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Friday, March 31, 2006

They're not even good fakes

Here are what appear to be some of the forms that were filed showing some of the supposed "signatures" of the folks who supposedly gave money to Emilie Boyles's Portland City Council campaign.

Several of them are obviously forgeries.

Boyles should give the taxpayers' money back on Monday. Then someone should be charged criminally.

(Via The Oregonian.)

UPDATE, 4/1, 12:13 a.m.: Oh, and get this! "Blackmer said... he's not sure of the timing of any city inquiry or whether Portland has the power to take back the $150,000 given to Boyles if violations are discovered." Un-farookin'-believable.

Comments (62)

No, you have it all wrong, didn't you hear? It's just Theo engaging in religious discrimination.

Oh. My. God.

Sort of like Lyndon Johnson's 1948 US Senate election - not only did a great number of deceased individuals vote for him - but they all voted in alphabetical order.....

Dead-voter-owned elections!

Boyles: "I'm not an experienced person when it comes to reading signatures," she said. "I did the best I could. I feel very comfortable that the job was done."

Imagine what a Councillor she'll make! What an improvement she'd be over Sten!

OK, OK, this is piling on...she won't be around after May anyway. However, that $150K is loooooong gone. Might even be in Vladivostok by now. (OK, now that was piling on)

If Blackmer doesn't take immediate action to get the money back, he should be recalled from office, not re-elected.

Nice system, Sten!

...he's not sure of the timing of any city inquiry or whether Portland has the power to take back the $150,000 given to Boyles if violations are discovered.

Now wait a minute. Anyone remember Phil Stanford's clean money campaign idea (basically run the campaign from a beach in Maui with a Mai Tai in one hand...and an Mai Tai in the other)? Remember when it got torpedoed because the city informed him there would be some form of government oversight to make sure expenditures were "legit"? And those that weren't would have to be refunded. What's the difference?

If there's no prosecution for this, I can't wait to see what the expenditures look like. I'll be especially interested to see what kind of consulting fees Mr. Golovan gets.

If the Boyles money doesn't come back, Blackmer had better get his resume out. Because my cat could beat him as a write-in candidate. Of course, by the time the city found out that the winning candidate was a cat, it would be too late to do anything about it...

no one on that list has a job, and they counted each who signed 3 or 4 times.

meow meow meow tram

I'd say it looks like a more or less randome pile of colorful and fruity remarks. What a whimsical and funky blog!

meow meow meow tram

Damn cat. Once they get into office, they're all alike. I think I saw Homer Williams feeding him live mice.

Plenty of people on those 7 pages had jobs listed.

For those who didn't-- big deal. It's $5. When I was unemployed I could afford $5. I gave several contributions larger than $5 during the years I was unemployed, mostly to the Bus Project and Multnomah County Democrats.

I'm not saying that the signatures should/shouldn't be thrown out. But whether or not they had jobs shouldn't matter-- we're talking about $5, not some huge amount.

I agree that their employment status is irrelevant. But nine of them apparently told the Oregonian reporter that in fact they didn't give the $5. And obviously not all those listed on those sheets actually signed their own names.

These are clear violations, and thus it's clear that Boyles did not legally qualify. The city simply must get the money back from her. If it won't, then I guess someone will have to go to court to force it to do so.

And if the same cr*p appears on Tate's signature sheets, they had better not pay her a darn dime.

Where I come from, this is called grand larceny.

Why doesn't the city verify the authenticity of signatures with the county clerk(s)? That seems like it would be a no brainer...

Under the insane rules of this foolhardy stunt, you don't have to be a registered voter. You just have to be a resident. So apparently all the city did was to see if there was a house at some of the addresses given.

But the craziest thing is that nobody bothered to notice that numerous signatures were obviously made by the same person.

I know the city elections officer (who's hard-working and an amazingly good person) has been completely overwhelmed by the burdens of this new "system," but if we can't do it right, we shouldn't do it.

This is a Sten deal, which means neither slow nor fast, but half-fast.

Half-fast and all-bad.

The Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission, on their own accord, can perform an investigation into unlawful expenditure of funds of any of the local governments who's budgets they oversee. Their power includes directing the DA to pursue prosecution. Their power includes ordering that the public official that was responsible for the unlawful delivery of public dollars to be personally responsible.

A group of ten property tax payers, whom the TSCC says excludes renters, can petition the TSCC to conduct the investigation.

