Readers' Letters

Voter-Owned Elections is not about funding campaigns. As Common Cause says, it's not about defeating incumbents. VOE's sole purpose is to get rid of the need to raise money for a campaign, and allow candidates to discuss the issues with voters.

Instead of having to spend the majority of their time chasing donations from special interests, candidates can spend their time meeting citizens, addressing the issues and developing a campaign that is beholden to the voter, not to funders.

Randy Leonard thinks this is too expensive (Fund services, not candidates, Two Views, June 3). Apparently he and the Portland Business Alliance are willing to put a price on democracy. He's even willing to be dishonest about VOE, bringing up the issue of Emily Boyles, even though it was fixed as soon as it was discovered; it is now almost impossible for candidates to get away with cheating in the VOE system. This debate needs to be about the real issues, not fake ones that distract voters from the truth.

Trust in government is almost nonexistent. Turning our city elections back over to the highest bidders won't fix that. Citizens need to know they are the ones being represented at City Hall, not the developers and Wall Street banker-types who will return to business-as-usual if we do not preserve VOE. An incumbent like Randy Leonard may be comfortable with that, but as a citizen, I am not.

VOE gives an ordinary citizen like Amanda Fritz a real chance to win an election. Not every VOE candidate will win, but that's not the issue - the issue is democracy, paid for by citizens and not by corporations. Our economy is in tatters because we let Wall Street bankers make the rules.

VOE broke the hold big-money interests had on city elections and returned our democracy to the people who should own it: the voters of Portland. Vote Yes for Voter-Owned Elections.

Todd A. Barnhart

Southeast Portland

Randy prefers unlimited donations

It's not terribly surprising that an entrenched incumbent like Randy Leonard opposes Portland's Voter-Owned Elections (Fund services, not candidates, Two Views, June 3).

What is surprising is that he's suddenly a born-again defender of basic services. Isn't this the same Randy Leonard who demanded that we pour tens of millions of public dollars into the pockets of Hank and Merritt Paulson? And how does his oversized neon rose in Waterfront Park fit into 'basic services'? Or his plan to create an armed water bureau police force?

Pure and simple: Voter-Owned Elections threatens the flow of money into Randy's pockets. He collects thousands of dollars from developers and city contractors, which he then spends on expensive meals, personal expenses and anything else he pleases.

He and his downtown cronies don't see a problem with unlimited campaign contributions, which explains why he and they will say and do anything to see VOE repealed.

John Mulvey

Southeast Portland

Leonard supports corporate interest

Honest government is priceless.

I did a double-take when I saw Randy Leonard attacking Portland's Voter-Owned Elections campaign finance reform program as too expensive in a time of financial hardship (Fund services, not candidates, Two Views, June 3). After all, his advocacy of extremely expensive projects is one of the reasons the city is having financial problems.

Considering the source, the League of Women Voter's support for Voter-Owned Election wins hands-down over Leonard's opposition. The League of Women Voters is a community-based organization that works hard to improve our democracy.

Leonard, on the other hand, is a fundraising champ with support from most of our city's corporate interests. He has cost Portland way more in back-room deals than the tiny slice of the budget that has gone to the reform program. Voter-Owned Elections give independence to elected officials like Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who is one of the few brave enough to stand up to Commissioner Leonard's reckless use of city money.

Ethan Scarl

Northeast Portland

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