DEADLINE FRIDAY: Will We Have the Conversation about Portland's Future?

By Seth Prickett of Portland, Oregon. Seth is a political organizer, renewable energy activist, and the founder of Framework International, a Portland-based nonprofit that builds elementary schools in West Africa.

The qualifying deadline for Portland's voter-owned election draws near and 1 big question looms: Will any of the candidates vying for Portland City Commissioner qualify for campaign matching funds?

I am fearful of the possibility that the answer is NO. If none of the seven candidates qualify it would be an unfortunate missed opportunity for Portlanders this election cycle. Portlanders would be deprived of a newly energized civic conversation about our collective future.

The public campaign finance fund gives us real choices when it comes to our next elected city leaders; an option that we deserve after a decade of stagnation. Portland has always been a leader in progressive politics – recognized nationwide for it's green innovations – and it is vital to move Portland forward that we stay ahead of the curve.

We accomplish this by ensuring we have a strong and healthy public discourse, including a broad spectrum of ideas that can only be afforded by fair elections. It is unhealthy for our democracy to give politicians a pass when it comes to elections. The people should never subscribe to the idea that an elected official deserves to be rubber stamped by the voters.

Elections are the political marketplace of ideas. It is our civic duty to keep our leaders accountable by having a competitive election. Portland is hungry for innovative policies. Now is the time that we must foster debate and no longer be complacent in the same old dialog. The Portland 7 want to start a fresh conversation, and Portlanders are ready to ask the tough questions.

Friday's deadline is about more than any particular candidate. It is about whether or not Portland is able to move forward and have the conversation at all.

Be sure to help the following candidates reach their qualifying requirements of 1000 signatures and matching $5 donations.

Spencer Burton

Jesse Cornett

Sylvia Evans

Ed Garren

Jason Renaud

Rudy Soto

Mary Volm

We can afford $5 for democracy.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    I can't believe Saturday didn't put Jesse over the top. Bummer.

  • (Show?)

    Well, Saturday moved Jesse almost all the way to the finish line. Picked up a couple hundred that night.

    According to the Mercury, Jesse's leading - and may be the only one that makes it. Still a couple hundred to go by the end of the week.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Shiest im himmel!!! I'm backing the front-runner? I need to lie down for a moment...

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)

    Are they required to take contributions from residents of Portland to qualify?

  • (Show?)

    Qualifying contributions may only come from registered voters in the City of Portland.

    While I too hope that one or more candidates qualify for public financing to ensure that this election is truly contested, I don't think it's a bad thing that it's proving to be a challenge.

    I participated in the cycle two years ago when five of us qualified for public funds. Some people mused that it was 'too easy' to get the funding. In fact it is a very high bar to meet and only candidates with a real message, good skills and a developed network in the community are going to make it - and then only if they are very organized and work hard!

    Good luck to everyone working to qualify.

  • (Show?)

    I use their ability to raise the signatures as evidence of their basic viability. If you can't meet that bar, what chance do you have, really? Even more important is their ability once qualified, to track campaign expenses. The rules are strict and fairly complex, but nothing like bureau budget documents. I consider their ability to be scrupulous and accurate a barometer of their fitness for the job. I'm nit exactly thrilled with Amanda Fritz's voting record, but there was no doubt from her campaign performance on handling expenses that she was qualified for Council.

    If you can't do those things, maybe better not to run.

  • (Show?)

    TJ's right: this initial hurdle is a good indicator of a candidate's qualifications to be a candidate. this may be a learning process for some; if Jason doesn't qualify & decides not to go forward, i would be happy to see him give it another try down the road. this is a tough thing to accomplish, & i don't think people who know Jesse are surprised he is going to make it (he said, pretending he knows Jesse that well - i know the company he keeps, and thus my lack of surprise).

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
    <h2>Maybe repost this now as, "go for two big ones"?</h2>
guest column

connect with blueoregon