Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Whatsoever a woman soweth, that shall she also reap

In another epic attempt to render its editorial pages completely irrelevant, the Oregonian takes a swipe at the Brading campaign for informing House District 49 voters of their Representative's less-than-moral conduct involving an underaged girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Minnis' brother-in-law:

For a while it looked like Brading and his supporters would stick to the issues. But apparently the high road doesn't lead in or out of District 49. Last week "The Friends of Rob Brading," funded by the House Democrats' political action committee, rolled out a television ad linking Minnis to Mark Foley, the Florida Republican chased from Congress for sexually harassing young male pages.

The Democrats' sleazy ad cites a 1995 lawsuit against a pizza restaurant owned and operated by a corporation consisting of Minnis and her husband, John. A 17-year-old former employee at the restaurant filed a civil complaint against John Minnis, his brother Tuck and the corporation, alleging sexual assault, sexual harassment and wrongful discharge. The lawsuit was settled with a $20,000 payment to the girl.

None of this has anything to do with the Legislature, or with Karen Minnis. It's just more poison injected directly into the lungs of Oregon politics.

Wrong again, O Editorial Board. This has much to do with the Legislature and everything to do with Karen Minnis.

Karen Minnis and her husband claim they didn't believe the underaged girl when she claimed that Tuck Minnis was sexually harassing her. Yet they (the two of them) paid the girl off with $20,000 to make the case go away. Any reasonable, objective individual can certainly reach the conclusion that Karen Minnis is a party to covering up and protecting her brother-in-law in this matter. This information comes directly from John Minnis' OWN AFFADAVIT.

Further, the girl in question claims that she was retaliated against in her job by Karen Minnis for making the claims against Tuck Minnis.

The people involved with FuturePAC and the Brading campaign are laying out the facts in this matter as they know them to be. Period. This incident speaks to a fundamental lack of good character and judgement on the part of Karen Minnis. And the public not only has a right to know, they need to understand the character of the person representing them in Salem.

Another aspect of this series of incidents that really stick in my craw have to do with John Minnis himself. In a column dated October 29, Steve Duin says that John Minnis claims he didn't believe the allegations but still reported it to his supervisor, Sgt. Bob Wallicker.

In no way does reporting this to his supervisor constitute a fulfillment of his legal obligation to report. If such a report took place, there would have been a criminal investigation of Tuck Minnis. Its evident that both Karen and John Minnis worked to shield Tuck from this.

Karen Minnis was personally involved in all aspects of this incident. She personally managed the restaurant after Tuck was demoted is directly accused of retaliating at work against the young girl in question. John Minnis discussed Karen's activities and personal state of mind in his affadavit on this matter. Moreover, Karen and John Minnis are the only two members of the LLC who own the restaurant. I find it very difficult to believe that she had no involvement in choosing to pay this girl off and settle the case.

Meeting David Edwards: Part III

[Part one of my interview with David Edwards is here. Part two is here. Apologies that part three has been so long in coming. We've had a lot of breaking stories lately and unfortunately I had to push this back]

We've covered Edwards' ideas and plans for policy should he be elected to the Oregon House. We've also discussed the fundamental differences between Edwards and his GOP opponent, Edward Curry.

I felt it would also be instructive to understand Edwards' stance on some of the various Ballot Measures in play.

We began with Measure 39. Edwards says he is a supporter of property rights, he is concerned that 39 will unfairly limit the ability of cities, service districts and counties to do rational land use planning. Edwards believes that sometimes its necessary for government to take these steps to draw business into an area.

Edwards says he rejects both Measures 41 and 48 as "a disaster for our state". When we're already struggling to provide resources for essential services like schools and public safety, these measures would exacerbate those problems.

Edwards opposes Measure 43 but does support an alternative called the Pregnant Teen Protection Act as introduced in the 2005 session by Mary Nolan. David says that this measure would better protect the health and safety of young women. The last Legislature had the opportunity to pass the Pregnant Teen Protection Act, a common sense plan that ensures caring, supportive parents are involved when teenagers face medical decisions like abortion. He supports this plan to allow a doctor to determine whether notifying a pregnant young woman's parents would expose her to serious risk.

When we addressed Measure 42, Edwards noted that he works with statistics for his job. He said that he recieved information from the Insurance Commissioner of Texas that indicates there is a strong correlation between credit rating and insurance risk. Therefore he opposes Measure 42.

Edwards also rejects Measures 46-47. He noted that as much as he'd like to see campaign finance reform he doesn't believe these are the appropriate Measures. Edwards says that wealthy individuals would have advantages that others wouldn't have. Edwards maintained that he would like to pursue campaign finance reform in the legislature. Edwards would like to begin with lobbyist reform and then work toward campaign finance reform that would pass the muster of the State Supreme Court. The difficulty is the "money is free speech angle", but Edwards does think we can enact reasonable limits on contributions. In terms of publically financed elections, Edwards says he'd like to study it further to see if its a viable option for statewide elections.

In wrapping up our interview, we also covered the local community reaction to Edwards' campaign. David noted that his responses when door knocking as well as his tracking poll results show that he has a clear shot to win this seat in the House.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Left, Right Agree: OR House On Cusp of Flip

The national electoral mood, if anything, seems to be trending towards a building Democratic wave that threatens to transform all levels of government across the country. Serious, totally mainstream political handicappers like Rothenburg and Cook are saying incredible things like 30 and 45 House seats for the Democrats, plus razor thin control of the Senate as serious possibilities. As many as 60 or more House races are apparently up for grabs--all of them Republican. Either everything we understand about late-stage polling is wrong, or it will be stolen, or this will be a history changing election.

Even Republican projections are giving up the House and at least three or four Senate seats. The suggestion that the Governor's mansions will flip to majority Democratic seems to be so well accepted that it's not even a story, and to suggest that state legislatures will not be carried up in the same wave doesn't really jibe with logic.

So in that context, both sides of the partisan continuum are making early predictions for Oregon's legislature: look for the Senate to hold Democratic--and the House to be an even money bet for flipping. Jon Isaacs, the Exec at Democratic FuturePAC in charge of taking the House, came out confident and asking for help to put Democratic candidates across the state over the top, even in places not generally friendly to Democrats in the past--much in the same way the national geographic borders have been shattered by the wave. Idaho? Nebraska? Wyoming? These should not be Democratic-competitive, but they are. And so goes Oregon:
I'm a professional - and raising expectations goes against every rule of political spin, but we're laying it all on the line. The insiders and lobbyists still scoff, thinking that we're going to hit 29, or maybe 30 seats, but we're becoming more confident every day that a majority of 31 or 32 seats is a real possibility.

But it can only happen if every single BlueOregon reader helps make it happen. This means you. This isn't the usual "come help us" campaign bluster -- I'm deadly serious. There are at least a half dozen seats that may be decided by less than a hundred votes.

The Oregon House Democrats, and our campaign arm Future PAC, are doing everything we can. We're pulling out all the stops. Over the past two weeks we've made significant NEW financial investments in the following races:

- HD 10 Jean Cowan
- HD 14 Chris Edwards
- HD 21 Brian Clem
- HD 24 Sal Peralta
- HD 25 Charles Lee
- HD 30 David Edwards
- HD 49 Rob Brading

Tens of thousands of new dollars have been or will be spent on these seven races during the final eight days - all pick-up opportunities for Democrats. Internal polling shows each of these candidates either leading - or trailing within the margin of error. We only need to win four to take control of the House.

In addition, our key incumbents continue to run strong campaigns to retain their seats. We feel very good about the strength of incumbent Representatives Larry Galizio, Chuck Riley, Arnie Roblan and Betty Komp. Newcomers Tobias Read and Suzanne Bonamici in the Democratic seats in HD 27 and 34 have done a superb job of withstanding Republican challenges in their campaigns.

In addition to the top seven pick-up opportunities listed above, we have several races that have emerged late as a result of great campaigns being run by Democratic candidates and a favorable political environment. With the national mood being decidedly anti-Republican, any of these great candidates could pull off upsets. They've each run a top-notch campaign. Don't be shocked if one or more of these candidates comes out on top:- HD 17 Jim Gilbert
- HD 18 Dan Thackaberry
- HD 19 Brian Grisham
- HD 37 Bev Backa
- HD 39 Mike Caudle
- HD 52 Suzanne Van Orman
- HD 59 Jim Gilbertson

Nice job of laying out the tiers, with some hint of nonspecfic internal polling info. In short, they look for four of seven among the hot races, holding almost all incumbent seats, and even picking off one or two of the races appearing to ride the wave.

Optimistic, eh? If local races have shifted in the same way the national and statewide numbers have moved in the last week to 10 days, then vulnerable Dem incumbents are becoming safer, top tier races are moving towards the Dems, and safe Republicans are becoming less safe. So again, there's a logic to this kind of thinking that is hard to deny.

