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October 10th, 2012 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: A PAC of Dogs

We rate PolitiFact’s sense of humor “Half-True.”

murmurs_3849INFLUENCE PEDDLER - IMAGE: Jelene Morris
  • Mayoral candidate Charlie Hales was awash in money from developers during the May primary race—almost one-quarter of his cash came from development- and real estate-related donors. After he won, Hales voluntarily limited his campaign contributions to $600 per person—as if that would dampen special-interest money. But WW’s analysis of Hales’ campaign report shows 41 percent of the 221 donors who gave the max are tied to construction, real estate or other development interests.
  • As if that’s not enough scratch for Hales, he and other politicians are getting donations from Oregon Dog PAC, founded by animal activist Ron Murray to promote animal-control issues and stop the Multnomah County shelter from euthanizing animals. “It may be a county issue,” says Murray, “but they’re Portland’s dogs.” Dog PAC gave Hales $500 and another $250 to Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Portland), who’s running for City Council against incumbent Commissioner Amanda Fritz. Murray says his PAC is ecumenical. “Can you tell me why 64 percent of treatable cats that come into Multnomah County Animal [Services] are put to death?” he says. “Sixty-four percent! That’s not a progressive city.”
  • The GOP-allied Oregon Transformation Project is having fun with political billboards, using a parody of the Truth-O-Meter “Pants On Fire” graphic made famous by PolitiFact to call bull on the Portland Public Schools’ bond request on the Nov. 6 ballot. Turns out the folks at PolitiFact, owned by the Times Publishing Co. of Tampa, Fla., don’t seem to think it’s funny. The company last week sent a cease-and-desist letter to Oregon Transformation Project officials, demanding the conservative activists take the billboards down. PolitiFact, otherwise a champion of free speech, says the ads infringe on its copyright and make it appear as if PolitiFact had rated the truthfulness of the billboard’s claims—which it hasn’t. “We didn’t think we’d ruffle feathers that much,” says Rob Kremer, the treasurer of Oregon Transformation Project, largely funded by Stimson Lumber. The Oregonian, which runs material from PolitiFact and writes its own Truth-O-Meter items, isn’t party to the demand letter.
  • Sick of this election news? You can take the first step toward ending this madness by registering to vote. The deadline for registering is Oct. 16. The Multnomah County Elections office says you can register at elections headquarters at 1040 SE Morrison St., or at DMV offices, post offices and libraries. You can also mail in your registration (must be postmarked by the deadline day) or register online at oregonvotes.org. Ballots will be mailed to voters on Oct. 19. And if you’re still not sure how to vote, we’re here to help: WW’s elections endorsement issue comes out next week.
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