Conservatives lambaste politicians at ‘Taxpayer Awards’ fete

See who was roasted and who was toasted, at the 3rd Annual “Taxpayer Academy Awards” program held in outer East Portland

Comedian Mike Jenkins was the sidekick this year for KPAM’s Victoria Taft as they presented the 3rd Annual “Taxpayer Academy Awards” program at the Portland Airport Sheraton Hotel.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Members and guests of the politically conservative, “less-government-is-better”, Oregon Executive Club are anything by stodgy.

On January 11, the club convened at the Portland Airport Sheraton Hotel for an evening of raucous fun, as they hosted their third annual “Taxpayer Academy Awards” program.

Don McIntire, president of the Oregon Executive Club, or “Chowder and Marching Society” as he calls it, introduces the evening’s program and presenters.

‘Awards’ based on research
The event’s sponsors, Oregon Executive Club and Taxpayer Association of Oregon, sent ballots out to 6,000 people. Respondents were asked to nominate candidates for awards such as Wiener Politician, Pork Barrel Project, and Bureaucratic Bungler.

Victoria Taft was on hand to MC the show, which was also broadcast, live, during her KPAM talk program. “We give out awards to those most deserving ‚Äì the biggest bungling politicians and decisions of the year,” Taft began.

“Look around,” Taft quipped, “Core members of the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ are here. There is a reason that Don McIntire’s phone number starts with ‘666’, people say.”

The onion-skin envelope please
Wiener Politician Award Winner went to [Oregon’s school] Superintendent Susan Castillo.
“With two days before school started, Castillo threatened to yank the funds for the approved charter school, the Oregon Connections Academy. This sent over 500 students and parents into chaos. Thanks to huge public support for the school and public pressure Castillo changed her mind.

Pork Barrel Project Winner was–hands down, we were told–Portland’s Ariel Tram.
“Lack of oversight caused costs to triple from $15 million to an astonishing $55 million.”

During a commercial break, 2006 Portland City Council candidate Dave Lister talked about his election try. He took jabs at Portland’s politicos and decisions. Judging by the response of his receptive audience, Lister landed several sound, comedic blows.

Bureaucratic Bungler Winner was the “Learn Less, Score High” Test.
“The federal government has faulted Oregon’s Dept. of Education for setting 3rd, 4th & 5th grade tests too low, which artificially raises Oregon’s test scores. Thousands of kids who passed [these tests] may not have passed after all.”

Golden Schnoz Award Winner was bestowed on Portland Why-Fi?
“Portland is getting into the private Wi-Fi broadband business by using as much as $16 million of taxpayers’ dollars to make a deal with a private company to provide free Wi-Fi service to the entire city.”

Victoria Taft gives a big build up to the next award winner.

Bouquet presentations
Not all of the group’s awards were sarcastic. The group also gave out these honors:

Government Innovation Award Winner: Oregon Connections Academy
“This on-line virtual public charter school doubled enrollment in a single year, has successful test scores, and accomplished it at only 50% the cost of a standard Oregon public school.”

Finally, their Thomas Jefferson Award winners were Oregonians In Action activists Ross Day, Dave Hunnicutt, and Bill Moshofsky. “In a year when 80% of the state ballot measures failed, these guys successfully passed Measure 39 which protects landowners from unjust condemnations.”

Presidential Straw Poll Results
Among those surveyed, whom was the candidate of choice? The group’s Straw Poll picked former Speaker Newt Gingrich; he got  28% of the vote.

Former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani pulled 22%; Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney came in third place with 14%.

Who was at the bottom? Tied for last place were Illinois Senator Barack Obama and New York State Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, each pulling just 3% of the straw vote.

¬© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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