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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 24, 2007 8:34 AM. The previous post in this blog was Another "Welches stolen truck" con man sighting. The next post in this blog is "Welches" con man on KGW News tonight!. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Opportunity knocks

Have you ever wanted to oversee the giveaway of hundreds of thousands of scarce local tax dollars to pay for politicians' campaign flyers, lawn signs, robo-phone calls, push polls, office rent, and pizza for volunteers? If you said yes, here's your chance to become a Portland citizen campaign commissioner.

It's a great gig. Rest assured you won't be wasting your valuable time checking to see if people are lying to you before you give them their "clean money." Nor will you be drafting language for a ballot measure to let the city's taxpayers decide whether they'd rather spend this money fixing broken traffic signals and crumbling streets. More likely, you'll be making adjustments to the system, which you will find is "still working" while you're "tweaking" it.

You'll become a tweaker.

Be famous. This time around, the election's going to be truly historic: Sam Adams will take Mayor McPothole's job, and Randy Leonard will coast to re-election. See there? The new blood and diversity that "voter-owed elections" are all about.

Actually, there will be one wide-open City Council race with a full slate of candidates, most or all of whom will likely have their hands out to the taxpayers for six figures apiece. Probably several of the usual suspects from last time, plus the new guy in the floating bus. Maybe we can break a million bucks, and wind up with someone who shares Sam the Tram's bold new visions of streetcars that run without using energy. You do want to be on the inside for that, don't you?

Let's see, whom will they put on this board? Chris Smith will be tied up running for something, so he's out.... Probably one or two union people, a Bus kid, a long-time city bureaucrat, and maybe a true believer from a nonprofit that's all ga-ga about campaign finance reform. Skeptics on the commission? Don't hold your breath.

Comments (29)

Can I demand that everyone get the same number of signatures relative to the position sought and dedicate my public funding to cover the cost of making public records requests or otherwise perform any audit-related activity that an official auditor is authorized to do during the balance of the term? I have to have a theme -- so as not to confuse too many folks -- and this seems to be the one I am settling on.

There should be a member who is a former/current employee with the Department of Justice and current member of Our Oregon.

Damn. That seals it. I'm moving back.

Thirteen people tried to qualify for Public Campaign Financing last cycle. Two succeeded honorably. One cheated, and was caught; one didn't comply with the rules, and didn't qualify for that reason. This time, it will be even more difficult to qualify. Anyone who thinks it's easy to collect 1000 donations of $5 from registered Portland voters has never tried to do it.

"It's a great gig"? Sure, volunteering huge quantities of time for something that benefits society as a whole - likely there'll be a deluge of applications. Citizen volunteers should be lauded, not ridiculed. One of the main tasks the new Citizens Commission members will be working on is rules for when there's a Special Election. Open seats, particularly ones with shorter notice before the primary, are when Public Campaign Financing will matter most, enabling citizens who aren't affluent and aren't In With The In Crowd to have a realistic chance of winning election.

Besides, under the "traditional" system, we will certainly get more of the same. What's worse, trying something different that might not work (and didn't, for the most part, the first time), or resigning ourselves to the same old same old, for ever?

Sounds like a job for the "Welches stolen truck guy."

Amanda,

Can you offer any reason to support the allowance of any exemption from the 1,000 (at a minimum) signature requirement for the city-sanctioned candidate? I can obtain city-sanction and still demand only one dollar of public funds and still not be the top spender.

Wouldn't it be fun to demand the signatures from all candidates and to try to even ban the use of third-party circulators so as to assure face time? If ALL candidates have notice, by certified mail, of a pending (threatened) case asserting both would this provide them enough time to gather their required signatures?

That may be your creepiest photoshop job yet. Congratulations, I guess. [shudder]

Ms Fritz

Do you really think for all the taxpayer funding that the quality of candidates is any better (yourself excepted, fo course)?

Again, it looks like it merely makes everyone spend the same as the incumbent and the incumbent can take adavantage of the public printing press (ie the media)

They had me until question 2:

Can you refrain from expressing your personal political opinions so that you do not create the appearance of a conflict of interest?

I'm running.... My first priority will be to have the city be called Potterville.

rubberstamps wanted - apply within

I'd much rather see candidates running for office who weren't bank-rolled by wealthy private groups or individuals. Experienced candidates and/or newcomers having the option to use neutral, impartial, public funds and the independence from special interests which that affords them is the essence of functional democracy. I for one am more than happy to invest the tiny number of dollars needed to fund "Clean Elections" to insure that our "public" officials are free to represent the "public" interest and not the private interests of whoever funded their last campaign. I wish the rest of the country would wake up and follow Portland's example.

I'd much rather see candidates running for office who weren't bank-rolled by wealthy private groups or individuals.

I'd much rather see candidates running who were able to attract enough money from whatever private sources ("wealthy" or otherwise) which felt the candidate(s) represented their views. That, and full public disclosure of those sources.

