Voters in the Portland mayoral race - especially the undecided - are desperate for authentic information.
We want to know something real about the candidates, beyond what's in the carefully polished television ads and mail pieces, and the oft-eliding answers on candidate questionnaires that may have been massaged by staff and consultants.
We want to get a deep understanding of our potential next mayor, recognizing this election is not about putting a bird or a talking point on it, but about the future of our home.
I, for one, find the videos of the Willamette Week endorsement interviews give us a look at the candidates when they are pressured to answer hard questions and go beyond practiced talking points. While the videos are each a few minutes long, that length allows the candidates to convey real information, instead of the other formats that reward more sound-bite answers.
I'd encourage voters to invest some time in watching these, as there is a lot of stake in this election.
A viewing note: the first video (above/right) is about independence from powerful city interests. It includes a back-forth about Brady's support for a tax break to certain Portland business owners who make more than $87,000. That tax break has been a priority of the Portland Business Alliance (see each candidate's answer on the PBA questionnaire here). The Owners Compensation Deduction code is here. I don't claim to be an expert in that issue.
The second video includes a heated discussion of Measures 66 and 67 and what the mayoral candidates did about those measures, and an assertion by Brady about inconsistency on transportation funding messages. Background: (Bike Walk Vote questionnaires are publicly available).
Brady talks about her leadership in bringing forward the Oregon Business Association funding proposal in 2009. Background: the OBA proposal was significantly less progressive than what ended up passing the legislature with the support of every Democrat besides Rep. Schaufler. OBA proposed for the revenue increases to be temporary, had an across-the-board 1% income tax increase for all Oregonians, would have hit all businesses across the board (the Legislative proposal progressively protected small businesses), would have capped the top end of the corporate minimum for super-large corporations at $25,000 instead of $100,000 per year, and raised less revenue than Measures 66 and 67.
Here's the discussion of candidates' positions on the Oregon Sustainability Center:
And here's a discussion about who each candidate would refuse to take money from:
Finally, for those who want to listen to the hour-long environmental debate, it's now been posted on the website of the Oregon Environmental Council.
Good luck, voters. We're all counting on you. And thanks to Willamette Week, for making us more educated voters.
Disclaimers: I've done some contract work for OEC, have endorsed Jefferson Smith, and co-chair Bike Walk Vote.