Other than Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, Republicans are downcast or at least realistic, and in the blogosphere the mood seems similar. Ted Piccolo at NW Republican had this to say over the weekend from his insiders:
There is an amazing chance that the Republicans will lose the Oregon House. Republicans who are in real trouble are: Alan Brown (Newport), Billy Dalto (Salem), Everett Curry (Hillsboro, formerly held by Derrick Kitts), Debi Farr (Eugene) and as of yesterday Donna Nelson (McMinnville). Of course Speaker Minnis is in trouble but that is more due to the Democrats really really trying to make a political point. We'll deal with that race later.

One Republican politico made sure to mention to the Coyote that most all of those Republicans in trouble are squishes. Further pointing out that squishing on Republican principles will get you in more trouble than standing firm. That, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, is what we are seeing nationally as the Democrats run as conservatives.

The problem that I am hearing from the Everett Curry race is that Curry is talking like a liberal Republican in behind closed doors interviews. There are some solid Republicans who are secretly shrugging their shoulders at a potential Curry loss. It reminds me of the Mary Gallego race from a few years ago. It is to bad that Curry does not hit the streets hard as a solid conservative. That seat will vote for a conservative, just look at Derrick Kitts. Kitts, a good conservative Republican, could have held that seat easily and perhaps after term limits passes would be welcomed back to fill it by a vacating Sen. Starr? Hmmm... but I digress.

Finally the Torry seat is really in play as is..... drumb roll please...... the Riley and Monroe race. Look for sparks to fly in Riley v Monroe. The numbers are saying that seat is now in play as is the York v Metsger race.

Minnis' election problem is not that she is to squishy. Despite some of the issues I have with her, she is for the most part, a pretty good conservative vote and voice in the legislature. It is because of her effectiveness that she may lose this race. It is only because the Democrats have decided to have their hissy fit this cycle in Minnis' district. Fortunately they are running a weak candidate against her.
Piccolo appears to acknowledge the possible loss of four or five seats, even among his short list. And he shows a lot more optimism for Republicans in the Senate, but I can't imagine where that momentum would be coming from.

The newest polls from Cook and RT Strategies are showing an astonishing 61-35 edge for Democrats among most likely voters nationally. There's absolutely no reason to do so, but cut that in half for Oregon and you still get about 54-41. How does that not produce Democratic winners all up and down the ticket? How many Rs are they really likely to cherry-pick?

The whole theory of the wave is that when you get this imbalanced an electorate, with a large majority of people showing up to vote voting for one party, it makes wholesale changes in races you wouldn't expect.

The work still has to be done; I can't stress that enough. But let history be your goal as you come to Election Day. See how good it can get, because if everyone works hard it could be really, really good.

Kulo at 51% in Latest Rasmussen--UPDATE With Details

Update, 9AM 10/31--
The numbers are now up in the public area...

Update at the top, 230pm--
I'm putting the update at the top because with the help of Internet fairy godmothers, we have some of the details currently not in public release from Rasmussen on the goobernor's race.

As bad as the basic numbers look for Saxton, the peripherals are much, much worse:
44% Saxton
51% Kulongoski
3% some other candidate
2% not sure
With undecideds this low, leaners must have been included, so it's fair to say that Ted's solid support is probably in the 48-50% range--but it also means that Saxton's is also about where he's been before; 40-42%. And if anything, I find the "other candidate" numbers to be low by a couple of points (as a rule, unnamed "others" poll less well than actual names, and of course names are on the ballot), points that would ultimately come from Saxton in all likelihood. So you tell me: how on earth is he supposed to pick up any ground? Where is it going to come from? Firm Kulongoski supporters? Yeah, right--not unless it's disclosed that Kulo and Neil Goldschmidt had a secret "sleaze bachelor" pad together in the 80s.

Very favorable
Kulongoski 21%
Saxton 20%

Somewhat favorable
Kulongoski 38%
Saxton 26%

Somewhat unfavorable
Kulongoski 19%
Saxton 23%

Very unfavorable
Kulongoski 20%
Saxton 27%

Not sure
Kulongoski 2%
Saxton 4%
Put that together, and you get 59/39 for Kulo--absolutely the strongest numbers I've seen from Ted literally in YEARS--and 46/50 for Saxton. Fifty percent of likely voters have an unfavorable view of him? Has a challenger for major office ever unseated an incumbent when half the people voting don't like him? Jesus, that's ugly. By the way, that's personal approval; on job approval Ted gets a similarly strong 57/41. Assuming that Survey USA's figures have been roughly correct for much of the summer and early fall, one can only conclude that Kulongoski has done an impressive job of fleshing out his accomplishments over the first term, and leveraging the difficulties of working with Karen Minnis and Wayne Scott against any disappointment with his relative level of success.

It's not like I haven't been bold as love to this point, with my firm belief that Ted has had little to fear from Saxton if he ran a competent campaign against the Faux Farmer, but this cinches it for me. Along with a rumored Hibbitts poll in the offing that puts Ted in the same 4-6 point lead as his last poll, I'll say it again: Ron Saxton has no shot in this race. Make sure to vote and encourage others to do so just to make sure, but you can bank this one next Tuesday.

[Original post follows...]
I have sketchy details, because the poll is still behind the Member's Curtain at Rasmussen Reports, but I know RealClearPolitics has a subscription, and they appear to have jumped the gun and released the numbers (which Scott Rasmussen sometimes lets people do). They show the most recent survey of 500 likely voters giving a 51% to 44% Kulongoski lead over Ron Saxton. It's unclear whether this reflects newly pushed "leaners" from the previous 47-42 lead for Kulongoski earlier in the month, or whether conviction has solidified, but as we head into the final week the incumbent looks well positioned to hold serve and capture another term.

If you read my stuff on polls, you'd find I give Rasmussen fairly serious weight in Oregon polling, moreso than either Hibbitts or Riley (although Hibbitts is reputable enough). I like them because they had an excellent track record in 04, seem well-disposed to covering statewide races, and offer extraordinarily stable results--there's never a crazy 10 point swing from month to month in a Rasmussen poll.

And true to form, while other polls have wobbled back and forth and given close results, over the course of eight months Kulongoski's totals had stayed in the high 40s, Saxton moving from mid 30s to low 40s as his name recognition grew and he ran some body blow commercials before Ted got on the air. The race stayed relatively stable, and Kulongoski was always in some kind of lead, usually outside the margin.

For them, then, this is just another poll of incremental movements. Ted picks up four points from last time, while Saxton gets two more for a net increase of 2 for Ted, up from 5 points ahead to 7. But being over the magic 50% mark is important, for it's some place the governor has not yet been. And I don't think it's a blip; this is what you'd expect to see from a Democratic governor in a Democratic state in a Democratic wave where the governor hadn't killed any hookers or pocketed any large sums--people fear change until they're totally disgusted with the status quo, then they figure they have nothing to lose.

In this sense, Saxton is looking a lot like Kerry '04, afforded the public's ear until the electorate (barely) decided there was too much risk in going with someone who didn't really sound like they had a workable plan--even if they weren't sure of the incumbent's plan, either. Except of course Saxton has never been ahead in this race, and Kulongoski hasn't been one-fiftieth as inept as Bush. But the principle is the same.

The mood given by the local media on the debates is one I tend to agree with: Saxton seemed awfully vague and ill-prepared when it came to substantiating his charges of waste and fraud that he could find to allow us more money directed towards actual services. If he'd actually given concrete examples, people might have glommed onto that. But when you don't know exactly whether he actually has any money to capture, it seems like a risk based on all the tax cuts he wants to pass. And more emotionally, Saxton says he's an independent kind of Republican--but do people really want to take the risk that he's just another Bush toady?

If this is indeed the end of Saxton's run, in the end his tightrope dance will be what killed him. He tries to claim the ability to be all things to all people, and suspiciously appears to be mouthing the words "trust me" even when he's not talking. And frankly, he really just doesn't have much of a coherent vision. Fair or not, the challenger has to offer a better solution, not just an even money chance at better luck next time. Saxton wants voters to roll the dice with him, and it doesn't appear that the last two weeks has caused people to want to put money down.

That's all my educated opinion, of course; let's return to the facts: with one week to go, a reputable and accurate polling service has Ted Kulongoski favored by seven percentage points, and capturing more than 50% of the vote. If these results persist until Nov. 7th, Saxton literally has no way to make up the deficit if he continues to be unable to weaken Kulongoski's position.

M46/47: Do was we say, not as we do

There's been a lot of back and forth here at LO about Measures 46-47. The proponents have argued their case here vigorously. And yet we remain unmoved in our opposition to these Measures.

I spent some time last week checking out the C&E reports for 46 & 47. I came across some pretty interesting stuff.

One of 47's redeeming qualities is that it has tough disclosure laws. I'm a firm believer in that. However, we have disclosure laws here already. And its apparent to me that the folks behind 46 & 47 are violating the spirit of these laws.

