What does "pro-business" mean?

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Over the weekend, the Oregonian's editors made the same mistake that Tom Delay's Republican Congress has made over and over: They equated being pro-business with picking favorites and helping specific businesses.

The free market works best when it's free and open, not when the government intervenes to help monopolists take advantage of small businesses and consumers.

Here's the Oregonian editorial:

Fritz and Saltzman, like Sten and Burdick, are all more alike than they are different. They are all Portland progressives. You wouldn't know that, of course, to hear the rhetoric from the Sten campaign painting Burdick as some kind of corporate shill.

That illustrates how far off the deep end Portland can jump, when a classic liberal and strong gun-control champion, like Burdick, can be portrayed as an outlier. Why? Because she has strong support from that scary species -- the city's business community.

But wait just a minute.

Erik Sten hasn't been anti-business. Erik Sten has been particularly tough on a couple of major out-of-state players -- Enron/PGE, Qwest, Comcast -- whose monopoly power impacts everyone in the city (and beyond). Is seeking limits on that power anti-business? No. It might be perceived as being anti-Qwest or anti-Enron or anti-Comcast, but the monopolistic behavior of these companies has been hurting all businesses in the city.

And it's a fallacy to say that progressives have been upset with Ginny because she has "strong support" from "the city's business community". The folks who are upset with Ginny Burdick are upset because she's siding with these out-of-state monopolists against the interests of Portlanders - small business owners and consumers alike.

Burdick has received tremendous support from these out-of-state monopolists - including a single $10,000 check from Comcast - while Sten has received widespread support from the business community that's actually here in Portland. Just take a look at his website and you'll find (just to randomly select a few)...

Mike Roach, Owner Paloma Clothing
Phil Geffner, Owner Escape from New York Pizza
Howard Weiner, Owner Cal Skate Skateboards
Norm Chusid, Owner Ankeny Hardware
Ed McNamara, Owner Turtle Island Development
Connie Hunt, Co-Owner East Bank Saloon Company
Bob Meister, Owner Fuego Burrito Carts
Maria Corvallis, Peter Corvallis Productions
Brian Faherty, President/Founder Schoolhouse Electric Company

...and dozens more.

Erik Sten isn't anti-business. By seeking limits on the monopoly power of Enron/PGE, Qwest, and Comcast, he's been pro-business and pro-free-market.

Get it right, Oregonian. Being pro-business means standing up for all businesses, not a favored few.

[Disclaimer: Yes, I'm another local business owner for Erik Sten. My company, Mandate Media Inc, built his website, but I don't speak for him or his campaign.]

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)

    I'm a big fan of capitalism. I favor open access to a free market, increasing opportunities for competition and ensuring equitable exchanges of value. I oppose those who favor rigging government regulations to favor particular businesses (who just happen, coincidentally, to be big campaign donors). The latter is not capitalism.

    Ironically, it's been my experience that Democrats are more supportive of capitalism in their actions. The latter are just better in their rhetoric.

  • Leo Schuman (unverified)

    It seems that in Republican circles, "business" has become code for "my college and golfing buddies", just as "family" has become code for "straights only".

  • Sid (unverified)

    Every single small bidness owner I know, with the exception of one, has cast their ballot for Sten, and that includes yours truly.

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    This is a fascinating question, if only because it's so easy to throw around accusations. City Club has a study on Portland's business environment in process to help sort through some of this.

    At its best, pro-business public sector policy means providing basic infrastructure (e.g., water, transportation) and an educated workforce.

    The "Cost of Congestion" study not-withstanding, I'd suggest we're doing a pretty good job on the first half, and at risk on the educated work force.

    At its worst 'pro-business' means privatizing the gains and socializing the risks, which is a race to the bottom.

    On the other hand, some socialization of risk might not be a bad idea, where there are benefits to citizens as well. For example, at this point, General Motors might say single-payere universal care is pretty pro-business :-)

    No easy answers.

  • small business owner (unverified)

    Hmm. Suddenly, after years and years of Dems railing against "business" in general, the distinction needs to be made between small and large. Finally.

    It's easy to get confused, when for years the Dems have been complaining about business' minimum tax rates without making distinctions between small businesses like mine (which keep a high payroll and low profit margins) versus those whose tax rates actually need to be raised.

    So for years, I haven't heard Dems make any distinction (although I think Chris is right... it's just a matter of rhetoric), but now everyone's falling over themselves to back up Sten. Well, part of the Oregonian's blurry eyesight on the issue stems from that party-line rhetoric that seems to rile up the base so well.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    All I know from running small and big businesses around the world is this -- business does not create one job. Not a single one.

