Community Forum: What to Look for in Portland Candidates (1/19)

Portland voters deserve to know whether mayoral and city council candidates have the skills, temperament, and wisdom to serve our community effectively if we elect them.

Join other Portlanders for a unique community forum in which community members will share their experiences working with city council members and use this information to identify the skills and abilities we want and need in our elected city leaders.

A wide range of community and neighborhood organizations have joined together to sponsor this forum. The forum co-sponsors will use the input from the forum to develop a list of desired skills and sample questions community organizations and individual voters can use to help them evaluate mayoral and city council candidates.

Bring your experiences and ideas, and join us on:

DATE: Thursday, January 19, 2012
TIME: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
PLACE: St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, Carvlin Hall
2408 SE 16th & Division
Parking available
Transit: On the #4 Bus Line

Forum co-sponsor organizations:
• Center for Intercultural Organizing
• Coalition for a Livable Future
• East Portland Neighborhood Office
• Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization
• Latino Network
• Native American Youth and Family Center
• Neighbors West-Northwest
• North Portland Neighborhood Services
• Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods
• League of Women Voters of Portland
• Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition
• Urban League of Portland

For more information:
• Mary McWilliams, president, League of Women Voters of Portland 503-228-1675, info@lwvpdx.org
• Anne Dufay, executive director, Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition 503-232-0010, Ext 311; anne@southeastuplift.org

Background

Right now, Portlanders are at a real disadvantage. Much of the information they get about candidates is what the candidates tell us about themselves and their opponents. Not everyone who runs for office has the skills and ability to do a good job—especially in Portland’s unusual “commission form of government.” Voters often have little knowledge whether candidates would be effective if elected. It’s time for Portlanders to take back some control of our local election process!

Rather than a marketing and branding exercise, our elections need to be more of a good job hiring process—with voters serving as an informed hiring committee. To meaningfully evaluate candidates, voters need to know the skills and abilities that are crucial to success in the job!

Many community members have worked with and observed different mayors and city council members over the years. We have a wealth of knowledge and experiences of what it takes for our leaders to serve the needs of our community—who’s done a good job, who hasn’t, and why.

Who Should Attend?

This forum is open to all community members. The forum particularly will be of interest to community members and activists who have experience interacting with Portland mayors and city council members. Relevant experiences include: contacting city commissioners for help solving community problems, working with city commissioners and their staff members on policy issues and projects, advocating for issues with the city council, testifying at city council hearings, etc.

Skills vs. Policy Positions

This forum will focus particularly on identifying the skills, abilities, and temperament needed to effectively serve the community as a mayor or city council member rather than discussing particular policy issues, such as police, education, transportation, environment, housing, etc.

This forum is non-partisan and is not connected with any candidate or campaign. Its goal is to give community members have a greater voice in the election process and to improve the overall quality of leadership and governance in Portland.

Examples of Skills and Abilities

Examples of the types of skills and abilities that might come up at the forum, include:

• Strong value for and skill at working in partnership with the community
• Ability to grasp and understand important policy issues.
• Cultural competency and the ability to work with diverse communities.
• Ability to hire strong staff members with good policy development and community involvement skills.
• Willingness and ability to ask tough policy questions
• Etc.

Outcome and Next Steps

The forum planning committee will collect input from the forum and produce a report that will describe important skills and abilities and offer sample questions individuals and organizations can use to explore candidates qualifications for the job.

About Lewis

NWNW Community Support & Electronic Communications
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