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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 14, 2008 9:52 AM. The previous post in this blog was Homer Williams's Downtown L.A. condo jungle flops. The next post in this blog is TurboTax "kicker" disputes rage on. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

No fear

If you had asked him last week, Brad Avakian would have told you that he desired nothing more in the world than to show off his talents and dedication to the people of the Great State of Oregon by becoming its next secretary of state. Since then, his phone has rung, and it was the governor offering him the state labor commissioner job, which is being vacated. Oops! New theory.

Avakian's departure leaves the crowded field for the secretary of state position only slightly less crowded. We still have three state senators vying for the post, which I believe currently pays a princely $72,000 a year: Kate Brown, Rick Metsger, and Vicki Walker. Of the three, the most interesting is Walker, the Eugene firebrand. Her challenges to the Old Boy machine that has been running Oregon government for decades have been both refreshing and effective. We've made no secret of the fact that she's our favorite politician in the state.

Brown will have the full Democratic Party machinery behind her, and so it will be an uphill battle for Walker and Metsger. But this is a fairly low race on the ballot, and there's still a month and a half or so before the voting starts, and so anything could happen.

One thing Walker has done that's gotten some positive play is to put out a booklet with a set of platform promises in it. Of course, it also contains a good amount of bragging about things she's done in the Legislature, but it lays out some specific tasks that she says she'll undertake if she gets the secretary of state's post:

- Work to have the state "prohibit pass-through transfers of money from candidates, political parties, and leadership committees to other candidates and committees," on the ground that these practices impair transparency about who is truly financing campaigns.

- List the five largest contributors behind each initiative or referendum measure in the voters' pamphlet, and include in the pamphlet information about how to file a complaint alleging violations of the initiative and referendum rules.

- Refer a constitutional amendment to voters that would "prevent ballot measure racketeers like Bill Sizemore from filing any new ballot measures if they have repeat election law violations or unpaid fines for previous violations."

- Push for rotating regional Presidential primaries, so that Oregon isn't always one of the last to vote.

- As the state's auditor, "ask tough questions" to find out if tax subsidies to corporations and other business entities deliver public benefits as promised.

- Use federal Help America Vote Act funds to target minority and low-income folks for voter registration drives.

- Hand out voter registration forms to high school seniors at graduation.

There's more in there, including a swipe at the Lottery Commission (guess she couldn't resist), a promise to support stable funding for schools (which seems a little off-topic and sounds at least a bit sales tax-ish), a threat of criminal prosecutions for initiative process violations, and some inspiring words about "following the money" to root out waste, or worse, in government. The document pulls a few punches, and of course brief prayers must be offered for diversity and an end to global warming, but overall her screed is pretty bold in the specificity with which it addresses several issues.

Especially for the auditing side of the job, Walker is clearly the best choice. She's the only one of the candidates that the legion of Old Boy appointees in state jobs and on state boards will fear. The chances of Kate Brown or Rick Metsger aggressively pursuing neglect or wrongdoing in the state bureaucracy do not seem good. Particularly if she were teamed up with a new, no-nonsense attorney general, Walker would really make waves. Good waves.

Comments (8)

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/06/266267.shtml
"In 2001 the Senate Democratic leader, Kate Brown, sponsored the giveaway of $200 million dollars of our money to OHSU for a business venture that even OHSU's own biotech guru, Dr. William New Jr., doubts will succeed. http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=16161
Not only that, when questioned about the bill, Brown claimed to not remember what it was. She either lied or forgot about $200 million dollars. Either is completely shameful. "

I wonder if Brown has ever heard of the Tram, SoWa, VGTI or Florida?

All I want to say about Kate Brown is that I've written her 7 times in the last few years, and never got more than an auto reply in response.

All I want to say about Kate Brown is that I've written her 7 times in the last few years, and never got more than an auto reply in response.

Were you asking for a date, perhaps?

That would 'splain it.

I'm with Jack.

Vickie Walker is a class act, and is not afraid to tell the emperor (whoever he is) that his clothes are a sham.

I've sent her some money for the primary campaign and I hope to send her more as my budget allows.

I don't think she has a chance, but it would be good to throw a scare into Kate Brown.

I'm not anti Metzger, but I have no idea what he stands for, what he has accomplished if anything (other than getting re elected to his state senate seat), or why Metzger goes on Liars Larson's show and has a love fest with Liars. I guess its the tv talking head alumni club.


1. Do you suppose Gardner knew about the lobby job before he publicly "decided" not to run for Hooley's seat?
2. Do you suppose Teddy appointed Avakian to
get him out of Brown's way?
3. Do you suppose any of the Ds running for secretary of state would support an open primary?

As a demo I will be voting for Walker. She asks the inquiring questions with follow-up on many aspects of government: the UofO Basketball building, PERS, OHSU give-a-ways, Oregon Investment Council, the Neil Goldsmidth debacle, ODOT budgets and more. She researches, asks appropriate questions and suggests solutions and legislation, or just the enactment of existing laws.

"Chuck for..." is not easily impressed with any politicians and I am impressed with Vicki. For such a firecracker, she also is a careful listener and thinks about what's been said. More Vicki Walkers would be very good for politics.

If there were more Democrats like Walker, there would be much more ground for consensus, and much less partisan bickering.


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