Interview to Pete Sorenson

Gov. Ted Kulongoski last week announced his intention to seek reelection in 2006 and says he will run on his record of accomplishments. But his only announced opponent in the May Democratic primary says the governor is simply taking credit for the Republican agenda, and even borrowing Republican propaganda.

Pete Sorenson
“This governor is running on his record, and I’m running against his record,” says Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson. “He has been a disappointment. His leadership is nonexistent. The Democrats of Oregon deserve a choice.”

Sorenson filed for the gubernatorial race back in January and says he’s looking forward to a lively primary campaign. But he’s irked that the governor’s campaign has so far ignored his requests for a debate at the Oregon Summit in October.

He says the governor has “flip-flopped” on whether he will run, and his indecision “serves as a clear reminder to Oregonians of this governor’s flawed idea of leader-ship.”

Kulongoski is claiming leadership in a string of recent victories. His list of “legislative highlights” includes expanding funding for pre-kindergarten by 3.5 percent, increasing funding for K-12 schools by 8 percent, increasing opportunity grants by 71 percent, securing $38 million for community college bricks and mortar, $410 million for university construction and maintenance, $7 million for nanotechnology research, expansion of industrial lands, protecting watersheds and salmon, combating global warming, updating Oregon’s land-use system, fighting meth, improving mental health systems, etc.

But Sorenson says the governor’s accomplishments are minimal concessions and Oregon continues to slip “further and further behind” in key areas of the environment, economy and tax equity.

“The governor may be putting a Band-Aid on a problem or two,” says Sorenson, “but the bottom line is there’s such a gulf, such a chasm, between what we need to be doing and what he’s saying. Basically, he’s taking credit for the Republican Legislature, and he’s spinning it almost exactly the same way they are. We balanced the budget and we didn’t raise taxes at all.”

Sorenson says Kulongoski has shown no leadership on tax reform. “Two-thirds of the largest corporations doing business in the state paid no income taxes. The remaining one-third paid 5 percent of the income taxes, and the other 95 percent was paid by individuals and small businesses.”

“We are now dead last, number 50, of the states in corporate income tax as a percentage of our state budget,” he says.

A new Riley Research poll shows support for Sorenson at only 2 percent. Sorenson says he’s a loyal Democrat and has pledged to support the party’s choice, “even if it’s not me.”

More on Sorenson’s campaign can be found at www.petesorenson.comand more on Kulongoski’s campaign can be found soon at www.kulongoskiforgovernor.com — Ted Taylor

(LITTLE) BODY BILLBOARD

EBay’s not just for selling digital geek gear and autographed posters of Kevin Bacon anymore. Oh no. The online auction site has moved on, and now its sellers hawk Costa Rican real estate, cemetery plots, dark magic revenge spells — and advertising space on porno en español.

Photo from Danielle’s eBay auction, 8/19
Danielle, a third-grader who attends a public elementary school in Eugene, is auctioning off ad space on her backpack, school supplies and clothing for the entire school year. The little girl is pictured grinning on her eBay auction site, long brown hair cascading down one shoulder and a backpack slung over the other, with “YOUR AD HERE” written on the strap. “You are bidding on a rare ad space opportunity on a GORGEOUS, very popular, outgoing and active 8-year-old,” the auction reads. “Every time Danielle gets on the school bus, walks down the hall, your company name will be seen EVERYWHERE!”

Danielle’s mom, Tamina, hopes that the auction will bring in at least $1,300 so that Danielle can be a cheerleader next year. The family can’t afford to pay for another sport because they are upgrading their house. “I just want her to learn the value of earning money for something she wants to do,” Tamina says.

Danielle’s auction is the kiddie-est incarnation of a new trend in advertising: body billboards. At first it was just a trickle — a pregnant woman auctioning space on her belly, a student offering up his forehead. But the movement picked up steam in May when New Jersey college student Courtney Van Dunk posted a bikini-clad photo of herself on eBay and auctioned off one month of ad space on her body. The auction drew widespread media attention, and a wine retailer won the bid for $11,300. Three months later it seems that Van Dunk is still raking it in, with her own website and several new commissions.

According to Danielle’s auction, the little girl was inspired by the big girl. “[Danielle] is a HUGE Courtney Van Dunk fan (as you can see, she even resembles a young Courtney),” the auction reads. Danielle plans to donate 10 percent of her winning bid to the charity of the bidder’s choice, just like Van Dunk did.

Is it appropriate to compare a third-grader raising money for cheerleading to a busty young woman selling her sex appeal? Tamina seems flustered by the very notion. “I just like [Van Dunk’s] goal of trying to earn money for college,” she says. “I know there are girls out there who do questionable things, and I don’t want things like that to be associated with my daughter’s auction. Of course we wouldn’t endorse anything that’s questionable for her age group.

“We’re not selling her,” she adds.

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