Three Card Monty - a Lesson in Portland Politics

Chris Smith

Where did that contribution come from, where did it go? Just watch the cards, folks.

With the C&E's filed yesterday, there are some remarkably similar names showing up.

[Warning, these are all links to moderately large PDF files.]

Let's start with the First Things First Committee, who filed their Chief Petitioner report back in February.

Now take a look at the just filed Alliance PAC report (as in Portland Business Alliance). Most of its funds to went to First Things First.

And then there's the report of Portland Voters for Sensible Government. We don't know where their $16,500 went, since there's no expenditure sheet in their report (but the name does show up on the First Things First report to the tune of $1,700 dollars).

And finally, let's stack those up against Ginny Burdick's C&E.

They're essentially the same names! [I'm told the Oregonian is working up a big spreadsheet]. Headliners: PGE, Qwest, Comcast, Regence, Standard Insurance with checks of $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 appearing in multiple locations. Does anyone still doubt that there is a clique of monied special interests trying to hang onto power in Portland Politics? Or why they would find Voter Owned Elections so threatening?

  • Susan Francois (unverified)

    The Portland Voters for Sensible Government expenditures are now posted - there was a glitch on our end

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    And what they didn't give to First Things First went to the polling firm of Davis & Hibbits. Perhaps for the FTF polling?

  • Steve (unverified)

    "They're essentially the same names!"

    Puh-leeze, you don't think Erik has his own little camp of supporters like Homer et alia who always get him money. That's just the way this town runs, VoE or not.

    Yes, I know you all want Erik to win real bad, but try to talk about what good, if any, he has done instead of slamming someone we already know is tainted.

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    Two points, Steve:

    1) By opting into VOE, Erik is opting out of relying on those relationships at big dollar amounts.

    2) The point about the match between Ginny's contributors and the FTF contributors is not an Erik-vs-Ginny issue, but rather the clear pattern of how this very small set of interests is trying to keep a stranglehold on Portland politics with $5K and $10K checks. And the fact that in the case of FTF, they were using 3 different committees to at least temporarily obfuscate the large amounts coming from particular interests.

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    Erik Sten's seed money donors include:

    Robert D. Ball, real estate investor Portland Trail Blazers R.B. Pamplin Corporation Tom Moyer Theaters Thomas Walsh, contractor Joseph Weston, real estate investor Homer Williams, developer James Winkler, developer Serena Cruz Walsh, county commissioner Douglas Obletz, real estate developer

    Plus $145,000 from the city treasury he's sworn to protect. Worst of all worlds!


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    Jack - how big were those checks for seed money?

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    As Jack well knows, the seed money checks are $100 max. So Jack is trying to say that taking $100 from Homer is just as unclean as taking $10,000 from Comcast.

    Since Jack is saying a difference of two orders of magnitude is not important, I guess the $5 I gave Erik and Amanda must be just as unclean as the $100 Homer gave Erik.

    Of course, many of those folks also gave Tom Potter $100, but I haven't heard his campaign called unclean.

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    I like the terminology.


    Very King James Bible.


    Watching VOE unfuld brings up all kinds of new ways to think about money.

    Of course Sten will still be mindful fo who the Big Boys and Gurlz are, but when he gets to the decision moment, he won't have to think:

    "Boy, if I don't keep Giant Developer Co. happy, they'll fund an opponent and I'll be out of a job."


    Even though the Big Kidz will still haave a finger on the scale, it'll become less of a factor.......and good governance gets a hand up in the abstract at least.

  • anonymous (unverified)

    oh that's nice. the head of the Regence Group (Mark Ganz) is on the board of PGE. The head of PGE (Peggy Fowler) is on the board of the Regence Group.
    Now, what could healthcare and utitilites have in common? B I G MONEY.
    ...and the Portland Business Alliance and First Things First and Gard and Gerber and Tim Hibbitts and Jim Francesconi and Ginny Burdick...

  • Bob (unverified)

    I'm interested in collecting 1,000 $5 contributions to pay Chris Smith to go away and get a new hobby for a few months. Not that I don't appreciate the contstant drumbeat of self-righteous west side elite City Club arrogance coupled with blind Sten worship and obsessive loathing of Ginny Burdick on this topic.
    I just need break for awhile. Any takers?

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    I'm sorry you think I can be bought off that cheaply :-)

    I actually like Ginny quite a bit. Until I was redistricted out of her district, she was my State Senator and I was delighted to vote for her. She has done amazing things with important issues like gun control.

    I'm just astounded that she has chosen to get into this race on this platform.

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    And I'm happy that one of the legislators Most Interested in Telling Everyone How to Live Their Personal Lives gun control, mandatory helmet laws, etcetera is now on the outs with her supporters like Chris.

    Enough to make you believe in Divine Intervention.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    Yes, and Ginny Burdick is a woman of the people,, I don't see any elitism or corporate back-scratching in heavy donations to her from Big Bidness, with interlocking boards? (Peggy Fowler? Shouldn't she be testifying for her old boss Jeffrey Skilling?)

    Ginny Burdick.....she's COMCASTIC!

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    Unclean. Very King James Bible.

    Hey, if you like that, you'll love this one:

    The love of money is the root of all evil. Timothy 6:10

    Funny how you just don't hear this one from our right wing Christian friends who claim to believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible.

    I'm glad the sloganeering went away from "clean money" to "voter-owned elections" because I think the latter is more accurate.

    Of course Sten will still be mindful fo who the Big Boys and Gurlz are, but when he gets to the decision moment, he won't have to think:

    "Boy, if I don't keep Giant Developer Co. happy, they'll fund an opponent and I'll be out of a job."

    He won't have to think it, he won't even have to feel it.

    With voter-owned elections the Big Boyz still matter, they just aren't quite so close to being all that matters.

  • Steve (unverified)

    Mr Smith - You realize there are other ways the big money guys get money to buy favors? You guys and Erik have this hubris that you wave a wand and make a law and everything is fixed.

    You don't think Homer, Ashforth, PGE and all of the usual suspects make contributions to Sam/Erik/Dan/Tom's favorite charities and then get to make nice with them?

    You must be incredibly naive to think money doesnt permeate the process and that playing a futile game of whack-a-mole with VoE doesn't do any good (unless you are Emily's daughter who really wanted those A&F jeans :)

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    <h2>Steve, we never said VOE was the solution to all ills. It's a step in the right direction.</h2>

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