    CONSUMERS create jobs by demanding more goods and services.

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    I don't even think that it's an issue of "small" versus "large". It's about those who want to compete openly in a free market - and win on the basis of product, price, and performance - and those who want governments to pick favorites and guarantee monopolies (or duopolies) to favored players.

  • Deja Vu (unverified)

    What I don't get is why the Deja Duo got two indorsments one on April 16th and one last week, as well as the Man of Steel Editorial all within a month.

  • Bob Fancher (unverified)

    Kari wrote: "I don't even think that it's an issue of "small" versus "large". It's about those who want to compete openly in a free market - and win on the basis of product, price, and performance - and those who want governments to pick favorites and guarantee monopolies (or duopolies) to favored players."

    You'd probably find worth reading Rajan and Zingales, Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists. U of Chicago free-market economists, they make the same kind of point. Of special interest is their argument that generally it's "incumbent industries"--established corporations--who undermine the free market through government favors, generally in the name of helping the oppressed, needy, or worthy.

    And in The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, Micklethwaite and Wooldridge (both Brits) make the point that Dubya et al generally use free market rhetoric while favoring big business over free markets.

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    from the horse's mouth:

    Some of this stuff about [me being] antibusiness is crazy. I've got tons of business support. But I'm anti "big business ripping us off." I think particularly in the Oregonian and the Tribune--which is why I love the alternative media like yourself [blush]--they've allowed Gard and Gerber and their crowd to paint a monopoly utility interest as a business interest.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    I'm another small (very small - I'm the whole firm!) businessperson who voted for Sten.

    It's a case of follow the money - Qwest, PGE and Comcast giving large campaign contributions to Ginny Burdick means they'll get payback later on. Don't think that these monopoly utilities give money to candidates out of the goodness of their heart.

    And if you complain about your tax money going to Sten's or Amanda Fritz's campaign, what about your electric bill, cable/Internet bill, or phone bill money going to Ginny Burdick's campaign?

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    The similarity of Sten and Saltzman's actual voting record on the council really illustrates how off the mark the Sten as anti-business argument is, as does the sizeable number of Sten/Saltzman primary voters.

    I don't think the public relations effort portraying Portland as hostile to business is, well, a good strategy to recruit and retain business. I don't think being part of that public relations effort is the type of "private sector" experience Portland needs.

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    Or maybe not just small and large, but connected and not. (Or maybe that's a distinction without significance.) In any case, last night 60 Minutes ran a story on one of the most well-connected, least capitalistic business in America: Sally Mae.

  • lw (unverified)

    If you want a true representative for us small business owners I would suggest voting for Dave Lister. Besides being a small business owner (which Sten has never experienced-large or small), he has a platform that addresses many of the issues business owners need to be represented.

  • Ramon (unverified)

    We must be getting near 50% plus one. Clearly, business keepers are no more immune to the infectious contagion than the average city dweller. It is truly amazing the way the Sten-Blackmer Virus seeks to disarm and overwhelm the most unlikely and mild pockets of negativity.

    SB-V is pro-labor. But also pro-business. SB-V is pro-homeless. But also pro-business. SB-V is pro-insider developers. But also pro-business. SB-V is pro-overspending. But also pro-business. SB-V is pro-BIT. But also pro-business. SB-V is pro-employment-based transit taxes on business. But also pro-business. SB-V is pro-regulation of business. But also pro-business. SB-V is pro-city bureaucracy. But also pro-business. SB-V is pro-long term debt. But also pro-business.

    It's a wonder that anyone dares to oppose. The Sten-Blackmer Virus is a real "pro".

  • Buckman Res (unverified)

    I too am a one-person business but I am voting against Eric. It has much less to do with any perceived anti-business stance Eric has than with an overall feeling of disappointment with his time on the city council.

    Eric seems to be far too “big picture” oriented in a position where rolling up the sleeves and working out the details is required. The list of projects where Eric’s grand vision got derailed by his disinterest in thinking things through is long: the Water Bureau fiasco, the PGE debacle, the Voter Owned Election scandal, the Tram disaster...you get the picture.

    In addition my neighborhood has more transients roaming around now than at any time in the last ten years, a time Eric has been pushing his “10 year plan to end homelessness.”

    No, if Eric’s worst failing were an anti-business stance he might still be acceptable on the city council, but with no accomplishments in the last ten years it’s time to turn the soil.

