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Sunday, June 21, 2009

What fools these mortals be

When the Mean Girls' time on the Portlandia comedic stage ended, many of us feared that there would be less to laugh about. Were we ever wrong. The Paulson stadiums deal has turned into a farce of Shakespearean proportions. Even at remote wi-fi hot spots hours away from the Rose City, we watched the past week's gyrations with robust amusement. Apologies herewith to those other patrons of the coffee shops, bars, and libraries in which we sat with our trusty laptop -- our snorts and chuckles were probably distracting.

When we left town at the start of the week, things were proceeding according to a fairly set plan -- pretty close to the original plan with which the play opened, although there had been many detours, twists, and turns in prior acts. There would be a new minor league baseball stadium built on half of Lents Park, and PGE Park would be remodeled once again, but this time for soccer only -- or for soccer and football, but with absolutely no room for baseball. The whole thing would cost the taxpayers north of $70 million. Saltzman, the dusky Duke of Burlingame, had issued a list of demands that would have to be met before he would go along with the plan, but it looked to the audience as though the fix was in.

One of the Duke's conditions was approval by a "citizen advisory" committee out in Lents, which was scheduled to vote up or down on the Lents part of the plan on Thursday night. But that group announced at the 11th hour that it wouldn't take a vote at the appointed time, in part because the members wanted to consider alternatives to the plan that was being pushed by Little Lord Paulson and his troubled friend, Randlet. One thing the neighbors didn't like was that the stadium would suck up all the tens of millions of pounds of gold that are supposedly sitting around waiting to revitalize their neighborhood and give poor people somewhere to live. Word had it that the committee was planning to vote that some, but not all, of that money should be taken for the baseball stadium.

When news of this mutiny reached City Hall, Randlet and King Creepy spun out a new line -- that regardless of whether the Lents stadium scam went through, the PGE Park remodel scam would go on. If the people in Lents didn't play along, so to speak, then minor league baseball would have to leave town.

This was supposed to get the Lentsians brooding about being made a scapegoat for moving baseball to the 'burbs, but the city's ploy was too late. A few of the neighbors thought about it, but most of them never considered it before they got up and spoke at the meeting. A goodly number turned out, and apparently they let Little Lord Paulson have a royal earful. "Unruly" is how some observers put the crowd. By the next morning, LLP had announced to the world that he wouldn't be moving baseball to Lents.

Now, up to that point, the action on stage was pretty amusing, but on Friday afternoon, the plot went over the top, as Randlet suddenly demanded that Lord Paulson change his mind yet again, and force the baseball stadium down Lents's throat. "And if you don't, blackguard, we won't give you the money for the soccer stadium. I said we were going to screw those neighbors over, and you can't not screw unless I give you permission to not screw."

Randlet has had the audience howling many times before. But this time he's showing the depths of his madness. It was not too long ago that he declared in a soliloquy, "How now, I am staking my political reputation on bringing baseball to Lents." In light of the events of the last two days, it appears that his ambitions have been dashed. But no -- Randlet's going to show us his toughness by "standing up to" his lord and master. "Emerge from thy sauna, m'lord, and come out to fight the peasants who dare to bite thy hand rather than kiss thy ring. In good conscience, you must. We'll have more meetings -- yea, meetings every week until the entire mob has gone on holiday to the Beach of the Cannons, there to sup on the dry oyster crackers of Dooger -- and verily we shall overcome."

We're in another little intermission here, but the play is about to resume momentarily. If the cast is going to top what's happened so far, hold onto your seat. People are still chortling about "green brick parking" and MacDon of Mazziotti with his familiar speech "Trust Me." Before long, we're expecting a town crier to show up, stage left, with a message from Sir John Krogwell about the fate of King Creepy. If His Delinquency is to be beheaded, let's hope they drag him offstage for it. But not before a side-splitting speech by another of Lord Paulson's minions, Queen Mother Vera.

Comments (26)

Great stuff! While the play's the thing, one thing for sure in this particular brave new world concoction is that there is no Prospero in it. When will this hurly burly be done? Is it just 10 days out? "A stadium! A stadium! My kingdom for a stadium!" And another hotel. And a maglev. And a fleet of dirigibles. And a major league tiddly winks team. And....

I'm hoping we see Ball's Ghost before it's over.

But what is a promise from Randlet? Just a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing . . .

You left out Randlet's funniest word:
"Emerge from thy sauna, m'Lord, and recant."

I'm also hearing, "Now is the soccer of our discontent."

I also see a scene where Lady Amanda turns to Lord Fishus and says, "The fault dear Fishus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves that we are underlings."

