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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 29, 2007 4:45 PM. The previous post in this blog was Booty call billing. The next post in this blog is Got that out of the way. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Playing both the race and gender cards at once

I guess if you're a member of the most dysfunctional governing board anyone's seen around here in decades, you've got to do something, but this is bad news. A reader writes:

I was listening to the radio… so Maria Rojo de Steffey says that the city council is all "white men" and that the council needs "more color." Yeah, that will help racial tension in the city. Make more racially sensitive comments.
I know, she's just telling it like it is. I hope she won't mind folks telling her recent career as a "mean girl" like it is -- an embarrassment.

If ever a person needs to keep her promise to spend more time with her family, this is the person.

Comments (30)

Remember that county commissioners, with the exception of the chair, are legislators only. No administrative duties. No management duties. Rojo de Steffey's job was to think up laws and then vote on them. Portland city commissioners have to run bureaus. Like in manage, oversee, hire and fire.

Also, Multnomah County has been a shining example of efficient government, don't you think?

Sellwood bridge... Wapato Jail... early prisoner release... slashing mental health services...

The last person who ascended from the Multnomah County commission to City Hall was Dan Saltzman. As in the Dan Saltzman who auctioned off the tarps to cover the reservoirs on E-Bay for a fraction of the purchase price... to his own employees.

The Multnomah County Commission of which Rojo de Steffey is a member has been the most disfunctional governmental body I can recall.

And I'm old.

Dave, you left out her steering of county contracts to her husband's company. I'm sure he'd like to expand into providing services to COP as well.

Madame Rojo will add darker skin, female "equipment", and the same dopey ideas about political correctness that there's already too much of on the city council.

How about a little intellectual or political diversity instead?

Frank,
I suspected as much but I didn't want to go there because I don't have the facts. Please expound.
Sincerely,
Dave Lister

I will never vote for her after personally witnessing her condescending behavior during the SUN schools hearings a few years ago.

The auditorium was packed with parents and kids - many from generally poor or underserved school communities - all talking about how the program had benefited their lives.

And she looked like she was being tortured at the stake and/or "forced" to listen to her constituents. All she could do was roll her eyes, refuse to look at those speaking, or got up and left the room a few times over when she got particularly disengaged or didn't like what she was hearing.

Here's a link to a WW article on the scandal from a year ago:

http://wweek.com/editorial/3253/8193/

Seemed like it was sparsely covered by the "O" - can't seem to get any hits when I search for it there. I'm sure this will get rehashed during the election. Can't wait to know more.

She is a dupe whose only skill is to play the race and gender cards in the role of a divisionist. So who directs her?

That lengthy list of Multnomah County's sordid operations also is missing the illustrious Multnomah County jail. Bernie Giusto notwithstanding, the county commissioners, including Rojo de Steffey, have a lot to answer for here.

Watch your pockets as the county is forced to defend multiple simultaneous suits over the brutal beatings of arrestees/inmates by cops and the murder of James Chasse. ( http://masterpeace.wordpress.com/2007/02/10/state-of-the-police-state-james-chasses-family-fights-back/ ).

She's a ntural for city council, she put Multnomah county in a death spiral, so why not CoP. At least we got a white male (Wheeler) to straighten out this mess.

She's even got the developer connection by (almost) throwing her husband a sweet deal with a county building. Yes, CoP would be much better if we could replicate deSteffy, Cruz, Naito, Linn and some Baptist preacher. Celebrate diversity!

Am I wrong? Didn't she marry a white man?

Yeah, color on the surface really helps Maria, never mind who's pulling the strings behind the scenes. Same old Portland...

If she had any, um, cojones (in a figurative sense), she would go after Randy Leonard's seat. But I imagine she's entering the already crowded race for the seat Adams is emptying.

You know, if any more left-leaning candidates enter that race, a write-in for Lister could gain a run-off.

Um, . . . . the City Council ISN'T all white?

I think it like most things in Portland. . .the City Council could use more color. Ms. Rojo de Steffey prolly wouldn't be MY choice. But I think it's intersting how some folks spend a lot of time banging their gums about diversity, but get their knickers in twist over an innocuous comment like the one attributed to Ms. Rojo de Steffey. Lord knows she's said and done more offensive stuff than point out that the Council is all-white. For the majority of Portlanders "good diversity" seems to mean having a variety of ethnic restaurants and cool exotic cultural performances around town.

I was watching the CBS super early news this week and they were talking about race and the election. A young white man (under 30) said "I'm not a racist or anything, but I wouldn't vote for a uh. . . . um, colored man for President" When I hear someone whining about this illustrious race card or pc-ness, they go in that same "non-racist" category.

When I was a young female professional, my friends and I would chat about how the world might be better if women ran things. And then there was the Multnomah County Commission. So much for that theory. Those women disproved once and for good any notion that female leadership would improve the world. Worse, they were a flat out embarassment. Please Maria! Go away! Go far, far away! How much worse can governance get in this city?

In the age of enlightenment I'm somewhat astonished that Maria Rojo de Steffey would play the race and gender cards.

It appears that elections don't allow for enough diversity for some, even with our very convenient voting system in Oregon.