According to my visit with the folks down at the Secretary of State's office, each ballot measure is required to have its own PAC. Each PAC is required to report its contributions and expenditures so that citizens can follow the money.

Only that's a little tough to do. The four reports for each of 46 and 47's PACs have basically two sources of incoming revenue: Democracy's Edge Action Fund (a non-profit that isn't required to report its revenue sources) and a miscellaneous PAC called Money Is Not Democracy or MIND#4630--the two PACs for the measures are also called Money Is Not Democracy. But they're numbered differently to delineate them.

MIND #4630 is the same group of people that maintain the other two PACs, by the way.

(Yes, its very confusing. Yes it makes it extremely difficult to understand what's going on.)

Here are the reports for the 46/47 PACs:

MIND #5039

July 2006 May 2006 February 2006 September 2006

MIND #5090

July 2006 May 2006 February 2006 September 2006.

In order to find out who is actually giving at least some of the money to these Measures, you have to then go through another hoop. Since we can't know who is giving money to Democracy's Edge Action Fund, we can only check the other revenue source, MIND #4630.

MIND #4630 is required to report its contributors. The problem is, they don't report at the same time that the other PACS do because they're not the designated initiative/measure PAC. So we have to wait until their reporting time in order to find out who is funding them.

This is perfectly legal, incidentally. But for a group of people who claim the moral high ground when it comes to campaign finance reform, skirting the spirit of the law by making citizens sift through several layers seems somewhat less than morally/ethically superior. According to my chat with the folks down at the Secretary of State's office, that's the spirit of the current law, anyway.

Its also the spirit of the law according to Sarah at Money In Politics Research Action Project. When I spoke with her last week, she agreed that the spirit of these current disclosure laws is to allow citizens to keep track of the money. While I have no evidence that there is a concerted and deliberate attempt to hide their donors, it is odd that the folks surrounding 46/47 are so concerned about campaign financing while making it so difficult to find out who is funding them.

According to my chat with Becky Miller, this isn't unlike what Bill Sizemore used to do as well. Sizemore was funding all sorts of initiatives and measures, funneling funds through from one or two places. Miller believes Sizemore was deliberately trying to hide his donors, however. As I said, I have no direct evidence that the 46/47 are deliberately doing that. They're merely making us jump through the legal extra hoops in order to dig up who is funding them.

One of our chief complaints is the complexity of Measure 47, for which we have been repeatedly chided by proponents in comments. We shouldn't be voting against campaign finance reform because its complicated, we're told.

That might seem like a fair argument. Sometimes law is complex. But 47 is highly punitive if a campaign screws up the requirements.

But smart people can figure out campaign laws, right? After all, if they can write highly legalistic ballot measures, they can certainly follow the current laws which are also complex.

Only perhaps not. MIND #4630 actually filed one of its campaign contribution and expenditure reports two days late. According to the Secretary of State's office, they'll have a roughly $10,000 fine levied against them. The SOS is very clear on when the reports for these PACs are supposed to be turned in. As I understand it from speaking with their office, they even send out mailed reminders.

So not only did #4630 file late, their reporting requirement is different that the actual PACs for the Measure, making it that much more difficult to follow their money.

In addition, the petitioners of 46/47 tried to file #4630's reports during the primary. This is outside the rules as well. Based on my chat with the SOS, #4630 wasn't the designated PAC for the initiatives--so they couldn't file.

According to my chats with Sarah at MiPRAP and Becky Miller, they could still have disclosed to the public without filing. Becky noted that if a campaign was really all about allowing the public to follow their money, they'd simply disclose their funding in a press release. Sarah noted that this type of press disclosure has happened before with other campaigns. That never happened for these Measures.

We've been told by the supporters of 46/47 that we should trust that they know what they're doing. That these Measures are going to fix campaign finance reform in Oregon.

Color me skeptical. If they can't follow the spirit and the letter of the laws already in place--I don't see how we can trust in their "fix".

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Minnis cries "foul" which sounds an awful lot like "wolf!"

On last night's KATU 11PM news broadcast, the Minnis clan's apparent cover up of Tuck Minnis' child sexual abuse was one of their top stories. Sadly, KATU did such a piss poor job of reporting that I hardly know where to begin.

Unfortunately the story as reported last night doesn't appear to be on the KATU website. Small wonder. If I'd done such a shoddy job of reporting I wouldn't want it displayed for posterity either.

The KATU reporter sat down with Karen Minnis--who whined incessantly that what happened wasn't her fault and not her responsibility (sound familiar?).

The reporter let her statements stand unchallenged. Which tells me that he obviously didn't bother to read John Minnis' affadavit.

Neither apparently did the Oregonian.

Tuck Minnis worked at a business known as Little John's Pizza in Hillsboro, which was owned by John and KAREN Minnis. Further, once they made the decision to remove Tuck from his managerial position due to these incidents, KAREN Minnis became the lunch shift manager, working from 10AM to 2PM and they placed the girl who made the complaint on that shift.

John Minnis further states in his affadavit that he and KAREN didn't believe the accuser. If she's not responsible, why is he including her in these statements? In addition, if the situation at the store was dire enough for them to remove Tuck Minnis as manager and have Karen come in and take over, why wasn't Tuck fired? Why didn't John Minnis report the allegations to the proper authorities and demand a full investigation?

Oregon Statute is clear here. ORS 419B.010 states:

419B.010 Duty of officials to report child abuse; exceptions; penalty. (1) Any public or private official having reasonable cause to believe that any child with whom the official comes in contact has suffered abuse or that any person with whom the official comes in contact has abused a child shall immediately report or cause a report to be made in the manner required in ORS 419B.015.

John and KAREN Minnis had reasonable cause enough to yank Tuck Minnis' manager title from him for these incidents. Its pretty clear that would be enough reasonable cause to at least file a report.

Under 419B.015, it should have been reported thusly:

419B.015 Report form and content; notice to law enforcement agencies and local office of Department of Human Services. (1)(a) A person making a report of child abuse, whether voluntarily or pursuant to ORS 419B.010, shall make an oral report by telephone or otherwise to the local office of the Department of Human Services, to the designee of the department or to a law enforcement agency within the county where the person making the report is located at the time of the contact. The report shall contain, if known, the names and addresses of the child and the parents of the child or other persons responsible for care of the child, the child’s age, the nature and extent of the abuse, including any evidence of previous abuse, the explanation given for the abuse and any other information that the person making the report believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the abuse and the identity of the perpetrator.

In the girl's complaint (see pages 26-40), she alleges that John Minnis told her that "he could treat her any way he wanted because he was the employer." The girl further complained that she was forced to quit as they kept assigning her to late night shifts, ordering her to change her clothes on shift and off,setting rules for female employees that didn't apply to males and changing the girl's job description from hostess to cook--as well as treating her in a punitive and angry manner (anyone who watched Karen Minnis on KATU last night would totally buy this. Its obvious she's hella thin skinned).

So not only did this girl suffer sexual abuse at the hands of John Minnis' brother, both KAREN and John Minnis retaliated against her for making the complaints in the first place.

John Minnis is claiming that he reported the incident orally. I'm right now prepared to say that's bullshit. If John Minnis had properly reported this, there would be a record somewhere of a police investigation. That too is required by law when a report is made [419B.020(2)]. So far, no one has been able to come forward with record of a single police investigation taking place with Tuck Minnis with this incident.

And finally, why did John and KAREN Minnis pay this girl off with $20,000 if they didn't believe her? That simply makes no sense.

John and Karen Minnis are now threatening to sue both Rob Brading and FuturePAC now that this story has surfaced. What's telling is that they're apparently not making any plans to go to court to have the ads on this issue taken out of circulation.

Given the hefty source citations involved here, undoubtedly the court would rebuff them.

Blogger SUCKS

Our blog host hasn't been working well this weekend--which is why new postings on this blog haven't been up until this morning.

We're in the process of looking around for new hosting. But it can be expensive and time consuming. It could take awhile to get this done.

We appreciate your patience. Believe me, we're frustrated.

Most of you are probably drained dry from giving money to campaigns. But if you've got some spare change and can shoot it over to us, there's a donation button on the top of the right sidebar. We'd appreciate it.

Spanning the State--Fall Back! Edition

For many on this "Fall Back Sunday", its time to catch an extra hour of sleep. Not me. I've got a lengthy list of things to do today. No rest for the wicked, don'tcha know.

So on this eve before the eve of All Hallows Eve, let's Span the State!


Way to go Beavers! OSU's football squad stunned #3 ranked USC yesterday, 33-31.

A candidate for Jefferson County sheriff candidate is being forced to respond to a motion calling for the revocation of his police license for alledged "gross misconduct".

Gene Wall of Baker City lays it down in an LTE against Greg Walden. An excerpt: All this indicating to me that I wouldn't vote for Walden if he was the only candidate running because he's in lock step with Bush who in my opinion will go down in history as the scourge of my once great country, the United States of America.

