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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 26, 2010 8:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was Reagan's legacy. The next post in this blog is Reader poll: How will Blazers do in '10-'11?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is it in their hands?

The flyer we got in the mail urging us to vote for "voter-owned" elections contained more than just the guy from Newberg. It also showed a soccer-mom schoolteacher, a teachers' union representative, and these two people:

We looked at these two for a long time. Are they the folks that need to be courted to start to make changes in the way Portland is governed? We're assuming that the teacher (if she works in a public school) and her union pal will never budge from the way things are now, but these two might. What will it take to get them to look past "green" and "bicycle" and "progressive," and think critically about financial realities?

Maybe those realities are simply too bleak for them to contemplate, and so for them it's "Make 'green' while the sun shines." But without their votes, Portland is likely to ride its current rut all the way over the edge of the cliff.

Comments (40)

In my county (Jackson) they would vote for green, bicycle and progressive -- AND alternative, local, collaborative, creative and sustainable.

Hipsters, united, will never be defeated!

After today's Oregonian op-ed, you can add The Scone to the list of little people who support Sten's Stupid Idea #863.

Music must be a big part of taxpayer funded elections. John Torreano sports a "Saint Marley" t-shirt and Shannon Kendrick is wearing a Rock and Roll Camp for Girls t-shirt.

Hipsters Unite!

"Are they the folks that need to be courted to start to make changes in the way Portland is governed?"

Heh. Yes, they should, if they're actually planning to stick around. That's the biggest fallacy in courting the hipster vote. It works well for Sam Adams and his latest shiny object projects, but any proposal that affects the city for more than two years (the average time a typical hipster transplant stays in the big city before deciding to move back home) needs to court those who are planning to stay and deal with the repercussions. Any time someone starts pushing for the hipster vote, I grab my wallet with both hands, because they aren't the ones who'll have to clean up the mess in a few years.

Is that a Che shirt I see? For some reason I don't think he has a sense of history nor a rational hold on economics.

Forgive me if that is not Che Guevara.

Garagewine

I stand corrected. These old eyes are getting old.

What will it take to get them to look past "green" and "bicycle" and "progressive," and think critically about financial realities?

A mortgage.

Work past "green", "bicycle" and "progressive"?

Well, having real jobs, being over 30, having responsibilities and actually getting and paying a genuine in the hand tax bill with money directly out of their own pockets, which they had to earn themselves, might be a small start.

You guys don't get it. These are the young creatives providing the lynchpin for our local economy... until their trust funds run out and they have to move away to make a living.

Boy, the fuddy-duddies are out in force today.

There's nothing paradoxical about being financially realistic and promoting ecological sensibilities, bicycling, and progressive values. There's no correlation between being financially realistic and driving a Hummer, either. You can be just as stupid about economics either way. I didn't notice a lot of hippies among the people who managed to screw up the housing market a couple years back or the S&Ls back in the '80s.

Voter-owned elections is a bad idea independent of who supports it. Also, I've got Michael Hudson's new book The Monster on order because I've heard it is an excellent account of how the current financial crisis was engineered by the environmentally-conscious young artists of Portland. I knew it I knew it I knew it.

darrelplant,
Isn't this what all this is coming down to?
Pitting one group against another while the eyes are not on the "top" who mostly now own the media, the elected officials, and they also like for us to gnaw on each other.

Perhaps the comments directed have to do with the idea, whether right or wrong, that these for the "sustainable green" are the ones who support our Mayor and have kept him in, to the detriment of our community.
The detriment part is not looking at the entire picture, enabling a pass.

"Forgive me if that is not Che Guevara ..... I stand corrected. These old eyes are getting old."

In Ashland (my neighboring city to the south) we also have lots lots lots more Trustafarians than Rastafarians.

I wouldn't equate "hipsters" or "young people" with "green" at all. In fact, the demographic there (let's call them "under 35") are about the same as those that are older.

Who, after all, are the primary consumers in our society? Hint: those under 30.

What we *do* hear is the *use* of the words and phrases of 'green' by people who are younger. The mistake is to confuse language with reality; the reality is largely the same.

