Vicki vs. Ted
A couple of interesting stories in yesterday's O. First and foremost, State Sen. Vicki Walker, Democrat from Eugene, my favorite public figure of 2004, has taken out an internet domain (walkerforgovernor.org -- nothing there yet) that indicates she's thinking of running for governor.
I could get behind that. Walker has forthrightly called into question the appearance (at least) of corruption in a number of shady quarters of state government, including SAIF, the lottery, the Oregon Investment Council, and several other places where the Goldschmidt taint lingers. And if it were not for her courage to come forward with what she had on old Neil, he'd still likely be calling all the shots in Oregon, and Nigel Jaquiss wouldn't be making room on his mantel for the Pulitzer.
Walker's candidacy for governor would be an extreme longshot, of course. I'm sure the Good Old Boys of the Democratic Party are ready to paint her as a hippie chick from Eugene without the experience needed to provide leadership, blah blah blah. But they'd have to talk me out of supporting her, and I wouldn't give up without a fight.
Especially given our incumbent Democratic governor. I don't think I'll be resurrecting the clothespin I clamped on my nose the last time I voted for him.
Which brings us to the other intriguing O story from Tuesday. Governor Ted has done something wonderful "for the children." Yes, he's put former Portland city commissioner and frustrated mayoral bidder Jim Francesconi back on the public payroll. He'll make $42,000 (for now) as some sort of consultant on how to bring social service agencies and the schools together to work more efficiently, blah blah blah. I guess the state superintendent of public instruction is incapable of getting that job done. Better get the Scone back on the pad; he's been working a legit job for more than three months now.
The no-bid deal was made last week after a seven-day notice period quietly slipped by. The very next business day, The Oregonian was right on the story. No Pulitzer there.
Ted amazes with his appointments. Francesconi. Matt Hennessee, one of Neil's minions on the PDC, whom Ted placed on the SAIF board. Dale Penn, the crusading D.A. who "solved" the murder of Michael Francke (at least to his own satisfaction), appointed by Ted to keep the lottery clean. And for the Tri-Met board, he picks Sheriff Bernie Giusto, who as a cop was driving Goldschmidt around (and allegedly getting it on with Mrs. G.) while the Gov was trying to hush up his own statutory rape. (Hey, the guy's perfect for Tri-Met, he knows about driving under tough conditions.)
Sorry, but I'm not voting for a day more of that.
And then, to add to the surrealism, yesterday's O quotes Bill Scott -- one of the inner, inner, inner Neil G. circle -- on the merits of the Scone's appointment. Cluck, cluck, just another lovely day in the Beaver State.
I remember the day Goldschmidt was outed. He tried to get away with retiring from his unofficial role as political boss, saying he needed to cope with heart problems and "spend more time with the family." A few hours later, the Willamette Week let loose with the real story. But in the interim, Ted and then-Portland Mayor Vera Katz released gushy statements expressing concern and love for Neil, Neil, the Great Visionary Whose Heart Condition Has Deprived Us All of the One True Path to Greatness. I'm sure the two of them quickly pulled those statements from anywhere you could find them now, but they indicated to those of us who caught them that these two were deep, deep into the Neil network.
Later on, when KGW had the nerve to ask Ted, "Did you know Neil had had sex with a 14-year-old when you named him to head the state's higher education board?" his response was a comedy classic. No, said the governor, he had never heard that. The only thing he heard about was that maybe Neil had had an illegitimate child. Oh.
The juxtaposition of the two stories in yesterday's paper also called to mind the connection that was recently made between Walker and Francesconi. As reported in the Willamette Week:
On Jan. 24, [2004,] Walker traveled to Portland for the NARAL dinner, which brought together progressive pols from all over the state. "I remember meeting [mayoral candidate] Jim Francesconi," she says. "He said, 'Take it easy on Goldschmidt--he's done a lot for this city and the state.'"
Go get 'em, Vicki.