You say that Voter Owned Elections' sophomore effort "isn't looking so great right now." Are you really talking about Portland? [i]One[/i] candidate broke the rules and was disqualified; [i]six other candidates[/i] - none of whom has held public office before - followed the rules and are now off and running their campaigns.
Looks like a great second outing to me. If you want to see what the [i]Oregonian[/i] calls the "same old, same old" just look at its editorial today about Kevin Mannix: under Oregon's prevailing system of privately funded elections anything goes, and even what's legal can be sleazy and suspect.
Portland's system is indeed a breath of fresh air.
Voter Owned Elections is a Success!
Emily Boyle ? BUSTED!
For violations of spending guidelines by prepaying for a one-year lease. Boyles was also cited on April 26 for additional penalties for paying too much for the services of her daughter and Vladimir Golovan, as well using public funds to pay for a telephone in her residence and to repay debts to campaign consultants. Boyles must repay the $144,905 she received in public financing and $14,000 in penalties, plus 12 percent interest.
Currently===============Balance remaining: $70,000
Vladimir Golovan ? BUSTED!
For exploiting loopholes in the city's fledging public financing system to enrich himself. He went on trial June 25 on 12 felony charges, including aggravated theft, forgery and identity theft, in connection with the 2006 campaign. Golovan forged the signatures and stole the identities of possibly several hundred Russian and Ukrainian immigrants.
Currently=====9 months in prison and then possible deportation.
Sho Dozono ? BUSTED!
For violating Voter Owned Elections? campaign limit of $12,000 from a single party by accepting a poll worth $27,295.
The technical problem boils down to the question of whether conducting a poll makes you a candidate. The city auditor said ?no,? but the administrative judge overruled and said 'yes.' The judge?s decision means Dozono will lose public funding.
But Dozono doesn?t blame the auditor for a bad decision, or his supporters behind the poll, or the election rules.
Currently================Sho Dozono blames his loss of public financing on commissioner and rival-for-mayor, Sam Adams. Dozono will decide this upcoming week if he?ll break his pledge to not run for office if he didn?t qualify for public financing.
THE VOTER OWNED ELECTIONS SYSTEM WORKS!
Huh? Are you saying that because people who break the law suffer the consequences that means the law itself is at fault? That's nuts.
My question: Did Sho Dozono know, when he allowed a lobbyist, Len Bergstein, to show him his poll, that he was receiving a large in-kind campaign contribution? I think he probably did not know, but I have not seen any news coverage on this point. If he knew, then he first should have checked the rules for receiving Portland VOE support. If he did not know, then he trapped himself into being ineligible for VOE support.
Either way is regrettable. He now will have to spend much of his remaining campaign time (assuming he stays in the race) dialing for dollars, and Portland's voters have lost interacting as much with him during the campaign. Furthermore, Mr. Dozono will more likely be beholden to his large campaign contributors like Bergstein, rather than to all the city's voters. City tax payers will also likely loose if Mr. Dozono is elected and is tempted to reward his campaign contributors with access, favors or policies that otherwise would not be considered.
Did the VOE system rules entrap Mr. Dozono? I think not. It appears that Len Bergstein unintentionally did Dozono in. Bergstein should know better too. The system worked as designed as discussed in this article: http://www.oregonlive.com/commentary/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/editorial/1205798120327630.xml&coll=7
First Vice President
League of Women Voters of Oregon
Indeed, Mr. Bergstein seems to have a habit of insinuating himself and his conflicts of interest in mayoral campaigns. Bergstein was last hired by Jim Francesconi, who lost his bid to Mayor Tom Potter. Whether representing Clear Channel or the Warm Springs Tribes, a lobbyist like Len Bergstein should not be running campaigns.
Sam Adams campaigned in 2004 to register city hall lobbyists. It is no wonder corporate lobbyist Bergstein opposed that effort.
