did not see the 59 pages of doggerel below.

Solid arguments against Clean Money? No, I haven't seen them here. Just sniping, off target, low blows...

What is the deal? Obviously a LAW will take some legaleeze. So???

Folks here seem so eager to tear down this excellent "system" that *is* working in various forms around the country. It has great potential for everybody all governments. It enhances participation and fairness. What is the problem with that?

You can pretend this is some giveaway and flail at it, but the real giveaway is going on right now in elections across the country when politicians elected with the bankrolls handed over by non-constituent big money special interests, spend big taxpayer money as directed by the few who got them elected, not the public that SHOULD fund elections...

Perhaps those against clean elections are invested heavily in fundraising businesses? The media, for instance, makes money on out-of-control campaign spending.

Hmmm...

Question:
"It enhances participation and fairness. What is the problem with that?"

Answers:
- Life isn't fair.
- Greater participation doesn't mean 'better' candidates.

Holding office is a job. In some cases, even more lucrative than being the Portland School Superintendent (or HR Guy). But the competition is tough - therefore the most driven win.

If you want to have elected people who are less corrupt, do it without giving them my taxes in order to run.

- Greater participation doesn't mean 'better' candidates.

Sure, but some folks out there could do a great job but can't/won't run because of money or because they don't want to listen to lobbyists.

Without Clean Money, capable fundraising is almost always the bar by which we measure candidates, not merit.

- If you want to have elected people who are less corrupt, do it without giving them my taxes in order to run.

Your representatives will decide what to do with your taxes anyways. The problem as I see it is, that to not "buy" the politicians, is to let the special interests buy them.

If big money puts your rep in power, the conflict this puts them in may make much more your taxes go toward something much less agreeable.

Conflict of interest... the only game in most cities and states. Clean Money is a way out of it.

b!x: nice challenge re: other localities. No reason to expect that Portland will abuse if others have not. I note this one is still unanswered.

Saxon: please, substitute facts for rhetoric, as you ask others to do.
Clean Money has increased voter turnout by 20%.
Clean money has *caused* increased voter turnout? How do you know that? Has anything else changed in the localities that may have caused increased turnout?

A 64% increase in number of candidates meant more choices for voters.
More candidates does not necessarily mean more choices, if most of the new candidates are uncompetitive. The relevant measure is whether it increased turnover.

Clean Money barely passed originally but now has 66% support of the public.
This is a point in your favor. An opponent may say that public opinion ought not be a determinative factor in matters like this. The SC has judged campaign spending to be analogous to free speech, an issue on which we generally do not consider public opinion.

Women and minority candidates substantially increased.
That is a good thing and a strong point in your favor.

After the 2004 election, 47% of the house and 23% of the senate simply can not be swayed by lobbyists because they ran Clean (18 Democrat and 28 Republican)
You have no evidence to show that Clean Money candidates are less swayed by lobbyists. Evidence from the US Congress indicates that lobbyists exert most of their influence by providing information to legislators, anyway, and not by campaign donations. There is almost zero evidence of campaign funds "buying" votes, even given extensive empirical examinations.

10 of 11 statewide offices are now held by Cleanly Elected representatives.
Not sure why this matters one way or another.

Arizona balanced their budget ontime.
Again, are you claiming clean money *caused* this? Good luck.

Seems to me that Clean Money is a reform that breaks up the logjammed process of our elections. It's sophisticated but fair. It's proven to be robust and flexible.
What specifically is logjammed about Oregon politics and how specifically will Clean money fix it?

In my opinion, for example, one of the main problems is that we have *too many*, no too few, amateurs in our state legislature because it is part time, not full time, job. Further, I think our city government could benefit from a professional city manager.

All heretical positions, I'm sure, but nothing that I've seen from 20 years of studying the US and state legislatures indicates that bringing more amateurs into our system will improve the quality of democracy.

On a couple other blogs I chimed in with some facts about Maine's experience with Clean Elections. But this time, I just wanted to offer you the opinions of legislators who used it (both R's and D's)to get elected.

One key thing that the CE system has offered us is different kinds of people running for office. These people below include a children's librarian, an ice cream shop owner, and a forester/farmer. It used to be only lawyers and people with big businesses could run. Now it's different.

So take it for what you will. It's working great here. The way business is done in Augusta has changed for the better. And we're probably saving money in the long run with fewer gifts of contracts, tax breaks and reduced regulation for the big contributors.

Here's the quotes:
“I decided to use Clean Elections because I philosophically believe in not having private funding as a big part of our election process.
I want to be beholden to the people who elected me, not special interests.”
— Sen. Beth Edmonds, (D) Freeport

"I would not run for office unless I was a Clean Elections candidate. Under the Clean Election system, I can focus entirely on knocking on the doors of my constituents.”
— Sen. Chandler Woodcock, (R) Farmington

“Using Clean Elections impacted how I spent my campaign funds. There was an additional responsibility to spend it wisely as it is taxpayer money. I am a farmer and a forester. I ran for office because I want to make a difference. I see public service as a responsibility.”
– Rep. Nancy Smith, (D) Monmouth

“Most of the people in my district can’t afford to give a candidate $250 to run for office, but they can participate in the five dollar Qualifying Contribution effort. By contributing $5, my constituents can invest in Maine’s democratic process, and free me up to do what I enjoy most about campaigning: meeting with voters on their doorstep to discuss the issues that are important to them.”
— Rep. James Annis, (R) Dover-Foxcroft

"Clean Elections has been great for democracy in Maine. It allows any individual with community support to run for office, it has increased voter choice, and increased competition while at the same time leveling the playing field for all candidates."
— Rep. Chris Rector, (R) Thomaston

“As a Clean Election legislator, I find myself being lobbied a lot less than traditional candidates. It’s a lot easier if someone’s trying to pressure you to say, ‘I owe my allegiance to the taxpayers of the State of Maine and not to any special interest group.’”
— Rep. John Patrick, (D) Rumford


--JonMCLF

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» Stanford (And Others) Distorting 'Clean Money' Proposal from The One True b!X's PORTLAND COMMUNIQUE
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» Phil Stanford, You Lose from BlueOregon
Well, the ides of March have come and gone - and unless Tribune columnist Phil Stanford has real big surprise up his sleeve, he's missed the deadline for a free dinner and drinks on me at Morton's. Last fall, Stanford [Read More]


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
MarchigĂĽe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
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Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
GascĂłn, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
MarchigĂĽe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
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Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
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Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
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James Joyce - Dubliners
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Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria DermoČ—t - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
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Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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