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Sunday, November 23, 2003


When it was announced this week that PGE would be taken over by an investment group headed by former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt, we all howled. How could Neil actively campaign against the people's utility district without disclosing that he was involved in a pending private takeover of the electric utility that the PUD would have condemned?

Well, Goldschmidt's version of the facts surrounding the deal is that he was first offered a piece of the takeover bid, out of the blue, by the Texas investment group on Oct. 30. That was just a few days before the election, the day after his spouse had voted on a deal with the Texas group as a member of the state investment council, and just the day before Goldschmidt's op-ed piece against the PUD measure appeared in The Oregonian.

If that's true, it was probably too late to pull or change the Oregonian piece. In which case, we can't fault Neil for not disclosing in that article his personal financial interest in the outcome of the election.

Be that as it may, questions continue to swirl around Hizzoner's influence on public bodies -- and his receipt of more than a million in consulting fees from one such public body. Critics are insinuating that Neil has become the East Coast-style political boss of Portland and Oregon -- unelected, unaccountable to the public, but running everything, hand-picking candidates for public office, and making quite a living trading on his influence as a former elected official.

I don't know if I agree with all of that. But I will say that as a former New Jersey resident, I've always thought that Oregonians were naive in the extreme about the ethics of people in public life around here. Oregon enjoys no exception from human nature, folks.

And I'll add that at best, Neil is pushing the envelope, hard.

Comments (5)

It would be odd (not that I'm saying it's untrue) if Oregonians -- especially Portlanders -- were naive about such things, given this city's own history.

I agree Jack.
While I have tended to look at Goldschmidt's legacy and think that he's done quite a few things that were for the better, since leaving Mahonia Hall, I don't see much of anything he's done which I respect. He's lobbied on behalf of polluters and helped facilitate the sale of Willamette Industries to Weyerhauser which led to Portland's last Fortune 500 company headquarters leaving town.
He has no local allegiance and little if any moral compass.

The Homeric irony is that with the passage of time Mr. Goldschmidt has become a power broker of the sort whose influence he was trying to end when he ran for the City Council in 1970 and for mayor of Portland in 1972.

Seems you can safely add "rapist" to you ex-governor's cv. What a guy.

Thus far, politicos have been reticent to speak out on the Goldschmidt rape issue.. Gentlemanly Vic Atiyeh gently expressed surprise ...delicately. Other Republicans you would expect to go for such raw meat. Tim Knopp, legislator from Bend went after Neil's picture..
I guess he thinks, like Dorian Gray's, the picture is the real proof of Neil's corruption.
Vera worried about poor Neil's health and talked about his wonderful record and referred to Neil's repeated rape of a child as the "incident".
Only prominent Democrat thus far to come right out with outrage and condemn Goldschmidt's actions as "despicable" and "inexcusable" was Mary Wendy Roberts, former State Labor Commissioner. Oddly, she was followed by Jack Roberts, Republican, former Labor Commissioner..
So where is Barbara Roberts, former Governor after Neil and who was, as Secretary of State, on the landboard for part of his term...Why is she so quiet??? Anyone ask her? Is she an apologist true believer in Neil or will she criticize him too?

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