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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The county races

The primary ballots will be here any day now. Time to figure out whom I'm voting for in the Multnomah County races.

County Chair: Whatever you thought of incumbent Diane Linn's whole gay marriage thing, the subsequent degeneration of the county commission into a junior high school screechfest is grounds for dismissal. I don't care if she emancipated the slaves, she is so gone in my book. But Ted Wheeler doesn't exactly thrill me, either. He's buying the election, and with his gobs and gobs of timber money and treks to the North Pole, his "regular guy" schtick is mighty thin. He reminds me of the time when Packwood was passing himself off as Jewish. I'm kind of leaning toward the Fred Meyer produce guy, Terrence R. Smyth.

District No. 2: Everybody and his brother is urging a vote for Jeff Cogen, but his associations leave me cold. He's the brains behind Dan Saltzman? Endorsed by Vera Katz and Bev Stein? You're losing me, people. Xander Patterson's just way too out to the left for me, and so that leaves Lew Frederick and Gary Hansen. Hansen's a state legislator (strike 1) and endorsed by Sam Adams (strike 2), but he's got Randy Leonard and a couple of neighborhood activist types in his column. Frederick's a Ph.D. candidate in the Portland State urban affairs program (strike 1) and endorsed by Serena Cruz Walsh, whose seat he's running for (strike 2), but he's backed by Bud Clark, Avel Gordly, Joel Shapiro, and the letter carriers. Close call -- I'm leaning toward Frederick.

County auditor: This is the undercard to the nasty smackdown for Metro auditor. The current county auditor's leaving to slug it out over there, and her assistant, Lavonne Griffin-Valade, is looking to step up. Despite some scary names in her endorsement list, La GriVa's got a slight edge over Steve March, a state legislator (strike 1) who's been working as a "policy analyst" for Lisa Naito, one of the "mean girls" currently on the commission (strike 2 -- I like Lisa, but not what she's been doing lately). For an auditor, March sure knows how to write one impenetrably vague resume. College professor, substitute teacher -- what the heck does this guy do for a living?

County sheriff: Write in Derrick Foxworth. Seriously.

Comments (19)

Don't forget, there is a write-in candidate for county Sheriff that's actually running: Paul Van Orden.

NAW! Give Bernie another term. He drives the "mean girls" absolutely up the wall. They deserve to have Bernie around until they hit their term limits.

I agree, Paul Van Orden is the way to go. Even if he doesn't make it very far it "sends a message".

I forgot about Paul. I think you're right.

You, too, Jack? While voters wonder whatever happened to the issues, some observers and our current Multnomah County Chair seemed obsessed with how rich Ted Wheeler is.

In the City Club debate not long ago, each candidate had three chances to ask the other a question. Diane Linn squandered one those questions by pointing out that she drives a Ford Taurus, and asking Ted whether his choice of a Ford Focus was to prove he's a "man of the people."

Wow. That's just what's on everybody's minds. Not how the county can help make sure our schools have support in the long term. Not how we can open those jail beds we built without an operations plan or budget. Not how we can help more frail and elderly in our communities. But why Ted drives a Ford Focus.

Is Ted rich? Richer than me. Probably richer than you. But who the hell cares? It's time for new leadership to stop the silliness at the Multnomah County. It's time for someone with smarts, integrity and the ability to work with others to get the job done. It's time to stop dickering about cars, or snow days, or who gets the credit.

I think it's time for Ted Wheeler. I've known him since high school, so I'm biased. But I think you'll like him, too, when you get to know him.

Ted has hundreds of contributors, and leaving aside whatever money he's loaned his campaign and his family has contributed (which could be up to a quarter of his funding, as the WW reported), he STILL has raised more than twice as much as Diane. He's not buying this race, but he is working his tail off to earn our support.

(For the record, Ted says he test drove the Taurus, but chose the Focus because it was smaller and thus more maneuverable, given his lousy parallel-parking skills. It also fits in his garage, and gets better mileage than the Taurus.)

Sarah Carlin Ames

I just have trouble when old timber money starts playing liberal. Maybe it's not fair to the guy, but impeccable fairness probably didn't get his family to where it is today, either. And if he wasn't rich, we would never have heard of him.

He was a Republican until 2001, when he decided he was going to run for office around here. Suddenly he became born-again "independent." It's just another example of how our government is being turned over to multi-millionaires like Bush and Gordon Smith and Wyden's new in-laws, and guys like Potter and Leonard who are already on the public pad for huge pensions. Then when they're totally out of touch with real people, everybody asks why.

