Will Sho Dozono Keep Public Financing?

Portland Mayoral candidate Sho Dozono may be reconsidering his commitment to public financing in light of the controversy surrounding his reporting of a public opinion poll.

From the Portland Mercury:

The Sho Dozono campaign has turned in all of the paperwork needed to address the issues the auditor’s office outlined in Dozono’s initial certification letter for public financing. The Auditor now has 10 business days—by March 5—to make a final determination on whether Dozono gets roughly $160K in public funding.

But it looks like the Dozono campaign is stressing about that determination, and what happens if it triggers a complaint from another mayoral candidate—which would in turn result in a hearing before a city hearings officer.

Earlier this week, the Dozono campaign submitted a list of questions to the auditor’s office, asking things like:

Would a certification hearing or a request for a certification hearing delay the potential certification of Sho Dozono or delay the distribution of funds were Sho Dozono to be certified[?]


If an appeal is filed from another candidate in the Mayor’s race, is a press release also issued with this notification to the media, or is a hearing related to certification considered between the disputing parties?

The Dozono campaign has also asked questions regarding dropping out of Portland's voter-owned elections system:

Clearly, the campaign is concerned that questions over the poll—which Dozono finally reported in ORESTAR on February 15 as an in-kind from himself, but backdated to December 21—are likely to lead to a hearing. Their concerns aren’t unfounded: The auditor has also responded to a question from the Adams campaign, asking if the auditor’s determination that the poll doesn’t exceed the $12K in-kind cap for publicly financed candidates is a final determination, subject to appeal. (Answer: No, that determination won’t be subject to appeal until the final determination letter is issued—the one due by March 5.)

The Dozono campaign’s most revealing questions, however, are these:

Regarding a status change: What is the process for a candidate to change from a participating to a nonparticipating candidate[?]

During the appeal process/certification hearing, can Sho Dozono decide during the process to withdraw as a Participating Candidate?

If Sho Dozono were to choose to change from a Participating candidate to a non-participating candidate before certification, the City Code seems to indicate that this needed to happen before the end of the Qualifying Period. Can a participating candidate change to non-participating status after the end of the Qualifying Period (January 31)?

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • ShoNuff (unverified)

    There's online records that show that Sho has been running for office - or strongly considering running for office - for four months now.

    When was he planning on having someone look into the ins and outs of campaign finance requirements?

  • anon (unverified)

    The VOE system is an incumbent insurance policy. Adams is an incumbent, although not an incumbent mayor. Dozono cannot beat him in an even money race, which VOE ensures.

    I have thought this would happen from the start. Dozono jumps onto the wildly popular VOE program, gathers an impressive number of signatures in no short order, and rides a populist wave.

    Meanwhile, Len Bergstein knows they will need more money to win. So, Dozono cites his popularity, claims he tried to do the right thing, switches to conventional financing and starts raising big bucks for the campaign.

    With Adams at only sixty grand so far, Dozono will probably easily out spend him. And he has to out spend him to win.

  • ws (unverified)

    Clever campaign strategy will not make up for an absence of the qualities, skills and experience a person needs to be a good mayor. It remains to be shown why anyone sould seriously want this person to be Mayor of Portland.

  • Dave Lister (unverified)

    ws, You're absolutely right. Unfortunately most voters aren't analyzing it. Most voters will be affected by mailers, TV and radio ads. That's determined by campaign strategy, and that's why guys like Wiener and Bergstein get the big bucks.

  • hmmm (unverified)

    Nigel Jaquiss over at the Willamette Week has a great article on this story. Link: http://wweek.com/wwire/?p=10865

    Here's the key point: Sho said he wouldn't run if he doesn't get public money. He said, "I made a commitment that if I don't qualify, I will not run for mayor."

    Will he not abide by it? Would he run anyway?

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    It remains to be shown why anyone would seriously want this person [Dozono] to be Mayor of Portland.

    That's a good point, actually, but I KNOW I don't want Sam Adams as mayor so he can keep pushing his silly boondoggles.

    Look folks, we've just had a tremendously disappointing 3+ years of Tom Potter's tenure as mayor. Let's drop the so-called progressive opposition to candidates with a business background and at least consider whether Dozono is a reasonable alternative to Adams.

