News

The latest news coverage of Amanda's work for you in City Hall

April - starting the last six weeks!

Apologies to Bill, the volunteer compiling these news reports, and my readers, for the delayed posting of last weekend's update. It was a busy week and I am only now drawing breath and having the capacity to review and post Bill's draft. The good news - another news update coming soon!

Monday of last week, the Portland Tribune ran a story titled Lawsuit questions city Superfund spending.

The suit has been brought by well-known attorney John DiLorenzo, who has devoted much of his practice to representing corporations, reducing taxes that governments need to provide necessary services to the public.

It is unfortunate that the reporter did not talk to me or anyone from the Office of Healthy Working Rivers, which I created to coordinate City policy and actions on complex issues affecting the Willamette and the Columbia. Nor was there any apparent communication with the Bureau of Environmental Services, although the article questions whether the Bureau should be involved in the Superfund process. And the article says the lawyer is "representing Portland water and sewer customers," but it does not identify who these "customers" are. I am working with the Water Users Coalition, a broad coalition of citizens and interest groups, to address rates and service concerns.

I asked the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Office of Healthy Working Rivers to provide an overview of the Portland Harbor Superfund process. To see the Council presentation on March 28, 2012 click here. (PDF)

More Superfund news, this time in the Portland Business Journal. The Lower Willamette Group, the public and corporate businesses entities leading the research in the Superfund cleanup, "provided clean-up options for the 11-mile lower Willamette River." in the Feasibility Study submitted March 30 to the Environmental Protection Agency. Please read the article to garner more information.

In the contest for my next term on the Council, the Oregonian talks about endorsements received by my principal opponent and me prior to the start of April.

I am delighted to have received endorsements from the entire Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, as well as both continuing Commissioners, Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman. What so pleases me is that these are the people I work with regularly to represent you in government. Each of them wants to keep working with me.

I strongly recommend that you listen to the debate the last Friday in March at the City Club. Hearing the whole thing is much better and more reliable than reading little excerpts from a newspaper, blog, television or radio report. Two people came up to me after the forum and told me they came supporting my opponent, and left supporting me.

More news soon. My well-funded opponent will soon start spending the massive war chest she has collected, mostly from affluent people and special interests. I count on support from individuals, not corporations or unions or any other non-person. I accept up to $50 per person per year, so please help me with any amount up to $50. Thank you! If you've already donated the maximum, please volunteer, host a yard sign, and/or help out in other ways. Less than six weeks to the end of the election - let's step it up another notch!

Weekly News summary for week ending 3/25/12

Welcome to my new weekly News Update!

One of the biggest stories of the week (showing up in the Oregonian, the Mercury and Blue Oregon) was the Poll Memo that my campaign released, showing me with a 34-point lead over my main opponent. Last fall, our poll showed my lead at 41-15. So the new numbers indicate an eight point favorable gain over the five months we've been working so hard, with my support increasing while my opponent's dropped. The undecideds remain at 43%, showing we still have a lot of work to do to make sure we can celebrate at the Victory Party on May 15.

You can look at the Poll Memo here (PDF).

As the Oregonian notes in another story, the poll result is having "asked respondents to compare the two candidates first, before hearing any positive or negative messages about the two."

Please, help me get those undecideds over to supporters by contributing up to $50, if you haven't already donated in 2012. Click on the Contribute tab and donate on line today. And/or, sign up for a yard sign, and/or a volunteer task. Thank you!

On the national media scene, the Huffington Post ran an article about Portland, but didn't fully dig into the issues - see Portland Livery Car Companies: Portland Taxi Laws Crippling, Don't Protect Customers.

Pointing at a 2009 law that enforces a variety of restrictions on how livery/limosine services conduct business, the article implies that the City is protecting the large taxi companies as payback for campaign donations.

