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Bikes and the new race for mayor

Posted by on January 8th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Sho Dozono
(Photo: ShoForMayor.com)

By now, you’ve probably heard that City Commissioner Sam Adams’ previously smooth road to the mayor’s office has taken a major turn.

Sho Dozono, a well-known and successful businessman, former head of the Portland Business Alliance, and community leader, officially filed his candidacy yesterday.

Many say he poses the first real threat to an Adams victory.

Dozono is already positioning himself as the “citizen’s candidate” and his campaign will likely attempt to paint Adams as a City Hall insider who is beholden to special interests (one of which is of course the all-powerful “bike lobby”).

What does all this mean to Adams’ campaign and the ever-growing momentum for Portland’s bike-friendly future?

Adams has become such a vigorous supporter of a bikes that pundits and the local media have already started giving him the “bike guy” label. Adams has also been in the news a lot lately for his support of bike and transportation-related issues. He recently got Council to approve his $200,000 emergency funding package to improve bike safety at 14 intersections and on January 16th Council will vote on his Safe, Sound, and Green Streets funding initiative, which includes over $24 million for bike-related projects.

Given Adams reputation on bike issues, will Dozono become the candidate of choice for all those Portlanders who aren’t ready to forge ahead in building a more balanced and bike-friendly transportation system?

Will the not-so-bike-friendly Portlanders (yes, they do exist) line up behind Dozono simply because he’s not Adams?

As of right now, I don’t know much about Dozono’s perspective on transportation and he doesn’t have any positions or issue statements on his campaign website. Hopefully sometime soon he’ll reveal his perspectives on the role of bikes in our city.

Dozono also has a monumental task ahead just to keep his campaign alive; he must get 1,500 people to donate $5 by January 31st in order to qualify for public funding.

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  • Austin Ramsland January 8, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I would love to see an interview with Dozono on BikePortland. . .

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  • blurt January 8, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Having real competition in an election is good. It will force both candidates to think about the planks in their platforms before presenting them to the voters.

    Let\’s get two good candidates out there debating the issues, all the issues. Sam has been painted the \”bike guy\” because those have been the issues that he\’s been focused on recently. Going head to head on multiple issues with another candidate will present his position on these other issues.

    It is in everyone\’s best interest to have true campaign debate on the issues between multiple candidates.

    The more debate the more interest, the more interest the more voters turn out, the more voters turn out the more a candidate can claim a mandate when they win.

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  • joeb January 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    This just reminded me to check how Chris Smith\’s run for City Council is coming. It appears more donations are needed, 320 according to Jonathan\’s link above. http://citizensmith.us/bikeportland

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  • Phil Hanson (aka Pedalphile) January 8, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I could be wrong about this, but my perception is that Sho is a \”business as usual\” kind of guy. While he no doubt possesses many attributes and qualifications essential to the city\’s top executive, I don\’t see him becoming a champion of bicycle transportation–at least not in the sense that Sam Adams is.

    As gas prices creep inexorably toward $10 per gallon, as the cost of transportation infrastructure construction and repair heads into uncharted territory, as the global environment continues its decline, and before a majority of the middle class is forced to decide whether to drive or to eat, we should all consider these issues–and the candidates\’ positions regarding same–before we cast our votes.

    As far as I\’m concerned, it\’s still Sam for mayor.

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  • wsbob January 8, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Dozono has quite a resume. Check it out at his shoformayor(links in the article above) website on the \’bio\’ tab. Seems as though he\’s basically a businessman with a sense of compassion and an interest in a healthy downtown. As alluded to in the article, it will be interesting to see how he responds to continuing interest in exploring and expanding the bicycle\’s role in easing downtown traffic congestion.

    Just as point of general interest to Dozono\’s suitability as mayor, no doubt some people will be interested in refreshing their memory about questions raised in regards to his business dealings in the past. From a 2002 Willamette Week/Nigel Jacquiss story, \’Sho Dozono\’s Rules\’:


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  • jerrod January 8, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    sam for mayor!

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  • foote January 8, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Does it seem to anyone else that Dozono is only running so that Adams doesn\’t walk into the office without contest?
    From the Oregonian:
    \”Dozono said he discussed his candidacy thoroughly with friends and advisers and concluded Portlanders want a choice in an election that Adams might otherwise take in a walk-over.\”
    \”\’Coronation of a candidate is not something the citizens of Portland want to happen,\’ Dozono said.\”

    From his own website:
    \”Your signature and a donation of the required $5.00 is not a promise to vote for me. Your support of the allocation of public funds to me ensures a choice between at least two viable candidates in the Portland Mayoral election of 2008.\”

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  • bike4fun January 8, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    We all need to know WHERE Dozono stands on the issues. Remember Potter told everyone that he likes to hear both sides and then make his decision… The guy never took a stand on anything before he was in office, and look what we got.

