- Book Simon Springall is reading To the promised land: a history of government and politics in Oregon by Tom Marsh
- Book Susan Hansen is reading Astoria : John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's lost Pacific empire : a story of wealth, ambition, and survival by Peter Stark
- Book Peter Toll is reading The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — and Divided a Country by Gabriel Sherman
- TruthDig Sandi Jabs is reading "The Myth of Human Progress and the Collapse of Complex Societies" by Chris Hedges
- Daily Kos Ken Humberston is reading "8.8 Million Private-Sector Jobs Created in First 4 Years of Obamacare" by Jim Oleske
- Film Noël Lee is watching Inequality for All, a documentary by Robert Reich.
- New Yorker Peter Toll is reading “Forces of Divergence” by John Cassidy
- The Atlantic Noël Lee is reading "The U.S. Cities Where the Poor Are Most Segregated from Everyone Else" by Richard Florida
- New York Times Simon Springall is reading "How Democrats Can Compete for the White Working Class" by Thomas B. Edsall.
- Book Peter Nordbye is reading Why Does The World Exist?: An existential detective story by Jim Holt
What Are You Reading?
In what could be analogous to a giraffe suddenly joining you in a high-jumping contest, State Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, may have a surprise opponent. Rick Miller, who lives in Lake Oswego and has more money that most anyone could ever amass, has filed a political action committee. As an independent, Miller won’t be on the May 20 primary ballot. Instead, he is making his presence known with the PAC because he’s thinking about running in November.
With his wealth, he could’ve run against U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, Congressman Kurt Schrader, or for that matter, the Governor. But he seems to have his eye on Devlin, a respected legislator for 18 years.
There is a good Democratic bulge in the 19th Senate district, which includes West Linn and Stafford as well as Tualatin, Lake Oswego, and parts of Southwest Portland. Will this matter to the seven-foot tall Miller? Probably not. Money is power, and he’s been known to exercise it, contributing $100,000 to the arch-conservative Oregon Transformation Project in 2012. Other Republicans enjoyed his largesse, too, that year.
Devlin hasn’t had a serious opponent in years. He’ll be picking up his pace now.
It has taken a while for the guns to be drawn, the knives to come out, or what ever other nasty metaphor one can muster about John Ludlow and his not-so-jolly band of Clackamas County Commissioners. First, Commissioner Martha Schrader endorsed two colleagues seeking re-election, Jim Bernard and Paul Savas. This upset Ludlow as he thought there was an agreement that no one would endorse until after the official Voters Pamphlet deadline passed. Martha jumped the gun. She apologized, saying the board is working well, let’s stick with this team. Not so! thundered Ludlow in response last week. He proceeded to accuse Bernard and Savas of failing to follow the new Ludlow-driven plan for the county. Ludlow is convinced they’re wholly out of touch with the voters.
But recent political history is somewhat more revealing. Ludlow hand-picked a challenger for Martha in her 2012 election, tea party colleague Jim Knapp. Martha beat him. Then Knapp lost his Oak Lodge water board seat of 18 years to a newcomer. (At this point Knapp is not looking for a third loss.) Ludlow two years later hand picked Lake Oswego city councilor Karen Bowerman to challenge Savas, and Steve Bates, of the Boring community planning organization, to run against Bernard. Now all the cards are on the table, and they’re face up.
It’s getting close to crunch time as ballots go in the mail May 1. We have three important Clackamas County races in the May 20 primary. Two county commissioners are being challenged by fringe right-wing types, and the incompetent county clerk has four challengers. Incumbent moderates Jim Bernard and Paul Savas are facing the John Ludlow-recruited Steve Bates and Karen Bowerman.
Bernard and Savas know that their opponents will get a big bag of money tossed over the transom any day now. Already, the Oregon Transformation Project, the same less than ethical operatives who put Ludlow and Tootie Smith in office in 2012, have supplied $9,000 for the ugly “Get Rid of the BS” billboards on busy Highway 205 in Gladstone. You can guess what the B and S stand for.
What happens when these four candidates get together in one room? The Clackamas Review’s Raymond Rendleman, a rising journalistic star whom the paper probably can’t keep very long, has an excellent report on the confrontation. Check it out.
One of the most difficult legislative seats for Democrats to win in West Linn, Stafford and Tualatin has been the House District 37 seat held by Julie Parrish, a Republican. She’s never been beaten.
But perhaps the worm is turning. Parrish has been running around trying to recruit GOP House candidates across the state. That self-appointed duty got her in hot water with her caucus, and she was stripped of her leadership position. Is this the time to win the seat? Will Republicans in her district agree that she is grossly unproductive, has an abrasive leadership style, and is pretty worthless in representing them?
Welcome Gerritt Rosenthal. He is a Stafford resident and chair of the State Democratic Party’s Platform and Resolutions Committee. He lost a three-way Democratic primary in 2010 but remains concerned that Parrish is not serving her constituents well at all. Parrish claims big support for public schools but has a 21.4% approval rating from the biggest Oregon teachers union (OEA). Too, her son is enrolled at a charter school well out of her own West Linn-Wilsonville District. Parrish talks the game everybody wants to hear (pro-education), but it doesn’t ring true. We hope Rosenthal can make her a smidgen more honest while putting an old-fashioned whupping on her.
By Peter Toll
While the Big Money Goons have already made their ugly mark in Clackamas County, their newest target is an incumbent Republican legislator who represents a chunk of the southern end of our county.
Forty percent of Rep. Vic Gilliam’s House District 18 is in Clackamas County. The Silverton resident is also chair of the Marion County Republican Party. Those tea party-dominated Marion Repubs chose not to endorse him for re-election. Too liberal.