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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 26, 2006 4:06 PM. The previous post in this blog was Busy work. The next post in this blog is Musical interlude. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

City demands blood from stone by July 3

The Stennies are all abuzz with the news that the city has come out with a couple of additional charges against Emilie Boyles in the Portland "clean money" taxpayer campaign finance scandal. "Bad, bad Emilie, we're coming down hard on you now, but thank you for showing us how we need to 'tweak' this wonderful system," yada yada yada. Even Nigel Jaquiss is bleating along with the "progressive" sheep on this one.

Notice that there's still no charge related to the apparently phony signatures that she turned in. I guess that part of the system's fine, huh?

The funniest aspect of the latest demand letter from City Hall is that the city gives Boyles until July 3 to pay back the $145,000 in "clean money," plus thousands more in penalties and interest. As if! In the meantime, she can spend whatever of the taxpayers' money she's got left on trailer rent, lawyers, Doritos, laptops, and cell phone minutes.

I'm starting a pool. How much will the city actually recover from Boyles? Closest guess gets a free lunch, on me, anywhere south of East Burnside and east of 82nd. My guess: Zero.

Comments (51)

All I get from the WW piece is that, as promised, less money overall and less "big money" is being spent in this election.

Which is nice, but why are tax dollars being spent toward that result?

I can't wait for the vote on this.

Like anyone is going to guess something other than 0?

She'll turn in $16,500.

And I'll take my lunch at Smith and Wollensky in Chicago (which is both South of E. Burnside and East of 82nd). ;)

I'm game: $43,000 by July 3, 2006.

Not that I really believe it'll happen, but... what the heck. I doubt anyone will guess higher. (Besides, I want the opportunity to find out just how far southeast this offer extends!)

Given the way things have gone so far, though, I expect Ms. Boyles herself will submit a guess on July 3 that exactly matches her check dated the same day, then insist that you still buy her lunch. :-)

She's going to file bankruptcy. Immediately after the primary results come in.

What other choice does she have?

Oops, I meant anywhere in Portland south and east of those coordinates. Better have one of Diane's people come in and clean that up...

What other choice does she have?

Kiev?

I'll guess $50,000 just for the opportunity for Jack to buy me lunch :o)

I wager $750.
I'm trying to be an optimist.

$23,205.89 - and how about the famed Canton Grill on the east side of 82nd, near Division?

Canton Grill, the best Cantonese fair in Portland, if not the west coast.

I'll take $3,208 by July 3.

There's gotta be a McMenamin's out there somewhere. (Damn, Ya Halah misses out by two stinkin' blocks!)

I'm not sure the Canton will let me back in after my most recent karaoke performance there.

BTW, the contest is not about how much the city will get back by July 3. That's almost sure to be zero. It's how much will it ever get back. Just in case there's any lingering uncertainty, let's say, by Dec. 31, 2007. If there's clear closure before then, the lunch will be as soon as there's a final number.

"I'm not sure the Canton will let me back in after my most recent karaoke performance there."

Wow, the secret life of Jack Bog! You hide your light under a bushel, my man.

I'll guess $11,111. But given the newly revised (as of 5:19pm today) conditions of lunch payment, I am sure that I will have long since forgot there ever was such a contest.

But contest or no contest, I agree that she is spending like crazy in the last few weeks. For somebody who normally spends $150/week, to be given 1000 times that to spend in a couple of months for a campaign is not a wise use of public money.

Let's see ... She files bankruptcy, they liquidate her assets, claimants get 1 cent on the dollar ... I say $1,675. If it were anyone else, I'd choose Sayler's Old Country Kitchen. But, I like Jack and I don't want to bust his bloggin' budget, so I'd be ecstatic with any of the carreta de cucaracha along 82nd.

not a wise use of public money

They ought to put that on the police cars.

145,000

An enterprising attorney would negotiate the right to claim triple damages, jointly, against Sten and Blackmer personally. It is not politics, just vindicating free speech, and the damages are pegged to Ms. Boyles lost opportunity of speech dollars.

I'll take Leonard's place.

That is Leonard Paola's Pizza, the first one. He transitioned from logging before the days of the "owl."

She'll give back something approaching 70K by July 3, since it hasn't been spent. The rest will come in dribs and drabs.

The system works as advertised, tiny vocal minority notwithstanding.

I think she'll have at least $16.99. Gotta think like a person that shops at Wal-Mart for a living. Saylers, Old 72 ouncer sounds like a great meal Jack!

$63,584.02

I'm feeling optimistic... that she'll feel pressure to return whatever is left or not be able to show her face in church again. I don't have a lot of faith in Emilie but I do have a lot of faith in Christian shame.

Oh, and I also predict that her daughter has already contacted LifetimeTV in order to secure a made-for-TV movie deal that vindicates her and her mother and shows what misunderstood heroes they truly are.

OK, I get the skepticism about how much she will return. But I do think there's a point to consider about the deterent effect of the additional fines on anyone who considers a similar stunt in the future.

