Effort to oust board member called off
- Todd Murphy
- Portland Tribune - News
Petition leader says lack of money stops bid to recall Jackson
The recall campaign against Portland school board member Derry Jackson has, in essence, been recalled.
The North Portland writer who in January filed a recall petition against Jackson said Thursday that he was ending the campaign.
Jeff Muir, a free-lance writer and parent of children who ultimately will attend public school in Portland, said the campaign could not raise the money needed to gather the signatures to put the recall question on the ballot.
Muir started the campaign because of statements made by Jackson that many considered anti-Semitic.
'The signatures were easy to get,' with volunteers asking people to add their names to the recall petition, Muir said at a Thursday news conference. 'The votes were there. What was lacking was the vocal and public support of the community's leadership.'
The lack of that support made raising significant money difficult, Muir said. Funds were necessary, he said, because the thousands of signatures needed for the recall would have required hiring signature gatherers beyond the dozens of volunteers already enlisted.
Jackson could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.
The school board member from North Portland caused a community furor in July when The Oregonian quoted him as saying he sees 'Jews running everything' on the Portland school board and in the country.
Jackson, one of two black school board members, added in the interview that he believed, based on surnames, that there were four Jews on the school board. (Two board members are Jewish.)
More than a dozen community leaders called for Jackson to apologize for the comments, and some asked for his resignation.
Last summer, several people said they would help mount a recall campaign. But by January, the first month the recall campaign could legally begin, Muir was alone in leading the campaign.
Recall efforts seldom have made it to the ballot in Multnomah County because of the number of signatures required; Muir needed to gather 22,381 by April 3. He declined to say how many signatures had been gathered.
'Our only credible shot É was to raise enough money by March 1 to field an army of paid petition gatherers,' Muir wrote in an e-mail to supporters earlier this week. That didn't happen, he wrote. 'Why not one elected official or prominent community leader in Multnomah County endorsed the recall of Mr. Jackson is beyond me, but that had a huge impact on the credibility of our campaign.'
Duane Schulz, a high-tech executive who has commented publicly on Portland school district issues, said he changed his mind about supporting a recall campaign as he considered the important issues the school board was dealing with, including the search for a superintendent.
'I think what we got down to was, in light of all the things we needed to be working on in the community, this (would have been) just a misplaced priority,' he said.