  • (Show?)

    I'm just curious: does Sam Adams pay extra for items like this, or do they come as part of the package?

  • ws (unverified)

    lin qiao, I'm listening. Feel free to list any reasons that come to yours and anyone else's mind suggesting that Dozono would make a good mayor for Portland. I don't ignore Adam's or any other city official's boondoggles. Is it realistic to imagine that any mayor or politician will not be confronted with a boondoggle during their term or administration? And when this happens, the question of how they might be expected to handle it becomes important.

    So that's one way I'm evaluating what might be expected from Sho Dozono as mayor. If Sam Adams has screwed up as commissioner, how is Sho Dozono going to fare when he finds himself in a pickle? ....as he already has, by the way. Not so good is my conclusion to date, but by all means, good luck Sho. Lets hear a little more from you if you're really serious about the job. The city certainly wouldn't be wise to turn down the best man for the job.

  • (Show?)

    lin qiao, most of the boondoggles that I see come straight out of the influence of the business community, or sections of it, on the PDC. Sho Dozono doesn't just have a "a business background," he has been a major player in organized business (PBA) politics. It may be that a different segment of business will benefit from a Dozono mayorship than an Adams one, but the basic problems won't change.

  • (Show?)

    Stephanie, since you ignored my question-in-return the last time you raised your question, I'll ask again: Are you saying that this isn't newsworthy? Are you saying that when four newspapers are covering a controversy in the Portland mayor's race, that BlueOregon should ignore it? Please... explain your logic.

    [Full disclosure: My firm hosts Sam Adams' website, but I speak here only for myself.]

  • (Show?)

    Kari - let me step in and come at your question to Stephanie from another angle:

    The Dozono poll has indeed become controversial - and is being well covered, especially by Amy Ruiz at the Mercury, etc. But it is indeed odd that with a record number of new candidates having now been certified to run under the Voter Owned Elections system in key City Council races this cycle, Blue Oregon has had next to no discussion of those other races and candidates.

    In fact, not only have Amy and the Mercury been on top of this controvery, Blogtown PDX has also been providing some of the best substantive discussion of the issues in the municipal races, allowing candidates to answer questions on key policy issues.

    So it's not that the Dozono poll isn't a salient and controversial issue - but more that Blue Oregon seems to be ignoring both the equally salient - and encouraging - developments in the VOE system this cycle as well as the broader range of issues at stake in the municipal elections as a whole.

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    ws and Chris Lowe--

    Regarding the Portland mayoral race:

    Sho Dozono is actually sort of a blank slate to me, although if you read the Asian Reporter regularly, as I do, you will already know that he has his fans outside the "business community" (whatever that is exactly).

    The "expose" about the poll that was commissioned by/for Dozono, and when it was commissioned, and who paid for it, has been much ado about extremely little, IMHO. What this affair has mainly shown, unfortunately, is that Dozono's judgment is questionable. It would appear that his first impulse was to deflect questions and act as though he was clueless why anyone would be asking questions in the first place. No to belabor the point, but there's another politician we all know with the same impulse--Hillary Clinton--and you know what has happened to her candidacy.

    So, at this juncture, I as faced with this situation: There seem to be two serious contenders for mayor of Portland. Dozono is known for various acts of civic-mindedness but has a number of well-known warts on display. Meanwhile, I dislike and distrust Sam Adams, who has never met a silly boondoggle, or a waste of taxpayers' money, or a publicity stunt, that he didn't like. I don't think it's necessary to list all these; if you want the sorry history, go to the archives on Jack Bogdanski's website. (Yes, Bogdanski is a complete curmudgeon, but he has done a fine job of trying to keep the public informed about the City Council's shenanigans.)

    As it now stands, I will take a chance and vote for Dozono, and hope for the best. Yes, I know that's a risk: that's what a whole lot of us did in 2004 with Tom Potter, and you can see where that got us: lots of bureaucratic-sounding gobbledegook about "visioning", more questionable redevelopment projects (admittedly, almost all begun during the reign of Vera Katz), and public-relations disasters like the Interstate Avenue renaming affair. But I'm willing to take a chance on Dozono because I feel pretty certain about what Sam Adams would bring us as mayor, and I don't like the prospect.

