This week's meetings are all on Thursday afternoon, due to the absence of two Commissioners on Wednesday. Side note: The Mayor is also a Commissioner. Mayor Adams will be representing us in Washington, D.C. at the Inauguration of President Obama.
The Agenda is here.
40 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Declare the purpose and intention of the City to rename the Convention Center Dock the Kevin J. Duckworth Memorial Dock (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)
A benign item, with the following item in the Resolution giving me particular satisfaction:
WHEREAS, The City Council-approved Park naming policy was followed, a letter was sent to the Kerns Neighborhood Association, the Parks Naming Committee, comprised of citizens and city staff, reviewed, deliberated, and approved the request.
It is so nice when policies that citizens, staff, and elected officials have worked on for months, turn out to be used and useful.
Here is the first Agenda item in what will be an ongoing series of strategies to make City Council more open to citizens:
*41 Allow City Council to hold its regular meeting on February 4, 2009 at the Bureau of Maintenance at 2929 N Kerby (Ordinance; waive Code Section 3.02.010)
The purpose of this particular instance is a gesture of thanks to City employees who went above and beyond the call of duty in the December storm. In the future, Council will be holding meetings in each area of Portland, on Wednesday evenings and perhaps at other times. Making Council more accessible is something that, as candidates, Mayor Adams, Commissioner Fish, and I all promised in our campaigns last year.
I always like seeing Parks acquisitions on the Agenda, since so many areas of Portland are parks-deficient:
*54 Authorize acquisition of an 18,450 square foot lot adjacent to Lincoln Park for addition to the park (Ordinance)
I will be looking into the specifics in the Ordinance, to make sure we are getting maximum value for the spending of Parks Systems Development Charge funds.
Here's one that is submitted under my name, but the credit should go to the bureau staff and to their former Commissioner, Dan Saltzman:
Office of Cable Communications and Franchise Management
*55 Authorize utility license fee settlement with Qwest Corporation (Ordinance)
Good news -- more money to help provide City services. The Ordinance outlines the reasons Qwest has agreed to pay the City $635,309. Please contact Margarita Molina in my office, if you have questions, or use the Comment form below.
The final item on the Agenda is filed by Auditor Gary Blackmer. I helped work on the details in the proposal for providing a mechanism for Public Campaign Financing of the 5/19/09 Special Election to fill the Auditor's position.
*57 Provide for reduced distribution of campaign funds available to participating publicly financed candidates and define terms in the special election of Auditor (Ordinance)
The Ordinance proposes to reduce the level of Public Campaign Finance funding for this race. Without it, candidates who collect 1,000 donations of $5 from registered Portland voters would qualify for $150,000 for the May 19 special election, and $200,000 if there is a runoff. The ordinance proposes to reduce those amounts to $50,000 for the Special Election, and $50,000 for the runoff if there is one.
The rationale for this reduction is that no candidate for Auditor in the Metro region has ever raised and spent more than $50,000 in their campaign. Public Campaign Financing is intended to reduce the overall cost of elections, rather than raise it. And, it is intended to be a factor in leveling the playing field. Because candidates for Auditor rarely receive large donations, funding a qualified Public Campaign Fund candidate at $150,000 would create an almost impossible hurdle for others choosing private fundraising. The system is set up to be optional, not mandatory.
This modification is only for this particular election, and should not be construed as either a mandate for future Code changes, or implying the Auditor's position is less important than the other elected offices eligible to use Public Campaign Funding.
In helping to define the proposal that everyone is asked to discuss at the public hearing on Thursday, I visited with the Citizens Campaign Commission last week, and made rounds in City Hall to talk in each office with the Commissioner and/or their chiefs of staff, and with the Auditor and his staff. I met with representatives of the League of Women Voters and Democracy Reform Oregon in my office, to hear their feedback.
The matter is on the Agenda as an emergency ordinance, because candidates who might choose to use the program need to know what they would be signing up for, at the beginning of the qualifying period and opening of filing for the position. Emergency ordinances take four votes to pass, and Mayor Adams will be out of town. My colleagues on the Council each agreed that Auditor Blackmer's proposal is reasonable to present at the public hearing. They, like me, are committed to open public process, and will be listening carefully to public testimony on Thursday, on whether to move forward with this approach. Comments made on the Contact form below will also be distributed for consideration.
Comment on this week's Agenda - your opinion will be delivered to Council Clerk Karla Moore-Love for the record and distribution to all Council members, as well as read by Commissioner Fritz and her staff. Ignore the incorrect date at the top of the form.... we'll get it fixed by next week.