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community building | government oregon elections 2004

Afterthought with Phil Busse

Discussion w/ the 3rd place candidate reflecting on his mayoral campaign...
May 22, 2004
After thought with Phil Busse

Q: What is your reaction to the final percentages for the mayoral race?

Of course everyone always hopes for higher percentages, but I was thrilled that nearly 10,000 voted for me. We really had to overcome some hurdles to attract those voters, so I think that it is an important beginning.

Q: Does money=votes? If so, what [in your opinion] can be done to change that?

Clearly the outcome of this race showed that money doesn't equal votes. The two highest spenders in the race didn't even take 2 out of 5 votes. Between Potter, Posey and myself, we didn't spend more than $100,000, yet managed to pull in more than half of the votes combined.

Considering that one of Potter's most publicized parts of his platform was his $25 cap, I think that people voted for Potter because they saw him as representing limits on money in campaigns.

I think that my campaign, Potter's and Posey's relied on pounding the pavement. That is the direction we, as voters, need to continue to demand. That we want to meet our candidates, not see them on TV ads; that
we want specific information, not soundbites.

Q: Both the Mercury and the Willamette Week endorsed John Kerry in this election, and salvationinc thinks this was a sellout move. Do you think that an endorsement for Kucinich would have made a difference in his numbers?

Well, this is a question outside my range as a candidate. My campaign and my job at the Mercury are two separate considerations. That said, the Mercury has publicized Kucinich. Months before any other paper picked him up, we ran an unfiltered Q&A with him. I think that is more important than an endorsement because it allows people to make their own choices.

As far as the endorsement, I will explain it the best that I can. I am only one vote of our endorsement panel. My ballot may have reflected different votes than what the Mercury endorsed. Again, that said, I believe that the rationale for endorsing Kerry over Kucinich is that the panel believes that Kucinich is a principled advocate, but that what the presidency needs is someone who balances interest. We're a very divided nation right now. The country needs someone (like a Clinton moderate) to bring back together the different factions. Kucinich, while the panel may agree with his principles, does not think that having a president who so adamantly advocates for one side of the equation is the best candidate.

Did it hurt Kucinich? I doubt it. His backers are not that easily swayed.

Q: As far as numbers go, Busse for mayor was an even bigger underdog than Kucinich. What do you think about the idea of progressive underdogs WORKING TOGETHER to make a difference and promote change?

I think that any and all coalitions to push forward progressive agendas are important - whether as a candidate or elected official. When Kucinich spoke at PCC the day before the election, some students there lobbied his campaign to have me introduce him. They refused. We were told that, "Kucinich speaks alone." We tried several other times to reach out to Kucinich organizers and were rebuffed. But we had a lot of luck at Kucinich events handing out our information and found his backers to be incredibly receptive to looking at new candidates and new ideas.

Q: Was running for mayor a positive experience? Would you do it again, and if so, what would you change?

Every one should run for public office at least once in their lives. It was a great experience. I started because I was frustrated with local government; I finished optimistic about the opportunities for changes.

The best thing that I did during my campaign was to sit down and put together a comprehensive platform. (I can't believe that this is not S.O.P.) It gave me a chance to take stock about where the city is, where it has been and, most important, where it could go. If I were to run again, I would do this much earlier.

We also reached out to a lot of groups that are normally overlooked by politicans - musicians, strippers, dog-owners, motorcycle riders, etc. - and tried to define how city hall could play a bigger, better role in their lives. I think that we overlooked important groups, however - namely, the Vietnamese, Russian, Somolian communities in town. As the "outsider" candidate, I should have been spending more time and energy trying to work with "outsider" groups. Not for the votes necessarily, but to help those groups understand that they can and should be part of the process.

Q: Obviously the result of the election was not heartening to us. Seemingly people either voted for the status quo, or went with the Willamette Week's endorsements. How can we fight voter apathy and corporate misinformation? How can we fire people up and make them think it is even worth it to vote?

The most important and constructive way to get people to vote is to translate how city politics matters to them. Affordable housing, for example, may cause the indie rockers' eyes to glaze over. But tell him that supporting affordable housing is the way that he is allowed to stay in Portland and not take a job at Office Depot to pay his bills. His eyes will light up. Talk with a stripper who has no interest in politics and tell her that the leading candidates both support zoning regulations and curtailing free speech allowances - namely, what allows her to do her job - and she'll perk up. Tell skateboarders that the only thing standing
between them and more skateparks in town are the currently elected officials, and they will be interested. It is about translating city politics into daily life.

