PORTLAND, Ore. - Even after Portland voters did away with public campaign financing in 2010, City Commissioner Amanda Fritz is still limiting the amount of money people can give to her re-election effort to prove to voters she works for them and not big-monied interests.
"I don’t have to think about who financed my election when I'm voting on important city issues like contracts and hiring and other such things,” she told KATU’s Steve Dunn on Sunday during "Your Voice, Your Vote."
It is an important point of pride for Fritz who was first elected to the City Council in 2008 with public financing. And this time around, while facing a challenge from state Rep. Mary Nolan, she’s limiting contributions to $50 a year per person.
But as a result, through loans and in-kind contributions, she's had to donate just over $100,000 of her own money to her campaign in her effort to win another term in office for Position 1 in the City Council.
"I'm willing to invest in Portland, and I'm willing to invest in my services to Portland," she told Dunn. "I want people to know there is a different way of doing politics in Portland."
Among her accomplishments during her first term, she cited her questioning of whether the city should spend $700 million on a water filtration plant to comply with federal mandates.
"I think one of my greatest accomplishments was getting the water bureau to change direction on whether to treat Bull Run water and, if so, how to treat it," she said.
The city did eventually win a variance from the state to get out of building a water treatment system to kill the parasite Cryptosporidium, which isn't a problem in Portland's water supply.
She said she helped reduced water bills by 6 percent in 2009, saving ratepayers $6 million a year and voted against increases in 2010 and 2011; however, she's not promising water bills will go down in the future; in fact, she said they'll increase. But she said she'll fight against the requested 11 percent bump for a 9 percent increase instead.
She said the increase is necessary, in part, to pay for maintenance that past city councils neglected.
If re-elected, she wants to take charge of the water bureau, she said.
She has avoided taking shots at her chief opponent during the campaign, but Nolan hasn't been as reserved. She's questioned Fritz' oversight of the implementation of a new 911 system that generated complaints from those who used it soon after it was put online.
Fritz defended the system and said with any new computer there were some growing pains.
"It's really surprising (the criticism)," she told Dunn. "It's almost like people can't believe that a city of Portland computer can be on time and on budget, and it works. Because most of our history has been that it hasn't. So I was really feeling great that we had" gotten this system working.
Nolan will appear on "Your Voice, Your Vote" next week.
This version updates the money amount Fritz has donated to her campaign as of Monday, April 30, according to OREstar.