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    Remember, the PGE thing was a success - not a failure. As a direct result of Erik's work, the Texas Pacific Group FAILED to buy PGE. Ultimately, that led the way to Enron turning PGE loose a few weeks ago.

    Erik didn't succeed in making it a city-owned utility, which would have been the best thing - but an independent PGE is pretty good too.

    And as for the VOE -- also remember that there is no campaign finance system that will prevent fraud and cheaters. The only question is whether the cheaters get caught. Under the traditional system, they don't. Under VOE, Emilie Boyles got busted in a matter of days. Again, a success of the system.

    Buckman, you seem intent on calling successes "failures". But then, you can't even spell Erik's name right.

  • colorless green ideas (unverified)

    though most politically connected corporations hide behind "free market" rhetoric, some of them will glady admit that they favor socialism, and even call it that.

    here are some notable quotes from Dwayne Andreas of ADM (Aurther Denial Midland), in one of the best ever articles on corporate welfare.

    "There isn't one grain of anything in the world that is sold in a free market. Not one! The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians. People who are not in the Midwest do not understand that this is a socialist country."

    "Tell me, what do they do for us in Bulgaria? Do they fix the prices? Or is there some kind of a free market?"

    read the whole thing if you want to find out how corn price supports interact with sugar production quotas/tariffs on imports and ethanol subsidies to give is high-fructose corn syrup in our beverages instead of sugar.

    of course this has all been the plan since "progressive" teddy roosevelt got together with the big industrialists early last century to stabilize the market by creating regulatory bodies that effectively act as industrial cartels. sure, good things, such as environmental protection and worker safety standards have come out of regulation, but those are just the crumbs. the primary goals are to raise the barrier to entry into the market, stabilize prices for long-term planning, and externalize as many costs as possible onto the public.

    as long as our system is going to be socialist in practice (actually, i think "cuddly facism" is a better term), we should admit it, then we can make it more fair, and spend the money on things that benefit the many, rather than the few.

    and for any wingnuts who actually think republicans care about "deregulation", look at what they actually deregulated: worker protection (though they highly regulate unions), electric power--which is a natural monopoly and gave us enron, the fairness doctrine & fcc broadcast licenses (legal monopolies over the natural monopoly of the broadcast spectrum--just try broadcasting without a license. good luck), and S&Ls--though they left that safety net which came in quite handy. it was carter who deregulated the air freight, rail and trucking industries (leading to the end of the icc), telecom (ma bell), oil price controls, and so on. republican "deregulation" is actually "reregulation"--regulatory capture by the industries being regulated. basically, foxes guarding the henhouse.

  • THartill (unverified)


    Pro-Business is anti-freemarket. Pro-Labor is anti-free market. Pro-Customer is anti-freemarket. Pro-Voter is antifree-market.

    Pro-anything is antifree-market. Pro-Everything (or anti-everything) Is Freemarket A level playing field is the only way to be a "FreeMarket" advocate.

  • Arnold (unverified)

    As a Sten AND Saltzman supporter, I am continuously frustrated with the endless anti-business screed from the media and segments of the population. A segment that is present in every city, but has much more fodder here in Portland. Gosh, that City Council may be doing something right.

    (Definition: Important Vote=money) Sten has joined Saltzman in every important vote regarding the promotion of the Green economy, and Saltzman has joined Sten in every important vote regarding Enron/PGE. Look at their records.

    A vote for the two best members of Portland City Council is a no-brainer.

  • Lee (unverified)

    I remember a few years back when North Macadam/Tram issues were before the Council and CTLH Neighborhood Assn. had a few meeting w/Erik's staff and a few times with him personally. All the points that are upon us now and to come in regards to NM/Tram were presented to Erik. At the Council hearing he asked a few questions, but he didn't see the whole picture, he was mostly interested in seeing low-income housing in NM. And even that issue has been diluted in the past years in NM.

    We need council members that ask hard questions, financial questions,common sense questions, and listens to all the testimony, comments that come before the council and fairly considers it all. North Macadam is a good example of excellent citizen participation but of poor Council digestion. And Council needs to question it's own staff and bureaus, especially when differences occur; and seek the truth.

    There are several other examples I could cite in Erik's case. And some of this comment applies to Dan. Consider some of the other contenders for the Council.

