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Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Randy goes to his left

My favorite Portland city commissioner, Randy Leonard, is showing his "progressive" side these days. Now he's championing the city's withdrawal from the federal government's Joint Terrorism Task Force -- a position that is calling down the ire of conservatives around the city.

Some see politics on Leonard's agenda, of course. Portland is one of the lefty-est cities in the country right now, so much so that it singlehandedly puts Oregon in the blue column. And it just elected (1) a mayor who as police chief stood up for gay rights before it became routine (even here) and (2) an openly gay city commissioner. Although his core constituency has always been straight white guys, Leonard's move could be seen as an overture to some of the many voters who might not readly cast him as a defender of civil liberties.

What's the downside? Well, just as Democrats across America are incensed at the dominance of the Republican Party on the national front, neocons (and some neanderthals) in Portland are frustrated at the far-left ways of our local government. And they can be every bit as vocal in their nastiness as a sore-loser Democrat, especially now that most value-driven Republican families finally have their first dial-up AOL account, LOL. And so Leonard's e-mail inboxes, and his office and home voice mailboxes, are apparently getting some pretty hateful stuff in them lately. (Apparently the trigger was a Leonard appearance on the Lars show, in which he aired his proposal to have the city tax cell phone companies the same it way it taxes land phone companies.)

The Commish is fighting back. Now there's a story on the wire about a bitter e-mail exchange between Leonard and Lars Larson, the Talk Show Host That Right-Thinking Portlanders Love to Hate. Leonard's complaining that Larson's egging on the kooks who are sending him the ugly messages. Larson's saying he's not responsible for the kooks, and implying that Leonard's losing touch with a segment of his constituency.

Having had e-mail exchanges with both men, and having had some farly wicked stuff sent my way as a result of this blog from time to time, I hope they'll patch up their differences. Although it's amusing to watch them get all catty with each other, it's not particularly good for the community.

Comments (12)

There once was a nice Lars Larson. This Lars worked on KPTV, did good reports, cared about what he does, made a damn fine newsmagazine show

This is not that Lars.

There was once a nice station called KXL. It was the only one I ever listened to. It had Bill Gallagher and a bunch of cool local talent and Lars occaisionally filled in for Bill when he took a day off. He was good. And KXL was proud of not being owned by anybody out of town.

Boy, those were the days.

BTW, I think Randy could take Lars in a fair fight. But it wouldn't be fair because Lars would bring a gun and wouldn't tell anyone.

Sam Klein.

Maybe Randy is voting his conscience and not his constituency.

And if you're going to take a controversial position, why oh why, do you go on Lars Larson.

Who's surprised by this? Really.

Ah, yes, the neo-cons! Yes, they're thick and fast in Portland. As I recall, they're planning on erecting a statue of Leo Strauss in Waterfront Park next week. Next thing you know, Bill Kristol will run for city commissioner.


Sorry, but I think Lars gets his personal phone number passed out at Michael Moore rallies and then death threats on his wife. So there are assorted nuts at both ends of the spectrum.

I don't disagree that Lars brings up topics that get people worked up, but I don't think he has ever said to stage protests or personal attacks, he is just voicing his opinion of Randy's performance.

Mr Bog's being enamored with Randy Leonard is another topic, however. Yes, compared with the rest of incompetents running this city, I suppose he looks OK.

However, I see more of the same with him. As soon as people vote down the county tax repeal, voila, Randy has another new tax (cell phones) to ding the workers more. Yet I still think the schools and jails are in trouble, but thank goodness, he can still support those hard-working developers building $500K condos.

We mustn’t forget publicly subsidized art! Definitely more important than jails and schools.

You're not trying to suggest the Multnomah County ITAX is paying for those devlopers, are you?

Let's face it: Portland needs help. Whether it's through governmental mismanagement of funds or the affluent NIMBYism running rampant there is just not enough money to cover everything. Personally, I support taxes. I'd support a sales tax as long as the monies were going to wards local issues only. Maybe that's what makes me different than some others out there - I'd be willing to pay a little more of my money to make the place I live a little better.

However, I don't support raising taxes to compensate for governmental finacial abuse or mismanagement. A double-edged sword for sure.

In an interview aired on the radio this morning Randy Leonard advocated for mandatory dog obedience training to obtain a dog license. It was his answer to unruly dogs in the park off leash areas.

Listen to Lars Larson sometime. He parrots the sad and bizarre rants of Hannity and that guy who was just sued for something pretty rotten - I forget his name. Oh ya, the guy who is still on Fox, the fair and objective news channel. Isn't it wild that he's still working at Fox, acting as if he is a credible source of information, and the public isn't running him out of the country? Very creepy.

Yet Randy is being criticized for trying to come up with solutions for economic problems Portland is having. And yes, it is a very real problem.

PEOPLE - pay attention! We need some solutions. If those of you criticizing Randy have better solutions, let's hear them! Until then, bless Randy for at least trying and for putting himself out there.

