Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Trouble With The Recall Effort

I've read a lot of Jasun Wurster's comments (usually ending with his infamous closing: "with much respect") on various news website articles regarding Sam Adams. His comment left on a article yesterday is a good snapshot of his usual tactic:

Sam Adams is clinging to power, what he fails to realize is that his hand is around the throat of our democracy. The Recall effort needs approximately 2000 volunteers from the Portland-Metro area to spend a few hours this summer collecting signatures from Portland citizens. You do not have to live in Portland to volunteer for the recall. (emphasis mine)

Please do visit and sign up to help and learn of the may ways to hold Sam Adams accountable.

With Adams recall we will remind the nation of what it means to be an Oregonian and reclaim the tarnished name of Portland, Oregon.
Jasun Wurster

Wait, what? Wurster's actively recruiting non-Portland residents to volunteer for a campaign to recall Portland's mayor? Up to this point, I've had no problem with Jasun Wurster other than my obvious disagreements with him. Today, however, I'm pretty perplexed that he's encouraging folks who do not live in Portland to volunteer for the recall campaign. Frankly, it seems underhanded. We don't grant non-Portlanders the opportunity to vote in Portland city elections because they don't live here and, by default, their priorities are not reflected in our elected officials. Why, then, does it make sense to ask them to volunteer to recall our mayor unless it was to further an agenda that cannot find sufficient support in Portland?

When questioned about it, Wurster suggests that towns outside of Portland are affected by the actions of our mayor. While that may be true, I'm uncomfortable that the priorities of someone who lives outside of Portland might be reflected in changes to our city government. It is up to the citizens of Portland to determine the priorities of our city, to elect the appropriate officials, and to hold them accountable. These folks didn't vote for our mayor, so why do they have a say in recalling him?


  1. So the volunteers don't have to be local Portlanders but do those who sign the petition? One would imagine they would [need to be residents].

    It'd be good fun if one of his volunteers visited my house. Maybe I'll convince him/her that Sam is a great Mayor and this recall effort is a distraction to the task at hand. I, for one, would like to see all of our elected officials focusing on the economy and livability in the short and long term. That's a better use of time. Perhaps we can all take a breath and move on.

    If someone has time to volunteer for something, why not step up and make a difference in someone's life, fix up some bikes at the Community Cycling Center or something with real results.

  2. Hi Hollie,

    What are your thoughts on the $52,136.73 of cash donations from Non-Portlanders that Sam reported for his 2008 Mayoral race? How about the $186,573.72 of in-kind donations from non-Portlanders?*

    Are you saying that it is OK for Sam to take this money from non-Portland residents? Yet it is wrong for a person who lives in Gresham and works in Portland to volunteer their time to collect siginatures?

    As a reminder to all, please keep in mind that as soon as Sam is removed from office we will be back working together on the same issues. One of the biggest trageties of Adams lies is the fracturing of our communties based around him staying in office.

    With much respect for your support for Sam Adams,
    Jasun Wurster

    * This information is directly from ORESTAR

  3. Oops,

    I added up the wrong columns for the Non-Portland In-Kind donations, $30,108.62 is the correct number.

    The Non-Portland Cash donations are correct at $52,136.73

    Sorry about posting the initial Non-Portland In-Kind donation error.
    Jasun Wurster

  4. Hollie - I don't think there's anything wrong with soliciting help from outside the city. If for example, the mayor of a town near Portland were discovered to have done something horrible (not something merely stupid like lie about a legal sexual relationship), and there was an effort organized by the community to have him resign, I don't think it'd be unreasonable to solicit the help of non-residents in a protest or maybe even a recall campaign.

    But I do think this request by the recall Sam Adams group is an indicator that they *lack the support* of Portlanders in their efforts.

    Take a look at this poll (the only scientific one I've seen):

    There is not strong support for a recall.

    This poll was taken in January, in the middle of the local media's condemnation orgy. I'd bet a similar scientific poll done now would indicate even more support for Sam to stay in office.

  5. Hi The Portlander,

    If I may point our that it was a Robo-Call poll with the data collected: 01/20/2009. Sam has his press conference one day prior. For your assertion to be valid, another poll needs to be taken to see what the movement of public opinion is. But this is only coming from a guy who is 1 paper shy of a Political Science degree from PSU and has worked on many campaigns and reviewed at many polls.

    The recall campaign is *in fact* very strong and gaining many new volunteers every day. We have always accepted help from Non-Portland residents.

