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Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Revival of a golden oldie

I remember a really schmaltzy Simon & Garfunkel song called "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her." Change the "y" in the second word to "ie," and that may be the City of Portland's new theme song as the "clean money" campaign finance farce heads into a new chapter.

It's still all about Emilie Boyles, one of two candidates who turned in apparently phony signatures but the only one of the two who got the $150,000 of taxpayer dough before the city (sort of) wised up. Our gal still owes the city well over half of the money back. The deadline for repayment has now come and gone, and the City Hall reporters at the O are now openly speculating that she's left town.

The end of the saga seems pretty obvious to me. Eventually, she'll file for bankruptcy (unless she already did that in recent years), and the taxpayers will see little, if any, more money from Boyles. The O reporters are talking about "leniency," but it's really a nonissue at this point. She isn't going to be indicted. (And will anybody? The trail is getting colder by the day... Hello! Oh, Hardy!) And an unsecured civil judgment, which is the best that the city can get against her at this point, is virtually worthless. You can't get blood from a stone. We don't have debtors' prison in this country.

That "clean money" worked well, though, didn't it? Really shook things up at City Hall. Brought to you by the same hippy-dippy social architects who are going to bring the Pearl District to Produce Row, a streetcar to every boulevard, and biodiesel to every pump. And if you don't agree with them, then you must hate Portland.

Comments (1)

I'm surprised she didn't leave town sooner.

Posted by: ellie at August 2, 2006 01:32 AM

For the good of Portland.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 2, 2006 01:46 AM

I hate Portland.

Posted by: Hinckley at August 2, 2006 04:36 AM

I love Portland.

I just hate when we do dumb stuff.

Posted by: Frank Dufay at August 2, 2006 05:58 AM

I would start checking buffet lines....

Posted by: gl at August 2, 2006 08:31 AM

I love Simon and Garfunkel even when they're pretentious - "Hear my words so that I might teach you". It's nice to see them get a mention. I tried to think of an Emilie Boyle song and first came up with Taj Mahal's, "She caught the Katy, and left me a mule to ride." Then I thought of the Grateful Dead's "Operator". Emilie, this song dedication's for you, girl: "She could be hangin' 'round the steel mill, Working in a house of blue lights. Riding a getaway bus out of Portland, talking to the night. I don't know where she's going, I don't care where she's been, Long as she's doin' it right."

Posted by: Bill McDonald at August 2, 2006 09:12 AM

"I love Portland.

I just hate when we do dumb stuff."

I recall an acquaintance from South Dakota who said "Stupidity is the Oregon State Virtue". Everyone does dumb stuff, but Portland IS different in that it is so boldly proud of its myopia. One of my first impressions of the place was Perpetual Junior High School, and I can't say that has changed much over the past quarter century.

The Oregonian does have much better writers since Sandra Rowe took over, but the smug pro "in-crowd" attitude is the same-or worse. Note yesterday's article on Tom Potter's new "gadfly limitation" measure permitting people to testify before council freesytle only once a month. The article (pretty sure it was Anna Griffin) ties people who question what goes on the consent agenda with those who question the authority of the police to regulate traffic. If Anna would just put on her thinking cap, she would see that VERY controversial provisions related to PDC spending end up on the consent agenda. Reporters over there aren't stupid, but I think they are required to check their thinking caps at the door. And the editorial crowd is so arrogant that it defies logic.

Posted by: Cynthia at August 2, 2006 10:18 AM

Those civil lawsuits cost more $ than they are worth. As the old saying goes
To make money you have to have money

Posted by: wsamuelsen at August 2, 2006 10:51 AM

It's time to recall Gary Blackmer. His arrogance and incompetence in not glancing at the signature sheets created this situation.
He's taken almost no heat for this, only Opie has (I agree that Opie deserves it, but Blackmer deserves far more).
Blackmer is only surpassed by Diane Linn in his ineptitude and delusional self-righteousness; and at least she is going away.