As far as Lars having no role in the pathetic e-mails going to Randy, that is ridiculous. What, those people just happened to use Lars' name in their introductions? I think not.

Those who think otherwise are guilty of that all too familiar problem we keep seeing with those who endorse Larson, O'Reilly, Hannity, Bush, etc. - the inability to think critically.

Randy, keep doing what you're doing. And if others have better ideas, I'm sure you'll do something with them, because you can think critically.

OK, I have some suggestions for Mr Leonard:
- Tax people equally so Mr $1M condo pays the same rate of prop tax as the guy working tow jobs to make his mortgage or someone on fixed income. Almost everyone getting these insane tax breaks is pretty high income.
- Stop the social engineering and use PDC's budget to fund schools. They are deciding that the Pearl District and South Waterfront are the only places we want developed and that every other area in town is on its own.
- Do everything possible to reduce taxes, heck make this a tax paradise to entice more businesses in town.
- Make city employee benefits = private sector benefits and stop the $850/month for medical and huge PERS contributions.

Of course, there goes the fun money (floating sidewalks, gondolas, free trolleys, baseball stadiums) and maybe we could focus on something else besides JTTF which no one really cares if Portland wants to do it or not.

As one of the "KOOKS" that emailed Randy, I must say, the guy has a very sensetive, thin skin.

I asked a former county "commiss" to look at the idea that (5) criminally insane men, all with a violent crime history buying a home partially funded by PDC next to a grade school was as nuts as they were.

A year later I found out the same elected offical took election gratuity's from the people that placed the men.

Jumping from there too Randy,I was asked to a private home to hear then candidate Leonard speak, He promised to "attack" this issue. If of course he was elected. He was, I sent reams of data showing a pattern of potential violence and mis- management of just such so-called non profits that run these sites.

Well, first thing I hear is Randy does a ride along with a principal of this "business" and ignores my desire to offer a soulution.

I PROTEST.An low and behold, the real Randy Leonard shows. You can't do a thing unless its his way. So much for so called outreach.

Oh by the way, that grouphome I mentioned to Randy, Dan, Eric, Vera, Jim, Diane, Tanya, Gordon ,and too many being sued as is the county that gave them a contract with no oversite,is being sued for 3 million dollars for poor mangement of a client that died in their care,this just as I said would happen if as they got bigger.

When elected officals respond, they get supported an re-elected, the demographics in this town mean they can be a nasty an as arrogant as they feel like, But Jack , it was just a client who got killed, would a non responsive, arrogant elected offical get your support if an OYA "Youth" or "criminally insane" client hurt your family,or is it ok that mine was the one hurt? Bush got another 4 because people think the safety of the nation matters. The JTFF, the Patriot ACT, are reasons you guys lost, but of course it was the WTC'S not the KOIN TOWER, I know you get my drift.

In response to Get Real’s post, I have another proposal towards taxation. One that, most probably, we will never see.

Tax the poor less and the rich more!

More specifically, use the Median Family Income for the Greater Portland Area as a rule. Tax those making 20%-80% less than the MFI less and those making 20%-80% more, more. Use a sliding scale.

More specifically, those making 80% less than MFI would pay less tax and receive more benefits than those making 20 less. Those making 20% more than MFI would pay less taxes and receive more benefits than those making 80% more. Furthermore, enforce this not only with property taxation but ALL taxation.

To me, it seems the most fair and equal solution, but of anyone else has other ideas I’d like to hear ‘em! :0)

PS: I know (I think I know, at least) that there are similar models out there that suggest something along these lines but let’s face it: it’s not working. Under the current laws pretty much nation-wide the rich get richer while the rest of us flounder. Too many incentives to save the rich money. It’s long time that those who struggle should get more relief and those that coast start paying their fair share.

As for Lars, I have to admit I don’t listen to him – rather filling my mornings listening to Al Franken on Air America but have been considering listening to the “other side” in hopes of finding truth somewhere in the middle.


Interesting idea, TTM. It must have been along those lines that Commissioner Sten was thinking when he wrote up that near-total property tax exemption for those poor misbegotten in the Pearl District condos.

Oregon's income tax is markedly progressive, too. Kicks into top rate at $6,250.

When I had to write a personal check for $87 to Diane Linn, Inc., off a 10K income that year, to support, as nearly as I could figure, $1,000/mo. medical insurance for teachers to which they contributed nothing (and I had none) that was one of the last dealkillers in Multnomah County for me.

If you look up the stats, Oregon's income disparity has grown more widely than has that of most states.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Randy goes to his left:

» OR: Portland to Withdraw from Joint Terrorism Task Force from Political State Report
Over the last year, there's been much controversy at the Portland City Council about the city's participation in the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Oregon law prohibits our local police from engaging in certain intelligence gathering and immigration... [Read More]

» OR: Portland Might Withdraw from Joint Terrorism Task Force from Political State Report
Over the last year, there's been much controversy at the Portland City Council about the city's participation in the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Oregon law prohibits our local police from engaging in certain intelligence gathering and immigration... [Read More]


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