Late last week, the city council wrapped up negotiations over the fall budget surplus, and prepared to approve over $5.7 million in new general fund requests.
The good news? Funding for bike safety improvements—proposed in the wake of two bike/truck collision deaths—made it through to the final package, as did special requests to fund things like "parade access" (i.e., no Rose Parade duct tape), 24-hour restrooms downtown, and a "Sweatfree Consortium" that will oversee sweatshop-free policies in cities like Portland.
Not so lucky: $75,000 to implement a citywide drug strategy, $50,000 to review the over-budget tram project, and $109,722 for police training—including crisis intervention training—were all nixed.
But the mayor didn't touch the funding to continue his visionPDX project—$244,930 will go toward "vision to action" programs and "visioning final reports." (Maybe we can "visualize better police training"?)
Venture capitalists also fared well at city hall last week. Currently, venture capital funds are taxed more harshly than mutual funds in Portland. Consequently, only one venture capital fund is based in Portland—and it has only stuck around because it hasn't generated taxable income yet, Capybara Ventures' Bob Ward told the council on Wednesday, November 28. Since the city wasn't gaining anything by overtaxing non-existent venture capital funds, changing the tax structure to mirror mutual funds' is "one of those win-wins" that could lure the venturists—and their money—into Portland, Mayor Tom Potter noted.
Later that night in city hall's Lovejoy Room, the Oregon League of Minority Voters (OLMV)—headed up by Commissioner Dan Saltzman's former aide, Promise King—held their inaugural meeting. The group, with board members like Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen and the mayor's Community Affairs Director Carmen Rubio, plans to lobby around issues that impact minority voters. The OLMV also plans to "request responses from political candidates regarding minority issues"—in other words, expect to hear plenty more from them as 2008's campaigns ramp up.
Meanwhile, City Commissioner Sam Adams has been raking in the dough for his mayoral bid. He's capped donations at $500 per individual—pulling in about $24,000 so far.
Patrick Lanagan—head of Fat Cobra Video on N Interstate and Eagle Portland on N Lombard—is one of those $500 donors. But there's also a $500 contribution to Adams from "Plaid Zebra, LLC" which runs Eagle PDX (Lanagan is the listed agent, with Fat Cobra as his address). In other words, the porn shop owner is Adams' top donor. Viva Portland!