Posted by: BobTuck at August 2, 2006 11:38 AM

I think it's important to remember that Boyle's signatures passed muster with the auditors office without question. It was only Anna Griffin's investigative reporting that called the signatures into question. Had it not been for her reporting, Boyles would have probably been able to spend the entire 150K and never have been questioned. All the auditors office did was look at the addresses (some of them) and verify they were within the city limits. Great system.

Posted by: Dave Lister at August 2, 2006 12:51 PM

Of course, the Kari-Chisholm-VOE-apologist crowd will spout: "It's only $90K lost -- just a mere fraction of the total city budget."

Posted by: Chris McMullen at August 2, 2006 01:02 PM

"I recall an acquaintance from South Dakota who said "Stupidity is the Oregon State Virtue"."
Consider the source.

Posted by: tom at August 2, 2006 01:45 PM

Hey now, Tom....

Posted by: Larry at August 2, 2006 04:13 PM

My experience is that people in the Midwest tend to know "how the bore ate the cabbage" as my grandmother would have said: they are canny enough to understand that human nature applies everywhere. In Oregon, we think we are virtuous because we can't figure that out. I do consider the source, and she was sharp-and right on, imho.

Posted by: Cynthia at August 2, 2006 04:44 PM

Oops, Freudian slip: my grandmother's expression was "how the boar ate the cabbage" (with relish and without pretention). Here the expression is "How the bore at Haute Cuisine".

Posted by: Cynthia at August 2, 2006 07:09 PM

Didn't directly mean to impugn anyones character just a good natured jab that people from South Dakota maybe shouldn't be tossing stones at the virtues of Oregonians or if they could they'd hopefully be polite enough to abstain. A bit like the joke that when someone moves from Alabama to Mississippi the collective IQ in both states increases. It's funny but I'd never say it to someone from Alabama or Mississippi. You can't expect an Oregonian to just let the comment go by unchallenged do you? As for Dakotans one branch of my family homesteaded there so it's not like I don't have roots in the midwest. A virtue of Oregonians (real Oregonians) is that we hate to offend so I apologize.

Posted by: Tom at August 2, 2006 07:22 PM

""how the bore ate the cabbage" I wondered what a bore might be, even looked it up in the dictionary to see if there was some other possible meaning. Saw that it's past tense for bear, so I guess if you said we know 'how the bore ate the cabbage' you could be correct if you met a bear which for sure would eat cabbage.

Posted by: Tom at August 2, 2006 07:27 PM

That's how the bore ATE...

No offense taken tom, and I am not trying to offend Oregonians. Most of my close friends at this point are native northwesterners. But I do think that sometimes we'all get overnice in this state -to the point that we aren't calling corruption corruption (notice Jackbog's new post). I pretty obviously don't hate to offend, but I don't love it either. I just like to be able to talk about real issues without encoutering denial all over the place.

Posted by: Cynthia at August 2, 2006 07:29 PM

The clean money candidate's were required to have a bank account. That is, the flow of money could be traced, at least one step, to a discrete set of recipients. Just as with my beef with the unlawful release of money at the time of its release to KiwiWit, it can and should be recovered from the recipients. This would of course cause such recipients in the future to possibly also obtain assurance of payment from a source other than that of the city and the whim of the city auditor. It would thus look more like a loan from the city to the candidate, perhaps payable at the end of the game on the final day for the auditor to complain.

I still think the city auditor should personally cover.

Posted by: Ron Ledbury at August 2, 2006 11:32 PM

Isn't it interesting:

The Oregonian's 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 along with Williams & Dame 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 $92,000 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 with its hangnail) to recover the $3.5 - $8.5 million or more 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 $92 thouand, and everyone gets upset.

What was that about corruption in North Dakota?

Posted by: The Shadow at August 4, 2006 11:35 AM

Simon and Garfunkel made underwater poetry long before we knew how deep the ocean was.

oh. the poetry came from mr simon

with mr garfunkel as his robin-sidekick
i dont get no offers - just a come one from the ....

Posted by: kjell alinge at August 4, 2006 03:44 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]

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