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  • Matt Picio January 8, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Wow, I\’m totally not encouraged by this guy. According to the Willy Week article, he violated the law regarding distributions from a trust, he\’s not real successful at managing businesses (he inherited Azumano – his track record appears to be mediocre since then), and he doesn\’t seem real responsive nor attentive to detail.

    He certainly has passion for doing things, but those items (like the march) seem to be organized at the last minute solely based on his drive and charisma. (hmm, this seems to fit right in line with that)

    Perhaps Willamette Week has it wrong – I\’d certainly want to know a lot more about Sho Dozono before I would ever vote for him.

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  • blurt January 8, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Outside of our own selfish motives, why would we want Sam Adams to walk into the position?

    There are so many issues outside of transportation and bicycle infrastructure that go into being the mayor of a city the size of Portland.

    Good for Dozono if all he wants to do is bring those issues to light and give the voters the chance to hear all the candidates positions.

    Maybe Sam is the best thing for Portland but to run unopposed is not the way to get into office.

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  • Mark C January 8, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I agree with Blurt. I strongly support Sam Adams and can\’t imagine voting for anyone else, but for everyone\’s benefit we need a legitimate race. For that reason, I\’m inclined to make a contribution to Dozono to help him obtain the public financing he says a needs to mount a campaign, although with the organization Dozono has already assembled he may not need much help.

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  • a.O January 8, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    You only believe we need \”a legitimate race\” to the extent that you don\’t trust Sam and assume he will change his positions if there is no legitimate contender in the mayoral race. Those beliefs and assumptions are ridiculous, in my opinion.

    Let\’s not worship procedure for procedure\’s sake. There is nothing magical that creates better public servants by virtue of having a two-person race for office — or haven\’t you been paying attention to national politics for the past 20 years?

    Sam for Mayor!

    PS: When evaluating Donozo, don\’t forget to consider his association with the Portland Business Alliance and the positions of that organization.

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  • Mmann January 8, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I\’m over-simplifying a single issue here, but keep in mind the Portland Business Alliance is pretty pro-auto and has fought the elimination of even a single parking space for the sake of bike infrastructure. And Sam Adams has a proven track record much more extensive than just his bike-transportation work. a.O. – I agree that a race for procedure\’s sake is silly, but on the other hand, if Sam has to fight for the seat, more citizens (who should perhaps be better informed) will get a chance to see his position and record on a range of issues.

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  • Bueno January 8, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    \”All powerful bike lobby\”, that cracks me up when I hear others talk about our dominant special interest. I wonder who they\’re talking about as we make up a tiny percentage and are generally ignored unless 6 people die, then we get 200,000 dollars. Yet somehow the auto industry and it\’s supporters aren\’t negatively associated special interests despite the billions of dollars dumped into their money pit.

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  • Lazlo January 8, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I\’ve had some association with Sho Dozono over the years, and know him to be a bright, hard working, honest guy. I wouldn\’t give 2 cents for anything printed in WW; I\’ve known for a fact that they\’ve knowingly printed false information to make a sensational story. I\’m going to vote for mayor based on more than bike policy. Sam has been deeply involved in some major boondoggles, such as the tram cost overrun situation. Just because he supports bikes doesn\’t mean he\’s the best choice. I glad there may be some good competition.

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  • blogmayor January 8, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Sho could be a very tough competitor come the Mayor\’s Mile at Alpenrose in May. Looks a seriously bad keirin dude.

    I can take Sam, no problem, though. Especially in that dorky helmet!

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  • Matthew January 8, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    I\’ve heard rumors about Sho, mainly that his backers are the same group of 7-11 owners and gas stations that are challenging Sam on the Safe Sound and Green thing… The more I hear about that group, the more I\’m concerned: The latest story I\’ve heard involves them being one of the big backers of a WalMart on Jantzen Beach.

    Sho may be a nice guy, but if those are the people that are getting him to run, that isn\’t good…

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  • Peter W January 8, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    I think it\’s true that a real race for the mayor\’s seat will be a Good Thing(TM) for Portland.

    But every one of us knows that there is no such thing as an \’all powerful\’ bike lobby.

    If we were \’all powerful\’, then all the bridges would have good bike access, downtown Portland would be easy to navigate for new riders, cyclists would never have problems with lack of shower facilities, lockers, or bike parking, motorists would pay their fair share for the public health, safety, noise, and climate change problems they cause, and drivers wouldn\’t be able to murder cyclists and get away with it by claiming blind spots, inattention, poor lighting, or whatever the latest excuse is.