My response was, "Even though my colleagues are funded by traditional (campaign donations), they are very principled men and I don't believe they would be voting on the basis of who gives them money." The author didn't mention that I am funded by all Portland taxpayers and ratepayers thanks to Public Campaign Financing, or that I said when interviewed that I believe there is a good chance a new taxi franchise will be approved when the matter comes to Council.

The administrator of Portland's Private-for-Hire Transportation Program, which regulates both taxi and livery services, Frank Dufray, said "The main thing is that you don't want the Town cars to take all of the best fares, which are to the airport, and not leave any for the taxi industry. That's why there's a minimum fare and a one-hour wait requirement." But that comment, which I also stated, is buried in the rest of the article. Not everything you read in the media is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Still, it is fun to have been cited in the Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington and I went to the same college in Cambridge, although she was there several years before me.

I ran using Voter-Owned Elections, i.e., Public Campaign Financing in 2008. I am still staying true to the spirit of the system by limiting my campaign contrbibutions to a maximum of $50 per donation, so voters will never have to worry or wonder whether my votes are influenced by huge campaign contributions from special interests, corporations, unions, or others with financial interests in City decisions and contracts.. As I just mentioned, please make a donation so that your representative on City Council is truly your representative on City Council!. With your vote on May 15, that representative will continue to be me.

Bill Michtom, my volunteer compiling these News posts, and I look forward to posting for you again next week!

Mid-March Update

The report on Portland's involvement in the Joint Terrorism Task Force came out, just after I last posted here in mid-February,. As the Oregonian reported, it "bears little resemblance to the model called for last year by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon and City Commissioner Amanda Fritz."

The ACLU and I asked that the report "be as transparent and detailed as possible." This was "to ensure Portland Police Bureau compliance with Oregon laws and request police bureau to the attorney general, including a number of consultations and the types of issues and the actions taken as a result of the number of investigations, and time and at what stage the Portland police officers were asked to work with the JTTF. The annual number of hours and officers participating. The number of briefings from the FBI to the police chief and commissioner in charge. And how often terror alert information was shared with city officials."

Although more details were provided due to my advocacy and the work of the ACLU, the report accepted on a 4-1 vote does not state even a ballpark range for how many hours Portland Police officers worked with the JTTF on terrorism cases over the year. Portland Police Chief Mike Reese claimed that revealing the actual number of hours "would be likely to compromise ongoing investigations and reveal the operational tempo of our work on terrorism."

ACLU of Oregon executive director David Fidanque stated it was "disappointing, silly and hard to understand how having a little bit more of a sense of the officers' involvement would compromise security." I agree. The Portland Mercury reported Mayor Adams cut off debate, stating he would not recognize me to speak because I was asking questions "that should not be asked in Council chambers" according to Commissioner Nick Fish. I had made my point, that the Report was not as transparent as I wanted it to be, and that it was clear no further information would be forthcoming. I am disappointed. But there is always next year for me to keep asking .... as long as I win re-election on May 15.

Meanwhile, out in the neighborhoods, the Oregonian reported on a Vernon Neighborhood Association meeting Senator Chip Shields and I attended, where residents were opposing 7-11 opening new convenience stores in Vernon and St. Johns.

As the Woodstock community discovered last year, and as I affirmed at the meeting, if the zoning allows it, "They have the right to do this." Along with the residents, I called for 7-11 to work with the neighborhood and I will attend any follow-up meeting that is held. The upper managers of 7-11 have agreed to meet with Mayor Adams and me to discuss issues. I also suggested the community talk to the Bureau of Transportation about a traffic study and any impact on neighborhood safety that might have. It turns out such a study was already done. I very much want to be on the Council next year, to ensure that the Portland Plan is implemented in neighborhoods through improved zoning and Zoning Code standards.

I led the creation of the Office of Equity and Human Rights, to address appalling, persistent disparities fof people of color and people with disabilities in Portland. The Oregonian reported on my hiring of Dante James as its first director. He comes from Denver, where he worked for the Mayor on equitable contracting, as well as having experience in the public, political, and non-profit arenas. He also worked with President and Mrs. Clinton for six years. Nice Q& A on the Portland Mercury as he started work here.

