This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 15, 2006 10:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was The Tram Show: 200 thumbs down. The next post in this blog is Sellwood Bridge is falling down, my fair ladies. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

True love never dies

All the self-righteous preaching about Portland's new "clean money" system -- taxpayer financing of politicians' campaigns -- cracks me up. It's going to get the City Council out from under the thumbs of the moneyed interests, it's going to bring all sorts of new blood into local politics, yada yada yada.

Where's all the new blood? What we got this first time around was Amanda Fritz, who's a brilliant politician and probably would have run for something eventually anyway; and Emilie Boyles, whose point I am having a hard time figuring out.

Oh, and Erik Sten gets a free ride for his re-election campaign -- no having to spend time dialing for dollars. For this we take $750,000 or more out of the city's till this year.

The whole selling point about levelling the playing field is also starting to smell a little fishy to me. Only the little people will contribute, it's said, and they'll give only $5 apiece. Too bad, fat cats. You're out.

Well, not exactly.

I was just leafing through Sten's most recent campaign contributions report (a big file -- takes a while to load), and gee whiz, in addition to all those moms, pops and toddlers coughing up their five-spots, there is an interesting cast of characters way in the back who each gave Our Boy Erik $100 of "seed money."

Oh what a list it is, including:

Page 279 Robert D. Ball, real estate investor $100

Page 289
Portland Trail Blazers $100
R.B. Pamplin Corporation $100

Page 294
Tom Moyer Theaters $100

Page 295 (the trifecta page)
Thomas Walsh, contractor $100
Joseph Weston, real estate investor $100
Homer Williams, developer $100

Page 296
James Winkler, developer $100

Page 297
Serena Cruz Walsh, county commissioner $100

Page 299
Douglas Obletz, real estate developer $100

"Voter-owned elections"? I don't know. It looks to me like a lot of the usual suspects are lining up to kiss up. It's just a lot cheaper now that they have you and me paying for the junk mail and push polls. Great idea, Opie!

Comments (30)

Call Me Conservative!

If strengthening our basic infrastructure so it supports business enterprise and our economy, or working to bring good living family wage jobs to Portland is “Conservative” values then I’m in. My supporters need to get over the idea that we the people were not allowed to vote on the VOE and support a candidate who is not “business as usual” ME! Amanda Fritz and Dan Salzman are as alike as two peas in a pod. If either one of them wins this seat, Portland will continue down the “parks and planning” road that it’s been on too long. I am the best alternative to these two. I am a new political face who has been able to mobilize people in ways that downtown has not, vis a vis the infamous Lombard Plan. I have worked tirelessly to bring and alternative voice to the process. It is time to use the system against itself, come out, and support me in my bid for City Commissioner seat #3. I need your help and support now. I need signature and a $5 donation in the mail today. My web site electnasset.com has the signature forums and all the information. Good government is doesn’t just come to you, without work. Now download those signatures forums call your family, friends, and neighbors and get to work. It’s time to for change in city government and I am the one to do it. The dead line and I do mean dead line is less than 2 weeks way. I’m having a bring your signature forum party 4-8 PM March 18th at my headquarters 2225 N. Lombard St. Ste. 210, show up or mail them in ASAP
Everyone is still focusing on the "Money" VOE. Not the candidates and our message. The nation is watching we are on CNN>
Sharon Nasset
Hope you don't mind Jack but this is a better spot.
I did testify against VOE because the entire system is broken and throwing tax dollars at it won’t fix it. I gave a list of several things they could do what wouldn’t cost much that would make the playing field even. Hope to see ya Saturday Jack I would love to meet you.

PAMPLIN???? Does Victoria Taft know about this?

Now lets get out there and lose one for the Gapper.

Let me point out a couple of things here.

1) The 'seed money' contributions of $100 are allowed under VOE so a candidate can get a few bucks from initial supporters to print up forms, flyers, etc. to go collect their 1000 $5 contributions. If Erik had asked, I might have suggested he pick a different set of seed money contributors :-)

2) Say what you like about these folks kissing up, but they're using to laying out a lot more. Pamplin for example has given over $150K to Council candidates over history. The impact is being diluted.

