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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Saltzman's previous nonprofit girlfriend

This week's scandal involving Portland commissioner Dan "Legend" Saltzman's voting of $600,000 of public money to his girlfriend's employer evokes memories of another woman with whom Saltzman was romantically linked in the 2000's. Reports were that it was Teresa Dulce (real name: Joanna Berton Martinez), a stripper and self-proclaimed "sex industry worker" who for many years ran a respected nonprofit organization that she formed to help other nude dancers and prostitutes. There was a fair amount of lobbying involved, including of the Portland City Council, of which Saltzman was a member.

The nonprofit group, Danzine, gave out condoms and clean hypodermic needles to people on the streets. Dulce appeared several times before the council, including one speech that is forever etched in bureaucrats' memories:

Tribune: The most absurd thing you’ve witnessed at City Hall?

Kovatch: It was kind of a visual thing. We had Teresa Dulce, who was a sex worker. She crafted and recited a performance piece before the City Council. The performance had good meter and rhyme, but it was very sexy. The words of the poem were about sex workers’ rights, but the performance of the poem was the buildup that would (match) the trajectory of (a sexual climax). And the best part was, (after the performance) Randy says, "Madam chair, can she have three more minutes?"

More recently, Dulce has become a more established figure; she is currently listed on one website as managing a needle exchange program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was also identified as one of Jeff Cogen's supporters in his run for Multnomah County commission several years back.

It is not clear that the city or the county spent any significant money on Dulce or Danzine during the time she was reportedly dating Saltzman. But if indeed "Legend" was intimate with a nonprofit organization figurehead back then, around the same time that the organization was actively lobbying the City Council, then taken with this week's events, it could indicate a pattern that some voters might find a concern.

There's also the question whether Saltzman has violated the children's levy bylaws by accepting gifts from his girlfriend. Those bylaws forbid accepting "any contribution, gift, bequest or devise valued at greater than $10 from any organization, or any individual representing an organization, that is currently seeking funding from the Allocation Committee." Whatever his current amour has given him, his old girlfriend doubtlessly used to charge people more than $10 for it.

Comments (21)

"ran a respected nonprofit organization that she formed to help other nude dancers and prostitutes."

This is even better - I now have a cover story for the wife.

Dan Saltzman flyin' the freak flag? This gives hope to all lonely guys!

Interesting. Introducing the gift angle could bump the possible criminal liability from official misconduct to bribery.

I am surprised Randy the dandy hasn't spoke up to back his Marionette like he did Creepy.

More of the same. And the city auditor says no problem with one of its commissioners taking public tax money and spending it on his girl friend. If she were his sister, mother, or wife now this would be a problem. Just another routine reminder my neighbors are largely educated chumps voting for the likes of our current commissioners, and the slush funds they push. I wish these neighbors were the only ones to get tagged for the mounting debt this cityhall has ranged up this past decade.

"his girl friend. If she were his sister"

Be happy we haven't gone there yet, this is Portland after all.

Gees - I hope no one examines all the people you "may" have dated and creates an expose on you. Keep it to real facts about performance and don't become a PEREZ.

Ethics should always be an important factor in gauging performance.

I'm glad to see someone finally going after Saltzman, but let's face it, he's nothing more than the feeble-minded "Fredo Corleone" on Portland's city council.

Ethics? This is Portland. There won't even be an investigation.

Bob Clarke, the City Auditor -- an elected official -- hasn't said anything publicly regarding Mr Saltzman's questionable largesse. An attorney in the Office of the City Attorney proffered her opinion.

From the City Attorney’s home page:

“Notice: The City Attorney’s client is the legal entity of the City of Portland. Office lawyers are prohibited from providing legal advice to the public or to parties other than the municipal corporation of the City of Portland.”

The role of the City Attorney is not to defend the residents of the City of Portland against the shortcomings of their elected and appointed officials. Quite the opposite: the City Attorney defends the City of Portland against all complaints, including those from its residents.

The city’s residents did not elect the City Attorney; rather, the City Council — including Mr Saltzman — appointed the City Attorney. The residents of the city pay the cost of the City Attorney’s office — in many ways.

A judge might well have another opinion regarding the apparent fiduciary shortcomings of Mr Saltzman. The residents of the City of Portland certainly should.

