Get this: According to several year-end studies, Americans are generally unhappy about the state of politics! Shocking? Of course not. In response, more and more Americans are getting involved in civic projects and politics.

But that sense of civic duty is not translating to local politics here in Portland. Have you noticed that virtually no one is running for city council?

Sure, there are one or two viable candidates for the two city council seats. But that's a paltry number considering that during the last election cycle, 23 candidates campaigned for mayor and another two dozen applied for city council positions.

Really, the lack of candidates is somewhat unbelievable. Not that money should be the incentive, but the job pays $90,000 a year. What's more, the city is offering to give you $150,000 for your campaign.

During the last election cycle, I ran my mayoral campaign for a fraction of that—$11,000—and managed to take third place, behind a candidate who spent $1 million and another candidate, Tom Potter, who had a solid public image and spent nearly 10 times what I did during the primary election.

Toward the end of my campaign, I began stumping that everyone should try to run for public office at least once. Win or lose, the payoffs are great. For example, in the past two years I've had an opportunity to push forward ordinances and civic projects.

What am I trying to say? Get off your ass and run for city council! Think about it this way: What other top-paying job in town has fewer than five applicants? Those are pretty good odds, right?

And you'd better start soon. The city council's primary election is in five months. To be eligible, you must submit your paperwork by early March. But anyone who honestly hopes to be a contender must start campaigning immediately.

So what are you waiting for? Quit kvetching about the state of affairs and what you would do if you had the power to affect change, and do it! Anyone wanting help or advice about how to hop into the race—or how to run their campaign—should email me at: