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New state Rep. Ben Unger is finding that the 2013 Legislature and upcoming May 21 special election are keeping him extra busy.

Unger, a Washington County Democrat, is a political consultant specializing in grassroots organizing. In addition to serving in the Oregon House, he is working on the campaign in support of fluoridating Portland’s water supply.

“I believe in the cause. Improving the health of children by preventing cavities is a lot like some of the things I’m trying to accomplish in Salem. But it makes for long days and busy weekends,” says Unger, who worked on numerous campaigns before being elected to represent western Washington County’s House District 29 in November.

The committee supporting Measure 26-151 is called Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland. It recently reported paying Unger’s firm, TallFir LLC, $5,000 and still owes him an additional $5,000.

Children’s levy a winner in donations

The committee in support of renewing the Portland Children’s Levy has raised the most money of all the campaigns in support of measures on the May 21 ballot. The most recent filings show the Committee for Safe and Successful Children already has raised more than $107,000 this year. Major contributions in support of Measure 26-150 include $5,000 from the Williams/Dames development company, $5,000 from Broadway Cab, $10,000 from Kaiser Permanente and $10,000 from Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the measure’s sponsor.

In second place is the committee supporting the measure to fluoridate Portland’s water. Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland has raised a little more than $50,000. Major contributions in support of Measure 26-151 include $30,000 from the Dentists of Oregon Political Action Committee, $5,000 from the Nurses United Political Action Committee, and $5,000 from the Healthy Teeth for a Lifetime Political Action Committee.

In third place is the committee supporting the Metro levy to help maintain the regional government’s natural lands. It reports raising just under $40,000. Major contributions in support of Measure 26-152 include $5,000 from the Williams/Dames development company, $4,000 from the Pacific Star development corporation, $2,500 from developer Albert Solheim, and $2,500 from the 23rd and Flanders development company.

We should have checked out sooner

Sources should have been more diligent before running the item on tourism officials turning their backs on a convention center hotel in Charlotte, N.C. Although the situation sounded similar to the on-again, off-again negotiations on a 600-room headquarters hotel to boost business at the Oregon Convention Center, it turns out Charlotte already has one of those.

The hotel being put on the back burner in Charlotte would be a second convention center hotel. The article we relied on in the Feb. 16 issue of the Charlotte Observer didn’t mention that.

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