PR firm Gard & Gerber negatively campaigned against public financing in its inception, claiming that "money will be taken out of vital city programs and services?like schools, police, parks, roads and neighborhoods."
Willamette Week debunked their negative campaign, describing the endorsers of the First Things First Committee as "[skewed] toward utility employees and their families, acolytes of former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt, and clients of the public-relations firm Gard & Gerber."
We should give voter owned elections their due credit and discredit lobbyist-run-campaigns instead.
*Six candidates successfully completed all the qualifying requirements. This has resulted in a diversity of candidates, free from influence by special interests.
*Voter-Owned Elections make it possible for typical folks to participate in the candidate selection process.
*If not Voter-Owned Elections - what?
Can anybody defend the broken private money system -- and "bought" politicians and votes? Voter Owned Elections as campaign finance reform replaced these ugly practices.
*Violations get caught and complaints are addressed far more quickly than
complaints made about state or federal violations. It's also clearer to know and penalize anyone who has been manipulating the VOE system than it is identifying sleaze moneys in the old system run by the rich business interests.
*Campaign spending is limited, including by many of the non-participating
candidates who are following self-imposed limits on contribution size and
Dozono was clear about what he would do if he failed: "If I don't qualify as a publicly financed candidate, I will not run for mayor." I'm tired of politicians making promises they do not intend to keep. Dozono should bow out of the race to keep his reputation and the respect of other people.
Publicly financed elections are working.
If not Voter-Owned Elections, what? Who in their right mind can defend the
big dollar donation system that VOE replaced?
I heard a quote this morning, something along the lines of the fact that Mr Dozono was thinking of dropping out because he didn't want to run a "big money campaign".
I guess I'm unclear as to how seeking private funding would --force-- Mr Dozono to run a big money campaign. Couldn't he simply accept & spend private funds equal to the maximum amount he would recieve through public finance, thereby keeping the playing field level?
It just feels to me a bit like this is a temper-tantrum from someone who didn't get his way. There is usually an answer to any situation that doesn't involve picking up your marbles and storming home when the game doesn't go your way.
It would be really helpful for the Oregonian to assign one of its reporters to do some real analysis of city council decisions and political contributors' interests. Is that possible?
Mr. Caldwell of the Oregonian's arguments are facetious at best; insulting to voters at work. The argument of "having our tax money fund someone we might support" makes absolutely no sense whatsoever - once someone is elected, they're paid a salary, and so we all pay for elected officials we didn't vote for or don't like - should we also get rid of salaries and offices for Portland officials? Part of living in society is that no every tax dollar we pay gets spent exactly the way each and everyone one of us want. I supported Mayor Potter's campaign in part because of his own self-limited contributions, and seeing that work, it makes sense to me that it will also work as a system for all elections.
Lets not question that there is a cost for publicly financed elections. Lets question how those costs are paid for. Bob Caldwell in my opion represents the top 7% of the donors whose voice is heard from the old election style. What public financing is about, is choosing the priority to include voices that may have been excluded. THat to me as a 25 year old is about democracy, and "new style" of elections the hip hop generation represents. The oregonian is losing readership and circulation and Bob Caldwell's view suggests he represents the minority, a small possibly elite representative of Portland poultaion.
A small possibly elite representative fror portland corporate interests.
I have a concern with the requirement that a voter must donate exactly $5 to help a candidate qualify for VOE. I believe that the $5 must also be paid by check. Since spending money has be ruled to be free speech, isn't the VOE program is controlling the speech of those who want to participate.
A better solution for council would be to have representation by district. Then it would not cost nearly as much to mount a viable campaign.
Part of the system is that the $5 qualifying contributions can also be paid in cash or by money order. Separately, a participating candidate can accept up to $100 "seed money" contributions during the qualifying period. If a candidate qualifies for the Voter Owned money, then both qualifying and seed money contributions are later deducted from VOE funding of the candidate.
