No gifts please, just your love
Commissioner Erik Sten is either the purest or loneliest guy at City Hall, depending on how you read the lobbyist disclosure filings for the first quarter of the year.
Sten was the only council member who did not report receiving anything of value because of his official position.
The most popular council member was Sam Adams, who reported receiving $1,729.90 worth of gifts, the largest being $1,000 in free dance lessons for agreeing to participate in an upcoming Dancing With the Stars fundraiser for the Young Audiences arts organization.
In second place was Mayor Tom Potter at $1,451.25, followed by Dan Saltzman at $60 and Randy Leonard at a measly $30.
Lots of folks like to pay visits
Commissioner Sam Adams sponsored the lobbying disclosure requirements supposedly to give citizens a better idea of how the council makes its decisions.
Those expecting to find business influence will not be disappointed by the most recent filings - the Portland Business Alliance reports many contacts with the council members.
Perhaps surprisingly, it is far outnumbered by public and nonprofit entities, including the Port of Portland, the Portland school district, Metro, Portland Streetcar Inc. and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
Adams wants the council to change the reporting requirements to catch several professional lobbyists who now are slipping in under the 16-hours-per-quarter limit that triggers a detailed filing.
Defenders of PDC finances get it together, albeit slowly
Although the Portland Development Commission is routinely accused of being in the pocket of a handful of local developers, none of them seems to be rushing to prevent the City Council from taking over its finances.
One of the proposed charter changes on the May ballot - 26-92 - would require the council to approve the agency's budget. A number of labor unions are reportedly prepared to fund a campaign to approve the measure.
The campaign against it is being waged by only two PDC insiders. Chairman Mark Rosenbaum has formed the No on 26-92 Committee. With less than a month to go before the election, its only contribution so far - $600 - has come from former PDC Chairman Doug Blomgren.
However, the opposition campaign got some backup since the contribution filing: At a City Club meeting Friday, Mayor Tom Potter's former chief of staff, Nancy Hamilton, spoke against the measure - despite the fact that her old boss is supporting it.
The City Club agreed, voting to oppose the measure.