Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 2nd, 2012 at 12:55 pm
Local elections are heading into the home stretch here in Portland (primaries are May 15th). Candidates are going to the full-court press, media coverage is picking up, and non-profit groups are hosting events to introduce you to your future leaders. Here’s an update on things from a bike/transportation perspective…
The big news is that former City Commissioner turned streetcar/light-rail consultant Charlie Hales has won the big endorsement of The Oregonian. In an editorial explaining the decision, The Oregonian cited Hales’ experience on City Council and his “record of accomplishment” on many local issues.
her driving alone through the city.
The Oregonian didn’t chose candidate Jefferson Smith because of “policy differences on key transportation issues, including the need for a new Columbia River Crossing, which he opposes.” They also called Smith “more activist than executive.” As for Eileen Brady, the newspaper said she, “lacked Hales’ strong command of city issues.”
While failing to get The Oregonian’s support is clearly a tough loss for Brady, it’s not entirely bad news for Smith. Not only did he use it as rallying cry for his campaign on Twitter — “Would have appreciated The O’s endorsement, but not it if meant supporting the bridgedoggle, CRC. If you’re not sure you do either, join us.” — some voters see this as a plus for Smith.
Portlander Dave Feucht wrote us to say,
“To me, the Oregonian choosing to reject him based on his position on the CRC is a positive thing in terms of my view of him, because I know the view they hold with regards to the CRC is absolutely against my own, is against reasonable, rational thought, and against the reality of our current situation… I actually have liked Hales pretty well, from what I’ve heard of him, but would probably vote for Smith over him, the Oregonian thing isn’t so much a negative against him, so much as it is a plus for Smith (in my mind).”
The Oregonian endorsement has surely helped Hales close the gap and possibly puts him in the lead over Brady at this point. However, both polls I’ve seen show that undecided voters still hold the keys to this election.
If you’re in that camp, there are some important events coming up.
– Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) is airing profiles of all three candidates this week. Hales’ is already up, with Smith and Brady to follow. On Thursday, OPB will have all three candidates in their studio for a special edition of Think Out Loud at 9:00 am. I’ve been invited to “live-Tweet” the event from the studio so stay tuned for that.
– The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and a host of other health, land use, and transportation non-profits are hosting “a conversation” with the candidates on April 11th.
– Bike Walk Vote, the re-energized political action committee that has already endorsed Jefferson Smith for Mayor, is just days away from releasing their picks for the City Council, Metro, and Washington County Commission and state legislature races. On Wednesday night (4/4), they’ll throw a party at Crank bike shop (2725 SE Ash St) where you can meet and mingle with the candidates they’ve chosen.
Eileen Brady released her first TV ads today. Interestingly, one of them features her driving around Portland in a Subaru station wagon. It makes me wonder how much of a conscious choice it was to portray herself driving alone in a city known for its biking, walking and transit network. Also of interest is that she does show herself on a bike (at about the 27 second mark); but it’s so quick you might miss it if you blink…
Brady’s ad reminded me of Sam Adams’ 2008 mayoral campaign TV ad that showed him prominently astride a bike throughout (ahh those halcyon days)…
One last note on Brady, I sat down with her for an interview recently and will share it here this week. Stay tuned for more local election coverage! Who has your vote at this point in the race?