3) These folks are doing all of us a service. Their $100 contributions are deducted from the amount of public money the candidates get. Maybe it will make you smile to think that Homer's $100 preserved $100 in dollars for parks and police.

For the technical stuff, here are the limits on Seed Money:

A. Seed Money. Candidates who choose to participate in the Campaign Finance Fund may accept very limited private Contributions at the beginning of their campaigns called Seed Money Contributions.

1. To be eligible to become a Certified Candidate, a Candidate:

a. May not accept Seed Money Contributions except during the Exploratory and Qualifying Periods.

b. Shall not accept any Seed Money Contributions exceeding one hundred dollars from any Person or Political Committee.

c. Shall not make a Seed Money Contribution exceeding one hundred dollars from the Candidate's personal funds to the Candidate's principal campaign committee.

2. A Candidate who has filed for certification under Section 2.10.080 may not accept further Seed Money Contributions.

3. Seed Money Contributions accepted under this Section may be spent only during the Exploratory Period and the Qualifying Period. Any Seed Money Contributions not spent by the end of the Qualifying Period shall be paid to the Campaign Finance Fund or deducted from the revenues distributed by the Auditor to a Certified Candidate under Section 2.10.100.

4. The aggregate amount of Seed Money Contributions received under this Section shall not exceed an amount equal to ten percent of the applicable primary election spending limit described in 2.10.110 A.1.

As long as commissioners and this group have kept their relationships intact even with Clean Money, I say we expand the program to patch up any rifts. Let’s dip into Clean Money and get a weekend for two at the Inn at Otter Crest - I’m sure a few quiet walks on the beach and things will be all better between Steve Stadum and Randy Leonard.


thats quite the mental image, Randy and Steve walking together on the beach. Brokeback Beach.(better Yet: Brokeback Tram) who knows perhaps a quiet walk on the beach will help them resolve their differences and cooperate on who to blame.

Now, back to the topic, Sten shoves VOE down our throats only to take end up taking money from the usual suspects? So he is not beholden to "Big Business" just SoWa developers. Only in portland, only in portland...

Pardon me for asking, but who is Chris Smith, and why does he have all this info about VOE?
I'm not privy to the juice that Jack and some of you seem to have access to, but I'm guessing Mr. Smith Went to Portland.

He wants us to thank these people???


Bill; I think they should stay in the Head at Spanish Inn.


I may be wrong but I thought some one said Chris Smith was a Tri-Met Bus Driver...

Chris Smith. Defender of access and mobility.

OK, got it.

Chris Smith:

City Club, NWDA, MPAC, "He also chairs the Portland Streetcar Citizens Advisory Committee and serves on the board of Portland Streetcar, Inc."


What a surprise.

I'm getting sick of this.

"Defender of access and mobility"?
"Transit ambassador"?

Give me a break.
He's a rail and bike fanatic who supports all things PDC& Metro.

He's an arm of TriMet/PDC/Metro, is opposed to public votes on any transportation plan, is an advocate of every single boondoggle, big fan of PDC schemes, opposed to having congestion relief as a planning objective, (w/Columbia River crossing, new Sellwood bridge etc,)
supports every rail project, OK with tearing up downtown for a new light rail "transit mall",
traveled with Sam Adams to their model "Amsterdam" and wants to force more high
density and rail upon the entire region at all costs. Mixed with millions of bikes and pedestrians.

His pals such as Lenny Anderson are the propagandizing defenders of the status quo (including the Tram) around here. AKA the enemies of change.
Along with reelecting the same scoundrels,
Here's the chaos they want to force upon Portland.


So, wait. Somebody posts who is just as "well-informed" as y'all are, but has a different position on an issue, and he gets tracked down and burned.

Nice and classy. God bless the internet.

Sorry, forgot to include this in the above.

Jack, out of a 300 page document of donors, this is what you're bitching about? Ten donors, totalling a grand?


