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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Clean, wasted money

Golly, the City of Portland has finally figured out that Emilie Boyles doesn't qualify for taxpayer financing of her campaign for City Council. And the city auditor is asking her to pay back the $145,000 that he paid her for that purpose, plus interest and penalties.

Slight problem: At least half of it's gone, and Boyles, who doesn't appear to have a paying job, can't even pay the rent on her trailer space.

There's a saying about getting blood from a stone.

When it becomes clear that she can't pay the money back, what will the city do? Bring a civil suit against her for the $145,000 plus? Force her into bankruptcy and get back 10 or 15 cents on the dollar, if that?

Whose brilliant idea was this "system," anyway?

Comments (20)

The Auditor's problem now is that he has gone beyond merely demanding return but to extract a penalty. But that penalty is apparently not applicable to Big Spenders. I guess I need to make a visit to get a copy of the precise basis for the penalty.

I fail to see how a proposal that has as it's public purpose the goal of limiting the harm caused by spending above X can be used to restrict, via a contract, only folks who spend below X.

It is like saying that I'll pay you to sit in the back of the bus but, as part of the deal, if you speak just as loud as the folks in the front then you are exposed to a special fine. Freedom from the special fine is the thing that would be considered inalienable. This is an unacceptable "Loud" Mouth Penalty for squeaking. Insane.

I can't believe the lameness with which this idea was designed and implemented. A person who has, it seems, literally no money is just handed over a fat check for 145K??!!?? Absurd. Why didn't they operate on a reimbursement approach, i.e., she submits spending reports and they reimburse her $5K at a time? That way you ensure that the person has a small amount of money of their own, and you aren't on the hook for the whole amount if their sense of ethics suddenly goes sideways.

The implementation of this is typically Stenian. We are just so in love with the brilliance of our progressive ideas that we don't bother with the boring details of the whole thing. Then, of course, we're even worse prepared when the inevitable problems arise.

Dave J.
You are so on target, there is no feedback, meaningful evaluation, or accountability in these big ideas, just money and more money thrown at them, and if you try and stop it you just get run over by the freight train. This little ditty was cooked up not only by Sten but the Auditor, the guy who is supposed to keep tabs on this stuff. Yet he is running unopposed, and the CFO in Multnomah County is resigning early because he wouldn't cook the books for his politico. Until the citizens of Portland stand up and demand not just feel good ideas but the cost/benefit and risk analysis that shed light on the pitfalls, the people who speak out will continue to get run down.

It is easy to hold a fat "nobody" accountable. Not so high rollers. And BTW, Libertas, what is under attack here is not Emilie Boyles (she screwed up and deserves to be called on it). Rather a legitimate fair election finance system. What Sten designed was bound to fail.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away....

When did government become Lord?

I'll have to re-read my constitution

I think we should skip the Emilie bashing and take advantage of the opportunity that she has presented to us.

I believe someone should write a screenplay for USA or Lifetime network and turn these lemons into lemon-campaign-aide.

On the way into work this morning I came up with two good pitches. Here are mine, let's hear yours and see if we can't get one of them greenlighted into production.

Pitch #1:

"Double Wide Trailer, Mile High Dreams: The Emilie Boyles Story"

The story of a ragged trailer court mom with a heart as big as, well, as big as her, determined to force her way into the backrooms of city hall. But a "no money down, no payments till 2007" approach to campaign finance short circuits her good intentions leaving Emilie and her internet savvy daughter to fight for their family name.

Pitch #2:

"The Rites and Wrongs of Spring: Seven Days in April That Forever Changed Portland's Slavic Political Movement"

An unassuming single mom sets out to help her community and unkowningly cracks open the disturbing underbelly of Slavic community leader style political corruption. Her daughters desperate spamolific pleas for help to unrelated Yahoo news groups will pull at your heart strings.

Any other creative ideas are welcome. I just want to see this movie get made.

The story of a ragged trailer court mom with a heart as big as, well, as big as her, determined to force her way into the backrooms of city hall. But a "no money down, no payments till 2007" approach to campaign finance short circuits her good intentions leaving Emilie and her internet savvy daughter to fight for their family name.

