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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More on the new bad guys

Over the weekend, we noted that the p.r. firm Gallatin Public Affairs had become Portland's new Gard & Gerber, fronting for scoundrels like Merritt Paulson and the police union. In a piece by Nigel Jaquiss in today's WW, the reasons for that sudden rise to prominence become a little clearer. One of the Gallatin dudes, Greg Peden, has an inside track to Portland's new Richard Daley, Fireman Randy:

[L]ast year, when Portland Beavers and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson, whose investment in Portland is far smaller than [Paul] Allen's, sought to bring Major League Soccer to Portland, Leonard championed a far greater city subsidy for Paulson than the one Allen requested earlier.

The difference is Leonard’s friendship with lobbyist Greg Peden, who represents Paulson.

Leonard says he got to know Peden in Salem in the '90s, when Peden worked for then-Gov. John Kitzhaber and Leonard served in the Legislature. Peden later became the City Hall lobbyist for the Portland Business Alliance.

Without Leonard’s loyalty to Peden, it is unclear whether MLS would ever have gained traction in City Hall.

"Greg has always been and remains a very straightforward and honest guy," Leonard says. "It was very helpful for Merritt’s cause that he first had Greg meet with me so that I could ask questions knowing I was going to get straight answers."

You can see Peden and Randy in action together earlier this year, trying to sell sell snake oil to the Lents neighborhood for Paulson, in this photo from this story.

Anyway, the Peden connection and lots more unflattering stuff about the Fireman, who's getting a divorce, losing weight, and otherwise showing signs of a midlife crisis, are in the WW story, here. Jaquiss's bottom line: "Observers increasingly worry that he wields too much power — and is accountable to nobody."

Amen. This guy needs a sports car, a new girlfriend, and a new gig to play around in while he collects a nice six figures in his two public pensions. Selling the city down the river to his buddies, and mowing down businesses that he capriciously decides he doesn't like, need to stop.

Meanwhile, Willy Week promises more dirt next week. Oh, the drama.

Comments (23)

The best we could hope for it that he pulls a Sten and quits. That will never happen because the guy is so egotistical. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to elect a new mayor, replace Leonard, and throw out Fish and Saltzman all in one swoop next November? Alas, the planets would need to be perfectly aligned, Blazers win the National Championship, Beavers go to the BCS Bowl, Ducks the Rose Bowl and Merrit goes to Fargo ND.

You know Randy is having a midlife crisis when he shaves his mustache and irons the blue jeans he wears to council meetings.

The big question: Once he jumps in his new Miata, which road will Randy drive down?

So if Fireman Randy is Portland's Richard Daley, does that make you Portland's Mike Royko? (Trust me: that's the highest compliment I can pay you if you want the job. I grew up on Royko's columns, and his work helped convince me that a career in journalism was laudable and noble. Then, after actually working in journalism for a while...)

He he! I loved Royko.

OK, let me get this straight, he is getting divorced because he works too much, yet he sat in his office for months paralyzed doing nothing. Then he collects two paychecks and his entire work agenda is finding some new fee justification to fill the day.

Meanwhile, Sam jets off to out-of-town conferences (I can only guess why he prefers to be out of town) and seems to have trouble managing his personal behavior.

Yep, pretty much a symbol of Portland has turned into.

BTW - I know people at PFD and Leonard is not as popular as he thinks he is.

Jack, maybe you could find a cousin of Slats Grobnik out this way to converse with once in a while.

Some interesting and contrasting terminology here: Does Paul Allen's "investment in Portland" extend to anything beside his own interests in the team and arena?

Conversely, asking the city to renovate/improve city-owned property becomes a "subsidy."

It's helpful to have the white hats and black hats pointed out so clearly.

Anyone else have a problem with the idea that he has a team of thugs that can actually put businesses into foreclosure at a whim?

Nepotism, Cronyism, corruption, personal legislation - the list goes on and on...

to renovate/improve city-owned property

Yes, to alter it in a way that limits its usefulness, and all for the benefit of one private company.

Your scarf is showing.

Leonard gets things done, which can't always be said of the often-somnambulant City Council. His background is blue collar, not blue blood, so he had to work twice as hard to get to where he is without the resources and connections of the traditional city elite. He hasn't let developers and the business lobby push him around. He has a thick skin, which is a must if you're going to suffer the slings and arrows of politics (and blog commentators). And in a small town like Portland, anyone who has grown up or lived here a long time is naturally going to have friends and family distributed throughout different bureaus, businesses, and institutions.

So there are some things to admire about him and excuse, but I can only defend him so far. He is bullying, petulant, and either is oblivious to or doesn't care that some of his actions at least appear to be self-serving. No wonder he and Sam are often allied on things -- Leonard's like an older, straight version of Sam.

His past as fire union president concerns me the most, in that he seems to have internalized some of the insular, heavy-handed, work-the system tactics a position like that encourages and requires. It worries me when someone who worked for so long to squeeze more money out of taxpayers is now in control of that money.

Much of this would be moot if there was a strong enough counterweight to Leonard on the Council. But Sam's effectively neutered, Nick and Amanda are rookies, and Dan is a pushover. So maybe Jack's "Little Lord" sobriquet fits better on Leonard than Merritt Paulson.

