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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 5, 2008 6:10 PM. The previous post in this blog was Oh, my. The next post in this blog is You go back, Jack, do it again. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sho survives assassination attempt

The curious Sho Dozono poll story has failed to destroy his candidacy for Portland mayor. Today he was certified as qualifying for "clean money" under the "voter-owed elections" system of public campaign financing.

Sho will pocket $161,171 of taxpayers' money to spend on his campaign junk mail and nuisance phone calls in the weeks leading up to the May primary. That puts the current total of tax expenditures on the upcoming municipal races at $1,002,425 and counting, for the primary alone. That number could rise substantially if any of the "dirty money" candidates raises more than the "clean money" handout in his or her race, because the taxpayers get to match the excess for each and every "clean money" opponent in that race. And at least one council contest is headed for a runoff in November, whereat more tax dollars will be thrown.

Of course, the figures do not include the administrative costs to run the program. One can only guess what those come to -- the city will never tell, if it even knows or cares -- but I'd bet $100,000 would be a decent estimate for the year.

Any way you count it, it's a lot of potholes that aren't going to be filled.

Comments (11)

I have suggested instant runoff voting as at least a partial solution to this problem -- we can disagree about the value of public funding but still agree that it makes more sense (especially with public funding) to just have one election instead of two. Last night, Santa Fe NM just became the 13th municipality to adopt IRV since San Francisco ushered in the modern era of voting by ranking the candidates a few years ago (it was widely used in the early 20th Century and was only eliminated because political machines hated it).

I ask again, why would you want to pay for two expensive elections to do the same job as you can get done in one simple round by using IRV?

Head-to-head contests that magnify the differences between two candidates are not a bad thing. I don't think the public should be paying for the campaigns, though.

This is a good example of the runaway out of control mission creep in government.

There's not a shred of legitimacy for campaign funding to be a function of government and tax money.

It's truly pathetic that some can justify this. Since some do this demonstrates that just about anything can also be tasked to government and we are in a heap big trouble.

Many people just see no reason to constrain government at all.

I find that curious and disturbing.

Upside: if they can justify using city tax dollars to pay for political campaigns, perhaps a city funded Sellwood Bridge contribution is just around the corner?

Clean bridges?

Voter owned safety corridors?

That's an interesting comment about government having no business funding campaigns -- would Coke allow Pepsi to determine who sits on Coke's board or serves as CEO?

It's different because democracies are corporations where all "shareholders" are supposed to have equal weight (one share ownership in the venture) and corporations allocate voting weight by share ownership, but even most corporations do a better job with elections than winner-take-all elections do: most corporations use a semi-proportional system to ensure that minority stakeholders are represented on the boards (in the minority, of course).

As for runoffs magnifying the differences, would not our politics be better served by allowing all the candidates (thus the widest degree of differences) to reach the ultimate election stage, thus eliminating the need to artificially increase the differences between what might just be two very similar candidates? That is, where you have more than two candidates running, often the most non-establishment candidate is eliminated in the primary -- this means that the voters lose the value of having a widely different perspective and the flow of ideas from a different point of view.

Besides, the two-person race dynamic is inherently negative (zero sum), whereas a multicandidate race where voters can offer second and third choices means that candidates have an incentive to disagree but also to tell voters where they agree with each other (to court the other candidates' supporters).

The current Democratic primary death-march is a good example -- once Edwards was out of the race Hillary was allowed (and, actually, encouraged by the rules) to start going negative on Obama, because she gains a vote whenever someone is turned off on Obama, whether they wind up disgusted with her or not. The "magnification" of difference is not setting up the party nearly as well as IRV would have.

The goal is to keep deep pocketed corporate types from running the show.

If it is allowing "too many" people into the process, perhaps the standards can be tightened up a bit. (Example: Raising the number of signatures and donations required to qualify.)

Jim Francesconi (remember him?) raised over $1 million in private funds when he ran against Potter, largely by placing a lot of calls to fatcats from a donated office. Those calls would have been illegal if he had made them from his City Hall office.

IMO, it will take a while to determine whether the "voter owned election" system works. Evidence for that will include:

1. the City Auditor's office nails down the rules and stops making stuff up on the fly; and

2. some of the VOE candidates win and actually put the people of Portland back into the equation rather than letting the corporate insiders continue to run the show.

I would also strongly support instant runoff voting.

"Any way you count it, it's a lot of potholes that aren't going to be filled."

To make it worse, the CoP agreed to pay $200,000 to keep illegal aliens out of the weather. No money for roads my a**!

none,

Could Mayor Potter introduce a resolution to be passed by the city council that endorses the candidacy of Mr. Dozono?

pdxnag,

He could, but it would probably wouldn't pass unanimously. And it might end with Potter storming out in a petulant fit babbling something about not being relevant.

"260.432 Solicitation of public employees; activities of public employees during working hours. (1) No person shall attempt to, or actually, coerce, command or require a public employee to influence or give money, service or other thing of value to promote or oppose any political committee or to promote or oppose the nomination or election of a candidate [. . .]"

Just who within the city government would Mr. Potter be able to lawfully ask for assistance in preparing such resolution?

Note that this is before even considering the issue of delivery of money direct to any candidate.

Any employee could tell Mr. Potter to go jump in a lake, if tasked with aiding in preparation of such resolution, and there ain't a thing that Mr. Potter could do to discipline that employee.

If the city attorney said go jump in a lake, and got fired, whom might they name in law suit? (Even though they may serve at will at the pleasure of the city council.)

As an elected official Mr. Potter can praise or whine about anything he wants, it is all on his own time, just like an employee that is off duty speaking only for themselves.

Fill potholes?

What makes you think they'd use those funds for potholes? Don't you think it more likely that it would be paid out for a development plan for the So What Poodle Poop Park?

Given the alternatives that those funds would actually be spent on, I'm supportive of giving it to people who might, just might, do something with the funds which showed fiscal responsibility and fiduciary trust, unlike the current crowd at City Hall.


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