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government | political theory oregon elections 2006

Erik Sten's...errr...Filing (?) For Office Another Term

Check out Erik Sten's rather arrogant and vacant official filing for another term. The yuppie teen from Stanford who fell ass-backward into City Council with no professional experience, only to lose over $40 million of taxpayer money, seems to think he has no competition.

First of all, let's take a look at his beloved Stanford BA credential. No major listed, no year of graduation, or much of any information except his "Stanford BA." Ooooh! Ducks, Beavers, Cougars, Vikings, Pilots, and Huskies alike should turn up their noses to this repugnant declaration. Was there anything in that curriculum that would have made a private company hire him to manage a $40 million software implementation project right out of college? I'd like to know.

What else? Oh yeah, "High School." Which privileged local neighborhood high school was that exactly? "Portland Public Schools." Oh yeah. Years completed? "High school." Did this guy ever fill out a job application before being elected to play with other people's money? Is there anybody elso out there who got an $87,000/year job who didn't know how to properly fill out the application?

Let's check out that current occupation. "City of Portland Commissioner," Mr. Sten tells us. How about the years of service, Erik? How about the bureaus under your control, so people can evaluate your performance presiding over those bureaus?

Prior occupations? "Housing advocate," was Sten's most recent occupation before his pubescent entry into politics. Well George W. Bush is a "housing advocate." He thinks all estate taxes should be waived so rich people can keep more of their inherited property. What organization did he do his housing advocacy for? When did he do it? Oh bother, why waste ink on my application to inform the voters.

Then again, he was a "journalist" before his teenage entry into politics. For what publication was young Erik a journalist? Hard to tell. For how long? What did he cover? Again, put yourself in the place of somebody trying to decide who to interview for the job. Is this satisfactory? Did Erik write part-time for the San Francisco Chronicle or his "Portland Public Schools" paper?

Perhaps Erik Sten should list his occupation as "consumate career politician," since that is exactly what he is. Heck, even George W. Bush went to grad school and tried and failed to make it in the oil biz (failing despite family connections) before giving up and trying to run for Congress. Fortunately for Sten, there was no draft to avoid during his college days in Palo Alto. His tenure on City Council has basically been on-the-job training at taxpayer expense, the cost of which has been much more than his $87k annual salary. Of course, Sten has apologized for costing Portland over $40 million (I think that if you add it all up, you're really talking about over $100 million) at the water bureau. He's even championed the current Campaign Finance Fund which is available to any prominent local businessman with thousands of associates and to himself, for an instant $100,000 addition to his warchest. Average citizens can claim it too, if they are willing to go door to door and convince 1000 people to give them $5. Would Sten use his position as an acting City Council member to take advantage of a campaign finance fund that was established to open up politics for people who otherwise couldn't compete. Let's check the Portland Online Elections page... Yep, Sten's going to take another $100K of other people's money to continue his life-long career in politics.

Portland voters, I ask you: Would any of us still have our jobs if we performed to Erik Sten's standards where we work? Not to be too critical, because Sten had an opportunity and took it. However, he could have gone to grad school up the road and PSU and got an MA in Public Planing & Policy or an MBA or something. No, Erik Sten has a cushy job at public expense that he could never had walked into in the job market coming out of Stanford, and he's spent his time mastering his network and public relations to keep it. He says what he has to say to keep his job in this predominantly Democratic city. ERIK STEN IS A CAREER POLITICIAN--NOTHING MORE, HOPEFULLY NOTHING LESS.
I call bullshit on this 11.Dec.2005 15:38


I've had as much frustration with Sten as the next guy -- he failed to vote his conscience with regard to the PJTTF in the first place, and failed to take a stand against police violence. He followed Vera wherever she led him. Yes yes yes. He has often been weak-willed and malleable. But I think Mr. Sten might finally be finding his own. Finally out from under Vera, he has good leadership to look to now, and I think he's learned a lot. Deep inside, he's a good person who means well, and those attributes are finally beginning to express themselves, to Portland's benefit.

He has been an advocate for homeless people in a city that desperately needs such advocates. I have been very impressed with his handling of the public power issue, which is exactly what has led powerful business interests in this city to oppose him. And I think this article sounds like a plant from just such powerful interests. They know that, in this city at least, it's not the money, but the people who make the difference. (Ask Francesconi.) They know that whoever has the grassroots support of people of conscience is in a very strong position. Is that why they've been trying so hard to smean Erik Sten since he took on big, corporate power? I think so.