    The reason I injected this message is that is because many people were emailing me asking me if they had to be Portland residents to help. I just got tired of answering emails and used the media to dispel some confusion in the public.

    This is just smart campaigning, the Recall is getting great earned media and it would be negligent for me not to use it.
    Jasun Wurster

  6. Jasun,

    I made no assertion that can be judged to be valid or not yet.

    I said "I'd bet" that a new poll would show there is not much support for a recall amongst registered voters in Portland.

    I don't know and you don't know until there is such a poll.

  7. Jasun,

    No, frankly, I don't think donations from out of town/state/whatever are necessarily a good idea. For instance, think about California's Prop 8, banning same-sex marriage. It's estimated that 45% of all out-of-state donations to came from members of the LDS church in Utah. Given the legislation those donations helped to pass, I am most certainly not comfortable with it. I see this in a very similar light.

    What's the motivation behind folks from various suburbs who want to help recall our mayor? As has been demonstrated widely, people want Sam Adams out of office for vastly different reasons, including homophobia/fundamentalism, a misunderstanding of what actually happened (how many times have you heard someone call him a "pederast" or call Breedlove his intern or insist that the relationship was predatory?), and wanting to oust him as a "liar" because he "stole the election". My fear is that most of the out-of-towners lining up behind you in this effort are the PJ Mulcahys and Rondine Ghisellines of the region. Those aren't folks whose agenda I want to see reflected in our elected officials.

  8. Hollie, I think those homophobes are an outspoken minority who are frequently suffering from cognitive dissonance (eg Jesus says this, but Leviticus says that).

    I can see why the Recall Sam group is growing. I am all for giving him the benefit of the doubt in personal matters but there is little doubt in my mind that his current position on the CRC is 180 degrees from his campaign promises.

    It breaks my heart because I was down there telling him to get back to work. I helped organize my friends to keep him from being bullied by religious anti-gay zealots.

    Now I feel Sam has "Tom Pottered" us. I want my trust back!

  9. Revphil, thanks for your comment. I agree with you about the CRC and share the heartbreak. It's one of the big reasons I've been silent the last few weeks, along with wanting to let the hysteria calm down so the man can do his job. Sadly, the things he's choosing to advocate for our city and region are a far cry from what many of us expected when we cast a vote in his favor.

    For the record, I don't know where I stand on Sam Adams at this point. I want him to rethink the CRC option he endorses and to stop trying to sell us on the "active management" baloney. Because in pushing for that, he's tacitly acknowledging that a huge bridge is NOT the right option for our region. Why build a huge bridge that needs to be managed when we can instead invest in a future that doesn't bow at the altar of the car?

  10. Hi Hollie,

    I no way am I trying to cause conflict between you and I with the following questions:

    When you wrote this blog posting last month you used some pretty strong words ( "infamous" and "underhanded" ) with your criticism of me. Now that you see that the Recall is based on removing Sam Adams from office for his civic transgressions that caused him to lose public trust and political capitol, are there any other troubling issues you see with the Recall?

    I believe that our concerns for the city are fundamentally the same. Also, I do not think people realize how much emotionally charged criticism and disinformation the Recall has generated against me personally for my political stance. Now that the dust has settled are you still committed to your Feb. 20 posting of calling to action actively fighting the Recall?

    With much respect,
    Jasun Wurster

  11. First and foremost, Sam Adams is our mayor! Thankfully!!! Secondly, ALL OF YOU need to get over yourselves and let bygones be bygones! Yes, he lied, it is known and he has owned up and apologized! The issue is a personal issue, Wurster, get a life and leave our mayor alone! Sams work record outshines greatly in the benefit that he has given to this city.
    I am also offerring a suggestion for the management of the unemployed and homeless: go back in our country's history-> when there was a lack of money and food and families across the nation were sufferring we came up with work programs. There are many things that need to be fixed throughout this city and this state. Let us get a work program started. It gives people the ability to pull themselves up out of the hard times financially, emotionally and spiritually. If you want to eat, you work; If you want a roof over your head, you work; if you want clothing for yourself and your family, you work. Yes, they may not be the kind of work you would like, but it is a way of getting the money you can survive on. I live on $722 a month. I am able to do some work, disabled as I am, but I am able to survive and to live and to enjoy the life that I have.
    The particulars of how else to work with the donwtown challenges are not in my forte, but I am always open to assist to the best of my abilities. Mayor Sam Adams, you are what this city needs and Wurster and his group can all go to.........! Do I make my self clear, folks?! I have spoken! The Psychedelic Flashback ZaZa