With the 2012 general election behind us, Mayor-elect Charlie Hales has abandoned the last shreds of his voluntary campaign contribution limitations and begun accepting unlimited cash donations to reduce his nearly $35,000 deficit and repay $71,000 in outstanding loans.

During the run-off election against Jefferson Smith, Hales originally imposed a $600 limitation and both cash and in-kind contributions. Near the end of the election, Hales substantially raised the limit on in-kind contributions from membership organizations, such as unions. Now he has eliminated them entirely.

According to the most recent campaign filings, the first cash contribution of more than $600 was a $1,000 donation from Kevin Flanigan, a real estate developer, the day after the election.

Expect many more sizable contributions to begin showing up soon.

Kitz keeps his cool on Nike gambit

Don’t play poker with Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Kitzhaber made one of the most significant announcements of his political career on Monday, calling the Legislature into special session on Friday to persuade Nike to greatly expand its workforce in the state.

Kitzhaber said he had worked more than a month on a proposal sought by Nike to keep its Oregon tax structure the same in exchange for the creation of 12,000 new jobs by 2020.

But Kitzhaber gave no hint that such a proposal was in the works when he spoke the previous Monday at the 2012 Oregon Business Leadership Summit at the Oregon Convention Center. Even though his keynote address to hundreds of the state’s top business executives was largely about job creation, Kitzhaber did not even suggest that such an anouncement was coming.

Instead, he talked mostly about his proposals for the 2013 Legislature, not the last session of 2012.

Pow! Zap! TriMet! ATU! Courts! Lawyers!

TriMet and the union representing most of its employees are continuing to clash on the status of their contract negotiations.

The Amalgamated Transit Union refused to attend the first scheduled negotiating session. It blamed TriMet for not agreeing to open the session to the public. TriMet argued the public meetings law does not cover contract negotiations conducted by representatives of a public body.

Both parties agreed to submit the question to the Multnomah County Circuit Court. But the ATU declined to work with TriMet on the filing, called a complaint for a declaratory judgment.

TriMet filed its own version with the court on Friday, anyway.

Not surprisingly, TriMet’s filing argues that ATU’s unwillingness to attend the first session unnecessarily delayed contract negotiation and cost its members additional health insurance expenses — something the ATU will undoubtedly dispute in its response.

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