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    You would be a successful pretzel baker. Giving Sten credit for turning PGE into a privately owned corporation? I seem to remember the rhetoric coming out of City Hall when the bankruptcy board turned us down, including the now famous picture of Sten. He sure seemed deeply disappointed when PGE went private.

    I suspect the small business owners we see posting here are not very representative of Portland's business community. Virtually every business owner I know is very unhappy with the Council, and I travel in pretty liberal circles.

    Unlike Charlie, I don't think the anti-business reputation is just a "public relations" effort. Not when national publications (long before this campaign) are giving us poor rankings on business friendliness. Did we forget Columbia Sportswear so quickly?

    I'm confident that Randy, Sam, and Tom Potter can hold up one end of the Council. I'm voting for Saltzman and for Burdick. We need some voices for business on the Council. It's vital for our economic future.

    I simply can't put much credence in the "vote against her because of Gerd and Gerber" language I see on this board. Burdick's record as a state senator was solidly Democratic and solidly liberal.

  • marco (unverified)

    Most of these business 'leaders' calling the shots at the Oregonian were complicit in the tram deal.

    Jim Francesconi was the transportation commissioner during the tram decisions, and he was the only council member who sat on the tram board, with a host of OHSU fixers and stooges, where the funky deal went down. Ed Grossweiler, Francesconi's campaign manager when he ran for Mayor in 2004, is Ginny Burdick's campaign manager. OHSU is a client of Ginny Burdick's firm Gard & Gerber. Ginny Burdick sold the tram financing plan. Francesconi now works for the contractor building the tram. He has a Ginny Burdick sign on his front lawn. What a beautiful coincidence.

    There are many members of the tram board who gave money to Francesconi for Mayor and to Ginny Burdick. The overlap is astounding, and too detailed to list here. It makes you think they actually sat down and planned out some kind of coordinated strategy. Hey, wait a second...

    The "business" voices gunning for Sten are the same dickweeds who conceived of and sold the tram, got their friend Jim Francesconi to buy in, hid the truth on the costs from the city council, and then rounded up a whole shitload of PR flacks and lawyers to engage in a public orgy of self-righteous assholery. They are the same people who recruited Ginny Burdick to run for office (and they apparently pay her salary while she runs).

    Oh yeah, and the wife of the editorial page chief at the Oregonian is a goddamn spokesperson for OHSU.

    These con artists will keep fleecing us until we send them packing by getting big money out of elections, and by trouncing their sorry asses at the ballot.

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    Lee, Erik heard you and saw the big picture--he just didn't vote in favor of Lair Hill. At least he was honest; some commissioners tried to pretend it was a good deal for the neighborhood somehow. Sten ruled against the hood's interests, but he was always coginzant he was making a choice to do so. He got it I suspect; he just didn't end up seeing it your way.

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    Kari, You would be a successful pretzel baker.

    Naaah.... that would be Jeff Cogen. He's a GREAT pretzel guy. Organic, even.

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    Paul may think the Senator's work for Gard and Gerber is a non-issue, but Burdick herself is using her private sector experience -- working for G+G -- as a key reason to vote for her in this race. It's totally fair game.

    A lot of politicians promise to "run the government like a business" but since Burdick's business is running campaigns, I sure hope she we wouldn't run the city like she's run her own campaign. Seriously.

    Or how Gard and Gerber ran the First Things First Committee for that matter. I would challenge anyone -- regardless of their personal position on Portland's new election reform -- to make a case that the FTF committee was a well run, well managed effort.

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    I don't want to "run government like a business". I am sure you and I agree that government isn't a business. And I haven't voted yet. I'm still torn on the Council vote. I'm pretty sure I'll pull the lever for the two Teds (Wheeler and K).

    I'm worried about a Council consisting of Fritz, Sten, Leonard, and Adams. I've talked with Sam and Randy offline about promoting business in the city and about not being so downtown-centric and putting some effort into the outlying areas. Sam and I disagree on the amount of energy to put into alternative transportation but otherwise I appreciate his energy and commitment. Similarly, I applaud Randy's willingness to engage in public debate and discussion, including on the blog, and I think he's a strong advocate for public safety. He and I disagree on the pension issue and on JTTF but I think his heart and his head are in the right place.

    For Saltzman vs. Fritz,I have tried to engage Amanda Fritz on this blog on these same issues and have been underwhelmed. Amanda is an excellent advocate for neighborhood issues and small businesses, but it seems to me that this voice is already well-represented on the council. I don't particularly like the way things have been run for the past two years but I have to credit Saltzman's training and expertise.