    But no… Despite the thousands of cyclists crossing the bridges every day, the reality is that cars outnumber bikes 19 to 1, and the AAA/OPA/PBA/etc have the BTA out-manned and out-gunned.

    So if you want to personally do a Good Thing(TM) for the city, spend some time volunteering with SHIFT or BTA and actually make a people powered bike lobby that can cause some real, positive change around here.

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  • Spanky January 9, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Comparing Adams and Dozono, one thing in Dozono\’s favor is he has experience in teh \”real world\” outside of being a professional politician, and to me, that is a point in his favor as against Adams.

    Beyond that, I don\’t know much about him but wholeheartedly agree that it would be great to hav e areal race for Mayor. Notwithstanding his favor toward the bike centric constituency, I have misgivings about Adams for the same reasons I always had misgivings about Sten.

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  • rixtir January 9, 2008 at 10:20 am

    When I first came to Portland, one of my professors said she always knew how to vote by looking at where Bill Sizemore came down on the issue, and then voting the opposite.

    That\’s how I feel about PBA. 🙂

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  • peejay January 9, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I second what rixtir said!

    And Spanky, remember that GWB advertised his business experience as a qualification for the presidency, and look where that got us!

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  • J.L.: City Employee and Biker January 9, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I have worked for the City for eight years and I bike to work almost every day (except in too rainy weather). So I feel \”qualified\” to make a comment here.

    Sam Adams is the commissioner in charge of my bureau and I can tell you that he \”leads\” by being a bully and by belittling people. A Mayor who \”leads\” by fear and intimidation? No thanks. I don\’t care if he puts himself forward as the darling politician of the bike community. There are plenty of others in Portland responsible for making Portland a great and getting greater bike city.

    I have personally been in the room when Sam Adams has screamed and berated employees like some kind of tyrant or meglomaniac. Employees are afraid of him. When summoned to his office, they are affraid. Is that the kind of leader you want? Not me. I will NOT vote for him. I think he is a loathesome person. If I saw him in public while with my 7 year old son I would avoid him rather than taking my son to shake the hand of a leader.

    I don\’t know if Sho is a cyclist or not. But I DO know people who know him and support him and say he is a person who treats people with dignity and respect, is a leader who leads by vision and inspiration, and who gets things done.

    The bike community does not NEED Sam Adams or else we will collapse. Do you really think so? There are great people in the BTA, there\’s Jay Graves, Earl B–plenty of people who are helping to advance the bike ball.

    That\’s my two cents. I encourage you to look beyond Sam\’s photo op bike helmet and opportunistic currying of the bike community.

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  • PDOT employee January 9, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    I work for PDOT and I HATE SAM ADAMS! He is as others have said a bully & tyrant. It is not necessary to scream at people to get things done. We are people who are professionals. We have degrees and skills. Our Maintenance Bureau has staff who work hard in all kinds of weather getting things done. I know people like to diss on city employees but hopefully many of you know that we are a decent lot who truly care about our city.

    I do not know Sho Dozono personally but I have heard very good things about him. I admire a leader who has a reputation of leading by treating people with respect and also listening to their ideas. We in PDOT are not idiots. We are professionals. And we cannot wait to get rid of Sam Adams. Go do something else somewhere else you bully.

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  • Another PDOT employee January 9, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    To counter the above comments: Commissioner Adams has completely transformed the orientation at PDOT in a good way. Can Sam be tough on employees? Yes. Can he be intimidating and abrasive? Yes. Nobody\’s perfect and, as with all things you just have to accept the bad with the good. What I like about Sam is that he has a vision for how to make Portland better, he\’s working to address the major issues of our time, and he\’s incredibly effective at doing what\’s necessary to realize that vision. Sam is truly living the credo to \”think globally and act locally,\” and he\’s been perhaps the most effective Commissioner in charge of transportation in a long time.

    I, and many other PDOT and city employees will wholeheartedly endorse and vote for Sam. I\’ll take the few warts in exchange for a very hard working commissioner, and hopefully Mayor, who is working effectively toward a city that is built in a sustainable manner and addresses climate change, health, water and air pollution. Go Sam go!

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  • JohnO January 10, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Take a look at what Sam & his election team will do. Every time positive info comes out about Sho, there\’ll be a reference to the WWeek article. Listen to what real PDOT employees say, not the campaign types who say they love Sam. He\’s angry, and a bully, yes, but let\’s hear about issues and see where both stand. Let\’s vote on who protects the Portland we want.


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  • Lazlo January 10, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    rixtir & peejay:

    I guess you\’re against the Safe & Sound Streets proposal then, because PBA is for it. They have not, as far as I know, endorsed Dozono, however.

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