Digest: Monday, January 24, 2022

Small Donor Elections deadline approaching

Portland’s Small Donor Elections (formerly Open and Accountable Elections) program provides candidates with public funds — provided they qualify. The deadline for qualification is at the end of the week, on Friday, January 28th. In order to receive funds, candidates must collect at least 250 small donations from Portland residents. In this case, ‘small’ is defined as $250 or less — though only the first $20 donated to a particular candidate will be matched.

While anyone running for either city commissioner or city auditor this year is eligible for for the Small Donor Elections program, the deadline to sign up for the program was January 7th. Any candidate joining the race between now and the March filing deadline will be on their own, financially speaking.

So who has already qualified? The Small Donor Elections program maintains a running list, but here’s where things stand as of the time of writing this post:

City Commissioner Seat 2 (currently occupied by Dan Ryan)

City Commissioner Seat 3 (currently occupied by Jo Ann Hardesty)

City Auditor (currently occupied by Mary Hull Caballero)

  • While Mary Hull Caballero initially filed to participate, she withdrew her filing last October and is not running for reelection.
  • Simone Rede has filed to participate and is nearing certification.
  • Brian Setzler submitted paperwork to participate, but hasn’t shared specific updates on his progress towards certification.

If you only have $20 and you’re trying to decide who to donate to before the deadline at the end of the week, I’d suggest looking at Simone Rede. The other candidates who have filed to participate don’t seem likely to be certified. The exception is Setzler, who has already drawn attention for deleting his personal Twitter account, which reportedly contained concerning opinions about people experiencing homelessness and advocacy for population control.

And please remember that donations over $100 are public records, including the donor’s name, address, and donation amount. If you can’t afford to have your address made public, you can’t afford to donate more than $100 to political candidates in the state of Oregon.

City employees prepare for strike

In other Portland city hall news, 1,200 city employees voted on whether to strike last week. The majority — 86.17% — voted in favor. While the District Council of Trade Unions’ bargaining team is still at the table, negotiators for the City of Portland seem unwilling to budge. Currently, the strike is likely to start the first week of February.

A strike would impact every bureau of the City of Portland. AFSCME Local 189, which represents public employees in a variety of positions, shared interviews from workers discussing the impacts of striking. The full play list is about 27 minutes and is worth listening to. But if you can only listen to two interviews, listen to those of Rob Martineau and Sarah Berkemeier. Martineau is a water operations mechanic with the Portland Water Bureau, as well as president of AFSCME Local 189. Berkemeier is a crime prevention program administrator with the Office of Civic and Community Involvement.

One of the key sticking points is a cost-of-living raise. The City of Portland has offered a 1.6% increase, while DCTU has asked for 5%, neither of which actually keep up with inflation. Furthermore, Portland’s cost of living has risen more than all but two other cities in the U.S. — 22% between 2010 to 2020. Union members also report that city negotiators and officials have suggested that city employees are paid well, perhaps to the point of overpayment. The median salary of employees represented by DCTU is $73,091. In Portland, at the end of 2021, buying a home required a minimum salary of $95,565. In fact, 25% of the employees represented by DCTU qualify as ‘low income’ for accessing housing in Portland.

Few of the candidates running for city office have discussed the impending strike. In fact, I could find only one example: a tweet from AJ McCreary supporting union employees.

DCTU plans to hold a rally the evening of Thursday, January 27th at Portland City Hall. They’re asking supporters to come out and support a fair contract. They also request that union supporters contact city commissioners and request a fair contract. You can reach those officials by calling 503-823-4000 and asking to speak with each commissioner or with the email addresses below:

  • Mayor Ted Wheeler — mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio — comm.rubio@portlandoregon.gov
  • Commissioner Dan Ryan — CommissionerRyanOffice@portlandoregon.gov
  • Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty — joann@portlandoregon.gov
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps — MappsOffice@portlandoregon.gov

By Thursday Bram

Thursday Bram founded PDX.Vote after making numerous zines, newsletters, and other media about politics in Portland, Oregon. Thursday has also written for publications ranging from Autostraddle.com to Entrepreneur Magazine. You can find more of Thursday's work at ThursdayBram.com.