Election Day Open Thread

It's Election Day, folks. Be sure to get your ballots in.

Let's use this thread to reflect on the local campaigns we've just witnessed (or, better yet, participated in.)

Some questions:

* What campaign made you proud?

* What campaign turned you off?

* How did you end up voting on the four Portland Charter Reform measures?

* How did you vote on the Portland School Board races - Ruth Adkins vs. Doug Morgan, and Michele Schultz vs. David Wynde?

* Around the rest of the state, what issues were in play? What's happening in your town?

Discuss.

(At 8 p.m., we'll open another thread to discuss results.)

Comments

  • (Show?)

    What campaign turned you off?

    Team Potter's, since before the referrals even happened.

    How did you end up voting on the four Portland Charter Reform measures?

    When I vote, which will be after work like I always do, it will be "no" on Charter revision, form of government, and civil service, and "yes" on PDC. For the record, that's the same as Bojack (if I recall correctly), and precisely the opposite of Theo's editorial board.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    I was hoping to find time to discuss the city council reform initiative that's out there but was too busy. Looks like it's going down anyway, which is good.

    But Portland does need to go back to having a city council elected by district, with only the Mayor running at-large. There was an attempt a few years back (failed to get on the ballot or failed on election day - I don't recall which), but it had flaws such as maintaining a number of seats for at-large pisitions.

    What needed to be discussed more was the fact that progressives, for some reason, believed that there must have been a secret agenda behind a city council by district, with an elimination of the commission style organization. But it was the move to this current form of city government (a nationwide movement a century ago) that disenfranchised the little guy. As on frank reformer stated back then, the old way made it easier for people to elect "Socialists and Negroes". Oh, can't have that! So why do those disenfranchised back the current system? Study history, instead of looking for bogeymen behind every idea.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Blaine Palmer (unverified)
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    It was tempting to stick with the incumbents who have proven themselves competent. But with two kids in Portland schools, I really want Portland schools to soar. I think we need great leaders like Ruth Adkins. Our district serves kids with differing needs and aspirations. And we have very, very vocal parents advocating for them. Our board has to listen to each and find solutions that balance them all. Ruth Adkins has demonstrated she can bring communities together. Her most compelling argument was not to accept declining enrollment as inevitable, close schools, weaken our neighborhoods and throw families into turmoil. Ruth believes the board can partner with other groups to keep Portland attractive to middle-class families. She already has the support of Commissioner Randy Leonard and Metro Councilor Robert Liberty. Good is good enough. But why not elect someone great? Ruth Adkins got my vote.

  • (Show?)

    If I lived in Portland, I'd be voting for Adkins and Schultz.

    But I live in Gresham, where we hardly have any contested races at all -- just the MESD. There I voted for Zak Johnson. I'm doing a bit more research on the other MESD race before my husband and I finish our ballots this afternoon and run them over to the Gresham Library.

  • (Show?)

    I'm with B!x--still haven't voted. (Wonder if that's coincidental or if bloggers are just procrastinators.) I'm also still up in the air about Potter's proposal. I'll drop it off after work, but I'm malleable. Anyone have a compelling argument one way or another? (The level of my thought on this is REALLY pathetic--for example, the most persuasive bit of data I have is that Portland is the last city with the bureau system. Which I consider a point in the "no" column.)

    Help me out, city watchers...

  • (Show?)

    Portland is the last large city to still use the "city commission government," otherwise known as the "Galveston plan."

    If I lived in Portland, I'd vote against those changes. I think the public gets much more "direct" control over their city government when you have a commission government. Anytime you start taking control of the city away from a larger group and giving it to a smaller number of people and/or to staff (city managers), the people start losing a lot of their say over how the city is run.

  • (Show?)

    Our ballot was pointless--EVERY race was either uncontested or not even filled by one person! I didn't even bother.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)
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    The yes campaign on form of government has been so badly run they'll be lucky to get 25% of the vote. They've never been able to articulate the need effectively, as if they never really thought much about messaging at all.

    Recently they've made their campaign about "reform" at City Hall, attempting to fabricate any flimsy connection they can between waste and the commission form of government. The idea that the developers are champions of good government is nauseating and will tar everything Potter does for the rest of his (probably short) career.

    That's the story to take from this election. -John

  • Jeeves (unverified)
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    well I'll be voting yes on the form of government measure.

    Beyond what I've heard about $10 - $15 million wasted by bureaus not coordinating - I've seen bureaus working against each other too often to think that the commission is a good system.

    Beyond that - looking in the Trib today, on the back page - there's a blurb about a $2 million sewer pipe (plastic) that can't handle the load it was designed to take. It's going to cost $8 million to replace it. Who is accountable? Not the sewer bureau - and not the commissioner in charge either because Sam Adams wasn't around in the 90's when the pipe was installed - and god knows who was in charge of the sewers then.

    Not a great way to run a government - not very good for us.

  • (Show?)

    This was a disappointing ballot. In our house, we usually look forward to voting with a glass of wine and thoughtful discussion. We ended up voting solely on the city charter issue and that's it. We didn't receive enough information on any issue or person to feel like we could make an informed decision so we chose to sit almost all of it out.

  • Thomas Ware (unverified)
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    Oregon isn't just Portland.

    Over here in "Idaho" the hot races are for the Bend/LaPine School Board, where an apparent cabal of christionist nutjobs are attempting to impose their frothing-at-the-mouth ignorance on my step and grand-children.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Help me out, city watchers...

    One overlooked charter reform proposal that is bad, bad, bad is the civil service changes. The language is written to make it appear that this would modernize civil service rules and give "flexibility" in hiring and firing. What it actually does is give the Mayor and Council the authority to turn dozens of high-level City jobs into political appointments. Currently, only bureau directors are politically appointed and can be removed for any reason. Everyone else (deputy directors, senior managers, etc.) can only be fired for cause (say, insubordination or poor performance).

    This reform would give the Mayor and Council the ability to turn these into political positions, hired and fired for any reason at all. What that means is that elected officials will fill these slots with friends, donors, whatever, and not necessarily those most qualified for the job. At the federal level we've seen how badly that turns out, I would hate to see something similar happen in Portland.

    As for the form of government, I'm disappointed with this proposal because I just don't think it's very well thought out. There are pros and cons to moving towards a more conventional city government, and in theory I could be convinced that it's the right way to go. But this proposal gives too much power to the Mayor and doesn't achieve a good balance.

  • (Show?)

    Who is accountable? Not the sewer bureau - and not the commissioner in charge either because Sam Adams wasn't around in the 90's when the pipe was installed - and god knows who was in charge of the sewers then.

    This wouldn't necessarily be any different under the proposed system. City managers don't stay around for long -- many of the cities I've covered as a reporter had at least two different managers during the few years I covered them. And mayors aren't there for long, either.

    So even under the proposed system you could have different people in charge when problems arise from a decision made before their time.

    <hr/>

    Thus far pretty much all the problems I've seen pointed out are either found under both types of city governments, or can be fixed under the current government.

    If I lived in the city, I'd be demanding to know why these problems aren't being fixed if they already know they're there.

  • Zarwen (unverified)
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    The campaign that made me proud belongs to Michele Schultz. She ran it clean, open and honest, and on a shoestring budget. Whether she wins or loses, she made important contributions to the discussion surrounding the election which, I hope, will not be forgotten when the next Board takes their seats.

    Now, for those who haven't voted yet, check out the latest antics of the school district here:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/portland_news/1179192334208750.xml&coll=7

    Be sure to open the 2nd pdf document, which is Glenda Walker's letter to Supt. Phillips.

    Now, can anyone honestly say we don't need a new school board????

  • Shadow (unverified)
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    Tom Potter ran for mayor on the slogan "Bringing Us Together." If this moron runs for re-election, his new slogan should be: "Tearing us apart," because that's exactly what he's done in over two short years - polarize the public and confused citizens. He says he wants to hear from people, but when he disagrees, we hear: "Shut up!"

    If you want a hint of mayoral waste... just remember he spent $1.2 million of taxpayers hard earn money to collect only 13,000 surveys, and gave away tens of thousands of dollars in "grants" to suspicious hucksters that never delivered any questionnaires.

    Where is the outrage to this abuse of power?

  • (Show?)

    Thomas Ware wrote:

    Over here in "Idaho" the hot races are for the Bend/LaPine School Board, where an apparent cabal of christionist nutjobs are attempting to impose their frothing-at-the-mouth ignorance on my step and grand-children.

    Tell us more, Thomas. Tell us more! Who? What? When? What's happening?

  • Terry (unverified)
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    I'm with Zarwen. The Jefferson debacle in itself is enough for me to vote fresh perspectives onto the school board.

    That means Adkins and Schultz.

