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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 6, 2009 5:01 AM. The previous post in this blog was New numbers to watch. The next post in this blog is A lawsuit a week. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recall 2.0: Who are you, and where have you been?

The effort to recall Portland's creepy mayor has bombed out, to no one's surprise. It had no money, and seemingly no one with any serious experience running a political campaign was involved. Few recognizable public figures came forward in support of it, and even the appearance of former Mayor Tom Potter on its behalf came far too late. Most significantly, the factions that control city politics -- the public employee unions, the "green" Bus kid types, the Arlington Club money types, and the gay community -- didn't make a strong statement in support of the recall, while the talk-radio fringe on the right did. That was a turnoff for many voters.

Another aspect of the recall that bugged us was the paranoia. The promoters of the recall effort hid their identities for weeks. They actually told people to keep their cash contributions below the threshold for campaign finance reporting, so as to avoid retaliation. And in the waning moments of the doomed petition drive, the announcement was made that the collected signatures wouldn't be turned in, for the same reason. All of this cloak-and-dagger stuff was tacky in the extreme. Anyone who truly feared retaliation wasn't going to give any money or sign the petition. The secrecy seemed more an excuse to level an extra accusation at the mayor (one that couldn't be proven) than it did an honest effort to protect anybody. The many speeches about fear of reprisal got stale long before the deadline arrived.

The way in which the campaign is ending is also raising some eyebrows. Rather than destroy the signatures they gathered, the organizers of Recall 1.0 are giving them over to another group, Recall 2.0, of which the public knows virtually zero. That may not be an illegal use of the signatures, but it's not a pretty one. Now the folks who cared enough to sign will be bothered at home by a new group seeking another signature. This is sure to annoy at least some of them.

And speaking of the new group, who the heck are they, and why are they hiding? Who are their leaders? Where is their money going to come from? Unless they come forward with full transparency, and soon, they'll inspire little trust among the populace.

And where have they been the last nine months, while precious time was a-wastin'? If they are going to mount a well funded, professionally run campaign, that will be a welcome development. But even if that's what they've got in mind, they should have stepped up with it before they let the volunteer amateurs of Recall 1.0 spin everyone's wheels throughout the crucial 90-day time frame that began on July 1. Getting a recall on the ballot is going to be harder now than it was then -- and the likelihood of actually winning a recall election has gotten smaller than ever.

Those who want to remove the mayor from office had a full six months to get their act together and engineer a signature drive that would make it possible. If they couldn't get it done then, there is no reason to think they will be able to do so now. Too bad for Portland.

Comments (20)

So my husband and I signed the 1st petition, despite the fact that he's a City worker.

And we'll sign the 2nd petition as well.

However, we aren't really thrilled that our information is just handed out without our permission. Maybe it's public record, since we did sign a petition, but it just doesn't feel right.

I agree it is a sad day for Portland. One thing that was accomplished while the recall process was ongoing, was It kept creepy in hiding most of the time locked up in his office and or upstairs restroom, zipped or unzipped. Now I'm sure he will consider this lack of signatures being gathered as a mandate. Look out Portland we're in for budget busting toys and envelops filled with payoffs. I'll just bet Randy the dandy and the creepser are backslapping, or whatever you call it being politically correct, one another somewhere in private at city hall.

Won't that list have some percieved cash value to those promoting a conservative agenda? I can see why it would be a marketable product even though that wasn't the initial objective...

The recall effort died the day Wurster allowed the partisan freaks in the door. This should have been a recall effort based on fraud and deception, with nothing to do with politics. I think most people knew this thing had no shot months ago.

I assume this will be censored but what the hey. Is it possible that the people of Portland want to keep the mayor they elected by a massive majority? I think people here forget that this piece of the web is a self-selected club. If it reflected the cross-section of Portland the recall campaign would have been flush with cash and done collecting signatures months ago. Never forget that the most used phrase on this blog is: “I’m so glad I left Portland…..” A permanent recall campaign reminds me of the constant legal attacks on Clinton. Each one got the base more inflamed but probably made the man more secure.

All well argued. What you do not address is the fact that a campaign like this is up against very heavy odds, because of the short time-frame allowed by law. Ninety days was just not enough time. 120 would have been. This last month there was a marked softening of public attitudes towards volunteers, and canvassing was starting to resemble fun. The die-hards among us had figured out how to do it.

The ridiculously short time-frame is not the fault of the campaign leadership, nor is the fact that Adams was allowed to occupy his throne for SIX MONTHS like so many toads on their stools, and allow the public's memories to fade.