Gary Blackmer can pay out of his own pocket.

Here is a Sizemore-style twist . . . the DA can do absolutely nothing and then all the other candidates can individually maintain civil ORICO actions against the Boyles' campaign and assert triple their own campaign costs as a measure of damages. This might be more effective at stopping Ms. Boyles from ever participating again in politics. I do feel that here, as with Sizemore case, that the DA needs to target the individuals who obtained/wrote the signatures allegedly-unlawfully, and that Ms. Boyles (like Bill Sizemore) is actually supposed to be a beneficiary of the laws that prohibit individual forgeries, even by their own circulators/solicitors.

"Clean Money"?

Let's see:
4 candidates in the primary x $150K = $600k
2 candidates in the general (probably) $200k x 2 = $400k

That's a million that should have been spent elsewhere. Streets, cops, fire, helping schools.

Now, if there are challenges and money is taken back, that will probably lead to attorney fees and perhaps, just perhaps, some city settlement money.

"Anybody but Sten" is looking pretty right on to me.

I don't think we can right in "Jack's Cat" for City Auditor. We need a first and last name.

Fortunately, Jack's Cat is perfectly qualified to donate five bucks to Money Laundered Elections.

Right in. Sheesh...must be a left-brain thing.

I meand "write in"...

meand = meant. Get it.

Sten's signatures are probably phony too.

Jack, I realize that you support Lister and oppose Sten, but what Boyles has done here -- and I think we can all probably agree that "alleged" isn't really the right description -- IS A VIOLATION OF THE SYSTEM AS CURRENTLY WRITTEN.

Not to mention state law, which is an added layer of safeguard here. The money should be returned, but blaming Sten for the actions of one of the candidates trying to replace him's a little disingenuous.

It's just Theo engaging in religious discrimination.

If patrotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, "cultural insensitivity" has got to be, what, second to last?

They're not even good fakes

I think that's what galls me the most. The arrogance of having such an indifferent attitude...not even trying to do a good job forging signatures. And it is so old ward politics where one jerk or another can "deliver up" his people's "votes." For the right price...

Jack is absolutely right that the "Elections Division" is basically, uh, Susan Francois...who is fantastic, hard-working, and faced with deadlines and a roller-coaster flow of work. Let's be careful not to fault her. I think the big test for "Voter Owned Elections" --which I have to say I'm far more sympathetic to today, then I was when it was proposed-- is whether the "system" --as it has been set up-- can jump on obvious fraud. Not form a committee to study this to death, and issue a "white paper" a year from now...but show there's some teeth to the "sanctions" in place to keep taxpayer money from being ripped off.

"The money should be returned, but blaming Sten for the actions of one of the candidates trying to replace him's a little disingenuous."

Oh, cut the crap, Charlie. Everything Sten's laid his grubby little paws on has turned to junk, and this is just the latest example. And everyone in PDX except the city council saw through it the moment the idea was proposed by Opie.

The entire council's a joke, but Sten's the worst of the bunch. The council's like a small bunch of grapes - best dealt with by picking them off one at a time.

For them to hand Emilie Boyles $150K based on those signature sheets is conclusive evidence of the stupidity of this whole thing, which is another typical Sten stunt. "Clean money" was Sten all the way, and this mess is his fault entirely.

Why would Sten want to hand $150K to one of his opponents, guaranteeing more negative attacks against him? He may have supported the system, but that hardly means he's at fault for one of his political opponents breaking the rules.

This is Boyles, not Sten.

And I expect the fraud to be investigated and punished.

"Under the insane rules of this foolhardy stunt, you don't have to be a registered voter. You just have to be a resident."

Oh, God. Please tell me that's an April Fools' Day joke.

Under the old system, donors do not have to registered to vote either.

Imagine the energy Blackmer would put behind getting the money back and filing charges if it were Sizemore or McIntire who handed in those signature sheets. He would view it as mission one.

Ron Ledbury --

OK, I'll petition the Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission.

Got a cite to the County ordinance / state statute?

Is there a form, or can I make u my own?

Ae there nine more folks out there who will petition for an investigation?

You are right, Burr. Sten is not at fault for an opponent breaking the rules. But you miss the point.

Sten is at fault for advocating, supporting, ramrodding VOE that had many faults that were pointed out endlessly in many venues. Then he still pushed VOE without a public vote.

