Poll sets complaints flying
Adams files fourth appeal, and Dozono camp fights back
Charges and countercharges are flying in the Portland mayor's race - and the rhetoric is likely to get much hotter in coming days.
Commissioner Sam Adams joined three other mayoral candidates in an attempt to prevent businessman Sho Dozono from receiving more than $160,000 in public campaign funds late Wednesday afternoon.
Adams filed a 35-page typewritten request for an administrative hearing on City Auditor Gary Blackmer's decision to certify Dozono for funds through Portland's public campaign finance program. The other three candidates had earlier filed handwritten complaints on one-page forms.
Adams' filing to challenge Blackmer's decision came at the last minute. The Dozono campaign responded a few hours later with a statement from manager Amie Abbott accusing Adams of playing political games and being afraid of a real race.
'He seems to believe that by eliminating Sho as the opponent, he will inherit the mayor's office,' Abbott said. 'It is arrogant of him to think that he deserves this position without having to prove to the community why he is qualified.'
Adams' campaign manager, Jennifer Yocom, responded a few hours later by accusing Dozono of trying to intentionally mislead voters about a $27,295 in-kind contribution from lobbyist Len Bergstein in the form of a poll, one of several issues included in Adams' filing.
'Political gamesmanship is Sho Dozono trying to hide a massive contribution from a lobbyist, misleading the press about whether he knew about it and changing his story repeatedly as the truth comes out anyway,' said Yocom, charging that Dozono was not immediately forthcoming about who commissioned the poll.
The poll also was mentioned in appeals filed by two other challengers, Bruce Broussard and Craig Gier.
Like Adams, they argue that Dozono should be disqualified from receiving public funds because program rules limit in-kind contributions to $12,000, less than half the cost of the poll. The third - Beryl McNair - simply asks for a 'review' of Blackmer's decision.
Blackmer already has ruled that Dozono did not violate the in-kind contribution limit because he was not a declared candidate when the poll was taken and shared with him.
Well-respected political pollster Tim Hibbitts believes Adams' challenge could end up hurting him in the long run. Hibbitts does not believe many Portland voters are following the issue right now - and if they are, they're probably wondering why the candidates are not talking about more pressing issues, including crime and unfilled potholes.
Hibbitts warns that many voters might be outraged if Adams appeared to win the election by knocking his most visible opponent out of the race on a technical issue.
'Adams can say, 'I won the race,' but people might think he stole it on a technicality,' Hibbitts said. 'If that's the case, it could hurt Adams in the long run. It might be better for him to face Dozono head-on.'
Hearings promise an earful
The requests will prompt at least one and possibly more hearings before state administrative law judges.
Adams and the others challenging Blackmer's decision will be able to personally make their cases when they occur, ensuring even more media coverage of the issue.
Despite the number of challengers and length of Adams' filing, the outcome is far from certain.
In making their decisions, administrative judges frequently look at whether public officials laid adequate groundwork for their decisions - and in this case, Blackmer built an extensive public record.
Blackmer's letter certifying Dozono for funding runs eight pages and directly addresses such questions as when he believes Dozono became a candidate for mayor under the city code.
It was accompanied by an equally lengthy sworn statement from Dozono outlining the process he went through in deciding to run for mayor.
The hearing on the appeals filed by Broussard, Gier and McNair is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 7995 S.W. Mohawk St., Tualatin.
The hearing on Adams' appeal was not scheduled by press time, but also could happen Monday.
Broussard told the Portland Tribune he intends to drop out of the mayor's race today. If so, his challenge will be dismissed because only candidates for mayor can file them.
Tussle sets stage for forums
The squabbling occurs just before the first two major public forums in the mayor's race.
Six candidates are scheduled to appear at 7:30 tonight in the auditorium of the Moriarty Building at Portland Community College's Cascade Campus. They are Adams, Dozono, Gier, McNair, James B. Lee and Chris Rich.
The forum is sponsored by the African American Alliance, the African American Chamber of Commerce and the Portland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It will be moderated by KOIN (6) reporter and news anchor Ken Boddie.
Adams and Dozono are scheduled to debate at 11 a.m. Thursday at Portland State University. The event is sponsored by the Portland Tribune, the Portland Business Alliance and Portland State University.
Both events are free and open to the public.