Jesse Cornett has filed his candidacy for Dan Saltzman's council seat. Currently the assistant to the president at Portland State University, Cornett is leaving to focus full time on his election campaign.
"I've been looking at this thinking what's the right thing for my community," he says. "I think the Commissioner's accomplishments are few in number and it's time for someone else. I don't think anyone else in the race could walk in and provide something different from what's at city hall, right now, and be effective from day one."
"I'm an average Portlander in many ways," he continues. "In that I'm frustrated by many of the things coming out of city hall right now. Our city is in the middle of the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes and we should be talking about creating jobs, and not just beer vendor jobs for the people working in the new baseball stadium. We should be talking about economic development and jobs, not just Major League Soccer."
"We also need to talk more about accountability in the police department," he continues. "And my views on that are pretty simple. There is none, and there should be some. There are zero other public employees, ever, who have had so little accountability. We need a civilian review board that can compel testimony and punish."
Cornett was a friend of Raymond Gwerder, a suicidal man shot in the back by a police sniper in 2005. He preferred to talk about police accountability in a broader sense on the phone just now, however.
"Let's talk about Officer Joseph Wild—a 28 year old officer who plied and had sex with women while in his police uniform, and was allowed to resign. I want a city hall that says you do not do that, you are fired. He's in jail, but he was allowed to resign. Unacceptable."
Cornett plans to seek public campaign financing in the race. "For me, public financing is a key issue. Americans have no faith in their government because they think corporations and lobbyists have all the say in the halls of government. The only way to change that, so that voters have a say, is to use public financing."
Cornett's filing makes the fifth person vying for Saltzman's seat. Jason Renaud, Ed Garren, Spencer Burton, and Mary Volm have all announced their candidacy over the past month.
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