Movable scam, continued
Back in July, when the convention center hotel pushers realized they were getting nowhere with the suddenly sensible new leadership at the Portland Development Commission, they took their pitch to Metro. I noted then that this was probably because the Good Old Boys continue to rule the roost at Metro, and at many other quasi-accountable public agencies in these parts:
If the Metro angle bombs out, I'm sure the people who want to build this monstrosity will move on to the next Old Boy pork pot. Tri-Met's a stretch, but there is a light rail station nearby. Give Bernie a call. Maybe the Port? Calling Tom Imeson. Lottery Commission? Of course there will be slots in the bar, but only a hundred machines or so. Wonder what Dale Penn would say. Saif's usually good for a scam. Or hey, how about OHSU itself? The constant stream of international biotech gurus that are on their way to Portland will need a place with a spa to stay and enjoy a massage as they leaf through the Portland Monthly.As we all found out a couple of weeks ago, the Tri-Met angle wasn't so far-fetched at all. When the harsh light of day fell on the ill-fated Goose Hollow condo tower caper (aided and abetted by the skyscraper fetishists on the city Design Commission), who was in the middle of it? Tri-Met, of course. Tri-Met's giving away property to condo developers now, on the theory that their ugly towers will build ridership.
Giving away. Public property. To condo developers. No bidding. Can you say "corruption waiting to happen"? Good thing this is Oregon, where human nature doesn't apply.
Anyway, who runs Tri-Met? Why, a board of directors appointed by the governor. Seven members. Hmmm, let's see... Bernie Giusto, the Goldschmidt chaufffeur turned sheriff; Dave Bolender, an ex-Pacific Power guy probably connected to Mrs. Goldschmidt when she worked there; George Passadore, the retired banker whose name is synonymous with the Old Boy Network; Tiffany Sweitzer, Homer Williams's daughter, on the payroll of Pearlie developers Hoyt Street Properties; Sue Van Brocklin, a well connected p.r. executive whose husband is an attorney in a big-bucks law firm; George Richardson, head lobbyist for NW Natural, the gas company, and former confidante of ex-Mayor Vera Katz... the only mildly refreshing face is the Clackamas County rep, Robert Williams, a business representative at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555.
Tired appointments and constant greasing of the same old palms -- that seems to be Governor Ted's mode of operation most of the time. Oh, several exceptions come to mind, but for the most part he's helped to perpetuate the area's scandalous public finance climate, in which anything goes, no matter how outrageous. Tri-Met literally giving land away to condo developers -- it's the height of arrogance, right up there with the aerial tram [rim shot] and all the other bad behavior up on Pill Hill.
The saddest part of it? Ted's opponent will do the exact same thing if he's elected, because they're all part of the same club. You wonder why I'll be sitting that race out? The movable scams are a large part of it.