How much is her trailer worth? I'll take that number or maybe the price of a pass to the new skateboard park.

As far as a deterrent, I think the lesson is that Mr Blackmer had to really search (I think the only real charge so far is a year's lease) to find something to nail a stupid person with.

What happens when a person of normal intelligence goes up against the Sten/Blackmer cabal?

ALSO, ALSO: The system works as advertised? Are you high?

Two out of three challengers are disqualified on technical grounds. Despite the fact that both of them committed the same signature fraud, one of them is given $145k; the other is not.

The third challenger (Fritz) would have been a serious contender (and might have raised more money) without "clean money", while her opponent (Saltzman) voluntarily limited his campaign spending just to give her a sporting chance. Kind of like the bullfighter not letting the picadores completely destroy the bull's willingness to fight before moving in for the kill. The fix in: the bullfighter almost always wins.

And Sten? The Clean Money auteur gets to fleece the taxpayers all the while TELLING THEM HOW LUCKY THEY ARE TO BE FLEECED BY THE PROGRESSIVE BEST that Portland has to offer. We could have built several new skateparks for what Clean Money is going to cost, and that's without the additional costs of prosecuting Emilie the Horrible.

The whole stinking mess is so putrid the city elections officer has decided to become a nun!

There's no way a person with any assets tries what Emilie tried.

Notice that there's still no charge related to the apparently phony signatures that she turned in. I guess that part of the system's fine, huh?

Well, that's the part that the Attorney General is working on - remember?

Keep in mind that we're talking government here - that means due process, not the kind of jumping to conclusions that we do here in the blogosphere (me included.)

I think it's pretty damn obvious that there was signature fraud, but when the government acts, it's going to take more than two weeks to get to that conclusion.

I've actually been pretty impressed at how fast the City Elections office has been moving on the stuff so far. They've stopped her spending and demanded the money back based on the easy stuff -- which gives them time to get the hard stuff right (which, don't forget, includes some potentially felonious state law violations...)

Chris: by your logic, we don't have to worry about the wealthy trying to pickpocket VOE funds, just the poor.

Maybe we need a minimum net worth requirement to qualify for public funding? If you don't have anything to lose, there's not much threat in losing everything.

Does she get to pay her attorneys fees out of what's left of the $150 grr?

the city elections officer has decided to become a nun!

Let's not pick on her. This was Sten and Blackmer's baby all the way -- she just tried to do her job.

Her religious conviction is real -- I know from firsthand experience.

"The system works as advertised" -- now there you have it. It's time to put it to rest once and for all.

the deterent effect of the additional fines on anyone who considers a similar stunt in the future.

If they have no assets and are living on the fringes, there will be no deterrent effect at all. Indeed, I expect to see Vladimir Golovan running for City Council next year.

(which, don't forget, includes some potentially felonious state law violations...)

I can't "forget" something I never knew. I have asked before and will ask again precisely which state criminal laws you think Ms. Boyles personally can be proved to have violated. So far I have heard none, and once the primary's safely over, we'll likely see that there are none.

That being said, it's always nice to hear from people on the Sten payroll.

I don't think felons are allowed to run for office in Oregon.

By the way, how about starting a pool on how much of the $127K in fines assessed against Dan Doyle today will get collected?

No, that would be more appropriate over on the Sten campaign website.

8c)

the deterent effect of the additional fines on anyone who considers a similar stunt in the future.

Deterrent effect of the fines? C'mon...

That's like saying the Saltzman/Fritz race now faces a level playing field thanks to "Voter Owned Elections". Except that he can send out a "report card" with his name put in every mail box in Portland...no charge to the campaign. He can "represent the City Council" at the big earth day celebration...no charge to the campaign. He can make the rounds of neighborhood associations...just checkin' in, doing my job, no charge to the campaign.

Does it take more than $150,000 to unseat an incumbent? That's the question in this effort, not whether Emilie gamed the system. Of course she did. That she couldn't be shut down immediately and the City's money --what was left of it-- be taken back, that's more than a "bump" on the road to enlightenment.

I think it's pretty damn obvious that there was signature fraud, but when the government acts, it's going to take more than two weeks to get to that conclusion.

C'mon, Kari...government doesn't have to play slow and stupid. And I'm totally with Jack that this is not Susan's doing, she long ago decided to ditch bureaucratic madness for spiritual serenity, and one does not speak one's own mind in the Office of City Auditor.

So, Kari...$70 grand for the Children's Initiative "Report Card" that put Saltzman's name in every Portland mailbox...you agree that's not a campaign expenditure subject to the rules of the gamey game here?

$1,087 back to the citizens, being the cash left in the account when Emilie files bankruptcy.

Don't forget, if she declares bankruptcy, all of her other creditors get to pick at the money she has in her account. It isn't in an escrow of any kind (another very foolish Sten-Blackmer omission), and so all Emilie's creditors get an equal piece with the city.

