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Friday, April 13, 2007

A mere 28 tweaks for "clean money"

The citizens' advisory committee on Portland's comical "voter-owed elections" system for guaranteeing incumbents' re-elections has made its first report to the City Council. The wonderful new system -- basically sound, you see, but requiring just some "tweaks" here and there -- needs only 28 improvements to work, according to this group.

Among them: limit those who can give $5 qualifying contributions to registered voters, and actually have somebody from the city check their signatures to weed out obvious forgeries.


But a paper trail for the contributions, to make sure they were actually made by the people who say they made them? Nope. Cash will still be good enough.

Whatever. It got Opie and Big Pipe re-elected, and Fireman Randy's sure to follow.

Anyway, the whole report is here.

BTW, anybody seen Vladimir lately?

Comments (3)

Some comments have been lost (at least temporarily) due to a server failure on April 14, 2007.

Let's see... public financing was going to eliminate the influence of big business in city politics.

Anyone care to join me up at the Ringside for a delicious, Burnside-Couch cutlet?

Posted by Dave Lister | April 13, 2007 3:00 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]

"Incumbent Auditor Gary Blackmer ran unopposed and was thus ineligible to receive public Campaign Finance Funds."

It seems they need an addendum to [re]articulate the truth of that assertion.

I filed. But I did not pledge a superior loyalty to a foreign private entity over that of the US Constitution or the Oregon Constitution, as did/does the sitting Auditor. There is no case law that can possibly be found, none, that could elevate the relevant feature of the City of Portland charter, that includes such a pledge, above superior legal authority.

I am curious as to the existence or non-existence of further inquiry into the enforceability of the relevant provision. The duty of the City Attorney's staff is to the citizens of the city and not as the personal and private advocate of any single public official.

Auditor Gary Blackmer, acting in concert with City Attorney staff, engaged in conduct that constitutes official misconduct that was/is actionable by the Multnomah County District Attorney.

I have hunted for measures in this legislative session that attempt to subject the Certified Internal Auditor's for cities to a state-based scheme to test competence and to measure the ever-undefinable quality of "ethics" and have come up short. There had been an effort in the prior legislative session; opposed by the class of folks that are members of the same Certified Internal Auditor group to which Gary Blackmer claims membership and for which my lack of membership served to deny placement of my name on the ballot – and thereby to obtain the requested pre-authorization to collect signatures and fives.

Just look for February 2006 correspondence on the matter. The only other standard for denial of placement on the ballot would be whether a filing was "spurious." The Auditor's office did not, nor could they, validly make such an assertion.

The sole choice that the City Attorney's office staff could validly make is to allow both Mr. Blackmer and myself to appear on the ballot, or neither of us; as the pledge of superior loyalty to a private foreign outfit is inconsistent, beyond any plausible rebuttal, with elementary notions of our democratic process and oath of loyalty.

Neither the Board of Accountancy nor the Department of Administrative Services has been legislatively granted jurisdiction over a person who holds themselves out as an auditor on behalf of the citizens of a city. This is less oversight than even that for a private roofer. This is not to say that such oversight would do any good, as the oversight provided by the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar failed miserably to encourage the City Attorney staff to conform their behavior to the applicable law of this state on this matter.

I could/should present the City of Portland a choice. Make the necessary correction to the report to admit that it was error to deny placement of my name on the ballot, and to deny me the pre-authorization to collect the signatures and fives, or alternatively immediately remove the present auditor in favor of holding an election at the soonest practicable time for the auditor position from a potential pool of persons who are Certified Public Accountants who obtain their certification from the Oregon Board of Accountancy.

Judging from the completeness of the report it is safe [with exceptions] to say that this blog comment post, this hairball, is more effective at placing my concern into the public record. The report is factually incorrect, and I would say that it is not merely accidentally so, but knowingly so, with intent to effect the electoral process – i.e., the omission is itself a continuation of the pattern of actionable conduct that began with the refusal to place my name on the ballot. Refusal to make the correction could itself be the event that allows me to obtain an court order demanding the same, as it could not be obtained without such order.

Ron Ledbury

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