More information about Dante is posted on my City blog, Dante is a proven leader in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, who will bring energy, passion, and a wealth of varied experiences to help us address the inequities that are apparent in our community. He brings knowledge and dedication to the Office in this crucial time, when more than ever Portlanders need action and improved outcomes. Welcome, Dante!

Still in February, Mayor Adams and I presented a plan for more diversity and equity required of arts groups asking for public money. It will ask groups to increase the multi-ethnic participation on staff, boards and contractors, as well as a hoped for 30% of their budgets on communities of color. I am excited how the arts community is embracing the equity challenge. Atter all, if we can't celebrate and encourage diversity in cultural groups, we are in even more trouble than we are already aware of, given the State of Black Oregon Report and the Coalition of Communities of Color reports. Our new Office of Equity and Human Rights will be partnering in this work..

Liquor licenses for food carts? Really?? I have serious concerns about allowing food cards to sell alcohol. The OLCC is supposed to monitor establishments selling liquor, but has only nine enforcement agents for the Tri-County area. Portland alone has 2,800 liquor licenses already, and there are close to 700 food carts in our City - many in residential neighborhoods where daily outdoor sales and consumption of alcohol will cause significant noise, livability, and safety problems..

Despite the concerns expressed by the City through a unanimously-passed resolution I authored, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission last week issued a liquor license to the Cartlandia food cart pod.

As I said to KGW, “We asked [the OLCC] to wait until a public process could be conducted and they have not done that. They seem to not care about the problems we're having in neighborhoods and seem to be looking directly at revenue from alcohol sale. Regardless, we have to deal with the problems. “Noise, livability and neighborhood safety are significant – we will be looking at legal and legislative options”.

See also this KATU report I will, of course, keep you up to date on City plans to deal with this problem. I have asked the City Attorney to prepare a lawsuit against OLCC.. Enough is enough.

The Council is working on the budget with our community --and things are looking tough. In fact, as I said, "It’s going to be awful.” We already made 5% cuts in 2009 and 4% in 2010. This year, the Mayor asked the bureaus to cut 4 - 8%. In small bureaus like Neighborhood Involvement, those cuts will impact programs and services to citizens. There are no other places left to cut.
The Council already held one public forum on March 5 and we will have another on March 21 in the Cleveland High School Cafeteria, 3400 S.E. 26th Ave., just off Powell Blvd.

I also recommend you take a look at the budget informaton.

BikePortland.org posted a plea from the PBOT Budget Advisory Committee asking Council to look at new revenue sources. The article noted that there will be new faces on City Council, and we must about Bureau of Transportation issues as it faces significant budget cuts. I will be open to discussing new funding when there are more citizens scrutinizing the entire PBOT budget. And after the recession eases. This year it is not appropriate to ask taxpayers to add additional fees.

One of the joys of my job is seeing engaged Portland citizens come to City Council meetings to advocate for their issues. This month, King Neighborhood residents and St. Andrews students told the Council about the value of the Portland Playhouse.

The Playhouse, "in one of the most sympathetic denials likely ever issued," was told by a City code Hearing Officer that, as a theater, it was "a commercial enterprise operating in a building not zoned for commercial use." However, the Council agreed with the Portland residents that the Playhouse is an arts center for the neighborhood, and a Community Service use.

“I am so overwhelmed by this testimony and the value to community this playhouse brings,” I noted at the meeting, as the Council allowed the Playhouse to be in their church home at NE Prescott and Sixth. There was an interesting (and annoying) twist added at the vote after the hearing, as reported by Denis on Mercury Blogtown. Commissioner Leonard and Mayor Adams scolded staff in the Bureau of Development Services ..... for following the rules in the Zoning Code. If I am put in charge of BDS in my second term, you can be sure I will empower staff to act with principles and values that honor appropriate public process.