Since Maria brought up the race card, yes, her husband is white. He was a longtime insider in city government and chief of staff/advisor for City Commissioners during the Goldschmidt era. These connections are still fertilized and harvested, and Maria still exploits these connections. If you want city government to be like in the past with a few twists, then vote for Maria-if she runs.

Heck Maria was probably in the loop on the Goldschmidt "rumor".

But since she and all her friends owed Neil their livelyhood and social status, silence was golden.

The state ethics commission was unable to determine that she committed any violations in declaring the county building "surplus" so that her husband (real estate developer, of course) could buy it.

The vote was 2-2, with two members of the 7-person panel recusing themselves, and one failing to show up for the vote.

So yeah, she is squeaky clean.

Actually, the statute she was accused of violating was failing to publicly report potential conflicts of interest prior to taking action on them, not steering county property to her hubby:


Weak Week article

Her initial comment was that the City Council needed "balance" and that she might be the one to provide it. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Maria Rojo de Steffey will always be one of the Mean Girls and will therefore never get my vote for anything. It would be nice to have a woman on City Council and I believe that the right person is Amanda Fritz. It seems her only agenda is serving the whole city.

Two words: MAYOR BOGDANSKI

Mayor Bogdanski?

He'd make the four other children walk out of council meetings. Perfect!

Whoop! Whoop!

Whether you support a candidate or not, whether you like a candidate or not, please be aware that running for office is not something that someone who has done it before signs up for lightly. Partly because of comments like some of those posted here. Give credit for courage, at least, to everyone who does. The fact that Maria isn't challenging Randy Leonard is perhaps because she wants to win election, rather than because she doesn't have the guts (or other anatomical parts), or is only running to make a point.

If dissatisfaction with the demographics of the current Council is the main reason Maria is planning to run, is she supposed to make up something different for campaign PR? As Jack says, she's telling it like it is.

Amanda, is the current Council demographics your major reason for running? And if so, can you provide some background if Jack doesn't mind?

No, Jerry, the current Council demographics isn't my main reason for running. Providing basic city services in all neighborhoods, and prioritizing the budget to do that, is my main goal.

But voters last May confirmed that we like the Commission form of government, where the Council makes many decisions as a committee. To me, part of the choice of a new member for that group of five is considering which perspectives/skills/interests aren't currently represented on it. In a city as progressive as Portland, it seems more than a little inconguent that no women are heard speaking after the close of public testimony. That's not at all the same thing as saying, "Vote for me, I'm a woman". It's a matter of having walked a different path in life from the current Council members, in more ways than gender. I've helped kids in schools over the past 16 years, worked outside of City Hall in health care, spent a gazillion hours volunteering, became an expert on helping citizens with neighborhood parks and land use issues, and so on. I'm running because I think it would be helpful to have a person thinking with those memories on board, making decisions on the Council.

Jerry asked, Jack. Don't worry, I won't use your blog when I should be using mine.

More big spenders in city government isn't going to solve any of this town's problems. Potter, Fireman Randy, Opie, Pipe-dream Dan, Scammy, Maria or Amanda. What's the difference? Who cares whether it's a boys-only club or not? These folks are all of the same political bent. "We're from the government, and we're here to help you."

So Maria Rojo de Steffey wants someone of a dfferent color on the City Council. Given the way the council is made up I can't see someone of modest income getting the nod from the public. Most likely they would have to be well to do. So how will that make the end results any better? Well to do people of any color almost always flock together.

Is anyone going to get the Boot On The Neck Gang off the low income people of this city by removing any of the barriers that are in the way? Doubtful.

Portland talks about diversity, but it is really "the city that works". Especially if you are connected. Maria is proof enough.

BGTI

Amanda, you would probably agree that "progressive" is a very broad word with several interpretations. I think I agree with you that collectively the Council represents mostly "progressive" idealogy. What I find lacking is any representation of moderate thinking, fiscally and common sense. Many of those I talk to, on committees,neighbors, work, organizations and somewhat knowledgeable of regional politics agree-and that isn't being represented on almost of present governmental bodies in the region. We can differ on the percentage this idealogy might number, but I feel strongly that representation doesn't come close to matching the moderate numbers. And I would also apply this thinking to staff of all the governmental bureaus, that you know so well, really affects the implementation of policy.

Maria would only be more of the same since that is what she has shown the past eight years. I have some first hand experience of how she handled the Sauvie Island Bridge long planning debacle and it has permeated to the Sellwood Bridge long process with very slow results, well no results. And bridges happen to be one of her claims to fame.

Your "basic services and prioritizing" leans to what a moderate would like to hear,but I hope you will be more clear in the forthcoming campaigning.

Amanda - If you are running for the reasons you discuss, then I would urge you to stay away from even implying that you think the city council is too white or too male. You say that's not the issue, so leave it for de Steffy and others of her ilk to play that game - it's a losing strategy. People generally don't vote for victims. Good Luck.

still waiting for a city council candidate willing to lead with a Vision, with a capital V.

de Steffey has demonstrated, repeatedly, a clear knack for being divisive, vitriolic and self-serving. perhaps worst of all, she's plain mediocre in ability.

Amanda, good luck. hope you develop more planks in your platform than "basic services in all neighborhoods."


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