The lesson from the Oregon Department of Justice investigation of former Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen: If Cogen had resigned when the story of his affair broke in July, there probably would not have been an investigation, and his former mistress, Sonia Manhas, would not have told investigators of seeing Cogen toting âsome kind of marijuana tinctureâ on one of their Atlanta getaways or of walking into his home and seeing âmarijuana smoking pipes and marijuana in Cogenâs den.â Now, after revelations in the report have sullied his reputation as a politician and husband, Cogen is on to a new challengeâworking for Democracy Resources, the signature-gathering firm working to put marijuana legalization on the 2014 ballot.
In 2004, then-mayoral candidate Jim Francesconi raised more than $1 million and voters punished him for it, flocking to his low-dollar challenger Tom Potter. So far, Francesconi and his opponent for Multnomah County chair, former County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, are competing to be the Wal-Mart candidateâneither has reported raising a penny yet. Candidates have 30 days to report contributions, so both are probably playing possum. In the race to replace Kafoury, state Rep. Jules Bailey (D-Portland) has taken the opposite approach, disclosing $101,000 in contributions so far. His opponent, businessman Brian Wilson, has reported $9,000.
One of the key planks of Gov. John Kitzhaberâs higher-education reformsâindependent boards for Portland State, Oregon State and the University of Oregonâwill be on the agenda at next weekâs interim legislative session. Senators failed to approve Kitzhaberâs appointees to those boards in September, and next weekâs vote is also likely to include significant dissent over the presence of faculty members on the boards. The Legislature may soon face a tougher question: Sources say OHSU is considering asking lawmakers for $200 million to partially match Nike Chairman Phil Knightâs $500 million challenge grant. OHSU spokesman Tim Kringen says no decisions have been made. âEverything is on the table,â he says.
Mayor Charlie Hales spent the summer sweeping homeless camps from city sidewalks. He wants more control over those sidewalks, thoughâand heâs looking to Salem. Draft copies of the cityâs state legislative agenda show Portland will lobby at the February special session for authority to âmanage sidewalk use and safetyââcode words for a revival of sit-lie laws. A similar bill died in a Senate committee last May.