A fun and interesting campaign event was the Candidates Arts Forum that I experienced with other candidates for the open Commissioner seat, and for Mayor. The Gerding Theatre in the Armory building was the setting and the whole thing is available on video at the link above. The part with me, Steve Novick and Brian Parrott is right at the beginning. I appreciated the Oregonian's report

I am especially proud of this comment from the ArtsWatch article's author, Barry Johnson: "The diversity discussion proved to be the most interesting to me, maybe because Fritz has such a passion for it, and that passion seemed infectious. Support for the new RACC diversity standards was the litmus test, and everyone passed it, but for Fritz it seemed more like a crusade." Yes, it is one of the main reasons I am running again. We cannot fail, this time.

Family Forward Oregon and the MotherPAC sponsored another forum.. Check out the video here.

The Oregonian editorial board called on me, as the Commissioner in charge of the Office of Healthy Working Rivers, to lead "a dialogue that also will invite public input" into the Portland Harbor Superfund site, in their editorial "Choosing the right cleanup". It's unfortunate the Oregonian's editors didn't call me to ask what is being done, before printing this editorial. The Office of Healthy Working Rivers is working with me to coordinate public involvement in making decisions on the Harbor. A public presentation to City Council is planned for March 28.

The Oregonian also ran an article this past week discussing, in particular, River Mile 11, an especially contaminated spot between the Broadway and Fremont bridges on the east side of the Willamette. The City has been working to coordinate cleanup on this site, even though we likely have limited liability at this location. I want to be on the Council in 2013 to make sure we spend taxpayer and ratepayer money wisely at each step. We must clean up the environment, reduce risk to humans and wildlife, encourage continued viability and growth of good industrial jobs, and look to coordinate cleanup and restoration in ways that minimize costs and develop new green techniques that can be marketed in other cities.

Willamette Week asked the leading candidates for Mayor and City Council to release the completed questionnaires they have sent to endorsing groups. WW reports: "The mayoral campaigns for Brady, Hales and Smith released stacks of these documents to the newspaper. Two candidates for City Council—Steve Novick and incumbent Amanda Fritz—have also released some questionnaires. Rep. Mary Nolan, Fritz’s challenger, has declined to release any." I released the AFSCME response I sent, as I am especially proud of my work with this City union with members in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, Bureau of Emergency Communications, and Office of Cable Communications and Franchise Management. Many of the members of AFSCME who have worked with me are strong supporters who are volunteering on my campaign. We lost the membership vote for the AFSCME endorsement by 12 votes to 10. My opponent has refused to release what she said to AFSCME to win their endorsement.

This is a very full update, so I have asked my volunteer, Bill Michtom, to help me get them out more often. He has enthusiastically agreed. So, stay tuned! Thank you, Bill, for keeping track of all my "earned media."

Mid-February Update

Another month has come and gone since my last news update. Thank you to volunteer Bill Michtom for assisting on these News Updates. Bill had this one drafted a week ago, but I've been so busy I haven't had time to add the inside scoop until today. In the work taxpayers are paying me to do, I continue to examine Portland's government services and work to make our city better.

Just after my last report to you here, the Portland Police physical evaluation that was included in the contract with the police union came under scrutiny, with two public hearings at Council on the issue. The question was, how did plans to provide an incentive for police to keep fit, turned into premium pay for a biometric screening that many other City employees take without a premium?

During the Council hearing, I stated that I disagree with the contract provision that gave all officers who took the biometric screening the past year the 1 percent premium pay. I suggested the City could have set benchmarks for officers to pass right away, to get the premium. But that's not what was agreed to in a Memorandum of Agreement, after the Council approved the principle in the contract. And of course, a contract is a contract. The City must follow the agreement made with our police officers. The Code specifies that the Human Resources Director has the independent authority to negotiate for the details during bargaining with the Unions. The HR Director approved biometric testing instead of fitness testing as the Council and I intended. Given the outcome with the Police health and fitness test issue, and also a less-publicized issue on the 40-hour work week/sick time/overtime where what was presented in bargaining was not what I requested, I will be working to revise the Code in this regard.

