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December 23rd, 2009 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

The Naughty And The Nice.

     
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  • Former Gov. John Kitzhaberraked in big checks this week to lift his total to nearly $400,000 for next year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. But some observers point to ex-Kitzhaber aide Steve Marks’ free campaign work as evidence the ex-guv is struggling for cash. Marks, who’s donated $13,700 in “in-kind” services so far, says such a conclusion would be a misread. “I made the contribution of my time because I could afford to, and wanted to,” he says, “but I’ll probably start taking a paycheck in January.” Marks notes the campaign has nearly $300,000 cash on hand and could easily afford to pay him. 

  • “No pity in the Rose City” became “better late than never” as Timbers-Beavers owner Merritt Paulson finally put in writing a promise he made Portland officials in October. That’s when Paulson told Beaverton pols amid talks to build a baseball stadium in their ’hood, “If I don’t get a baseball deal done, I’m not going to finalize the deal with Portland.” Paulson quickly reversed course, telling Portland his elusive deal for a Beavers stadium wouldn’t muck up his agreement to bring Major League Soccer here in 2011. But his Dec. 11 letter to Commissioner Nick Fish marked the first time Paulson put that commitment in writing. “I am fully committed to bringing MLS to Portland,” Paulson wrote. Next up: an oft-rescheduled council vote Jan. 6 on renovating PGE Park for soccer.

  • The brutal penalties proposed in Uganda for gays and lesbians (including the death penalty for any homosexual who’s HIV-positive) have two Oregon connections worth noting. Oregon Citizens Alliance alum Scott Lively has been cooperating with Ugandan lawmakers working to pass the anti-gay bills. On a happier note, students at Southridge High School are preparing a march and rally Jan. 23 in Beaverton to spread awareness of what student Chelsea Pfeiffer calls a “human issue, not just a gay issue or a Uganda issue.”

  • The Oregon University System has ended its association with its longtime lobbyist, former state Sen. Neil Bryant(R-Bend). Lawmakers had criticized Bryant’s hefty compensation (see “Making a Contract Killing,” WW, April 29, 2009). And in a deal finalized last week, the university system hired a team of three Tonkon Torp lobbyists for a maximum yearly payment of $100,000, or about $40,000 less than it paid Bryant alone.

  • The prize position in Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s upcoming slate of appointments is the chairmanship of the three-member Public Utility Commission. One of the two front-runners for the $127,884-a-year spot setting energy rates and rules is Susan Ackerman, a utility lawyer who worked for NW Natural and the Bonneville Power Administration. The other? Ex-state Rep. Greg Macpherson (D-Lake Oswego). As a lawmaker, Macpherson carried Kulongoski’s water on 2003 reforms to the Public Employee Retirement System, which generated fierce opposition to Macpherson’s losing 2008 bid for attorney general. Meantime, utility customer groups are wary of the close ties between Macpherson’s law firm and utility giant PacifiCorp.

  • The Fanno Creek Clinic in Southwest Portland has started to provide free health care to uninsured children for a couple of months. Clinic medical director Dr. Gregg Coodley, who’s been active in trying to gain health care for uninsured kids in Portland Public Schools, says the clinic’s 17 docs decided to offer the free care through February while a state program to do the same for all Oregon kids gets put in place. To learn more, contact 503-452-0915.
 
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