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Election update: Tough decisions and speed dating

Posted by on May 5th, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Reader David Seifert sent in this photo.

Ballots are out and some Portlanders are already casting their votes in a landmark election that will remake Portland City Hall.

I’ve been lacking a bit in political coverage but I hope to rectify that in the next few days (hold on to those ballots!).

In the past days/weeks/months I’ve met with several candidates — including Council hopefuls Amanda Fritz, Jeff Bissonnette, and Nick Fish, and Multnomah County Commission hopeful Rob Milesnick — and I’ve kept my eye on some of the state races. I’ve also run into Chris Smith several times and my meeting with Mayoral hopeful Sho Dozono is still in the works.

I’ll share some of my thoughts about all of them (and let you add yours) in the next day or so — but for now I wanted to give everyone a heads up on the Portland Mercury’s candidate event happening tomorrow night.

I’m one of the “handful of community leaders” that will “grill the candidates” in a quick Q & A session that should be a fun way to (hopefully) learn more about the folks who will be making the tough decisions about the big issues in years to come.

===[Note: I'm under the weather and will not be at the event tonight.]

There are some great candidates in running this time around, and most of them are pretty smart about bike and transportation issues. We’ll have some tough decisions to make, and I hope I can present some information in the next day or so that will help you decide.

Contrary to what several folks have asked and emailed me about, I will not make any endorsements. I will simply share what I know and let you take it from there.

Stay tuned for more election coverage and in the meantime, check out my past coverage here.

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Comments
  • Jordan May 5, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Speaking of candidates, I want to say that I think that it is dangerous for campaign workers to unfold 5 foot wide banners and signs on the Hawthorne Bridge sidewalk. Several of the campaigns that are using this practice are \”bike-friendly\” candidates.

    Please be aware of our space and keep the large signs off the bridge.

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  • a.O May 5, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    I agree with that, Jordan. This morning, some Kroger supporters were just standing in the middle of the Hawthorne sidewalk. Of course, pedestrians had to go around them, and so cyclists had to go around the pedestrians, and so they created a big bottleneck right in the middle of the bridge. Bike friendly candidate? Seems like no one who rides a bike would do that. Do you get motorists\’ attention by standing in the right land of I-5?

    And I guess I\’ll partly disagree with Jonathan – only one or two tough decisions, the rest are easy!

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  • zuckerdog May 5, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Candidate\’s Forum this Thursday Evening

    All are invited to a candidate\’s forum taking place on Thursday, May 8th, from 6:30 to 8:45pm. This forum is being organized and hosted by the Buckman Community Association and will take place at Central Catholic High School (2401 SE Stark Street).

    Candidates are being invited from the Mayoral race and the first and second Commissioner\’s races. This forum is open to the general public. The format of the evening is as follows:

    6:30-7:10pm – Mayoral candidates
    7:10-7:50pm – Commissioner #2 candidates
    7:50-8:00pm – Break w/refreshments
    8:00-8:40pm – Commissioner #1 candidates

    Each candidate will be allotted 3 minutes for an opening statement, followed by questions from the audience (1 minute time limit on answers). Each candidate will then be allotted 1 minute for a closing statement.

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  • jeff May 5, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    As I understand it, zuckerdog, Sam Adams can\’t be there because of a city council budget hearing–just in case anyone was going to hear from him.

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  • Amy J. Ruiz May 5, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks for plugging the Speed Date! Just to make it clear, we\’ve got lots of slots for speed dating, that are open to people who show up on Tuesday night. We\’ve only partially seeded it with folks like Jonathan. So come on down and ask Adams, Fritz, Bissonnette, Smith, etc anything you\’d like—as long as you can cover it in 90 seconds. (It\’s not much time, I know, but we\’ll all be hanging around after the official speed dating is over, so you can catch up with a candidate or two if you\’d like.)

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  • Dan Kaufman May 5, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    What about the Democratic Presidential contenders? There is a lot of talk about green tech, and renewable energy. I\’ve heard the word \”billions\” thrown about but I have yet to hear the word \”bicycle\” any of their campaign speeches.

    Are the Barak and Hillary scared that The Dishonorable Rep. Patrick McHenry will belittle them and the bicycle as \”a 19th Century Solution to a 21st Century Problem\”?

    Can\’t the bike industry and associations get it together to put a lobbyist in front of them perhaps with some campaign contributions for good measure?

    Believe me I\’ve tried, but they won\’t return my calls. Yet.

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  • ralph May 6, 2008 at 6:20 am

    The bike industry is lobbying in Washington. They just don\’t have the deep pockets that big oil or pharmaceutical companies do.