The Council voted on the issue February 1st. In the hearing, I stated that providing officers incentives to reduce their health insurance costs may work out better for taxpayers. Although the pilot project is expensive, and I wouldn't have voted for it if the details had been put before Council, it will give us information on whether making an employee aware of potential life-threatening conditions causes changes in behavior by the employee, to become more healthy. Since the taxpayers fund City of Portland employees' health care, reducing medical care costs is beneficial to taxpayers. The City's health care costs rose only 3% last year, much less than private insurance plan increases. I will continue to work to manage and reduce health care costs, as long as I am on the Council.

Meanwhile, the Portland Fire Fighters Association Local 43 made a $20,000 contribution to one of my opponents (four have now filed, as well as me - don't they know there is an open seat?) . I did not support sending the $72 million property tax increase to the voters in 2010, as I felt the bureau should have budgeted for apparatus replacement within the existing General Fund allocation rather than asking taxpayers for more money, especially during the recesssion. So it wasn't a surprise to me that the Fire Fighters Union chose not to endorse me for re-election. I am accountable to taxpayers, which sometimes means I am at odds with City employee unions.

I am accepting donations of up to $50 per person per year, continuing my committment to representing everyone in the city, not merely those who can come up with the most money. I am not accepting any money from unions or corporations. Winning the election despite this limit requires an active committment from my supporters to step up and make the largest donation you can manage (up to $50 in 2012) to show that you, too, know and honor the idea that this Voter-Owned Elections Commissioner represents the true democratic process. I am your voice in City Hall, the community member who is also the incumbent. Please contribute $5 - $50 and put your name on my Supporters list, if you want me to keep speaking up for you.

Back on the day-to-day City business front, composting was featured online in the Oregonian (with a photo of me taken by son Luke). My solution to storing food scraps before putting kitchen waste in the yard debris cart: pizza boxes. The City Recycling hotline (503-823-7202) received almost 8,000 calls over the three months from mid-September the mid-December. Some were complaints, but most were questions for clarification on the process. I know from reading the hundreds of emails that arrive in my inbox each week that many people are still mad about the changes. There will be a report to Council later this year, and it's evident if most Portlanders don't like the new system by then, I am open to considering changing it back.

And then, attracting much media attention, selling alcohol at food carts. The topic was all over the media. I led the Council on the issue. The City Council voted 4 to 1 to ask the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to create rules for how food carts might handle selling beer or wine. Commissioner Saltzman voted No, making this just the third time in three years that an issue I've put before Council has not passed unanimously.

This past week, I heard the OLCC may go ahead and issue the first license without rulemaking. My staff and I are continuing to dog this issue. Stay tuned.

Mid-January Update

On Thursday, January 12, 2012, both levels of the Council chambers were packed with supporters of two Resolutions. The first calls for a speedier end to the war in Afghanistan, which could return over $1.6 billion in taxes paid by Portlanders to uses within the United States. The second Resolution calls for ending some of the rights given to corporations by the Citizens United case in the U.S. Supreme Court. Denis in the Portland Mercury did his usual thorough and insightful coverage.

Also in Council session, I was delighted to participate in honoring Pat Wagner, a Linnton Community Center organizer. She was awarded the 2011 Lowenstein Trust Award recognizing her "significant, personal contribution to helping Portland's under-served populations." Pat is one of so many Portlanders making our City the wonderful place it is to live, and a consistent, persistent Amanda supporter.

