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Thursday, April 7, 2011

You read it here first -- Portland schools mailer looks illegal

Now even the O catches on to the blatant abuse of taxpayer money for electioneering.

The person who enforces state law on this kind of violation says she needs a complaint to take any action. Well hey, here's her email address: Carla.M.Corbin@state.or.us. Perhaps someone out there would like to pull the trigger.

This one's like the library ballot measure from six months ago. Whatever the merits may be, the way it's being promoted turns our stomach. No way we're going to pull out the clothespin for our nose and cast a yes vote "for the children." Sleaze should not be rewarded.

(And speaking of echoes -- compare this today with this on Monday.)

Comments (16)

So the penalty is $250?

BFD. I would expect the response. Or is there more?

I hope so. We just took a walk around the Mt Tabor area today and the support signs are going up. A big valentine heart and all!

Interest on the bond will be approximately $75.5 million. That makes the total cost of the bond $623.5 million, not the $548 million PPS has been publicizing.

As far as I can tell, PPS has not informed the public how much the interest is on the bond.

The Secretary of State has something to say about this, too:

In cases where this an an overall cost, the total amount should be included (for instance the total amount of the bond). Ideally, this should include principal and interest for the total cost.

There's no telling exactly how much the interest will be. But given the state of the bond market, it will be relatively high.

The $75.5 is the estimate used by PPS for its "economic impact" report. That works out to about 4 percent.

Following the law is so 1950's.

The only real question that PPS needs to answer is this:

Will a manipulative public relations campaign sponsored by PPS:

A) Persuade otherwise undecided voters to vote no?


B) Produce more yes votes than "lost" undecided voters resulting from A)?

$250 for a campaign violation? That's a minor expediture like ordering lunch sandwiches for the election office.

Business as usual in Oregon... unless you're a big corporation the AG can go after for lucrative punitive damages.

$250? You'd get a bigger ticket for stopping in green box.

This is as bad as the non-disclosure thing going thru Legislature


$5000 fine for not reporting instead of 10% for not reporting contributions.

You can kinda see where this is going if they spent $20M to be governor. Just pay the fine and do what you want.

Politicians just keep getting cleaner everyday.

"The maximum fine for a violation is $250."

No, the responsible officials can be ordered to personally repay the government for the illegal expenditure. See ORS 294.100(3).

We could always ask Portland's Auditor or City Attorney -- or the Secretary of State -- for an opinion on the general notion of using public funds on private political campaigns . . . for public office. Portland's clean money campaign scheme was a far clearer violation, and complaints were uniformly met with scorn. Enforcement has itself become a political question.

Burt v. Blumenauer, 299 Or 55, 57 (1985) (pdxzone.com/show/orspct/spct299_0057 free access for a day with registration)

Plaintiff is a taxpayer in Multnomah County who is entitled to bring suit under this statute. Plaintiff contends that defendants expended money for a purpose different than authorized by law when they spent money in the fluoridation project at a time when an anti-fluoridation measure was on the City of Portland ballot. At the time relevant to this case, ORS 260.432 prohibited 'any person' from, among other things, requiring a 'public employe to * * * aid, promote or oppose * * * the adoption of a measure * * *.' The statute also prohibits public employes from engaging in the same conduct * * * "

Driving by Glencoe Elementary this morning, there is a "Portland (Heart) Schools" sign on the front lawn.

I hope there's a press release from the state attorney general's office about this soon.

Another in a long series of cynical lessons to youth growing up here... rules may or may not apply to you depending on whether you get caught, what the risk of consequences are, what your connections are, and whether or not your lawyer can argue 'it was only a careless omission, sorry'.

Is it any wonder our HS dropout rate is one of the highest in the nation?

I notice Bill Sizemore has posted this comment to the Oregonian piece. Anyone know anything about this?

"....Oregon property tax law says a school district cannot run a bond measure to fund the cost of repairs or maintenance that reasonably could have been anticipated. I know, I wrote that provision specifically because the teachers unions were demanding so much money that the districts couldn't meet their demands and maintain their buildings. They were intentionally deferring maintenance and shifting the money over to union contracts. All it takes is a lawsuit to prevent the abuse. The law is there, if anyone wants to use it. Bill Sizemore"

Learn Now, Build Later, you make a very good point that debt cost should be included in the actual cost for this Measure.

But if you ask Portland's PDC several past and present staff like Cheryl Tweety and Brown, they stated emphatically that debt cost is not the cost of a project. When you have most of government running on debt, like we do here locally, it then makes sense to include debt in the cost. If government ran like it use to, on mostly tax revenue coming in before services rendered, then their logic would make more sense.

Secretary of State Brown should make PPS adhere to the laws. Or citizens should sue.

Even as one who might vote for the bond and levy I thought that mailer crossed a line. There are plenty of independent groups who could have printed and sent it using money raised from private donors.

Mr. Grumpy:Another in a long series of cynical lessons to youth growing up here...

There can be no respect shown here, not at all good for our youth to see this lack of morals, law and regulations may or may not apply, lack of financial responsibility, etc.

Some example the leaders of our city who go along with all of this set for the youth of our community!!

Those who support this school measure,
contribute to a fund for the schools, instead of taxing everyone.

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