This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 25, 2009 5:09 AM. The previous post in this blog was Welches con man strikes again. The next post in this blog is Funny smell. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Friday, September 25, 2009

For Adams, photo op becomes knock op

Not to be outdone by the Portland appearance of the Insane Clown Posse, the mayor put on his own buffoon costume and went out on the street for a publicity stunt yesterday, fixing a pothole that had been there so long that geologists had begun studying it. Oh yes, basic street maintenance is in capable hands, folks -- would Sam mislead you?

Even Portland's usually impressionable mainstream media was having no part of it. And Willy Week swung the other way -- calling the mayor out for his repeated raiding of the maintenance budget for high-priced junk that doesn't work well and benefits the few as opposed to the many. Good for them.

Recently, we've been getting an earful ourselves from several city Transportation workers who think the mayor is not a capable bureau director. They say they wouldn't dare speak out publicly by name for fear of reprisal. Their list of criticisms could make a month of blog posts, and anonymous sources are never as good as folks who speak on the record. But since hizzoner has turned the spotlight onto his track record as head of the bureau, here is a highlight reel (if you can call it that) from one frustrated bureau employee:

Transportation was a great place to work before Sam became the commissioner in charge. He started campaigning for mayor from day one. He pushed Transportation's public information officer aside and let it be known that all media contact would be through him. Mary Volm had done an excellent job for years in that role. This last budget totally eliminated her job with the city. Her knowledge of Transportation and mastery of the information led to the media still wanting to contact her rather than go to a posturing politician. This infuriated Sam. She had to go....

The only thing in Paving that changed was a redefinition of the work. They would now pave smaller segments of roadway. That succeeded in making the process more costly. If you have to pay those transport and set-up costs for more frequent smaller jobs, your square foot costs are going to rise. That helped in Adams's effort to show that outside contractors can do the work more cheaply. You have correctly pointed out numerous times that Adams knows where the money resides. He loves contractors and developers....

As part of his new-sheriff gambit, Sam spent about half a million dollars on bringing in Dye Management to analyze the Maintenance Bureau's operations. Note that the money they charged the city does not reflect the wages of our bureau employees that had to attend numerous meetings and interviews with these efficiency experts. Sam had a screaming fit at the Dye personnel that presented him with the final report and recommendations that, aside from some small changes, said that Maintenance was doing its job well. A second management consultant mirrored Dye's conclusions. Sam was not happy....

The one major conclusion that Adams excised from Dye's final report was their statement that Maintenance should be under the direction of an engineer. That would be a tremendous improvement from what we presently have. Our two co-directors (now renamed group managers) are made up of a former site director from Human Resources and a project manager from Environmental Services.... The point is that these two individuals are yes-people for [Transportation Director] Sue Keil and Sam Adams. They do not have sufficient knowledge to push back and explain why Mayor Creepy's ideas are impractical or a waste of taxpayer funds.

Sue Keil is no better equipped for her job. When Tom Potter (no fireball but at least he had integrity) was prompted to ask for bureau directors' resignations at the start of his term, only Dean Marriott survived the Purge. Something in his employment contract prevented Potter from forcing him out. Sue Keil is a friend of Yvonne Deckard, the power-grabbing head of Human Resources who helped suggest the Purge. When Marriott refused to leave BES [the Bureau of Environmental Services], Keil was given the consolation prize of Transportation. With no background in Transportation, she has less ammunition to refute Creepy's ideas.... Sam's desire to repair NW 23rd a foot at a time with hand tools is an indication of the lunacy that is presently unchecked....

I would be really curious to know what truly prompted [former City Auditor] Gary Blackmer to part company with the city. It might just be my suspicious nature, but I am sure that he did not make points with Adams when he questioned the misdirection of paving funds into the procurement of smart meters. It is ironic that our smart meters are apparently losing their mind. The meter system is a major revenue producer for the city and its implosion has led to daily meetings regarding fixing the system. The present Parkeon machines were placed on the streets about six years ago at a cost of about $7,000 per unit. The "fix" is to replace about 275 of them immediately with new Cale machines. The new machines cost about $7,500 apiece, not yet installed. If you go to the Portland Tribune website and type in "Ellis McCoy" [the city's parking director] you will see... McCoy's questionable friendship with George Levey. George Levey used to sell Parkeon machines back when we purchased our meters. He now works for Cale.

I am curious about Adams's involvement. When Channel 8 asked Adams about the proposed sale/leaseback of our meter system, Adams said he didn't know anything about it but would have his staff look into it. The truth was that Adams had come over to Maintenance and met with the meter techs to assure them that the sale/leaseback would not eliminate their jobs. Why did he lie? At least Blackmer and Drummond Kahn killed the proposed idea.

Unhappy camper there. And that's just part of it -- don't forget the management coach -- but enough for one day. The Nervous Breakdown of Portland continues. Go by streetcar!

Comments (31)

I thought Sam was more interested in "manholes" than "potholes".

It's almost as if Sam Adams knows that the Portland financial situation is even worse than we suspect, and he's trying to steal as much for "me and mine" as he possibly can before Portland goes completely bankrupt. Either that, or he really, REALLY hates Portland, and he's aiming the Titanic and screaming "Full speed ahead! We'll turn that iceberg into Slurpees!"

The mayor filling a pothole was endearing when Rudy Giuliani did it on the Letterman show back in the 90s, when Dave was making a big deal about a pothole outside the Ed Sullivan Theater.

