Portland City Council candidate Charles Lewis
was the only candidate in the six-person May primary field to raise concerns about the city's new day labor hiring center
But after meeting with Mayor Tom Potter—who shepherded the day labor center along—and visiting the newly opened site, Lewis has changed his mind. Lewis, whose second-place finish in the primary qualified him for a November runoff against Amanda Fritz
, now sees the city-funded center as "an act of civil disobedience against the federal government"
and its back-assward immigration policies.
Lewis says that after visiting site staff and workers, he even came back later to donate some office chairs and supplies.
The text of Lewis's press release, sent to local media outlets as a letter to the editor, is at the end of this post.
Meanwhile, here's the bigger City Council campaign news: Lewis is a new daddy. His wife Sarah delivered Coakley Anna Lewis (7 lbs. 3 oz.) at 5:41 p.m. on June 20. (That's the happy family, above.)
But just to be a sourpuss—that's what we're here for, folks—we have to note that Fritz will be a little less busy around the house between now and November. Her youngest just graduated high school.
From Fritz's blog
on June 2:
Being an active parent volunteer in Portland's public schools has helped me grow into a community leader ready to help City Hall understand and support the school districts better. And after Ali turns 18 in June (one more vote - yay!), then when she and her two brothers are all in college in September, I will be able to focus even more time on City of Portland issues. I'm looking forward to that... as well as enjoying the here-and-now, this week and over the summer.
Lewis says he's taken the past couple of days off of the campaign trail. He's not sleeping much.
Here's his letter on the day labor site:
As someone who has spent his entire adult life fighting for the underserved in our community, I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity for a safe, dignified, living wage job.
I recently visited Portland's new Day Labor Center to get a better understanding of the project. I met with staff members who answered my questions concerning a minimum wage and worker's compensation. I was impressed with the staff, facilities and the services being provided to day laborers.
While the project isn't perfect, I've come to understand that the Day Labor Center is a critical first step that must be taken to help a very vulnerable part of our community. I believe that the project is important and will do everything I can to help it become a self-sustaining part of our community.