When a Charter Commission is impaneled, the entire charter is opened up to potential revision, and we just had a Charter Commission complete this painstaking task in 2010.
The 2009-2010 Charter Commission went through the charter thoroughly and made several recommendations for changes.
These changes, particularly the new mayor position, have barely had time to take root, and for that reason I think it's far too early to have another Charter Commission.
I know people have had concerns about the Mayor position, but in Kate Snyder we finally have a mayor who is fulfilling the role the way it was envisioned by the Charter Commission that created it. I think we need a little more time with this position and the other recent changes to the Charter before we revisit it, so I'll be voting against the Charter Commission question.
And this particular change was deemed a revision—not an amendment. The City's lawyer made that determination and the Council agreed in a 7-2 vote (Strimling, Ali opposed).
Following this decision by the Council, Fair Elections Portland sued the City, but the City's position was was upheld by the Superior Court. Fair Elections Portland is currently appealing that decision.
So...revisions to the charter can only be made by a Charter Commission, and putting a Charter Commission in place requires approval by the voters at an election. And this is where we get to why the question is appearing on your July 14th ballot. (Finally!!)
There is a box petitioners can check, if they wish. The language next to the box reads:
"...if the municipal officers determine that the amendment set out below would, if adopted, constitute a revision of the charter, then this petition shall be treated as a request for a charter commission."
Given these two options, Fair Elections Portland was more interested in a Charter change, because that felt more substantial to them and less likely to be "undone" by a future Council. Councilor Costa and I were both willing to work with them on that, and we are both still interested in pursuing public financing options for local races, as are other members of the Council. At this point, however, we have to wait for Fair Elections Portland's appeal to work its way through the court system.