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corporate dominance | energy & nuclear

PUD Fails

Yes: 27%, No: 73%

Proof once again that money trumps democracy.
Here's a link to the multnomah county election site with results:
 http://www.co.multnomah.or.us/dbcs/elections/2003-11/results.shtml
summary report multnomah county,oregon unofficial results
special election
november 4,2003
run date: 11/04/03 08:00 pm

votes percent

precincts counted (of 127). . . . . 127 100.00
registered voters - total . . . . . 346,374
ballots cast - total. . . . . . . 91,318
voter turnout - total . . . . . . 26.36

26-51 forms multnomah pud
vote for 1
yes . . . . . . . . . . . . 23,489 26.99
no. . . . . . . . . . . . . 63,549 73.01
total . . . . . . . . . 87,038

26-52 multnomah pud special levy
vote for 1
yes . . . . . . . . . . . . 21,856 25.14
no. . . . . . . . . . . . . 65,086 74.86
total . . . . . . . . . 86,942

multnomah pud directors
vote for 5
myles twete. . . . . . . . . . 5,072 3.50
netta mae rymal . . . . . . . . 11,479 7.92
jim robison. . . . . . . . . . 15,901 10.97
fillard rhyne . . . . . . . . . 6,038 4.17
nancy newell . . . . . . . . . 17,807 12.29
tom markgraf . . . . . . . . . 12,603 8.70
dave mazza . . . . . . . . . . 8,909 6.15
ron mccarty. . . . . . . . . . 13,011 8.98
xander patterson . . . . . . . . 14,079 9.72
john sweeney . . . . . . . . . 9,326 6.44
scott forrester . . . . . . . . 10,504 7.25
david d. covington . . . . . . . 12,494 8.62
write-in. . . . . . . . . . . 7,679 5.30
total . . . . . . . . . 144,902

26-50 renewal plan rockwood-west gresham
vote for 1
yes . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,464 53.68
no. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,714 46.32
total . . . . . . . . . 10,178
$$$$ 04.Nov.2003 21:35

$$$$

Look for a new item on your next electric bill: a charge for "Propaganda, Lies, and Distortion."

interesting... 04.Nov.2003 21:55

interested

the votes on GMO foods, Health Care for All, and PUD were all somehing like 25% yes, 75%no, with 25% of voters voting.

They've got this voting propaganda down to a science!

actually 04.Nov.2003 22:05

democracy r.i.p.

The health care vote was much closer as it did not have the monstrous outspending like the gmo labeling and pud initiatives. This is just more proof that you cannot reform a system that is corrupt to the core. It's time for something new; there is simply no other alternative.

Boycott rate increases 04.Nov.2003 22:24

puking PGE customer

All the yes votes should stand together and declare a collective refusal to any future rate increases the robber baron owners (Enron & soon to be its creditors) of the utility foist upon us. Then see how many Chicken Little no votes will join us! Or file a class action suit against them for using OUR money to propagandize US! Or sue the County for a new election for the fraudulent ballot ("3% tax increase") they made us vote on. Or? Whatever we do, this should not stand as done...

Not So Much Bought As Handed Over Through Indifference 04.Nov.2003 22:34

North Portlander

I think we're looking at a combination of two things: a minority of mostly retired/fixed income, lazy, uninformed, easily-scared voters and a large contingent of PGE/PacifiCorp employees - each of whom probably voted NO the day their ballots arrived.

The saddest part of this entire spectacle is the obvious indifference of most of the residents of Multnomah County. This really mattered and they blew it.

Withholding $ from electric bills... 04.Nov.2003 23:32

Varro

Once it comes out exactly how much of our electric bills Enron/PGE and Scottish Power/Pacificorp used to defeat the PUD measure and keep our electric rates high, perhaps we should withhold that amount per capita from our bills, just like many people did to Qwest pending a ruling on a controversial charge a couple years ago.

It wasn't the Money 05.Nov.2003 07:52

It was no confidence in the government

This thing would have gotten trounced if PGE hadn't spent a dime. This was a vote of no confidence. Nobody thinks a bunch of politicos can run an electric utility. Look at the Portland Water Bureau if you disagree.

