Murmurs: Avakian is the Word

Zombie lawsuits, burnin' up the quarter mile.

  1. Two years ago, the Tonkon Torp law firm scored a coup when it snagged Josh Kardon, the longtime chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, to bolster its federal government-relations practice. Kardon, meanwhile, built a star-studded political-campaign consulting firm, Grant Park Strategies. His firm has largely disbanded and Kardon has now left Tonkon Torp to work on his own. Kardon says the parting with Tonkon Torp was amicable, and he looks forward to maintaining his “great friendship” with the law firm.
  1. Maybe Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian was going for levity last week with a campaign fundraising pitch celebrating the musical Grease. Avakian promoted his support of vocational education, including auto-repair training, which made him think of Grease and “how much fun those guys had in the auto shop fixing up ‘Greased Lightning.’” He didn’t note the lyrics sung by those dancing scamps include “You know that ain’t no shit, we’ll be gettin’ lots of tit” and “You know that I ain’t braggin’, she’s a real pussy wagon.” Ironic, perhaps. Avakian is the state’s top cop for workplace sexual discrimination complaints. And it was an Avakian aide whose breast was allegedly groped last year by state Rep. Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley). “Grease is tame, family friendly stuff,” says Hiram Sachs, Avakian’s campaign manager. “Critics would be better off focusing on Brad’s message.” Avakian faces a re-election battle against Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro). 
  1. Remember that criminal investigation into how Gov. John Kitzhaber’s companion got a $60,000 cut of a 2010 Department of Energy contract? The investigation ended last year, but the legal fight won’t die. Attorneys for Mark Long, a state official investigated in the case, are going to trial March 14 in Marion County Circuit Court, alleging the Oregon Department of Justice violated the state’s public-records law during the investigation. The DOJ is fighting the case. Long and three other state employees were cleared of wrongdoing after the state Energy Department steered business to a firm co-owned by Cylvia Hayes. DOJ officials say their costs to defend Long v. Kroger have already hit $426,000.
  1. So, exactly how far are Eileen Brady, Amanda Fritz, Charlie Hales, Steve Novick, Mary Nolan and Jefferson Smith willing to go to get your vote? They’re going to endure Candidates Gone Wild, the biennial political revue and brouhaha. This year’s event-—hosted by Live Wire! radio star Courtenay Hameister—is set for Tuesday, April 17, at 8 pm at the Bagdad Theater. Tickets are $5, all ages. Get them at WW’s office, 2220 NW Quimby St., or at the Bus Project, 333 SE 2nd Ave.

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