"I hope no one examines all the people you "may" have dated"

Just the ones you give taxpayer funds to.

Investigate"the Legend"?....nah...it will never happen!
These people get more brazen every day. Next thing we know they will be on You-Tube just taking the bribes in pubic and filming all the deals. I guess we can call that the 'new transparency'.

just taking the bribes in pubic?

That would really be entertaining!

It is the dumbest thing I can think of to separate ethics and integrity from vetting. That is how we got in such a mess. The skunk doesn't change it's stripes. You might be charmed by Pepe LePew, but the affair will end up with a bad smell before it's over. Portland is laid back and kind to the point of near Zombie=like plodding.
Here is a good example that Jack might add his skills to.
The abuse and misuse of Judicial power in Oregon is epic. I suspected something was amiss when the State went after a juice company. Now it seems the Enviro-Nazi's were just trying to take out one more business. Portland would have backed their play, but Hood River hasn't drank the Kool-Aide yet.

"Ability without honor is useless." Cicero 50..something BC

Portland in a nutshell.

All the lawyers in the City Attorney's office are first and foremost officers of the court, answerable to Oregon Supreme Court regardless of how they obtain employment with the City. Any given Council member has no greater right to use the services of the City Attorney's office for their own conduct than does any given taxpayer. Council members can ask for opinions as to policy, and the like. A City Attorney is free to refuse to take a position that is unsupportable, and the Council can then ask for and pay for outside legal counsel with public money on policy matters and city liability.

In a matter such as any claimed ethics violation the City Attorney would be the adversary of the official, not their advocate.

If the head of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement can select her own Latino Network organization for a city gift (though for a prescribed use) then it follows that Dan Saltzman could sit on a panel to approve a city gift for a private organization that he himself incorporates. All he needs to do is call it a non-profit. (Never mind that it could have a staff of one and that the whole amount could be used almost exclusively for wages.) I would contrast it with, you know, a "gift" to the Red Cross (or to state government) where you would likely have no advance clue as to the precise beneficiary. The "intent to obtain a benefit or to harm another" is clear enough here, relative to the girlfriend. (See ORS 162.415.)

I think that gifting of compelled tax revenue to non-governmental entities is an "unauthorized exercise" of governmental power.

Linly Rees appeared to isolate on ORS 244.040(2), which is triggered when the decision maker personally benefits. It would be like the difference between taking a ".22 magnum 'Hi-Standard' derringer" from police storage and keeping it for oneself rather than giving it away.

If we can give away needles, as an allowable public purpose, couldn't we also give away guns to persons without felonies, for their own personal safety and that of the public at large?

Linly Rees could be more zealous on behalf of her client. But then again, she is perfectly happy with requiring that the public office of City Auditor can be confined to persons who are members of a private foreign corporation. This surely benefits that private membership corporation. If I were the head of the City Club I might spearhead a drive to require that all City Council members also be members of their club, without which they would be excluded from the ballot. It would be approved by Linly Rees, and thereby our City Auditor, who control our elections.

What did girlfriend get as a reward?

Now I'm confused. About a year ago wasn't a Multnomah Co or maybe a PSD official caught providing a somewhat connected favor for (I believe) her "lover-girlfriend"? And wasn't that investigated and the result was negative for one or both parties? Why are the standards, laws any different for Saltzman and his two "girlfriends"? Lets at least have consistency and stop playing politics.

Jack, Mojo, and all the other bloggers that have legal minds, I earnestly suggest that you all get together and file Saltzman's misconduct requests for investigations, etc. under both state and city laws and statutes. Apparently Meng, city attorney won't.

Hi Jack,
Joanna here. Danzine didn't receive government money. When we started doing needle exchange on 82nd in 1996, Multnomah County/HIV Prevention Division helped us in-kind with health supplies and soon after we got a small grant from the North American Syringe Exchange Network (NASEN) to purchase our own. The County continued their in-kind support by providing proper biohazardous disposal right to end when we stopped direct services in 2003. Danzine got a few grants such as the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation in Eugene, OR and the Tides Foundation in NY. Other sources of income came from fundraisers, art shows, cabarets, film festivals and a thriftstore 2001-2002.

Joanna, thanks for commenting. What were you "lobbying" the City Council for? What was it that you wanted the city to do? Did the city ever do it?

Maybe Joanna should come back and run against Dan.

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