Four candidates pitch for Mayor’s job, in Gateway

Hosting their last “Candidate’s Forum” before the May Primary Election – read this and learn more about these folks who yearn to be our next Mayor …

As GABA president Alan Sanchez starts the meeting, the room fills quickly with those who want to meet the individuals, one of whom is most likely to become Portland’s next Mayor.

Story by Watford Reed; photos by David F. Ashton
The four candidates for Portland Mayor said each could do the job better than the current one, but agreed on little else in speeches before 60 members of the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) on April 10.

Although all mayoral candidates were invited to attend, four of them came to woo outer East Portland voters. The candidates gave their opening statements in the alphabetical order of their last names.

City of Portland mayoral candidate Sam Adams.

Commissioner Sam Adams said Portland’s “greatness” is not accessible to everyone in the city.

“I’m running to shake up the office of Mayor,” Adams declared.

He said 43% of all eighth-graders in Portland fail to graduate from high school and 21% of employees across the city earn “poverty wages”.

On the other hand, he said, he has won more money for Portland Street safety and has lowered business license fees for 9,000 small businesses.

He also warned, “We are not ready” for the 300,000 more residents expected to move into the city in the next few years.  He promised to “keep working for small businesses” if he is elected and will strive for “fair taxes”.  Some businesses in the city grossed more than $20 million a year, but pay no more in taxes than small firms, he charged.

City of Portland mayoral candidate Sho Dozono.

Sho Dozono, owner of a large Portland travel agency, told the listeners, “In the last 50 years, we have not elected a business person [as Mayor]” and “nobody on the [Portland City] Council now has ever had to meet a payroll”.

He called for better economic conditions and more accountability in city government.

Dozono said he has helped bring airlines and Asian companies to the city, and observed, “We need to recruit others”.

He said the city needs to be “competitive in the global economy”, and at the same time, keep middle-class housing – which he says is being squeezed out by apartment buildings. High among his interests, he listed our natural resources, education, and the global economy. He recommended bringing high-technology industry to the area.

City of Portland mayoral candidate Beryl McNair.

Beryl McNair said the “economy is sad” in northeastern and southeastern Portland.

She called for job fairs, workshops, more attention to education, and food for the hungry. She also urged integration across ethnic lines, and said the needs of all of Portland’s communities should be met.

City of Portland mayoral candidate Jeff Taylor.

Jeff Taylor said Portland “is not the city I grew up in, and not what it should be”.

He promised that if he is elected he will eliminate the business tax, will not raise the water bills, will hire more police, and set up an office to help small businesses.

Taylor said he has been a small businessman for 25 years and he would not seek new businesses for Portland – “I will help businesses that are already here”. He would like to see one worker added to the staff of every business already operating in Portland.

His proposal to end the business tax altogether drew fire from Adams – who said he has won lower taxes on small businesses. Adams said eliminating the tax altogether would wreak havoc with the city budget.

In keeping with GABA tradition, Sanchez presents a rubber chicken to Deena Jensen, who is with Evergreen Home Loans, in recognition for her efforts on behalf of the organization.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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