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Sources Say: Are politics safe to drink?

We blame it on the Fog of Politics

Sources erred last issue when we said the fluoride referendum would appear on the May 2013 ballot. In fact, it is scheduled to go before Portland a full year later, in the May 2014 primary election.

The City Council has the authority to move the measure to an earlier ballot but is unlikely to do so at this time. Commissioner Dan Saltzman plans to ask the council to place a measure renewing the Portland Children’s Levy on the May 2013 ballot. Commissioner Nick Fish is considering a Portland Parks & Recreation bond measure for the November 2013 ballot.

It goes without saying that Saltzman and Fish do not want their measures on the same ballot where many Portlanders are likely to vent their anger about the council’s decision to add fluoride to the water system without a public vote.

No, seriously, could this hurt our chances?

But sticking with the May 2014 vote raises another issue for Fish and Saltzman. Both of them voted for the fluoridation measure. And because both plan to seek re-election, their names will appear on that ballot, too.

Contacted by Sources, Fish and Saltzman say they are not concerned about the fluoride issue derailing their re-election hopes. They noted that Commissioner Amanda Fritz was easily re-elected at the November 2012 election, despite also having voted to fluoridate Portland’s water.

Of course, Fritz’s opponent, state Rep. Mary Nolan, supported fluoridating the water.

So the question is, how would anti-fluoride candidates fare in the 2014 primary election? Fish and Saltzman both say they do not believe many voters would support such single-issue candidates, even at the same election where the referral measure is up for a vote.

If they do face such opponents, Fish and Saltzman could be helped by a campaign in support of fluoridating the water. The same coalition that supported the council vote is gearing up to campaign in favor of upholding the council’s action in May 2014.

Plugging a hole in campaign funds

The most recent campaign filings reveal that the top three candidates spent almost $3.8 million in cash and in-kind contributions in the Portland mayor’s race.

Winner Charlie Hales spent more than $1.45 million in the primary and general elections, barely outspending Eileen Brady, who spent slightly more than $1.4 million in the primary.

Jefferson Smith, who finished second in the primary and general, reports spending slightly more than $937,000 in both elections.

Both Hales and Brady are reporting that their campaigns are in the hole. Hales has a deficit of nearly $36,000, while Brady has a deficit of almost $340,000.

Smith, in contrast, reports a surplus of about $30,000.

In the only seriously contested City Council race, Fritz was re-elected after being outspent by Nolan by a margin of about $309,000 to almost $630,000 in both elections.

Fritz has a deficit of about $128,000, while the Nolan campaign is about $25,000 in debt.