Representation by district has its own problems, motivating candidates toward provincial representation of geography and industry rather than people.
Mr. Caldwell of the Oregonian's arguments are facetious at best, insulting at worst. The idea of having "our tax money go towards a candidate who we might not support" makes no sense whatsoever - once elected, officials receive salaries and are given staff and offices to work with, all paid for by taxpayer dollars, whether or not each of us likes or dislikes each official.
Being a part of society and paying taxes means that none of us will get to have every single penny we pay be used exactly the way we would want. In this case, where a majority of voters have spoken and have decided in favor or Public Financing for Elections is no different than deciding that people can no longer smoke in restaurants and next year in bars. Not a single argument made by Caldwell holds water nor shows any understanding of how public politics works. Embarrassing!
If I remember correctly, some sitting council members stated they would not use the system because they felt it would be inappropriate for them to have voted for the system that would fund their future campaigns.
I am one of the publicly financed candidates for Position One. Collecting the signatures was a wonderful and important part of the campaign. Unlike any other Voter Owned candidate, I collected more than half of my signatures by visiting neighbors door-to-door.
I believe that this is an important intent of VOE?to make sure that candidates connect personally with residents. It gave me a chance to listen to concerns and to explain my motivation for running. I collected a bulk of the remaining qualifying signatures by having friends host meet-and-greet parties; also a great way to connect personally with voters.
While it is impressive that candidates like Jim and Sho collected their signatures in a short period of time, I really enjoyed my experience knocking on doors and introducing myself (even if it took several months to complete the 1000 forms).
If part of the intent is to connect voters to these candidates, I hope that future VOE rules will encourage and/or require the candidate to hand collect and gather the signatures personally.
When I voted for this, I imagined our COMMONWEALTH supporting those who might have worked in not-for-profits, public service, or other jobs without commissions, bonuses, stock options, perks and other means to wealth. It seems SO CHEEKY for someone of Sho's stature, known in our community, and who has benefited also from the COMMONWEALTH already --- how many properties has he owned that have appreciated in the past decades? These appreciations are partly due to the COMMONWEALTH/assets all the tax payers have contributed to---the things that make our city a great attraction to families, etc. It seems ridiculous to me that he is QUIBBLING over this matter and threatening that it would end his campaign. Sho is a wealthy person. Most of us are not, and this law should be assisting those without such means.
Last May, I was in the Rep. of Ireland during their national elections. The Irish system relies heavily on public debates among the different party candidates. Newspapers carry coverage (generally front page) every day during the election cycle (which is much shorter than ours-about 3 months instead of 12-18). Likewise, TV and radio give extensive coverage to the party candidates. There is NO ADVERTISING by the candidates, save for a uniform size and format poster which parties post on light and utility poles. No TV ads, no radio...it was great. In speaking to about a dozen Irish citizens about the elections, they were always surprised that the American system relied on advertising. Again and again, we heard comments showing concern that the American system just comes down to money, not the candidates and their positions on the issues. Obviously, I am no expert on the Irish system, and I can't say that it's completely better than the American voting system. However, I have long thought that money needs to be taken out of the equation. How about this...ONLY public funding. Give every candidate a set amount of citizen-financed money and see what they can do with it. Perhaps it would force the media to cover real issues, in depth, and we could get away from the sound bite system.
I find it brilliant, one way or another, how the voter owned process is being undermined here. Now that Mr. Dozono has had blaring headlines for months, he is the aberrant candidate, just as Tom Potter was four years ago, in being able to run a "grassroots" campaign. He not only achieved name recognition, but mud was cast on VOE.
The argument (especially if he wins) will be that mayoral candidates can run grassroots campaigns without public financing. That all you need to do to run a good mayoral campaign is run on issues.
After all, who needs public financing when you have campaign strategists/lobbyists like Len Bergstein?
By the way, has anyone contemplated what this all means regarding Portland and the Gorge casino?
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