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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"Dirty money" at work

I got this big old card in the mail the other day from the Ginny Burdick campaign for Portland City Council. It shows the positive side of her campaign message -- the good she's done as a state senator. The negative side -- what a bad job the incumbent, Erik Sten, has done -- she's saving for other outlets.*

This mailer was doubtlessly paid for the old-fashioned way -- with campaign contributions from Portland's rich and powerful. Burdick has forgone tapping taxpayer funds for her campaign under city's spiffy new "clean money" public campaign finance system. We'll see exactly who's bankrolling her on April 10, when she's got to report to the city elections folks on her finances, but given her current employment at the Gard & Gerber p.r. firm, you can bet it's largely a rerun of the Francesconi crew from a couple of years ago.

Anyway, she seems like a bright person who's unfortunately fallen in with the Arlington Club set. As much as I want to see an end to Portland's long engagement with Sten cell research, to bring back the Goldschmidt network would be just as bad.

Which is why I'm voting for Dave Lister.

*UPDATE, 4:35 p.m.: Goofy me, the negative stuff is all on the other side of the card! See this correction.

Comments (32)

Not to mention her extensive experience with all things non-government-related.

In all fairness, I'm sure Sten's a "bright person" too. It's just that we've already fulfilled the quota for affirmative action for "bright people" and, if anything, have seen that there's little or no correlation between the sort of luminescence these folks bring and their ability to do the jobs required of them. Indeed, their ability to comprehend the scope and purpose of their positions has been suspect at times.

What happened to the days when the average joe worker or small business owner stepped into the political arena? A democracy is suppose to allow anyone the ability to serve in public office, not just those with connections or money. The whole thing disgusts me.

Laurelann, those days do seem long gone in Portland. However, across the various suburbs from Hillsboro to Gresham you will find nothing but "average Joes" and small business people in city councils and mayor's offices. The professional politicians want no part of offices that pay nothing but a small stipend. Maybe it's time to make the county commissions and Portland city council, and yes, Metro too....VOLUNTEER positions. The bureuacrats run things day to day anyway. Who needs $100k commissioners? Fear not! Tom Potter would still run for mayor. His hefty PERS pension makes his mayor's salary unnecessary.

Erik Sten has never had to hold a job outside's time Opie gave it a try.

You know I thought I'd heard that name before, Dave Lister. Been awhile since my Red Dwarf days.....

At least Lister took his rambling screed against coffee-drinking hippies in wool socks off his website. Who knows...with some work might seem like a real candidate.

Charlie: Wouldn't making these positions volunteer ensure that only the richest of the rich can run? Being mayor of a city like Portland is a full-time job and I'm not convinced you could do the job well if it wasn't. Who can afford to take a four year leave of absence from work? Oh, yeah. Rich people!

At least Lister took his rambling screed against coffee-drinking hippies in wool socks off his website.

Which one was that?

"Who knows...with some work might seem like a real candidate."

Oh, and how should a "real candidate" seem, pray?

More like Sten and Burdick?


To Charlie in Gresham. Tom Potter would have never run for mayor if it did not offer him an opportunity to further gorge on the public trough and get lots of perks. He's the highest paid city worker ever $204,000, and what are voters getting for their $25 donation? Platitudes and a Mad Hatter "visioning" scam wasting taxpayer dollars (that could go to schools).

Potter refused to explained why he had his police bureau expense account records destroyed before he ran for office. Could be they showed him using city money for personal reason, as reported by many before the election?

Now Potter can afford more elaborate vacations on top of the city-sponsored junkets he gets to every "sister-city" on the planet, and his staff is trying to establish new one to cities he'd like to visit (for free). How come no one has asked how much Potter's junkets are truly costing taxpayers?

At least Burdick shows up to work, can speak intelligently, and doesn't need to nap (on paid time) in between meetings.

To suggest that getting "Clean Money" donations makes a candidate a better choice for office is living in Wonderland (along with our Mayor Mad Hatter).

At least Lister took his rambling screed against coffee-drinking hippies in wool socks off his website.

Which one was that?

Actually, it's still there:

Geesh, Mark, Lister's "rambling screed" is pretty doggone benign...


Yeah, "benign".

It's basically stereotyping on the basis of external trappings. Did Dave jump out and interview these people? No.

First, what the hell is a condo-living, latte-sipping outta stater doing in Hollywood? How the hell did they escape the west side? Or, Tigard? Or Lacks Negroes?

I see plenty of that type and they are locals. Born and bred. But they don't live in condos. They live in bungalows (maybe). They work regular jobs (maybe). They don't know what to think about the state of the city these days. What ever happened to the "friendly" city...the "most liveable" city? He suspects it disappeared with the designation. All those types with excess disposable income who came here from parts south and east (and sometimes north).

