I sat down with April Baer to talk about Portland and art.
I sat down with April Baer to talk about Portland and art.
As Election Day gets closer and the public forums and debates come to an end, I have been knocking on doors and introducing myself all over Portland. I’ve been to almost every neighborhood with just a few more to go. Along the way I’ve answered a lot of questions about my platform, but more importantly I’ve asked a lot of you to tell me what is important to you and your family.
I’ve met incredible people in every neighborhood. Through the stories they’ve told me, I have learned so much about the issues from the human side. I’ve talked to a dad who is trying to keep his son with a mental disability safe, a person who donated her old RV to a woman for shelter, and several formerly homeless people about what programs helped them get off the streets. I learned about zoning issues from several neighborhood associations, parking problems from drivers, bike infrastructure issues from avid cyclists, and permit nightmares from small business owners who are trying to grow their companies and add jobs to our economy.
In many ways this is the best part of the campaign so far. While I hope that the people I’ve met will trust me with their votes, I know that the information I’ve gathered will make me better at the job of leading our city. I’m looking forward to Election Day, and I’m excited to get started solving the challenges facing Portland with the help of the people I’ve met.
“During the fight against the Street Fee, we fought City Hall on behalf of small businesses and low income residents and we won. I want to be the voice of all the people of Portland on the issues that matter to them most, and make sure that their voices are heard. But the simple answer to why I’m running? I love Portland and want to help keep it the best place to live in the world.”
It was her fight against an unfair and poorly applied tax that led Ann Sanderson to the Portland political arena in the first place. Her candidacy for Portland City Council finds her still leading the fight to find the right way to fix Portland’s streets.
Sanderson first came into the public eye in 2014 when she led a community group against a street tax proposed by Commissioner Steve Novick and Mayor Charlie Hales. The group was a coalition of people from very different political backgrounds; some who were against all taxes, some who were against the City’s fiscal mismanagement, and some who believed that it was the particulars of the street fee that made it so devastating.
(Introduced in May 2014, the proposal was changed by Novick and Hales no less than 5 times under broad community pressure. After saying they’d give Portlanders the chance to pick a proposal at the ballot box, the proposed measure was pulled, now seemingly for good. The city backtracked, hoping to eventually pull money from a state transportation package, one that now won’t be addressed in Salem until sometime in 2017.)
Instead, Portland voters will go to the polls in May to decide on a 10-cent per gallon gas tax. While this proposal marks progress, Sanderson still has significant reservations.
“It’s true that the gas tax has a lot of the criteria that I started proposing early on in the Street Fee fight. The administrative costs are low, it has a sunset, and it’s being presented to the voters to decide. On those grounds, while I don’t support the tax I am not opposed to it because the voters will ultimately get to decide for themselves,” she said.
“But where is all the money that we are already giving them going? Why isn’t there more emphasis on paving, if that’s what is causing the increasing backlog? Why not include diesel trucks and buses that cause the most damage? How can we trust them with this money, based on their track record?”
In fact, it’s the exclusion of residential and commercial diesel vehicles from the proposed tax that has spurred cries of favoritism from those opposed to the measure. By some estimates, just taxing residential diesel vehicles could mean about $6 million more for street repair over the 4-year life of the tax. Adding commercial vehicles could produce even more revenue.
Sanderson says her position is more nuanced than the media portrays.
“While I don’t support the tax, I am not opposed to it, because the voters will ultimately get to decide for themselves. At this point, I feel my best service to the people of Portland is to get elected to ensure that we don’t find ourselves in this kind of crisis over funding basic services again.”
(SE Portland) — A lively group of voters got their first taste of Ann Sanderson’s ideas for change at City Hall, in a candidates’ forum hosted Thursday night by the Buckman Community Association.
Hot-button topics like homelessness, housing density, and transportation dominated the questions submitted by the audience. Sanderson, who first came into the public eye when she lead the fight against the council’s Street Fee last year, offered some positive and considered ideas about the city’s direction. While other candidates, including incumbent Amanda Fritz, were content to take a party line on subjects like Uber, AirBNB and the sharing economy in general, Sanderson encouraged taking the long-term view and seeing these industries as part of inevitable progress.
“You can’t stop progress. It never works to try,” adding that you can understand what the future is bringing and craft the best possible laws to encourage good growth and protect citizens.
She also added that as opposed to wasting taxpayer time on new laws, council should concentrate on enforcing the ones they’d already passed, citing AirBNB by name. After extended wrangling that ended up legalizing these short-term rentals, the city has been taken to task by residents for not enforcing the required permitting.
To the question of the the city’s growing transportation issues, Fritz appeared to lean on a record of small incremental accomplishments, while Sanderson took a more aggressive future focused approach, trying to find common ground for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
“It’s fine to say we’re going to all take public transportation everywhere, but if you live in certain parts of town, and you have kids, and you’re shuttling them where they need to go, and you’re juggling four bags of groceries and two kids in the rain, the bus just isn’t going to work.”