...all looks lost, until a mysterious stranger FROM NIGERIA, WITH LOTS OF MONEY FROM A FAMILY FORTUNE, ACT NOW PLEASE intervenes. Will this be the ticket to success, or just another dead end? Find out this Wednesday, 8pm, 7pm Central. Starring Meredith Baxter in her most challenging role yet.

I've seen more controls over the management of P.T.A. funds amounting to a couple of thousand bucks in my childrens grade school then seems evident with how the city handled this. If I were responsible for any of this I'd resign before I got fired, but in the bizarro world of Portland we put it on our resume.

Looks to me as Emilie has proven herself well qualified for Porkland City government.

Her sharing the spoils with family and friends pretty well confirms that.

The pitches are there, but what about a movie title? I'd keep the title short. I'd go with "Clean Money."
It's also helpful to have two movies that describe it. Sort of like
"Take the Money and Run" meets "The Candidate."

Are Neighborhood Associations that receive city lobbying fees, and exempted from registering as lobbyists because it is a "contract", subject to return of double the value for disallowed expenditures?

OK, so I understand the criticism that perhaps the check should never have been cut.

But I also think this is going to serve as a cautionary lesson to anyone else who seeks to defraud the system. There's just no angle in it.

But they didn't get her for the bad signatures. They got her for signing a year lease on a headquarters. Forgive me for nitpicking, but just because the lease was for a year, what makes the auditor so certain that the Clean Money would be used to pay for it past the primary?

Blackmer didn't even come up with a good reason to take the money back. And then he got all high and mighty with "We can't run their campaigns for them..." What an a.., um, auditor.

There's just no angle in it.

ROTFLMAO! Emily Boyles just scammed herself a year or more of not having to work before her personal bankruptcy.

Auditors are supposed to be Nit Pickers, I know because I work for one. Even in my low level position I'm shocked that the city seemed so willing to give out large sums of cash with so little control. Perhaps his job title needs to be changed to 'chair warmer'.

...'methane factory', 'organ tank', 'dust magnet','suit filler',...

Will be interesting to see how many of these
candidates qualifying for this money wind up
receiving at least as many votes as there
were signatures for getting the money.

Bob Tiernan

Looks to me as Emilie has proven herself well qualified for Porkland City government.

Ohhhh. Love it, loooooove it.

Can't they reconsider the Candidates Gone Wild invite? Please, fertheloveofgod, let her go. I want to see her there. Not to torture her - fersure - but to watch the others. Squirm, baby, squirm! You know they're just as guilty as she is. She just got caught.

Oh no. Did I just say that? Oh, geez. What I meant to say was, "La-la-la... I can't wait for the Candidates Gone Wild event.. it's going to be a blast... so fun... so enlightening...so... *snore*..."

Emilie and her daughter are quoted as saying she earns $600 a month. From what source? It's never been mentioned.

Portland you get what you voted for... another good reason why I DON'T LIVE IN PORTLAND, but in the region.

Seems that no one in Portland's City Government leadership has any idea of where money comes from and where money goes. Let's listen in on a recent conversation at City Hall...

"Guys, it's not really our money... it everybody's money"
"So where do we get the money from?"
"From the public."
"So, it's not their money?"
"Technically, but we deserve it more, because we're Portland."
"Well, if we deserve it and take the money from the people, why don't we know where it's going?"
"We don't have to know that. We just have to make certain it goes to our friends and our pet projects."
"Then don't we want to know it's being used for the right purpose?"
"That doesn't matter, as long as we say it's going to the right place."
"But isn't the city close to bankruptcy?" Isn't the North Macadam Project over budget and we're nearly a $100 million short right now?"
"Why do you always have to be so negative." We've got a city to run... pass the money."


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Clean, wasted money:

» Boyles Loses VOE Status from Metroblogging Portland
Continuing our little tempest in a teacup, Blackmer sounded the death knell for Boyles campaign. He has requested a return of all VOE funds, on top of ten grand in fines. OH SNAP, via Brett (a fellow Metblogger), via Jack... [Read More]

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