I attended a neighborhood event in NE Portland, Here Comes the Sun at Umpqua Bank and Aviary, an Alberta Street restaurant. This was the launch of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods Solarize Northeast Portland II project, as well as a celebration of the Northeast Community in general. The format, with a socializing time at the bank followed by a multi-course sit-down dinner at a local focal point, was great. I would like to see it replicated in other coalitions and districts.

News - Holiday edition!

Special thanks to campaign volunteer Bill Michtom, who is helping compile my "earned media" records. "Earned media" is campaign language for press coverage about work being done, unlike information the campaign puts in the public realm, or paid advertising. I get a lot of earned media, in part because my office staff and I work really hard to get results for taxpayers every week, every month.

In an update to information printed last month, the Oregonian picked up my request to City Chief Financial Officer Rich Goward about the possibility of the City moving its money to local banks and credit unions. Rich said he will re-evaluate City practices once credit unions are allowed to accept large deposits in 2013. Read his memo (pdf), and my City blog post from November, to get a fuller view of the issue.

I noted on my home blog, my City site, and on Facebook, that December 17th was the 10th Anniversary of the start of the OHSU Nurses Strike. That date began 56 days that changed my life and turned me into Your Voice in City Hall -- the voice of reason, common sense, and working people sticking together for shared values.

December 12th was a very full day, one that is not unusual in spending more than 12 hours away from home. It started with 8 hours at the Oregon Business Plan convention at the Convention Center, where the CEO of Siltronic Corporation said in a panel presentation, talking about Water Bureau rates issues, "We have one champion on the City Council, Amanda Fritz". And he hadn't even seen me in the audience when he made that comment. Also delightful was that others came up to me with checks and/or words of encouragement for my re-election campaign.

After the convention sessions, I left the cocktail-hour schmoozing early to attend a p:ear fundraiser. P:ear is a great organization at NW 6th/Flanders, providing a safe haven, mentoring, workforce training, and art opportunities for teenagers living outside.

And that was followed by the Ashcreek Neighborhood Association -- an official visit as the Commissioner in charge of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) -- to talk about the upcoming City budget, Occupy Portland, the Superfund cleanup, and multiple other issues. Then, I dropped off more campaign donation envelopes at my treasurer's home before reaching mine a little before 10 p.m.

A first for me: I attended the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association meeting in December. Why a first, you ask? (Or maybe you didn't - Bill did.) It's because 80% of the 1500 homes in the ONI-recognized neighborhood are in Milwaukie rather than Portland, as is the NA meeting. So, while I campaigned in the neighborhood with sign-waving in 2008, and I have volunteered there in natural resource projects, I haven't visited the NA meeting officially before. But now I have. It was particularly good to talk with Milwaukie Councilor Dave Hedges, a fellow immigrant from Britain.

A favorite story to finish this entry:

A man I don't remember meeting before, walked up to me at a non-campaign event holding out a check and said, "I read in Willamette Week about how you're fundraising. I support what you're doing and how you're doing it. Here's my donation." How I'm doing it is limiting donations to $5 - $50. That means the money comes in slowly, but it comes from people who are committed to collaborative politics in Portland. That is the essence of the campaign we're conducting. Thank you for participating. If you haven't already donated $5 - $50, please visit the Contribute page before December 31, to qualify for the state political tax credit for 2011.

Happy Holidays!

News from the first two weeks in December

See news of my campaign and what I am doing as your City Commissioner and candidate for re-election, on my Facebook page. I try to post an update daily. You may also subscribe to receive notification of new posts on my City blog by clicking on the RSS link at the bottom of the page on that site.

From the mainstream media and blogs, the following appeared in the past couple of weeks:

Willamette Week reported in Murmurs and on their web site that I loaned my campaign another $25,000 this past week. True.

