Not if but when

by Steve, February 16th, 2009

What else can you say when your new mayor is sidelined on the top two items on his 100 days plan: first education, and now economic development?

Even while many local politicos cower quietly in fear of retribution from a wounded and cornered Sam Adams (and his sycophants repeat the canard about prudes), the big dogs are openly snubbing him, citing the desire to avoid “distractions”.

Next on Adams’ 100 day plan (scrubbed from his Web site, but still in the Google cache as of this evening, which includes this creepy campaign video, where Adams talks about needing to keep his clothes on) is transportation. While not entirely sidelined on that, he’s certainly crippled.

Randy Leonard is playing hardball on the I-5 bridge Michael Powell is whining that his pet project to get another streetcar line stopping at his business’s front door is “up in the air.”

The remaining items on the erstwhile 100 day plan are planning and sustainability, arts and culture and emergency management.

Sam still seems to have a great deal of unqualified support in the arts community, but otherwise, his credibility as a leader is looking increasingly like toast.

One education leader put it to me this way (paraphrasing): He wouldn’t be allowed to coach a little league team or lead a Boy Scout troop. Why should we let him be mayor?

5 Responses to “Not if but when”

  1. Comment from Rose:

    The new Portland loves lame ducks. And ineffectualness. Witness:

    1. Kitzhaber. Sure he was cute. What the hell did he do?

    2. Potter. He was into “envisioning.” Enough said, call the Heaven’s Gate cult.

    3. Bud Clark. The man was a drunk, pure and simple. He didn’t do crap.

    When we get someone with a backbone, the media and town bristles with disgust. Witness:

    1. Charles Moose. A good black police chief who lived in NE Portland. The press hated him because he had a “temper.” This meant he raised his voice and talked firm. Scary. Go away Moose! Be famous someplace else. We don’t want you!

    2. Kroker. White police chief who liked haircuts and religion. Both are bad ideas here, didn’t he get the memo? We like scruffy hair and athiesm thinly veneered with uber tolerant spiritualism. So much for diversity. Go away you bad religious man!

    3. Katz. We kind of liked her until we discovered she could be firm, aka “shrill.” Not good! This city wants blind orthodoxy…uh…I mean consensus. We don’t want to have to openly argue anything.

    Portland expects and wants very little from its politicians. We want window dressing more than substance. This is why Sam thinks he can stay. And he may be right.

  2. Comment from Steve:

    I’m with you on KItzhaber, Moose and Clark, and, to a lesser extent, Potter.

    One thing Potter did was bring up race. It was really his cardinal sin in Portland, where we’re not supposed to talk about the people who aren’t enamored with 20-something white people riding their fixies to the brew pub.

    The fact that he got nothing accomplished was largely a result of his mis-steps on the Chavez street naming fiasco, where he was well-intentioned but procedurally inept.

    Kroker brought a brutal, authoritarian style of policing to a city accustomed to a certain historical level of brutality and racism. But the city had also been teased with Potter’s vision of community policing. Kroker turned back the clock on whatever things the police bureau was doing right, and amplified the things it was doing wrong. Sure, his open religious fundamentalism scared me, but not nearly as much as his insensitivity to community concerns.

    I don’t see that Portland has fallen out of love with Katz, or what she stood for. She laid the foundation for all the greenwashing we’re seeing today, and all the subsidies to high end property developers that continue unabated in the form of ski lifts and streetcars to nowhere, as well as parks, roads and other amenities in newly minted upper class neighborhoods funded with tax increment funding (while the promise of affordable housing remains a sick joke). Policy-wise, Katz was the Adams prototype, having set up city hall as a funding and PR branch of the local commercial real estate mafia.

  3. Comment from Rose:

    I can’t recall exactly what Kroker did that was so brutal or authoritarian. He was into dress and conduct standards. He defended cops accused of fatalities, but that is standard procedure before an investigation is complete. Maybe I am not remembering something?

    As a legal literalist Kroker was oddly good at defending civil liberities. He was a real stickler for the law on a lot of counts.

    Since he left he has been heading some big humanitarian project in some blighted country or another. Like Moose he went on to bigger and better things.

    A lot of cops see the whole “community policing” issue as a political minefield, and rightfully so. It is a vague and ill-defined concept. An accusation of not being good at community policing is a dangerous weapon in the hands of political enemies. Without funding and explicit policies it means nothing.

    You are right on Katz. As you know we see lots of greenwashing here in North Portland. Like how the charter school Trillium gets a food grant designed for the low-income of the neighborhood while the students at Ockley, who are genuinely poor, fight over scraps on the leftover table.

    I’m serious. Every morning I see kids who sit right near the leftover table so they can grab whatever food is there. Meanwhile the largely white kids at Trilluim are dining on organic produce….thanks to tax-payer dollars intended for the poor.

  4. Comment from Steve:

    I’m thinking of the 2000 May Day police riot, when Kroeker put 150 heavily-armed riot cops against a crowd of 400 unarmed marchers, hemmed them in and started firing bean bag rounds.

    I hear you on community policing. If we don’t pay for more cops so they can get out of their cars and engage the community, it’s a doomed concept.

    I just couldn’t help but think of Kroeker as bringing a serious LAPD attitude to Portland, where we need a little more Andy Taylor and a little less Robocop, that’s all.

    And you know, those Trillium families might leave the district if we didn’t give them their own school and provide the wittle woogums with organic peaches. At least that’s what the school board seems to think. ;)

  5. Comment from Rose:

    Hey, they were just bean bags.

    Frankly I think Kroker got a bad rap. But that’s just me. I prefer someone who is a by-the-book type over someone mushy in the middle, because I think in the end the by the book type protects our liberities more. (Ironically, it was Kroker who held the gate against the feds questioning Oregonians, because he knew it violated our state law).

    But then again, I heart Robocop. One of the best movies of our time!

    I know the Trillium people think they are doing something wonderful by encouraging white flight. But when schools lose families the whole community loses. Personally I don’t think it is good for their kids to be educated in a segregated school. Heaven knows what sort of conclusions their kids will draw about black kids.