The Voisin Campaign gets a little face time in the Bend Bulletin for their savvy use of YouTube.

Could a homeless man win a city council election in Ashland?

Karen Minnis proves that she lacks grace and dignity in the face of a tough campaign. She can't even bring herself to say something nice about her opponent in reply. No wonder the Oregon House is such a mess--with leadership like Minnis in charge its inevitable.

Don't vote for me!

If you're going to rob a bank close to Halloween, you should definitely wear a ghoul mask. That's getting into the spirt!

Its looking as if 2006 is going to be a banner year for wine grapes in Oregon. The estimated harvest is at 15-20 percent above average.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dumbest. Press Release. Ever.

The "braintrust" over at the Saxton Campaign has truly outdone themselves. Just when you think Republicans in Oregon can't get any more stupid--they go out of their way to prove you wrong:

(Medford, OR) – Governor Ted Kulongoski is quite the traveler. He told debate viewers last night that as governor he’s “been down to southern Oregon over 30 times” (Source: Oregonian, 10/25/2006). Thirty times in nearly four years…to a part of the state that’s only a few hours away from the capital and has a good chunk of the state’s population. Wow Ted – how do you find the time?

It’s no wonder the Capital Press summed up Kulongoski’s tenure in two words: “No-Show.”

“Ted Kulongoski has flat out ignored parts of Oregon,” said Ron Saxton, who has been to southern Oregon communities nearly forty times just during 2006. “I will meet face to face with people to solve problems, especially the unique challenges facing rural parts of our state. Some things just can’t be solved from hundreds of miles away. Oregonians deserve better.”

What have things come to when you have to cite The Capitol Press? Jaysus. LOL This is the same rag that endorses every freak-a-leak rightwing ballot measure out there except for Term Limits (Measure 45).

Saxton can't actually claim Ted wasn't down in Southern Oregon as claimed. Apparently its supposed to win momentum to cite The Capitol Press. Good grief.

I can't understand why they'd even bother with something like this. Its inane, even for Saxton.

(via Blue Oregon)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Former 46/47 Petitioner Speaks: Vote NO

About a month ago, Carla posted a piece discussing her opposition to Measures 46 and 47, elegantly titled "Why Measures 46 and 47 Suck." Based on the 143 comments that resulted--far more than on any other post either of us has done--that turned out to be a fairly controversial statement. If there is one ballot initiative that has turned progressives against other progressives in this season of otherwise amazing cooperation between us, it's 47.

The central problem arises from the near-universal agreement--across the political spectrum--that money in politics is causing an assortment of problems that seriously hamper democracy. Typically, the response from conservative quarters is that money equals speech, and the only proper thing that can be done is to mandate strict disclosure of funding. Liberals tend to believe that the system can be properly managed, allowing some funding but not unlimited money, particularly from PACS and corporations.

Which perhaps is why the debate over 47 has been so contentious at LO and elsewhere, because M47 tries to involve both approaches--restrictions AND disclosure--and tries to compromise on tight limits that nonetheless create disparities between individuals and certain groups. (And as concerns ballot measures, where some of the worst fraud seems to occur, no limits were even attempted).

Among the great and varied group of commenters that day was Rep. Peter Buckley of HD 5 in Ashland. Buckley was originally one of the Chief Petitioners for Measure 47, so there are few people as knowledgeable about the current state of affairs, what the initiative attempts to do, and what the ramifications might be. And as he did at Loaded O, in today's Oregonian Buckley lays out the primary fear that caused him to disassociate from M47: significant parts of would be in danger of not passing federal Constitutional muster, and thus leave us with perhaps a worse situation than before:
If each part of Measure 47's proposed system were to actually be put in place, the flow of big money would indeed be halted. The problem is that major parts of the proposed system would in all likelihood be overturned in the courts, leaving huge holes for that same big money to flow back in.

The turning point for me came when we brought in a national consultant on campaign-finance reform to talk through the proposed system with different groups in Oregon. When the direct question came up as to the likelihood of all of the different financial limits being upheld in court, the consultant's reply was this: "Maybe fifty-fifty."

I've taken that same question to a number of constitutional attorneys since then. They all agree on one thing: After the dust clears from the legal challenges, wealthy individuals who contribute to their own campaigns and special-interest groups funded by a Loren Parks or a Howard Rich who run high-dollar independent expenditure efforts would emerge victorious and would have the limits on their campaign contributions overturned. Meanwhile, the rest of us would be muzzled.

That's not real reform. [emph mine]
When Carla wrote her piece I was ambivalent on 47, mostly because I had not given it a close read. As she did, I eventually tried to parse my way through it, and while I consider myself quite good at hacking through legalese and getting to the meat of such a document, there was much I didn't quite grasp the implications of.

And that's another problem, as far as I'm concerned, especially given the measure's reliance on new and seemingly burdensome registration and reporting requirements. The argument that disclosure equals transparency and thus eliminates the problem is only true as far as the laws of disclosure are followed in the first place. And if the laws were always followed, we wouldn't need reform!

The obvious example of this principle at work is the recent memory jog of legislators that hey, they DO need to report that trip to Maui or Israel! Did the disclosure laws on those trips already exist? Yes they did--but when you rely on a lobbyist to tell you when to disclose, the system breaks down immediately. And in a larger sense, when proponents argue that the law is complex and thus the initiative text must also be complex to fully cover it, I would counter that its precisely this complexity that allows lawmakers to throw up their hands (the ones caught in the cookie jar) and say, "I thought I was complying! I must have misread the rules." If you don't believe me (and the Maui revelations don't convince you), read through a season's worth of violations concerning NCAA recruiting, and the responses of the accused. There's more feigned ignorance there than if Marilyn Vos Savant had been captured by the Khmer Rouge.*

We could all go round on this for another 143 comments, but I thought it was useful to see a cohesive argument made against M47, which will earn lots of votes on the sheer desire to see something, anything done about campaign finance gone amuck. But Oregonians have run into difficulty before, trying to solve a problem everyone agrees we have with a solution that no one really understands fully. It wasn't wise on Measure 37, and it's no smarter on 47.

Incidentally, the arguments against 46--the necessary Constitutional precursor that must pass for campaign limits to be imposed--are less persuasive to me. The worry is that if 46 passes and 47 doesn't, the door will be wide open to the Sizemores and McIntires to do something fucked up with it before progressive get their chance to think and overthink things and get that on the ballot. I suppose that's possible--but any fault for not trying to fill the gap with sensible finance legislation falls on us, and I can't blame Sizemore for my own lack of initiative [no pun intended]. At some point before any campaign finance gets passed, the OC will need to be changed, so we might as well do it now and move forward.

*this is a fairly obscure historical reference I guess, based on the extermination camps of the Khmer after the Vietnam War, but you guys are smart so I'm not afraid to include it.

Does Minnis support bringing her husband to justice?

As we reported here, an investigation by FuturePAC has uncovered that Oregon GOP House Speaker Karen Minnis and her police officer/former legislator husband John appear to have covered up child sexual abuse committed by his brother, Tuck.

In 2005, Minnis sponsored House Bill 2015, which later was folded into House Bill 2316. The law eventually passed, expanding the statue of limitations to either the child’s 30th birthday or within 12 years of being reported to a law enforcement agency for the following felonies: Criminal Mistreatment; Rape I, II and III; Sodomy I, II and III; Unlawful Sexual Penetration I and II;Sexual Abuse I and II; Using a Child in Display of Sexual Conduct; Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse; Incest; Promoting Prostitution; and Compelling Prostitution.

Nice how she managed to skip the "failing to report" statue, eh?

Not only did Minnis sponsor this legislation, she gave testimony for it. You can hear it here (skip ahead to 20:45 on the time), but I've excerpted a large section of it below:

As many of you know--some of you don't know, my husband John was a Portland Police Officer for 27 years. And he passed legislation through this body that set up what they call the Child Abuse Investigation Team. They call it the CAT Team. That has an interdisciplinary model that has social workers, DAs , health professionals and police officers that took in these kinds of cases and work with these complaints.
And the devastation that is wrought upon children when an adult takes advantage of them is life long devastation. Life long devastation. It impacts people for the rest of their lives.

I don't believe that because a time limit has run out that somebody ought to get off being prosecuted for destroying another person's life. John would come home and tell me stories that were heart breaking and horrendous. And I've talked with people that have been the victims of such activity and as adults when they recall the incident. It was accompanied with tears and gut wrenching emotion because there had been no justice, no recourse.

Ladies and gentlemen I think we need to send a message that it doesn't matter who you are or what you do. That if you do something like this against one of the children of this state, there will be a price to pay. There will be a price to pay. Just because a clock runs out doesn't mean that you're not going to be held accountable.

Minnis' husband was OBLIGATED UNDER OREGON LAW to report his brother's actions to the police. He's been able to escape justice because the "clock ran out" and now he doesn't have to be held accountable.

Will she see to it that her husband pays the price?

Somehow I doubt it.

