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Monday, June 22, 2009

Fish and Fritz -- finally, somebody down there gets it

As we sit back and gaze in wonder at the political disaster area known as the Paulson stadiums deal, let's not overlook the heroes in the scene. If it were not for Portland City Council newcomers Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish, who said no to the misguided proposal many weeks ago and have stood their ground amid enormous pressure ever since, by now the city would be marking the trees in Lents Park for the chainsaws and hawking the $80 million in new public debt for not one but two new private sports palaces in the midst of a near-depression. Bad things may come of the Paulson plan yet, but credit Fish and Fritz for doing something few City Council members do in Portland -- actually advocating for what a majority of the citizenry wants, rather than what the development sharpies and construction unions say we have to have.

You can tell when a politician does the right thing, by seeing who criticizes her for it. The Oregonian is right on the case now -- painting Fireman Randy, whose bullying conduct has been nothing short of venal, as the "profile in courage" on the Paulson boondoggle. This is the same treatment it gave transparently phony Dan Saltzman when he hemmed and hawed before giving the inevitable green light on the doomed-from-the-start OHSU aerial tram [rim shot] years ago. According to the O, the rest of the council, who are no longer responding to the Fireman's daily tantrums, are somehow the failures here. Even columnist Anna Griffin is sticking unpleasant labels on Fritz and Fish -- how dare they hold the city back from progress? With critics like these, you know you're on the right track.

The problem, of course, is that for the last nine months or so, the Fireman and Mayor Creepy have been foaming at the mouth with one crazy stunt after another. The Paulson stadiums deal changes literally daily -- some days, hourly -- and one rush-rush timetable after another is set before the council and the rest of the city for hasty consideration, if that. Griffin herself has suggested that the mayor needs a prescription for Ritalin -- it's curious that she now faults his colleagues for not moving the city forward when she knows darned well that it's all they can do to stop him from burning it down as part of his self-destructive drama. Maybe she's feeling a little pressure from her bosses herself as she surveys the mostly emptied newsroom.

Anyway, there are many folks out here in the real world who are grateful for, and impressed by, Fish and Fritz's straight talk and steady hand through all of the shenanigans from the Jerky Boys over the past six months. May our two heroes stay that course until something -- indictment, resignation, recall, a faulty neon sign, or a burning bush along a Mount Scott bike path -- ends the adolescent behavior in City Hall and allows them to get to work on something positive. With two sane voices on the council, as the Rolling Stones used to say, it's just a kiss away.

Comments (17)

Looks like a couple of keepers to me. Fritz is now proposing a freeze on merit increases for non-represented employees. This is a start, but the real money would be to repeal the 2.8% COLA and negotiate with the unions to give up their COLA and merit increases.

They are certainly on the right side of this particular issue. Me, I'm not ready to expand the accolades too far beyond that yet.

All we need to do is electric a third and this city might be saved.

Any suggestions?

Oooops... I meant elect... not electrocute... although that might be an option too.

After reading about how screwed almost every state is right now, its absolutely incredible to me that Portland even had this stadium fiasco on the table.


States are considering selling off parks, ending services for the poor and releasing prisoners just to close a budget gap, and we are going to pump tens of millions into a stadium?? C'mon already.

Always wondered why the concept of term limits gets rejected.

There are term limits every four years.

Requiring elected officials to step down at a predetermined point cuts both ways and gives the special interests a foot in with each and every nOOb that is elected.

Kudos to both Amanda and Nick. I also think that Chairman Wheeler helped a lot. And continues to do so.

I will continue to support both in their endeavors while I wait for my blank recall petition signature forms on Sammy and Randy.

Just sent off supporting emails to Fish and Fritz.
If everyone who reads this blog wrote a short email of support for F&F and a note to the Saltz too, I think that might help sway the erst while wavering Saltzman.

"They are certainly on the right side of this particular issue. Me, I'm not ready to expand the accolades too far beyond that yet."

Nor am I. Hero worship can be a dangerous thing, particularly when it comes to the self-interested politico as hero.

I saw the movie "Up" yesterday, a children's film that made many adult points,including the downside of looking up to people. Imo, grassroots advocacy is works much better without it.

I began writing all the commissioners back in September. Silly me, I thought that all I had to do was to point out the nearness of family homes to the park, and our city leaders would look elsewhere.

Nine moths later, I am still writing. From the beginning, I have received replies from Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz. They were reasoned comments, part of a dialogue, not just reiterating a rigid viewpoint.

I have yet to receive a reply from Adams; I did receive an answer from his staffer Emerald Bogue, which was the wrong form letter--it was intended for supporters of the Lents site.

Finally, after all those months, I got a 2-paragraph reply from Randy, employing the unprepared debater's trick of refuting one tangential point, and ignoring the rest of the positions presented:

"The part of the parks board letter that is factually wrong is the portion in which they say the current Walker Stadium space needs to be replaced if a AAA stadium is built in its place. If they want to be taken seriously, they need to stop exaggerating the amount of space needed for a new AAA stadium...a number that is a fraction of the number they continue to incorrectly use.

A true indication of respecting residents is to give them accurate information with which they can arrive at their own conclusion from. To do otherwise, in my opinion, disrespects Lents residents.

Thanks for writing....Randy"

That's the best that he could do? But at least there's a Star-Trekian split infinitive and a great extra proposition ending a sentence in the second paragraph. 'Course, he's never claimed to be a grammarian...

From my experience, only Fritz and Fish have studied these plans with logic, reality and repsonsibility. I commend them both for truly representing the city.

"I have received replies from Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz. They were reasoned comments, part of a dialogue, not just reiterating a rigid viewpoint."

That is impressive. My concern is that if they became part of a majority, there would no longer be the need for i dotting and t crossing when it came to housing and other issues where money and special interests reign; people's advocates could then too easily become "enemies of the people". I recall a discussion of the Ibsen play a few years ago on this blog.

I have seen too much in the tactics of both of these commisioners when they were candidates that leads me to believe they would not listen to "unpopular" voices on principle. They seem to be compentent and to have the Portland game down for now, but that doesn't the fact that the game has long included tactics that make it akin to perpetual junior high school.

Good thoughts for Nick and Amanda. I hope they stay the course.

"gives the special interests a foot in with each and every nOOb that is elected."

Puh-leeze, once a lobbysit gets his teeth into a pol, he never lets go. At least if we replaced them every 4 years, he'd have to work a little harder and ther'd be a chance we actually found a decent politician.

Life politicians are the worst thing to happen to govt. Once these guys get elected-for-life, they lose touch with the real world.

Randy and Sam have never been in the real world. They have both had their collective paunches up against the public trough since puberty as far as I can tell. Neither one of then has ever had a real job.
Sam was Vera's water boy and Randy hauled the hoses around, probably doing the minimum required.

One of your best efforts. I particularly liked "the Fireman and Mayor Creepy have been foaming at the mouth with one crazy stunt after another."

I hope that Nick and Amanda will be stalwart in their resistance...

Well, hats off to Fish and Fritz just for being able to come to work every day with a mayor that is criminally incompetant and incompetantly criminal.

And a whack-job fellow commissioner who has sold his....wait, Randy didn't have a soul to begin with, did he?...

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