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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 9, 2007 1:59 PM. The previous post in this blog was Go figure. The next post in this blog is LaMarcus's heart. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, April 9, 2007

Whoop this

Just what I wanted on a Monday afternoon -- a robo-phone call from Bud Clark urging me to vote no on Portland charter reform. It's almost enough to make me want to vote yes.

Almost.

Comments (2)

Some comments may have been lost (at least temporarily) due to a server failure on April 14, 2007.

What did it say?

(If you can bring yourself to relive the experience.)

Posted by b!X | April 9, 2007 2:15 PM

I got one today too.

The combination of Budster and Amanda opposing the balott measures means I'll vote for them.

Posted by Nonny Mouse | April 9, 2007 2:34 PM

Since my spam call blocker picked it up first, I caught only the tail end. I came in in the middle of something about consolidating too much power in one place. The final point was that we've already voted no on this a large number of times -- the exact number he gave may have been 11, I'm forgetting already -- and that we need to vote no one more time.

Caller ID said "Out of area." Thanks, Bud.

Posted by Jack Bog | April 9, 2007 2:35 PM

Whoop Hoop! Now that brings back some memories.

Posted by jason | April 9, 2007 4:04 PM

I got one too and am very disappointed that the no folks, of which I am one, decided to use that tactic.

But please, despite your irritation, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There's a reason Portland's big business interests and real estate developers are in favor of this charter change.

Under the new form, they will be buying lunch for one, rather than five.

Posted by Dave Lister | April 9, 2007 5:04 PM

If they really want to buy lunch for someone, they can have a pizza delivered to my house. I can't offer them any "promotion of industry" money or sell them some surplus property, but boy do I love pizza.

Posted by b!X | April 9, 2007 5:14 PM

"There's a reason Portland's big business interests and real estate developers are in favor of this charter change.
Under the new form, they will be buying lunch for one, rather than five."

This is the same sort of logic that brought us "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists."

Business is for the charter change because it will save $millions.

Posted by Frank | April 9, 2007 6:01 PM

I got the same phone call. I was hoping it was a call from my significant other who is traveling abroad, and I miss quite a bit. I raced to the phone in sweet anticipation, but instantly deflated when I heard the recording... "be sure to drink your ovaltine."

Whoop this, Bud!

Posted by Gretchen | April 9, 2007 6:08 PM

Why don't all of you in favor of the present form of city government address the obvious political reasons why the commissioners are not in favor of change? Any one, any one, Beuller.

Posted by Richard S/ | April 9, 2007 6:22 PM

The existing form of government may not be ideal, but it does make it harder for the skids to get greased for any particular boondoggle. Given that we have too many boondoggles now, why should we make the process any easier? The "Five Mayor" form of government has made it possible to at least slow the pace of growth for PDC's diversion of public funds to already-rich private pockets. If the current Mayor had had the powers created by these measures, his "Nothing to see here, folks, just move along now," response to questions about PDC would have been the beginning and end of that story.

Posted by dyspeptic | April 9, 2007 6:52 PM

WWP received that voice message, too. Just for fun, we spent a few moments to transcribe it:

Hi, this former Mayor Bud Clark. Sorry to bother you, but I need your help to protect Portland’s future.

As you may know, there is going to be an election next month. One of the measures on the ballot, Measure 26-91, would change Portland’s form of government, taking power from our elected city council and giving it to the mayor.

Well, I was the mayor, and I can tell you that this measure would put far too much power in the hands of one person. It would make it easier for special interests to influence city government. What’s worse, Measure 26-91 drastically reduces citizens’ ability to have a voice in city hall.

Portlanders have been asked this question seven times, and each time they have said no. Please join me in saying no one more time. Vote no on Measure 26-91 when you get your ballot.

Thanks for your time.

Whoop, whoop!

Yep. He really said that.

Posted by Worldwide Pablo | April 9, 2007 7:32 PM

dyspeptic - there's no evidence that our form of city government makes it "harder for the skids to get greased". If anything, the opposite is true - these guys become the sultans of their city fiefdoms, and the other sultans are reluctant to criticize, lest the reciprocal spotlight gets shown on them. Arguably, this makes it easier for the skids to get greased. Of course, if we would elect an auditor that was worth a %#*!, we would have much cleaner skids altogether.

Posted by Frank | April 9, 2007 7:42 PM

The fact that the Arlington Club set is in favor of the change is a clear sign that it would make greasing the skids easier.

Posted by Jack Bog | April 9, 2007 9:35 PM

What Frank said. it's funny that good thinking Portlanders are supposed to be against this because the big money PBA is for it.

It's ok that the big money public employees unions are against it. Not that they're just carrying water for their two potential mayors in waiting.

Big money influence is ok as long as it's your big money influence.