Minnis' illegally cover child sexual abuse for a relative

It would seem that if you're in the Minnis clan--they'll do an awful lot to scuttle your bad behavior. Apparently even behavior bad enough to be considered child sexual abuse.

According to information uncovered in an investigation by FuturePAC, John and Karen Minnis paid off a 17 year old girl who worked in their Hillsboro restaurant after John's brother Tuck consistently sexually harassed and abused her in the workplace. Worse, this payoff to settle her civil claim stemmed from an incident in Tuck's apartment where he engaged in unwanted touching of her in a sexual away.

According to a legal analysis of the case facts by attorney Marc Blackman, the Minnis were legally obligated to report Tuck's behavior, and failed to do so:

As to the criminal law issues presented by the materials I reviewed, my conclusions are:

1. The facts recited in the complaint in Vega set forth allegations of child sexual abuse.

2. The principals of Little John’s Pizza Co., LLC recognized that the complaint in
Vega provided reasonable cause to believe that Tuck had committed sexual offenses against Andrea.

3. As a public official, John Minnis had a duty under ORS 419B.010 immediately to report them to the Department of Human Services or a law enforcement agency in Washington County, Oregon.

4. John Minnis and Little John’s Pizza Co., LLC’s payment of $20,000 to Andrea combined with the failure to make the report required by ORS 419B.010 in and of themselves appear to be insufficient to establish the offenses of bribing a witness or tampering with a witness.

John Minnis was a POLICE OFFICER and a public official. I don't rightly know how he could possibly say he didn't know he was obligated to report this to the cops.

To put a fine caveat here, there is no way to obtain information directly showing whether or not John or Karen Minnis reported Tuck to the police. Anything like that would be sealed. However, there is no criminal investigation or criminal court documents against Tuck on this matter, so its more than reasonable to believe that neither of them reported it.

As I understand it, the statue of limitations on reporting these types of incidents is 18 months. Legally it would seem that the Minnis' are in the clear. I also don't know why the 17 year old didn't report it, but she wasn't legally obligated as the Minnis' were.

The legal documents and complete Blackman legal analysis are here.

Blackman's conclusion:

The information in the files in the Vega and Minnis cases reflects legitimate allegations of child sexual abuse by Tuck Minnis. It does not appear that these allegations were reported to appropriate law enforcement officials as required by Oregon’s Child Abuse Reporting Law and hence were never properly investigated. Conversely, it appears that Little John’s Pizza Co., LLC and John Minnis paid money to secure the dismissal of a civil case that the Washington County Circuit Court and the Oregon Supreme Court found to involve only Tuck Minnis’ private sexual mistreatment of Andrea. These circumstances raise questions about the purpose of that payment, especially in combination with the violation of the mandatory reporting law. Whether they amounted to the more serious offenses of bribing or tampering with a witness, however, cannot be determined from the available information.

(Bold emphasis--Carla)

This is an ugly, disgusting story made worse by the fact a police officer and state legislator (and the potential Oregon House Speaker) didn't report their dirtbag relative to the police.

This is a complete and total violation of the public trust.

Phil Knight tries to hide behind Wayne Scott's skirt

Nike founder and former CEO Phil Knight has a deep pocketbook. And apparently a fondness for Oregon House Republicans, as you'll see in a moment.

In February, the Promote Oregon Committee PAC was formed with GOP House Majority Wayne Scott as the controller. The PAC's treasurer is Jarret Hamstreet who happens to be the Majority 2006 Executive Director. Majority 2006's job is to help get Republicans elected to the Oregon House. Hamstreet is also on Scott's legislative staff.

The PAC is set up to "Support And Oppose Candidates For Oregon Legislature". Its controlled by GOP House Majority Leader Wayne Scott. The treasurer is Scott's personal lackey. Guess which party's candidates will be getting the money?


So how does Phil Knight fit into all of this?

Knight dropped $100,000 into Promote Oregon Committee coffers. Its far and away this PACs largest donation.

If I were a betting woman, I'd lay down next month's paycheck that Knight gave this money to the PAC in hopes of not being caught giving money to Republicans. I haven't noticed his name show up on C&E reports of any specific candidate (although there are a ton of them, I could have missed).

This PAC has received $170,000 in contributions over this election cycle. Their expenditures show that they've funded all sorts of canvassing, mailers and phoning for House Republicans (and a few Senate races too). This is what Phil Knight is helping to fund.

Perhaps some cagey and smart reporter will dial up Phil Knight and ask him why he didn't just give the money directly to the campaigns..and why he's trying to hide behind Wayne Scott's ample ass?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

In which we pimp Saxtonville's cheeky new vid

Yeah. That's right.

Tomorrow morning. 9:30 AM.

Be there or be square.

(Seriously--I saw a sneak peek of the video. It's a hoot)

Quick Hitters V: Nice Try Torrey, but Big Dog is No Fan

[There are all kinds of interesting things going on right now, as I suppose you would expect in the height of what veteran pols call "the silly season." So I'll make a departure from my typically verbose style and give you more links and facts, less solipsistic analysis in a series of quick-hitter posts. Here's another...]

Remember that comment I made in Quick Hitter I, about Billy Dalto's attempt in HD 21 to make himself out to be a favorite of Republicans and Democrats alike, and about Robin Brown's similarly distorted try in HD 16 for evidence of crossover appeal? Add Jim Torrey (7th Senate) to the list of desperate GOPers trying to suggest appeal beyond the ever-shrinking Bush base:
Today, former President Bill Clinton set the record straight on who he believes will best represent the citizens of Eugene in the State Senate, and it’s not Bush Republican Jim Torrey. Torrey is hoping to trick Eugene voters by running an ad featuring him shaking hands with former President Bill Clinton, but the record shows a career Republican who supported George Bush’s re-election at the maximum level the law allows. President Clinton’s office responded to Torrey’s misleading ad with the following statement:

"President Clinton is strongly supporting Senator Vicki Walker in her re-election campaign. Senator Walker has fought for good paying jobs for the people of Oregon, more affordable health care for families, and a quality education for every child in Oregon. She has been a great public servant in the Legislature for the past 7 years and will continue to promote these strong values when re-elected."

Torrey is so desperate to distance himself from his own party that he’s willing to do anything, even pretend in his latest television ad to be a Clinton backer. Unfortunately for Torrey, his record speaks for itself.
That's a release from the Democratic Party of Oregon, which has suddenly come alive with a vengeance in the last two weeks of the election season. Did Torrey think Clinton was just too busy or aloof not to care about who's pretending they have his endorsement? Silly rabbit! You're asking for the stink eye, Jim...

Quick Hitters IV: Introducing Saxtonville--the Website!

[There are all kinds of interesting things going on right now, as I suppose you would expect in the height of what veteran pols call "the silly season." So I'll make a departure from my typically verbose style and give you more links and facts, less solipsistic analysis in a series of quick-hitter posts. Here's another...]

The state AFL-CIO has been making a little mischief surrounding the controversy over Ron Saxton's side career as a cherry/grape farmer in Rickreall, the hiring of migrants of indeterminate status to Saxton, and the revelations that the corrugated tin shack used to house the migrants was never fit for humans to dwell in. I think I missed the initial rollout, but Saxtonville.com has gotten some recent updates and deserves a second look for your own amusement. If nothing else, this caption accompanying the now-infamous Polk County picture of the corrugated tin hovel is worth the read: "Saxtonville guests enjoy state-of-the-art accommodations with cathedral ceilings and natural landscaping."

But there's more!
Long before unions came along to mess things up, a rich man and his money could get away with a lot: Hire children and immigrants for starvation wages. Disregard workplace safety and frills like paid sick time and overtime pay. Earn millions while paying next to nothing back to the community to pay their share for schools, public safety or senior services.

Ah, the good ole days!
Those crazy union kids...

Quick Hitters III: Kulo Brings Home the Bacon--er, Mac 'n' Soda

[There are all kinds of interesting things going on right now, as I suppose you would expect in the height of what veteran pols call "the silly season." So I'll make a departure from my typically verbose style and give you more links and facts, less solipsistic analysis in a series of quick-hitter posts. Here's another...]

What has Ted Kulongoski done to help Oregon's economy? While Ron Saxton continues to bellyache about a lack of vision and failure to improve the business climate in the state, the goobernor has been doing a pretty nice sales job impressing companies that the climate actually isn't that bad. Kulongoski has helped draw traditional Silicon Forest companies like Google and Genentech, but also a much needed old-style manufacturing boost. Here are excerpts from two recent releases on new companies moving in:
White City, Oregon—Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski threw a switch today, and symbolically started up production in the Medford area’s new Amy’s Kitchen plant, a huge facility that covers 185,000 square feet and will employ 250 people.