It worked with the whOregonian and the Tribune, which both ran sketchy smear stories on him at the PBA's request. Do they really think it will work here too? Move on, PBA. This is an open forum, and you ahve no poweer here. We think for ourselves here, and we're not buying the bullshit. I may or may not choose to vote for Sten, but I am not going to be swayed by your silly smear campaign.

NO incumbents 11.Dec.2005 16:32


I'd advise NOT voting for incumbents if you don't like what's
going on. It's a very RARE event if I do.

We, in America tend to choose our leaders based on
a popularity contest rather than choosing the best person
for the job.

Case in point: Arnold. He rates as one of the most unpopular
Governors in California's history.
They voted for hype. Not a leader.

If not Sten Who? 11.Dec.2005 16:33


Do we have any other rational and electable candidates?

infomercial for P.G.E? 11.Dec.2005 18:14

I.M. Wired

This sounds like a bullshit commercial from Portland General Electric. And by the way, why do they spend so much of our over-charged rates for advertising. Eric and Tom Potter and the fireman are the only ones with balls enough to stand up to those Bush-loving corporate ass=holes.

Ginny Burdick is running against Sten 11.Dec.2005 18:20

Scotty B.

I remember reading an article a while ago that said something to the effect that Ginny Burdick, Democratic State Senator for District 18, is challenging Sten for the seat. I know for a fact that she is in fact doing this, but I don't know much about her. Everything I've read suggests that she'd come to the city council from a more "business friendly" (IE anti-worker) stance than Sten, and that she is more conservative on labor issues. But other than that I don't know if she's worse or by how much.

I also call bullshit on the poster 11.Dec.2005 20:41


Erik Sten may have made mistakes, but they pale in comparison to the pro-corporate, pro-developer stance that so many commissioners have taken before him, and as he matures, he also stands more for the people all the time. Something else that matters: he answers my emails back and forth, thoughtfully and humbly. He also will make time for any individual and meet with them in his office, listen to them and even take their advise.

Ginny Burdick, on the other hand, is a total corporate flak and shill. She stands for the power circle of the elite, who are finding since the demise of Neil that their grip on the city is slipping, and they don't like that one bit. She is going for Sten's position because he's more progressive than Saltzman and they figure that with Sten out of the way they can work their way back up to a majority.

Ginny Burdickis backed by pro-PGE funding 12.Dec.2005 14:45

Man on the street

Hey I don't know her personally but according to the Tribune she is in the back pocket of PGE. At least Eric Sten had the Balls to stand-up to those bastards. Oregon has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country but Enron/PGE charged the customers for the taxes and then didn't pay. Big Business uses all the infrastucture the roads, bridges, waterways, sewers and governmental. Then they cry wolf when asked to pay for it.
Eric ain't perfect, but he fights head to head when he has to.

Okay who is devious enough on Sten's staff to post this? 12.Dec.2005 14:51

Logical thinker

Going to a free and progressive web site and posting this is not going to move anyone against Sten. It might give a knee jerk reaction to support him though. Who is doing Sten's P.R. now?

what are you talking about? 12.Dec.2005 14:58


Look at Sten's work on fighting PGE, look at his work on champoning reduction of greenhouse gasses. Under his leadership, portland has become the first city to reduce it's percapita greenhouse gasses emission more then 15%. We are the only city of its size or larger to reach the Kyoto protocalls ten years early!

seriously. The dude is fucking better then a lot of the people we've had.

Good point "lokal"...Sten f'd up the PGE deal, too 12.Dec.2005 18:12

Johnny Rotten

Many people in Portland's grass roots political movement have been against Enron and PGE, endorsing a public buyout. Myself included. However, at the most crucial moment Sten...(drum roll)...BLEW IT! These Enron guys eat their young and they handled Sten like cat handles a mouse. I suppose Sten will eventually "mature" and learn enough not to be played for a fool and out-negotiated. If you Sten supporters would like to personally pay for his salary and mistakes, I guess I'm in for the ride.

This is so ridiculous! 01.Feb.2006 20:15


"Johnny Rotten" certainly has pretty rotten priorities. Who cares at all about the meaningless formal paperwork that Mr. Sten had to file for office? This is not the voters' pamphlet statement--something people actually read--it is a useless piece of paperwork. Why do you critique it? Because you don't have any real substance, you resort to ad hominem attacks.

On the substance, Mr. Sten happens to be one of the strongest liberal voices on the city council. And one thing is clear--his main opponent is considerably more conservative. Mr. Sten has had the guts to take on real challenges, like PGE and Clean Elections. He has at least tried, and tried hard, where others have never even dared to venture. I have watched the city council from a distance over the last four years and I can say without a doubt that Mr. Sten is the hardest working and smartest of the bunch, and he has grown even more effective over time.