    Now to Sten. I've simply seen too many issues where his rhetoric and his actions leave me disappointed. I am a supporter of public power, and I blame Sten, as the leading advocate, for fumbling this opportunity away. His unwillingness to engage the other major cities in this effort (esp. Wilsonville and Beaverton--see previous postings on this blog) was a major strike. Sten represents a pie-in-the sky approach to city government that worked in the 90s, but has not been updated to the realities of this decade.

    I think it's fair game to discount Burdick based on the quality of the campaigns run by G&G. But that's not what's being done. It's the very fact that she works for G&G, and the clients that this firm has, that is being used against her, as if she personally represents the whole firm. It's guilt by association. Her past record as a legislator is what's most relevant in my mind, and that record is eminently liberal, Democratic, and defensible in my mind.

    But as I said, I haven't voted yet and am still willing to be convinced. JUST DON'T CALL ME WITH A DAMN AUTODIALER!!

  • Buckman Res (unverified)

    Serves me right for crashing an Eric (I’m sorry, I meant “Erik”) Sten love-fest by pointing out the commissioner’s failings.

    Kari’s man-crush for Erik aside, I understand now that the best way to evaluate Erik’s performance in office is through the looking glass where down is up, bad is good, and failure is success.

    Wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on trying to buy PGE was a good thing, as was devising a taxpayer funded campaign program without thinking through the details. The water bureau fiasco was really farsighted as we now have the latest in billing software (along with some of the highest rates in the country). I guess the truth really is in the eye of the beholder.

    I’ll need some Kool-Aid to wash down that pretzel.

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    I thought you wrote above that you were voting for Saltzman and Burdick above. If you are still undecided, perhaps you should talk with the campaigns directly. I don't speak for Sten's campaign -- and I'd never encourage an undervote on such an important race -- but the only real way to avoid annoying auto-dials is to study up and vote early.

    I'm also glad to see Amanda run and think she represents something of an underserved constituency, but having said that, I'm voting for Saltzman. Dan's green building and sustainable development advocacy alone are enough for my vote, but I'm also a fan of the narrow, southern style "shotgun" houses that Fritz opposes. I realize that this is a minor point in the race, but the aesthetics of the city are important.

    But to Burdick and G+G. For practical purposes, there is zero daylight between the Senator's campaign and the failed FTF campaign. All one needs to do is listen to her most recent radio ads -- or even her announcement speech -- to hear her blast Voter-Owned Elections. I have, btw, written about the Senator's record in the Legislature, as has the Oregonian. Maybe the Senator would have voted against patients and for her client OHSU anyway, but it seems like a little disclosure would have been appropriate. Sure, Senator Burdick may not have played a role in the Gard and Gerber's campaign against the Oregon bottle bill, but she has been involved as a project manager for the OHSU tram, and she is putting tens of thousands of dollars into anti-campaign finance reform messaging.

    Also, to state the obvious -- she is a Vice-President at the firm, so presumably she's profitting off the entire client roster of the firm. If not, I don't know if we want her negotiating skills on the council.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    Paul: I am a supporter of public power, and I blame Sten, as the leading advocate, for fumbling this opportunity away.

    And you're voting for Ginny Burdick, who works for the noise machine of Gard & Gerber, who did their best to torpedo public power?

    From this article...

    "The information coming out of Gard & Gerber was consistently misleading," said Tom Civiletti, a public power advocate. "It was as if they were setting out to misinform by making these sweeping statements that public power was some new, weird thing that would only mean higher rates. It just wasn't true, yet they kept saying it." ...

    "The people who don't like our work could argue that in the PUD (People's Utility District) spots, we looked for a place where public power resulted in higher rates and chose to spotlight only those," Gard said. "I'd argue that they said public power automatically meant lower rates."

    And you wouldn't argue that money that Portlanders paid for electricity in the late 1990s and early Oughts went straight to Enron, would you, Gard?

    Think about it Gard & Gerber represented PGE/Enron. They represented OHSU in jamming the tram through Council. They represented child-rapist Neil Goldschmidt.

    I fully expect that Ginny Burdick will do the same Comcastic job she's done at Gard & Gerber for big business in their Qwest to get favors from the city.

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    I just read your post and the associated Willy Week article. The Willy Week article is pretty interesting, since the point it basically makes is that Burdick is more liberal than her campaign claims.

    The Tram--yep, I don't support the Tram, but Adams, Potter, Saltzman did, and I don't absolve Sten or Leonard from responsibility. They had two years of information and oversight. Seems to me if you're using the Tram as your key vote, you should vote against all the incumbents.