Its not really the ten donors giving $1000.
Its more who the donors are, and really the irony of VOE as a whole.

Hey Mark,
Looks like a little tit for tat here.

"""Somebody posts who is just as "well-informed" as y'all are but has a different position on an issue""""""

"Different positions"?

That's a nice way to put it.

Sorry pal,
Chris is a full time "different positioned defender and ambassador" who conspires with all the usual schemeing planning agencies to help make sure they stay two steps ahead of the public awareness with their ever escalating snow jobs.

Which are neither nice, classy or ethical.

And I'm not the only one taking the gloves off.

Far from it.

If you're in his camp I hope you likly enjoy the comfort zone of his controlled blog.

Er, folks, please. This is not about Chris Smith. It's about Erik and his patrons. Even with "clean money," they're still in love.

We know how Erik Sten makes a living, but how does a "Citizen Activist" pay the rent? How come Citizen Activists are so eager to expand the scope of government without actually feeling any obligation to pay for it themselves?

Not to worry about all those little $100 checks (or the big ones that he accepted in the past), he's only a little beholden to those special interests, not very beholden to them like he used to be.

Thank you, Jack.

For the record, I have never driven a driven a TriMet bus (I did drive a Streetcar on a test track in the Czech Republic - after paying my own way to get there).

Ah, the joys of participating in the public dialog.

For the record, I'm pretty transparent about my affiliations, that's why they're listed on my personal web site, which is linked from the signoff I use on this site.

With regard to VOE, my particular references are:

1) I chaired the 2000 City Club study of Measure 6, a very similar system proposed for state races. This was how I became acquainted with public financing as a potential partial antidote to ever increasing (and increasingly more concentrated) big money campaign contributions.

2) Because of this involvement, I was part of the "experts panel" consulted by Erik's office and the auditor in designing the VOE system. That's why I have some insight into the intent behind certain elements of the system.

3) I chaired City Club's Advocacy Committee that helped encourage City Council to adopt the system.

4) As an individual citizen (not as a representative of City Club) I am part of the campaign committee opposing repeal of the system.

I fully recognize that my views differ from most commenters on this site, nonetheless, I think I can inject the odd fact, alternate ways to look at the issues and even the occasional ironic quip to help propel the dialog. I endeavour to do so while keeping a civil tongue.

For the record, I earn my living (and pay my taxes) working for one of our region's high-tech companies (whose views I do not attempt to represent). I do not derive any income from my 'citizen activist' role.

If all of the above makes me a danger to society, then I am not sure what good citizenship consists of.

just remember lefties, it's all about the children

Chris Smith

Please, the last thing I would consider you to be is a "danger to society" (unless I was hit by a street car full of VOE candidates.)

I quite enjoy your input on this blog. yes you actully do raise good points, i just tend to disagree with your points on VOE, besides this City would suck if we all agreed on issues. So please keep us informed/entertained/(maybe enraged) This blog is a great site for discussions on city issues, and a one sided discussion is fruitless. by all means I hope I share everybodies feelings that you should freely add your input.

Thanks for calling me a "brilliant politician", Jack - my college son was impressed. I'm not a politician yet, though, I'm a mom, registered nurse, and community activist. Without Voter Owned Elections funding I would not be in a position to win this election. I would have run, but would not have had the mechanism to prove my citywide citizen support. The fact that I qualified months ago is evidence that I plan ahead and implement efficiently. Without VOE, you'd only know that if you check my record. And without VOE money, I would not be able to reach enough Portlanders with information about who I am and why I should be their first choice for change in the makeup of the City Council.

I did not take any seed money from anyone. I did not take any donations from anyone under 18. None of those you listed gave me even $5, and only people gave to my campaign, not corporations. So there is no question or doubt about who is funding my campaign - the citizens of Portland. And whether an individual supports me or not, if I'm elected, I'll be beholden to each and every one.

So don't give me that "would have run anyway" guff. Running and winning are two different things. I'm not running to air my views, I'm running to be elected and change the way decisions are made in Portland. The Voter Owned Elections revolution gives me a real chance to succeed and do exactly that.

