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Monday, March 17, 2008

Your Portland property tax dollars hard at work

I'm sure he wasn't trying to be funny. But Portland City Council candidate John Branam has produced a screamingly comical piece of campaign literature. Branam, as you may recall, is one of the "clean money" politicians, whose campaign machinations are being paid for by the city's property taxpayers under the goofy "voter-owed elections (VOE)" system. We blogged the other night about his fast fat-five-figure handout of taxpayer dollars to his campaign guru Phil Busse. Eyebrows are still going up over that one. But on a fundamental level, the glossy flyer that one of Branam's hit-and-run canvassers hung on our doorknob yesterday is an even better story.

Now, why did Opie Sten tell Portlanders that he was selling them "voter-owed elections (VOE)," whether they wanted them or not? It was supposed to take the influence of West Hills money (and other corporate money) out of the political equation, right? We don't want the same old rich fat cats corrupting our government officials with their filthy lucre any more.

O.k.? Now get a load of Branam's flyer:

To make sure our candidates aren't in the pockets of guys like Tom Kelly, we pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money, and the first thing they do is run out and hire a photographer to document the fact that indeed, that's exactly where they are. Is that beautiful, or what? You couldn't make this stuff up.

Branam, get a clue. Instead of forcing the little people to give you thousands to have your picture taken with Tom Kelly, you should have had Tom Kelly give you thousands to have your picture taken with the little people.

There's more to marvel at in that flyer -- the spendy and vaguely Obama-like logo, the name-dropping of New Seasons (I wonder what they think of that) -- but really, the photo and the quote say it all. "Voter-owed elections" is a classic City Hall farce. When Opie finally goes away in 18 days, I hope the other four gentlemen who have enabled his wild and wasteful brainstorms for many years will finally come to their senses and bury this one. Lay it next to the PGE takeover, the Convention Center expansion, the water billing fiasco, the failed Bull Run regionalization deal, the high-speed cable lawsuit, and the many other missteps that have characterized his painful tenure in city government.

Comments (19)

Jack..by any chance, is this the same John Branam who is giving you $$ to advertise his campaign ?

But wait!

Branam is just like Obama! A fresh face, articulate, good looking wrapping around the same old brand of politics, pretending to be different.

That does not look at all like Neil Kelly's headquarters on 804 N Alberta.

Is it possible that the candidate is campaigning in Lake Oswego?

Well, at least he has a nice logo. Maybe he can sell that to the City Council after he loses and make a couple more bucks off the public. They (the council) would be dumb enough to do it.

Actually, that is the NK HQ on Alberta. The satellite office on Bangy Rd off I-5 is in a three story building.

And the City of Portland wonders why so many of us are running for the hills, taking our tax dollars with us...

If John Branam is representative of what is to come; I'm going to stay in Clackamas County.

Too bad, too, because Portland has better restaurants and bars. : )

Yes all of you political types and soon to be criminals take note. Damascus was a trial run and we were only half assed trying. We are sick and tired of the you screwing the public. We are more tired of the insane antics of the self loathing white guilt losers that we call leaders. Things are going to change, there is a gathering storm. It is going to be a bumpy night.

Why do so many City Council candidates talk about schools, schools, schools. They have NOTHING to do with schools. That's the problem with some of the City Council members now . . . they don't seem to pay much attention to what they ARE responsible for (and it's NOT schools).

What’s also interesting about the flyer is that it doesn’t include the “political advertisement disclosure” required by city code for “voter-owned elections” participants:


John Branam paid his campaign manager $25,000 for three months of “work” and they make dumb mistakes like this?

Wait, my bad Neil Kelly looks like he paid for this doorhanger.

I know he is still a candidate and the primary has not yet happened, but is it too early to start asking the Branam campaign to repay their VOE funds?

Speaking of dumb mistakes, the printed doorhanger lists the wrong URL for Branam's website. The working URL is www.john4pdx.ORG; right now, www.john4pdx.com leads to a GoDaddy parking lot.

I'm for unsustainable businesses, so why would I vote for this guy?

Besides if he doesn't know the city council has little or nothing to do with schools, that's a school board issue, then what other unqualifications does he bring to the race.


Quick straw poll. From Branam's website. Is Brendan Finn really Branam supporter or did he once say hi to him and Branam is using it as a "kind of" endorsement?

"Over the past few months, John has been meeting with dozens of residents around Portland, discussing his ideas for city council and asking for thoughts in return. John also has continuing support and help from 2004 Multnomah County sheriff write-in candidate Paul van Orden, 2000 mayoral candidate and business consultant Jake Oken-Berg, City Council Dan Saltzman’s Chief of Staff Brendan Finn and 2004 mayoral candidate and former Portland "Mercury managing editor Phil Busse.

This guy is shady. A friend of mine's name showed up on his endorsement list without permission and my friend is furious. If you are looking for a good story I'd suggest you contact his endorsers and see if they did indeed sign up.

sounds like I'm being called out here. But first a disclosure- I am on break, using my personal laptop, at a free public wi-fi spot (metrofi jokes are welcomed).

I'm willing to help out any candidate that asks for my assistance (on my spare time, outside my duties to the city), of which John did.

Like my boss, I remain neutral in city races and have asked John to remove my name from his website. That being said, I found his approach to be quite refreshing, a real positive passion for the city. I hope he continues to speak on how we keep Portland a great city.

Not that we do not deserve a little ripping now and then! So rip away, but remember this first...I love you all


Interesting... there's a John Branam add on the right sidebar as I read this.

It's highly likely that this ad was placed there by the blog hosting service--many companies (blogger and several others) provide such services to bloggers free-of-charge, and pay for it with ads. And many of 'em use context-sensitive advertising--if the blog has a posting about Nike, you'll see an add for Nike shoes; if it has an article about some local political hack who is running for office, and said hack is advertising online, that's what you'll see.


So, did you let him use your name or not and did let you know he was going list you on his website? I just want a straight answer.



It's highly likely that this ad was placed there by the blog hosting service--many companies (blogger and several others) provide such services to bloggers free-of-charge, and pay for it with ads.

No, that's not the case at all. The Branam ad was placed with this blog (and some others), and affirmatively accepted by me. It is a paid political announcement.

Brendan Finn -

It is a fair question -- did you give John Branam permission to use your name as an endorser or not? Yes or no?

Clicked onto john4pdx.COM and it takes me to Willamette Weeks site with an article about this hefty payment to Busse?? I check the domain register and it was purchased anonymously?? What in the hell is going on here! We are supposed to get involved at the local level to feel like we count, like we can shape the way things turn out but the truth is there is always somebody pulling strings behind these velvet curtains of deception. Any why is Art & Sole on that flyer. I've been in there and that guy doesn't strike me as the type who needs help "locating" same for New Seasons. What did he do... go unpack boxes. This whole f***ing thing stinks worse that Potters breath.

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