Sources Say

A week after filing for mayor, Sho Dozono is confident he will defy conventional wisdom and collect the 1,500 individual $5 contributions necessary to qualify for public campaign financing before the Jan. 31 deadline.

On Monday morning the downtown businessman said his fledgling campaign already has collected roughly half the required number, and will file the first 450 with the city auditor's office this week as required by program rules.

City Commissioner Sam Adams, who previously had been considered a shoo-in for mayor, also thinks Dozono will qualify for the program, which will provide him with up to $192,500 in city funds and will match any amount over $250,000 spent by Adams or any independent anti-Dozono committee.

Whisperers talk of an anti-Adams conspiracy

Is the threatened referral of Adams' street maintenance fee merely a back-door campaign against him? Putting the fee on the May primary election ballot could highlight a controversial Adams program and could cost him votes - a fact that clearly has not gone unnoticed.

In fact, there appears to be a concerted whisper campaign that's floating a conspiracy theory about the timing, one that notes the link between Danelle Romain, one of the lobbyists behind the referral talk, and Len Bergstein, a lobbyist advising Dozono. Bergstein is married to Romain's mother, Betsy.

Whether this theory is plausible, or just cynical spindoctoring, remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, in response to criticisms of his fee plan, Adams will present two amendments at this Wednesday's council hearing.

One would reduce the fee if the state raises its gas tax, while the other would replace the automatic 3.5 percent annual increase with a yearly council approval. Consideration of the amendments will delay the final council vote until Jan. 23. Adams said he does not expect the changes to prevent the referral campaign, however.

Politics muddies fee fight

Turns out Troutdale City Councilor Barbara Kyle might have political reasons for opposing Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler's proposed motor vehicle fee on bridge repairs.

Democrat Kyle is vying to replace former House Speaker Karen Minnis, a Republican, in the Oregon Legislature.

If Kyle pushes a fee increase that's unpopular in east county, it could sour her chances in one of Oregon's marquee battles for control of the House this year.

Wheeler is still hoping to persuade Kyle to change her mind. Cities within the county have to voluntarily give up their state-mandated share of the fee or the county won't raise all the money it needs to repair or replace the Sellwood and other bridges across the Willamette River.

- Tribune staff

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