AROUND THE COUNTY: Getting Started on May 21 Local Election Campaigns

By Peter Toll

Gearing up for the off-year special district elections May 21 finds PCPs seriously looking all over the county for good candidates to step up and run for their local boards and commissions.

House District 39 — South Oregon City to Beavercreek, Canby and environs — has the most such entities with 26 special district elections. That’s a serious bunch. Co-House District Leaders Naella Tesch and Gay Lewis are anxious to give good candidates a hand with the election process.

West Linn-Wilsonville School Board has two seats up. Chelsea Martin is seeking re-election but long-time member Betty Reynolds, past president of the Oregon School Boards Assn., will not be on the ballot this time. Instead, she has just been appointed to the Clackamas Community College board of directors.

Jordan Farris is looking closely at the WLWV race. She is a legislative official with the Oregon Nurses Assn. They’re the same folks who jumped in and helped Rachel Prusak get elected to the Oregon House from West Linn.

Dave Hunt is up for re-election to the Clackamas Community College board. A former Speaker of the Oregon House, Dave is a long-standing mentor to wannabe politicians/lawmakers in our county. And an excellent public servant.

IN OTHER COUNTY NEWS …

State Rep. Jeff Reardon, who represents HD 48 in Clackamas County, is not taking “no” for an answer this time. This is Jeff’s fourth legislative session and in a report to constituents he says now is the time for proper school funding. No more “maybe next year”. Democrats are primed, and Jeff, a former David Douglas District board member, is chafing at the bit.

So is State Senator Rob Wagner. Freshly elected, he is also a member of the Lake Oswego School Board and is chairing the Senate’s Education Committee. Wagner knows probably better than anyone else: he can pass all the wonderful bills he wants through his committee but if there’s no money to pay for the improvements, it is a vain effort.

Speaking of big money, the Oregon Center for Public Policy notes that big Oregon companies have a cheesy tendency to park their money outside of the U.S. Nike has $12.2 billion in foreign country banks. If the law were fixed it would mean Nike would have to pay $376 million in state taxes.

That would help Gov. Kate Brown generate some $2 billion more this year for schools, public health and the like. Call it re-balancing, as corporations are now paying 6.8 percent of the Oregon tax load (the lowest rate in the country) compared to 1973-75 when they were paying 18.5 percent. Who’s making up the difference? Just look in the mirror.

Meanwhile, Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba led the delegation of Metro Mayors taking their demands for climate change efforts to the legislature. “We’re the ones who will have to deal with the brunt of the problems,” Gamba said in a press conference, unless real change occurs.

Speaking municipally, our Clack Dems VP Jan Lee was recently appointed to a vacancy on the Sandy City Council. From all indications, Jan may be the only Democrat on that body.

Also locally, County Commission Chair Jim Bernard will present his “State of the County” speech to members of the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 13. The luncheon is open to the public. Contact the chamber for details.

Congratulations to former State Rep. Chris Garrett of Lake Oswego’s House District 38. He left his State Rep seat a few years back when he was appointed to the Oregon Court of Appeals. (Ann Lininger then held the seat until she, too, was appointed to a judgeship.) Now Garrett is going to the State Supreme Court, thanks to a new appointment from Gov. Kate Brown.

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Peter Toll is a Clackamas County Democratic activist who lives in Lake Oswego.