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Candidates, were here to listen

Sources Say

After some 16 years at City Hall, Commissioner Sam Adams has a clear claim to insider status. But his opponent, businessman Sho Dozono, has a few connections himself.

A Sources Say inquiry to the Regional Arts and Culture Commission last week led to our receiving a call from Dozono himself, eager to tell his side of the story before we'd even asked.

It turns out that three years ago, Dozono was part of a group that helped commission artwork from a local sculptor for the Very Very Vera farewell celebration for outgoing Mayor Vera Katz.

A letter RACC Director Eloise Damrosch sent Dozono at Azumano Travel asserted that he had 'committed' to raising $15,000 for the artwork, but he had forked over only $10,000.

Asked about the current status, Damrosch said Dozono still has paid only $10,000 but played down the discrepancy, saying RACC is grateful for his 'very generous' assistance.

Dozono, meanwhile, says that while he was among those raising the funds, he never agreed to be personally on the hook for paying them.

He also doesn't recall a serious effort to collect, saying, 'If someone really wanted that bill to be paid, I would have stepped up (and raised the remainder of the money).'

If any other candidates wish to call and pre-emptively explain potential skeletons in their closet, no matter how small, Sources Say is here to listen.

Maybe it doesn't pay to pay well

The latest potential Portland public campaign financing scandal is heating up - and could cost City Council candidate John Branam his $134,745 in city funds.

The city auditor's office has launched a formal investigation into how Branam is paying some of his campaign staff.

In the week after the campaign was certified to receive the funds, Branam paid several staffers more than $2,100 each, including $15,000 to manager Phil Busse.

City rules prohibit paying for work done before certification or paying more than fair market value for work - a condition that helped trip up Emilie Boyles, the poster girl of Portland election scandals, in the last council election.

Although the investigation does not have to be wrapped up by a certain date, Branam might want to moderate his spending. His campaign had only around $80,000 on hand as of Friday.

Jail effort has unexpected skeptic

Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler is pressing forward with opening a section of the Wapato jail.

But according to a document obtained by Sources Say, he's facing concerns from an unexpected sector, the Federation of Oregon Parole and Probation Officers.

Lawyer Mark Makler, who represents the group, sent an e-mail in February informing the county that negotiations would have to be opened up to deal with numerous workplace issues such as new training for county probation officers. Think dollar signs.

Wheeler already is trying to make peace with the unions representing the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. On Friday, he met with District Attorney Mike Schrunk and Sheriff Bernie Giusto, as well as union leaders, to discuss a compromise Wapato proposal as well as a possible November public safety levy.

Wheeler is stressing the potential impacts to the county of the likely passage of a November ballot measure that would stiffen sentences for some crimes.

- Tribune staff

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