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Hales' office hit with elections complaint

Supporters of the proposed Portland Public Water District have filed an elections complaint against Mayor Charlie Hales' office with the Oregon elections officials.The complaint charges the office violated state elections laws by using public resources to email a press release Tuesday criticizing their proposal, which will appear on the May 20 Primary election ballot.

“From covering up an illegal attempt to divert restricted water funds, to retaliating against the whistleblower who exposed the scandal, to now using public resources for political purposes, Mayor Charlie Hales’ abuse of power continues unabated,” co-chief petitioner Kent Craford said in a press release accompanying the release of the complaint.

The complaint accuses the office of violating the Hatch Act, which reads in part:

“(2) No public employee shall solicit any money, influence, service or other thing of value or otherwise promote or oppose any political committee or promote or oppose the nomination or election of a candidate, the gathering of signatures on an initiative, referendum or recall petition, the adoption of a measure or the recall of a public office holder while on the job during work hours.”

The measure would remove the Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services from the control of the City council and give them to a independently elected board. The board would be created in the City Charter and the assets of both bureaus would continue to be owned by the city.

The complaint was signed by Craford and co-chief petitions Floy Jones and reads as follows:

February 12, 2014

Ms. Alana Cox

Compliance Specialist

Elections Division

Office of the Secretary of State

255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 501

Salem, OR 97310

Sent via electronic mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear Ms. Cox,

We write to bring an elections law violation to your attention, request your office immediately investigate and demand a halt to such further activity.

On Tuesday, February 11th, the spokesperson for City of Portland Mayor Charlie Hales issued the attached press release campaigning against the Portland Public Water District initiative, which will be on the ballot May 20. Mr. Haynes used City resources on City time for political purposes in clear violation of ORS 260.432.

We are requesting that your office investigate this matter. Should you have any questions regarding this request, please contact Kent Craford at 503-961-4191.

Sincerely,

Kent Craford

Floy Jones

The press release can be read at portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/210547-68526-barbs-fly-ahead-of-ratepayer-court-hearing