I can only imagine what her unpaid bills look like.

he can send out a "report card" with his name put in every mail box in Portland...no charge to the campaign. He can "represent the City Council" at the big earth day celebration...no charge to the campaign. He can make the rounds of neighborhood associations...just checkin' in, doing my job, no charge to the campaign.

I'm not sure I understand your point.

He's an incumbent; he's got built-in advantages. They are no different than those flexed by any other incumbent in any other office anywhere. Is it fair when we compare it to our level playing field mirage? No. Does that make it wrong? I don't think so.

I guess I just don't see the point in any of this. Incumbents always have advantages -- nothing can change that. Not VOEs. Nuthin'. Is there such a thing as a level playing field? I don't think so. Is it necessary? Maybe, maybe not. I'd like to think the little guy can win, regardless of whatever field he's on. Maybe I'm just dreaming.

The best we can hope for from the Emilie Boyles fiasco is to a learn a few lessons. My earlier pseudo-optimism aside, we are not getting a cent back. Not only that, the city is going to waste more time and money on this - the investigation, the paperwork, the hearings, etc. $150,000 is just the beginning.

In the meantime, who gets elected/re-elected? Emilie is just a distraction at this point. She's history; the money is history. (Maybe she could repay her debts by working on the tram. *rimshot*)

Ellie: VOE locks in the incumbency advantage by preventing the VOE challenger from trying to level the playing field by spending more money.

"'The system works as advertised' -- now there you have it. It's time to put it to rest once and for all."

Why would you put to rest something that's working? That doesn't make sense. What are the goals of the initiative? To reduce the influence of money on City campaigns, and indicate to voters which candidates meet strong tests for scrupulous campaigning. Both goals have been met, in spades.

Alice--"both of them committed the same signature fraud?" I wasn't aware you were compiling the legal brief. It's not clear EITHER of them committed 'signature fraud.' Is a husband who signs for his wife committing fraud, or just violating the rules? And even if you grant fraud, it wasn't committed by the candidates themselves. They are indeed responsible, but not necessarily culpable. And in any case, it's a distortion to talk about who was given money and who wasn't on those terms, since those terms did not have anything to do with either Tate or Boyles being disqualified. Finally, you make it sound like a bad thing that they were caught and punished. It sounds like a good thing to me.

You make my point for me re: Fritz and Sten--VOE took the influence of money out of that race. BY your own assertion, both candidates are spending less than they would have without VOE.

I don't believe your assertion about skateparks is any more valid than claiming the money could have been used for cops or schools. It could not.

FD: "He [Saltzman] can make the rounds of neighborhood associations...just checkin' in, doing my job, no charge to the campaign."

Once a candidate declares, a neighborhood association that invites (or responds to a request for) any candidate to speak, is obligated to offer equal time to all challengers, regardless of the subject matter covered. I've been in the position as a NA president, I made the offers, and if any were accepted, as they often were, I timed each presentation. I also made the incumbent go first, BTW.

John, Saltzman hasn't been visiting Neighborhood Associations as a candidate, but in his role as a City Commissioner. I'm delighted he's visiting neighborhoods more in the past six months than in the previous six years combined. But I, as a challenger, can't be on the agenda unless all the other candidates are invited.

I wrote an OpEd with my opinions on Voter Owned Elections in the wake of Emilie Boyles' disqualification. The Oregonian decided Oregonians wouldn't want to read it. So I've posted it on the Contribute page of my website, http://www.amandafritzforcitycouncil.com/contribute.

While I agree she will likely declare bankruptcy, to save some face, she'll pay back $15,000. You can make reservations at Il Piatto.

It's plain that the reduction in spending that WW attributes to "public financing" is almost entirely comprised of the $800,000+ spent by Francesconi in the '04 mayoral election. Since this is not a mayoral election, it seems questionable, at least, to suggest that a dollar-to-dollar comparison between '04 and '06 is meaningful.

We should vote on this. We should have voted on it before. I share the concerns about big-money politics, but it is offensive and paternalistic to impose a financing system to help "regular folks" without giving "regular folks" a choice in the matter. You might be surprised how people feel about scarce local resources being spent in this manner. Or not surprised.

Why can't we just require all candidates to disclose all donors and amounts donated? $$ from PACs and special interests would have to be broken down by individual donors as well.

Then everyone would know exactly who's paying for the candidate's campaign.

Or am I being naive?

Only because I lean towards the possibility of dignity and decency...$56,765. Il Piatto.

My guess: about $3.50.

With the fines that she is now being charged, Boyles owes about $158,000 against her original loan of $150,000.

It's not just campaign finance reform--it's also a revenue source!

Dave J - "It's not just campaign finance reform--it's also a revenue source!"

With the principle risk we're talking about here, the words "junk bonds" don't even come close to being accurate.

New consolation prize: I will buy the second-place finisher a Subway sandwich and we can picnic together on the steps of Enrique's Restaurant (a.k.a. Boyle campaign headquarters).

In that case I will guess $69,000.68.


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