I've been a Nick Fish supporter all year, ever since I first took a look at the contrasts betwen him and his opponent for Portland City Council, Sam Adams. To me, all I need to know about Adams is that he was the "chief of staff" (these City Hall types are so self-important) for Mayor Vera Katz. Sorry, that's an automatic dinger right there.
One thing I've particularly liked about Fish was that he represented badly needed new blood for city government. His campaign themes have reinforced my hope that he would be a voice of change in a city that has gone mad, speeding like a crack addict on tax-subsidized condo tower development and all the theme-park toys that go with it, at the expense of basic needs. I've also hoped he would talk some common sense in a City Hall that has thrown more than a precious $100 million at fiasco projects like the Convention Center expansion, luxury boxes for minor-league baseball at PGE Park, and the ill-fated reservoir covers (which I hear are going to be on Craigslist next weekend).
Now, I'm no innocent, and I know that it takes money to win an election, but when I clicked on the latest campaign finance disclosure reports for Fish and Adams, I expected to see the campaign images reflected there -- Fish the edgy outsider, Adams the pet candidate of the entrenched West Hills interests.
That's not what I found.
Oh, yeah, Sam's got some of the usual suspects with their checkbooks open behind him. You see entries like these:
American Property Management - $3,143
Homer Williams - $4,000
Gerdling/Edlen Development, LLC - $5,000
Hoyt Street Properties - $2,000
Wayne Kingsley, Spirit of Portland - $2,000
Robert Ball - $2,000
Thomas J. Imeson, LLC - $500
Enterprise Rent-a-Car PAC - $500
Kevin Neary, Enterprise Rent-a-Car - $100
Maria Rojo de Steffey - $500
Friends of Maria Rojo de Steffey - $1,000
But then you go to Nick Fish's report, and well, stand back, people:
AFSCME Local 189 - $6,000
Portland Police Association - General Fund - $5,000
Waste Management, Houston, TX - $2,000
Hoyt Street Properties, LLC - $1,000
Joseph Weston - $500
Natural Gas PAC - $2,500
Bank of America Corporation PAC - $1,500
Clear Channel Management Services - $1,000
Comcast - $3,000
Gerdling Edlen Development Company LLC - $5,000
Melvin Mark, Jr. - $1,000
Naito Corp. - $900
Portland Metro. Assn. of Realtors PAC - $2,500
Portland Trail Blazers - $2,500
Schnitzer Investment Corp. - $5,000
Albert Solheim, real estate developer - $2,500
Stormwater Management Inc. - $1,000
Peter W. Stott, Crown Pacific - $1,500
Robert S. Walsh, Walsh Construction - $1,000
James Winkler, real estate developer -$500
And the list goes on. There are quite a few hotel companies pitching in a grand or so apiece -- you wonder if they're the same people. Plus unions galore.
Is this the contributor list of an "outsider"? It sure doesn't look that way to me.
I'm going to leave my endorsement of Nick Fish intact. I still think he deserves the job more than Adams.
But I'm no fool. Even as a teenager, I knew when I was going out with a girl who had been around.