In the months leading up to Election Day, one of the lesser talking points thrown around by proponents of Measure 45 was that term limits for state legislators would be a boon for Portland's city politics.
It went like this: When state lawmakers became "termed out" of Salem, they'd naturally end up back in Portland, vying for a seat on city council or—perhaps—running for mayor. Voters would have a larger number of experienced, qualified candidates to choose from, and more choice leads to a healthy democracy. But that notion went out the window last Tuesday, November 7, when Oregon voters overwhelmingly shot down Measure 45 (58 to 42 percent), despite the Yes on 45 campaign having a ton of money and almost no opposition.
So, too bad for you, State Senator Kate Brown, and better luck next time to you, newly christened Speaker of the House Jeff Merkley. Looks like you'll be forced to keep your part-time state job that pays poverty wages and requires a helluva commute. But it's good news for Portland leaders like Mayor Tom Potter and the city commissioners—now they've got jobs for life.
(Oh, except the flaw in the Yes on 45's claim: State legislators already run for local office. That's how former Representative Randy Leonard ended up at city hall, and State Senator Ginny Burdick sure did a bang-up job in her failed run for Erik Sten's seat.)
On the city level, Election Night was a total letdown. Sten and Dan Saltzman both re-won their seats during May's primary election, and the only city measures that were up for vote—pension reform and a school bond—passed by their expectedly large margins. It paled in comparison to 2004, when Sam Adams and Nick Fish were paired in a squeaker of a battle, and Potter was riding a wave of entertaining anti-Francesconi sentiment.
Speaking of Potter! Months ago, the mayor unveiled one of those new fangled blog things on his internet web page, keeping in line with his vision to connect with the people of Portland. But here's the thing—a blog that isn't updated is a blog that isn't read. Since October 1, the mayor has put up four posts—and the last one, from October 30, was a reposting of an Oregonian editorial. Compare that to Adams' blog (commissionersam.com), which has had 16 posts just this month. Hell, even the water bureau—the water bureau!—has updated its blog 15 times in the past two weeks. When the water bureau is better than the mayor at connecting with the city, something is amiss.
Speaking of blogs! Don't forget to check portlandmercury.com/blogtown every day for news updates.