“The fact that Amy’s Kitchen has chosen to locate in Medford is the climax of a story that’s still being written—an exciting story with a simple moral,” the Governor told a crowd of Medford business leaders, local officials and workers. “When the state partners with local government and the private sector, when we roll up our sleeves and coordinate our efforts to reach out to businesses and tell them about the exciting opportunities Oregon offers, when we mobilize our resources to smooth the way for companies like Amy’s Kitchen, great things can happen for Oregon.”

Factors that led to Amy’s Kitchen move to southern Oregon include low electric power costs, low workers’ comp costs, and the fact that farmers grow over 240 agricultural crops in the Willamette Valley, the Governor said. The company learned about the site through a presentation at a Los Angeles trade show in 2003 by members of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc., on the advantages of doing business in Oregon. The Governor’s economic development team followed up on the presentation, which ultimately led Andy Berlinger to visit Medford and check out the potential site.


Salem, Oregon—Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski today congratulated PespiCo’s decision to locate a new major facility in South Albany.

The $250 million dollar South Albany facility will create 500 family wage jobs for the area, with average salaries of more than $45,000 plus full health benefits for workers. The 1.8 million square foot production and container manufacturing facility will also seek LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the facility, a benchmark for high performance “green” buildings.

The Governor said that he looks forward to attending the groundbreaking set for spring 2007.

The Governor noted that his Economic Revitalization Team had been working with city and landowners toward site certification when PepsiCo first expressed interest in the site. State agencies were also mobilized in advance to address wetland mitigation and transportation issues to speed development of the facility under the Governor’s Industrial Lands Certification program.

“Business moves fast – and to stay competitive, state government must move at the speed of business,” said the Governor. “Our certification program is delivering results for Oregon and a healthy business climate for our state.”
So there!

Quick Hitters II: M37 Remorse; One City Opts to Pay Instead

[There are all kinds of interesting things going on right now, as I suppose you would expect in the height of what veteran pols call "the silly season." So I'll make a departure from my typically verbose style and give you more links and facts, less solipsistic analysis in a series of quick-hitter posts. Here's another...]

One of the most unfortunate things about the passage of Measure 37 in Oregon in 2004 was that it spawned a whole raft of similar and extending iniatives around the country, including Prop 90 in California and I-933 in Washington. For the final two weeks left before the election, however, opponents in both states can use this poll commissioned by Defenders of Wildlife and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research earlier this month:
• Oregonians are well aware of Measure 37 as most voters have heard something about the measure (83 percent);

• If an election were held today and voters had the opportunity to redo the vote on Measure 37, Oregon voters would now reject Measure 37 by a wide margin (48 percent no to only 29 percent yes), and the margin is even wider among voters who have heard a lot about it (66 percent to 26 percent);

• Oregon voters now have an unfavorable view of Measure 37 (45 percent unfavorable to only 27 percent favorable) and believe that it has generally been bad for Oregon;

Specifically, Oregon voters believe Measure 37

• was “a mistake” – 62 percent of voters who have heard a lot about Measure 37 agree, and a plurality of all voters (48 percent) agrees,

• has created chaos and uncertainty (66 percent and 72 percent of all voters agree, respectively),

• could cost taxpayers millions of dollars (61 percent agree), and

will lead to increased development, including previously protected open space
(61 percent) [emphs mine]
It's a commissioned poll for an advocacy group clearly against M37, so take it with a grain of salt--but it takes a whole lot of skew to erase a 20-point advantage for the remorseful.

One smaller city also may have had enough, or just wants to make a statement with a lower-cost claim, as today's O declared:
Almost two years after Oregon voters approved Measure 37, this Central Oregon city ringed by dramatic rimrock has become the first to decide to pay cash to offset the devaluation of private property because of development restrictions.

The Prineville couple who want to build a retirement home on that protected rimrock, however, want nothing of the money. Instead, Grover and Edith Palin are hoping still to find a way to build their house while refusing the city's check of $47,750.
To all those supporters who said it's not about developing previously controlled land, it's about fairness: fuck you. If it were about being fair, the Palins would take their money and shut up.

Quick Hitters Pt 1: Dalto Up to His Dirty Tricks Again

[There are all kinds of interesting things going on right now, as I suppose you would expect in the height of what veteran pols call "the silly season." So I'll make a departure from my typically verbose style and give you more links and facts, less solipsistic analysis in a series of quick-hitter posts. Here's the first one...]

We've gotten a lot of mileage out of the antics of Billy Dalto, and just when we thought things might have quieted down a bit between he and Brian Clem, up pops Steve Law at the S-J to bring us back to reality:
Randy Fishfader, who has a Clem lawn sign in her front yard, was surprised to get Dalto's mailer using a years-old quote from her praising the representative. It identified her as the chapter chairwoman of Salem-Keizer Stand for Children, a post she last held in 2003.

"I was really stunned and shocked to see my name being used," Fishfader said. "I thought it was purposely misleading and unethical."

Gary Sackley, a Waldo Middle School counselor and a leader of the Salem Education Association, also was quoted in the mailing, again saying positive things about Dalto. The quote was lifted from a letter he sent to multiple candidates in 2004 and 2006.

"This is the last line of a form letter," Sackley said. "The line before it indicated that we decided to support Brian Clem."

Dalto said he did nothing wrong because he didn't claim that the groups endorsed him.

"If people are writing to public officials and expressing appreciation or any kind of positive feedback, I think it's entirely fair that the public gets to hear about that," he said. "You can't take away the positive things you say about somebody just because it's a partisan election."

Retired state corrections officer John Theodore, a Republican who voted for Dalto the past two times he was up for election, said he is rethinking his vote in light of the brochure and the phone calls he got about the controversy.

"To me, it was like forgery," Theodore said of the quotes used by Dalto. "I'll probably be voting for Brian Clem after this sleazy deal, where he tried to co-opt the endorsement for these two organizations."
I've never been a campaign flack so I can't say for certain, but I'd wager that nothing makes one cringe more at a news report than the base-abandoner: "I voted for [your guy] twice, but now I'm thinking of voting for [the other guy] because of these dirty tricks." Ouch.

One final thought--you know how Oregon doesn't have any real competitive federal or statewide races this year? That's made it hard to determine just how much of an effect the national scene is having on local politics. But one sure sign that being a Republican loyalist is toxic in the Beaver State, is when those loyalists start trumpeting how "independent" and "crossover-friendly" they are--apparently, even when they're actually not. We have Dalto's try here, and Monday Benton County cheese TA Barnhart exposed Robin Brown's "some of my best supporters are [not really] Democrats!" direct mail gambit. Since that's obviously not a selling point with the conservative base, what it means is that Republicans realize there isn't enough of a reliable one anymore to sustain them through another election, and they have to branch out or die.
Even if they have to use fake limbs to do it.

Gore Praises Ted, Oregon in Highest Terms on Environment

It was an interesting gathering at NE's Wonder Ballroom this afternoon, as 240 luncheoning politerati enjoyed a catered meal at a hefty price while the media watched from the balcony eating salmon nachos and drinking Oregon Rain--but for free! I stuck to the grapes and cheese--lord knows how long the nachos had been sitting there, but they were soggy like they'd missed their invitation to the ark--but it still felt like immense privilege had been bestowed. Sometimes you don't even get a chair (Pelosi event); sometimes you get your own row of chairs at a crappy angle (City Club Goobernor Debate); sometimes you get great seats (15 feet from Storm Large!); and sometimes you get the good seats AND a little nosh.

Such was the scene for Al Gore to tiredly but passionately proclaim his admiration and support for Oregon's goobernor. Despite his own heavy schedule, however, Kulongoski seemed pumped up (maybe it was the cha-ching sound in his campaign bank). He worked the room before speeches started, commandeering empty chairs and doling out the hugs and backslaps. As last night's debate in Medford reminded, TV debates just aren't his thing. He's not a radically fast thinker, he gets a bit flustered, and he tries to effect passion which only makes him look a little more out of it. But damned if he doesn't connect well with people on a face-to-facel level, and behind the somewhat erratic presentation is a very solid and thorough set of facts.

By far the most jazzed of the three special guests was Senator Ron Wyden. The Cheerleader exhorted the suits and power skirts to their feet time and again, at the end even coaxing a rendition of "Ted! Ted! Ted" out of them. They should have gotten him a football bench and a Terrible Towel, and he'd have really incited those people. Then the three politicians gave the Wonder Triplets pose, as the Vice President and the Senator nearly lifted the shorter Governor off his feet by grasping his wrists and thrusting them upward, to great delight from the crowd.

Wyden introduced himself by noting that he saves filibusters for the floor of the Senate and not banquets (yuk yuk), but also revealed that Gore was Wyden's mentor in the House, helping the freshman write his first bill amendment--and when Wyden ran in the special senatorial election in 1996, Gore came to stump in the mud for him. Then the talk turned to the naturally dominant sell point for all Democrats these days: We're gonna kick some ass, if you'll help! Triumphant bon mots included screeds against the "far, far, far far right," and a promise to "take back the wheels of democracy!", which left me wondering just how many wheels of democracy it took to run democracy, and whether we could take them all back at once or we had to share control until we got all the wheels. But in any event, Wyden said, we only had one job left before Election Day: don't fuck it up. I mean, close the sale.

