The way it's done in Portland
It's hard to believe that this sort of thing goes on, and nobody bats an eye: The Sam-Rand twins cut an oral backroom deal with Little Lord Paulson on his stadium project literally 10 minutes before the City Council meeting at which said project is supposed to be meaningfully discussed by the council as a whole and by the public. And this counts as transparency and public involvement.
A reader who was there writes:
Well, I just got back from the city council meeting, and it was a real soccer lovefest! No scarf waving. No vulgar chants. No smoke bombs. No vomiting in the aisles. Just love and praise for Paulson from the city council and the audience."Just an informational item," indeed. "The deal's been cut -- take it or leave it, workers of the world." The People's Republic of Portland truly lives up to its nickname once again.
Right at 2 p.m., when the meeting was supposed to start with an unrelated, time-certain item on the agenda, there was a flurry of activity out in the hall, as council members, along with Paulson and his gang walked briskly toward the council chambers. Word quickly spread that the agenda had been changed, and that the meeting would start with an unscheduled announcement that a soccer deal had been reached.
And that's what happened. There was nothing in writing to pass out to the council or the public, and [city finance chief] Ken Rust did most of the talking as he explained all of the financials.
Then there were half a dozen people who got up to praise Paulson. One speaker heaped Oprah-like praise on Paulson for his efforts to somehow find the extra money that he's now putting into this deal.
There was no vote taken at this point in time. This was just an informational item, and Adams promised that at a later date there would be a panel of experts on stadium renovation to review the actual building plans.
I left as the time-certain item began, with the no-bid and sole-source items still scheduled to follow. But there was no point in staying, and no point in being a party-pooper.
But the real punchline to this sick joke, from the O:
Paulson said he sees the PGE renovations as a two-phase project and may come back to the city in later years for more upgrades, when urban renewal might play a role.No kidding. Until yesterday, the budget for the remodel of PGE Park was between $36.9 million and $41.5 million. Now it's down to $31 million. Of course there will be bleats for more money -- and by then, the place will be unsuitable for anything but soccer. Paulson and his cronies in the soccer league will threaten to leave if they don't get their way. And the city will tell us that we have no choice but to shell out more tens of millions. It's so obvious.
But hey, it's Sam-Rand World. We go by streetcar. The ride's slow, but the trip to municipal bankruptcy will reach its destination eventually.