It's a good thing he's removed it, because it's damning.

"The negative side -- what a bad job the incumbent, Erik Sten, has done -- she's saving for other outlets."

Actually, an analysis of Erik Sten is printed on the other side, at least on the postcard I got.

You're right -- I can't believe I didn't notice that! Time for another post...

I wonder if Ginny will raise Eric Sten's vote for the Trammel Crow's Alexan Tax Abatement.

My feeling is she would vote the same way.

It was a 10 year, $10 million dollar property tax exemption for a SoWhat luxury apartment tower.

Eric, the "champion of affordable housing and the little guy" must have forgot to interview any little guys or affordable housing folks.

Otherwise he may have pondered for a few minutes that he was voting for a $10 million big guy developer gift in exchange for absolutley nothing.
Ok, Trammle Crow had the PDC pitch the 48 units of 511 sq ft at 875.00/month w/o a parking space as "affordable", but only Potter and Sten bought it.
At the time Portland Center Apartment towers, now in condo conversion by Homer, were renting 585 sq ft studios for 675.00 w/parking.

What is the difference between Burdick and Sten? They both have records in their own arenas, which indicate taxing and spending is their top priority. Fiscal responsibility is the key to rebuilding trust with voters in Portland. One voice on the city council for fiscal responsibility, will work to the benefit of all the council. Dave Lister has the small business experience the other two just don't have to offer. Small business creates the jobs and the opportunity this city used to take great pride in. What have Sten or Burdick done to help small business? What indidates either will do anything in the future to help small business.

The last sentence of Sten's "pandering to PPS before the election" memo reads, "I would like to work with each of you to development these improvements to the current school funding package.

How about 'develop' instead?

Don't they teach proofreading at Stanford? He was an English Major, right?

"It's basically stereotyping on the basis of external trappings. Did Dave jump out and interview these people? No."

So, being a sensitive kind of guy to stereotyping, you proceed to indict Lister for using them to illustrate his accurate cultural observations by using a litany of your own. All this sanctimony while not addressing the salient point of his article; which, by the way, was prefaced by this...

"After writing a variety of articles for Brainstorm NW magazine on a number of topics I had the idea of writing a commentary on Portland politics and policies. The idea was to take a common sense look at our decision-makers and their decisions, with a caustic eye, a good helping of satire and, hopefully, humor. The result was the “Eastside Guy”. The intention was to make the reader think about what was going on in Portland politics and hopefully have a good laugh at the same time."

I suppose you win the argument with your straw man.

Clever. But it's damning.

" They both have records in their own arenas, which indicate taxing and spending is their top priority. "

Uhm...isn't that what government is supposed to do? If you make policy, you have to pay for it, right? Not saying they do it well, just that "tax-and-spend" has always been an absurd tag to put on gov't officials.

With me, it's "sanctimony", with Dave, it's "just clean fun"?

It was done "tongue-in-cheek" to show that any flipping idiot can do that kind of unsupported stereotyping. I'm not running for a position which makes determinations on how tax monies will be spent, either.

I know many who fall into contrary categories from those either of us posted....which was my point. Which you seemed to have missed.

So, ricky, you can pack your santimonious claims of straw men back where the sun don't shine...where you pulled them out of in the first place.

To Argon:in answer to your thread about "tax and spend" being an absurd tag. I disagree because the quote illustrates a tendency by some government officials to reactively propose gov. programs at the first instant, and to raise taxes instead of looking for efficiency or economy. Isn't that where we are right now, because Sten and the rest haven't used tax dollars wisely?

Charlie in Gresham,

"His hefty PERS pension makes his mayor's salary unnecessary."

Not "PERS," not yet anyway. If PERS is "indepentent" then his "rights" would actually go down if the PERB delcares that Portland's safety worker pension system is not better than PERS. This line of illogic is necessary for the issuance of bonds so that the OIC has more money to play Enron/PGE or Freddy's/KKR type games.

sorry (charlie), I guess I like making up words.

indepentent -- independent
delcares -- declares

Sorry, godfry, I guess your "tongue-in-cheek" send-up of Lister's article was too sophisticated for me to grasp.

Which cheek, by the way?

"It’s okay for Portland to be a retirement community. It’s okay for Portland to be a tourist mecca"

um, okay...When my friends think of vacation from other states, they don't usually settle on Portland first. Also, normally a place that attracts elder people looking for a quite spot to retire isn't considered a tourist mecca. If you can't grasp that fact, how are we expected to trust to you to fix the tram fiasco, or improve the Portland economy?