Turning to the theme of the afternoon, Wyden echoed the promises of Democratic leadership to make a priority of an innovative energy policy, saying "getting a new energy policy is about the most red, white and blue thing we can do for our country." Talking up the hope that vast swaths of land could be converted to fuel crops, Wyden promised "you'll see stations up and down I-5 with fuel from Oregon crops." In Kulongoski's very brief speech after being introduced by Wyden, he admired the sense of perspective Gore advocates in his talks: "politics has a tendency to be short term in its thinking, but one person has been saying you have to look long term, and that's Al Gore."

Gore needed no crowd-whipping to receive a standing ovation, but he was clearly bouyed into feeling a little less burned out on the routine (something that apparently prevented him from receiving questions from local press, which I as an amateur took in stride, but which really ticked off the traditional guys. Their editors are going to say, "Where's your quote from Gore?" and they won't have one beyond what everybody else heard. Me, I got free grapes and cheese on my lunch hour and got to listen to Al Gore talk on his favorite subject.)

It turns out his favorite subject might be Oregon itself. His daughter attended Portland State for a time, Secretary of State Bill Bradbury was in the first group of people Gore trained to deliver his presentation to others, and it just happens to be true that much of the hopeful part of Gore's book and talk include Oregon's businesses and people. Oregon plays a featured role in his talk, he said, and spoke of a vast new set of industries in which the absolute locus, the ground zero of growth and development, would take place in Oregon: green (or clean) tech.

Gore suggests that the three primary areas of economic development for the future are information tech, bio tech, and green tech, and calls the state "the emerging center of the green tech revolution in the entire world," with over 200 companies already operating in some fashion. According to Gore, green tech will be "the biggest economic boom and greatest source of new jobs in the history of the state of Oregon." Heady stuff that, but it's compelling advice to make the most of the "living research lab" sociopolitical ethic that many of us treasure about Oregon. Why can't we be the vanguard of a booming global industry?

The governor tends to have a good reception and rating with the environmental community, and Gore played the role of Guru Endorser to a tee. He referred to Kulongoski as having given a "virtuoso performance" in strengthening the economy while taking firmer environmental stands. And in a quote I wish I had my digital recording gear to have gotten down verbatim, Gore effused with abandon, saying "there is no other governor anywhere, and certainly no world regional leader, who has demonstrated as much clarity of vision and political skill" on the environment as Kulongoski. "You oughta be awful proud," Gore said.

At times the fatigue shone through, and Gore rambled and lagged in a way I thought he had banished forever when seeing the engaged way in which he narrated his movie. He had a tendency to go off onto anecdotal interludes that were semi-relevant and usually kind of cute, but which were ultimately distracting to his message. And his points and analysis are razor sharp, so at times I wished he would just spit it out. But he eventually ramped up, ironically a bit like a diesel engine--slow and cold at first, but gradually warming up until BAM!--he was deftly punching out the current administration with deadpan lines like "y'know, I've actually begun to lose my objectivity about Bush and Cheney." But he was also deadly serious about the need to create large gains in Congress and do the right things: "This is the time to render a judgement and a verdict."

Whether this makes any substantive difference in the goob' election I'm not sure. If you believe the accuracy of Riley polls (and I don't), Ted is starting to pull away from Saxton over the last couple weeks, as voters decide whether they really feel safe making a change. Regardless of whether it helped them feel better about Ted, you sure couldn't help feeling good about being an Oregonian after listening to Gore speak. Next time, just plate the salmon nachos a little closer to the start of the event, willya?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

$2.95 well spent

The line of Oregonians who are confounded by Bob Caldwell's editorial fiat became a little longer this week.

Over at Hines Sight, Brian dropped some scratch to the O's archives to discover the screwy process that appears to have been in place for awhile at the O when it comes to editorial endorsements.

Its too long to excerpt here. Just go read it.

Protect Our Voice responds to comments made at LO

As noted yesterday here at LO, we've changed the commenting options for the time being in an effort to investigate what might be some paid GOP trolling.

I feared that this might create issues for others attempting to comment. And so it has.

In comments to this post, commentor Jefferson claims that they (meaning the M46/47 backers) have audited the books for Protect Our Voice. Jefferson further claims that Protect Our Voice is being funded "entirely" by:

Associated Oregon Industries 25,000
Associated Oregon Loggers 10,000
AFSCME 40,000
Oregon Health Care Assn 30,000
Oregon Local Grocery Assn 50,000
OSEA Seed Fund (public employees) 5,000
SEIU Local 503 45,000
Oregon Forest Industry Council 25,000
Oregon Restaurant Assn 25,000
Association of Builders & Contractors 2,000
Association of General Contractors 15,000
Oregon Assoc Realtors 25,000
Oregon Committee for Food and Shelter 10,000

(The comment is dated 10/24/06 5:20 PM--I don't have a link)

I was suspicious of Jefferson's claims when he made them because I reviewed the Contribution and Expenditure report for POV from early October and none of those groups appear on the report. But I had no proof that the claims Jefferson was making were false, until now.

The spokesperson for Protect Our Voice, Damiana Merryweather, emailed last evening in frustration unable to post comments. For some reason, she's still having trouble. So Merryweather emailed her response. Here it is:

"Jefferson said.

"We've discovered the contributing entities behind the "Protect Our Voices"
campaign (aka "No On 46 and 47")..."

then he goes on to list ten corporate and business interests who he claims
have funded Protect Our Voice.

As the spokesperson for Protect Our Voice I can tell you that statement is
completely false. Protect Our Voice is a progressive coalition of
politically active non-profits and labor organizations. We have not
accepted money, nor will we, from groups such as ORA and AOI.

Not only is Jefferson completely wrong about his information, I am beginning
to suspect that he isn't really our third president posting from the grave

I don't expect the pro-46/47 folks to take Damiana at her word. Its evident to me that to the pro-46/47 forces, anyone who opposes these proposals is either downright evil or under the brainwashed spell of the evildoers.

So to back up Damiana's point, I give you 46/47's own Dan Meek. Who sent out a press release yesterday (the bolded part is my emphasis, not Dan's):

October 24, 2006


Supporters of Measures 46 and 47, the campaign finance reform measures,
have learned that a new political committee, organized to oppose the
measures, has been funded to the tune of over $330,000. Of that, about
two-thirds came from corporate interests, including:

Associated Oregon Industries
(corporations of all types)

Associated Oregon Loggers

Oregon Health Care Assn (nursing homes)

Oregon Local Grocery Assn

Oregon Forest Industry Council

Oregon Restaurant Assn

Association of Builders & Contractors

Association of General Contractors

Oregon Assn Realtors

Oregon Committee for Food and Shelter (agribusiness corporations)

The new committee is known as the "If You Lose Your Voice This Time, You'll
Never Get it Back Committee."
The rest of its funds come from unions.

"It figures that the corporations would spend heavily against the campaign
finance reform measures, since they provide the vast bulk of the campaign
contributions to Oregon politicians," said Dan Meek. "Campaign spending in
Oregon is completely out of control -- literally. Oregon has no limits on
contributions or spending."

The amount of money spent in Oregon political campaigns will be higher than
$50 million this year. Corporations outspend unions by 5-1 and everyone else
by 100's to one. One candidate for Governor this year will easily spend over
$6 million on his campaign, while the other one will spend over $4 million,
if not more. It now costs over $500,000 to win a contested race for the
State Senate and over $250,000 to win a contested race for the State Senate,
both about $20 per vote.

Fairelections Oregon

www.fairelections.net < http://www.fairelections.net

Daniel Meek, attorney

(503) 293-9021

(503) 913-7105 cell


FairElections Oregon

Eugene Office

(541) 338-8557


Now while I'm willing to grant that "Protect Our Voice" and "If You Lose Your Voice This Time, You'll Never Get it Back Committee" both have the word "voice" in their title, they're pretty clearly not the same title.

And its evident that they're not the same group, either.

Here is the SOS info on "If You Lose Your Voice...".

Here in the SOS info on "Protect Our Voice". And here is the C&E report for Protect Our Voice, dated October 1, 2006. None of the groups that Jefferson listed are on the documents. As I understand it, new filings with the SOS' office are due next week. So we can check again then to see who is funding POV.

Jefferson claimed that "they" audited POV's books to get the funding information. But that doesn't seem likely, given that Jefferson is conflating the two organizations. The C&Es for "If You Lose Your Voice.." aren't available yet on the SOS' website, as they just filed yesterday. I'm not sure how long it takes from the filing date for the SOS to get the PDFs up, but I'll keep checking.

Earl Ponies Up for Party; What About Wu?