Despite your wish for "...functional democracy..." what you really posit is government patronization. Your fantasy about ...neutral, inpartial, public funds... reckons without the nasty little detail that these funds were appropriated without a public vote...

"...functional democracy...", indeed!

pdxnag, I'm sorry, I don't understand your question.

Steve asks, "Do you really think for all the taxpayer funding that the quality of candidates is any better?"

I can tell you with 100% certainty I would not consider running again without Public Campaign Financing. It cost our family about $10,000 when I ran last time, even with it. That's in lost wages, bills that came in after I was required to return money I'd saved to the city, and expenses I paid for myself because I didn't think public money should be used for them (the election night party to thank volunteers, for example). I believe Portland needs elected officials who aren't beholden to big-money contributors, but I simply could not afford to run again without funding from the citizens I would be serving if elected.

And as time goes by, yes, I believe the new system can attract a higher quality of candidates, interested first and foremost in the long term public good and having had experience working in regular jobs in Portland's neighborhoods. Without it? Not likely to happen. Only the wealthy, famous, and career politicians, can afford to run without taking large campaign contributions.

There are three ways to fund elections:

1. The current system where donors support preferred candidates in exchange for “access” once they get elected. This is de facto public financing of elections but with one extra step and no oversight.
2. Some version of “voter owned elections,” hopefully combined with actual debates and free time on TV. With access to the public airwaves and some good questions in debates (I’m reminded of Jack asking Lister how many Bushes he has voted for) this should be remarkably cheap.
3. Remove donations/bribes and only have the very wealthy able to stand. That Bloomberg chap seems to be doing awfully well so maybe this is the best solution.

Only the wealthy, famous, and career politicians, can afford to run without taking large campaign contributions.

I guess Tom Potter would fall into the "famous" category. That aside, what he did to Jim Francesconi, winning while being outspent six-to-one, should tell us something about the ability to run successful grassroots campaigns in Portland without large campaign contributions.

One cheated, and was caught; one didn't comply with the rules, and didn't qualify for that reason.

Give me a break. Two cheated.

The current system where donors support preferred candidates in exchange for “access” once they get elected. This is de facto public financing of elections but with one extra step and no oversight.

No oversight!!!

How does this differ from VOE???

“How does this differ from VOE???”

Well, one option involves knowing exactly how much money a candidate has and where it came from. The other is the complete opposite - unless you dedicate your life to finding out where the cash came from and whether it is affecting how the elected official acts. Therefore, one option costs $100k of taxpayer money and the other costs maybe nothing or possibly (if your handing money to Cheney, for example) tens of billions of taxpayer dollars. Nothing in life comes with guarantees but something along these lines may help.

What does the whole concept of election reform and controlling money in elections imply? Does it imply that some people think that other people are stupid, and they will wowed by someone's advertising? And a lot of advertising, since some candidate presumably has a lot of money to advertise with. So all these stupid people who are wowed by advertising and money must be protected by election reformers.

I will vote on a candidate's stance on issues, not their advertising.

Amanda,

See "Public Funding of Judicial Elections: The Roles of Judges and the Rules of Campaign Finance." By Deborah Goldberg.

Deborah is counsel for a plaintiff that is trying to gain ballot access in New York. The case has been accepted for review by the SCOTUS. Links to the documents are here "New York State Board of Elections v. López Torres (06-766)."

I cannot be lawfully demanded to waive my First Amendment rights by acceptance of public cash. I object to the two-track scheme in total. The case above, among other things, highlights the role of judges in being fair and impartial in their review of the election process for judges. It is the functional equivalent to the auditor here being fair and impartial in administering the election for his position.

The elected positions for the City of Portland are nonpartisan, as is allowed by statute for cities with a charter. Yet, at least for the Auditor slot, there is hard coded in the charter a discrete set of party's with nominating power. And, the city is itself acting like a private funder of a candidate (the city sanctioned candidate). . . for which you believe distinctly and uniquely represents the "public good." The First Amendment does not apply to the government, only against government. The government has no right either to bring a libel action against anyone.

See Burt v. Blumenauer, 299 Or 55 (1985) (warning, 1.7 MB pdf), where a county health official thought they had a duty to take a government position on an anti-fluoridation campaign.

"Commentators examining the potential constitutional issues which arise when government promotes its own views come to a few uniform conclusions: Neither the free speech clauses, nor principles of representational democracy require that governments, as such, refrain from speech entirely. However, assuming governments may engage in some forms of speech, they are still prohibited from advocacy intended to perpetuate themselves in power. Drawing lines between these two extremes is the task required in this case." Burt at 67.
"Certainly, at a minimum, governments must refrain from supporting a particular candidate for office." Burt at 68.

I would like to take a position that is legally and politically supportable. I don't want the money to campaign. I do want government to be more accommodative to my requests for waiver, in the public interest, of the costs of complying with many public records requests. If my public funding is dedicated to cover the costs of public records requests then I can find statutory authority that allows a public body to grant such a waiver anyway. I just won't need to go through the hassle of requesting the waiver each and every time, only to be unreasonably denied. I also want to process the information and then make it available, which is a trickier argument that anything the Auditor can do I can too as to the expenditures, notwithstanding the campaign-only spending restraints. Which triggers an examination of whether the scheme is really content neutral, which it is not.