Maybe the public isn't as dumb as Sten and the rest of the city council and the Mayor thinks we are.

Well, that's true, Charlie. But this is a plainly different system; it makes sense for it to have a different standard.

The many-small-donor system is presumably supposed to be a barrier to entry, requiring that only those with some vague hope of doing well in the election can get public money. If that's the case, it makes a lot of sense to require that the candidate demonstrate support among registered voters rather than just among residents.

Plus, we have one reasonably good system for validating citizen signatures and tying them to particular residence locations in the voter registration system. It's not perfect, but it is operational and reasonably effective. Why create another parallel infrastructure to do basically the same thing? It's a duplicate expense for little democratic gain.

Worst of all, any system meant to hand out public money in large amounts should be carefully designed from the ground up to make fraud difficult. Apparently this system was not so designed.

If what Jack says is true, then I think it's a serious design flaw in the system. Whoever wrote it bears a sizable part of the responsibility for this debacle.


There is one big difference between the "old" and "new" systems: the old system rarely induced people to forge signatures or contribute on behalf of another person.

More importantly, the new system is rewarding this fraud with public tax dollars.

Must be the same people who forge AA attendance slips ...

I don't think it's humanly possible to design an election system that's immune from attempts at fraud. Voter-Owned's no different -- and sad though it is, it doesn't surprise me that people would try to cirmcumvent the rules in its innagural election.

What's important is that the fraud gets investigated and the funds get yanked. No disagreement on that here.

the old system rarely induced people to forge signatures or contribute on behalf of another person.

Tell that to the Francesconi campaign.

Where is the mechanism in the system to police fake signatures and get restitution? There is none. And the city auditor says he may not have the authority to do it. He certainly does not have the staff. Nice "system."

Now Sten's running the city's elections the way he did the Water Bureau. It's time for him to get a new job.

Where is the mechanism in the system to police fake signatures and get restitution?

Here's b!x's take on this question.

Are opponents of Voter-Owned truly blessed to have Gary Blackmer making the comments he made today? Perhaps. Does that mean that Boyles will still get to keep the fraudulently begotten funds? Stay tuned.

My advice to Team Boyles is not to go on a spending spree just yet.

I read what b!X wrote. But Blackmer and Sten drafted the ordinance, and Blackmer now says he doesn't know if he can do anything.

Well, I strongly encourage Gary Blackmer to re-read the ordinance and to do everything in his power to protect Portland taxpayers from footing the bill for election fraud. Also, Blackmer's not the only one who's got jurisdiction over this: the Secretary of State and AG both have authority to look into this. Again, under our existing system.

Charlie: when they decided to permit cash contributions, they invited fraud. Why?

Because cash is so easily passed from supporter to family members or friends: "you only have to sign your name right here...I'll take care of the 5 bucks".

If they had required payment by check (and then required photocopies of the checks), they would have been able to compare the signatures on the checks to the signatures on the contributor list.

They chose not to exclude cash contributions because they didn't desire or perceive any benefits from "limited" participation. It's all about inclusiveness, donchaknow.

Besides, these people apparently didn't even sign, much less give anybody five bucks.

Alice, I don't think a checks-only policy is unreasonable, and that could be an easy administrative rules change. But what took place here was still a violation of existing rules, so the first order of business is an investigation and return of Boyles' VOE funds.

It will drag on all the way to the election. Perfect.

I wonder if Opie will cry for the cameras again.



"294.605 Definitions for ORS 294.605 to 294.705."

"294.680 Certifying excessive or unauthorized expenditures to district attorney; action by district attorney. If at any time the commission finds that any municipal corporation, or public official thereof, has expended any public money in excess of the amounts or for any other or different purpose or purposes than is authorized by law, the commission shall certify to the district attorney for the county that fact, and the district attorney shall proceed for the recovery thereof as by law provided."

ORS 294.100 allows a petition of 10 taxpayers to “demand” that the Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission (TSCC) conduct [an] inquiry

You can grab this old file to start.

I own nothing so I don't count. They will check against property tax records. And, you don't need advance authorization to get the signatures; how about that?

Here's what should be done:

scrap this system and go back to the way things had been done for decades. Obviously, there are some problems with VOE, so its done for. Its a bad idea, a nightmare, and there is simply no hope nor place for it in Portland.

The hell with improving and strengthening this system, let's just throw it out with the bathwater. Kind of like Bush's Social Security "privatization" plan- which I take you were a fan of, Jack?- if there is a problem with a house's painting, the only solution is to burn down the frickin' house!