If you're not a copious blogreader, you may not be familiar with the leftist site MyDD, one of the biggies along with DailyKos in terms of activist community sites. And even then you may have missed the news that founder Chris Bowers has suddenly become somewhat of a media entity over the last few days for pushing two grand electoral ideas upon the body politic. One is the GoogleBomb, attempting to get the most damaging but credible news story for each potentially vulnerable GOP candidate to the top of Google's ranking system--and thus putting the worst angle on display for the Googling voter. We've already been involuntarily drafted into the effort at LO; I'm not sure how big a fan of the effort I am, and let me say now that I don't want to see lists like the one in this comment thread, so please don't put them there.

Bowers' other idea, however, is positively smashing. He calls it "Use it or Lose It," and the premise is that in this Democratic wave year, there are quite a few safe Democratic seats with incumbents sitting on top of unused campaign banks. The total approached $50mil for Congresspeople running unopposed or with token opposition, and so Bowers figured that if each candidate gave up to 30% of their remaining bank, the party could capture a truly historic reversal in control of the Legislature--something only possible if as many races as possible were solidly contended.

I've been back in Oregon long enough to know that if there's a good idea coming from the progressive wing of the party, Earl Blumenauer is probably not only aware of it, he's involved in it. This is an idea that's had currency for less than a week, now, and yet here's Earl at MyDD yesterday, showing everyone else in the Rayburn Building how to ride the Democratic wave:
I've been in the top 15% of members of Congress in support of other campaigns, more than many people much more senior than I and with more powerful committee positions. Indeed, when you're from a small state like Oregon, are perceived as being in a "safe" seat, and not tied to wealthy special-interests, it's difficult to raise money. Nonetheless, I've understood my responsibilities since I was first elected to Congress.
Between my work through LivPAC, my dues to the DCCC (to whom I've paid more than required) and the contributions I have asked for from my supporters that they make to others rather than me, I raised or gave away almost $750,000 this cycle - over 60% of a total campaign effort of almost $1.2 million. And that doesn't include the hundreds of hours of my staff's time I dedicated to raising money for competitive Democrats.

My remaining campaign resources will be spent on a "Get Out the Vote" effort in Oregon, staff, and regular operational expenses. It will also allow us to stay operational in 2007, so that we can get a jumpstart on the 2008 fight for control of Congress and the White House. Turnout is critical in the next two weeks and we all need to dedicate ourselves to making sure that we get our supporters to vote!
I hope that "Use It or Lose It" will encourage others to make sure that they are doing everything they can in these remaining two weeks. If we all do our part, there's no doubt in my mind that we'll regain control of the House and Senate and have victories up and down the ballot in Oregon. The bottom line for me is that I am deeply committed to the team effort. I've done more than anyone in the Northwest and at more levels -- local, state, and national -- and I'm not finished yet!
Rahm Emanuel ought to be using Earl to shame the rest of the caucus into kicking the kitty with a little love from the war chest. I'm not afraid to say it: I have a little man-crush on the way Earl Blumenauer, especially in the way he does his job. If I've had a policy disagreement with Earl in 4 years, I have no idea what it is. This is just more fodder for my idol-worship. He simply gets it.

My actual Congresswoman is Darlene Hooley in the 5th, who most pundits don't even have on their 50-seat radar. She's also got a sizeable bank, but she's facing the self-funded Mike Erickson and needs her dollars. Walden obviously is out, and Peter DeFazio is being fairly closely matched in money if not the polls in the 4th District. Who does that leave?

Wu, that's who. Wu, whose gradually bluing district bolstered registrations by two thousand extra Democrats from May to September {both pdf} this year, is facing the lesser but active political talents of Derrick Kitts. Wu is thus opposed with somewhat more serious intent than Blumenauer, who squares off in two weeks against a guy disqualified by the state for running for two different offices at once, but written in as the GOP nominee. Kitts has scraped together about 80 thousand dollars, and had 27 thousand left of it to spend in October.

Wu, on the other hand, reported over $560,000 at the end of September, and continued to raise funds into October ($8600 in a filing here). If there's been any polling in the district I haven't heard about it, and Kitts has been all but invisible, worse even than Voisin in my opinion in terms of the ability to get their message into the media.

So Wu's being opposed, but not seriously. And he's got over half a million dollars he's just sitting on...in case. Thirty percent of that is $168,000, but we'll make it easy. Congressman Wu, when can we get your pledge to donate $150,000 to competitive candidates, or to one of the party funds (DCCC, DNC, DSCC)? The people writing and reading this blog and others like it, have done their part to give you a comfy cushion from which to watch your own fortunes rise in a Democratic House. We are absolutely correct in demanding accountability for the sacrifices made in the past to assist you and the party, and it can be a victory for all of us if well-funded incumbents like you seize the moment and help contest seats everywhere possible.

If you live in Wu's district, PLEASE email or dial (503) 228-4598 ASAP and ask him to part with some of his war chest so that he may be urged to do the right thing and help his fellows. Even out of district, I urge Oregonians to call. This is about working together for a common cause.

Get on it!

Wayne Scott gives his constituents a lesson on how to be a sleazy dirtbag

"Friends of Wayne Scott" sent out a mailer that hit mailboxes on October 24 and honestly..with friends like these, Scott needs no enemies.

(Yeah--I get that "Friends of Wayne Scott" is his campaign--so maybe he's his own worst enemy)

The mailer is frantic in its ridiculousness.

Ah yes. "The issue is experience". Wayne Scott has been a State Representative for a whole crapload of years. Scott has lots of experience kissing lobbyist ass and taking trips and cash from them. He has lots of experience subverting progressive legislation and ideas. Nobody knows how to screw the little guy better than Wayne Scott. We get it.

Mike Caudle hasn't been a State Representative.

Except Wayne's friends kinda forgot that when they printed the other side of the mailer:

The top 2 entries on this mailer as pictured here are legislative votes. Wayne Scott is actually claiming that Mike Caudle voted against two bills--that he was never in the House to vote on.

But let us not forget the candard also prominently displayed on the mailer:

"What Does Mike Caudle Stand For? Nothing"

Uh..Wayne..silly wabbit...Mike's got you there, too. Caudle has laid out some very specific goals for more Oregon State Troopers (you'll love that one, since you're all about defunding the Oregon State Patrol, right Wayne?). Caudle is also wants to work to ensure no sexual predators can be within 2 miles of a school. He also wants to require repeat child sexual offendors to wear ID bracelets in order to track them.

In fact, there's a whole list of very Mike's very specific stances right here at his website.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your Republican House Majority Leader's campaign at work.

And to top it off, Scott brags about being against basic civil rights for gays and lesbians. As if being a bigoted dirtbag is just cause to vote for Wayne Scott.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I don't know if TJ agrees with me or not..but I'm figuring that since we seem to be garnering our share of anonymous GOP trolls, we must be doing something right.

The problem is--there are a few that are coming up as suspicious. Perhaps somebody is paying GOP operatives to go around to blogs and leave comments?

So we've decided to do one of the things we do best: investigate it.

For now, we've turned off the anonymous commenting feature. We'll be discussing together about whether or not we'll return the feature once the election is over.

This means that you'll have to sign in to Blogger to comment.

We're sorry if that inconveniences some folks. We don't meant it to. But we're ever-so-curious....we hope you'll forgive us for the pain in the ass-ness.

NetRoots Night at the DPO--Do Something

It's all down to turnout at this point, and in Oregon turnout starts now...last Friday, in fact. Encouraging early return of ballots has all kinds of salutory effects. It cuts the pool of ballots left to return. It locks in votes before they potentially change by events or unknowns. And it provides momentum for further turnout when the story becomes high early returns. But now is the very best time to get people to think ahead, because the ballot has just arrived and people are at least recently reminded of it. The longer the time goes for the intermittent voter, the weaker the impulse to dig out the ballot becomes--and if their house is like mine for even some important mail, it can get lost.

So as part of the firm belief among the netroots that being an actual force for change means being an active political participant, the Democratic Party of Oregon has sponsored a special evening where bloggers like Loaded Orygun, readers, admirers, stalkers, FBI agents and savvy media can get their bank on. If you look over to your right, there's an ad in the sidebar you can click on for convenience, but here's the info if you want it now, now now! This Wednesday October 25, 5 to 9 pm at DPO Headquarters, 232 NE 9th Ave., Portland. Call 503-239-8646 or just show up.

Typically they seed the banks with relatively friendly respondents; you end up hoping for the odd crank after a while just to spice things up. But it does work. Contact is an important and effective tool, so if you can participate in any part of the process that will have the most immediate effect this election, work on voter contact. And if you can, think about spending a vacation (or sick!) day on November 7th, and work on scrounging up all the procrastinators.

And don't forget the intrepid challengers who can still make late buys and build their GOTV organization. LoadedO's (partial) slate of endorsees is here, and the Blue Northwest page, with primarily federal candidates from the tri-state area but also some Oregon legislative candidates, is ready to break through the $2,000 barrier in just a couple of weeks.

If you're going to do anything, do something.