Brendan Finn considers Portland City Council run

From WW:

Brendan Finn, Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s chief of staff, may run for Sam Adams’ seat on the City Council.

Finn told WWire late Wednesday morning that he was considering the idea after being approached by a couple of elected officials. “It was a flattering experience to have people who are elected leaders call your number and say, ‘you’re probably the best person for the job,’” Finn said.

He wouldn’t say who approached him to run for the seat that will be open since Adams is running for mayor. (We'd bet Finn's current boss, Saltzman, had something to do with it. But that's just a wild, crazy kind of guess.)

And yes, we know everybody always says they've been called by people breathlessly inquiring about a run. But we think this is actual news because Finn would likely be an instant heavyweight in a race packed with City Hall outsiders. After all, he already has an office there.

How serious is he about running? Finn has already taken the crucial step of discussing the possibility with his girlfriend. “She’s going to support whatever decision I come up with,” he says.


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    I am taking bets that if Brendan Finn decides to run we will hear that Finn plans to "Improve" Education.

    If you want any part of this, just email me and I will take your bet. Odds are very good for me, but not that bad for you.


  • Miles (unverified)

    With Sam the heavy favorite for Mayor, I'm kind of hoping this stays an "outsider-only" race. Finn is a nice guy, smart, and would probably do a fine job, but I'm a firm believer in occasionally adding new blood to the shark pool. I also think voters might reject an insider candidate if only because they won't have much choice but an insider for Mayor (at least at this point). On the other hand, as the insider Finn almost certainly could advance to the general election since the outsiders should split the grassroots/neighborhood activist vote, so I can see the temptation.

    Finally, while I believe race and gender should be secondary factors in selecting a Commissioner, between otherwise equal candidates I would argue that adding another white male to the Council doesn't get us much. Amanda Fritz and John Branam seem like good possibilities to diversify the shark pool.

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    Good points. Adding new blood and ideas to the council is always a good thing. So is adding diversity.

    Women and people of color can bring an entirely different perspective to the council than you get when it's a bunch of white men. They see different problems, are dealing daily with different communities and populations within the city, and so on.

    Portland's city council would do much better to reflect the diversity of the city.

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    Chris Smith -- "outsider"? Sure.

  • wheels (unverified)

    Miles, or anyone, could you tell me what you know about John Branam? I'm curious to better understand his appeal at this point.

  • Miles (unverified)

    I don't know much about John Branam, but he currently is in charge of PPS marketing/fundraising, and used to report to Carol Smith (until her recent promotion to Superintendent). I haven't met him, but those who have say he's young, smart, progressive, and ambitious (the first three are definitely positive, the last one could be positive or negative depending). And he's African American, and I'd really like to see at least one person of color on City Council.

    I assume we'll be hearing more from him (and the others) once they qualify for public campaign financing.

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    My point is obvious. A Portland City Commissioner can do little if anything at all to help Portland Public Schools. for someone to run for that office and make a commitment or pronoucment they can shows that canidate is comfortable with lying to the people of Portland.


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    Actually it was not long ago that money from PDX city council played a crucial role in preventing things getting much, much worse for PPS in the last recession than they might have.

    Also see Erik Sten's current efforts to get some of the money from Pearl District taxes to David Douglas School District.

    Also there are various forms of cooperation between schools and Parks Bureau that already occur and that could be extended, say in the interest of encouraging physical activity among youth to fight growing childhood overweight & obesity.

    Also there is a bully pulpit factor -- conveying a shared sense of urgency about the need to reform the funding base on a more secure level among elected officials, say, can be valuable.

  • S. Geller (unverified)

    I was impressed with recently hearing John Branam speak at a coffee and desert event at a friend's house. I think he is an intelligent, kind hearted and honestly engaged and concerned young man. I think Amanda Fitz had her chance and did ok, but I am interested in electing a person I think can win. Fitz honestly comes across as being a little too "Crazy Citizen Activist" for my comfort. I realy can't see her effectively making consessions from my observations of her on Planning Council. Chris Smith? Who really knows this guy? If I have not heard of him then I can't imagine he has a chance.

    I am tired as a progressive woman in our city of all the insider male politics, so I am not at all interested in seeing Mr. Finn run. It comes as no surprise that Adams, Leonard, and SAltzman might approach one of their own "Good Old Boys" to run.

    <h2>I wish another strong female candidate would jump in. Anyone have any names of women they have heard are interested?</h2>
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