Piling on Fritz and VOE

by Steve, December 16th, 2008

With Amanda Fritz poised to be sworn in January 3 as a pioneer in Portland’s public campaign financing, voter owned elections (VOE) skeptic Jack Bogdanski threw some red meat to his libertarian right readers last week.

Bogdanski simply notes the amount of public money spent, $482,227.79, which is enough to whip up a tempest in his comment teapot. He does not mention that this amounts to about 84 cents per citizen of Portland, and, for whatever reason, he refuses to see any value in displacing private money in our elections (including that of his arch nemesis, uber-developer Homer Williams) with a little scrap of well-regulated public money.

Meanwhile, on his OregonLive Portsmouth neighborhood blog, Richard Ellmyer asks of Fritz “Was she worth it?” and suggests we should base the answer to that question pretty much entirely on whether she joins him in his monomaniacal opposition to the lease of the former John Ball school site to Portland Hope Meadows, a non-profit, intergenerational housing project.

Say what you will about New Hope Meadows, Fritz is going to have a lot more than that on her plate come January 5. I’m willing to at least let her get sworn in before rendering judgment on whether she was “worth it.”

VOE allowed Fritz to focus on running a street-level campaign that is probably unprecedented in modern city council history. She ran a completely positive campaign and enrolled the help of countless volunteers. She is clearly different kind of candidate, and we wouldn’t be getting her voice at the table if not for public financing.

Overheard in Minnesota

by Steve, November 6th, 2008

From my dear friend in Minneapolis:

I was just at this postage-stamp size Euro cafe La Belle Crepe drinking coffee while these two women ate their crepes. One mentioned how she had been at a bar and when the election results were announced, a lot of people just put their head in their hands. The other woman nodded. I thought to myself, What are you bitching about, you’re eating crepes.

Election wrap-up

by Steve, November 6th, 2008

Well, it was down to two nail-biters in Oregon, but the late count of Multnomah County made the difference.

Democrat Jeff Merkley appears to have unseated two-term Republican Gordon Smith for the US Senate.

Bill Sizemore’s Measure 64, which would prohibit public employee unions from defending their members from Bill Sizemore’s regressive ballot measures appears to be going down by a narrow margin. That makes Sizemore a five-time loser in this year’s ballot measure sweepstakes.

My only vote that was rejected by the people of Oregon was my “yes” vote on Measure 65, which would have given our state a top-two primary for state-wide offices, which would have effectively given us non-partisan elections. This was opposed by both major parties and most minor parties, so I expected it would fail.

Otherwise, I’m glad to see Oregon voted along with me!

O! Ba! Ma!

by Steve, November 4th, 2008

Here he comes, along with his family. Damn that is one fine looking first family.

I’ll save the political analysis for another day — yes I know he’s a centrist. But right now, tonight, something I didn’t think was possible has happened. We’ve elected a black man president of the United States of America.

If this is possible, think what else we can do. It’s truly a new day in America.

’nuff said

by Steve, November 2nd, 2008

Wassup 2008

by Steve, October 30th, 2008

(Here’s a version with the original Budweiser ad at the beginning. Useful triva: John McCain’s wife Cindy is Chair of Hensley & Co, one of the largest Budweiser distributors in the world.)

The vet who did not vet

by Steve, October 30th, 2008

Lots more (not necessarily funny) on Andrew Sullivan’s blog at the Atlantic, where you can vote on your favorite. (My first runner up is “Whassup 2008”.)

Homer and me

by Steve, October 29th, 2008

I’ve been posting my Oregon Voters’ Guide for a while (I think this is my third edition), and since I know a little bit about search engine optimization (and since this site has half-decent Google juice), I’m usually in the top five results for a search like “2008 oregon voters guide” (It was number four today, just after two hits from the state and one from OregonLive.)

That’s right, BlueOregon, Loaded Orygun, Willamette Week, Tribune, Mercury, etc. etc. etc., the computers at Google think the endorsements of a left wing hockey nut from Portland are more important than yours.

But bogus puffery aside, I do think blog endorsements are important, and it’s great that some campaigns are starting to take notice and even tout them. They might as well, since they frequently list hundreds of individual supporters.

So kudos to Ben Westlund’s campaign staff (Westlund is the Democratic candidate for State Treasurer) for touting blog endorsements of his campaign, including mine.

Even if my endorsement consisted of a single sentence fragment: “State Treasurer: Ben Westlund”.

But there it is, about 2/3 down the page, in between International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701 and Homer Williams.

Give a middle-aged, mediocre defenseman the keys to a digital printing press, and look at the kind of company he starts to keep.

Rudy Casoni belts one for the Republicans

by Steve, October 28th, 2008

Fellow Iowa boy Toby Huss nails it:

(Toby and I were both theatre students at the University of Iowa back in the mid eighties. He’s obviously managed to do something with his larnin’. As if that weren’t a tenuous enough connection, he played Cotton Hill on King of the Hill, a character whose diction bears a startling resemblance to my grandmother-in-law.)

Opie, Andy, Richie and Fonz all say: Vote Obama!

by Steve, October 24th, 2008

Good stuff from Ron Howard, Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler:

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die