I don't see Randy as a "lord." He's more of a union boss.

Randy Leonard is a liar and a bully.

When speaking about a secret list of repeat offenders the Police Bureau uses, Randy denied there was a list of repeat offenders. He denied his involvement in the program.

"I have never been told of a list, I have never seen a list, I have never been told by the police bureau there is such a list, I have never emailed an officer or anyone else about a list, I do not direct the program, I do not sit on meetings about he program, no one has ever invited me to be in a meeting about the program. I have not emailed or received any emails about the program." [ See September 2, 2008 comment of Randy Leonard at http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Pr… ]

After he didn’t get his own Water Bureau police force, he was found to be a complete liar.

“There is no legal justification for not disclosing the names, arrests are public record…I initiated this program. It is a great program….and that the commissioner in charge and the police Bureau holds to this position that somehow these names need to be kept secret is not serving the best interest of the program…” [10/21/2009 City Council debate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzQugJQnGGQ&feature=player_embedded]

Randy Leonard is also a bully. His victims include his ex-wife, Dan Saltzman, Bob Ball, and Ted Wheeler.

“I think this is basically absurd," says Saltzman. "And it's a textbook example of Randy Leonard trying to bully a process. He couldn't get what he wanted from his own appointed historic landmarks commission, so he's chosen the most draconian tack available.” Dan Saltzman, March 30, 2009 Portland Mercury

“records show that Leonard's former wife sought a protective order against him in Clark County Superior Court. "Inflicting physical harm -- choking, pushing, kicking, verbal threats to hit, knock my teeth out, knock me out," Regina Leonard wrote in court documents after a July 1985 incident. "Alcohol abuse during last 3 years."

The court granted her two temporary protective orders between July 1985 and April 1986. In an interview, Regina Leonard said she stood by the accuracy of her claims in the court documents and said Leonard had been drinking at the time of the July incident.” Quotes from Oregonian article, July 31, 2005 by Maxine Bernstein & Brent Walth

“Ball said Leonard told him, “You need to shut your mouth,” and that Leonard may have actually grabbed him by the collar…Ball was asked if was sure Leonard grabbed his collar during the incident. Ball answered that he felt threatened and afraid, to the point he was not certain. He could only say he recalled that his collar may have been grabbed by Leonard.” DOJ interview with Bob Ball. 02/04/2009

“Randy – why you would think it is a good idea to try to beat the crap out of me when I gave a respectful statement is beyond me…” Email from Ted Wheeler to Randy Leonard March 11, 2009.

“The confrontation between Wheeler and Leonard during a City Council meeting packed with soccer fans was over what Wheeler considers the city's schoolyard-bully attitude toward urban renewal.” March 16th, 2009 Oregonian article by Mark Larabee

I so love the consistency fron Scgrunk's office. Allegations made of improper and perhaps illegal conduct by Leonard in the period 1982 - 1985, if I read the WW sitory corretly, and in 2009 the DA assigns his chief criminal investigator.

Hmmm. Statute of limitations, any one?

That, according to Schrunk, was why he did nothing about child rapist Neil Goldschmidt.

I'm no Randy fan by any means, but what, in a year of devastating budget cuts at the Multco DA's office, is Schrunk thinking?

Who knows? I may put "Cuckoo's Nest" in the DVD player and see if I can figure out what's going on in Portland government any more.

I just finished watching the Veterans Day Parade in the Hollywood district. The city council showed up except for Randy; Adams, Fritz and Fish walking the route, Saltzman chauffeured in a convertible. David Woo walked the route also, kind of out of his district though.

What kind of guy says this:

Until now, Leonard has not talked to the press about his daughter’s legal troubles.

“The sooner she got taken into custody, the better,” Leonard says. “The one thing I wouldn’t do is ask the Police Bureau to arrest her, and I could have, because her mom and I both knew that the best place for her to be with her addictions and her associations is in jail.”

Gosh that sounds a lot like "I like to bully strangers but when it comes to keeping my daughter alive, I'm totally nutless, even when I know what I should be doing."

Randy is the only motherfu**er in this town who ever gets anything done. Love the guy.

Bush got things done too.

Just bad things like Randy

Your scarf is showing.

Maybe it's wrapped too tight.

Sounds like councilman Leonard needs to make like Neil and get the ex-wife a really nice settlement package in a hurry. Otherwise I'm sure a lot more interesting tidbits will be making it into the public discussion.

In a strange way, I almost wish Leonard had been given the Police Bureau. He would have gotten to the nuts and bolts of the Chasse matter and other cover-ups and gotten rid of Potter's former lap dog Rosie. That would be a win.
The retalliation from making all those waves in a dark, secretive, vengeful and powerful bureau would have made him a target and gotten Leonard destroyed. Another win.

"Randy Leonard is also a bully. His victims include his ex-wife, Dan Saltzman..." Thanks for the revelation, Stonespdx - that explains a lot!

Ask someone at the PFD what they think of RL as a fireman and the typical response is, “He was a good cook.”

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