Considering the dearth of money and the classic foibles of volunteers, many of whom were either not willing to do much to start with, or were turned off by the hipster set verbally attacking them in the early days, it is verging on a miracle that this many signatures were gathered.

The biggest question- why didn't more people come forward sooner- well, everyone was waiting for the AG report, and everyone needed a long time to digest that, because, after all this is Portland, where critical thinking is in short supply and knee-jerk "progressive" attitudes reign.

Oregonians, and Portlanders in particular, take great pride in our civility and openness, such as they are (or aren't). Portlanders are by nature averse to politics, conflict, difficult conversation, and anything to do with sexual abuse or anything related to it.
Having secured the badge of honor of electing the country's first openly gay big-city mayor, many Portlanders just cannot comfortably wrap their minds about being the first community to recall an openly gay mayor.

And don't get me started on the denial complex. The number of times I have heard Beau Breedlove insulted is mind-boggling. Just yesterday, a guy yelled at me "Beau Breedlove? Breedlove? You can just tell by his name that he was born with his ass in the air." Another fat old geezer with a cigarette hanging from his lips said "Nah, I don't wanna sign, we all have to get some someplace."(Leer, leer).

But yes, paranoia was a problem. This next phase will lack that if Jasun takes the long vacation he so richly deserves.

Yeah, turning over the signatures to Mystery Group No. 2 is bad news. It invites even more strangulation of the initiative and referendum processes by Salem.

Note that in Washington, a federal judge invented a new exception to the public records law after a pro gay-rights group threatened to publish the names of signers of their latest homophobia initiative (the signatures are and have always been public records). Oddly, there's no outcry about "Activist Judges making law from the bench!!!" going on in the big churches up there. Go figure.

Before this is over we could wind up with a movement to require signature gatherers to ONLY submit signatures and to not allow anyone else to have or copy them (which would be as easy to monitor, just as any mailing list broker can find misuse of lists).

I agree with your post, bojack (and I don't agree with you a lot of the time!).
Why didn't this mysterious group 2.0 come forward earlier in the recall campaign? Maybe they are just as interested in weakening the mayor and keeping a permanent recall campagin going.
I am sick of it. The recall petition failed, folks. Wait until the next election and support someone to run. That is how the system is suppose to work.

Is it possible that the people of Portland want to keep the mayor they elected by a massive majority?

That would be answered by a recall. Instead, I'd pose a more cynical question: Is it possible that the people of Portland don't care if you lie repeatedly to get elected, publicly trash others to get elected, lie to your staff after being elected, "make out" with a teenager in the City Hall restroom while on duty as Mayor, and admit to breaking campaign laws?

I think people here forget that this piece of the web is a self-selected club. If it reflected the cross-section of Portland the recall campaign would have been flush with cash and done collecting signatures months ago.

What "club" do those 30,000 or so signatures already gathered represent?

Never forget that the most used phrase on this blog is: “I’m so glad I left Portland…..”

I've not noticed that at all. I'd characterize it more like "WTF is happening to my Portland?"

A permanent recall campaign reminds me of the constant legal attacks on Clinton. Each one got the base more inflamed but probably made the man more secure.

You see, the beauty of it is: Adams gets to lie, defame, screw around in City Hall--all with impunity. And--here's the kicker--he gets to keep a position that is one of *privilege*. The position is one given as a privilege, not a right. Adams has no "rights" as Mayor beyond those any citizen has.

What he *does* have is a much higher burden of expectation and standards. The Mayor is supposed to exemplify the highest standards the city has for public office. Let me repeat that: the HIGHEST STANDARDS.

If none of that matters to you--and you're clinging to the specious argument that somehow a recall campaign affects Adam's ability to do his job--I honestly don't know what to tell you.

Today's article in the Oregonian does not give me the sense that this is a new group--it makes it seem as though Wurster has just got money from new people, and that he'll run v. 2.0.

Instead, he said he [Wurster] and treasurer Teresa McGuire have submitted paperwork with the Oregon Secretary of State's Office to start another recall campaign under the name Portland Future PAC. As for who is bankrolling the latest effort, Wurster declined to name names. But he said a list of his backers will become evident as soon as the money is in the bank. Under state law, contributors' names must be revealed within 30 days of a donation.

To my eyes, that make it seem that Wurster is still the main guy in the recall process.

Nobody with any sense is going to drop a six-figure bundle on Wurster to run anything.

