One of the raps this blog gets is that it's too negative. Trust me, I really try to keep on the sunny side, but I've always had an angry, cynical streak -- I was "snarky" before that word even existed. And when you live in a place with, ahem, shall we say, an eccentric local government, it doesn't always bring out the best.
Let me give you an example. When I read one news story last week, I started off penning some nice, innocent, light-as-a-feather commentary:
Congratulations to the beleaguered Buckman neighborhood in southeast Portland. The city has committed to repair the community pool in the Buckman School, at a $400,000 price tag. I wish the city hadn't hemmed and hawed about it all summer long, but it's nice to know that the pool will be fixed, and it is expected to be reopened this coming spring.
I could have hit the "save" button and left it there, but that little voice in my bad ear said, "Parks? This is about parks? Come on, man, what are you waiting for? This isn't a press release. Let 'em have it." Whereupon, the following flowed out:
Gee, whaddya know, that will be right around the time that a certain parks commissioner will be in the heat of a serious re-election battle. I'm sure he'll be glad to show up and cut the ribbon. Maybe he can even dodge questions about whatever happened to the community center that was supposed to be built in the old Washington High School. That place can be turned into a refugee center (er, I mean "displaced-citizen-who's-just-as-good-as-you-and-me-and-deserves-our-respect center") in a matter of a few days. But finding money to make good on an old, old promise to the neighbors seems to take decades.
Whoa. At that point, I'm thinking, it's time to cut this post and run. Get thee gone, Satan! But the little voice keeps going:
They have $3.3 million an acre for contaminated parkland in the SoWhat district, but they don't have money for the Buckman community center. Maybe they ought to have the PDC start building condo towers in Buckman -- then you'd see some quick action. Opie would dash off an application to the Kroc Foundation, and next thing you know there'd be a swell workout joint for the condo dwellers fresh in from Marin County -- complete with city-subsidized botox injections and free wine and cheese.
I dunno, folks. As anyone can plainly see, I have issues.