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Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Fading echo

Oregon's losing a good man -- Pat Hearn, the guy who's supposed to have been policing state government for corruption, only they stripped him of any meaningful budget.

Among his parting words in today's Willamette Week are some sentiments that readers of this blog will find quite familiar:

Some people claim there's little or no serious corruption in Oregon. How do you respond to that?

I don't want to suggest that Oregon is an extremely corrupt state, but let me answer it this way. We expect there to be corruption in places like New Jersey and Chicago. But corruption is an element of human behavior. And I don't think human behavior recognizes any geographical boundary. So I think it's almost pompous of Oregonians to think that if it happens in these other places, it's not happening here either. It may be that we just don't know about it because we don't have the resources to know about it.

Do tell. What a place.

Comments (1)

I filed a complaint once, not that long ago, with the GS&PC, which Hearn intercepted -- as was his job responsibility to do -- processed it wrong, and then suppressed my complaint and denied me process.

I have not much sympathy for Hearn, good riddance. His gripe about no Legislature support is exactly true. And he is as much to blame, in my personal experience, for being a lay-low go-along do-nothing stall it out to PERS nirvanha, piece of worthless shinola.

See no ethics, hear no ethics of Hearn, I speak no ethics in his behalf. Now get the hell out of the mass media, poser.

Posted by: Tenskwatawa at August 2, 2006 06:10 PM

I'm sure he's glad to be out of here.

They may as well close that office. Let's face it, there's no government ethics enforcement in Oregon. To go with the laughable token efforts to look into white collar crime.

At least the FBI's trying to look for crooks at the muni level.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 2, 2006 11:50 PM

A couple days ago the an Oregonian editorial advised the CoP City council to "keep their mitts off the PDC".
I wrote a piece to O editorial chief Bob Caldwell about it.
Steve Clark over at theTrib had to follow suit with his own PDC defense..
He's been "Re-thinking" things while Potter is "visioning", Metro is in New Look and the State is in a "Big Look".
Clark sits on the Big Look task force and will certainly be echoing his defense of the most maleficence ridden planning agency in the state.

It's worse than corrupt around here.
These newspapers don't have any insight into the PDC.
These editorial editors have not seen their books, their budgets, or anything of substance to validate what they write at all. It's pure pretense.
They are shamelessly propagandizing (spreading lies) for and about the agency and those who run it.

Forget about any new looking, big looking, rethinking or visioning.
With such a blitz by our newspapers to cover up and protect the current municipal gang land we'll only get hood winked yet again.
Give PDC's new talent a chance
The Portland Tribune, Jul 31, 2006
"The Portland City Council should abandon its misguided efforts to take over the Portland Development Commission."

Posted by: Steve Schopp at August 3, 2006 07:35 AM

What I find amazing is how the Citizens of Portland an continue to be duped.

Gary Blackmer proved to us with Emily Boyles that his office was perfectly capable of despersing funds and then investigating how those funds were spent and when they did not achieve the stated public purpose asking for those funds back, and legally going after the person who mispent them.

The only difference between Emily Boyles and the PDC crowd that regularly rip off the city taxpayers, is they have the money and lawyers to cover thier tracks, and a compliant partner in the City, and a supportive press.

Posted by: John Capardoe at August 3, 2006 07:56 AM

From the comments, it sounds like Hearn's office is very, very similar to the Patient Advocate's Office at OHSU. You'd think from the name that it was there to help patients deal with the dubious behavior of OHSU staff on behalf of the treated patients. I found out the hard way that such an assumption is unwarranted.

The Patient Advocate is a front for the OHSU Risk Management Team....She's not there to assist patients, but to act to limit any liability of OHSU practitioners.

It looks to me as though the office Kearn has filled is naught but an early warning system to the corrupt. Much like the Auditor's office in CoP.

Posted by: godfry at August 3, 2006 03:26 PM

Isn't it interesting:

Anna Griffin laments "...that the Central Fire Station will stay put." She neglects to point out that the only support it lacked was OHSU representatives and PDOT staff to state the cost of the fire station move would cost only $15.5 million. Council would have approved it in a SoWa minute.

And now poor Emily Boyles. The City will spend - how much? - to recover the $90,000 she owes because the City Auditor believes she gamed the system they set up.

Yet not one finger seems to be raised (other than the Tram) to recover the $3.5 - $8.5 million of public financing Council distributed to "reputable citizens" representing those iconic institutions and businesses who purposefully misrepresented the cost of a major project to get it approved.

Make public policy, costing taxpayers millions and millions of dollars, based on fraud - no one cares. But dare to game the system for $90 thouand, and everyone gets upset.

What was that about corruption in North Dakota?

