When it comes to local elections, nobody loses. Except for the candidates who don't win. And the people who voted for them.
Speaking of! Barely a week after her surprisingly large defeat in her bid for a seat at city hall, Amanda Fritz is using her newly raised profile to pick her first post-election fight: Keeping the city council from dumping the citizens' land-use appeal board.
On deck for the Wednesday, May 24 council meeting is an ordinance that would "temporarily reassign powers and duties" of the Adjustment Committee—which is composed of seven citizens to hear appeals of zoning exceptions—to a land-use hearings officer. Yes, it's an utterly tedious battle to wage, but, according to Fritz, it's "one more step down the path of reducing citizen involvement in planning and development."
In case you missed the last six months of election coverage, that's the fight she based her campaign on. "This is exactly the kind of thing that wouldn't have happened if I'd been elected," she said. "This is one of the main reasons I ran."
The Bureau of Planning says it doesn't have a choice in dissolving the committee—that due to a lack of interest from citizens, it can't keep the committee staffed, and as of July 1, it won't have enough members to meet a quorum. That's not surprising, Fritz says, since the city's only request for volunteers was a general post on the Office of Neighborhood Involvement website.
So, Fritz has taken on the task herself. The day before the meeting, she said she had a list of seven volunteers to present to council, plus ideas to give the Adjustment Committee even more influence in citywide planning decisions.
Will her new campaign be more successful than her last one? Either way, the upshot is that she can leave the meeting after testifying—Dan Saltzman, who beat her by nearly 30 percentage points, still has to sit through hours of city council tedium every week. That's what we call a silver lining.
And what of Dave Lister, the affable libertarian who managed to pull in 14 percent of the vote in his race against Erik Sten? According to the Portland Tribune, he's considering a run in 2008. The question is, against whom? He's an admittedly huge fan of Sam Adams, and Randy Leonard has recently become a star among the same anti-tram crowd that backed Lister, so it's unlikely that he'd run against either one. The only other option: the mayor.
Lister for mayor? Now that would be an awesome race.
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