There's nothing paradoxical about being financially realistic and promoting ecological sensibilities, bicycling, and progressive values.

The amorphous, vague language of current pop culture about "sustainability" continually shifts to justify actions. "Sustainability" becomes the vague "ecological sensibilities", or "eco-friendly", or "green"--insert your own meaningless term here. None if actually means anything, but it *feels* good to say.

These are the young creatives providing the lynchpin for our local economy

Dave, your unintentional misspelling is the best comment today so far.

ecohuman, how soon you forget. Many times "lynchpin" was intentionally used in describing SoWhat. Portland is just full of them.

"There's no correlation between being financially realistic and driving a Hummer, either."

There is a correlation between being financially realistic, making a decent income, being white & middle-class and having local govt care about you.

These creative-class types are the ones that get accomodated first, not the working joes.

Don't know about creative-class types getting accommodated first, but recent immigrants seem to get accommodated and prioritized to the point that in some areas working joes are feeling reverse discrimination.

"Don't know about creative-class types getting accommodated first"

First priority on transport is bike lanes (right picture) and alternate transport. We give Edlen $30M to rehab a buiilding for Vestas and 100 new jobs, we find $11M to give to Paulson for a soccer team.

If you can name some business that needs to build/stuff and use std transport that we've actually made it easy to start up, I'd love to hear it.

oughta be a bounty

Steve,
I am thinking my concept of creative-class is not the same as examples you are siting such as the money for bike lanes and soccer stadiums.

I have not been in favor of those as priorities either.

When I spoke of creative-class, I was thinking of film makers, artists, poets, musicians.

There is a correlation between being financially realistic, making a decent income, being white & middle-class and having local govt care about you.

These creative-class types are the ones that get accomodated first, not the working joes.

You know, every time someone goes off about how the white people in Portland is oppressed, I have to wonder what planet they're living on. Sam Adams is white. Randy Leonard is white. Nick Fish, Dan Saltzman, Amanda Fritz? All white. Tom Potter was white. Erik Sten was white. Vera Katz was white. Hell, even I'm white!

If anything, the "creative class" is probably "whiter" than the city's population as a whole.

Aside from that, the people I know who've had jobs in the design and tech fields for the past twenty years have usually had individual incomes above the household average for the state, and if they've been in a relationship their household incomes have been well above average. Some of them have run their own businesses for more than a decade, and own business and/or personal real estate. They're mostly white and middle class. They may not ride their bikes as much as they did when I first met them but we're all getting old.

I don't understand how bike infrastructure only benefits the "creative class." I know lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc., that all bike to work.

This is like a philosophical orgy for elderly curmudgeons.

Yeah sure there's a lot of doctors and lawyers biking to work.

The lengthy list is secret however.

But trust that many are leaving their BMW's at home because of the wonderful bike infrastructure that makes it seem like biking is sunny, dry and fast.

When I spoke of creative-class, I was thinking of film makers, artists, poets, musicians.

The "creative class" defined by economist Richard Florida in his books covers people in the arts but focuses more on advertising, design, software development, and other businesses that , y'know, create stuff. Basically "knowledge workers." I can see why people making a buck off their brains is threatening to some people -- and who doesn't hate poets? -- but apart from the fact that the economy stinks, I am at sort of a loss as to what people think the alternatives are for industries likely to move here.

Only takes a couple of seconds to find doctors riding bikes with The Google!

http://portlandfamilypractice.com/

At Portland Family Practice we support our biking community and several members of our staff, including our physicians, commute to the office by bike on a daily basis.

...

... Dr. Reagan is active in other sports as well, including marathon running and mountain climbing, and he attributes his athleticism to his daily bike commute.

Dr. Cynthia grew up in Davis, California where bike commuting is very popular and the love of biking runs in her family.  Dr. Cynthia tries to make time to bike every day, and she finds the morning air and the Portland rain to be very refreshing.

An awful lot of "green" on their web site. Probably don't own any property, make any money, or have any fiscal responsibility, either.

"how the white people in Portland is oppressed"

I've re-read it several times and I don't think I mentioned race. Enlighten as to how you make the jump you do.