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  • kiwimunki May 6, 2008 at 8:48 am

    I\’d like to commend cyclist Seifert (photographed) on his political savvy and creative implementation of promotional campaign material. It\’s a fun and highly visible reminder to cyclists everywhere that the reprecussions of our votes this month will be laid out in the streets we ride for years to come. Vote, b*kers!

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  • Tony Fuentes May 6, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Concordia and Woodlawn had a candidate forum on April 1 for Positions 1 and 2. We didn\’t ask any bike specific questions (sorry!) but the Woodlawn Association did organize a bike ride to the event.

    We gave the candidates an opportunity to provide written responses to some of the questions and you can view them here:

    http://www.concordiapdx.org/?p=104

    Concordia is making no formal endorsements. The only comment I will offer is that when it comes to these two commissioner positions, we are blessed with a strong crop of candidates. It will be hard to do wrong in this election.

    Also I hope is that the folks who don\’t make the cut this time, stay involved and try for other opportunities to represent the residents of our fair city. We need thoughtful, creative, and energetic people like you.

    All the best,

    Tony Fuentes, Co-Chair, CNA

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  • tonyt May 6, 2008 at 10:22 am

    I posted a Sam Adams sign in front of my four-plex (legally in the yard, not the parking strip) the other day and it was promptly stolen. They just removed the plastic sign part, leaving the metal frame, so I don\’t think it was a misguided Sam fan seeking his/her own sign.

    Interestingly enough, when I originally emailed the Sam Adams campaign about getting signs, and lamented the high number of Sho signs in my neighborhood, the Adams campaign told me that they were getting reports of Sam Adams signs being swiped in my neighborhood. Apparently it\’s a real problem.

    I\’m certainly not blaming the Sho campaign, but it is interesting that none of the 4-5 Sho signs in the immediate vicinity were removed.

    This is an incredibly important race folks. If you are uncertain about who you will vote for, please listen to the City Club debate between Sam and Sho. It is painfully obvious that Sho has NO platform. He is the anti-planning, pro-BIG-business candidate.

    He has no concrete proposals, and no real examples he can cite that demonstrate what he\’ll do. It\’s all very fuzzy, \”I\’ll make Portland business friendly\” kind of stuff. If you are a fan of city planning and alternative transportation (and you pay attention to who Sho\’s backers are), you should know that that \”business\” line is often a euphemism for \”free rein for those with the cash,\” aka governance to the highest bidder.

    He\’s got nothing. He answered pretty much all the questions with non-answers.

    We can\’t take another 4 years of Potter-style \”leadership.\”

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  • toddistic May 6, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I live in inner NE and I had two signs taken from my yard too! It\’s interesting that the Sho signs are still up.

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  • a.O May 6, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    That about sums it up for Sho: Give vague answers, steal the other guy\’s lawn signs (LOL), and hope nobody notices the financial self-dealing, bankrupt businesses, and tax delinquencies.

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  • toddistic May 6, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    he\’s sho not gonna win!

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  • a.O May 6, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I sho hope not!

    But speaking of winners, I just got back from lunch with Jackie Dingfelder. She\’s got a great picture of herself on her mailer riding some sort of Gary Fisher commuter outfitted with carbon forks, disc brakes, a rack, a mirror, and a bell. She\’s clipped in and sporting some nice capri pants with her hand hovering over the brake lever. Now that\’s a convincing bike commuter picture!

    And she\’s even managed to get her family down to one car!

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  • Bjorn May 6, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I noticed while riding on fremont that the rose city cemetary has a bunch of signs all over from sho, anyone else think that is just tacky? It is a cemetary not a billboard!

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  • toddistic May 6, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Bjorn: It could be subiminal messaging.

    \”Vote for Sho you\’re as good as dead!\”

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  • David May 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    That\’s a great picture of me. Thanks for taking it Damon!

    FYI: I attached that sign to my rear rack and frame by bending one of the metal sign poles into the shape of a z to give it both lateral and vertical support. I used ducttape and wire to hold it own. It\’d be great if tons of people mounted signs and we could go on an ride.

    I really hope Sam gets elected — Portland will become even a more amazing place for cyclists and peds if he is.

    Love the site. Thanks,Jonathan.

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  • the other steph May 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Tony, thanks for mentioning! i had been meaning to report my stolen Sam sign (i had another in the back \”just in case\”, so it wasn\’t a big thing) but talk about bad. newsworthy, or just piss-poor sportsmanship?

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  • Opus the Poet May 6, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    #15

    I noticed while riding on fremont that the rose city cemetary has a bunch of signs all over from sho, anyone else think that is just tacky? It is a cemetary not a billboard!

    As an out-of-towner I would say Sho is engaging in Chicago style electioneering, and going for the cemetery vote.

    Of course there\’s the other side to that style of electioneering, \”Vote early, and vote often.\”

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