Election ’08

The Portland City Council is in for a big shake up this year, with two of four council seats and the mayor’s seat open. And just for fun, Randy Leonard is up for reelection. You can find all the official candidate information on the City of Portland’s Web site. If you aren’t already registered to vote, you can do it by mail. Don’t delay; your registration must be received 21 days before the May 20 election.

In order to help school activists make informed choices, PPS Equity has sent the following questions out to all our esteemed candidates. Their responses will be linked from here as they come back.

The Candidates

Candidates’ names will be linked to their answers as they come in. If a candidate’s name is not a link, that indicates that they have not responded.

Editor’s note: While I initially considered making PPS Equity endorsements, I’ve decided against that. There are many issues at play, and I want this site to stay focused on school equity.


  • Sam Adams
  • Kyle Burris
  • Sho Dozono
  • Craig Gier
  • Lew Humble
  • James B. Lee
  • Beryl McNair
  • Christopher Rich
  • Jeff Taylor

City Commissioner #1

City Commissioner #2

City Commissioner #4

The Questions

  1. When was the last time you visited a public school in Portland? What was the purpose of your visit?
  2. Do you have any children or other relatives enrolled in Portland Public Schools?
  3. Did you attend Portland Public Schools?
  4. City Auditor Gary Blackmer and Multnomah County Auditor Suzanne Flynn released a joint audit report in June of 2006 which found that Portland Public Schools’ student transfer policy contributes to racial and socio-economic segregation and conflicts with other district goals such as strong neighborhood schools and investing in poorly performing schools. The report requested that the school board clarify the of the purpose of the transfer policy, but nearly two years later, they have not. If elected, will you do anything to hold the school district accountable to this audit?
  5. Portland Public Schools’ student transfer policy divests over $40 million annually from our poorest neighborhoods, leaving our most economically vulnerable citizens with gutted educational programs and a disproportionate number of school closures. This puts PPS policy at odds with city policy of strong, livable neighborhoods, with affordable housing near strong schools. If elected, how will you work with the PPS Board of Education to ensure their policies do not work at cross purposes with city policies?
  6. School closures and school facility decisions heavily affect the livability of the city. What is the role of the city council in influencing these decisions?
  7. If PPS puts forth a facilities bond of around a billion dollars, what will be your position on this election?
  8. What is the specific role of the City Council in helping children in the lower income neighborhoods of Portland?
  9. State funding of education in Portland continues to lag behind pre-Measure 5 levels. Would you support permanent city supplementary funding, or some kind of local option tax, to bring Portland school funding back to pre-Measure 5 levels?
  10. Do you have any other thoughts on the roll of city government in the governance of our public schools?