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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 26, 2006 12:04 PM. The previous post in this blog was Florida 2006, Part I. The next post in this blog is Brrrrr. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Friday, May 26, 2006

E-mailbox find

On our return from vacation, we found this in our inbox:

Hi, Jack,

Thank you very much for your support during the election. And especially, for your kind post last Wednesday morning. The campaign was hard, not being in a runoff harder. When I read your comments, you reminded me of all the good-hearted people I've met over the last nine months, many of whom I hope will become enduring friends. Thank you for your encouragement, insights, and participation in the process.

I'm disappointed but not discouraged. 23,421 Portlanders voted for someone who had never run for elected office before, challenging a benign incumbent supported by all three major newspapers and our popular mayor. Ginny Burdick garnered only 26,868 votes coming in second in the other City Council race, despite much higher public name-recognition and the endorsements of The Oregonian and Tribune.

I'm proud of our campaign, of staying positive, of being the citizen pioneer of the Voter Owned Elections system, and of returning money to the city from my funding allocation. My candidacy pushed Dan Saltzman to take action on many important issues, to get out in the community and hear neighborhood concerns, and to begin to consider priorities in property tax levies. My supporters in the neighborhoods and the unions believe we gained ground - just not as much as we wanted.

I'm not done. The goal of increased ownership and participation in city decisions remains crucial, even though or perhaps especially because nearly two-thirds of our registered citizens didn't bother to vote. People participate when they know their voices will be heard, and their effort will make a difference. Evidently, we have more work to do to help more people connect and believe in joint decision-making, and to be more effective. I plan to continue to lead the community towards that goal, building on the successes and learning from the lessons of this campaign. I trust you and your blog will continue to help inform me and other Portlanders, and I hope for your support again in the future.

Sincerely,

Amanda

Comments (9)

Amanda: I applaud your efforts in your campaign. It takes "guts" just to run. Your efforts helped create more discussion of city issues, but I had hoped for more depth-not a criticism of your campaign. I am glad you are not leaving the stage.

... the unions believe we gained ground ...

Amanda, as a result, it is more likely that Steely Dan will no longer seek to curb the Portland Police & Firefighters' Disability & Retirement Fund Fraud?

Thanks, Jerry. There was a lot more depth to the issues discussed over the course of the campaign, at least on my part and that of the other non-incumbent co-stars. The Oregonian, Tribune, and Willamette Week chose not to cover any of the forums or debates - most not at all, once or twice without much substance. And I learned how very hard it is to cover information in a 22-second radio ad, or in a mailer.

If I do it again, I will spend more time in advance putting specifics on my website, where I control the content. I wanted to wait until I had heard input from neighbors at open events before doing so, but then found myself working from 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week from January on, with no time to write up positions. I have to add, though, that sticking to the broad values of children, sustainability, and fiscal responsibility, every time, at every appearance, worked out pretty well for Dan. I'm not sure the electorate wanted specifics and depth.

Running for office is like childbearing. It only takes a little courage the first time, because it seems like a fine idea, and you don't know what you're in for. Choosing to do it again is what will take guts.

Amanda (mother of three)

Well, Hell, where's my thank you from Emilie Boyles for, um... well... okay, yeah, nevermind.

Amanda, as a result, it is more likely that Steely Dan will no longer seek to curb the Portland Police & Firefighters' Disability & Retirement Fund Fraud?

Ramon, I believe all sides want to take care of the Disability/Pension fund issues that have been worsening over at least the past ten years. The unions certainly do. Whenever I was asked about it at the forums and debates, I talked about the need for mutual respect, for listening, for everyone taking ownership of the problem and finding solutions. I informed Portlanders that it was the union who found and reported the guy on disability serving in Iraq. I agreed that a solution must be reached that can be passed at the polls. I think Dan heard that point, especially.

Throughout the campaign, Dan kept saying, "I am taking the lead....", and I kept saying, "I will work with all to reach a solution that will pass at the polls". I hope what you'll see over the next days, weeks, and months, now that Dan doesn't need keep up the Man of Steel persona in a runoff, is a blend of the two approaches.

Amanda wrote:

"I talked about the need for mutual respect, for listening, for everyone taking ownership of the problem and finding solutions."

In other words: lots of talk, nothing gets done.

I'll say this, Amanda: you would have fit in perfectly with the "Portland way."

Hard to imagine why your candidacy didn't catch fire.

Hi, Jack,

Amanda I'm proud of our campaign, of staying positive,
JK: When I took a two day seminar on electioneering, they opened with "what do you call a challenger that stays positive" Answer: the looser.


Amanda ... and of returning money to the city from my funding allocation.
JK: Another thing that I learned is that it takes a large amount of money to overcome the incumbent's advantages. You must outspend to win (with only rare exceptions.) Of course the "voter owned" elections guarantees that this cannot happen to an incumbent that uses it.

Amanda The goal of increased ownership and participation in city decisions remains crucial.... People participate when they know their voices will be heard, and their effort will make a difference. Evidently, we have more work to do to help more people connect and believe in joint decision-making, and to be more effective.
JK: This a major area where we agree. I firmly believe that citizen input is routinely ignored and/or manipulated. My belief is that if people knew what was really going on and the probable outcome of the directions that this city has chosen to go, they would rebel.

I went to one of Potter's visioning sessions and was appalled that a group was invited to give a little skit making fun of some things that would be subject to input later in that session. Blatant manipulation! Another obvious problem was self selection of participants.

I have yet to be at a meeting where costs and possible down sides were presented equally with the upside of things the city was promoting. When did we find the cost of the Tram? Has anyone ever told us how much more hi-density housing costs compared to ordinary houses? Has anyone admitted that when fairly compared, rail costs more than buses? Has anyone told us that traffic congestion is aggravated by high density? Has anyone fessed up to Metro holding out Los Angeles as Portland's model? You can find all of the above in local government documents if you look hard enough, but they won't say it in public meetings.

And were does the city get off claiming that ALL development near the streetcar is because of the street car?

Thanks
JK

Too bad a do-little incumbent handed Amanda's head to her on a plate.

The flaws inherent to "Voter Owned" elections will become more apparent after 4 or 5 additional challengers lose by similar margins.

You simply cannot beat an incumbent without outspending them. It's like the old "dead girl/live boy" paradox of political survival.

Amanda,
Your approach to "fixing" the Portland Police & Firefighters' Disability & Retirement Fund is hopelessly flawed as the only true remedy would require the unions be opposed to it.

Your weakness in this area would only serve to perpetuate the problem even further and is the exact same approach which has mushroomed the problem to what it is today.

This talk about "everyone taking ownership of the problem and finding solutions" is warm and fuzzy talk without any walk.


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