Yes, it is an uphill battle. But it is one that can be won in Portland. A year or so ago, I had the choice to stick my head in the sand and pretend like the city was not a mess; or, I had the chance to try to do something. Inspiring 10,000 people that change can happen is worth it. And, it is only Act One!

Q: Now that it is down to two, who do you endorse for Mayor? Why?

I'm not ready to say just yet. I have specific issues that I want each candidate to carry forward. IF I give an endorsement it will not simply be so that my name can be attached to literature. I want quid pro quo. I want public promises for certain issues.
_________________________________________________________________

~On a lighter note, we think that you were right on with reaching out to small groups of people the way you did. Everyone I told about our Pie Party thought it was a fabulous idea, we know some folks who voted for you because of it. We thank you for your efforts, ideas and drive. Keep it up please, we need more people like you in politics!

your friend,
Salvation inc.


 http://www.salvationinc.org/archives/000359.html

homepage: homepage: http://www.salvationinc.org

Onthe 23.May.2004 23:32

Mark

"As far as the endorsement, I will explain it the best that I can. I am only one vote of our endorsement panel. My ballot may have reflected different votes than what the Mercury endorsed. Again, that said, I believe that the rationale for endorsing Kerry over Kucinich is that the panel believes that Kucinich is a principled advocate, but that what the presidency needs is someone who balances interest. We're a very divided nation right now. The country needs someone (like a Clinton moderate) to bring back together the different factions. Kucinich, while the panel may agree with his principles, does not think that having a president who so adamantly advocates for one side of the equation is the best candidate."

Yes, Kucinich is principled, Kerry is not.

Kucinich believes in doing the right thing (like stop killing innocent people), Kerry is owned by big business and will continue the war on Iraq and continue to destroy the environment.

Kucinich believes the US has no business interfering with the Government of Venezuela and trying to overthrow a popular and democratically elected president. Kerry supports the current US policy towards Venezuela which is a policy of overt and covert destabilization and attempted overthrow of Hugo Chavez.

Since the Mercury endorses Kerry, that means the Mercury endorses the overthrow of the Venzuelan government, the continued illegal occupation and conquest of Iraq, the killing of innocent civilians, the destruction of the environment and business as usual.

If you agree with the principles of Kucinich, then you have no other ethical choice but to endorse him, because Kerry is far far away from those principles. Shame on the Mercury for having no integrity, no vision, no courage to aim for the sort of change that is necessary if we are to right this sinking ship.

Right ON the Mark 24.May.2004 01:48

Our Soul

On the Mark, you are Right on the Mark!! My instinct of Kerry of hearing him saying a few things Right and for us the People was - as I told my husband - I think no matter what he says he is with the "Right" - yet I thought he was a good candidate by carrying through with what he promises. I still had an open mind. Before that I heard of Kucinich and my instincts were I think he is a good person for representing US, not him and the corp.'s. Who knows, time will tell. The Web Site looks like our work and principles but it could be a DEVIL in Sheep's Clothing. WE all look before we leap, like OnThe Mark, Don't We?? Bee Carefull. URGENT:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/04/286350.shtml
www.killercoke.org & www.tibet.org


keep in mind that francesconi 24.May.2004 03:04

is still a major threat

tom potter won more votes than jim francesconi. the two candidates will be on the november ballot.

where do phil busse and james posey stand on the potter/francesconi issue. are they 'endorsing' 'tom' or 'jim'?

is there any room for a qualified endorsement in exchange for some concrete platform(s) for change in this city? for example, an endorsement of tom potter if he publicly supports the creation of a real civilian police review board and/or other ideas?

i liked phil busse's campaign and the ideas he brought to the mayoral contest. i hope he will keep it real and consider running again for something else. how about city (or multnomah county) council in the next opening?

oh yeah 24.May.2004 03:06

forgot to post this

reminder of the slimy campaign francesconi ran, raising over $900,000 in what more than one person described in the press using shakedown tactics.

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/04/285916.shtml

i was asking a friend today: "where did jim francesconi spend all that money?"

Cha cha cha 24.May.2004 13:56

Brian S

It's a pretty simple pick for me, Potter. I don't see how Jim would be able to win at this point not matter how much money he has. Potter just has that wise middle of the road type thing going for him.

Bigger question right now is Fish VS Adams, I'm sorry but the media coverage of Seat #1 race has been bad. Most people still do not know where either of these candidates stand on any issues. Example I've heard their campaigners telling people Fish is against the idea of Public Power and other issues are left unanswered. Less we for forget the background Jim F. came out of then look at Fish.

