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October 24th, 2012 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: Hitting the Spending Limits

Education reformers are absent at school.

murmurs2_3851BROWN - IMAGE: katebrownfororegon.com
  • Self-imposed campaign spending limits are often little more than a publicity stunt for candidates, but they can turn out to be a headache. City Commissioner Amanda Fritz raised her contribution limits, and mayoral candidate Charlie Hales is cutting corners on his $600 cap. Secretary of State Kate Brown pledged last month to spend no more than $1 million in her re-election fight with Republican Knute Buehler. Records show she’s only $51,000 short of hitting that mark with two weeks still to go. “Kate remains committed to limiting her campaign spending,” says Brown spokeswoman Jillian Schoene. Buehler talks a good game about campaign limits but rejected Brown’s call for a cap. He’s raised $1.2 million.
  • Last week, Gov. John Kitzhaber’s Oregon Education Investment Board met to take testimony on education spending and Kitzhaber’s school reform efforts. But only one person on the 12-member board, Hanna Vaandering of the Oregon Education Association, showed up. The board’s chief of staff, Cathleen Healy, says all board members will eventually see or hear all the testimony. Save Our Schools, a watchdog group, called the poor attendance “disrespectful.” The board plans eight hearings across the state to shape next year’s K-20 budget. The Portland hearing was held—without irony—at Marshall High School, shuttered in 2010 for financial reasons.
  • The Lone Fire Cemetery Foundation kicked off a $2.4 million fundraising drive last week to build a heritage park honoring Chinese immigrants and mental patients of Dr. James Hawthorne believed to be buried in unmarked graves at the cemetery’s Block 14, now owned by Metro. Block 14’s previous owner, Multnomah County, tried to make a quick buck eight years ago by selling the property for redevelopment; the county had put an office building on the site in the 1950s over a onetime graveyard for Portland’s Chinese community. County officials dismissed neighbors’ claims that the site still contained bodies. Research by the Friends of Lone Fir, the Oregon Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and The Oregonian, however, suggested graves of women and children remained. The county finally agreed to investigate and uncovered human bones, ending plans to sell the site.
  • Oregon lost of one of its corporate and philanthropic giants Oct. 19, when John Gray died at the age of 93. Gray earned his fortune with Omark Industries, which made saw and milling equipment, and as developer of such destination resorts as Sunriver, Salishan and Skamania Lodge. Gray became one of Oregon’s foremost advocates for land-use planning and conservation, and a mover in several local institutions, including Reed College. Read a full obituary at wweek.com.
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