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Friday, January 19, 2007

Help the guy out

Portland city commissioner Sam Adams says he can't make up his mind how he's going to vote on the city's pending charter changes. Homer Williams, will you please end the suspense and tell him how he should vote? Thanks.

Comments (8)

He should do what he's doing - waiting for Uncle Tommy to give him a gift in exchange for his vote.

You know how these things work. Sten is just keeping his head low until he quits and Randy doesn't need any help with the police unions, so they'll vote whatever way they want.

Why would any City Commissioner vote in favor of a plan that reduces their power and influence?

It's like asking a mouse to vote for a reduction in their cheese ration.

Not gonna doit.

The issue's framed as public vote or no vote. I support a public vote, but after there's way more time for public input into the proposed changes and possibly futher tweaks in the Charter. This process is rushed and incomsistent with Mayor Potter's generally good outreach efforts. I'd like to see a stronger role for neighborhoods included in any dramatic Charter changes.

I agree with Frank, this sort of "take it or leave it" BS is a(nother) slap in the face to the general public. If the setup we've got has been in place for decades, what's the rush now? How about some "vision". How about a website soliciting comments from people who aren't able to be as "involved" as those in NA's, etc. How about going out and asking instead of selecting an "inside baseball" bunch of activists, some of whom would probably sue if excluded. Ask the same people the same question over and over and expect a different answer and you're....

The same old bunch is pulling the same old sh** in the same old way. Input from ordinary citizens should have come even before the "citizen committee's" recommendations. Those "citizens" are almost all people for whom government represents a hobby, a career, a "partner", an integral part of their day-to-day lives. If Potter was looking for real diversity, he'd have randomly chosen people from all walks of life and taken care to keep the "government involved" representation proportional.


I don't question their honesty or motivations, It's just that anyone who thinks that mix represents "diversity" doesn't understand the real meaning of the word.

I was at the hearing yesterday afternoon, along with Amanda Fritz and many others. To say it was anything less than electrifying drama would be an understatement.

Both Sten and Leonard went after the commission on their assertion that our form of government is inherently flawed. Their point seemed to be "prove it". Many people objected to the lack of public process, but the commission defended itself by insisting that all their meetings had been open and public process had already occurred.

Saltzman stated that it should go to a vote in its current form, but Sten and Leonard are hanging in for longer public process, voicing a concern that an election campaign is not the place to inform the public.

Some Commissioners might vote to give the Mayor more power because they envision taking over as Mayor. Sam could definitely fall in that category.

I agree with Frank (who agrees with Leonard and Sten) that the take-it-or-leave-it approach is offensive. The Charter Commission did an okay job (while they took some public testimony it seemed to have no impact on the final recommendations) and has presented a final report. Council should now hold multpile public hearings to get input, do their own staff work on the recommendations, vote on any changes, and refer it to the ballot.

Leonard was spot-on: he didn't vote for the Commission with the understanding that they would submit their report directly to voters. If the Mayor and Saltzman agree with the Commission, they should have the confidence in the strength of their arguments to publicly defend the findings, rather than just "passing through" the Commission's recommendations.

The vote on whether to refer this to the voters during the off-year primary election this May is scheduled for February 7. It seems that the least they could do is have a time-certain meeting in the evening, in the interest of receiving more public comment during the hearing.

Um...So, what would it be like to have a candidate with whom you were not pleased elected to the new mayoral position, as proposed under the charter amendments?

I remain unconvinced that restructuring to a different form of municipal governance will improve anything. Greater "efficiency" in governance is not necessarily a good thing; tyrants and dictators are "efficient" because they needn't obtain approval of the governed.

I would prefer that there be more public involvement. I applied to serve on this commission and was rejected. I informed the Mayor's office that I would appreciate knowing about meetings and accessing agendas. Did I ever hear of planning and "open" Charter Commission meetings? No. Did I ever get a public notice of an upcoming "public meeting" of the Charter Commission? No.

I used to be a neighborhood association officer and you can imagine the notifications that I got on a regular basis. Notifications of city projects that absolutely nothing to do with my neighborhood. Reams of these things...but when I show an interest in a specific city function and ask to remain informed of Commission activities, I no longer hear from the city about those activities.

Curious, don't you think?

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