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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Water District Campaign's New Video Doesn't Even Mention Its Favorite Target

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Since launching last summer, a campaign to snatch Portland's water and sewer systems away from city council has largely targeted Commissioner Nick Fish.

Fish assumed control of the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services not long before that effort—Portlanders for Water Reform—went to work. He's since been painted as an "East Coast carpetbagger" complicit in increases in utility rates that the campaign argues are astronomic and unnecessary.

But the commissioner isn't the only focal point any longer. As the Mercury first reported, it's not Fish who'll helm the opposition to the water campaign. It's Mayor Charlie Hales.

And the water district campaign's first web video—sent along today by Kent Craford, one of the people leading the effort— doesn't even mention Fish. It features plenty of the mayor, though. Mainly, the campaign criticizes Hales for increasing water and sewer bills, when as a candidate he advocated flat rates. Here's the video:

"It was purposeful," Craford says of the attack on Hales. "We want voters to know that the mayor broke his promise, which was a promise he made in his campaign to lower water and sewer rates."

Fish recently spoke to that issue, telling Willamette Week: "Charlie Hales the candidate talked about lowering rates. Charlie Hales the mayor, when he got the utilities and ran them for five months, learned that you can’t do so without doing violence to the system."

So has the water campaign moved on from Fish? Craford laughed at the notion.

"Oh no," he said. "Oh heavens no."

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