by J. Kevin Hunt, Your Right to Vote PAC
No dirty trick is apparently beneath the property moguls campaigning against urban renewal voter rights measure #3-407.
The latest example is their yard sign which, in its astounding falsehood, reveals their real desperation.
The sign reads: “No new taxes. No lost jobs. No 3-407.”
“No new taxes?”
They might as well put on their sign: “Stop Killing Defenseless Orphans. No on #3-407.”
Measure #3-407, of course, does not create any tax; it would permit citizens to vote on the creation of new debt. Measure #3-407 is a voters’ rights measure that closes a loophole in Oregon City’s Charter. Under that loophole, as few as one elected and two unelected urban renewal commissioners can burden citizens with up to $130 million in urban renewal bond debt, whereas citizens have the right to vote on issuance of all other types of bonded debt. After Measure #3-407 passes, citizens will have that same right to vote on urban renewal bonded debt.
The corporate welfare addicts who stand to have their supply of debt-financed dope reduced when the people claim their right to vote, are betting that citizens will not research what 3-407 is, will not read the summary explanation on the ballot, and will not read the Voters’ Pamphlet. They are betting that the repeated phrase “No New Taxes,” oxy-moronically associated with the anti- measure #3-407 message, will cause voters to respond like automatons by voting “No” on the measure.
Another example: The October 2 candidates’ forum/debate sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Citizen Involvement Council, moderated by League of Women Voters (LOWV), was held at the Abernethy Center, which is owned by Abernethy Center, Inc., an alter ego of urban renewal beneficiary and local property speculator Dan Fowler. Abernethy Center, Inc. is (as of this writing) the largest single contributor to the City Commission campaign of Tim Powell, a staunch measure #3-407 opponent. Another Fowler corporate alter ego is the primary donor to the anti- measure #3-407 campaign. Tim Powell was on the dais to debate pro #3-407 candidate Mike Berman, and Fowler was in the audience seated in his building, but neither Fowler nor Powell disclosed to the assembled that the debate venue was owned by a donor to Powell’s campaign. The forum was fair owing to the participation of LWOV, CIC and the Chamber’s Executive Director, but Fowler and Powell’s lack of disclosure is more than troubling.
Meanwhile, Fowler’s candidate Powell confirmed distrust of the voters by, in addition to opposing Measure #3-407, indicating to the gathered that a majority of residents do not understand what they are doing when voting on annexations and that he would work to persuade them that we must promptly build to the urban growth boundary. The fat cats and their shills do not wish to be inconvenienced by democracy in their quest to make Oregon City into Little Los Angeles on the backs of the already burdened citizen, at the expense of strained public services and struggling schools.
If that’s not enough, incumbent Commissioner Carol Pauli firmly told a City Commission audience a few weeks ago that she was not a Measure #3-407 opponent. Yet she is currently walking neighborhoods with Fowler, handing out her literature along with anti- #3-407 propaganda.
And what does that propaganda claim? It contains the same completely fabricated graphic depiction of development at The Rivers that Fowler’s crowd mailed to voters last year, a contrived and phantasmagoric illustration bearing no resemblance whatsoever to how the big chain strip-mall would have looked. Of course, if Measure #3-407 had been in effect back then, The Rivers project would have been APPROVED by voters if the assertions of the measure’s opponents are to be believed, so their “job-killing” claim is untrue. Nor is there any connection between Measure #3-407 and The Cove; developers have had, and still have, plenty of time to secure a development agreement with the city and approval of urban renewal debt for it, prior to Measure #3-407’s effective date. Fowler’s crowd does not explain how Measure #3-407 would stop the project even if it becomes effective prior to completion of a development agreement; if the people support creation of public debt for the private project, it will pass when submitted to voters.
Adding to the list of falsehoods, Urban Renewal Commission Chair Brian Shaw earns a Pinocchio Award for his twin false claims that (1) voters approved allowing the UR Commission to issue up to $130 million in debt; (2) the new Safeway mall was a result of the Hilltop UR district. As Shaw has now acknowledged, the first claim is false and as pointed out by former Mayor Williams, the Safeway mall was entirely privately financed without a dime of public urban renewal debt. Perhaps some UR Commissioners have been too busy doling out grants to each other, to pay attention to facts.
Then there is the utter lack of respect for the sign ordinance shown by the anti-Measure #3-407 cabal. Citizens have complained to the city that campaign signs for the cabal’s Commission candidates (Powell; Pauli) and opposing Measure #3-407, are placed illegally in various locations which just happen to be owned by: guess who? The city says it won’t enforce the law (although in the last election, the city whisked away signs of Kathy Roth claimed to violate the ordinance). When the cat is away, the mouse plays.
Moreover, the speculators arrogantly claim it’s unfair that if Measure #3-407 passes, Oregon City residents would vote on whether they should be on the hook for millions in public debt, but that mere building owners not living in the city, could not vote. No other public voting on debt puts your right to vote up for sale.
Clearly, a collection of corporations, many of them the alter egos of one man, have a grip on the local body politic. The veil has been lifted and citizens can see the light of truth. The desperate lies of the greedy cannot thwart the will of the people. Measure #3-407 closes the loophole and secures the right to vote. Liberate Oregon City from the corporations posing as an individual, by rejecting their campaign of untruths. Show them that in Oregon City, government is by the consent of those governed. Show then that your sacred right to vote is NOT FOR SALE.
Vote YES on Measure #3-407.