Just because Commissioner Dan Saltzman hasn’t raised any campaign cash so far this year, don’t assume he is taking his re-election for granted. Saltzman, who announced he will seek a fifth term on the Portland City Council last week, is a formidable fundraiser when he sets his mind to it.

Saltzman personally raised most, if not all, of the $404,090 to support the renewal of the Portland Children’s Levy in the May election. The program is Saltzman’s baby and the measure to renew it for five years passed with around 70 percent support.

Saltzman is considering asking voters to give the program a permanent tax base if he is re-elected. If he does, the campaign in favor of the ballot measure already has a good start. The committee that supported the last one still has $63,407 in the bank.

Oregonians show Denver how it’s done

An influential political consulting firm is opening an office in Denver, in part because Colorado recently adopted a vote-by-mail system similar to Oregon.

Pac/West Communications was founded by former Oregon state legislator Paul Phillips and his wife, Nancy, in 1997. It offers campaign, government affairs, public relations and social media services.

The Denver office will be led by Mark Truax, who worked for Pac/West in Oregon and Washington, D.C. Most recently, Truax served as the Western Issues Specialist at the National Association of Conservation Districts in Washington, D.C.

“Pac/West understands Colorado, and with the new vote-by-mail laws, based off of Oregon’s practices, we offer a unique, nonpartisan understanding of the state’s politics and its changing voting practices,” Phillips says of the expansion into a state that is turning a light shade of blue and becoming more Democratic.

Syria? Syria? Doesn’t ring a bell for Merkley

Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley is usually quick to weigh in on the issues of the day. In August, Merkley’s office sent news releases declaring that the Democrat supports making college more affordable for middle-class students, wants to help military veterans exposed to Agent Orange, opposes Wall Street speculation in the commodities market, favors extending forest stewardship contracting, backs tax reform that benefits the middle class, applauds the one-year anniversary of a women’s heath benefit in Obamacare and wants to help fund Japanese tsunami debris cleanup.

But on the possibility of an American military strike against Syria, Merkley has been strangely quiet.

Even after President Obama announced Saturday that he will seek congressional approval for the strike, Merkley’s office did not send any news releases on the issue. A quick Google search revealed that Merkley had co-sponsored a resolution calling for democratic regime change in Syria in 2012, but that was about it.

Oh well. At least it looks like he’ll have a chance to vote on the strike right as his re-election campaign gears up.

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