What Killed Portland Voter Owned Elections?

Comments

1
This really isn't about liberal or conservative, at least on an individual level. I didn't see a single ad either way regarding VOE, and I, along with my partner, both dependable liberal votes, voted against it.

Cornett getting his clocked cleaned by just about every candidate, including an incumbent who was publicly embarrassed by the mayor days before the election, was what sunk VOE. It's just a poor, poor use of money. I never understood how adding more money to a problem that is/was caused by too much money was going to help anything. Spending caps are the only thing that could fix the problem, and I'm fairly certain those have been deemed unconstitutional.

File VOE as one of those ideas that sounds great on paper, but doesn't work in the real world.
2
Seeing a documentary on this issue, Pricele$$, definitely made me a strong believer in VOE.

It was $150,000 investment in democracy, so they were untethered by owing political favors to contributors.

It was also a way to keep campaign spending down.

It opened the political system to fresh, unbiased candidates.

And I heard that candidates that ran as VOE all won.

To me, it's really depressing that this didn't pass.
3
Amanda Fritz killed VOE.

If, she would have took a stand against the status quo and would have showed leadership, oh-maybe, in Jan. of 2008 - the voters would have seen the benefit of VOE.

Instead, she showed that VOE is just a way of getting people elected on the public dime who will vote in line and protect the status quo.

Sure blame can go to Cornett for mismanaging his election, but also let's look at what the money *really* bought us (other than progressive bragging rights).
4
Chuck, I disagree with you that it's a good idea on paper but not good in real life. I lived in Maine for 5 years where they have the system Portland's VOE was modeled on. And there, you have over 80% of the legislature elected with no special interest money. Lo and behold, if you google the phrase "Maine, first in the nation" you will find all sorts of interesting things they have done that everywhere else is blocked by wealthy special interests. They have landmark mercury recycling legislation, set up prescription drug price controls before anyone else, and the most comprehensive foreclosure prevention legislation in the nation.

I'm sad about losing this campaign, but the fight will continue to limit the corrupting influence of money in politics.
5
VOE was a diversion of public funds for private gain (i.e. the winner gets a job and keeps their salary and benefits for personal use). Worse yet: giving public funds to promote a specific candidacy is offensive to those who believe in limited government. They didn't ask us first, and Emily Boyles showed them why that was a mistake.

The only way to beat an incumbent is to outspend them. Period.
6
"The only way to beat an incumbent is to outspend them."

This sort of attitude is exactly why we need VOE.
7
Only if you change the VOE Ordinance to permit challengers to outspend the incumbent. Otherwise, the power of incumbency is too great to overcome with coffees, kumbaya circles, and yard signs. This city is so naive.
8
And you're a cynic.
9
I think VOE should be funded by a tax on all funds spent on elections. Let the people buying our government pay to level the playing field.
10
econoline,
that's an awesome idea! Now we'd just have to actually keep track of individuals who donate to PACs nationally...
11
Cynic, skeptic, or pragmatist. Take your pick.

We won't know which one unless you consider the possibility I may be correct. In the past 100 years, an incumbent city commissioner has lost exactly twice. The records don't indicate how much was spent to defeat them. That said, if incumbents win re-election to the Portland City Council 99% of the time, then capping the spending limits of their opponents sounds like a really stupid idea.
12
I voted for VOE but I would imagine Emily Boyles running off with all that money, Cornett getting slaughtered, and Busse cashing in on Branham's free money probably didn't help. Of course there is also the fact that the only candidate to win with public financing is largely ineffective. Anyways...take your pick. I'm sad to see it go but it definitely needed to be refined at the very least.
13
The Oregonian attacked VOE for the past 5 years repeatedly. They were the main opponent, if you ask me. How much was that worth, I wonder?