  • Rose Wilde (unverified)

    "The VOE system is an incumbent insurance policy. Adams is an incumbent, although not an incumbent mayor. Dozono cannot beat him in an even money race, which VOE ensures."

    Anon, how do you explain this statement? All I've heard about Voter Owned Elections leads me to believe it actually encourages new candidates. New candidates may not have the connections to raise large donations, or name recognition from past service, but who may indeed have the leadership, communication, and advocacy skills to persuade 850 (or more) voters to support her or him with a $5 qualifying contribution.

    Incumbents can rely upon coverage from the media over their previous term of service to get an edge on name recognition, not to mention a voting track record to attract donors, or the advantage of a pool of donors from the previous election cycle.

    I think the traditional, or "money owned", election system is far more of an incumbent re-election machine than the VOE system. Please defend your statement, anon -- I really want to know if the VOE system can deliver what it promises.

  • (Show?)

    The incumbent-insurance that VOE supposedly provides is through a candidate's right to opt out of the system, which means they are not limited in monies raised, whereas a VOE candidate is. I think that what most opponents of VOE ignore or forget is that VOE candidates receive matching funds when their non-VOE raise more. I think there is a limit, but I forget how much.

    I also think it does VOE a disservice to narrow its impact to simply allowing more people to run for office. While that is a much needed and welcome affect, it is the freedom of decision given to VOE candidates and office-holders that make it much more far-reaching than simply new blood. In a traditional campaign, a candidate's number one job is to raise money and get endorsements. I hear this over and over. In a VOE campaign, the candidate's number one job is to meet people and get endorsements. A traditional candidate has to constantly have their hand out. A VOE candidate has to constantly have their ears open.

    One of the biggest intentions of the VOE system doesn't even have to do with candidates. It has to do with that elected official not being in office because they promised the farm to someone who gave them money. It has to do with knowing that our elected officials aren't sitting in someone's pocket while ignoring the rest of us who couldn't bankroll their campaign.

  • (Show?)

    But it is indeed odd that with a record number of new candidates having now been certified to run under the Voter Owned Elections system in key City Council races this cycle, Blue Oregon has had next to no discussion of those other races and candidates.

    Dan, you are absolutely correct on that score. We should be doing a better job of covering the city council races.

    In fact, that was exactly the topic of a conversation we had internally here on Friday.

    In our defense (and not a very good defense), we had been waiting to start the coverage when the Auditor certified the final list of candidates. That was supposed to happen over a week ago, by law, and yet we're still waiting.

    As with all things VOE, the auditor's shop has been dismally under-prepared and almost idiotic in its management. They've been doing their damnedest to turn a good program into a farce. But then, I suppose we should be talking about that too.

  • (Show?)

    Kari, that's part of the point. It just seems to me that BlueO piles on opponents of Mandate Media clients, and in general that its estimations of what is and isn't "in the news" are affected by its client list.

    For example, although you abused me here a few months ago for admonishing Jefferson Smith (semi-jocularly) that he should hire MM to do his website if he wanted good coverage here on BlueO, I have noticed that since his announcement there has been a virtual blackout on news of Jefferson's campaign here (despite the fact that he has had two former governors canvassing for him and a number of buzzworthy activities).

    It also seems to me that whenever there's a thread about the Senate campaign and the thread is not spinning in Jeff Merkley's favor, the yellow box fills up with new posts (pushing the troublesome thread off the front page) faster than usual.

    Look, you're the proprietor, it's your place. And you do cop to your own personal biases (I'd say more than 90% of the time, which isn't too bad). But if BlueO (as an entity separate and apart from you or MM) is meant to be a fair watercooler for Oregon progressives, then in my view it is often falling short of that objective.

    However, we all know it has critical mass. So as for your repeated imprecations that if we don't like it here we should just leave, well, that's mostly nonsensical. The only way to keep BlueO honest is to hold your feet to the fire, to call out the biases and inconsistencies as we see them.

  • (Show?)

    Two things there. One general, one specific.

