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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 13, 2006 9:38 PM. The previous post in this blog was Any time of year, you can find it here. The next post in this blog is Sneak preview. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Wrong number

We spend a lot of money keeping unwanted phone calls out of our house -- not just for caller ID, but also a monthly fee to Qwest to announce to all callers that we don't accept solicitations. Funny thing, the worst of the dinnertime sales calls used to come from Qwest. So now we're paying them to leave us alone.

But nothing stops politicians. Take today. Ring, ring. Caller ID says "Out of area," but that's a lie. It's the voice of Steve March, running for auditor of something or other. Blah blah blah. Click. If I was even considering voting for you, pal, it's over now.

An hour later, same deal, "Out of area," and it's the voice of Portland Socialist Erik Sten himself, rattling off whatever Mark Wiener told him to say. Wish I had Opie's home phone number to call him back and tell him what a dolt he is. He already knows that's what I think, but my knowing all about him didn't stop him from calling my house.

It's time for a new local election reform ordinance: All robot calls have to show a real caller ID with the candidate's name, or better yet, the name of whatever union or other slush fund is sponsoring the phone bank. Too much to ask, I know. Plus, given his general administrative prowess, Sten's calls would probably give the wrong name, anyway.

Comments (34)

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Diane Linn's hilariously bad comic-book style hit piece on Ted Wheeler.

When your campaign is as, ahem, well-heeled as Sten's, flush with all those tax dollars as it is, you can afford to hire out-of-state firms to do your calling for you. So they are genuinely "out of area."

I got a call the other night. A guy with an obvious southern accent suggesting that a certain Salem city council candidate is the guy I should vote for.

I interrupted his pitch: "Where ya from?"

"Uhhh... sir, we're not supposed to give out personal information," he replied.

"Fair enough. Okay, so how about this. What state are you calling from?"

"Ummm. Florida."

"Thanks. Bye now." [click]

I swear to god, I had something like 6 autocalls in the span of fifteen minutes from 6 different campaigns on Friday. Oy!

"Friends of Sten" showed up on my caller ID when the campaign called and filled up my voice mail box.

Seeing that nearly everyone in town seems to have morphed into a Ted Wheeler cheerleader, I called a trusted friend yesterday who confirmed my opinion that Wheeler is a phony with an "A list" of supporters that reads like the Who's Who of machine cogs as well as backstabbers and wannabees.

No need to get your buddies to run me out of town on a narrow gauge rail, Ted. I'll go on my own.

All the so called "experts" told us robo-dialing was an essential element for winning an election. I said NO WAY. Didn't matter how much we had to spend, I wasn't going there. Few things make me as angry as scampering to grab the phone only to get a recorded message from a candidate. It's also irritating to have to delete a half dozen messages every night after getting home from work. The funny thing is, everyone I talk to feels the same way so you have to wonder why candidates keep doing it.

Cynthia I called a trusted friend yesterday who confirmed my opinion that Wheeler is a phony with an "A list" of supporters that reads like the Who's Who of machine cogs as well as backstabbers and wannabees.
JK: Yeah, but Ted isn't "rope lady" Diane. The one who was mostly responsible for the anti gay marriage ballot initiative due to her pushing too far too fast. And she also pulled the rug out from under the school district negotiators during the last union negotiations as the teachers union was about to be forced to give up some of their gold plated bennies. That gave us the three year tax which allowed the school district to deny reality for three more years.

Both bad decisions, that should have been obvious at the time. She needs to go for sheer incompetence.

Thanks
JK

What, Opie a mindless stooge?

All the so called "experts" told us robo-dialing was an essential element for winning an election. I said NO WAY.

Why bother? All those illegally placed yardsigns on public ROWs and on the sides of roads oughta do the trick!

The great majority of us, sitting by the phone, yearning for those unsolicited, automated calls and recorded messages, are baffled by your hostility. Without them, there would be only pledge week on NPR to look forward to.

I would like to know who is tugging at Grand Ronde's cape. (Governor race.)

At least Dan was not talking on the phone on Friday morning. Got picture(s) (with almost fewer words than in this comment). He was the uncomfortable captive audience, and would have had to drop his sign-holding task to escape. He he. I was hot on my trip to the CoP to research an angle of attack on the notes about the pension stuff that are made in the official statement on the soon-to-be-issued sewer bonds. Were I the DA what might I do?

The young man on the bike (in the pic) thinks (just like car thieves) that if the DA ain't interested that it must be legal. It goes back to the odds of getting caught and the severity of consequences. We shall issue bonds (because of past pension unsoundness) to throw at Wall Street . . . just because it feels good, you know, in an obscene sort of way.

