Politically progressive petitioner pitches Adams recall drive at conservative dinner party

Not often does a self-professed liberal get a warm reception at the Oregon Executive Club. Learn how his presentation went over – and find out who won, ironically, a “Sam Adams Alliance” award, right here …

Jasun Wurster tells members of the Oregon Executive Club why he’s leading the recall effort against Portland Mayor Sam Adams.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Don McIntire – the provisional president of the politically conservative, “less-government-is-better” Oregon Executive Club – introduced the main speaker at their July 1 meeting, held at the Shilo Inn Airport, with a question: “Why would a politically progressive person come into a ‘den of conservative thinkers’ to pitch his message?”

McIntire answered his question, “He’s talking about recalling Portland Mayor Sam Adams.”

It was clear than Jasun Wurster truly is an avid advocate of bicycle transportation. Even as he walked up to stage, his right pant leg was still rolled up to just under his knee.

“I am a progressive liberal,” Wurster unashamedly admitted. “I’m also the volunteer spokesman for the Committee to recall Sam Adams.”

A gift to the City
Giving some background, Wurster said he was in the military, and attended Portland State University on using his Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits to get a political science degree with a minor in communications.

“At first I was politically apathetic [about the mayoral election] and checked out. But the woman who had registered ‘RecallSamAdams.com’ asked for help. I realized that I could make this a positive campaign; and focus it on Adams’ ethical and civic transgressions against the citizens of Portland. It’s kind of my gift to the city.”

Speaking among minorities
Wurster noted that, as avid bicyclist and environmentalist, he is a minority in Portland’s population. “Republicans make up about 18% of Portland’s voters; they are a minority – a political minority – as well.

“Our campaign is nonpartisan, nonreligious and volunteer grassroots-oriented. We have a lot to do to get the 50,000 signatures in 90 days,” Wurster told the group of 100 guests.

In addition to removing Mayor Adams from office, Wurster says the campaign will bring people with diverse ideologies together to build a stronger city government.

Petitioner presents his case
“Sam Adams no longer represents us,” Wurster continued. “He no longer has the public trust or the political capital to represent Portland. He is not a leader who can bring everyone together and move issues ahead. Our city is divided.

“This recall is about working together, setting aside their differences, and building what’s called social capital. Many of us agree that Sam Adams can be removed from office. In doing that, we’ll build a bridge among one another that is not based on political ideologies, but based on making our government better.”

Outlines grievances
The work-shirt wearing spokesman continued, “This is about democracy. We did not have viable candidates presenting a marketplace of ideas. We need all ideas, not just progressive or Democrat party ideas. We need Republican, Libertarian and Green ideas – a marketplace of ideas where people can debate the merits of those ideas, and collaboratively come up with a solution.

“We need all ideas, not just progressive or Democrat party ideas. We need Republican, Libertarian and Green ideas – a marketplace of ideas where people can debate the merits of those ideas, and collaboratively come up with good solutions.

“Sam Adams stole from us by willfully lying to us to get elected, orchestrating an elaborate cover it, and abusing his power. It just wasn’t a little lie that Sam Adams told. There was a deliberate cover-up. And it led to voter suppression, essentially.

“Adams is saying he’s sorry. That’s not healing our city.”

If volunteer signature gatherers work diligently, Wurster says their “positive campaign” can collect the necessary signatures within the three month time period.

Vows a ‘positive campaign’
Negative campaigning doesn’t work, Wurster posited, but a positive campaign can be effective. “Negative campaigning causes people to become politically apathetic and check out.”

Even Wurster said their goal is to collect 50,000 signatures in 90 days, they’re not using paid signature gatherers.

“We don’t have the money,” Wurster stated. “Business people are not stepping up; people are afraid of Adams. It’s a combination of political apathy and fear that is keeping him in office. That’s not democracy, that’s totalitarian leadership. That’s why we are starting this recall to remove him.”

They are hoping to raise about $35,000 for their campaign, Wurster commented. “We need donations to keep us going. More importantly, we need people to be involved. One reason our government is the way it is, is that people feel they do not have the power or the voice to change our government. This is the civic participation component that a lot of people don’t like about this recall campaign.”

Wurster takes his message to the street. We saw him going door-to-door along SE 135th Avenue after we covered an event at David Douglas High School.

Questions and answers
A visitor from Salem, Oregon asked – a perhaps tongue-in-cheek, “Why are you trying to recall a really good beer?”

Asked about the possibility of requesting funds from the voter owned election process, Wurster said it does not apply to recall elections.

An audience member looked it up and announced, “Public funding for the election to recall: Article 2, Section 18, Subsection 8 of the Oregon Constitution states about recalls: ‘Including provision of payment by the public treasury of the reasonable special election campaign expenses of such officers subject to recall’. This appears to authorize public funding of the campaign expenses of Sam Adams in a recall election.”

What are Wursters plans for the future? “I only plan one campaign at a time,” he replied.

Find out more by visiting the website: http://www.citizenrecall.org/joomla.

Bendl accepts ‘Golden Sammie Award’

Ruth Bendl recounts the story of being awarded a “Golden Sammie” by the Sam Adams Alliance at the July 1 meeting.

Also at the meeting, long time conservative sparkplug, Ruth Bendl, told about her trip to Chicago, Illinois, to receive the “Voter Watchdog Golden Sammie Award” presented by ironically-named national organization, the Sam Adams Alliance on April 18.

When giving her the award, the presenter said, “Ruth Bendl of Portland, Oregon, won the award and the $2,500 prize, for her work in monitoring the 2008 election. In her efforts, she identified 44 deceased Oregonian voters. She has been instrumental in getting the Vote-By-Mail state to enact new rules about how ballots are transported and counted.”

The Oregon Executive Club meets the first Wednesday of each month (except in August) at the Shilo Inn Airport on NE Airport Way.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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