I'm asking why up front in this case.

Everybody runs on the "new blood" platform. But we don't really ever get any. New leaf after new leaf turns out to have fallen from the same family of political trees. The fact that Wheeler is in thick with Naito and her followers makes me skepical. She is a good old girl delux model.

Well, you might have heard of Ted Wheeler despite his wealth because of his long-time work in our community:
- Serving on the Board of Neighborhood House which helps families and seniors in need.
- One of two citizens selected by the Mayor's office to scrutinize the city budget last year under the more open, official budget process
- Volunteering for many years as an overnight shelter host at Goose Hollow Family Shelter
- Serving as the county's citizen rep on the panel that advises Metro on land-use planning, fish and wildlife protection, UGB and annexations
- Founding the Walk for the Wildwoood to raise money for Forest Park
- Being a founding member of the Heron Point Wetlands Rehabilitation Project.
- Volunteer rescuer with Mount Hood Mountain Rescue

My parents came from a long line of Republicans, too, and were registered Republicans long into adulthood. They finally switched over as the R's headed deep into reactionary mode on social issues, and when at least my mom realized she had never voted R for president. I don't really hold out the same hope for Ted's dad, but if we Dems are so pure we never accept former Republicans into the fold, we're never going to win this battle!


Teds timber money was made by his parents or grandparents I think. I dont think he had any say into being born into a family with wealth. Why do we hold that against him? You cant choose your parents, besides it never seemed to hamper the Kennedy's.

Sarah, when being in a PhD program in an urban affairs program merits a strike, I don't know how you can expect reasonable endorsements.

Right on, Paul. Seriously Jack, I think that one (the PhD crack) needs some explaining...or else a retraction/apology. Otherwise, you're beginning to strain all credibility here.

Ph.D.'s aren't bad per se. But the "urban affairs" crew at PSU are the geniuses behind the current Portland "planning" juggernaut. They're the people who gush over SoWhat, the aerial tram, skinny houses, streetcars to nowhere, etc. If I'm not mistaken, Vera Katz is in residence in that program at the moment. The Parametrix guy who "facilitates" the various fake-public-involvement sessions run by OHSU and the PDC is based there. They're even giving Homer Williams a plaque pretty soon as a pioneer in the great spirit of Portland.

Ick. They are a major part of the problem.

PhD's gooooood, timber money Baaaaaaaad.


I am a supporter of Ted Wheeler.

I am impressed with his record of community service, the ideas he has generated during the campaign, and the breadth of his support in the county.

Your concerns seem to elevate style over substance.

Ted has nearly 1000 contributors. Many, like me , contributed $250 or less. He is spending his funds on paid media, and his message is surprisingly positive by local standards. He has also limited contributions from his family. Therefore, you concern about Ted "buying" the election is unfounded.

The reference to his net worth, and the source of him family money, strikes me as completely irrelevant. I don't care where someone starts in life--I am interested in the choices they make and
the values which guide those choices.

Ted has an impressive record of community service. Organizations I respect like Stand for Children have endorsed him. As Ted pointed out at the City Club debate, while he loves his father, Ted, not Sam, is on the ballot.

I have known Ted for several years. He is modest, unassuming and very bright. Rare qualities in politics these days. I don't know what the standard is to qualify as a "regular guy" in your eyes, but I do know that he is a genuine person, not the caricature you refer to.

I'm a little surprised that you focus almost exclusively on impressions and status issues--and not the substantive differences between the candidates. I urge you to take a second look.


Nick Fish

Am I thankful or what that I dont live in Multnomah County anymore. I love sitting back and watching the circus from far away.


I agree about your stance on Ted.

However, please stop using "cheers" to finish your thoughts...you are not as hip as you think you may be.


"Cheers" is a habit--and not a desparate effort by a balding 47 year old to be hip. Anyway, i am reminded daily by my 13 year old daughter that "hip" is beyond my reach...

Glad we agree on Ted.


We're also glad you don't live here anymore, Bobster. Everybody wins!

OK, so Lew Frederick is in a PhD program. But Lew comes from academics the way Ted Wheeler comes from money. Lew's great grandfather was a freed slave who sent eight children to college - not a bad heritage to bring to public office. He might be of some help in a community that can't seem to figure out how to run a high school in an African American neighborhood

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