Worrying about Multnomah County
Now that the wise, calm, steady hand of Ted Wheeler has left the Multnomah County commission for the state treasurer's office, suddenly the makeup of that board looks pretty scary. Jeff Cogen will be jumping into Wheeler's still-warm seat as commission chair, and he is going to wield quite a bit of power. But he's still a relative unknown, and of the other three continuing commissioners, two are of grave concern.
Judy Shiprack (nee Bauman) wasted no time revealing her role as construction contractor shill when she ran out to Lents with Fireman Randy last summer to try to cram the Paulson baseball stadium down the horrified neighborhood's throat. And yesterday The Latest Kafoury, Deborah, popped up in Willy Week to tell the world that she's so happy that Wheeler's gone, because Cogen is going to supply a new brand of leadership -- "pushing the envelope," whereas Ted was merely maintaining the status quo.
Uh oh. Major uh oh.
Can you say "Convention Center hotel"? Can you say "new urban renewal districts"? It certainly sounds as though the stupidity in these arenas, skillfully stalled by Wheeler, could be about to resume.
Will Cogen stay the course and stand up for fiscal responsibility at the county level? I don't know. He's a former protege of Dan "Legend" Saltzman, the resident West Hills rag doll on the Portland City Council, and you'll soon see a lot of the two of their lawn signs side by side. Saltzman has never stood up to the big money real estate weasels, or the cops, or to anybody else for that matter, and it remains to be seen whether Cogen will do so. One can only hope.
It gets even scarier when one considers who's up for Cogen's soon-to-be-vacated seat. The Reverend Chuck (Inside Track to God) Currie is one of the candidates there, and he would likely be a second vote for whatever Deborah Kafoury wanted to do. When she tried to stay on in the state legislature despite actually moving out of her district, old Chuck was quick to defend her actions. He's also on the record, on this blog and elsewhere, as believing that Erik Sten was one of the greatest leaders Portland has ever seen. If Currie makes it onto the commission, any similarity between the county government and an adult enterprise would be strictly coincidence.
The other candidates include Karol Collymore, a current Cogen staffer who one might think would be a second vote for Cogen's agenda; and Roberta Phillip, whom we like a lot but is a political rookie with the potential for being eaten alive by the big money interests from the west side. Paul Van Orden is another attractive young candidate, but he reminds us of a cute orange tomcat left out in the yard at night and surrounded by hungry urban coyotes. Tom Markgraf, an Earl the Pearl flack? Great, if you like spending money on things that don't work.
Shiprack, Kafoury, a rookie, Cogen, plus Diane McKeel, the token member from Gresham... Go by streetcar, people. Go by streetcar.