Mayor 2012: Portland women show support for Charlie Hales

Kyle Curtis Facebook

In describing his proposed agenda, Hales offered a line that underscored its overall theme: "City government is real services to real people in real neighborhoods."

Mayor 2012: Portland women show support for Charlie Hales

A list of the 34 hostesses for Wedensday's night campaign event for Charlie Hales

On Wednesday night, a crowd of nearly 300 packed themselves into Rejuvenation Hardware on Grand Avenue for what could be viewed as the unofficial kick-off for Charlie Hales' mayoral campaign. The event was organized and hosted by 34 prominent Portland women who hailed from all sectors of the city, including private, public, and non-profit sectors along with a few self-described "neighborhood rabble rousers." Despite their disparate backgrounds, the one commonality for all these women was their shared belief that Charlie Hales was the most qualified candidate to serve as Portland's next mayor.

The candidate was introduced by outgoing Portland Parks Bureau Director Zari Santer, who described Hales as "The kind of leader Portland needs at this time." According to Santer, Hales has the "demonstrated leadership and political skills to get things done, using his courage of convictions and ability to forge partnerships to find ways to get obstacles out of the way of progress." A veteran of the 1993 Portland Parks bond measure that established the parks system that the city enjoys today, Santer reminisced: "Charlie put more effort to pass that bond measure then he did into his own election campaign. It was his through his efforts that the first general obligation bond measure of that size was passed in Portland for the first time in 50 years, if ever." In a mayoral campaign in which equity of services to long-neglected portions of the city, Santer provided some insight based on Hales' prior experience as City Commissioner: "In the early 90s, Charlie was the strongest voice on City Council that the promises made to East Portland were kept after that area was annexed by the city."

Candidate Hales spoke next and appeared almost sheepish after Santer's opening remarks. "Can I just say 'What she said?'," quipped Hales, which received laughs in response from his crowd of supporters. Hales went on provide an outline as to why he should be Portland's next mayor. He cited family members who worked as teachers, saying that as mayor he will be the strongest partner for public education at City Hall, "turf be damned." Hales claimed to not be about "lofty generalities" but instead described himself interested in the "pieces, parts and details" of the public process. He described himself as a guy who likes to "try new things, to figure it out and fix it. Both at home and at city government. If there's a problem, let's figure it out and fix it." Hales continued to argue that other reasons he should be mayor includes his altruism- he "likes to serve"- his view that politics is "a partnership to get to yes, opposed to partisan warfare," and his responsibility of leadership, that "making a speech is not enough, but you also need to make things happen."

After outlying his case to be mayor, Hales also described his proposed mayoral agenda, beginning with an initial highlight of expanding Portland's jobs and employment base. "Its hard to believe, but we are still a manufacturing city. We make boxcars, light fixtures, pipe, steel. These products will be part of the future economy. We need to make real things- more of them- and sell them to the world." A Hales administration would expand the city's neighborhood districts, and described an "orange juice test" to determine a neighborhood's safety. "A child should be able to run out and get a bottle of orange juice- I guess a more apt analogy would be organic, free-range eggs- and bring it back to breakfast alive. This test doesn't currently apply to all of Portland's neighborhoods, and it needs to." Other proposed agenda items include a future expansion of both services and good planning into East Portland, ensuring that young people have the opportunity to grow businesses opposed to just "coming here to retire", and strengthen the city's arts culture. In describing his proposed agenda, Hales offered a line that underscored its overall theme: "City government is real services to real people in real neighborhoods."

Nearly 300 packed into Rejuvenation Hardware to show support for Charlie Hales

After Hales spoke, one of the evening's hostesses and "neighborhood rabble rousers" TJ Browning pointed out that of all the current mayoral candidates, Hales is the only one that you can drive all over the city and actually see the legacy of. "Anyone who runs for mayor thinks they are a leader," Browning said. "The difference between Charlie Hales and everyone else in this race is that Hales is the only with the legacy and credentials to prove that he's a leader."

Other event hostesses provided their perspective as to why they support Charlie Hales for mayor. Eileen Argentina, a longtime City employee who actually lives outside Portland's city limits, explained: "My experience with Charlie is that he is willing to tackle difficult problems and see them through to a solution. This stems from my experience working with him at the Transportation Bureau, where I worked with him on the streetcar as well as reallocating funds for basic maintenance, something that is not generally pursued by the bureau. With his experience working on the parks bond, people recognize that Hales will get in front of problems. I support Charlie because I have a real stake in the city functioning well."

Maura White was one of the non-profit representatives that helped host the evening, having worked with the Police Activities League during the 1990s when Hales served as Commissioner. "I worked with Charlie on the parks bond in 1993. I'm 48, and I've pretty much worked on campaigns since I was 10. That campaign was the best campaign I've ever worked on. Due to my involvement with non-profits, I haven't been able to endorse a candidate for 20 years, but this time I'm proudly endorsing someone. In the past, I've been apprehensive of supporting a candidate that I would get burnt by. But with Charlie, not only will I not get burnt, but he will also win."

