City Club speeches, 10/19/12

Opening, three minutes:

Thank you, City Club, and every Portlander following this race. This is an historic election. For the first time ever, two progressive pro-choice women are competing in November for election to the Portland City Council. I ask voters to re-elect Amanda Fritz, so I can keep pushing on issues you care about. Basic services including public safety, paved streets and sidewalks, lower water rates and improved customer service. Spending taxpayers money wisely. Collaborating in City Hall, with other government partners, and with the people of Portland.

When I spoke here in the primary, I covered some of my achievements in the first three years of my first term. Today, I will focus on accomplishments since May, and my specific plans for Portland for the next four years.

Six months ago, there were questions about what the Office of Equity will accomplish. Today, the Office of Equity and Human Rights is already so successful, both Mayoral candidates have said it is so important they will keep it in their portfolio. It is focused on making sure everyone has opportunities for City jobs, contracts, and services. The Work Plan was accepted unanimously, with quarterly benchmarks to make sure progress is measurable and achieved. The Office of Equity and Human Rights has flourished because it has two champions on the Council, and the buy-in of the other Commissioners. I will continue to guide the equity work, in partnership with the new Mayor. We must continue to succeed in this crucial initiative.

Since the primary, the Portland Police union withdrew their grievances regarding the new 9-1-1 computer. It is working well, and providing front line providers, management and elected leaders with accurate information leading to accountability and better provision of services.

Portland has a high rate of suicide. Calls to 9-1-1 sometimes result in tragic officer-involved shootings. Last month, I set up a new partnership with Lines for Life, a non-profit staffed by mental health professionals and highly trained volunteers. Anyone feeling suicidal, or those concerned about someone feeling suicidal, please call 503-97-23456. That's 503-97-23456, to talk with a counselor.

Last month, the United States Department of Justice released findings that the Portland Police Bureau's use of deadly force with people experiencing mental illnesses is unconstitutional. I was a Registered Nurse working in psychiatry at OHSU for 22 years before winning election. Because our state's mental health care system is severely underfunded, Portland police and fire fighters are often first responders to people in mental health crisis in the community. Starting in 2010, I worked with a broad range of top leaders in to identify root causes and potential solutions to reduce police interactions with people experiencing mental illnesses. So when the Department of Justice demanded changes, I was ready. The final order is due Monday. Then the hard work of implementation to achieve changed outcomes begins. No other Portland elected official has my skills and experience. Please vote to keep this retired mental health nurse on the Council for the next four years.

Closing, two minutes:

Earlier this week, Willamette Week announced they switched their endorsement since the primary, giving me their support. Nurses are not known for bragging about how great we are, and that aspect of being a politician is still challenging for me. So I will read from the endorsement:

"Fritz has proven to be a true citizen’s representative on a Council buffeted by conflicting agendas. She remains an important, independent voice, unafraid to challenge the status quo.....Her penny-pinching appears more admirable as Portland’s budget gets closer to being swallowed by urban renewal areas and fire and police pensions......she’s taken a firm stand alongside Adams to draw the line on the police bureau and joined Commissioner Dan Saltzman in scrutinizing the fire bureau."

I was hoping for a positive campaign, with focus on specific plans for Portland. I believe Portlanders deserve better than the mudslinging and innuendo that is damaging public confidence in government at the state and national levels, and you deserve specific plans as well as general values statements. Please visit Amanda2012.com to read many specifics on what I've accomplished and what I will do for Portlanders.

In my second term, I will establish a 3-1-1 system to provide better customer service to Portlanders. Last month, Council voted unanimously to move forward with this project under my leadership.

I will reduce Water Bureau rate increases. I will continue to seek relief from the state and federal governments to delay expensive projects until after the Environmental Protection Agency revises its rules.

I will press the Legislature to provide adequate school funding, a problem state legislators have failed to solve over the past 10+ years.

I will keep using common sense and exercising fiscal responsibility. I am endorsed by the Portland Association of Teachers and many other fine groups and individuals. Please visit Amanda2012.com to read more. I have limited campaign contributions with no money accepted from corporations or Political Action Committees, Portlanders can continue to trust the Commissioner you elected in 2008 with public campaign financing.

I remember every day that I work for you, the taxpayers, ratepayers and voters of Portland. Please vote for a second term for Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

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