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Thursday, May 4, 2006

Earl the Pearl: Don't change a thing

The group that's talking about changing the City of Portland's form of government (which they aptly abbreviate as its "FOG") got an earful from Congressman Earl Blumenauer a while back. Earl's message: Keep the current form of government, because people back east think we're wonderful as we are.

The official minutes of this encounter are here. It sure looks to me like our man in Washington is thinking about coming home and running for mayor next time around.

Comments (8)

Well, now I wonder if Earl's performance on The Daily Show was probably his opening shot at becoming Mayor of Portland. Hmmmm...

...and I just had an Earl the Pearl sighting here in town, I believe. I stopped by the new Thai Pod restaurant on NE Broadway near 21st to grab a lunchtime carryout; he was just getting up to leave.

He was wearing a purple University of Portland Pilots t-shirt & sporting a walking cast on his right foot; I didn't have a chance to chase him down like the stalker I usually am to say hello...

I don't think it's mayor he's after. He's been running a statewide ad the last 2 weeks. I travel a lot and have seen it in Medford, Bend, Pendelton, and Springfield. If he's running for Mayor, he's wasting a lot of money doing it.

Interesting. What does the statewide ad say? "Vote for Ted"?

Do you think Earl's going to run against Smith? He'll get creamed.

I thought he wants to get out of D.C. Maybe he'll take a shot at the Senate; if that doesn't pan out, come back to run for mayor; and if that fails, hope for a choice spot in the Dean or Clinton administration (as if).

It's a long ad (60 sec?) that has his history and talks about a few issues and then has Earl talking to the camera saying we all need to work together for a better Oregon...or something like that.

I just checked and his campaign said you can view it on his web site.

It's a simple cause and effect thing. Let's assume that Portland's urban environment is viewed as among the nation's most successful. The question is why? The in-migration of creative class types? The creation of Metro governmental bodies in the 70s? The long run of success with timber (but no longer of course)?

Or the bureau form of government?

I could see this scenario:

—Earl wants out of DC, yet doesn't want to run against Potter in '08.

—The Dems need someone to take a shot at Smith, but who do they have? Um, can you say "weak bench"?

—Earl steps up to take one for the team against Smith. That buys him an election cycle, boosts his name recognition, gives a reason for his natrual constituency (Portland liberals) to be proud of him.

—Earl loses. Or, if the stars somehow enter an unlikely alignment, he wins and gets to be Senator.

—In the likely event he loses, he's set up—timing, recognition and political capital-wise—for a mayor's run. He can take a couple years off, then step into an open seat.

Portland is perfect, I wouldn't change a thing.

No traffic...No sewer pipes leaking...Pristine rivers and streams...Plenty of bridge capacity and maintenance funds...Lots of jail space...No potholes...Infrastructure in great shape...Plenty of cops on the street...Violent crime nearly unheard of...Property crimes always investigated and frequently prosecuted...Drug treatment available to all who need it...Bus Mall safe for commuters and visiting tourists...Homelessness nearly eradicated...Tranparency in public/private partnerships...Transportation investment based on cost/benefits analysis, not politics...PDC, Tri-Met, Metro, and Port of Portland all fulfilling their mandate with an eye on the bottom line. Couldn't be better: wish you were here Earl. Send MONEY!

Oh, I almost forgot: VOE leveled the playing field for women and slavic minorities...white guy incumbents tossed out on their ass!

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