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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 9, 2004 11:17 PM. The previous post in this blog was Scam preview. The next post in this blog is Say what?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, April 9, 2004

Interview with new Portland schools chief

Not to be outdone by other bloggers who have been publishing interviews with some important state and local officials, I managed to pull some strings earlier today and land an exclusve one-on-one session with Vicki Phillips, the new superintendent of the Portland public schools. Phillips most recently was the Pennsylvania secretary of education. Her appointment to her new post was announced in Portland this past Monday night. I caught up with her at her school district office.

JBB: Welcome to Portland.

VP: Thank you. There's something wonderful about a fresh start in a new city. [Sings:] "You're gonna make it after all."

JBB: Will you miss Pennsylvania?

VP: Sure, in some ways. But when somebody offers to double your salary for the same work, you've got to heed the call. Plus, if it doesn't pan out, I understand the government pays very generous severances out here.

JBB: Tell us about your first impressions so far.

VP: I'm really, really impressed by the Rose City. So high-tech. I understand the public officials here already have a couple of, what do you call them? Blods?

JBB: Do you mean "blogs"? Weblogs?

VP: Yes, weblogs, that are all set up for their use. That's very progressive. And the place is so prosperous! I see these brand new streetcars, the gigantic convention center, a new local income tax, even a fancy stadium for minor league baseball. All this is telling me that these are boom times in these parts. I'm excited to be a part of it.

JBB: There was some controversy about the process by which you were hired.

VP: Really? I hadn't heard that.

JBB: Some people have objected that the candidates' forum you participated in was meaningless, since you had already been offered the job, and an announcement had already been made back in Pennsylvania that you were the new super in Portland.

VP: Well, you've got to take the time difference into account. It's three hours later on the East Coast. And so actually, I wasn't hired until after the forum was over.

JBB: Er, now wait a second...

VP: Let me put it another way, Eric...

JBB: It's "Jack."

VP: Yes, of course, sorry. Let me put it another way. People don't realize how hard it is to interview for a job that you've already quietly been offered. I had already resigned back in Harrisburg, and the pressure was really intense on me to perform flawlessly at the candidates' forum. If you bomb at that kind of event and you get hired anyway, it really starts you off on the wrong foot with people. Fortunately, I did o.k.

JBB: Some people in the audience thought your presentation was too canned. The other candidate was livelier -- even injected some humor into the proceedings.

VP: You know, Jack, I think there's a time and a place for everything, including kidding around. But not while I'm on the job. I try to emulate Justice Ruth Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. The last humorous moment she had in a professional setting was a momentary chuckle she reportedly let out at a faculty meeting at Columbia in the 1970s.

JBB: How has the transition been going for you personally?

VP: I'm still trying to decide where to live. Nothing too pretentious, please -- I'm a down-to-earth person. Maybe a nice three-bedroom, two-bath in Dunthorpe, over by where the new librarian just bought. I might even be able to sweet-talk the neighbors into merging their dinky little school district with ours. What's the name of it? Riverplace?

JBB: I think it's "Riverdale."

VP: Yes. Anyway, there's no shortage of housing opportunities in this town. My voice mailbox is overflowing with calls from realtors. A couple of them sounded a little fishy, though. I'm a bit leery of them.

JBB: Like how?

VP: Just to give you an example: One guy, Homer something-or-other, says he's got a sweet deal on a riverfront condo for me. Something about it being right next door to a ski lift? Then there was a message from someone who called himself "Moe Cheeks." He wanted to know if I had a house in the Philadelphia area I could swap with him. He might be moving back there soon.

JBB: Believe it or not, Madame Superintendent...

VP: Please, just call me "Super Vicki."

JBB: Um, believe it or not, Super Vicki, those were probably real calls.

VP: I don't know when I'd be able to return them, anyway. My schedule's getting full. Tomorrow night I'm invited to meet a bunch of important people from a neighborhood called the "West Hills." They're gathering at someplace called the "Arlington Club"? For some sort of welcome wagon event for me. It's a little odd -- they keep saying it's an initiation ceremony. And they keep telling me somebody important named Neal wants to meet me. To tell the truth, it doesn't sound that interesting, but everybody I ask about it gets this grave look on their face and says I really, really have to go.

Comments (4)

I think some guy named Kneel recently authorized a six digit reduction (payoff) for a higher ed super just the other day to get out of town. It was shortly after this March letter authorizing the transfer of a ten digit payoff. The unresolved issue was the difference of 3 and 8 percent return between October and March while secret negotiations took place (oops, I mean while a computer glitch was resolved).

I think that another glitch that is documented here about whether the calculations result in 6 or 10 thousand per month might be on the plate for private discussion. There is a note at page 56 about a fact of a guarantee rather than a mixed fact-law fact. The list of a sampling of midlevel servants affected starts at 104. Then, at the end, there is this note about this is the end of discussion, period. I think it has something to do with foreclosing further litigation (it excludes adversity so as to achieve finality and predictability and of course speed). It seems odd that among the listed parties is someone from the staff of our high as a kite court who filters the rantings of folks like me.

I think I’ll move to Riverdale for some peace of mind.

Oh, before I forget, the generous pledge by the non-voting youth to our city and county are prominently acknowledged in the above documentation of a glitch.

It might come as a surprise to Vicki that she is just a pawn. Welcome to Oregon. I wager that she won't last two years in this frying pan.

Jack - Each new story in PDX gets harder to discern from parody than the last. Well done!

Ron - I think Vicki knows she's a pawn. A well-paid pawn. And I am willing to wager that VICKI IS PLANNING ON STAYING LESS THAN TWO YEARS. The PPS job has got to be known as a sweet-post by now. Sure, the Superintendent has to deal with the hippies and whiners in PDX for a little while. But the pay-off can be worth it.

Jack - Can we start a pool for Vicki's departure date? And the 'official' reason for her departure? I guess "spring '05" and "personal issues".

This just proves why one needn't worry about leaping to conclusions. My earlier leap was proven correct by this brilliant interview.

Danke schoen.

As one of the "other bloggers," I have to say that this measures up with any interview I've seen. And I'll bet it was easy to arrange!


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
MarchigĂĽe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
GascĂłn, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
MarchigĂĽe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
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Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
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Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
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Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria DermoČ—t - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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