Jack, your play script should be performed at the Armory to save the building and it's Theater Company. After Vera's use of millions of tax dollars for her one of many pet projects that is not being paid back, your contribution would be memorable.

Love the image . . . Bottom feeders . . .

A reader writes:

While you were gone, you missed the true highlight of the whole stadium showdown. Outside of the infamous Lents neighborhood meeting, the neighbors were chanting "1-2-3-4. Paulson wants to rob the poor!" All that was missing were the pitchforks.
A well deserved salute.

Portland City Hall needs more protest chants. I'm just thinking out loud here, but "4" also rhymes with "whore"...

Though this be method, yet there is madness in it...reversing a couple of words from the Bard.

To the O, Fireman Randy is "acting with integrity." This is why the O won't be around too much longer -- people are tired of reading how hot and dry it is when they look out the window and see a flood.

Even if I could find them on their loathsome web page, I stopped reading the editorials over there a long time ago.

Spot on, Jack.

Ever think about submitting a long form opinion piece to the O? You would need to dumb it down a few grade levels, but I can't imagine they would rather print their standard drivel in place of a well written argument that critiques our local pricktocracy.

If Iran can have a revolution, why not Portland?

Ah, we are such things as teams are made on, and our little league is but a mist.

Thanks for the laugh!

Ever think about submitting a long form opinion piece to the O?

I'd rather post everything here, where someone can actually find it and read it, and it doesn't disappear after a couple of weeks.

I thought the Oregonian got a little carried away praising Randy, especially in the opening paragraph:

"The quality of Randy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings."

I don't know. I just think they overdid it.

When I think on whores, which I most certainly do often when it comes to his mayorship, I cannot help but add a bit of a predicate... namely tram... because to my mind, there is no bigger tram whore than the one who fills the role of Lord Mayor of the Land of Ports.

In summary (Henry 4 P2):

Randlet: God send the Mayor a better populace!
All Staff: God send the populace a better mayor! We cannot rid our city of him. (

I think a lot of us are waiting for Exeunt Randlet, Creepy, and Duke of Burlingame.

Meanwhile Oregon Live, in an article titled, "Portland council still undecided as hearing on Chavez street nears," notes that the city council members are withholding judgment on the renaming of 39th and "are waiting to hear the arguments Tuesday." Good news, I guess.

Despite the amount of time that has passed, the survey, hearings, input, letters, etc., the council - and Commissioner Randy in particular - have has been so busy concentrating on soccer and baseball stadium negotiations that (Leonard says), "I haven't sorted through all the issues yet."

If he hasn't bothered to form an opinion on the Chavez issue which is relatively small potatoes when compared with other pressing city needs, now much attention has he devoted to anything else?

The stadium brouhaha is a large sucking hole removing all of the air from the room.

The article is somewhat buried on the OregonLive site but you can find it here. There are some very good comments:

Not to encourage hijacking this post, but nothing says "done deal" like an Oregonian article that says "anything can happen" and politicians saying "I haven't made up my mind." I'll lay 50-to-1 odds that 39th Avenue will become Chavez Boulevard.

Bravo Jack .....from the cheap seats at the back of the Ashland Shakespeare festival....BUT

I have to disagree (off topic) that Sir Randlet will agree to Chavez Blvd. I think sniffing the political winds, he will say let's keep the "status quo".

(err "I'm in a soccer/baseball hole and I'm not going to dig any more")

Are you kidding? When Himself is in the hole, he digs ever deeper. "Gadzooks! I will reach China."

Back to Lents:

"It's the code of honor among wolves that
no high-minded lamb will squeal"
-Henry DeMarest lloyd

Well, they weren't supposed to, but nobody told the lambs.....

I'll lay 50-to-1 odds that 39th Avenue will become Chavez Boulevard.

5-0 vote, no less.

Sure Paulson was trying to shove this down our throats, but he had some skin in the game.

The Chavezistas, however, are shoving this down our throats on taxpayers' time and dime. With their contribution capped at $3,000, the rest is up to you, Gentle Taxpayer.

This quality of Randy,
is not restrained.
It droppeth from the heavens,
as gentle rain

Upon this place beneath,
it is twice blest.
He blesseth as he gives,
and as he takes.

His mightiness shines brighter,
than his crown.
His scepter is his force
of temporal power,

His majesty attributes,
not to awe.
Just simply to the dread,
and fear
of Kings.

"The Chavezistas, however, are shoving this down our throats on taxpayers' time and dime."

Because recognizing an internationally renowned human rights leader (for a few measly tens of thousand of dollars) has alot in common with multi-million dollar kickbacks to a wealthy trustafarian sports "entrepreneur".

The Duke of Burlingame or the Drunk of Burlingame? Just curious.

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