It WASN'T the money? 05.Nov.2003 09:44

mcj

Let's look at this for a moment:

PUD proponents spent approximately $0.61per vote

PGE - ENRON spent approximately $19.20 per vote (almost 32 times more to garner 2 times more vote)
This should alert folks as to how scared PGE was of this thing.

Now is the time to start planning the next round.
Maybe by then people will be tired of taking it in the shorts.

good point, no confidence 05.Nov.2003 10:02

ndw

>It was no confidence in the government

>This thing would have gotten trounced if PGE hadn't spent a dime. This was a vote of no confidence. Nobody thinks a bunch of >politicos can run an electric utility. Look at the Portland Water Bureau if you disagree.

I agree. The PUD initiative was an attempt to demarcate too many districts and cover too much jurisdiction of those districts at once. Except for regulatory, one plan for an entire metropolitan city isn't in the cards anymore -- the politics are too complex and electricity use too varied on that scale. The progressives need to regroup and try this from the neighborhood level with private profit and non-profit input. Locality in terms of electricity generation should mean one house or a collective of houses that form a district to sell extra electricity they don't use. This is how PG&E and Enron will be defeated in the long haul.

Deep Pocket Democracy 05.Nov.2003 10:49

is what we have.

The last 3 grassroots campaigns (healthcare for all, gmo labelling) failed, as well as will the next x number. Campaigns that can't afford TV will NOT defeat the deep pockets in this community. I agree, the best way to impact the energy situation, is to make Enron/PGE irrelevant. In the meantime, refuse the coming increases!

Of course it was the money...But... 05.Nov.2003 11:28

Lazy Faire

It was the money spent (our money) that determined the election by controlling what media messages people experienced. Anyone who denies this is ignorant of, or opposed to, the obvious huge benefits of these proposals.
However, the real problem will not be solved by fixing campaign spending (though that will help). The fact is the public does not take responsibility for its own social condition and its own social perceptions.
The fact that one quarter of us vote as we do indicates that one can see through the lies, if we look beyond the superficial deceptions thrust upon us, and if we care about things beyond our immediate gratifications.
We need ways to educate the people with the lessons of social responsibility. The first lesson is - The media lies; you are capable discovering the truth; you are capable of joining the process ot transforming society for the benefit of all; you are capable of deciding for yourself.
People need to listen, but they need to be critical of the voices they hear.
Until we become concientious cadres for the new society, we will blindly follow the flow of vested interests.

it ain't over yet kids! 05.Nov.2003 14:09

Guglielmo Marconi

A lawsuit is in the works that will force the county to put this thing on the next ballot. A judge has already ruled that the county committed a fraud by lying about the tax implications of the measure (exaggerating by a factor of 10,000%!) Hold onto your hats! We're gonna have another go-around. With 25% turnout, this decision is hardly definitive. If all of you who are outraged about this travesty get mobilized, we can educate the public and turn this thing around! A new vote will buy us time to do this.

"no confidence in the government" must have believed the ads 05.Nov.2003 14:35

CaptainPlanet

"Nobody thinks a bunch of politicos can run an electric utility."

The PGE executives are politicos. They take money, lobby, schmooze with rich people ... 0their jobs are more politically oriented than technically oriented. There were candidates for the PUD board who have experience with public utilities and similar organizations. Also, the PUD board would not be a part of city government, but a co-op board elected by the customers, much like a food cooperative.

"No confidence in the government" obviously misunderstands the whole issue or is pretending to. Don't believe the hype! How well can the PGE executives be managing the utility if every PUD in the NW charges lower rates than PGE? The voting results were I'm sure mostly due to lazy TV-watchers who don't bother to research before voting and are susceptible to scare tactics.

CaptainPlanet 05.Nov.2003 15:35

agreed, but...