    OHSU. The largest hospital in the state, the City's largest employer. I don't like them on the Tram but I can't vote against someone just because she works for a firm that represented OHSU.

    Gard and Gerber, working under contract for PGE, ran the public relations campaign against public power. Bad for Burdick. Eric Sten, as the point person on public power, fumbled away the opportunity by failing to build regional support. PGE as a public entity is a lost cause, so not sure why I'd vote on that basis anyway.

    "Child rapist" Neil Goldschmidt. That slime charge works for what, at least half of the political elites in this state, including the sitting Governor? Are you saying G&G represented Goldschmidt knowing that he was a child rapist? Or when he was the esteemed power broker kowtowed to by every politician in Oregon?

    Charlie, I'll continue to read but I'm leaning. And I appreciate the input.

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    First, just to be clear, it was Aaron V. who wrote about our disgraced former Governor. In fact, I have not mentioned the Burdick connection in any post or comment I have made, despite my strong conviction that Ginny wouldn't hesitate for a second to use this line of attack if the situation was reversed.

    I am not a single issue tram voter, but I was making the point to illustrate Burdick's active involvement in G+G interests with the City Council and really not a lot more. Given that she was project manager, her criticism of Sten -- a No vote on additional funding -- is a little lame. Also, her claim that the overruns have everything to do with the city and nothing to with OHSU ring false. One of the greatest sources of cost overruns is due to OHSU's siting of an additional building in the way of the original tram path, thus greatly complicating the engineering involved.

    I want to go back to my original comment above. Just because I think a lot of the Portland-as-hostile-business-climate rhetoric is overblown doesn't mean that we shouldn't be looking for ways to improve or stay competitive. I do believe a lot of our success gets lost in the story, or not included at all, in part because it doesn't fit this larger narrative. In the past 10 years, Portland's economy has been the 10th fastest growing economy in the nation. Would it be better to be #1? Sure, but to go back to Kari's original post, being anti-Enron doesn't make you anti-business.

    I spent most of last year living in Brooklyn (great) and managing an election in Long Island (not so great). Coming back to Portland has been interesting. There a lot of things I miss about Brooklyn, but I'm glad to be back in part because I think we're doing some really interesting things here. We've got among the highest number of green buildings anywhere. Sustainable businesses want to create jobs in Portland. We're not waiting for leadership at the national level to get serious about global warming and species recovery. My neighborhood in NE has a ton of bike lanes, and you can't throw a rock without hitting a park or green space.

    It used to be that Oregon was a leader in innovation and problem solving with things like the bottle bill, our land use system, protecting our beaches. Today we're not. But Portland hasn't stopped experimenting, and Voter-Owned Elections (which Burdick seems so hellbent on demagoguing) is part of that. Never in my lifetime have I seen one campaign get slammed so thoroughly because the actions of an opposing campaign. We have an Emilie Boyles problem, not a Voter-Owned Elections problem -- but Senator Burdick isn't willing to let that get in her way.

    I think how the Senator is running her campaign is a pretty good indication of how she'd be on council. It's a lousy campaign. It's inefficient, flat-footed, risk-adverse, tone-deaf, tired and top-heavy. Same old formula: little grassroots support, large checks to G+G, and only some nasty radio spots and second-rate campaign brochures to show for it.

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    But ask me how I really feel.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    Paul - as Charlie Burr said, I mentioned Gard & Gerber's representation of Neil Goldschmidt when the Willamette Week was about to break the story of the statutory rape allegations against him. Gard & Gerber was hired by Goldschmidt for spin control when the allegations hit the media, not back when he was mayor or governor.

    The newest allegation coming out of this election is in today's Willamette Week - evidently, the Portland Business Alliance (and by extension, Ginny Burdick) tried to use Dave Lister as a stooge to sue the city over Voter-Owned Elections. Lister didn't go for it (to his credit) and Ginny Burdick wouldn't show her face as a plaintiff.

    Burdick's actual positions may be "liberal", but her candidacy stinks of the Portland Business Alliance and Gard & Gerber, two organizations with tons of baggage and self-serving ideas to benefit Big Business at the expense of small business and average citizens.

    <h2>If you don't like Sten or think he's a bungler, vote for Lister. I have nothing against him, even though I disagree with him. But Ginny Burdick reeks of the Portland Business Alliance, the spin factory of Gard & Gerber, and her corporate masters.</h2>

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