My husband and I are frugal, and we plan ahead. We knew when I won the election in 2008 that Public Campaign Financing might not be available for my re-election campaign. And we share the conviction that accepting large chunks of money from people who have financial interests in the City Council's votes doesn't fit with my vision and actions for politics-not-as-usual. So we've been setting aside part of my paycheck each payday in case it's needed to win re-election, figuring this too is taxpayer-funded campaign financing since taxpayers are paying me every two weeks. Note that our campaign contribution is a loan. If 3,000 Portlanders step up and donate $50, my campaign funding will be the same as in the Voter Owned Elections system, and my campaign will repay our loan. I am committed to this campaign -- are you? So far, more than 400 people have contributed, and dozens more donations are flowing in every week. Please make one of them yours. if you haven't given $5 or $50 or something in between already. You can receive the entire amount back as a credit if you claim it when filing your Oregon taxes, so again your donation is Public Campaign Financing.

In an interview on Blue Oregon, 2010 candidate Rudy Soto said I am "perhaps the only exception" to voters not having faith in candidates funded with public dollars. Faint praise, but thanks. The proponents of VOE chose to make the referral campaign in November 2010 about the principles of the system rather than individuals. I intend to add to my savings of taxpayers money in my second term, proving that individuals elected using public funds can make a real difference in Portland. So far, even the Oregonian in Politifact agrees my actions saved a total of $12 million in lowered water rates in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Far more than the entire Public Campaign Finance system cost over 6 years, and proof of why assessing the Water Bureau to pay its share of the VOE funding was worthwhile for water users.

Andy Giegerich at the Portland Business Journal reported on Human Rights Week events co-sponsored by the Portland Human Rights Commission, the Community programs of the Office of Equity and Human Rights, the City of Portland employee Equity Council, and other community partners.

The Eugene Register-Guard picked up the story on Responsible Banking, which I wrote about on my City blog here

The Portland Business Journal reported on the partnership between the Portland Police, Portand Bureau of Transportation, Elders in Action, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and PDX Downhill skateboarders to publicize the danger of vehicles on the sidewalks downtown. Writer Wendy Culverwell states, "It’s always illegal to bike, skateboard or roller skate on sidewalks in downtown Portland. It’s a sensible, if seldom enforced, rule for the state’s most crowded walkways." Sidewalk bicycling or skateboarding is illegal in the area of downtown bordered by Southwest Jefferson Street, Naito Parkway, Northwest Hoyt Street and 13th Avenue, and violators may receive a ticket costing over $100. I receive frequent complaints from pedestrians who feel threatened by bicycle riders and skateboarding on city sidewalks. The aim of the enforcement publicity this past week was education rather than issuing citations. I hope everyone is more careful about safety for all transportation modes downtown, and that pedestrians get to walk or use wheelchairs on the sidewalks without fear of crashes caused by cyclists and skateboarders riding illegally. Comments on Bike Portland show more posters accepting responsibility for sidewalk-riding cyclists' intimidation of pedestrians than a previous, similar discussion.

The Mid-county Memo published an article on the Spirit of Portland Awards, and the Parkrose Centennial celebration was covered on EastPDXNews.com. Joe Rossi and Amelia Salvador, leaders in Parkrose and champions of the Immigrant Statue project, are strong Amanda supporters.

And that's the News coverage of Commissioner Amanda Fritz for the first two weeks in December.

November News

I have been busy working at my paid job and campaigning all November, with significant results.

From the Portland Mercury: Two of the elected leaders most familiar with my work on the Portland City Council, fellow Commissioners Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman are endorsing me for re-election. Nick and Dan are the two who will be on the Council in 2013, and they both want to keep working with me. I greatly appreciate their support. Thanks to the Portland Mercury's Denis Theriault for his fine reportng.

Follow my Facebook page, too. By checking that and/or this site's Supporters page daily like I do, you would know that former Mayor Tom Potter has endorsed me, too. Thank you, Mayor Potter!

I was interviewed in Street Roots, drawing rave reviews from affordable housing advocates. The City Council affirmed and clarified the 30% set-aside of all Urban Renewal Area funding for affordable housing in a unanimous vote this month.

