Hall Monitor 

Eyes on the Prize

THE SURPRISE isn't that Jefferson Smith is running for mayor. The surprise is that OH MY GOD Jefferson Smith ripped his eyeballs off the night before he announced he's running for mayor!

As soon as Mayor Sam Adams revealed he'll be vacating his job in 2012, Jefferson Smith—the frenetic East Portland state representative who founded the Bus Project, opened for Obama last year, and gained YouTube fame by rickrolling the state legislature—was a rumored frontrunner ["So Long, Sam," News, Aug 4].

On Tuesday, September 13, his mayoral campaign website officially launched and I immediately called Smith. Unfortunately, the details of our conversation were foggy because he was temporarily blinded and high as a kite.

"What happened to you?!" I asked.

"Well," said Smith, in a groggy voice. "All weekend I was working pretty darn hard at my computer and writing stuff and I kept my contacts in. When I took them out yesterday, they ripped my corneas."

That's right—he internetted so hard, his eyes fell out. Way to put the "pain" in "campaign," Jefferson. Anyway, the doctor prescribed Percocet, but Smith said his eyes should heal themselves over a few days.

"I'm in pain," he said. "My head is bloodied and I'm bowed."

"Why did you go ahead and announce your campaign now?" I asked.

"We made a commitment and we're sticking to it. It's got to be a good omen. I think it reminds us that vision comes from within. Some shit like that," replied Smith. Percocet. Lots of it.

Through the haze, Smith said his campaign would focus on equity—an issue he championed for East Portland—and building a "homegrown economy."

But the real issue in this race will likely be dollars and cents. Smith is entering a three-way race with Charlie Hales and Eileen Brady, who have both raised over $150,000. With the death of Portland's public campaign financing program last fall and the primary still eight months away, this is going to be a long, expensive race.

That's a tricky position for Smith. During his years at the helm of progressive political nonprofit the Bus Project, Smith argued vociferously for getting big money out of politics. To surpass business-friendly Hales and Brady, he'll need some mighty big checks.

But unlike the streetcar backer and New Seasons founder, Smith says he won't accept money from out-of-state groups or corporations (though individual friends living elsewhere are still invited to send cash). The first thing he should spend money on? Sam Adams-style black-rimmed glasses.

Speaking of...

  • Sudden Safekeeping
  • Sudden Safekeeping

    The City's Finally Giving Homeless People a Place to Put Their Things
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hall Monitor
  • Hall Monitor

    Ban the Box, Banned?
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Uncertain Terms
  • Uncertain Terms

    City Doesn't Have the Records You Want? Ask Them to Look Again
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Comments are closed.

From the Archives

More by Sarah Mirk

Staff Pick Events

Most Commented On

Top Viewed Stories

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy