Showdown in Portlandia
11:02 AM, May 16, 2012 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
A host of liars, miscreants, and extreme leftists – and those were just the serious candidates! – squared off yesterday in the Portland, Oregon, mayoral election. In total, 23 candidates were on the ballot to see who would run the so-called “Rose City” (or, more appropriately, “Insufferable Portland”).
Coming in first place was Charlie Hales, a former Portland city commissioner—he received 38 percent of the vote. Jefferson Smith, a state representative, received 31 percent. Despite vastly outspending her opponents, local businesswoman and "sustainability expert" Eileen Brady came in a disappointing third with 23 percent. Smith and Hales now face a November runoff.
Hales, who resigned abruptly midway through his last term as a city commissioner, ran on his “experience.” And in fact his experience is quite interesting. The Oregonian newspaper reported last year that, “From 2004 to 2009, Hales and his wife, Nancy, claimed residency in Stevenson, Wash. They filed tax returns claiming their home in Washington—which, unlike Oregon, has no personal income tax. At the same time, Hales kept voting in Oregon elections.” Hales bizarrely tried to credit his feminism for his decision, telling a liberal blog that, “The fact of the matter is I fell in love with a woman who lived with her kids across the street from their high school in Stevenson, Washington . . . Would people expect, in this day and age, that the woman should relocate and bring her kids with her after she’s gotten married?” When pressed on the tax-avoidance issue at another forum, he lashed out, exclaiming, with echoes of Richard Nixon, “I’m not an accountant.”
Then, in the closing weeks of the campaign, Hales was caught obfuscating repeatedly regarding his involvement in a 2003 bailout of Portland schools. At multiple public forums, and even in a television ad, Hales claimed to have brokered a deal that restored four weeks of school from being cut. The only problem was that the deal was brokered after Hales had resigned as city commissioner. His response? “I merged in my mind the whole series of times when I voted in office to help schools with another later time when I was advocating for schools but out of office.”
Jefferson Smith, the energetic state representative who Hales now faces, comes with his own set of troubles. He’s been suspended from the Oregon state bar three times for failing to pay dues. He’s also had his driver’s license suspended after blowing off court appearances, which he brought on himself through his self-described “atrocious” driving record. And prior to running for office, Smith started one of those “voter registration” organizations which tend to only be interested in registering one kind of voter: liberal Democrats. Smith, who suffers from ADHD, is well known for his hyperactive style – and some say, his lack of attention to detail.
And so, once again Portland faces the prospect of four more years of abysmal city leadership. Then again, perhaps it’s best to look at the bright side: The next mayor of Portland won’t be Sam Adams.