Posted by: The Shadow at August 3, 2006 06:47 PM

Systemic lack of accountability for white collar crime is a sad reality in Oregon. Gutting funding to agencies charged with investigative responsibilities seems to be a common ploy. In April, 2002, right before the Latifeh Kennedy case (lawyer initiated looting/land scam) case went before the Multnomah County Grand Jury, Michael Schrunk asked the County Chair to cut back his white collar crime budget. Latifeh told me the Grand Jury was ready to indict, but Schrunk talked them out of it. This guy, Schrunk, is the son of a mayor who was known for his mob connections. There is a scene in Fred Leeson's book, "Rose City Justice" where the 15-year-old Michael is observing his father's vice trial. We are asked to consider what he was thinking. I thought he learned how to fix a trial; my friend said the lesson was that, if you have friends in the Mob, it is better to be DA than Mayor. Lots of people question this guy's handling of police shootings; yet the editorial boards of the Oregonian, the Tribune, and WW sing his praises. Why? Something is really wrong with that. Another example of overseers serving as an early warning system for the corrupt. If you try to talk with reporters about it, they tend to circle the wagon and defend the official view of reality. If someone calls you-a whistleblower-a nasty name, they will unrepentently join in the chorus, even when they know it is wrong and cruel. They don't care what it does to you-or seem to realize that if evidence ceases to matter as a standard for judging reality, and respect of persons replaces it, then Oregon becomes a very poor place to do business, unsafe for everyone, even them and those they DO care about.

Posted by: Cynthia at August 3, 2006 10:20 PM

I do believe that ethical public servants can, and will, do great good working with the private sector, on behalf of our community.

And I can stand differences of opinion. What troubles me is those citizens thought to be the paragons of our community will openly commit fraud to accomplish their goals. And nothing is done about it.

What troubles me even more is that our, yes our, Portland City Council and City Auditor will now accept lying as a basis for formulating public policy.

And that is our tax money being doled out on the basis of lies.

To paraphase the Aug 3rd Oregonian editorial on Emily Boyles, "Bottom line..., the city blew enoung money to put...several cops on the street."

Those "citizens" and City Council brought dishonor on our City of Portland, caused harm to
our city government and its taxpayers.

Posted by: The Shadow at August 4, 2006 10:21 AM

Some of the "pillars" of our community have about as much substance as the paper mache variety you can buy at a craft store.

Posted by: Cynthia at August 4, 2006 01:18 PM


I appreciate your insights.

The problem is, these "paragons" now feel so comfortable, so content with themselves, and the institutions and businesses they represent that they now feel free to publicly lie to a governmental body to obtain taxpayer money.

And once Council knows about it, and even publicly acknowledges it, they still do nothing.

The major question I have is "What do we do about it? Are we so anethesized, so beat down, that we do nothing?"

Making public policy based on fraud does not provides certainty to us or our elected decision makers (who care) on the veracity of information upon which they base that decision.

And what is bad now, will only get worse if they accept this "New Age" type of policy making.

Posted by: The Shadow at August 5, 2006 10:31 AM

Thanks, Shadow.

I agree. I remember (vaguely) a quote from the late William Kunstler to the effect that the responsibility for preserving civil liberties lies with those who perceive the need. The same goes for public policy reform, imho.

Thank God for forums like this where we can discuss the issues the press is slow to address. The press is quite disappointing, not only for the monster egos it seems to represent, but also for the its timidity to confront issues. Yesterday I saw a copy of the Sunday Oregonian in Starbucks within a headline using the phrase "land grab" to describe a land swap in the Mount Hood National Forest where the Forest Service would be shorted by about 11 million while a developer would get a windfall. This morning, the headline is toned down considerably refering to "the real deal". Someone "important" must have seen yesterday's paper and phoned the editors yelling. Some Fourth Estate.

It may be trolls or pr people who make the press back away from fully confronting these issues. These people use intimidation, because they can't win on the merits. I saw an example recently-on the Indymedia site there was a discussion of Clackamas County Dog Control's recently allowing a pet dog to die in the hot sun. Commenters who tried to get to the heart of what is wrong with animal "shelters" in this region were attacked by trolls who tried to make it appear they didn't know what they were talking about by mistating what they said and warning them to "watch what you say". As long as you know the difference between fact and opinion and state as fact only that which you can corroborate, I say people should talk to anyone who will listen about what they know. I think that is crucial in a place where so much goes on behind closed doors.

I believe it is important to get to the bottom of how developers and speculators are calling the shots in this state. I thought of that yesterday when I read a line in a novel I just cracked: "A History of Love" by Nicole Kraus. Reflecting on what it was like to be a Jew in Poland when Hitler was coming to power, the protagonist reflects; " There were rumors of unfathomable things, and because we could not fathom them, we failed to believe them, until we had no choice, and it was too late." Wise words. The time for critical analysis is NOW.

Posted by: Cynthia at August 6, 2006 10:11 AM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
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