As far as the creative-class description, I'd hasten to add that most jobs for working joes would be manufacturing and sales jobs, which probably don't fit the above definition.

You know, every time someone goes off about how the white people in Portland is oppressed, I have to wonder what planet they're living on.

This one. Thousands of "white people" (whatever a white person is, anyway) live at or near the poverty line in Portland. that includes children and the elderly, formerly middle class people, and young people. Invoking people in supervisory roles in local government and "tech" workers seems to be a poor example ofthe average person in Portland.

The "creative class" defined by economist Richard Florida in his books covers people in the arts but focuses more on advertising, design, software development, and other businesses that , y'know, create stuff. Basically "knowledge workers."

Nope. That's a common misconception, and I can see where you got your paraphrased quote. In fact, Florida ultimately defines the creative class as "anyone who approaches their job creatively". He's changed the definition over time, of course, and has distanced himself from it at times because of the withering criticism of his amorphous definition. He's tried to refine it by creating subcategories--"super creatives" and other such nonsense. He even tries to define homosexuals as "creative", an odd use of sexual orientation to defne who's economically "useful".

And he's confounded by rural and small towns; he's basically said the creative class can't live there. All in all, he's a tireless self-promoting attention hound.

"I can see why people making a buck off their brains is threatening to some people"

You mean like the quants at places like Goldman Sachs that come up with ever more complex financial derivatives?

"I've re-read it several times and I don't think I mentioned race."

I take it back - Yes, Portland is probably the whitest town in existence.

My main complaint was about no manufacturing /sales jobs.

Darrelplant logic proves it again. He cites a few doctors that occasionally bike. The last 1999 census shows the Portland area with about 8000 doctors. His logic of a few proves abundance. Like only less than 1/2% of trips are by bike-totally, and then the percentage of doctors in that group is mighty small.

"I didn't notice a lot of hippies among the people who managed to screw up the housing market a couple years back or the S&Ls back in the '80s."

This made me laugh and was obviously written by a young person. If you've lived through the last 40 years, you realize that today's mortgage banker is yesterday's hippie. The "sell-out" percentage of the hippie movement approaches 100 percent. Like today's hipster, they eventually were over 30 and got a mortgage.

This made me laugh and was obviously written by a young person.

Certainly I'm young by comparison if you're, like, 70. I've lived in Oregon for almost half a century. As for the idea that even a large number of mortgage bankers are yesterday's hippies, you obviously spent too much time with the reefers back in the day because that's just a pipe dream.

Thousands of "white people" (whatever a white person is, anyway) live at or near the poverty line in Portland. ... Invoking people in supervisory roles in local government and "tech" workers seems to be a poor example ofthe average person in Portland.

I didn't invoke anyone in local government as an example of the average Portlander. I used them to question the concept that white people were oppressed in Portland precisely because the city commissioners and mayors I mentioned were the people running the city.

You haven't explained how anyone is oppressed because they're white. I'm in complete agreement that poor people in Portland get the shaft, but that cuts across racial lines. My (white) father's family lived in a shack in post-WWII Gresham and my grandmother worked as a part-time domestic for the Kerr family on the estate that's now the Bishop's Close in the late '40s. If you want to have a conversation about rich vs. poor, then please let's have it but if it's an argument that the local government's somehow not serving "white" people I think you've got to explain how the racial aspect enters into play.

As for Richard Florida, I'm not an advocate of his policies, just trying to explain that "creative class" covered a larger range than poets, painters, sculptors, and musicians. Whether trying to chase the same kind of relatively mobile, low-investment level business as every other city in the country was a good plan or if it was done in an appropriate manner is an entirely different question, but to simply write off the types of businesses the city's been trying to define as "creative class" as a bunch of tattooed hipsters living in vans as seems to be done here regularly is idiotic. Maybe you know whether the city is trying to chase down "useful" "homosexuals" as a part of their plan to lure creative class businesses to town (anything could happen these days it seems) but that's not in their position papers (then again, neither is a solid explanation of what they consider "creative class").

As far as the creative-class description, I'd hasten to add that most jobs for working joes would be manufacturing and sales jobs, which probably don't fit the above definition.