    First, most of the news isn't posted by me. Since early September, when we added the first BlueOregon Fellow, roughly 80% of the "in the news" has been posted by someone other than me. So, it's got very little to do with my client list -- except that I'm involved in almost every top-tier race in the state.

    Second, Jefferson Smith. He's a very good friend, but there's nothing really newsworthy going on over there. He doesn't have any credible opponents, and he's doing the things he needs to do so that it stays that way -- raising money and knocking on doors. But that's not newsworthy. Now, should he draw a credible opponent, you bet - we'll be all over that race.

    It's also worth noting that we haven't done hardly any coverage of any of the state legislative primary races. And yeah, we probably should -- but it's tougher when the local media isn't covering them either. That means original reporting, which we don't really have the capacity to do. The political media environment is really different in 2008 (with three open statewide races, two federal races, and a mayor's race) than in 2006 (with only the governor's race and the fight for the Lege.)

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: lin qiao | Feb 23, 2008 9:58:59 AM ws and Chris Lowe-- Regarding the Portland mayoral race:

    Fair enough. I wasn't plumping for Adams.

  • Justin (unverified)

    I feel pretty certain what we'd get from Sam Adams--and I can't wait.

    Methinks Lin that Sam never really had a shot with you anyway. Anyone who thinks Bo Jack could like any politician that actually had experience, or has rationally documented city council would never have Sam's vote anyway.

  • ws (unverified)

    I've heard that Dozono has been on various boards and what not, and that he's known by some people to be good hearted, but never that he is known for taking a leadership role in those activities or has been good at it. Information about most of the usual things potential candidates want people to know about them even when they haven't yet formally announced the start of their campaign, don't seem to be out there in Dozono's case. Maybe I'm just missing it.

    I keep hearing about this 'bojack' aka Jack Bodanski fellow, but very little I've heard about him has ever made me feel I'd want to go and spend any time reading what he has to say on his weblog. Because lin qiao mentioned him in reference to the reporting bodanski has done in regarding sam adams controversies, I decided to take a look at what bodanski's has to say.

    Maybe if a really good editor deleted about %80 of what bodanski writes, all consisting of hysteria and hyperbole, there might actually be some important information remaining. Hard to say really because it takes more time than I have, to wade through all the excess and get to that information.

  • lw (unverified)

    ws, your comment about Bodanski and having "to wade through all the excess" seems to apply to BlueOregon too. Sorry you don't have the time for Bodanski but the time for BlueOregon. It couldn't have anything to do with your predisposed positions, could it?

  • (Show?)

    I have to say that I find Jack Bogdanski's commentaries to be pretty terse. The comments are where the action is on that blog. I'm not sure what ws is talking about.

  • ws (unverified)

    I definitely have a predisposed position against maliciousness and petty resentment, so maybe you're right lw.

  • sburke (unverified)

    Shoo is surpose to be for the labor so if that is so why did hel attend a banquet on Feb 25th at the Portland Hilton hotel which has a boycott going on after he went to the Carpenters Union for surport knowing that the carpenters union surports the Workers at the Hilton hotel buyibng pulling their banquet in March. Sam Adams never has cross the picket line.

  • ai (unverified)

    I've heard that Dozono has been on various boards and what not, and that he's known by some people to be good hearted, but never that he is known for taking a leadership role in those activities or has been good at it. Information about most of the usual things potential candidates want people to know about them even when they haven't yet formally announced the start of their campaign, don't seem to be out there in Dozono's case. Maybe I'm just missing it.

    ws, I think you ARE missing it. The media (both mainstream and elsewhere) is focusing on these details of financing and who said what instead of on the issues. I have yet to have a clear understanding of either Dozono or Adams from anyone - TV, Oregonian, BlueOregon, The Mercury, etc. His biggest leadership efforts that I know of are those helping other cities in times of crisis: "Flight for Freedom" and "Flight for Friendship." I also know that he helped spearhead the effort to raise money to bring the Olympic torch-run through Portland.

    You can always read his bio on his campaign website. True, it is a self-made account of his accomplishments, but at least you can begin to educate yourself on this candidate.

    <h2>[Just a note: I am considering volunteering to help with Sho Dozono's campaign, so I do have a bias toward him.]</h2>
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