Organized labor and Democratic politicians have long held each other in a warm embrace. But the 2016 political season is beginning with fractiousness. Trade unions, angered by congressional Democrats' support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, have excluded U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici from the Labor Day picnic at Oaks Park, the traditional kickoff to election season. The Northwest Labor Press first reported the exclusion. Mayor Charlie Hales also felt heat last week from scuttling the Pembina propane terminal in May. At the Oregon Building Trades Council convention Aug. 21, members passed a resolution urging Hales to again support the Pembina project. Hales attended the group's cocktail party that evening but left before the Council's 75th anniversary banquet. "He was not invited to our convention or our dinner," says OBTC executive secretary John Mohlis. Hales' spokesman, Dana Haynes, says the mayor never planned to attend.
As Oregon Republicans struggle to find even one credible candidate to compete for the five statewide offices on the 2016 ballot, the culmination of a long-running state investigation this week exposed conflicts that have split the GOP. State Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) in May 2014 filed lengthy elections complaints against Oregon Right to Life, the powerhouse behind the party's conservative wing, and state Rep. Mike Nearman (R-Independence), whom ORTL supported in the 2014 primary defeat of incumbent Rep. Jim Thompson. Although Boquist alleged numerous violations, Oregon Elections Division investigators sustained only a couple of relatively minor infractions. The result emphasizes and leaves unhealed a bitter intra-party conflict. Boquist says he hasn't yet read the Aug. 21 decision.
Mark Wiener's dual roles as campaign consultant to Mayor Hales and lobbyist for ride-hailing company Uber are under scrutiny at Portland City Hall, as reported by WW in recent weeks. Now it appears Uber isn't Wiener's only corporate client. Commissioner Nick Fish says Wiener approached him about a year ago, saying he was working for Google, which is seeking to bring its fast Internet service, Google Fiber, to Portland. It's not clear whether Wiener's work falls under Portland's 2006 rules requiring lobbyists to disclose their contacts with public officials. Google hasn't listed Wiener in its lobbying reports to the city. Wiener did not respond to WW's request for comment.