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Sources Say: Corporations wet beaks in water district campaign

The coalition against the proposed Portland Public Water District on the May 20 primary election ballot keeps growing.

New contributions to the campaign against Measure 26-156 include $10,000 from PacifiCorp and $5,000 each from real estate investor Albert Solheim and the Professional & Technical Employees Local 17 union, which represents workers in the water and sewer bureaus. They join contributors from environmental organizations and other public employees unions trying to stop the creation of an independently elected utility district. The Stop the Bull Run Takeover political action committee has raised more than $51,000 in cash and in-kind contributions so far.

In the meantime, measure supporters are reporting a $12,000 contribution to the Portlanders for Water Reform Committee. That’s how much the group has raised so far. The contribution was transferred from the committee formed to put the measure on the ballot, which spent around $190,000 on that effort. Major contributors to that effort included such large corporate water users as Siltronic Corp., American Property Management, Portland Bottling Co. and the Hilton Hotel chain.

More voters choosing not to pick a party

A disillusioned former Democrat has started a website for nonaffiliated voters to share information with one another. Non-Affilated Oregon launched on April 5 with a quote from consumer activist Ralph Nader labeling the Democrat and Republican parties “two sides of the same coin.”

Jeffrey Rempfer says he was a loyal Democrat until Bill Clinton was elected president, at which time he began questioning his party’s commitment to the middle class and became a nonaffiliated voter, which means he doesn’t belong to a minor political party. Now, with nonaffiliated voters reaching the 30 percent mark in Oregon, Rempfer says it’s time for them to get organized and increase their political influence.

“This is just an effort to provide a forum for nonaffiliated voters to exchange ideas and information. A lot of nonaffiliated voters don’t know they’re not alone,” Rempfer says.

Rempfer says he is not advocating any particular plan to increase the clout of nonaffilated voter, although he supports an initiative filed by Eugene businessman Mark Frohnmayer to create a fully open primary election system in Oregon.

The site can be found at www.nonaffiliatedoregon.com

Medicaid signups a success for Cover Oregon

Despite the ongoing problems with its website, Cover Oregon is doing one thing very well — signing up people for Medicaid coverage.

Even though no one can register online yet, Oregon leads the nation in the percentage of additional residents signing up for Medicaid under the expanded eligibility limits in the Affordable Care Act, commonly called ObamaCare. According to a story in the April 5 issue of The New York Times, Medicaid enrollment is up 35 percent since the law took effect.

Only two other states are even close, West Virginia at 34 percent and Vermont at 32 percent. All other states are below 24 percent, and many are in the single digits.

Of course there’s no telling how high the increase would have been if the website worked as promised. State officials still are deciding whether to keep working on it, switch to the federal website, buy one from another state, or try some combination.