This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 17, 2008 10:02 PM. The previous post in this blog was PCC wants another $374 million. The next post in this blog is End of an era. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Your tax dollars at work

It looks like we may have no fewer than five politicians whose campaigns we Portland taxpayers are going to finance in the race to take over Sam the Tram's City Council seat. At $145,000 each, that's $725,000 for the primary alone. Not to mention what we'll burn for two of them in the general election.

So when your mailbox fills up with junk and the phone calls interrupt your dinner from now 'til November, don't get mad. Take heart. Remember, you're paying for it.

Comments (11)

Makes that whole "check here to donate a buck to the presidential election fund" thing on the Federal returns seem like a bargain, eh?

The average Portland resident will pay closer to $2. Not to mention how much dough Sho will get if he makes it.

The Supreme Court issued a new First Amendment case in New York State Bd. of Elections v. Lopez Torres.

Lots of stuff about private association rights and the burdens of signature requirements. And of particular interest to me they clearly distinguish the problem -- not present in this case -- of denial of placement of one's name on the ballot. The issue is only whether someone gets the nod from party X or Y. The designation of City of Portland Clean Money Candidate is a nod, is it not, just like a nod from any "party?"

I wonder if Sam will not only limit his Dirty Money expenditures but voluntarily submit to the same rules (and Auditor authority) on his expenditures as the Clean Money candidates? The limit on the amount alone is not enough to be "clean."

What's the difference between the U.S. Presidential Election "check-off" Fund and Portland's "Clean Money" fiasco?

Only one of them is voluntary.

$2.00 per Portland resident. Now that really IS an outrage. My vote is definitely worth more than that.

BTW, who is Mr. Bogdanski backing for mayor? The candidate raising private dollars or the candidate trying to qualify for public dollars? The former, surely.

In fairness, isn't one reason for the number of people qualifying or trying to qualifying at least in part due to the number of races, and the number of relatively-safe seats now opening up?

I think the dynamic here is the open seats. Adams and Sten's. The previous election cycle proved you can't beat an incumbent under this system. The Dozono/Adams race will be interesting in that (if he qualifies) Dozono will in a way be challenging an incumbent.

Leonard, a solid incumbent, has no credible challenger, publicly or privately funded.

Remember also, as I've said before, the public vote on this system in 2010 is merely a recommendation. The council that enacted the public campaign financing system had no legal authority to bind a future council to a public vote. That's one of the reasons Randy Leonard voted no (the only no vote).

The fact is, we may never get to vote on this fundamental change to our elections system in Portland.

No. Those candidates are all running for Adams's seat.

All the candidates that have qualified so far are running for Adam's seat. At least one, maybe more, who have announced for Sten's seat intend to seek public financing. The scuttlebutt is that the citizens campaign commission will consider allowing candidates who have qualified for Adam's seat switch to the other race and keep their funding. We'll have to wait and see.

Mister Tee,

That position would seem to allow the city to accept an anonymous donation of say $1,575,000 dollars laundered through some Clean Money Foundation (rather than a Portland Parks Foundation) dedicated to the payment of election expenses of the City Party's selected candidates. It is an incomplete objection to vindicate the First Amendment issues raised.

Just as with features of the lobbyist ordinance, this city has inverted the very basis for democracy to put itself above criticism through exempting itself from the application of the laws that are applicable to all non-"public body" entities.

Consider, for example, the exemption from the lobbyist ordinance of the activist activity of the staff of an elected official to support publicly funding clean money? See the discussion found in Burt v. Blumenauer for the demand for government neutrality as to a measure regarding flouridation of the drinking water.

If the City can set up a scheme to enable any citizen to petition for 145 grand by obtaining 1,000 signatures and 5 dollar donations in the context of elections for public office -- where one would assume the highest level of scrutiny by a court -- does this not also mean that such a petition could apply more generally to nearly any other seemingly allowable public purpose that the city leaders dream up? One could argue that it is not an allowable purpose for government to be in the business of giving gifts, regardless of whether it is to donate to city approved candidates or to a Foundation To Set The Thermostat For The World (with infinite suck power). To allow such gifts is to admit to no limit at all . . . and makes a mockery of any effort on any other issue to address the "facts" that make some issue "rationally related" to any public policy. One can find ample, but now ancient, case law where a judge voided gifts made from the public trough but these have long since been ignored in this throughly modern public era.

If government is to give out any gifts then it should be need-based, and no less stringent than for example the criteria found in the DHS's Family Services Manual -- click on the link therein at item 11. Counting Client Assets.

I do not have the funds necessary to pursue legal action against the city auditor for his refusal to place my name on the ballot for his latest "unopposed" run as an incumbent for his present position. His refusal, with support from the city attorney's office, is based on my failure (I say my permitted-refusal) to be a member of the foreign private organization as a precondition to seeking elective office for a public body. Is he a wise man or something else? I can find many references to "auditor" in old case law, but none of them are remotely framed as some modern "performance auditing." I surely would not expect him to visualize the city as becoming the functional equivalent of a political party, where as here the key feature is the advocacy of the distribution of gifts just as with clean money.


I hope the Jack sticks to the point that opposes insanity in the exercise of official public power. A candidate's acceptance of extracted tax dollars to run for office as their first major public act is surely a clue to how they will administer public funds. Their initiation into the gifting club, masquerading as government, begins by them seeking a gift for themselves.

The price is qualitative, or priceless.

C'mon ... All this angst and whining and black-helicopter theorizing over something that is going to cost me one mocha?

VOE's not perfect. But given its potential upsides -- more diverse candidates, reduced campaign costs, less influence for behind-the-scenes big money -- I'm willing to risk a couple of bucks on this for the next four or five years.

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