    As for Bobbie Regan, a Vicki Phillips dittohead, I wrote in Bud Clark.

    And yeah, I voted NO on PDX charter reform.

  • (Show?)

    I'm with B!x--still haven't voted. (Wonder if that's coincidental or if bloggers are just procrastinators.)

    I just always vote on Election Day itself, and always near the end.

    As for the Charter stuff, if I haven't convinced you (or anyone else) yet, Jeff, I don't think I will in the next seven hours. ;)

  • Faolan (unverified)
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    Well I definitely voted "NO" on charter reform. I saw that as the most glaringly important vote in this cycle. Portland should remain unique among major US cities. Or even better, maybe we can convince other cities to follow us back in our direction. City Council/Commisions are a much better form of government than Strong Mayor in my opinion.

    As for the others I looked at experience and positions and voted for Adkins and Schultz. It was nice that I got to vote for two women at the same time as voting for most qualified. I like to vote for women in cases like that just because I see it as a way to be a small voice in support of equalizing political power among the sexes.

  • Tony (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Lane County will decide on the first permanent income tax to fund public safety. A lot of opposition from both sides, anti-tax and fair-tax folk alike, but almost equal support in between the two extremes. I would have like to seen something more progressive, but am fully aware of what will happen if the county loses 25% of its general fund that currently comes from secure rural schools funds.

    With the federal funding almost certainly dissapearing, if not this year, then next, LC needs a solution. Is the tax it? Maybe not long term, but the structure can be fixed once it is in place.

  • (Show?)

    Well, both our ballots are in... just dropped them off in the collection box at the Gresham library a little bit ago.

    It was nice to see them watching the two boxes a little better this time. Last November and May we received multiple complaints about the boxes being so full that you could reach up and grab handfuls of ballots.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Faolan: City Council/Commisions are a much better form of government than Strong Mayor in my opinion.

    Bob T: Don't assume city council and commission form are the same thing. The commission form has its flaws. Do you oppose the idea of electing city council by district instead of at-large?

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Jenni Simonis: Portland is the last large city to still use the "city commission government," otherwise known as the "Galveston plan."

    Bob T: Later known as the "Des Moines Plan" which sold better when named after a non-southern city (and adopted by hundreds of municipalities). Thanks for knowing something about this, and I wasn't aware that Portland was the last remaining city of its size or larger that still uses it in this form.

    Jenni Simonis: I think the public gets much more "direct" control over their city government when you have a commission government.

    Bob T: It would be nice if we could have election by district to go along with this, but then there's the argument that a given parks commissioner would favor his part of the city, or that the commissioner overseeing the fire dep't would see to it that his part of the city gets the new fire stations and fire trucks.

    But managing is not the same thing as policy making, and some reforms would be needed to make sure that such favoritism be impossible (such as these decisions needing majority vote - may be the case now, I don't know. If so, it's not an arument any longer).

    And then there's the lack of representation. By forcing all candidates for city council to run at-large, many worthy candidates are shut out. They can get elected in their own part of the city (for example, a well-known community activist for far SE who'd like to prevent downtown sucking up most of the money), but not in a city-wide vote.

    The idea behind the Galveston/Des Moines Plan was to bring some professionalism to city government following the tidal wave that devastated Galveston in 1900 and which was followed by a paralyzed city government unable to react to the situation. This was to attract "business" types into government and was thus favored by the business sector. Not that this is bad in itself (I'm just not in favor of granting privileges -- I'm not opposed to business), but this, coupled with the elimination of districts, has not been good for representation.

    I wouldn't want a Green or socialist on the city council, but if such candidates have a better chance at being elected if we have city council districts, so be it.

    In 2000 or '02, I voted for Ted Picolo over Charlie Hales, and a North Portland woman interested in doing something about lower income parts of the city and about poor bus service or transportation issues, over Francesconi. Both were little candidates and the establishment candidates thumped them. Too bad.

    Jenni Simonis: Anytime you start taking control of the city away from a larger group and giving it to a smaller number of people and/or to staff (city managers), the people start losing a lot of their say over how the city is run.

    Bob T: That statement seem to contradict itself. Fat Cats have too much control thanks to the current system. What "larger group" was the problem?

    Should Sten have been rewarded with re-election after his $30 Million goof? KBOO host Alan Graff replaied to that question with "But he didn't do it on purpose" (!). How we benefitted from that needs to be explained.

    Bob Tiernan

  • johan kahn (unverified)
    (Show?)

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