I have to concur with the general assessment that many are lazy, but remember, many are being run ragged chasing that ever elusive pay check and are just shagged at the end of the day. Unfortunately that is the very base the PUD needed to address and didn't very effectively. Another flaw I saw in the campaigned were on the flyer that, for a lack of a better term, whine that the politicos and city celebs didn't talk to them. Remember, they didn't go to PGE, it was the other way around. And another was the cryptic "TRUST ENRON?" lawn signs. That may be good at a start of a campaign but not in the last weeks. I agree this round may not be completely over, however, it was one the assessment inititive that was found defective and without the principle inititive is rather useless. The day was lost to ENRON, now the choices are simple, roll over and whine about it, or regroup, reorganize, and return. It can be done.

Some PUD problems self-imposed 05.Nov.2003 16:11

cgb

I voted yes despite some misgiving about the language (specifically the inclusion of Pacific Power area); the bottom line is that it is an important discussion to have and the less lopsided the vote the better to further the debate.

Having said that, PUD folks didn't really run the most effective campaign. First, while being outspent in a campaign always makes it difficult, was less than $30K the best we could do? Either there was not enough widespread grassroots support or the organizers didn't tap into smaller donors effectively. Again, there's little you can do about corporate opposition dumping money; what's more important is that YOU reach a threshhold great enough to get your message out.

On message: It's a standard rule of politics not to repeat your opponent's attacks, but that's exactly what PUD people did towards the end (In the PGE says/ PUD responds piece). If a reader didn't take 2-3 minutes to read the entire piece, his or her eyes would be drawn almost exclusively to PGE/Enron's language. Isn't 1mil + of propoganda enough?

I could go on, but it's worth noting that at least some of the problems of the campaign were self-imposed.

it's ALWAYS the Money. 05.Nov.2003 16:48

urchin

capitalism rules this planet, the U.S. media, and the U.S. 'voting system'.

Misinterpretations 14.Nov.2003 03:01

OPPC Guy

>Having said that, PUD folks didn't really run the most effective campaign.
>First, while being outspent in a campaign always makes it difficult, was less than
>$30K the best we could do?

Did you contribute any money? Did you go out and try to raise money, or distribute literature? 30K was what we were able to raise and we sent out repeated requests, as well as contacting some well-known people with money and asking them. While several experienced campaign people gave us some advice, none of them was willing - as our lawyers were - to volunteer.

> what's more important is that YOU reach a threshhold great enough to get your message out.

And what would that be? And how would YOU reach that threshold?

>On message: It's a standard rule of politics not to repeat your opponent's attacks,
>but that's exactly what PUD people did towards the end

Where were you during the year-long campaign? Not contributing to the campaign strategy sessions, I'll bet. Not to mention, that your basic premise is wrong. Political ads often repeat, and then attack, what the opponent says.

>I could go on, but it's worth noting that at least some of the problems of the campaign were self-imposed.

Though there were some problems with the campaign - the Trust Enron lawn signs were not used the way they were originally intended, for instance - none of what you have said is on target. The problems were primarily a news blackout until the last 3 weeks; an inability among progressives to put their money and time where their mouths are; $2 million dollars of ratepayer money used against us all; corrupt politicians and public figures creating phony and misleading ballot titles, as well as lying in public for the utilities (or allowing themselves to be duped).

Neil Goldschmidt, a consultant for Pacific Power for over 10 years, did not reveal that salient fact until the day before the election. Phil Keisling, Margaret Carter, Ellen Lowe, Randy Leonard, are among the people who contributed misinformation to the campaign on behalf of the power companies. Kate Brown claimed to be on our side, but never said anything in public.

If you think that the campaign loss was even 10% the fault of the P.U.D. supporters, you weren't paying attention. The final results were 32% in favor, 68% opposed. Most of the Yes votes came in late, which means to me that people understood the message once they actually were able to get it.

Any of you who want to see public power, get involved with the Clackamas, Washington, and Yamhill County campaigns. Also, go to the roundtable that the city is holding Monday in Salem:

Future of PGE Round Table
Local Government Center
1201 Court Street NE
Salem, Oregon
Monday, November 17, 2003
10:00 am - noon

You'll notice it's inconvenient for normal working people, but, if you can go, do it. Apply pressure. Don't sit arounbd until it's too late and then criticize.