As to the question: who the heck is this new group? Maybe there is no group. We now know that Wurster's imagination is not limited by anything in his own mind.

Another big factor in the failure of the recall drive, it seems to me, is the lack of a replacement candidate. Why would citizens want to mire Portland in a divisive recall when there were no serious proposals for who would serve as mayor?

A good, positive strategy at this point, I suggest, would be to build up strong challengers for the next mayoral election. Part of their campaigns would include acting as watchdogs while the current mayor serves out his term. Keep shedding the light on the backroom deals, hold the damage to a minimum, and shine the spotlight on progressive people and proposals who will serve the city better in the near future.

It might also be mentioned that many people thought our new Attorney General was going to have a serious investigation of Sam Adam's shennigans prior to be elected. After waiting many months, the AGs report came out and it was little more than a whitewash in the minds of many. To me it shows that Democrats can't do any wrong in this state - no matter who it is or what they do.

The mayor's situation transcends politics. A rotten apple is a rotten apple whether it's a Gravenstein, a Rome or a Braeburn.

I signed the first petition. It took until the end of the campaign, given that you generally had to seek out signature gatherers and go out of your way to get involved. I don't know if that was by design, but it was certainly dumb.

I'm happy to hear that the 2.0 powers-that-be, whomever they are, will employ paid signature gatherers. At least I'll be able to sign without trying to seek out a place to do so.

I mean, seriously, I'm not kidding. I went on the recall website (such as it was) one time to figure out where to sign, and it literally said something like "go to X coffee shop between 1pm and 2pm and sign with Larry and Katie at their table," or something very close to that. Really? REALLY?

I think a lot of people agree with the recall effort. That said, without something resembling accessibility and structure, an effort by anyone is doomed...

If there was anything that caused Recall 1.0 to fail, it was the tactics that they used.

Yes, they tried to run an honorable recall campaign. But they were basically rooting around in Adams' core support neighborhoods where most residents supported Adams and still do to this day - the gentrified, inner-NE/SE/downtown neighborhoods.

Were the recall folks out in Southwest (anywhere) where Sho for Mayor signs outnumbered I'm with Sam signs ten to one? How about St. Johns? How about Forest Heights? Anywhere east of 39th Avenue (no, it isn't Chavez, it's 39th)?

There was so much focus on Sam's latest escapades...what about his policies overall?? How many people DID NOT vote in the 2008 Primaries (where the Mayor's race was voted) but DID vote in the 2008 General (where we voted in a new President)? What about Sam's general policies that many Portlanders never got to vote up or down on...simply because the Mayoral election wasn't held in the General election?

Alas, it's over. It's done. We've made our bed and now we get to sleep in it...thank God I moved out of the city's limits.

This whole deal is old news now. Let him be the big shot until the election. I hope there will be a strong candidate running against this guy. There is not a company in America that would of kept him in the job circle. Not one. Your safe being elected from anything except murder 1.

"I think a lot of people agree with the recall effort."

That mainly says all there is to say: What you think it's all about Alfie, is not the way it is. Diagnosis: Deluded. We see a lot of that these days, where paralyzed rightwing 'conservatives', pariah 'Republicans', sit in back corners of dark bars muttering in spittle froth about religious righteousness -- for example take LIARS Larson please ... who took the recall campaign into his embrace and therefor irrelevancy, a.k.a. the third way.

There were many different mistakes and unfair hoops and hurdles to go through and shortages and what not to do, in the recall effort, and by those altogether came Fail to collect enough signatory interest. Yup, 30ooo is "a lot of people" and nope, it's nothin' compared to 1,000ooo more or less stakeholders, prospective voters-on-the-question, who coulda shoulda woulda maybe signed on, except ... there's just NOT a lot of people who agree with the recall effort -- compared with, say, their priority for self-survival with apathy for politicos.

I mean, probably 'it don't matter' beats 'let's get this guy' 99 times out of 100. But, hey, go ahead and wrap your lives around The Issue which ain't got much Imminent Danger, Clear and Present in it, and, y'know, have a good one.

Wow, Tensk! Home grown?

Lots of good posts regarding this, I'll add mine to the group that says basically the same thing.

All politicians lie and have sex inappropriately.

There was nothing new here.

Its more important to defeat the right wing fringe than get rid of that laughing stock Adams.

Next election is where we get rid of him, provided of course there is ONE PERSON OF CREDIBILITY that will run against him.

Any idea's? Maybe some popular blogger?


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