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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Amanda vs. Randy -- pass the popcorn

We've been waiting for this for a long time: Portland city commissioner Amanda Fritz, who's coming up for re-election, has begun calling out commissioner Randy Leonard, who's also up for re-election, on some of his more outrageous stunts. Twice in just two days! And given the two very different personalities at play, both under hot lights and campaign stress, things could get colorful indeed.

We noticed the first incident last night -- Nurse Amanda pointing out that Fireman Randy's spending water bureau revenue on whatever he darn well pleases is inappropriate:

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz said it seems that Water Bureau employees have a lot of time on their hands. Fritz called for more City Council oversight.

"It's not an appropriate use of ratepayer money," she said. "It's not even remotely connected with the provision of providing water for Portlanders."

Whoa! You tell 'em, Ms. Fritz!

Then today she publicly points out the folly of the Fireman piling up new equipment for his other pet bureau, the fire bureau, with no people to run the equipment. That's exactly what he's done with his fleet of spendy fireboats, and now he's pushing the same program with emergency response vehicles:

Fritz and Saltzman wanted to know how much sense it made to buy new vehicles without first establishing a funding plan for deploying those vehicles. Fritz started her line of questioning by saying the city currently has two emergency vehicles similar to the four the city wants to buy. One of those vehicles is not in service because of staffing issues, she said.

"If we purchase them right now, we don't have the bodies to go in them," Fire Chief John Klum acknowledged.

Commissioner Randy Leonard appeared irritated by Fritz and Saltzman's questions. (He at one point noted, quite correctly, that the conversation was happening in open session in front of reporters!) But his objections mostly stemmed from the fact Leonard considered the staffing question to be a matter of collective bargaining with the firefighters union, meaning it shouldn't be discussed publicly. "This is not Wisconsin," Leonard interjected at one point.

It's about time somebody on the council said something. You go, Nurse Amanda. We won't be voting for Fireman Randy for anything, ever again, but if you keep this up, we'll definitely be in your corner.

Comments (38)

Go Fritz. I don't think I even agree with all her politics, but she has integrity and doesn't just gloss over every subject like the rest of them do.

She's noticeably ramped things up a election time begins to approach.

However, she's been on Leonard's and Adams' side on nearly every issue(remember when she vociferously stood up for Adams after his debacle?). "Speaking up" and actually doing something are two different things.

Fritz has very infrequently had spunk. But add to the long list her support of the eastside trolley, the Portland to LO trolley, the recent TriMet bond issue, the SW Moody/Trolley street move, Milwaukie Light Rail, the Water Bureau Scholarship Program, the costly Rose on top of the Water Bureau's $1 Rose Festival Building, Leonard's Boat Armada....ah heck, there's so many to list.

At least she's awake and speaking up, which is more than you can say for the three little boys who are afraid of the playground bully.

Are any normal people going to run against any of them?

Just wait a few seconds and Randy will cue up the violins and trot out his well-worn plea that as a former firefighter he couldn't live with the guilt of knowing that a single life could be lost because the Fire Bureau doesn't have the newest and best equipment. Even if some of it stays parked in the firehouse or at the boat dock because there's no budget for the extra personnel needed to run them. Although, I suppose we can't be too surprised: getting shiny new toys and letting some other schmuck worry about staffing and maintaining them is how we roll here in Portlandia.

I agree that she is finally speaking up (some), but it's getting near election time, plus it's been a learning curve for her. She has been missing some of her constituents viewpoints, her fiscal conservatism, and expressing her positions with a little more detail to win over her points. Let it show. She might have a little Mildred in her.

She might have a little Mildred in her.

A convenient, probably transitory, bit of Mildred is better than none at all.

Glad some of you are pleased with Amanda today, giving her 2.5 years to ramp up in a four-year term. Amanda has yet to even stand up for one of her campaign promises, gladly voting on hundreds of 'emergency' ordinances (something she said she would challenge), even going so far as to say she would not run for reelection without public financing.

You need to rewind just one year to know that the entire council voted to use sewer rate payer funds to pay for Sammy's bike lanes. When asked during a campaign public appearance, Saltzman said as Environmental Services Commissioner, he would never use sewer revenues for bike lanes. This candidate had to remind him he already voted to do just that.

As for Amanda, I agree with the other white meat's comment. She had had plenty of opportunity to stand up against the twin's antics. This is called leadership, but she is just another politician to go along with craziness because it's more important to be liked by the group.

This council is the worst I have seen in decades.

I loved Amanda's comment on Milwaukie Light Rail at the OPAL Bus rally last year.

She said, "We can't afford NOT to build it".

That level of ignorance is astounding.

I don't believe she has any understanding of cost or where the money comes from, and like the others, simply does not care.

At the same time pretending to be frugal and responsible?

I'll bet she has never scrutinized any TriMet plan or budget at all.

Sorry, while the Fritz/Fireman interplay makes for good theater, that's all it is.

Mandy's been sitting quietly for the most part (when not actively supporting the more egregious money-wasters. Now, all of a sudden, armed with a critical audit report, she's gonna take it to The Man. It's purely coincidental that there's an election looming.

