Friday, February 20, 2009

Developer, Bulletin Funding Of Bend City Council Members Campaigns

Orestar, the database that tracks political campaign financing in Oregon, has campaign finance numbers from through and after the election now. I have queried the numbers to track the investment local development interests, specifically the Central Oregon Association of Realtors (COAR) and the Central Oregon Builders Association (through their PAC Central Oregonians for Affordable Housing aka COAH) have made in the election of new Bend City Council members Mayor Kathie Eckman, Tom Greene (who is also the President of COAR), and Jeff Eager. These numbers are now sorted, summed, and available in several published Google spreadsheets linked below.

As Ms. Eckman made a very public and determined successful effort to become Mayor and so have some control of the proceedings, along with the fact that the three new members plus Councilor Mark Capell made a surprise choice for a new Councilor to replace new State Senator Chris Telfer by picking Oran Teater in a last minute "emergency meeting" that had no public notice and little media notice on a Friday evening, the weight of any special interests in their campaigns is worthy of public notice.

These three new councilors held a invitation-only meeting with local business interests before they were sworn in. And as recently as Tuesday, Feb. 17, the City Council held an all day meeting discussing goals with absolutely no public notice, and what appears to be no minutes, with a single media person in attendance, Erin Golden of the Bend Bulletin. This all-day Council meeting is not listed even now on the City web site, including the list of MP3 recordings, although this list does have the recordings of the scheduled work and regular Council sessions held the next day, Wednesday, Feb. 18th.

We may never see any minutes or hear any recordings of this, the first meeting of the Council after the very contentious emergency meeting to install Mr. Teater on the Council, a meeting which was called "crap" by Councilor Jim Clinton. The only public record of the Feb. 17th meeting is "Councilors set goals, economic strategies" behind the pay firewall on the Bend Bulletin web site. An excerpt from this Bulletin article:
"In an all-day meeting Tuesday, the council outlined its goals for the next several months, noting both the projects it would like to see completed by 2010 and those that might have to wait because of the ongoing economic slowdown. Among the ideas put on the city’s list: maintaining or building up Bend’s reserve funds, assembling an advisory board for Mirror Pond, developing a long-term funding solution for Bend Area Transit and annexing the airport into the city limits to help boost economic development. Set aside, at least for the near future, were other projects, including work on the Central Area Plan, which would provide a framework for downtown Bend and other areas in the central part of the city....

The meeting was the council’s first since it appointed former councilor and mayor Oran Teater to fill an open seat on Feb. 6. Teater’s last-minute appointment came after a month of tension between the other six council members, who were split over the appointment of Kathie Eckman as the city’s mayor and over the process of filling the seat left open when Chris Telfer stepped down in January to join the state Senate.

...Before moving on to the goal-setting discussion, the council took more than an hour to address the divisions that emerged over the past several weeks. During the conversation, some councilors said they were disappointed with how Teater’s appointment had played out, but were ready to move forward.

“I agreed to run again for the City Council because I believe I can do a good job and I believe people supported me for that,” Eckman said. “But I feel like my character has been called into question, and I am extremely disappointed because it’s been on such a public level.”

Others, however, said it will take more time for council members to begin to trust each other...."


There is an obvious public interest in the relationships between those that decide how to spend our tax dollars, whom to hire, and what to zone. Holding such an unnoticed and unrecorded meeting is against the public meeting laws of Oregon. This growing tendency to leave the public out of the process is not in the best interests of the City of Bend. Unfortunately, the only recourse available to citizens of Bend is at the ballot box every other year, or by filing a costly lawsuit in Circuit Court.

Here are those campaign financing numbers with short summaries and links to the entire funding lists:

Mayor Kathie Eckman Contributions
TOTAL $38,484.47
Self funding $8,538.76
COAH/COAR $17,671.34

Councilor Tom Greene Contributions
Total $27,729.34
COAH/COAR $16,292.34

Councilor Jeff Eager Contributions
TOTAL $40,359.34
COAH/COAR $20,671.34

Also, here are details of funding and spending by our local development PACs:

COAH Funding
TOTAL $115,263.40
Miscellaneous Cash Contributions $100 and under TOTAL $27,350.00
Central Oregon Builders Association TOTAL $79,106.92

COAH Spending
TOTAL $152K

COAR Funding
TOTAL $37,102.80
All but $100 anonymous

COAR Spending
TOTAL $26,259.26

And a new one I noted, the Bend Business PAC:
BBPAC Funding
TOTAL $8,065.00
Bulletin in-kind $4000

BB PAC Spending
NOTE: $1625 to Eckman, Greene, and Eager is shown by the council members filings but not shown in the BB PAC filings. Filings by unelected candidate Don Leonard also show $1625 in contributions by the BB PAC