"A pedestrian was crossing. He was medium build, probably in his early thirties. He was clad in khaki slacks, slightly beaten, brown brogues and a blue jacket. He was crossing briskly, carrying a box that indicated a freshly purchased DVD player from the nearby electronics store."

actually, Dave, that was me walking home from Freddies. Had you bothered to stop you would know I don't have kids, don't hate Portland, nor am I against paying taxes instead of fixing my Chevy (which is actually a Ford).

I live in Parkrose and find this "essay" absolutely ridiculous. What a drive that must have been from your office in Washington County out to my neck of the woods. I would have been more likely to vote for you had you bothered to get out of your car and really understand the plights that I encounter living in Portland. Instead, you decide to sterotype me and write an essay about it in hopes of getting elected. Maybe you were just afraid, I know our frayed khakis can be intimidating never mind that I intentionally bought them that way. Maybe in the future you might be curious as to my actual story but today you aren't and tomorrow you aint getting my vote.

I see it this way, Dave Lister will be Portland's blister.

At the risk of stereotyping (or is it sterotyping?), is everyone in Parkrose so easily offended?

Don't worry, Erik loves ya, baby.

Ginny sends her best, too.

Well, I'm not in Parkrose. I'm in inner southeast Portland.

That "Eastside Guy" thing is kind of annoying, too. Sten is an eastsider. Potter is an eastsider. Fireman Randy is an eastsider. (Even Goldschmuck, when he was elected as mayor, was an eastsider.) I fail to see why being an eastsider makes one a desireable candidate for city council.

And, I agree with the earlier poster. Being a small business person does not automatically make one a better council person. Meeting a payroll doesn't make one a better council person, either. A discerning mind and a clear objective of improving the city and the lives of its residents at the least possible cost in tax dollars makes for a worthy candidate.

As yet, I have not decided. I don't know enough about Lister. As for Sten, well, I'll just have to see how he stands up to the comparison. And, as for the Water Bureau billing system...for some reason, I associate that decision with outgoing commissioner Earl Blumenauer, who passed the hot potato on to the wet behind the ears Sten. I am wrong about that?

Yes, Lister's site front page no longer links to his "Poor By Choice" piece which I found far more damning, especially given that Lister shows no understanding for the actual proposal by Leonard and Potter. I'm left wondering if he didn't understand, or was misinformed and never bothered to learn the truth. But it seems dangerous to write something about the dealings of city hall with such conviction and then get the basic facts wrong. Anyway, that essay can be found here, for now:

And it's too bad because I agree with a number of Lister's positions but I perceive him as having contempt for those with whom he disagrees. He also makes a lot of assumptions about people and appears to confuse those with reality. Yes, there were business owners, parents of school children, and hard working tax paying folks at the JTTF city council meeting (perhaps he even simply assumed that Leonard's proposal was to withdraw from the JTTF). But Lister disregards and disparages these people because he doesn't like their viewpoint. Though this city has survived similar such people on the council before I feel the city would be better with a candidate who could respect those with whom he or she had disagreements and even serve their interests. I'm not sure who that candidate is in the race against Sten, but it's not Sten, Burdick, or Lister.

Is everybody who lives in inner southeast Portland so easily annoyed? Tongue-in-cheek? Sure.

What do you guys want? Lister says and writes what he thinks. His BSNW columns are all out there. He's not trying to snow anybody.

Sounds as if you're more concerned with appearance and style than substance. Hey, I've had enough "style" from Erik Sten for a lifetime.

Meeting a payroll is probably a better qualification for a council position than NEVER having done so - no? Having private sector contracting experience is probably better than NEVER having had it - no? Pressing on regardless when you're in over your head (Sten and the Water Bureau) is probably NOT a sign of "A discerning mind and a clear objective of improving the city and the lives of its residents at the least possible cost in tax dollars". Nobody is putting forth Lister as anything other than what he is - and what he ISN'T. Most, if not all, of Lister's BSNW columns were written before he filed, so what's up with the "Eastside Guy" argument - he's been using that moniker all along.

Set 'em up and knock 'em down guys.

"I'm not sure who that candidate is in the race against Sten, but it's not Sten, Burdick, or Lister."

I dunno, I think Sten could beat Sten in a head-to-head race, tc.

How about Stenotyping?

And, Mark, why did you intentionally buy frayed khakis? One of my mother's favorite rants has to do with the question of why people do such things. Being tired of the rant, I would like to have a concrete answer for her.

^it's actually hard now days to buy a new pair of clothes that aren't made to look old...I don't get it either...


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Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
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Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
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Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
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Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
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Road Work

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