- Two strikes and you’re out? Former City of Portland spokeswoman and unsuccessful City Council candidate Mary Volm faces her second DUII after police say she fell off her Vespa near Washington Park on Aug. 27. Volm’s first DUII arrest was in 2004, when she was sentenced to a diversion program. Because last week’s incident was her second DUII, Volm won’t be eligible under state law for a diversion program if she’s found guilty this time. Instead, she faces a minimum $1,000 fine, a one-year license suspension and 48 hours in jail or 80 hours of community service. Volm did not respond to phone calls for comment.
- Democrat vs. Democrat: The local arm of Strengthen Social Security, a national coalition of unions and senior citizens groups, is going after U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) for remarks he made in an Aug. 26 New York Times article. In that piece, Blumenauer advocated reducing some Social Security benefits to help bring down the national deficit. Matt Blevins, a Portland spokesman for the pro-Social Security group, says Blumenauer is off base. “Two wars and the Bush tax cuts have created the deficit,” Blevins says. “If you want to talk about deficit, go to the root causes rather than attack a source of stable income for millions of Oregonians.”
- Now comes more confirmation that Oregon is a very small state politically. Even as state and federal investigators probe “potential contract irregularities” between the Oregon Department of Energy and a company run by Cylvia Hayes, Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber’s girlfriend, a Blue Oregon blogger noted that Attorney General John Kroger recently spent time canvassing for Kitzhaber. Asked whether that is appropriate given the pending investigation, AG spokesman Tony Green wrote, “The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s office are conducting an investigation into potential contracting irregularities at the Dept. of Energy. We have no further comment. ”
- Reserve judgment: Portland Public Schools will pull $6 million out of its dwindling reserve fund to patch the latest multimillion-dollar hole in its 2010-11 budget. That’s a response to Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s announcement Aug. 26 that Oregon faces another $377.5 million shortfall. School starts next week on Sept. 7. The budget forecast for the 2011-12 school year already appears grim.
- Voter fraud? Both gubernatorial campaigns are accusing the other of bad faith when it comes to scheduling debates. Now Murmurs has learned that the one event both candidates have agreed to attend so far will be rehearsed. The Oregon League of Cities will host Republican Chris Dudley and Democrat John Kitzhaber in a Sept. 25 candidate forum in Eugene, but the League undermined the purpose of the event by sending both candidates question in advance.