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Diane Linn for County Chair--We couldn't have said it better ourselves

In the April 21st issue of Just Out, Publisher Marty Davis makes an impassioned case to the GLBT community for reelecting Diane Linn as Multnomah County Chair. We couldn't have said it better ourselves. As ballots arrive in mailboxes this week, we thought it was worth highlighting. Here are some excerpts:

"As the May primary election grows ever closer, it becomes clear that there is a division in the community over whom to support for the position of Multnomah County chair. Incumbent Diane Linn, noted for her longtime support of gay and lesbian rights, faces a candidate with no record whatsoever of standing with us-or for us. And what we have now is an election that has become as much about our credibility as a community as it is about Linn's viability as a candidate."

"Now, two years later, the eyes of the nation are on us again as we appear splintered over a decision that will speak volumes to those who might next be asked to step up and move forward with us. National groups, funding sources, strategists, movers and shakers are watching to see if we rise to the occasion as we now step into the role of supporting an ally in need. What is imperative in May is that the gay, lesbian, bi and trans voters of Multnomah County step up and return Diane Linn to office."

"We have grown well into the position of demanding support of others. Now we have the opportunity to show that we value loyalty and understand the need to reciprocate. It's a two-way street.To those Linn detractors who might be dismayed by the appearance of a candidate in distress: Don't overreact. This is not the time to turn our backs on incumbents when they appear on the ballot with worn and torn records. In all attempts to affect change, there will be successes and there will be failures. Any political novice can run against an incumbent and point to a flawed record. The only way to avoid failures is to never do anything at all. A record without failures is a record of no effort."

"For us to support a candidate, he or she must have a proven record of working with us and for us. Diane Linn has done so throughout her entire career. Ted Wheeler, by his own admission, has not. Roey Thorpe of Basic Rights Oregon, when asked why Wheeler did not receive a "green light" from the organization, responds: 'BRO gave Ted Wheeler a chance to earn a green light because his campaign said that he was a champion of GLBT civil rights. But when we interviewed him, it became clear that although he is a native Oregonian, he has never given a moment of time or a dollar of his substantial fortune to fight the anti-gay ballot measures. We just couldn't understand how he could claim to support the cause, but never step up to do anything about it, even when our community was under attack. We need to be able to count on elected officials to stand with us each and every time, and there just was no evidence that Ted Wheeler had ever done that, or would in the future."

"We start the 21st century with goals, plans and lots of work to be done. We require supporters and allies. Diane Linn will be there for us. Keep her in office. And should, one day, another poet muse on loyalty and fidelity, let him say that the gay and lesbian voters of Multnomah County knew the power of friendship. Let him say that we valued loyalty."

To read the full endorsement column in Just Out, click here.

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 02, 2006 10:35 AM

National groups, funding sources, strategists, movers and shakers are watching to see if we rise to the occasion as we now step into the role of supporting an ally in need.

What's the background for this? I don't see anyone really saying, "This is an election about gay rights." Ted's not saying it. The letters to the editor aren't saying, "Diane did us wrong by allowing same-gender marriages -- vote Ted."

Ted's pro-same-sex marriage. He's got the right beliefs. OK, it hasn't been one of his main issues. That doesn't mean that voting for him is voting anti-basic rights.

And Diane was not alone in supporting same-sex marriages -- it was the politically popular thing to do in Multnomah County, and three other commissioners supported her.

So, say what you want, but very few politicos I know are really saying, "the nation's waiting with bated breath."    

By Blogger Torrid, at May 02, 2006 10:37 AM

I find it more than a little sad that you cling to Linn's ultimately ineffective endeavors to further GLBT rights, in what appears to be your sole considering point of endorsement. I think this only exacerbates the perception that the gay vote is about just what's best for gays as opposed to the city (or state, or nation). When homosexuals rightfully say that they are about more than their sexual orientation, and like straights are not solely defined by who they love--they undercut themselves with moves like the Linn endorsement.

Thorpe may be correct that Ted Wheeler has never been a truly active voice for LGBT rights, but that's a far cry from being insensitive or even hostile to them. Were he so, the endorsement of Linn would make more sense.

But because he's not, all I see from BRO's endorsement of Linn is that her everyday skills and ability to run the county on issues immaterial to gay rights are being ignored, because she stood up for marriage licenses.

Obviously I expect an advocacy group to evaluate candidates with a strong bias towards those who support their advocacy. But after the wedding ceremony, I wager gays ALSO want good government, efficient management of tax dollars, and a Chair who is not under suspicion of shirking her duties and then covering it up. Ignoring Linn's full record in favor of her warm embrace of the GLBT community, IMO threatens to turn off gay voters in Portland who actually use OTHER yardsticks as well in the process of voting.    

By Blogger Kari Chisholm, at May 02, 2006 2:42 PM

On the other hand, BRO proves that they're willing to stand by a friend. And by withholding an endorsement to someone who appears to be favorable on the issues, but hasn't done enough, they ensure that he'll work hard to win their endorsement next time (that is, if he wins this time.)

Not a bad strategy, actually.    

By Blogger Torrid, at May 02, 2006 7:55 PM

friendship is friendship. Governance doesn't let friendship cover over doing your job. Look at what's happening to Morrison in Montana--you can't forgive malfeasance because they're a political friend. Linn's charges aren't fully substantiated, but you know better than I how trustworthy Laura Bridges is, Kari.

If Ted is the better candidate, choosing Diane because she stood up for you in the past just seems wrong to me.    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 03, 2006 1:02 AM

Hey all. Just to chime in here. Torrid, as I think you mentioned, the Basic Rights Oregon PAC endorses candidates based on what they have done for us. Wheeler never contributed a dime to the civil rights fight - NEVER A DIME to any campaigns fighting hateful and discriminatory initiatives, as well as the consitututional amendment. He only recently became "active" (if you will) when he decided to run for office.

BRO's PAC looks at leadership on the issues that it fights day to day. Ted can say all he wants, that's great. It's the action behind the words that make all the difference.

BRO also looks to their coalition partners, as they do to BRO. NARAL also endorsed Diane... and why is that? Ted might say he is for something - whereas Diane has proven leadership.

It's got to be tough and I'm sure the BRO PAC has considered everything--in all races for that matter. I trust that they will make the right decisions on candidates. Also remember that BRO provides these endorsements as a bench mark of where what candidates have done for the GLBT community, in no way are they forcing people to vote for the candidates they endorse... a the same time when they decide to financially endorse - you can bet your ass that they will do verything in their power to get that person elected aside from financial contributions.

Sorry if there are typos - it's late! Night all.    

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 03, 2006 8:50 AM

Laura Bridges is trustworthy? Puleeze. An open supporter of Diane's opponent, good friends with his campaign staff and general consultant and carrying a three-year old grudge? She just HAD to get it off her chest the week before ballots dropped? Give me a break!

Anyone who looks at this ought to see it for the political smear campaign that it is and ought to be disgusted with Ted's campaign, which is apparently willing to win at any cost.    

By Blogger Torrid, at May 03, 2006 10:10 AM

I'm gratified to see that Byron Beck has the same worries I do; he's honest enough to admit it.


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