This fish ain't biting.

I must agree with Ben's take on Amanda. But like I cited in my starting list of Amanda's voting record, including MLR, her failure list is long on fiscal matters.

I knew that she would be short of meeting my positions on issues, but in Portland we are always put into the position of voting for candidates that might only meet 1/16th of our positions. And then there's always the "hope" that a new member of the elected can see the light with their innate tools. With Amanda it is dim, but brighter than most other members of Council-if that is saying much. There's still time for her, until a better candidate comes along if that is even possible in Portland.

Mary Volm:This council is the worst I have seen in decades.


Ben:Are any normal people going to run against any of them?

Five new people on Council will be needed. Otherwise, a normal person would have difficulty remaining normal for very long having to deal with the others unless a very strong constitution and brave. I would also suggest that they remain independent in thought and do not attend any workshops of indoctrination that might exist such as "why the public interest doesn't really matter and how to feel good about that."

I tend to agree with the other comments. I think what we're seeing is a case of pre-election good-cop/bad-cop theater.

Amanda has been AWOL on common sense for 3 years going along to get along. We supported her to make some changes. She has failed miserably. We need 3 new people next year.

On the critical water issue - great disappointment.

She goes along.

She touts that she saved us $500 Million by voting for a less expensive UV treatment plant!

Really? That statement is a good sound bite, reality is that she could have voted No to save the $200 Million as well.

The way I hear it, the $200 Million one will not work as efficiently as needed and so eventually we would be forced into the more expensive one. This is just an incremental huge billion dollar folly and who knows how much by the time Leonard is done with us.

She could have pushed for a delay as many citizens and organizations requested that. NY did and got a reprieve on the EPA matter until 2028 and are planning to ask for another until 2034.

Leonard and our Council were in such an all fired hurry to spend and said we had this 2014 deadline??

Now, to the health issue, extremely disappointed in Amanda, the nurse. She should understand that toxic chemicals will be added to our drinking water. If she doesn't understand, she should get up to speed and she knows exactly who to call upon to get that information. Me thinks she wants to play "she doesn't get it." Citizens in the know get it, so should she. I assume she reads this now -

The light put out by the UV light bulbs in the treatment plant reacts with natural organic matter and that creates formaldehyde and aldehyde.

How does that sound to you Amanda?

Just go ask for the Waiver!

A variance is not good enough because it is not a permanent solution and allows Mr. Leonard to keep spending on this billion dollar folly.

Here's a nutty hypothesis...

Given that local leadership has already demonstrated a tendency for veiled intentions, backroom deals, disregard for citizens, and p/r manipulation, is it possible that destroying the local economy is actually the goal? I mean that sounds crazy, but could it be? Is there an assumption that it will just rebuild itself around bike lanes and streetcars into the desired society, or does it ultimately just get properties on the market for discount prices? Maybe all the above?

I could be crazy...

You can run as an outsider all you want. But, as soon as you're done hanging on the wall your award for "best official Website for cities with populations under 700,000 in the Pacific Northwest area," you find that it takes only three votes to pass the shenanigans.

You have a choice ...

You can pull a Randy and quickly join the orgy of idiocy, ...

Or you can go the route of MultCo commissioner Lonnie Roberts and spend your days counting the holes in the ceiling tiles in your office.

clinamen--"why the public interest doesn't really matter and how to feel good about that."

This is the mantra of all five our council. It is truly time for a change in ALL positions this coming city election cycle. Most of my friends and colleagues here in SW will not be supporting Fritz; I just hope the rest of the city catches on.

Forgive my Pollyanna viewpoint, but I have seen government work here before and believe it can again. It requires citizens to first be educated to some extent about their local government and to get involved.

For twenty years, I worked hard at the city level to design ways the public can be meaningfully involved in our local government and have our voices heard. We used to make presentations to council about these efforts and get the elected out in the community to hear it for themselves, whether it was the budget or Lloyd district or south waterfront. (educating both the elected and citizens and getting them to work together on a plan or project)T

Those days are over for now. I'd like to bring them back, make our local government more accessible and make citizen testimony a meaningful process again. If we can't do it here on a local level - we might as well throw in the towel.

Looks like the five on their royal perches have already thrown in the towel on the livability of Portland.

I could be crazy...

No, Mr. Grumpy.
You are doing just fine by your comments.

Although having to deal with these five on their royal perches.....

I don't like insanity and like to think of any possible motive for it... often there just isn't any...

Here's my intuitive feeling about City Council intentions:

Fritz: I'd say that Fritz has decided to run for re-election, and has identified a way to pay for it.

Fish: Fish wants to be mayor someday. It's his dream. Meanwhile, his goal is to stay in public office until the time is right.

Leonard: Leonard will definitely run again; his ego requires it. His occasional schizophrenia of playing alternately victim, then petulant public servant, then shocked expert-on-all-things is proof of that--he's unstable, and wouldn't know what to do without the public teat and forum to display his ego.

Saltzman: Don't be fooled--his ego's as big as the others. The fundamental problem of Saltzman is that he's simultaneously mediocre and unwilling to take a firm stand on issues. The latter may be simply because he doesn't have a strong feeling about any issue--he just likes being in the public realm. He will definitely run again.

