Familiar Right-Wing Money Flows to Water Takeover Campaign

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The battle over Portland’s water supply is drawing some financial backers that will sound familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention to the fight for Oregon’s priorities. Andrew Miller

The biggest contributions to the Yes side of Measure 26-156 have come from big corporate interests like Portland Bottling Company ($25,000 so far) and Siltronic ($20,000 so far), who have a direct financial stake in privatizing Portland’s water utility. But there are some new contributions to the campaign that should help Portlanders see exactly who’s on what side.

In April, lumber tycoon Andrew Miller has donated $8,000 to the Yes campaign. Miller is the head of Stimson Lumber, which has dumped millions into right-wing candidates and campaigns in recent year, including the Tea Party takeover of the Clackamas County government. Miller is currently also funding—along with right-wing Nevada millionaire Loren Parks—an ad campaign in support of Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby. Newspaper reports indicate that Miller and Wehby are romantically linked.

The water takeover campaign is also apparently getting support from the Taxpayers Association of Oregon, the longstanding anti-tax group run by Jason Williams. Williams’ organization has worked for years to cut taxes for the rich and gut funding for schools and basic services.

So why are big corporations, millionaires, and special interest front groups funding the corporate takeover of Portland’s water supply? As with everything else they touch, they want to lower their costs and leave the rest of us holding the bag.

Don’t forget, ballots for the May election—including Measure 26-156—are due by 8pm on May 20.

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