Under the holiday weekend rug
We've noted here several times the well known tendency that politicians and bureaucrats have to release controversial news on Friday afternoons, where the fewest number of people will see it -- and the willingness of papers like the O to bury inconvenient investigative findings on Friday night and Saturday, when many readers aren't around. Three-day holiday weekends are particularly susceptible to this kind of manipulation, and sure enough, there were three local stories released last Friday afternoon that are sure to escape some folks' notice unless someone calls attention to them again today, when workers are back in their cubicles surfing the 'net instead of working:
1. Major hanky panky with the City of Portland parking contract. We were all surprised -- mildly pleasantly so -- when Portland announced that it was awarding the lucrative contract to manage the city's parking garages to a relatively unknown outfit from Tennessee. New blood! It proved that the Portland Old Money, such as the Goodman family of real estate and parking tycoons, doesn't always rule the roost around here. Both the Goodmans and the outfit that currently has the garage contract, Smart Park (run by the Schlesingers), were shut out in favor of a newcomer.
But not so fast! On Friday, Mayor Creepy threw out the results of the public bidding process and announced that the city's starting all over in its search to find the perfect contractor. He issued one of his pathological press releases that was so disingenuous, it almost makes you want to dig around his rental houses looking for Kyron Horman. Anyway, look for Goodman or Schlesinger to get the contract. And when West Hills Money wins, The Natural Order of Portland is restored. Dan Saltzman's mom can then mingle with the other moneyed blue hairs without getting dirty looks, which is all that really matters in this town.
2. Taxpayers will pay big bucks for John Minnis's "second chakra" escapades. Former Oregonian John Minnis, a tighty righty favorite politician, has settled the civil case stemming from charges that he tried to force himself on a subordinate in his police training gig. He'll pay her $65,000 -- but his employer, the State of Oregon, will pay her another $385,000 on account of the incidents. Will the state's taxpayers (or the state's insurance company) get to recoup those funds from Minnis? We would hope so, but we wouldn't bet on it.
And why is the state liable in the first place? Minnis wasn't acting in the scope of his employment when he did whatever he did to the woman, was he? Did state supervisors know that he had a problem? In any event, that the state (or its insurer) is forking over nearly 400 grand to pay off the fallout from some sleazebag's horny business trips is a scandal of the highest order.
3. Mazziotti and Edlen closer to renewing their vows. Out in Beaverton, which is in the early stages of a new "urban renewal" scam, the city's redevelopment manager, Don Mazziotti, is running the same plays he used to run as head of the Portland Development Commission before he was let go from that gig. Bevo recently embarked on a search for a "master developer" for all sorts of future taxpayer-subsidized projects, the nature and extent of which are deliberately being kept oh-so-vague. And in no time at all, The Don has got it narrowed to two candidates, one of which is his old-time sweetheart from Portland, Mark Edlen. Edlen, along with The Don, Homer Williams, Peter Kohler, and Neil Goldschmidt, led Portland's taxpayers into the financial black hole known as the SoWhat District. This time, an outfit named Specht is also in the running, but most dogs prefer the smell of familiar pack mates. It's a good bet that the fix is in, and Edlen will get the gig. Let's hope for their sake that the voters of Beaverton cut this scheme off at the pass, but in the meantime we Portlanders can thank our lucky stars that these bandits are operating outside our own city limits for a change.