With less than a week to go before the filing deadline, it was looking like City Commissioner Dan Saltzman was going to walk into a historic fifth term without even a cursory vote come this May.
Sitting on a decent-but-not-formidable war chest provided by developers and big businesses, the dean of the Portland City Council had managed to avoid an actual challenger—even though his colleague one office over, Nick Fish, has attracted two.
No more! Joe Meyer, an activist and familiar voice on KBOO (he just did the station's "Mo Is Shy" docudrama on the Pioneer Courthouse Square bomb plot trial), announced yesterday that he's launched a campaign website and plans to file for Saltzman's seat. (He hasn't done it yet, according to the city's elections website.)
Meyer doesn't mention Saltzman by name. But according to the statement he sent out, he and Saltzman clearly disagree on one major subject: the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force and Portland's role in the thing. Saltzman has been a major force for working more closely with the JTTF, coming off of the FBI-facilitated courthouse bomb plot.
I like Meyer, having gotten to know him at various rallies, trials, city council meetings, and city budget forums. He's everywhere. But this is where I also responsibly point out that it's difficult even for a well-connected, deep-pocketed challenger to knock off an incumbent in city hall. (See Mary Nolan vs. Amanda Fritz.) But maybe this will be cause for Saltzman to show up for some candidate forums, and the JTTF stuff will give them something good to talk about.
Here's Meyer's full statement.
I am a husband and a dad, a neighbor and a friend, a physicist by training and a volunteer by vocation.
I've been a volunteer KBOO radio reporter for the past three years and produced public affairs shows on issues important to Portland including coal transport, fluoride, open reservoirs, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Through this volunteer work I have met hundreds of Portlanders and learned from them about the issues most pressing on City Hall.
My campaign's core value is 'freedom'. My freedom depends on my neighbor's freedom—our mutual freedoms depend on the protection of law and the persons elected to protect those laws.
My campaign for Portland City Commissioner #3 calls for a new relationship between sovereign citizens and City Hall.
I was an activist before I was a reporter and testified in front of council many times. This, combined with my City Hall reporting made it pretty obvious that important decisions are made by a very few people and then marketed to the public.
I reported and reported and reported and the people said, 'We know that! So, what's the news.'"