The 1,000 signature requirement offers the opportunity, if the two track scheme is rejected, for a determination that 1,000 signatures must apply to all without regard to any pledge to not be the top spender. I would like to use it to my advantage to exclude any candidate that did not get the 1,000 signatures. If all signatures are obtained by me then there is zero risk of fraud by a third party that could mess me up. It would not raise a red flag about wealth versus poverty nor about any cap on spending or the source of the funding or how it is spent. It is a clean argument to make. If I can't lawfully take public money and I have no cash to compete then this angle of attack is good for me. You could also use it as an attack too as to the particular position that you seek but you could make your own case that the delivery of cash is lawful and content neutral.

If a taxpayer wants to demand return of unlawfully spent money from third parties I do not want to be the bulls eye. Same goes if I were the auditor, or city attorney, and authorized the expenditure unlawfully. Can you be certain that you will not have to return any money, short of a request for a declaratory judgment? If you do not understand, or even if you think you do, please seek qualified counsel. OSB 503-620-0222. Don't think for a second that the city attorney represents you, as it would conflict with her duty to the city.

How do you find out what the candidates' stances on issues are, Monochromo? That isn't a trick question, I'd seriously like to know what you use to figure out that information. Until I started my blog, I don't think most people knew what I think about many issues. Still don't, since I've only been doing it six months and we haven't covered everything yet.

I voted for you once, Amanda, but won't again. You're a one trick pony.

Until I started my blog, I don't think most people knew what I think about many issues

See, thats what bothers me. Who knows who writes that stuff? I want a candidate to TELL me what he/she thinks. This whole "see my website" crap doesnt wash with me. I want to see the look on your face when you say this stuff. If you cant tell me, then you dont get my vote. Thats why I couldnt vote for Kerry. Every time someone questioned him on the issues, all he could say was "see my website". The only thing he would say was "Bush isnt the guy." And I think thats why he lost.

Jack,
I've come to change my mind about what's going to happen in '08. I think Potter will seek a second term.

A second term will vest his Pers pension. He doesn't have to work very hard. He's got a big ego and he enjoys the ribbon cutting and the photo ops. The onlyl things that have animated him during his first term have been fights with the feds and he has a new one now over immigration. Borrowing a cop shooting or a sex scandal, he walks into a second term without breaking a sweat if he wants it.

Adams, in my opinion, will not challenge a Potter with a 50% plus popularity. If he runs and loses, he's out of the game.

The way I see it, Potter gets a second term and Sam and Randy keep their safe seats. The VOE candidates that line up against them will be jousting at windmills.

The VOE candidates that line up against them will be jousting at windmills.

Yup. Thats why VOE was pushed so hard by them in the first place.


I want a candidate to TELL me what he/she thinks. This whole "see my website" crap doesnt wash with me. I want to see the look on your face when you say this stuff.

Ok, how and where do you want that to happen, Jon? You make a good point, and I suspect many voters feel that way. But at most 3,000 people (total) attended the campaign forum events when I ran. With 300,000 voters, it's not possible to knock on everyone's door. I met about 1,000 people at houseparties. Most events in Portland City Council elections aren't televised. Did you watch the City Club debate or the League of Women Voters' forum, which were? How else should candidates tell you what you need and want to know, to make an informed vote?

I write everything on my blog, by the way, except for the Guest Posts which are clearly labeled as such. No editors or writing/research team, either.

Well, one option involves knowing exactly how much money a candidate has and where it came from. The other is the complete opposite - unless you dedicate your life to finding out where the cash came from and whether it is affecting how the elected official acts...

Right.

Option one involves taking my dough, without a vote, for candidates whether I support them or not. And it's MORE than $100K - each. Not what I'd consider a "free" election. (The "oversight" line was an attempt at irony, friend. My apologies.)

Option two is where our beloved government comes into play - mandatory audited disclosure of contributors and contribution amounts. That's the only place for government to intude into the process. No implied value judgements about "evil corporations", crooked unions or the invoking of Dick Cheney (please) to exert a little not-so-subtle thought control. Isn't government itself a "stake-holder" in its own growth?

The notion that the government, through VOE, will somehow "make everything better" for the poor, otherwise clueless, voters, strikes me as patronizing at best - and frightening at worst.

Was Mayor potter elected with large donations/bribes. Was he wealthy?

Who gained increased access to the mayor by virtue of their bribes? Except the public employees unions and the bus kids?

Well, you can certainly leave out the public employees...

Their motto is, of course, altruism uber alles

No political pollution there.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
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Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
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Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
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J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
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Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
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Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
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Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
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The Occasional Book

Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
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James Joyce - Dubliners
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Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
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William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
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Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
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Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
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Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
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Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 92
At this date last year: 144
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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