Sue Porter, whose husband Jim Kelly owns Rejuvenation Hardware, helped initially organize the event with Marge Kafoury, who served as Portland's lobbyist in Salem during the 1990s. "Marge and I talked about how great it would be to have an event to show that women in Portland vote their conscience and are willing to come out and proudly support the candidate that is most qualified. I've known Charlie for over 20 years, and I have always felt that he did the right thing, and brought energy and commitment to city government and the projects that he worked on."

UPDATED at 8:55 PM to remove a quote from a protestor against "blatant capitalists" that was wrongly attributed to an opponent of Hales.

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    When informed that opponents to Hales have proclaimed themselves to be running against "blatantly capitalist candidates"

    I'm sorry... what?!

    Could we please identify which opponents of Hales said that, and provide a source?

    The only reference anywhere online appears to be this very page.

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    Sorry, you are correct. No opponent of Charlie's said those words. They were on a protestor's sign at Brady's kick-off, and I misinterpreted. S0rry for confusion.

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    Thanks for an in-depth write-up, Kyle!

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    Given my interests, and on a day when two legislative interim committees held hearings either on the recent legislative trade delegation to China or on how to increase Oregon's exports, I note that Hales wants to make more things and "sell them to the world." I'm waiting to hear how.

    Thanks, Kyle.

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    One doesn't have to be a CANDIDATE to be an OPPONENT. See Roget's Thesaurus 788.3 or 967.10. Nor does one have to be a candidate to "run against" (again see 788.3) And one doesn't have to "speak" as in out loud, to "say" as in express, according to court determinations of the reach of Oregon's constitutional free speech protections. Kyle probably should have said "no candidate for Mayor". Otherwise his post is grammatically correct and accurate and his apology is entirely unnecessary. Full disclosure: cohost of Hales event.

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      I'm confused, are you declaring yourself as an opponent of the other candidates instead of simply declaring yourself a supporter of Charlie? You know you can support him without opposing the two other great candidates in the race.

      Marge, your citations might be well suited in a hearing room but miss the point here on the internets.

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        Oh darling, just read the words I actually wrote. And facts usually trump suppositions, even on the "internets."

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        And, Oh Phleeze, Jesse. My comments were actually in support of Kyle, who wrote an article that was criticized because of linguistic and constitutional interpretations that in my view were incorrect, and had nothing to do with my support for any candidate. My candidate allegiance was fully disclosed and evident, unlike yours.

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          Um, yeah. Tempest in a teapot and all that.

          I was just trying to clarify that the silly phrase was neither used by anyone running against Charlie, nor was it used about Charlie.

          And while I suppose you're correct that anyone can be an "opponent", in colloquial political jargon - which is what this place is about - "opponent" means "the other candidate".

          I'm an opponent of the Los Angeles Lakers, but no one thinks I'm going to be posting up against Kobe Bryant anytime soon.

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    At this event, for women or not, did Charlie Hales give a good reason for quitting in the middle of his term as a City Commissioner?

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        Declaring it a non-issue doesn't make it a non-issue; as a general matter, we know it's one of Palin's many weak points. Quitting to take an appointment to different/higher office is also problematic (to me), but that's not what we're talking about here. This is a candidate saying he'll fill a four-year term, and then deciding not to, after winning.

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          I'm not sure I'd call it a non-issue. I'd call it a minor issue. Charlie's explained his decision.

          I think his explanation is weak sauce, but hey, it's his explanation.

          The rest is up to the voters.

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          Okay I'll agree with Kari, minor issue (not non-issue). Unlike Palin, he served two full terms and resigned during his third. The Hales to Palin comparison is about as weak as the Iraq to Al Qaeda comparisons the Bush administration made pal.

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    The USA has been chasing the export-trade agenda for decades, now, and what do we have to show for it? Less employment and lower wages (at the jobs we still have here).

    Better to chase the old-style tariffs agenda (although I realize that the City of Portland has no say in that- "just sayin'").

    And for that, and the reality that it will be more expensive to export, in the future, than it has been, I'd say Hales idea about what the future will and ought to look like are way off.

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      I don't know that this is correct, Stephen. A huge factor in the trade deficit equation is the "high dollar" policy that's been in effect at least since the Clinton Administration. Dean Baker, among others, has long argued that maintaining the high dollar has been a primary factor in the loss of US manufacturing jobs, decline of exports, etc.

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        Dan- of course high value of US currency will hurt US exports. But the factors of low wages and lack of environmental regulations in Asian countries cannot be discounted, either.

        Anyway, the model of trying to grow economies through manufacture and export as being the primary driver is coming to an end. The fossil fuel age is coming to an end. If our only answer to unemployment is to say "we will sell to the world", then I'd say we aren't preparing for the future.

        I believe the outlook presented by James Howard Kunstler in "The Long Emergency".

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    Stephen, looking ahead our best business opportutnities are abroad. That's where rapid economic growth is taking place. But we also need to work on local self-sufficiency and prepare for catastrophies.

    Paul Warner, Legislative Revenue Office, just testified on the importance of international exports in our future. See "Warner: "Exports and business investment that are going to drive economic growth in US."

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    @David: in my opinion there will be less and less of that type of opportunity- out of necessity, due to the crises situations we will face, there will be less and less.

    (a website describing the necessity of moving towards a steady-state economy).

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    And I recommend this brilliant, little film:

    "300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds"

    (all economic planning must take these points into consideration)

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