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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Charles Lewis for Portland City Council

After giving it a lot of thought, we're voting for Charles Lewis for the Portland City Council seat being vacated by Sam Adams. Of the several candidates vying for the position, Lewis has the best combination of smarts, vision, experience, common sense, and decency. A star at Harvard, he's run his own business, he's been a union construction worker, he built water systems in Africa with the Peace Corps, and he's founded an important nonprofit organization that exposes children to music. He's got a healthy skepticism about the current direction of the city, but he also knows what's going well and needs to be sustained.

Besides, anyone who subverts "clean money" campaign finance funds to fix potholes is a hero in our book.

If you're a Portlander ready to elect someone who will represent the working people of the city, Lewis is the one to vote for in his race. He delivered our lawn sign in person (see photo above), but he's got one waiting for you at his campaign headquarters at Williams and Killingsworth. And he needs your vote in the straw poll at Candidates Gone Wild as well. There are worse ways to spend some time and energy.

At the very least, give Lewis your serious attention in that race. We think he's the best of the bunch.

Comments (24)

Charles is great. So is Jeff Bissonnette. I imagine that Amanda Fritz will come in first without 50%. I hope that either Charles or Jeff comes in second. John Branam has all the charisma in the world, but is looking shadier by the day - it would be a bummer to see him be the one to make it to November.

Send me a couple of ballots and he's got our vote. Hey, in Portland anything goes so a little illegal voting should pose no problem.

I agree Jack. It is a good field of candidates, relatively speaking, but I think Charles has the best combination. I hope he can get some traction, but he's also young enough that I expect, should he not succeed here, this won't be the last we hear of him. I'm proud to have his Ethos project just down the street from my house. Quite an inspiring concept and clearly the result of the kind of hard work that would benefit city hall.

Things have been pretty heavy lately so I thought I would throw something funny out there. John Branam's website has a listing for an upcoming movie event. Notice how he spells assassination and counselor:

"Political Movie Night
Join John for the third installment of his Political Film Series at Mississippi Studios at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, April 14. We will be watching the The Times of Harvey Milk, the 1984 Oscar-winner for Best Documentary that tells of the successful career and assasination of San Francisco’s first elected gay councillor"

Now as if this isn't funny enough, this morning he sends out an email campaign update and spells assassination wrong again but with an even worse spelling:

"...This Academy Award winning documentary follows his campaign and his assignation a year later. Widely considered one of the best political films ever produced, the story of Harvey Milk will electrify you about the possibilities of politics..."

I want this guy in office. For laughs, Jon Stewart in the evening, John Branam the rest of the day :-).

BTW, anyone care to guess if he's received copyright permission to show his movies in a public setting?


Your slip is showing.

Notice how he spells assassination and counselor

Hey, at least he spelled "Mississippi" correctly.

His public policy experience is limited to a couple of intern-level summer stints in Salem and Portland city hall.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it isn't something I'd be excited about trumpeting in my campaign, if I were Lewis.

Play up the vision, the youth, the college stardom, the decency, etc.

But if you want to go head-to-head on public policy experience, Lewis is clearly a neophyte compared to most of the rest of the field.

Actually, Jokester, Branum DID mean "councillor." He was refering to the fact that Milk was the first openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Branum evidently assumed, mistakenly, that San Francisco, like many cities, calls its governing body the "City Council." In Portland, Adams, Salzman, and Leonard are "city councillors," not "counselors" -- though perhaps they (like Milk) do engage in counseling folks from time to time. But they are not elected "counselors." They are elected "councillors." (The more common spelling is "councilor," but "counsillor" is also accepted.)

Wait a minute. Isn't Branam the guy who hired Phil Busse of The Mercury? No wonder the words were misspelled.

"Lewis is clearly a neophyte compared to most of the rest of the field."

You tell me which of the others has more experience? Most of them have volunteered for committees and that's about it. Chris Smith is a computer tech and only sits in on streetcar meetings.

Disclaimer - I agree with Mr Bog, it is tight between Mr Lewis and Ms. Fritz, but I like he is focusing on real issues now like potholes and not ways to move 1 billion people in a bazillion years.

My vote will be for Amanda because I have bought her votes with $5--done deal!!

My vote will be for Amanda because I have bought her votes with $5--done deal!!

hehehehe ;-)

If you're interested in this race, you really should put aside 100 minutes and watch the Willamette Week endorsement interview with the whole group. It is here. It shows you just about all you need to know.

I came away seeing Branam as even more of a lightweight than I thought of him as before. Zusman destroyed him in the interview. He's not even worth talking about.

Bissonnette is an interesting guy, but he's got a "planner" background and says he'd vote for Smith if he weren't running himself. That gongs him out for me. He also got all preachy about water rates being too high, which doesn't seem right to me.

I endorsed Amanda against Saltzman, but Lewis is a stronger candidate, in my view.