“I was told concerned drivers don’t have as much pull as bicyclists,”

Ya Think?

"With no background in Transportation"

C'mon that's Sam's MO with staff - NEVER hire anyone capable or that might know more than you.

It makes it so much easier to manipulate and bully them that way.

That frustrated bureau employee is going to lose his/her job if Adams can track the keystrokes to a city-owned computer.

Often the least qualified individual gets the good paying job. Bright, accomplished people are perceived by incompetent managers or boards as a threat, not a resource.

Check out the higher paying jobs and the corresponding qualifications of the individual and many times you will find far more qualified job candidates that were rejected in favor of the brown-noser

You know, when I see this story, I think--it's good that Adams is in office. Because each week, he shows what many knew all along--that he's mediocre at the job, equivocates about the truth, makes back-room deals, and never met a lame photo or press op he didn't like.

In other words, he's a power-hungry cliche.

I very much commend the courage for the person to write this letter.

I would like to reiterate to every City employee, small business owner and citizen who fear signing the petition because of political retaliation from Adams:

We will not turn in the petitions or make them public record if we know that we will not meet the statistical minimum threshold of 32,183 signatures.

With that said, we are very close to getting to that point and I ask all that who did not sign out of fear rethink signing the petition.

Jasun Wurster
Chief Petitioner

Oh boy!

Does this mean those streets a little farther out in SE will actually be paved?

The city annexed these areas decades ago, and the streets still show little sign of actual pavement, let alone potholes. They rival some of the craters on the moon.

Just what are these able minds in City Hall thinking? Do they think we're all rubes?

"That frustrated bureau employee is going to lose his/her job if Adams can track the keystrokes to a city-owned computer."

If so then Matk B should also be canned.....

what are these able minds in City Hall thinking? Do they think we're all rubes?

Why would they not? What have we done collectively to lead them to think otherwise?

I meant Mark B, not Matk B (Torridjoe)

I thought Sam was more interested in "manholes" than "potholes".

Oh, I get it! Because he's gay! That is really, really funny! And original! Trust me, I am laughing at your awesome hilarious joke!

I saw the joke as being more about his sluttiness than his sexual orientation.

UM ,'Willy Week swung the other way'... jeez i thought they were the Other Way , now are they
godd fearin gun totin righteous folk

"Why did he lie?"

Because he's Sam Adams.

I thought Sam was more interested in "manholes" than "potholes".

Dave J: Don't be fooled! Actually, Lars Larson used that vulgar "imagery" ON THE AIR yesterday. Shock Jock talk, I guess. "Rod" should give credit where credit is due.

We have the means to oust the regime that stinks up city hall but it looks like we just don't care.
We have what I think an honorable man providing a way for us to act but we just stare at the car wreck.

Thanks to:
Jasun Wurster
Chief Petitioner

Even if he does not achieve this goal he can go back to what he was doing before and sleep at night knowing he did it with honor. He did not engage in name calling or mud slinging so there was no excuse to not sign. Just a fact based campaign seeking to stop the madness.

Being weird is for the people not the politicians.

I agree, Wurster has taken on a lot here. Having signed the petition, I just wish a "final push" could be coordinated. Adams is CREEPY.

On the sidewalk outside the office of the Portland City Club today, a gentleman motions to me, signs while talking on his cell phone, then finishes his call and says- hey, there's some people I'm with, they'll sign. Takes me into the coffeshop. Turns out only one of his two associates is from Portland, and he has the hard-edged glitter in his eyes and cuff-links that I associate with men of rank, or at least of pretension to such. He says, oh, I'm not registered to vote. I say, I have a registration here, we can take care of that..he takes the petition, looks at it, sees the lines of signatures of the hoi poloi, then literally, wrinkles his nose and says- seriously, I'm not registered to vote, and hands me back the petition. Then he turns to his two associates and says, but really, I want him out of there just as much as you do.


My biggest dream is not winning the lottery, nor having sex with Jennifer Aniston, nor owning an NFL team, nor having a bestselling book, but instead having a license to slap Sam anytime I want.

My God that man is a tool. And by the looks on the faces of the people in that picture, I'm not the only one who feels this way.

~~Shakes Head~~~

The recall should have been automatic

This pervert should be wearing that nice orange jumpsuit in jail

However in Portland, it's a badge of honor to be 40 something and have sex with a teenager

He will not only be NOT recalled, but re-elected

What's with Sam's hand? Is he showing us the silly millimeter size of the hole he's going to fill or just how much he cares about what most of us want or need?

Sue Keil is a gifted manager. Transportation has really turned around under her guidance. The problem with Transportation is not management - it's too little money.

This is how he spends his time when the city is busted ass broke and no jobs to be found. This guy is a one termer. Sickening and creepy. Look at the expression on the guys face to the right of the honorable Mayor.

"with Transportation is not management - it's too little money."

Fine, change the charter and take some from the Water Bureau, they have all kinds of money for a blogger. Streetcars never seem to run out of money. We have enough to re-do PGE Park twice in 10 years and always have enough moeny to re-pave downtown.

Sue Kiel is a gifted manager - thanks to the person who mentioned that. I do wonder if Mary Volm is the person who actually wrote that email.

I doubt Gary Blackmer leaving had more to do with Sam Adams than having to deal with City Council generally.

Mary Volm is not who wrote the e-mail, and I regret that the comments are now turning on her. This post is not about her.

This is the City of Portland's new slogan -
"Ex plures pro pauci"

From the many, for the few...

Clicky Web Analytics