So sorry your friends at First Things First couldn't get their act together regarding signatures. Luckily you have your blog as a soapbox!

I read what b!X wrote. But Blackmer and Sten drafted the ordinance, and Blackmer now says he doesn't know if he can do anything.

He did. But he's also apparently full of it, based on the administrative rules already in place for VOE. Which is unfortunate because on the whole I think Blackmer is good in the auditor's position. So I don't know what he's smoking right now.

He doesn't want to admit what a dismal failure this is. It was just a free ride for Sten, and a decent race for Amanda. Only four people filed for it, and two were apparently faking it.

This will be its first and last election in Portland.

Along those lines, care to put a date to your prediction of impending "municipal bankruptcy?"

only four people filed for it

I think fifteen filed intent to raise the donations - hard to tell now because as a candidate decides they can't or don't want to continue to use the system, the Auditor's web site takes their information down. Most found the hurdle unattainable. One question for each Portlander is to look at everyone who tried, and decide whether the bar of 1000 donations was too high or not. Some of you might ponder that question in terms of, "if I were in favor of VOE, did anyone not qualify who I would have wanted to qualify?

Four people filed to seek qualification for having raised 1000 donations. As one of those, I see several key "holes in the system" as Tom R. stated in a previous thread. I'm working on a post too long for this comment thread, sorting out my observations. I hope to submit it to BlueOregon as a guest post, since this isn't my blog. Not sure when, though, as most of my time really is taken up with getting out meeting with Portlanders.

Btw, "meow meow meow tram" from Jack's cat - best four word comment ever.

Amanda -- I'll look forward to that guest post at Blue.

I'm getting increasingly skeptical about the Boyles and Tate situations, but as Charlie notes, the system already has the process in place for enforcement. Don't forget that there was an incident in Arizona, too, and that guy lost his elected office. (A no-fraud system doesn't exist. Rather, it's a system that correctly nails the fraud that we're after. So far, this one looks to be working. And "working" includes the media -- that's why public disclosure exists.)

One note-of-caution: I'm noticing that the "obvious forgeries" (i.e. similar signatures) always come in pairs - and always have names that appear to be spouses. Maybe, just maybe, could we be dealing with a cultural barrier here -- one where husbands sign for their wives? I'm not sure that that would excuse it; after all, the law is clear -- but that adds a wrinkle....

Maybe, just maybe, could we be dealing with a cultural barrier here -- one where husbands sign for their wives? I'm not sure that that would excuse it; after all, the law is clear -- but that adds a wrinkle....

Oh good grief. And maybe there's a "cultural barrier" here, where the men get to vote for their wives!

Sorry...this is America. One person, one vote, one signature. If someone doesn't understand that they've no business selling their services as a polical "aide" abd signature gatherer.

the system already has the process in place for enforcement.

That's not what Blackmer says. Kari, maybe your client, Erik Sten, will enlighten us this week abot what's supposed to happen now. That is, besides him enjoying more time off from fundraising.

My mother always did the voting in my family.

Theme Song for Free Money elections:

Money for nothin' and chicks for free
Now that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain't dumb

Maybe, just maybe, the signatures weren't from the people whose name they are signing.

Maybe it's entirely a fraud: names, $5 cash contributions, addresses, and signatures from people that he assumed would never know about it or complain.

whether or not they had jobs shouldn't matter-- we're talking about $5, not some huge amount.

But I think it should matter if they are registered voters. This whole thing stinks.

There should be oversight just like the initiative process. I mean c'mon...Bradbury throws stuff out if he doesnt like the look of a signature.

Why is everybody worked up over $145,000 in voter owned elections money that may have been disbursed illegally? It's tax dollars: divide it by the city's population and it's 30 cents each. Most of us threw that in the Starbucks tip jar this morning. It's a Hershey Bar on sale! And this is a lot more crucial to our city's future than whether or not you eat a Hershey Bar.

Besides, Erik's spending a lot more time at home this campaign: everybody deserves some quality time with their kids.

