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July 11th, 2012 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: Financing on the Fritz

The slippery slope of campaign contributions.

murmurs_fireworks_3836Illegal fireworks burned in a Tualatin incinerator - IMAGE: Oregon State Fire Marshal
  • Did City Commissioner Amanda Fritz violate her campaign-contribution limits? Fritz has based her political career on her independence from undue influence. In her re-election campaign, she’s refusing union and corporate contributions, and she capped  individual donations at $50. But on June 22, Fritz announced she would increase that limit to $250. Seems there was some backdating. Records show Fritz accepted a $250 contribution June 8 from former City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury. Fritz tells WW she decided to alter her limit after taking Kafoury’s check. But, Fritz argues, she did not violate her pledge because she didn’t actually deposit the check until she had announced her campaign’s new limits. Her challenger, Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Portland), raised $344,000 in the primary. Fritz raised $229,000—almost all of it in loans and contributions to herself.
  • Mayoral candidate Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-East Portland) last week joined the liberal wave opposing Oregon coal exports, calling for a largely symbolic anti-coal resolution from the City Council. If he wins, Smith can expect some largely symbolic opposition. City Commissioner-elect Steve Novick writes in a wweek.com comment that he won’t support a coal ban. Novick says coal fuels the region’s electrical supply (especially PacifiCorp’s), and it’s hypocritical to denounce it. “If I came out against any and all coal exports,” Novick writes, “I’d feel like a heroin addict denouncing drug trafficking.”
  • Want your photo taken with President Obama when he comes to Portland on July 24? That’ll be $5,000. Details have been finalized for the president’s fundraising visit (as first reported at wweek.com). The noon lunch at the Portland Art Museum will cost $500 a plate. Organizers also dangle “a very intimate opportunity with him that day at a higher price point”—maybe he’ll throw in a Monet?
  • New fire chief Erin Janssens’ illegal-fireworks crackdown (see “Fahrenheit 4th of July,” WW, June 27, 2012) didn’t silence the holiday skies above Portland. But firefighters and police issued 120 citations, up from 90 last year; fireworks-related blazes fell from 19 to 12. The fire bureau confiscated two truckloads of explosives, worth $35,000. What happens to all that star-spangled loot? Bureau spokesman Michael Silva says the fireworks will be kept at a secret location until they’re burned in a Tualatin incinerator in November (see photo). “On the street I heard, ‘You guys are just going to take those home,’” Silva says. “No. They’re going to be destroyed.”
 
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