You're certainly correct about that, Steve, but I don't know where in America you're going to go to find a huge increase in well-paid laborer jobs these days. Manufacturing's been cratering for decades all across the country. Shops like Boeing and Freightliner that employed thousands of skilled and semi-skilled workers in Portland are shells of what they used to be. That's why Portland and every other city have been chasing tech and creative services businesses.

His logic of a few proves abundance.

I didn't make that claim. But I cited more examples than Ben did.

And you'll note that they're making their bike-riding a specific part of their appeal to their potential clients, meaning they think there's enough of a market that could be swayed by that interest. Who knows? Perhaps it's all a cynical scheme and they actually drive in from Camas every day in their SUV and there's a bunch of suckers born every minute.

But then again, maybe you're the sucker for believing whatever you believe.

If you want to get beyond the racial stuff, and drop the fake argument that everything's the fault of hipster kids who paradoxically are supposed have no money and no belongings yet have somehow managed to bend City Hall to their amorphous will, then read Chris Hedges:

The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product of bankrupt liberal institutions, including the press, the church, universities, labor unions, the arts and the Democratic Party. The legitimate rage being expressed by disenfranchised workers toward the college-educated liberal elite, who abetted or did nothing to halt the corporate assault on the poor and the working class of the last 30 years, is not misplaced. The liberal class is guilty. The liberal class, which continues to speak in the prim and obsolete language of policies and issues, refused to act. It failed to defend traditional liberal values during the long night of corporate assault in exchange for its position of privilege and comfort in the corporate state. The virulent right-wing backlash we now experience is an expression of the liberal class’ flagrant betrayal of the citizenry.

I didn't invoke anyone in local government as an example of the average Portlander.

That's exactly what you did, to counter the notion that a "white" person in Portland might feel oppressed. Yoour next sentence listed City Council members, etc. as examples of...what, then?

I used them to question the concept that white people were oppressed in Portland precisely because the city commissioners and mayors I mentioned were the people running the city.

Which is nonsensical, because there's no rule that people of a race or ethnicity can't exhibit oppressive behavior towards people of the same group.

You haven't explained how anyone is oppressed because they're white.

I didn't try to make the case that being white makes you oppressed. You tried to make the case that being white means you're *not* oppressed.

I'm in complete agreement that poor people in Portland get the shaft, but that cuts across racial lines.

I've never believed (or commented, I don't think) that oppression is exclusively linked to poverty.

but if it's an argument that the local government's somehow not serving "white" people I think you've got to explain how the racial aspect enters into play.

I think you're an argument in search of an opposing view. I believe the local government doesn't often serve white people well. I also think the local government doesn't often serve asian people well, black people well, and other people well.

Since *you* (and others) like to point out how "white" Portland is (implying that it's a deficit--there are few other reasons to point it out), I'm adding to that point that then poor government performance, statistically, has to be oppressive to some degree to "white" people.

but to simply write off the types of businesses the city's been trying to define as "creative class" as a bunch of tattooed hipsters living in vans as seems to be done here regularly is idiotic.

That's not a definition I'd make. Other might, though.


Maybe you know whether the city is trying to chase down "useful" "homosexuals" as a part of their plan to lure creative class businesses to town

They *are*, in fact. I've seen the language in planning documents. It's one of the more vapid, bizarre attempts at city planning that I've ever seen. If we're operating at the level of cliches, then I can only assume that San Francisco must have a booming, prosperous economy.

I didn't try to make the case that being white makes you oppressed. You tried to make the case that being white means you're *not* oppressed.

You didn't make the comment that I originally responded to, which claimed "creative-class types" got accommodations from local government before those "making a decent income, being white & middle-class."

I never claimed someone who was white couldn't be oppressed. But I think it's incumbent on anyone claiming that kind of racial bias to make a case that they're oppressed because they were white.

Since *you* (and others) like to point out how "white" Portland is (implying that it's a deficit

I wasn't the one who injected race into this discussion and nothing I've said implies anything about the ethnic balance of the city. But it's the height of delusions of persecution to think that there's some sort of anti-white bias from local government in a city with as homogeneously white a population, political, and business class as Portland.


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Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 259
At this date last year: 107
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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