You, Wu & Brew

Jesse Cornett

Every year there are a variety of political events that recur. Three years ago, Congressman David Wu brought Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to town for the 1st Annual You, Wu & Brew gathering. We were in the hot, cramped upstairs of Bridgeport’s Brewpub, drinking great beer and eating good pizza as quickly as the bartenders could pour them and the ovens could spit them out. I’ll never forget as the night progressed how fun things got. Despite tremendous pressure from Chubby Gazelle, I refused to throw a beer mug at a certain unnamed staffer, who makes a wonderful first impression and has since vanished from Oregon politics. Yes Chubby, I know that would have made me legendary but I’d still like to think after San Diego that year, I still attained that status (to all but about ten Blue readers: that is another story for another day) and I didn’t have to spend any time in jail to achieve it.

The average age at the gathering was one of the youngest that I’d ever seen for a political fundraiser. For the night, it was THE place to be. 1000 Friends of Oregon had a dinner on the same night, which created an age difference: the older folks were at the rubber chicken dinner, and the rest of us at Bridgeport, enticed by the beer, pizza, low contribution expected, and, of course Thomas Lauderdale (who could only be hear within about five feet of his piano it was so loud from conversation).

That was back in the earlier days of the Oregon Bus Project and a select few of us stumbled from Bridgeport over to another location in the Pearl for a meeting. I don’t recall it being a very effective meeting but it must have been an important one, dragging us all over there after a fundraiser that revolved around beer. Jefferson Smith survived the earlier part of the night by the skin of his teeth after giving a pitch for more money by saying something along the lines that David Wu simply needed our help to amass a war chest against some future challenge (he was right, by the way, but the politicians and the fundraisers job is to always make us believe that getting your money at that moment is critical to their success).

In 2003 the Wu Crew had another great event, and it was smartly moved from Bridgeport over to the roof of the Ecotrust Building. Ecotrust is a little bigger than Bridgeport and the outside air is so nice for such gatherings. It was another young, vibrant crowd and again quite the place to be.

I’ve held fundraisers for candidates before. Often events are created for certain audiences: lawyers, architects, seniors and etc. Yeah, and as the event gets closer, you don’t really care who shows up, you just want to have a lot of people and make money for your candidate. The first two Brew gatherings were intended for young audiences. The host committees, which I served on the first two years, were largely (as I recall) under the age of 30. Host committees are usually a group of supporters who pledge early to be there and get a certain number of other people to be there also. Last year, I was in and out of town working for the Kerry campaign, and felt my priority should be electing John Kerry, so I declined to be on the host committee. I happened to be in Portland during event, so of course I went. The swarm of young people had been replaced by a more typical fundraiser crowd: legislators, older political hacks and the like. What wasn’t gone was the fun (or the beer or the pizza).

This year I didn’t even get a call to be on the host committee, and I was kind of glad. During the legislative session I would have been forced to give it another pass. Even so, maybe I am doing my part here. I don’t know how many people they are expecting but I’d urge you to head on over to Wu’s campaign website and let them know that you plan to be there tonight – let’s give a last ditch effort to make it THE place to be once again. It’s still at Ecotrust, there is still beer, pizza, and it is still the same $25 it was in 2002. Hurry, it starts at 5:30!

  • (Show?)

    Jesse, I think that last link should take you here.

  • (Show?)

    Yes, but it should really ultimately take you to Ecotrust tonight.


  • (Show?)

    I don't remember what 1000 Friends dinner that could have been, except perhaps the Roast of Robert Liberty, which was one of the most wonderful evenings in my employment there. The dinner was not too memorable, the wine and strange photos I do remember.

    That said, there's a new dinner celebrating 1000 Friends of Oregon's 30 years coming up October 15th -- and as of yet, no young whippersnappers' events competing for the evening that I know of. One of the things we constantly struggled with at 1000 Friends was getting young people to realize the importance of Oregon's land use planning legacy. And $100 every three or five years isn't much...

    I've sold a table to a bunch of under-40s who get it. Do other young folks get it? If not, why not, and will the new Oregon land use visioning process pull people in? Or are there other ways to make young folks who don't own property or have a sense of Oregon's history and some of the decisions we've made to get it?

  • (Show?)

    I swear to GOD if you had beamed "Sick Day" that would have made you a legend and you wouldn't have had to puke all over my hotel room in San Diego or hit me with that desert (Strawberry Deliciousness) at your BBQ or attacked me from behind at 4th of July that year on the roof. Frankly your legend seems to be based entirely around beating me up.

    For those who aren't cool "Sick day" was the name of the staffed I wanted J-Dag to bean with a pint glass. It was her nickname, because she would make commitments but when it came time to fulfill them she was always "Sick.” I hate that shit. We also called her "Panic Room" Nothing in Nothing out but that was more a comment on her intellect.

    We miss you "sick Day" you made the rest of us look soooo much better.

  • (Show?)

    Hey Chubby: no need to bring in all of the nasty detail! Besides, San Diego had nothing to do with beating you up.

    Also, I think Evan is right, it was the Liberty dinner and let's talk about the 15th as it gets a littler closer. (BTW, it was no disrespect to the event, but just a conflict that did split the progressives up that night, and my observation that it was largely by age).

