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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

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
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
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St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012
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Decoy, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
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Forlorn Hope, St. Laurent, Ost-Intrigen 2013
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Patricia Green, Estate Pinot Noir 2012
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Dehesa la Granja, Tempranillo 2008
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #15
Selvapiana, Chianti Ruffina 2012
Joseph Carr, Cabernet 2012
Prendo, Pinot Grigio, Vigneti Delle Dolomiti 2014
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Otazu, Red 2010
Chehalem, Pinot Gris, Three Vineyards 2013
Wente, Merlot, Sandstone 2011
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Monmousseau, Vouvray 2014
Duriguttti, Malbec 2013
Ruby, Pinot Noir 2012
Castellare, Chianti 2013
Lugana, San Benedetto 2013
Canoe Ridge, Cabernet, Horse Heaven Hills 2011
Arcangelo, Negroamaro Rosato
Vale do Bomfim, Douro 2012
Portuga, Branco 2013
Taylor Fladgate, Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2009
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Rodney Strong, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 28, 2012
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Bottego Vinaia, Pinot Grigio Trentino 2013
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The Occasional Book

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
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James Joyce - Dubliners
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Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
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Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
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Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
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Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
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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
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Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 3
At this date last year: 0
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In 2010: 125
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In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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