It is interesting to see our only local daily paper, the Bend Bulletin, has decided to fund some candidates in the City Council race as well as reporting on them. This would seem to be a major ethical violation by the elephant of local journalism. That's an interesting and somewhat troubling juxtaposition-our only daily newspaper funds a local political PAC that backs several candidates, editorializes for electing all but one of them before the election. It then editorialized for the last of the four, Don Leonard, to be appointed to fill the vacancy after the election--not once, not twice, but three times. In fact, if you read the pre-election editorial on the Bulletin's preferred candidates, you see that even before the election the Bulletin stated
"Clinton’s opponent, Don Leonard, is one of the better candidates in the race. He has the misfortune of running against Clinton. Not to worry, though. Should Telfer win her Senate race, her seat will soon become available. We hope Leonard applies."
And this was done without any acknowledgment of the Bulletin's financial interest in the election.

That's our Bulletin. And these are facts that need much wider knowledge in our currently financially challenged little city.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nancy E. Ferry
Compliance Specialist
Secretary of State
Elections Division

It's all about "CALL TO ACTION", it doesn't take many people, get her email address, and put on your JR site a CALL TO ACTION at the TOP, and plead people to contact the governor and pass the questions to sec-of-state who will fwd to Ferry, she'll NOT pursue this unless the request comes from the TOP, this is how to get shit done in ORYGUN.

...

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Nancy E. Ferry
Compliance Specialist
Secretary of State
Elections Division

###

So even though COAR raised over $37,000 in anonymous amounts under $100, there are no red flags to force an audit unless some insider comes forward. Somebody helps me out with such knowledge and this might go somewhere.

...

Now take a form like below, and send it to the GOVERNOR, and request it be forwarded to Sec of State. ... it will make its way to ferry, and if enough people do it, shit will hit the wall, PUSSY YOU MUST HAVE A CALL TO ACTION, ditto for you HBM.

...

Dear, Sec of State

In Bend oregon our local campaign contributions from COBA & CORA claim to have gotten $50k and $40k in small contributions, this is a statistical impossibility in this economic climate. We ask you to perform an audit to determine where these monies have actually came from.

COBA & CORA recently took over our bend city council, it is imperative that we find out who actually is controlling our city government.

sincerely, bend taxpayer

hbm said...

Bruce, you ought to let Editor and Publisher and the Columbia Journalism Review know about The Bull's shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

And a new one I noted, the Bend Business PAC:
BBPAC Funding
TOTAL $8,065.00
Bulletin in-kind $4000

*

Ok, fine, but remember in 1998 HOLLERN gave the BULLETIN $10M of land for free. Last year they sold a parcel to the city for $5M, the city didn't need the land, it was a taxpayer robbery, in essence the BULLETIN got $5M for nothing, other than ten years of wiping HOLLERN's ass.

$4,000 in-kind to the city-council, well its just a thank-you very much for $5M, not a bad return on investment.

Bewert said...

From SoS Elections Office:

Each of the four candidates correctly reported in-kind contributions from Bend Business PAC. They each reported a $1,000 in-kind contribution from Bend Business PAC with the purpose of newspaper advertisement. An in-kind contribution is a good or service, other than money, having monetary value. Generally, this means that someone else has paid for something that benefitted the candidate. In this case, a newspaper ad valued at $4,000 (which was split equally among the four candidates) was placed and paid for by someone else. Normally, we would see an expenditure made by the other committee (since they actually paid for the ad), not a contribution. I looked up the transaction by the Bend Business PAC (trans ID #491087) and I am somewhat confused by it. It is reported but I believe that it is incorrectly reported. The Bend Business PAC shows it as an in-kind contribution to them, which means to me that either the Bend Bulletin did not charge them for the ad, or the Iverson group which is reported as the agent paid for the ad. I will send an email to the treasurer of the Bend Business PAC on Monday, asking him for clarification of what happened. When I find out who actually paid for the ad, I will have him amend the transaction. An already filed transaction can always be fixed later if it is incorrectly reported.

Each of the four candidates also correctly reported a $625 in-kind contribution from Bend Business PAC with a purpose of wages for the get out the vote effort. The Bend Business PAC reported this transaction (ID #479791) correctly. It was a cash expenditure on their part, because they wrote a check (#1010) for $2,500.00 to Flex Force Staffing to pay for temporary staff for get out the vote campaign for Bend city council. If you look up the transaction, you can see that they correctly listed each candidate below with the amount of in-kind listed for each candidate committee.

I am assuming that you know that once you have searched out a committee's transactions, if you click on the ID number, it will open up that transaction and show you the detail.

If you have any more questions, let me know. I am leaving at 5, but will be back Monday morning.

Nancy Ferry

Nancy E. Ferry
Compliance Specialist
Secretary of State
Elections Division

Bewert said...

Good idea, hb. E&P is a great site. Maybe I'll do a DKos diary about Republican politics as the local level, too.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I feel sorry for you guys, your city is controlled by ass hats.

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