Posted by jj | April 9, 2007 10:03 PM

Why the commissioners are not in favor of the change? Because they are proud of the city we have, and recognize it got that way partly because individuals on the Council, in the bureaus, and in the citizenry have many opportunities to make a positive difference here. Under the proposed form of government, we're being asked to put all our eggs in the one basket, betting we can attract and vote in a Mayor who knows what s/he is doing - and that s/he will do it while still taking into consideration the desires of each one of 500,000 people. Without always favoring one stakeholder group over another (for instance, the people/groups that helped elect him/her). That doesn't seem as likely to me (or to the opposing commissioners), as five elected officials with power being able to work with a wider range of interests and citizens.

Posted by Amanda Fritz | April 9, 2007 10:20 PM

What sort of checks and balances are there when power resides with only one person? Sorta smacks of dictatorial powers for Mayor Pothole doesn't it?

Posted by R.J. | April 9, 2007 10:35 PM

Hey now, that's not nice. It's Mayor McPothole.

Posted by Jack Bog | April 9, 2007 10:38 PM

Business is for the charter change because it will save $millions.

This is a lie being told by the charter reform advocates. There are no magical savings that will happen under the new system that cannot happen under the current system. Reform advocates are pointing to two unrelated items to construct this lie: 1) a benchmarking survey by the Hackett Group and 2) inefficient use of City-owned space.

Regarding the Hackett survey, it was a comparison of current City business practices to "world class" private businesses, in preparation for the purchase of a new financial software system. Surprise, surprise, it found that City government is less efficient than "world class" businesses. The survey had nothing to do with the form of government, and the City is going to reap savings from the new financial system, no matter what the form of government is.

Regarding the use of City space, it's again irrelevant to the charter. The city rents private office space even though there is vacant, city-owned space available. It's idiotic, but you wanna know who's to blame? The Mayor, who insisted that his "visioning" staff be located in private space. The Mayor also joined Saltzman in voting to put the sustainability office in the EcoTrust building. So not only is it a lie to say that changing the form of government would mitigate this problem, the change could make it worse since the Mayor is the problem!

Finally, changing the form of government will cost at least $1 million more per year since the Council will need to create a new budget office that is independent of the Mayor. One manager and eight financial analysts gets you to $1 million pretty darn quick.

I don't care if the Arlington set is for this or against it, as currently drafted it's an asinine idea.

Posted by City Observer | April 9, 2007 11:28 PM

It's also dull as all get-out. It never had a chance of passing, and it's going to go down hard. Shake me, wake me when it's over...

Posted by Jack Bog | April 9, 2007 11:33 PM

Business is for the charter change because it will save $millions.

There's been absolutely no case made for that claim. And there's nothing structurally wrong with our current form of government, "Frank," that precludes finding and instituting ever greater efficiencies in how we operate. City government has been doing that for years, and will continue to do so.

Where the "waste" comes in is where resources are allocated, and when they're allocated to serve poltical agendas that don't serve the common good. You can, at the operational level, save money --and trees-- by printing both sides of the paper...but, in the end, it's what's in those reports that spells the difference between good responsive government and waste and fraud.

Making the trains run on time --and more efficiently-- is all well and good, but it's where the trains are headed that's really important. And the question we need to ask ourselves is how we can best --as citizens-- have input into where those tracks are laid.

Posted by Frank Dufay | April 10, 2007 2:40 AM

"There are no magical savings that will happen under the new system that cannot happen under the current system."

How true. The savings that could happen, won't happen under these Commissioners. They won't voluntarily agree to consolidate-away part of their staff, resources and power. No magic there. I think you've made a good case for voting to *#%&-can this archaic wasteful system of government.

Posted by Frank | April 10, 2007 6:02 AM

Richard, you hit the nail on the head. However,some of the voters may need you to explain your perseptions.

Posted by David E gilmore | April 10, 2007 6:40 AM

I think you've made a good case for voting to *#%&-can this archaic wasteful system of government.

Its wasteful, sure. But giving Potter full control is like giving the fox the keys to the henhouse.

And "Big Business" says it may save millions, but for who? Surely not the taxpayers. And thats who the mayor is supposed to be interested in helping. Sadly, thats not the case.

Posted by Jon | April 10, 2007 7:42 AM

giving Potter full control is like giving the fox the keys to the henhouse.

Of course, this isn't about him (except in the sense that he's being a schmuck in the public discussion about it).

Think of an mayor in recent history which you hated. Goldschmidt? Ivanice? Clark? Katz?

Would you want that mayor to have a pot of money for the "promotion of industry" (currently the Council decides on this as a whole)? Would you want that mayor to be able to sell off surplus city property (currently the Council decides on this as a while)?

Would you have that mayor to have an inbalance of power akin to the President casting 20 of the Senates votes all by himself?

Etc. etc.

Posted by b!X | April 10, 2007 8:16 AM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


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