Secretary of State Kate Brown has made a decision critics say is nothing more than partisanship thatâs inappropriate of the stateâs elections officer. As first reported on wweek.com, Brown, without warning, shifted the election for state labor commissioner from the May primary to November. In Oregonâwith a potentially heavy turnout for President Obama in the fallâBrownâs move probably helps the incumbent, Democrat Brad Avakian, who faces a tough reelection fight. (The office itself is nonpartisan.) Avakianâs opponent, state Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro), has sued Brown in Marion County Court to restore the May election. Brownâs likely Republican opponent, Knute Buehler, said her decision to ârig the rulesâ is âthird world.â Brown denies the move is partisan.
Portland Public Schools officials still arenât getting a clear message as to why last yearâs $548 million school bond measure failed. A âlistening sessionsâ report reflects the views of business leaders, school officials and a wide range of other voices. Many people said the failed May 2011 bond measure âfocused too much on a small number of schools.â Others said it was spread âtoo thin.â A lot of respondents said the bond was too expensive for Portland during the economic downturn. And some wanted PPS to link renovations at certain schools to academic performance and graduation rates. PPS spokesman Matt Shelby says the district plans to offer voters another bond measure, and âitâs not off the table for November.â
Last September, State Rep. Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley) allegedly groped an aide to Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian at an American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations convention in Eugene. After the incident, for which Schaufler subsequently apologized, House leaders stripped the five-term incumbent of his co-chairmanship of the House Business and Labor Committee. Last week, the AFL-CIO endorsed Schaufler over his Democratic primary opponent Jeff Reardon, a teacher and former member of the David Douglas school board. AFL-CIO spokeswoman Elana Guiney says the union took into account Schauflerâs legislative record.
Portlander Debi Coleman was once a top lieutenant to Steve Jobs at Apple and, later, served as CEO of local tech company Merix Corp. Sheâs since turned her attention to show biz. Sheâs the founder and general partner of Rainy Day Productions and is co-producer of her first Broadway production, Leap of Faith, which goes into previews April 3. âIâm walking on air,â Coleman says. âIâm very excited.â