Willamette Week, the Oregonian, and the Portland Mercury all reported that my campaign's poll and a poll by others both showed I am leading my opponents by a wide margin. Our poll summary is posted here. The poll shows we are doing well, not that we have the race sewn up. I need your volunteer help and small monetary donations to make sure that the megabucks that will be spent against me will have less power than the voices and actions of the regular people of Portland.

Please go to my blog at my City web site to read about the City of Portland's bank use. I researched the information on the City's banking practices reported in the Oregonian and handed it to Mayor Adams during Todd Olson's Citizen Communications testimony. My staff and I are working with Todd and the Mayor's staff on a Responsible Banking Resolution, and with State Representative Jefferson Smith and his staff on greater use of local credit unions for City funds. See the Eugene Register-Guard -- my reputation for fiscally responsible political decision-making is spreading.

I posted 14 articles on my City blog in November. There are a lot of important happenings in Portland that I want citizens to know about. Please check out my City site - it is intended to make your City government more accessible and more useful to you.

And last, and actually yes least, my feet were featured in a national photo collection on Veterans Day, after I participated as usual in the Hollywood Veterans Day parade. See Photo # 44. In gratitude for all veterans' heroic service, I am more than happy to walk the parade route wearing red, white and blue, and heels.

KGW Interview on AFL-CIO Occupy Portland march

Here is the link to the entire video of my interview with KGW's Stephanie Strickland after the AFL-CIO march in solidarity with Occupy Portland on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. I marched with the banner and members of the Communications Workers of America, Local 7901, a valued union endorsing my campaigns in 2006, 2008, and 2012.

Busy News week

This Oregonian article on successes in catching graffiti vandals rightly credits two amazing Portland Police officers working on the epidemic. It doesn't mention I worked with Mayor Adams to secure funding for the second police officer position, or that we also added a second position for graffiti abatement in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement which has contributed to the greatly improved outcomes in the program. I will be bringing a report to Council on November 9, giving an update on what taxpayers are getting for the increased investment of funds. Normally I don't like linking to articles showing the tags, as it gives undesirable publicity to the vandals, but in this case the perpetrator has been convicted and given probation with a stiff jail sentence for re-offending. So if you see this tag again, please take a photograph and send it to Marcia Dennis.

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I was amused by two headlines covering the same event on Tuesday, when I talked with participants in the Occupy Portland protest.

KATU: "Fritz praises protesters but says camping isn't essential to cause"

Portland Tribune: "Fritz tells protesters they can stay in parks".

The KATU headline and report is more accurate. I posted additional more detailed comments here on my City site.

As KXL reports, I am currently in charge of emergencies, while the Mayor is in Asia on a trade mission. Let's keep it mellow, please, everyone.

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In other news, the Making a Difference Awards honoring champions in communities with disabilities was wonderful. I have participated in all three years of this celebration since bringing the foundation of the Portland Commission on Disability to Council in 2009, and I want to continue leading this work for another five years.

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And slowly but surely, working with community partners, neighbors are seeing improvements in the organization and behaviors of Last Thursday on Alberta - a monthly happening whose challenges started long before I took office. My staff and I are committed to continuing to work to make the events law abiding, financially self-sustaining, and enjoyed by both participants and neighbors.

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We are also dedicated to spending taxpayers' money wisely. See this article from the Oregonian Sports section (I know, how often does "Commissioner Amanda Fritz" show up in the Oregonian's sports section?) with an expert comment from one of my staff as we continue to pay attention to all sources of revenue and expenses. The Spectator Fund was drained to change PGE Park from baseball to soccer. Now it's done, my family like many others is enjoying the Timbers games, and my son Luke even flew to DC to see the game that could have helped them into the playoffs. But using about $12 million in public money to renovate the former Civic Stadium, again, was not fiscally responsible use of taxes.

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