Adams: Adams and Leonard are much more alike than locals seem willing to admit. Both frequently resort to petulance and arrogance and an (often) extreme focus on themselves and their position. Both seek out power for its own sake, rather than as a means to accomplishing something truly good for humanity. Both seem largely unable to believe that anybody but them could server in their roles. Adams will of course run for office again; he has no other options, unless a surprise job offer appears. If he's somehow voted out of office without a comfy public sector job waiting, Adams just might go off a cliff, emotionally speaking.

White meat, well said.

Saltzman is running for Mayor.. He feels he owes the twins some payback for his treatment as Police Commissioner

Fritz:Look she may be personable, but she goes along and we need better than a go along. Being personable doesn't cut it with me if she will not fight to keep our healthy drinking water.

Fish: Another go along, have seen him compliment Leonard too often. Do not trust him to be a good steward of park land, and it is not good to have the same person on housing. Anyone who OK's sending the toxic material from Laurelhurst Pond to another neighborhood park, Cully? Not Mayor material.

Saltzman: For the children? Really? Stop the UV Treatment plant and keep those healthy reservoirs open. For once in your career get strong and save the healthy drinking water we have right now. Just ask for the Waiver.

Leonard: He has shown his colors, lost cause.

Adams: He needs to go elsewhere, get some counseling about how to stop retaliating and start a new life. Much more healthy for him than to play the role of hypocrite and puppet.

The real wild card here is if those who are lobbying Earl are successful to get him to leave his guaranteed job in Washington, DC and run for Portland Mayor.

Despite what polling says is rational, Sam will be run for Mayor, but be decimated in the primary (like the polling showed). Then him and those most loyal to him will jump ship in late 2012. Sam's spokesperson, Roy Kauffman, saw the writing on the wall to bail on Sam... others will soon follow the moment Earl announces.

With Earl running for mayor, their will be an open congressional seat that Nick can safely run for as he will not have to give up his City Council seat. Randy on the other hand will have to choose if he wants to run for City Commissioner or US Congressman (his ego will decide this). Granted, they will have to duke it out with Jefferson Smith and Steve Novic, and about 15 others wanting that job.

I think that Amanda will announce at the last minuet that she is not running... which will give the current commissioners Chief's of Staff an opportunity to convince the powers that be (i.e. pay Mark Weiner) that they have the right to sit in the big chair.

The Amanda and Randy thing is the manifestation of the last year of our dysfunctional local government.

hey clinamen,
need a chill out?
slumber for awhile
a beer with that popcorn
or a bite....

Tsetse fly...Clinaman's doing just fine.

tsetse fly,
As long as I can have a microbrew without the toxic chemicals they plan to put in our water, I am in game for some chill out time.

Meanwhile, buzz off and fly around city hall for awhile.

Hasn't tsetse fly been camped down at city hall for too long? They are all asleep at the wheel.

The follies of Portland can be summed up in a TV show that's far more recognized than the low-rated Portlandia TV show on an obscure, pay-TV cable channel.

Let me introduce you to episode AABF18 of The Simpsons: "They Saved Lisa's Brain".

A local contest offers a prize to the most disgusting person who can show up, but the situation gets out of control and a riot ensues. Lisa writes a letter to the town newspaper which attracts the attention of the local Mensa chapter where in a series of events, they take charge of the city.

The group then passes all sorts of nanny-laws which frustrate the townsfolk and eventually they lose control.

And episode 9F10, "Marge versus the Monorail" is quite brilliantly the best episode which could be seen as a parody of Portland, in which a group of people are taken in by a sleek monorail salesman despite crumbling roads - the monorail is built but doesn't last long. In the end, the relics of the monorail are left - and so are the potholes.

Who needs Portlandia...? "Put a bird on it" has already gotten to be a bad joke from yesterday.

I've had a few discussions with Fritz and each one has been disappointing. She may have won by playing the "outsider" card but in my experience she is the same as the others - nothing she says can be taken at face value. Giving her the benefit of the doubt I'd say she's in way over her head and has no clue how to lead. No way I'll vote for her again.

Milky, speaking of Amanda being "same as the others", what about Earl? He's the same too. He's supported every mass transit project, every trolley project, funneled money to bikes at the specific exclusion of even a street improvement and especially not adding any road capacity throughout anywhere in Oregon. He helped spear fed money for the SW Moody move. Like Amanda the list goes on.

I remember testifying, lobbying Earl when he was on the Council. dHe was one of the worse for what many of us find disgusting about the Council 5 now. Same ole, same ole.

And talk about "process", commissions, committees, stakeholders, he'd beat Sam. And then ignore them like Sam.

So true. Cut out of the same cloth.
That is the reason insiders would want him in that seat plus he is "king promoter of rail and bicycles" around here and his connections in DC may be needed more than ever to keep that agenda alive here in pdx during distressed economic times.

This is what I'm talking about! Citizen-led government.

tsetse fly at city hall?

There is more than one kind of fly zipping around down there at city hall.

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