Amanda, I didn't mean "brilliant politician" in a negative way. But I do think you could have raised a $150,000 war chest for the primary the old-fashioned way, without compromising your principles and without being beholden to moneyed interests once you are elected. You could have done a Potter! Don't give VOE credit for your pollitical strengths.

I thought VOE supporters pushed the idea that this puts the people on equal footing with "big business". but then dont the $100 contributions carry 20 times the weight. Is one Homer Williams worth 20 "average citizens". Is Sten 20 times more beholden to Homer, then the average $5 contributer? So as a whole this list of "seed money" contributors are 200 times more important the the other 5000 $5 donors. Moreover, 9 out of the 10 donors are developers. Does that mean that Sten is 200 times more beholden to developers then other occupations? Shake shake shake... magic 8 ball says YES!!! Past performance...

The seed money is an interesting issue. When we put the system together, I think we assumed it would mostly be from friends and family. One of the great things about VOE is we have a citizen commission overseeing it, so we can learn and adjust. Perhaps they will recommend some scale backs in the seed money.

P.S. I can confirm that I offered Amanda a seed money contribution and she wouldn't take it!

So if deveopers are woth 20 times what the average citizen is worth, does that mean if I get developers to sign a petition to put VOE on the ballot It would require 20 times less signatures?

gl, I think some of those developers who are also on the First Things First committee embraced your idea by signing the petition 20 times.


"embraced my idea"? not my idea, VOE seems to support the higher value of Developers.

Anyways are we talking about registered voters or just resident deveopers. Or will any guy with a hammer do?

So when does the public get to vote on VOE, and why exaclty was VOE pushed through without a vote.

Hmmm...seems like I've heard something like this somewhere else. Where was that again? Oh, yeah, oregonwip.blogspot.com.

As for Erik's contributions, this isn't the first time he's taken money from his "friends", the developers of the city of Portland. For more info: http://www.oregonfollowthemoney.org/PDXReports/StenContribbyYear.PDF

Nothing's different just because he is taking city funds. And, Jack, you hit it on the head. VOE will never be the salve that heals the stratification issues this country faces more and more as the days go by.

Portland is full of honest, decent, fair mind people I know I've met them.

Before Voter Owned Elections, under funded Candidates who had the courage to run were listed in all forms of media (remember the 16 who ran last time?). The Oregonian insert of a select few candidates Thursday was insulting. Do you think that is right? Anything about that which says fair, honest, or democratic?
The City Council’s lack of leadership and silence is deafening. While the eyes of the nation are watching the first VOE, Portland City Council has not asked VOE supporters to turn out. I would like to remind supporters that they can sign for more than one candidate so there can be a variety of voices and alternative views in the primary. There is also the need to point out the time limit, March 28th. If this was so popular with the residents of Portland where are the thousands and thousands of VOE supporters? Perhaps they should have been asked to wear orange safety vests on Wednesdays so we the candidates would know who they are.
The saying lead follow or get out of the way certainly applies. The mishandling by the local media and the City Council has taken away choices not added them. However there is still time to have a fair and honest election. I have set up 2 signature gathering events at my campaign headquarters. This is an open invitation to all of the Candidates and VOE supporters. Please feel free to visit all of the candidates web sites, download signature forms, bring or send them in with a friend. Hopefully the City Council members will be the first to lead the way with their signatures. They told us it would be a bed of roses, instead it feels just like we’re walking on broken glass. It’s time to turn this around while the eyes of the nation are watching. Our pride is at stake.
Sharon Nasset
Candidate for City Commissioner Position#3
Event dates and times:
March 18th from 4pm until 8pm
March 25th from 3pm until 8pm
2225 N. Lombard St. Suite 210
Portland, Or 97217
Phone: (503)289-3364
Email and Website: electnasset@aol.com and electnasset.com

I'm sending this to the Oregonian for an Op ed. Do you think they will publish it? Time will tell.

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