  • Sid (unverified)


    I wish I could answer your question. I'll try and take a stab at it. A lot of younger people are moving to Oregon from other states. Why are they moving here? Does it have anything to do with Oregon's natural beauty? If so, we need to tap into that sentiment. I don't think new 20 something Oregonians understand or even know about Oregon's extraordinary land use conservation laws. I've spoken with some of them. They think Oregon is great, but they're not making the "Tom McCall land use conservation vision" connection because they just don't know about it.

    Make sense?

  • Harold Cade (unverified)

    I really hate to be a one issue voter, but there are issues and there are issues. How can Wu be forgiven for voting against Barney Frank's attempt to shackle the DEA in Oregon, vis a vis our differences? And when the perpetrator is a physician and regularly totes the AMA line... Just don't see how progressives can trust the guy. Don't even remember hearing it mentioned in the last election, likely because there wasn't any difference in the candidates on the subject. I fear Washington County is going the route of Collin Co. (Plano) Texas.

    Would have been cool to be at Bridgeport, though, to bring up the OLCC Nazis, the lead-in being that you can only get Bridgeport's Old Knucklehead Barleywine in 1/2 pint glasses.

  • Kristie (unverified)

    I hear the BTA will provide bicycle parking at the 1000 Friends dinner. How cool is that?

  • eWeasel (unverified)

    Will Wu's buddy Andy Wiederhorn be there? You know, the guy that helped impoverish hundreds of local union workers by setting up schemes to raid their retirement trusts to the tune of $160M -- the guy whose company, Fogcutter Capital (of which Wu is a shareholder) continues to pay him $2M per year while he's serving time in Sheridan -- the guy that Wu thinks should be let out of prison early.

    Oh, wait, in spite of Wu's efforts he's still in Federal prison last I checked. I'm sure he'll be there for next year's fundraising gala.

  • Tom McCall (unverified)

    Eh hem, Young People. . . .

    Greetings from the folks who brought you:

    1. Free access to our beautiful beaches
    2. Unrestricted climbing at Smith Rock
    3. Support for the family farms that supply the yummy strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, squash, carrots, and onions (among other things) that you purchase at your local farmers market or grocery store.
    4. The groundwork for safe bike lanes
    5. Parks in the city
    6. Wildlife in the city
    7. Kari Chisholm
    8. Bob Stacey

    So tell me Young People . . . .

    What do you love about Oregon? Why are you here? What made you move here? What made you stay here? What are your views of Measure 37?

  • (Show?)

    There are lots of us young people who care about land use planning. However, there are also a lot of us who $100 is a lot of money-- doesn't matter if it comes every month or every three years. Fact is I can pay my car insurance and phone with that money and still have cash left over.

    I don't even go to many of the events that have cheaper entrance fees.

    The economic bust in Oregon hit young people pretty hard. A lot of us lost our jobs and haven't been able to replace them. The work we get usually pays less, is part-time, etc.

    As such, the two items that we work on a lot are education and the economy. While land use planning may be important to us, it doesn't put food on the table or pay the electric bill.

    Some of the lawyers and such amongst our crowd may be able to afford it, but a lot of us can't. I know people with college degrees who can't find a job that makes more than about $9-10/hour. That's only around $20,000/year.

    I'd love to go to more stuff like the 1000 Friends dinner, but it just isn't possible. It'd take me more than a week's worth or working to pay for the dinner and childcare.

  • activist kaza (unverified)

    Dear Jessie:

    Hey, thanks for reminding me what real political activism is all about. If I can sum up, what I think I've learned from you is:

    1. Get a paying job as a political operative/hack(?)with a prominent party office-holder (SOS will do);
    2. Attend (or better yet, organize) cheap fund-raisers;
    3. Drink heavily to amortize investment in said fund-raiser;
    4. Avoid assault charges by refusing to attack fellow Ds (esp. with injury-inducing beer glass).

    Sounds like a winning formula to me. Keep up the good work!

  • (Show?)


    You misspelled my name.

  • (Show?)


    You misspelled my name.

  • (Show?)

    Kaza I didn't know you were offended but attacking other Dem's. Someone should call Ms. Hooley and explain it was all a misunderstanding.

    I'm being sarcastic. I know running against someone is far different form throwing a pint glass. But, man you wrote a snotty post. Jesse does a lot of work for the party and for other progressive candidates for which he doesn’t get paid. Including helping Kari put this Blog together so you can constantly try and justify you primary challenge of Darlene. I think you should thank him and not take pot shots.

  • (Show?)


    Looks like you're confusing cause and effect. What you have with Jesse, Joe, Anne and many others is true Blue progressive junkies. I've been running into these guys everywhere for years. They are totally passionate about progress and IMO are never off the clock.

    I am delighted when these guys and gurlz get paying jobs, working for liberal politicians, because I know that we progressives are getting 24/7 activists for a pittance.

  • (Show?)
    <h2>I love you Pat Ryan. Just to be clear my pittance is much smaller than Jesse and Anne's Pittance.</h2>

connect with blueoregon