Shoe-ist 24.May.2004 14:37

Bill

I read Phils interview where he states he hates sandals and especially socks with sandals. Well excuse me Phil, I find black socks and sandals THEE most comfortable and healthy shoe combination there is on the planet. You can keep your effing black clodhopper boots that are so trendy and cumbersome you dirty shoeist.

Stop telling others what's best for them, they already know 24.May.2004 16:08

former stripper

"Talk with a stripper who has no interest in politics and tell her that the leading candidates both support zoning regulations and curtailing free speech allowances - namely, what allows her to do her job - and she'll perk up."

Danzine failed. LOTUS and the Lola Greene Baldwin Foundation are still around helping sex workers get the civic assistances they consistently say they really want and need.

Phil is on the sexy, popular side of the issue that gets votes from Mercury-reading alternaboys & girls, but he clearly hasn't looked into the matter seriously enough to learn what sex workers directly say they want from their government. Zoning laws don't occupy any significant place on the list of what sex workers themselves say concerns them most about being sex workers, and Phil would do better to actually *listen to them* instead of thinking he has a right to *tell them* what's best for them.

SOLUTION: Petition #53 Campaign Finance Reform 24.May.2004 17:27

MIND/CFR -- Money Is Not Democracy chenry@pdx.edu

Right now, Oregon is one of six remaining states with absolutely no limits on Campaign spending.

Brief History of CFR in Oregon
•In 1994, Oregon voters enacted CFR by vote of 72%
•Banned corporate and union contributions
•Limits were $500 for statewide race and $100 for legislative race
•In 1997, Oregon Supreme Court struck down under Oregon Constitution (Article 1, Section 8)

Petition 53 Contribution Limits
•Bans corporate and union contributions for candidate races
•Limits individual contributions to $500 in partisan statewide race (primary and general are 2 races)
•$200 in non-partisan statewide or judicial race
•$100 in non-statewide race (legislative seat, etc.)
•Individual cannot contribute more than $5,000 per year in total to all candidate campaigns

Can the Courts Stop This?
•It will become a part of the Oregon Constitution as amendment to Article I, Section 8, which Oregon Supreme Court used in 1997 to strike down Measure 9 of 1994
•Challenges to similar laws in other states have failed; U.S. Supreme Court has upheld similar state limits on contributions

Campaign Spending Skyrockets
•In 1996, total spending on Oregon campaigns was $4.2 million
•In 2002, total spending was $49 million
•With McCain-Feingold in effect on federal level, more corporate money will flow into Oregon, one of 6 states with no limits on contributions

Business Outspends Everyone
•Corporations outspend labor unions by 5-1 and environmental groups by hundreds to one
•In 1996 (CFR in place), business outspent labor by $1.9 million in Oregon
•In 2002 (with no CFR), business outspent labor by $11.4 million
•Races becoming more expensive: in 2002, 6 candidates each spent more than $500,000 on State Senate races

Wealthy Business-People Make Big Contributions
•Lauren Parks contributed $700,000 to the Mannix campaign
•Rod & Rich Wendt gave $250,000 to the Mannix campaign
•Joan Austin gave $200,000 to the Mannix campaign, etc.

Council on State Taxation
•2004 study shows Oregon ranks last among states in business taxes per $ of economic activity and per $ of capital income
•Oregon ranks 2nd in share of all state and local taxes paid by individuals, not business

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country... Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
Abraham Lincoln, 1864

Money Is Not Democracy
Money Is Not Democracy

Phil On American Idol 25.May.2004 00:13

Mad Max

I agree with Former Stripper. Phil seems to bounce around a lot when it comes to his position on many issues. It is really a sad day in Portland when Phil gets three times the votes as somebody with the experience and morals as James Posey. For six months he turned The Mercury into the Phil Busse fanzine. Maybe he only spent about $1 per vote, but that doesn't count the free exposure he granted himself in The Mercury, especially his front cover article. In media, that kind of publicity is often negotiated as part of the deal with advertising sales. Let's say Britney Spears is coming to Portland and Zine X gets a four week full back page ad run over Zine Y, but clinches the deal with four weeks of CD reviews, concert reviews, interviews, cover story, etc. about Britney. If you add all that publicity Phil gave himself, he probably outspent all candidates except Francesconi by a large margin.

Phil should just get his rocks off by going on American Idol. He can wear a gold, spandex jumpsuit and croon the words to Alice Cooper's "I Want To Be Elected." I'm sure his message probably found its strongest support among Portland's American Idol viewship, anyway.