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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ask your doctor about political Viagra

While the Good Old Boys of Portland bask in the glow of having locked up the governor's mansion for another term, they've got to be scratching their heads about how they've lost City Hall. Ginny Burdick was a disastrous candidate for City Council, and between that and their $300,000 "clean money" repeal fiasco, the denizens of the Arlington Club seem to have lost their punch.

Now Erik Sten and Sam Adams, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, are going to implement their Grand Vision of Downtown, which will no doubt hand more money to Homer, Edlin et al. and try to turn the whole urban core into a clone of the soulless Pearl. The downtowners -- those who stick around -- aren't going to like what's left.

Oh well. At least the Usual Suspects got the county back with Warbucks Wheeler. And if Cogen can win the runoff, they'll have a Saltzman type under the Hawthorne eco-roof to join him in funneling tax dollars back into the West Hills where they belong. Bernie must be relieved.

Comments (12)

I don't think we really know anything about Wheeler yet, so I'm withholding judgement. His daddy was rich? Good for him. He used to be a Republican? *Used to be* is the place where we need to get more of those folks.

Since Wheeler aligned himself with the three girls I have come to view clearly as the "good old" faction of the commission, I am not expecting much from him. But I do expect SOMETHING and that is that he not make good on his promise to clean up Multnomah County Animal Services in a manner consistent with the 2000 task force recommendations. And that will require that he address cat issues, specifically non-lethal cat control which is part and parcel of the "new direction" put forth in the report. It is also part of the national No Kill Declaration signed by proven leaders in the field and written by Nathan Winograd,a Stanford law grad with "no flies on him" as my grandmother would have said, and Becky Robinson, founder of Alley Cat Allies.

A friend who just finished volunteering with a losing campaign in District 46 emailed me this morning to ponder whether Wheeler had "cut an animal deal" with a lawyer we know who endorsed him. Given that that lawyer and his wife have tried to steer the Oregonian away from looking into cat issues, as have some of the county "insiders" endorsing him, I certainly hope not. Transparency is transparency, Ted. Don't play games with this so we have to name you "Ted Wheeler Dealer".

As I have posted before, there is some admitted shelter dealing in dead cats and lots of goings on behind the scenes that need the light of day.(Could Neil be in the business? A good portfolio is diverse: consulting gigs, a winery, a tram here, some dead cats there...). There has been lots of deception-like when Oprah announced last year that the Oregon Humane Society (MCAS' de facto private partner) was killing virtually no animals when it later admitted to killing about half. And the issues behind the 1989 OHS scandal when thousands of pet cats were secretly euthanized have never really been addressed and resloved. This isn't a "nothing" issue compassionate people or if your pet is involved. It's past time to play straight with it.

Oops! Typos:

Paragraph 1: "But I do expect SOMETHING... that he make good on....

Paragraph 3: "This isn't a "nothing" issue to compassionate people or if your pet is involved . '

About the "cat issue" which sadly I am uninformed about, although I have heard generic rumblings. Cynthia, are there any links with the info about the county shelter that will enlighten us?

At the risk of sounding like I don't give a shit about the felines....

Doncha think that Wapato (a $60 million detention facility that sat empty for years while hundreds of offenders have been matrixed out of MultCo's catch and release program) deserves a bit more attention from Ted Wheeler than the kitty cats?

I believe in doing all things well. The county spent 40K on the animal services task force recommendations that aren't being enforced. Ted refers to this on his website. So its a campaign promise. Do the small things right and the larger matters take care of themselves. More later.

p.s. Alice, when I tried to email you, I got BlueOregon. Is there somewhere else?

Justlooking: Most people don't know much about cat policy, which is unfortunate, since what they don't know CAN hurt them and their cats. Cats may seem unimportant to some, but to their owners, many of them children, elderly, and single childless people, they mean the world.

The Multnomah County Code is available on the county's website. MCC 13.002 excludes cats from the definition of Animal at Large while MCC 13.305 (B)(2) creates a duty to prevent an animal from trespassing. This has the effect of ushering pet cats into the shelter that can be killed as feral before the owner has a chance to redeem them. (See Jan Kowalk story, Oregonian, Nov. 2003). Such policies and practices are in derogation of the 2000 task force recommendations (don't appear to be online, but available through the county) which put the highest priority on policies that keep animals out of the shelter. Trap-Neuter-return for ferals and free roaming cats is a safety net praactice that is in line with both protecting pet owners rights and keeping animals out of the shelters. Check out www.alleycat.org and Nathan Winograd's No-Kill Solutions at www.nokillsolutions.org. Winograd is a consultant who knows all about transparency in these matters. A few thousand dollars to hire him could save the county much more in the long run. Claudia Smith of Foster Pets and I approached 4/5 commissioners last summer with this proposition. Roberts and Linn seemed interested, but Naito denied the public mandate empbodied in the task force goals and said that the current director is "her friend".

As for Wapato, I say open it up, throw in the old boys who have crossed the criminal line. Toss in their agents Mike Schrunk and Bob Caldwell for good measure. Boy will this save us money! Throw away the key. And clean up MCAS; it will keep a kid from taking the wrong path after his cat is killed by the county and ending up at Wapato.
Thanks for asking about this.

Multnomah County and the City of Portland have done plenty of "little things" right and the larger matters HAVE NOT taken care of themselves.

1. There are addicts buying drugs on the Bus Mall with virtually no visible Police presence.
2. Our roads, sewers, and bridges are literally crumbling.
3. We wasted $60 million on a jail that remains in mothballs.
4. Those who seek drug treatment are frequently turned away for lack of funding or support services (like housing).
5. Our public schools are in disrepair and they are underfunded.
6. Our elected officials never met a condo tower they couldn't subsidize, or approve with modifications. Frequently with the use of TIF abatements that rob our schools and city wide infrastructure needs.
7. While the City of Portland has no budget for neighborhood sidewalk improvements, Sam Adams had his passport stamped in 5 countries (on "official business") since being sworn in as a City Commissioner.
8. Notice the kitty cats didn't make the list?

Mister T,

You don't mention the "little things" Multnomah County has done right. But quite a few boondogles of all sizes. Speak of what you really know, not out of your biases.Multnomah County Animal Services has often enjoyed the distinction of the county agency citizens complain about MOST to the commmissioners. getting the MOST complaints. Agencies like Multnomah County Animal Services touch the lives of county residents, as do many other agencies. When they see that these agencies are mismanaged, it doesn't make them too keen on paying their taxes, taxes that will be going to subsidize Homer's dreams. Animal Services is a basic service. It's on the list. When I say, "doing the little things right", I am talking about agency transparency and customer service. Randy Leonard knows about these things. Theyr'e what give the public confidence. The comment you made indicates to me that you haven't really been paying attention.


Besides, "kitty cats" as you call them, know the score: The O this morning reveals that Ted Kulongoski just happened to be collecting food for the Oregon Food Bank in NE last week when he just happened to notice that a cat,who happened to be owned by two women, needed help getting down from a tree. Ted, who never runs away from any job needing done,climbed the latter and carried the cat to safety. Folks from the O just happened to be on the scene to take pictures.

The cat wasn't impressed; it scratched Ted.


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