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Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Remember, the judges' decisions are final

What were they thinking? It was tough to narrow it down to 10, but here they are, with malice toward none, but constructively critical toward all, my --

Top 10 Nitwits of the Year 2002


Neil Goldschmidt, one-time visionary Oregon political leader, now selling influence to the highest corporate bidder. Recent clients include groups interested in building new nuclear plants on the Columbia River, and developers pushing an aerial tram project down the throats of a very unhappy Portland neighborhood. Sample idea: Corporate executives shouldn't have to go through the same airport security as common folk. Next up: Running the governor's office from behind a curtain.


Martha Stewart, who should have admitted insider trading even if she really did have an "oral stop-loss order."


Outgoing Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, whose eight years in office were a net setback despite five years of unprecedented resources.


Linda Lay, who thought she would evoke public sympathy by tearfully pointing out on national television that she and her husband, disgraced Enron executive Ken Lay, were down to their last $10 million.

5 (tie).

Portland Mayor Vera Katz and Commissioner Erik Sten, a double-spouted font of bad ideas for economically troubled times. Among their current proposals: Take over the state's largest electric company; take over the failing minor-league baseball team as a way of salvaging their Civic Stadium fiasco; turn over the Bull Run Reservoirs to the suburbs; tackle campaign finance reform at the municipal level; cover Pioneer Courthouse square with an ice skating rink for a third of the year; make city contractors pay a fee to list the city as a customer; narrow the city's busiest street; and oh yes, the tram -- we must buy the developers a tram.


Portland Trail Blazers guard Damon Stoudamire, who, shortly after getting off on a technicality after the police found roughly a pound of marijuana in his house, kept a low profile by smoking weed with two colleagues in his yellow Humvee going 80-plus miles an hour down Interstate 5 in the middle of the night in central Washington State. Had it not been for his contrite $200,000 contribution to public school sports programs, he would have ranked higher.

2 (tie).

Sen. Trent Lott and Bernard Cardinal Law, neither of whom had enough wagons for a decent circle.


Michael Jackson, who, after blaming a flop album on supposed racial discrimination by music industry executives, went out and demonstrated that there are plenty of other reasons that the public dislikes him.

UPDATE: Identifications and explanations added 3:30 am 1/2.

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