Surprisingly, I would put Mike Fahey in my top 3. He's far too real for Portland, however.

Amanda won my vote the Old Fashioned way: she knocked on my door and asked for it. No junk mail required.

Amanda has the most substantive blog and she is paying attention to the issues that concern me.

I did vote for Lewis on the bottom of my CGW ticket, because I would hate to see Branam get invited while far more capable candidates are forced to sit it out.

I've met this guy in person before and he struck me as a real blowhard.

He has no experience in government and does not understand any of the nuances of local taxation or budgeting.

He is a tool. Sorry Jack, but you messed up on this endorsement.

A tool of what or of whom?

I think we all know whose tool Streetcar Smith is.

OK, this is insane even for Portland standards. Step back from the Kool Aid people and look at your candidates. At a minimum a city commissioner should at the very least have a resume as well as experience to be hired on to run a city bureau. I'm not talking "volunteer" experience or the ability to "bring people together" but rather real credentials. Someone who has run an organization, who knows how to balance a budget, who has the education background etc etc. Are you kidding me? If it was for any other high city government or bureau position would you really hire a part time nurse or a xerox internet technologist who doesn't even work in Portland to run your government? Or, a person who pays his city council campaign manager more than someone who manages a United States Senate race? This is totally insane. No wonder our city council is so dysfunctional.

Someone who has run an organization, who knows how to balance a budget, who has the education background etc etc.

Lewis has founded and run Ethos Music Center, a substantial organization with many full-time employees. As far as I can tell, it's in the black, and it has both a track record and ambitions about the future.

It would be nice for the City Council to take a session off from having a "boy wonder" on it. I am sure he is a nice young man and his preacher wife keeps him strait, but he is a little short on life experience and obviously groomed for politics.

If you read Lewis' website, he has been tied in to politics for a long time. Charles took an unpaid internship with U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield. Ombudsman Associate for Mayor Vera Katz. worked briefly for Fred Meyer’s Public Affairs Office and as a legislative assistant in the Oregon Legislature.

After graduation,(from Harvard) Charles returned to Portland, slept on a friend’s couch for a year,and started up Ethos, a nonprofit music center, on his credit card.

Portland has enough sexy new programs on its credit card right now. I would like to see someone like Amanda with a little more history of Community activism, service, and questioning the system head on, and seeing first hand the pain and suffering of the mental health "street life" problems, and not just cute stunts broad casted on U-Tube and saying all the right things they taught you to majoring in Politics at Harvard on a full ride scholarship.

I thik Lewis has the right demeanor and attitude, not sure about his experience. His outlook on the PDC's priorities was appropriate though.

I also liked Lewis' ability to call people out. He called out Branam's campaign in an appropriate fashion. As Lewis pointed out in the debate, the City of Portland has roughly one quarter of a million dollars invested in John Branam this year (between his job as Director of Development for Portland Public Schools and VOE).

If that's true, this Branam character is the ultimate con artist - having the city foot the bill for his ambitions. I wonder what kind of return the City is getting on its investment this year with Branam being the Director of Development? Between all the campaign chicanery, how does this guy have time to run that office?

This has DEBACLE written all over it. When is that city audit report coming out?

Bissonnette is well qualified in my opinion, and Fahey is an interesting guy. Fritz grates on my nerves a bit, but she seems trustworthy enough.

It will be an interesting race.

amanda works part time while living in the hills off her hubby. Charles runs a critical nonprofit and a small biz. You tell me who has more life experience. The guy with 2 jobs or the gal working 2 nights a week?

"Reggie Theus"

Wow, I thought the Sacramento Kings were still playing and you have time to blog?

"the guy with 2 jobs or the gal working two nights a week"

jh, I can tell you my spouse worked a part-time job 20 hours a week, but the double time job juggled with it was raising three kids to become productive educated boy scouted, Science faired, T-Balled, and 4-H'd human beings. A lot different than walking a friendly old lover Lab, which was part of our equation as well along with the cats, gerbils, etc. In their spare time they do what I am sure you consider "worthless" volunteering, and if they are really brave like mine was taking on the cat herding task of heading the school PTA and Den Leader, etc. Your life experience must be lacking if you think all a woman like Amanda did was eat bon-bons while her husband supported her and she dabbled at a career two nights a week and those three kids the last of which is also headed for college next year raised themselves.

Well said, Swimmer.

I'd say a Pshyciatric Nurse who raised three kids has more to offer the City of Portland than a fresh faced Harvard grad, with or without political interships galore.

The whole slept on a couch/maxed out the credit cards story is a mystery to me: if poverty is so cool, why run for a $93,000/year (plus benefits) City Council gig? Kids are going to school hungry, but the City of Portland is talking about $5 million for a bike bridge in the Pearl?

It will be nice to have a clinician well versed in mental health to deal with Sam/Randy, the serial public speakers, the multi-dysfunctional bureaus, and Tenskey.

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