Shut up, sit down, pay your taxes, and quit worrying about the details. The City of Portland knows what's good for you.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank every one for contacting the Oregonian regarding the first questionnaire printed as a fluff piece on a select few of all the candidates running for both City Council seats. Your support generated another questionnaire (see below) that more closely addressed what is going wrong in our town. I took the time to thoughtfully and completely respond to these questions, which made more sense than whether I drink beer or wine, and have yet to see them. I am sure the other candidates who have not received equal coverage feel as I do that it is time to see this in print. For a newspaper to cut out candidates based on monies raised or how well they are known, does not give Portland the opportunity to hear all the voices out there. As far as researching the candidates, to imply that I was not known enough to warrant coverage was ludicrous. I am well known for my work with the Columbia River Crossing Task Force regarding a third bridge over the Columbia. My community meetings regarding the controversial Lombard Plan drew over 100 concerned citizens to each meeting and resulted in a scale back of that plan. I have tirelessly worked to improve our local economy by fighting congestion and talking about how necessary family wage jobs are to keep our town functional. Please contact the Editor of the Oregonian. While this information may show up on line some day, not all our citizen's use the Internet for information regarding the candidates. Given the current climate of distrust the stories regarding the VOE is generating, Portland needs more alternatives to the status quo. The following are the numbers and people to call and email regarding equal press for all the candidates not just a select few.
Susan Gage, editor email: susangage@news.oregonian.com
Peter Bhatia (her boss) phone: (503)221-8393

This is Ryan Frank, reporter at The Oregonian. I'm writing to ask you
to complete The Oregonian's candidate questionnaire for the 2006 primary
election. Reporter Anna Griffin and I posed these same questions to the
five major candidates profiled in the March 16 inPortland section.
Please answer these questions to have your responses included in our
coverage online.

Some of you or your staff voiced concern that you weren't included to
the same extent as others in our inPortland coverage. Given the large
number of candidates for both council positions, we had to make tough
choices about who to profile. We included incumbents and challengers
with name recognition or who qualified for a taxpayer-funded campaign.
We may expand the group later to include challengers who raise
substantial money, tap a large number of donors or have strong showings
at debates. If you have questions about any of that, please call me at
503-221-8564 or Anna at 503-294-5988.

Thanks in advance for your answers. Please send us your answers by the
by noon, Thursday, March 23.

Ryan and Anna

? Why do you want this job?
? What do you think are the three top issues for the city in the next
four years?

Development Issues
? Should the city continue to offer tax abatements for multi-unit
housing in the urban core and urban renewal areas?
? Three central city urban-renewal districts expire in the next two
years. Do you want to extend them?
? Do you support a city subsidy for a new hotel next to the Oregon
Convention Center? If so, what should the subsidy be?
? The city has put a lot of attention and money into the Pearl and
South Waterfront districts. Other neighborhoods haven't had the same
success. Do you have any ideas on how to improve neglected parts of the
city like Cully, Lents and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard?
? Should the city proceed with construction of the aerial tram?
? What should the city do about fire station 1?
? Business leaders say they're overtaxed. Do you agree? If so, how
would you fix that?
? Do you have any concerns with the transit mall construction?
? What role should the City Council play in overseeing the Portland
Development Commission? Should the current structure be changed? What do
you see as PDC's chief mission?

Budget/City priorities
? Do you support public campaign financing? Why or why not?
? Do you support the city's efforts to purchase PGE? Why or why not?
? Would you have voted for requirements that effectively removed
Portland police officers from the Joint Terrorism Task force? Why or why
? What role should the city play in school funding? Would you support a
citywide income tax? Would you support a cell phone tax?
? Should the city change its form of government? If so, to what?
? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is demanding that Portland
take more steps to fight the parasite cryptosporidium. Should the city
comply? Why or why not?
? Should the city's fire and police pension and disability system be
? Health care costs are the biggest contributor to the city's rising
expenses at a time when revenues can't keep pace. How would you fix
? Do you support public subsidies for major league sports? How would
you have responded to Paul Allen's representatives?
? Do you support continued use of city money to rent county jail beds?
? Do you support extending the parks levy when it expires in 2008?
? Is the mayor's "visioning" process a useful exercise or a waste of

Ryan Frank, staff reporter
The Oregonian
City Hall news bureau
Work: 503-221-8564

1320 S.W. Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
Fax: 503-294-5023


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference They're not even good fakes:

» Ixnay on the Oils-bay from Metroblogging Portland
I don't know if this is an April Fool's joke (because it would be a really really nasty one - and I mean nasty spiteful), but Theo has a set of PDFs on what appears to be blatant forgery. Violation... [Read More]

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