Read all about it in the Salem newspaper, Salem Weekly, that prints what you won't read in the Statesman Journal.
In this case, facts and opinion about how the Salem Chamber of Commerce and other special interest PACs (political action committees) are spending big money on City Council races that should be all about the public interest.
Facts, in a Special Interests Dominate Salem City Campaigns story.
Four weeks before ballots will be mailed, notable disparities can be seen between funding amounts and sources for Salem city council candidates. The totals suggest lopsided special interest funding.
Voters concerned about the influence of special interest money have other options. Alternative candidates are running for each of these seats on May 20th.
ORESTAR, the Secretary of State’s system for tracking Oregon election contributions, shows that as of the last day of March, three candidates have already received the bulk of their contributions from the Home Builders Association of Polk and Marion County PAC, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Create Jobs PAC and the Salem Association of Realtor’s PAC and their members.
These sources account for more than 96% of the financing for candidates Steve McCoid in Ward 4, Daniel Benjamin in Ward 6 and Jim Lewis in Ward 8.
Phil Krug left a comment on the story. Thanks for doing this, Phil.
Stay informed… I have put together a simple web site that will allow you to track all funding amounts and sources for Salem city council candidates. This site contains all the ORESTAR links for each Salem city council candidate and any candidate web site links. Please visit http://oregoncandidates.com/
Opinion, in my Strange Up Salem column, "Chamber of Commerce Out to Buy Elections."
Recently I heard that when a Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce member was asked if the organization got involved in election endorsements, the answer was “Are you kidding? This is a small place. We all work together.”
I wish the Salem Chamber had that attitude. But instead of broadly representing this area’s business community, it acts like a narrow special interest group.
Here’s the primary thing the Chamber says it cares about: “Will this measure/candidate support or hinder the ability of private sector employers to grow their businesses and create jobs?”
Nothing about quality of life, fiscal responsibility, parks and recreation, good schools, community involvement, open government, a vibrant downtown, and other issues that are vitally important to Salem citizens.
So remember this when you see a City Council candidate has gotten big bucks from the Salem Chamber of Commerce.
Do you want to be represented by someone beholden to the Chamber’s Create Jobs PAC, or someone independently minded who cares about the entire community?
Here's more disturbing information that someone sent me about intimate connections between the Chamber's Create Jobs PAC and three City Council candidates.
It's a small world in Salem: the Treasurer of the Create Jobs PAC just happens to be the treasurer and consultant for Steve McCoid, Daniel Benjamin, and Jim Lewis.