City Council candidate Ginny Burdick's opposition to publicly financed elections couldn't be clearer on her campaign website: "One thing distinguishing my campaign from that of my incumbent opponent is that I will not be taking taxpayer dollars." Yet Burdick's mailings for her run against Commissioner Erik Sten include a plea for—that's right—public financing of her campaign. "Political contributions up to $50 per person and $100 per couple may be refunded as a tax credit on your Oregon tax return," reads a reminder on Burdick's return envelope. The political-contribution tax credit, enacted in 1969, costs the state more than $5 million annually—about five times the expected cost of the city elections plan hatched by Sten. But Burdick's campaign manager, Ed Grosswiler, says the two programs can't be compared, because the city's program provides many more dollars per candidate and was enacted last year during a fiscal crisis.
Meanwhile, ex-Gov. Neil Goldschmidt may have left the stage, but his supporting cast is fighting to kill publicly financed city elections. Here's a list of the Goldschmidt players in the fundraising report filed by the anti-public finance First Things First Committee: NW Natural, where Goldschmidt protégé Mark Dodson is CEO, kicked in $5,000; Schnitzer Steel, where former Goldschmidt business partner John Carter is CEO, threw in $3,750. Another ex-Goldschmidt partner, Tom Imeson, donated $250, a fraction of the $40,183 his wife, Laura, has collected so far for managing the repeal campaign. Goldschmidt's former PR firm, Gard & Gerber, has collected $70,707 so far for its services in the campaign to put a repeal of public financing on the May ballot.
A community center for Portland's queers (see "Home Queer Home," WW, May 4, 2005) will finally open next month in Southeast. The long-sought Q(ueer) Center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning folks has a two-year lease at 1028 SE Water Ave., with an option to renew. The center's new coordinator, 21-year-old Gene de Haan, a dyke and Reed grad, says, "This will give people a physical place to go, and a number to call." Interested? There's a meeting from 6:30 to 8 pm Thursday, Feb. 9, at Haven Coffee, 3551 SE Division St.
Jason Atkinson's longshot bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination got even longer Monday. That's when his most influential supporter, KXL talk jock Lars Larson, switched to Portland lawyer Ron Saxton. For the past few months, Atkinson, a 35-year-old state senator from southern Oregon, gained the benefit of Larson's daily statewide communion with the party base. But he lost Larson due to a failure to be sufficiently anti-illegal immigrant, taking a position that Larson calls "de facto amnesty" for the millions here without a passport. Atkinson hit back, saying he was not beholden to "someone else's personal agenda."
If WW's longtime digs across from the Central Library look empty, don't be alarmed. We've moved from our downtown home to our new worldwide headquarters at 2220 NW Quimby St.
Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" comforted the several hundred mourners who attended the funeral for Yippie co-founder Stew Albert last Wednesday in Portland. Albert, who died of liver cancer at the age of 66, was among the original Yippies like Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin who came to symbolize the group's playful protests against the Vietnam War. In Oakland, the City Council declared Jan. 31 Stew Albert Day. In Portland, author Elinor Langer, who gave a eulogy at the service for Albert at Havorah Shalom, said Albert not only taught us the importance of social movements, but that "politics could be fun."
Portland-based Mercy Corps and its post-Katrina rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast will reap the benefits from a new charity EP by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, best known for singing about the "end of the world as we know it." Stipe's EP has six versions of a song called "In the Sun," one of which was aired Sunday after the Super Bowl on ABC's Grey's Anatomy. That version, which features Coldplay's Chris Martin, and the five others are available for download on iTunes. Proceeds go to the ReClaim New Orleans project, in which Mercy Corps uses existing materials and architectural designs to rebuild homes.
Last week, Murmurs reported U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) was circulating draft legislation that some think could stifle the type of innovation in digital transmission that led to the iPod. Now IPac, a New Jersey-based advocacy group interested in intellectual-property issues, has begun raising money to buy Smith and other members of the Senate Commerce Committee video iPods (at $324.42 a pop) to show them the wonders of digital podcasts. So far the group has bought a dozen of the devices, for Smith and other senators.