Thanks for the photo, Ron. Doesn't look like Dan Saltzman's group is having nearly as much fun as I've been experiencing at street corner rallies!

And in the meantime, his campaign is running robot calls from Mayor Potter, presumably spending nearly $10,000 he's raised over that $150,000 budget cap he's been promising throughout the campaign.

Like Dave Lister, I refused to use recorded phone messages. "But they're so cheap, and you can reach 10,000 people an hour," I was told. "And if you send them during the day when people are at work, they can't tell the message left on their system isn't live."

Portlanders are much smarter than that.

All other random thoughts included in the comments aside, Jack's point, showing a real caller ID number from the candidate, is a great idea. Heck, people would see your name on the caller ID and might even let it go to voicemail, where the "robo" nature of the call is less obvious.

I don't know if it applies to (local) political campaigns, but we used to get telephone solicitations every single day. Since signing up to bar them on the National Do Not Call Registry a year or so ago, I have received barely a single one. I have never seen anything work so fast and so well (free, too). Recommended. Available on-line and takes about a minute of your time.

JK,

I think Linn's errors are being cast in the worst possible light. I have a Repubican friend who was very anti Linn based on what she had read in the big O. But when she actually met Linn, found her to be a thoughtful person who conceivably might learn from her mistakes. That won't happen with a machine boy where what you see ain't what you get. Hind sight is 20/20 as the cliche goes. For all of us.

And JK, I may be biased but think teacher benefits are at least a debatable issue. It is an important and undervalued job.

Three cheers for both Dave Lister and Amanda Fritz for choosing not to bother me with recorded messages. I ran to get the phone on Friday only to hear that it was a recorded message from Ted Kulongoski. What an interesting campaign strategy: "let's see...what will piss off a potential voter more...spam??..no Emily Boyles already tried that...I know, I'll do what commercial interests cannot do (as they are prohibitied to bug you by phone under an extremely popular federal law), and I'll spam their message machine.."

I've really been on the fence in the Sten-Burdick-Lister race. This is the tipping point for me that Mr. Lister at least has common sense even if I don't agree with all of his politcal opinions. And for Amanda, I was already sold on you from the beginning.

Does phone spam actually work? I'd love to hear from some of the consultants--Kari? Does it work? I know everyone on this blog would say "no!" but I also imagine that people who leave comments here are statistical outliers in terms of political involvement. It is used so much more now than it was even three or four years ago that there must be data indicating its utility. Otherwise I'd be forced to conclude that most political consultants simply accept money for parroting the conventional wisdom, and do little original thinking that benefits the candidates. Uh...

The most galling thing about the Sten calls is that I paid for part of them...

Politicians will never hinder their own ability to get your money or your vote.

You might as well ask them to pass a law against "Vote for Me" yard signs. Not gonna happen.

Hinkley: which politicians were you referring to with their lawn signs in public r.o.w.? I've seen signs in r.o.w.'s for every local race that has signs in their campaign strategy.

I may be biased but think teacher benefits are at least a debatable issue. It is an important and undervalued job.

Debatable for sure. Especially the average bennies alone worth nearly $25k/yr. (according to the Tribune).

I got the Diane Linns pathetic comic mailing and I live in BEAVERTON way in Washington County. Is she this stupid?

I would have never voted for her or probably the Wheeler guy if I lived in Portland but her stupidty worries me, she calls Wheeler anti-gay, anti-this, pro-this. Typical mud slinging.

No wonder Portland has gone to hell

"Is she stupid?"

That is a good question to ask about many of our politicos. As well as: "Do they think we're stupid?"

As to the robocalls - if you have ONLY a cell phone you seem, at this point to be immune.
I have no land line. I've had the same cell number for 7 - 8 years and still no robocalls, no solicitation calls except from vendors I already have a relationship with. Blissful.

Brooks

As to the robocalls - if you have ONLY a cell phone you seem, at this point to be immune.
I have no land line. I've had the same cell number for 7 - 8 years and still no robocalls, no solicitation calls except from vendors I already have a relationship with. Blissful.

For now....from what I hear, soon to come on cell phones is unsolicited text messages, targeted advertising, and even "robo-calls" will be legal. I bet politicans will love it.

Hinkley: which politicians were you referring to with their lawn signs in public r.o.w.?

I can't recall them all off the top of my head, but a semi-complete list would include Lister (waaaay out in front), Sten, Sorenson, Sowa, & Peterson.

