Get the F#*k Out and Vote!

Vote, already! Today is May 18, 2004, the day ballots are due.This means you have 8: p.m. to drop off your ballot at any of theconvenient locations listed on the Multnomah County ElectionsDivision Web site at

These are also the places you want to go if you lost yourballot, never received it, or need to change your address. Ifyou’re not yet registered, you won’t be able to vote today, but goanyway and GET registered so you can vote in November. Like thepopular bumper sticker says: “Vote in ’04. It may be your lastchance.”

This ballot is especially important in a couple of differentrespects. Depending on your party affiliation, you may have theopportunity to vote in the democratic primaries. Although Kerryseems to be a shoe-in, there’s a possibility that Kucinich couldhave an upset in Oregon.

You’ll also be voting for Multnomah County Commissionerpositions, Metro Council positions, a couple of different measuresand, most importantly, you need to vote in the Portland mayoralprimary. With between 10-15 candidates, who range from laughable(think Extremo the Clown) to frightening (think Jim Francesconi,first candidate in Portland history to raise $1 million), the taskof choosing one may seem daunting. That’s where I come in.

I consider myself to be a political person, hence the endlesspolitical opinions in this column. That’s why, this spring, Idecided to get involved in a campaign. After narrowing down thecandidates to what seem to be the top three, Tom Potter, JimFrancesconi and Phil Busse, I checked out the platforms for eachand decided on Busse.

I thought Phil seemed to be the best choice for a few reasons.First of all, his plan for the city is the most comprehensive ofall the candidates. His campaign is community focused and grassroots based. Phil has been campaigning tirelessly, trying to engagecitizens around town.

This position stands in stark contrast to Jim Francesconi’s.When it comes to money and shady business alliances, Francesconi isthe catchword. Never before has a Portland mayoral candidate raisedthis much money for his campaign. The integrity of some ofFrancesconi’s contributions has been questioned and there is aninvestigation in progress.

Whether or not there was any wrongdoing, the question for thiscandidate is really: will he answer to the people or will he answerto big business in Portland? I think the answer is obvious,especially in light of last year’s fiasco regarding Portland’santi-war resolution.

Last year, Francesconi led the defeat of an anti-war resolutionin Portland. A memo was leaked to local rag Portland Mercury inwhich the Portland Business Alliance urged Francesconi to voteagainst the resolution. When confronted, Francesconi denied thathis decision was influenced by the PBA. Instead, he said he hadmade up his mind months before the vote, before having received thememo. Also, before having received any of the public testimonyoverwhelmingly in support of the resolution.

A vote for Francesconi is a vote to take power from the peopleand put it in the hands of big business more than it alreadyis.

So now you know: today is the day. I think you should vote forPhil, but make your own damn decisions. At least don’t vote forFrancesconi. The important thing is to actually make thosedecisions. This is your life, your state, your country, so vote,fucker!

Michelle Howa is the PSU coordinator for the Phil Busse Mefor Mayor Campaign.