Fact-checking the Portland mayor's race
By Janie Har
Published on Thursday, May 10th, 2012 at 4:43 p.m.
Charlie Hales says he diversified the Portland Fire Bureau when he was the commissioner in charge.
This is a key part of Hales’ portfolio when he pitches himself as a good problem solver. "When I served as City Commissioner, we … successfully fought for, and won, adding women and people of color to the Fire Bureau."
We scoured city records, talked to people involved and followed up on statistics. And we found that Hales oversaw the Fire Bureau in 1994 when the City Council approved a trainee program to diversify its ranks. Hales hired a new chief specifically to diversify the bureau. And the numbers started going up. We rated the statement True.
Charlie Hales says "I worked with our Mayor and other commissioners to help save the school year when a budget crisis in Salem threatened to cut four weeks of the school year," including negotiating with teachers to work for free.
Hales has a long record of championing schools while on the City Council, but he wasn’t anywhere near City Hall when Portland Mayor Vera Katz, Portland teachers and the Portland School Board negotiated a historic agreement to restore 24 days to the 2002-03 school year.
Teachers agreed to work for free for 10 days. Portland and Multnomah County agreed to find the rest of the money and to secure funding for the following year. Hales owned up to the inaccurate statement right away. We rated it False.
Eileen Brady says she "brought together business, labor and hospitals to give 94,000 Oregon children health care" as vice-chairwoman of the Oregon Health Fund Board.
In 2009, Gov. Ted Kulongoski appointed her to the board, which came up with the plan to assess a tax on hospitals and providers to expand health care insurance to children and low-income adults. Lawmakers initially approved the idea of a board to study health care access.
We found that it would be an overstatement to say none of this would have happened without Brady. But we gave her credit for helping lead the way.
We rated it Mostly True.
Eileen Brady says that because of Portland City Hall ‘inaction,’ we may need to spend $500 million to cover and treat our drinking water.
We’ve argued with many city candidates who argue that the Portland Water Bureau could have rejected, disobeyed and ignored a disagreeable drinking water rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For example, we found Brady went too far when she blamed City Hall ‘inaction’ for the possibility that we may need to spend $500 million to treat and cover our drinking water.
We found that Portland spent about $1.2 million on a legal challenge, and nearly $1.4 million to date to avoid the portion of the rule requiring treatment. (We did in March; that’s $100 million there.) A federal review of the more expensive "uncovered reservoir" portion of the rule is pending.
We found that not to be inaction. We rated the statement False.
Jefferson Smith says if elected, he would be the first mayor to live east of 82nd Avenue. This is True.
Smith also says "we got a chance to pass what I think is Oregon's first human trafficking bill which has increased by 66 percent the calls to the human trafficking hotline."
Smith got a bill passed that asked the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to send a letter to bar owners and others highlighting the issue of human trafficking with each license renewal notice. The letter included a sticker with a hotline run by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
We found that the the number of calls had increased by 66 percent, but there wasn’t much evidence linking the increase in calls to Smith’s request for the liquor agency to send a letter with sticker. We ruled this Mostly False.
See original Truth-O-Meter items.
Researchers: Janie Har
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