Can you eliminate the calls by voting early? I know that the live callers only call people who have not yet voted (at least in the past they used to) since they can't change the votes that are already cast. But perhaps in today's society - with robot labor - they don't pay attention to those things. And it likely doesn't cost much to have the robot call anyway.

You shouldn't have to time your vote to opt out of these calls.

I'm tired of Linn's poor excuses and her mud slinging. She went dirty minute number one in this campaign immediately dishing on Wheeler's private life (who really gives a flying f what he drives or what his father did for a living) instead of talking about her accomplishments (although a number of county employees I know are more than a bit miffed that she's taken credit for their work). If she's so terrific, why has she been so nasty? Wheeler managed to stay calm during the one debate I attended where she sniped at him so much that I was wondering how he managed to avoid slapping her (I certainly would have).

And if she's so ready to learn from her mistakes (like Cynthia claims), why is she blaming everyone else instead of taking responsibility them? No, instead she claims conspiracy, blames the "mean girls" or whines about lack of funding. The other team has no need for conspiracy when she, herself delivers scandal practically monthly (because those darn budget people are so "exacting and precise"). The "mean girls" worked with Stein without issue and lack of funding seems here to stay so exactly how will she do better next time? You can only learn from a mistake if you're willing to admit to it and I've yet to hear Linn own up to any mistake she's made.

Does phone spam actually work? I'd love to hear from some of the consultants--Kari? Does it work? I know everyone on this blog would say "no!" but I also imagine that people who leave comments here are statistical outliers in terms of political involvement.

No idea. Presumably, it does. Of course, if I was the one doing it, I'd do it like this: Staff a roomful of volunteers to make live calls. When a machine picks up, they push a button that plays a message recorded by that volunteer at the beginning of the shift. While it's recording, the volunteer moves on to the next live call. Double or triple your volunteer's productivity, keep the live calls live, and make the messages meaningful.

But then, I don't do phones.

As for the question about cell phone text messages, there's some REALLY strict rules about that stuff. Unlike the internet, which wasn't designed for spam, the cell network is built from the ground up to make those calls cost prohibitive and illegal (and enforceable.)

But yes, those cell phone text messages are coming soon to a campaign near you. (Opt-in only.)

Dan,

I am not a staunch defender of Linn, but my experience vis a vis local government has led me to believe that it is next to impossible for anyone to really show leadership hereabouts. My sense is that Stein felt confined before she made a bid for the governor's office and that Linn has really tried to show some independence . People who do that, whether politicians, judges, lawyers or journalists, tend to get squeezed out. Someone like Jack Bog, a tenured professor, is in the best sort of position to call for change. Less popular and accomplished academics get hit for trying all the time. When you get hit, what happens is that everything you do is examined under a microscope. Your weaknesses, your human imperfections, become all of what you are. A typo becomes a lie. An effort to make your calendar reflect reality becomes falsifying public records. It's character assassination. It seems to me that this is likely what has been happening to Linn. The machine is so skillful that it can turn your own mother against you. If for nothing else, I admire Linn for fighting back.

Question: "Can you eliminate the calls by voting early? I know that the live callers only call people who have not yet voted (at least in the past they used to) since they can't change the votes that are already cast. But perhaps in today's society - with robot labor - they don't pay attention to those things. And it likely doesn't cost much to have the robot call anyway."

The answer is no, at least for certain candidates. I voted the day I received the ballot, and have still been receiving from Ginny Birdturd and Commissioner Saltzman. I guess if your campaign is flush with out-of-state contributions and ill-gotten cable tv company profits, you don't have to worry about paying someone to check who has voted.

Something Diane Linn clearly did right imo: According to yesterday's Tribune, she denied Michael Schrunk funding for a full-time elder abuse prosecutor, recognizing apparently that these matters are properly seen as mental health and employment issues. While some at the O, including the Pulitzer winners, are pressing for mental health parity and removing the stigma(after all Lincoln and Churchill were depressives), Shrunk's office wants to criminalize these people and make their problems worse. The guy the Oregonian calls "Unflappable" is seriously out of touch. And that is the nicest thing I can say about him; it has gotten so that everyone who questions the "good olds" he represents is an abuser or harasser-or stalker. Like Justice Fadeley who dared to make legally rather than policially sound rulings. When it comes to dealing with Schrunk, I only fault Linn for allowing him to cut his white collar crime budget in April 2002, one month before the Latifeh Kennedy good old boy lawyer rip off went before the Grand Jury. Since I know there is a God, I know that one day this stuff has got to unravel.


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