Detail, east Portland photo, courtesy Miles Hochstein / Portland Ground.

For old times' sake
The bojack bumper sticker -- only $1.50!

To order, click here.

Excellent tunes -- free! And on your browser right now. Just click on Radio Bojack!

E-mail us here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 20, 2011 8:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was Fallout days and Mondays always get me down. The next post in this blog is That wasn't a dog, cont'd. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



Law and Taxation
How Appealing
TaxProf Blog
Mauled Again
Tax Appellate Blog
A Taxing Matter
Josh Marquis
Native America, Discovered and Conquered
The Yin Blog
Ernie the Attorney
Above the Law
The Volokh Conspiracy
Going Concern
Bag and Baggage
Wealth Strategies Journal
Jim Hamilton's World of Securities Regulation
World of Work
The Faculty Lounge
Lowering the Bar
OrCon Law

Hap'nin' Guys
Tony Pierce
Parkway Rest Stop
Along the Gradyent
Dwight Jaynes
Bob Borden
Dingleberry Gazette
The Red Electric
Iced Borscht
Jeremy Blachman
Dean's Rhetorical Flourish
Straight White Guy
As Time Goes By
Dave Wagner
Jeff Selis
Alas, a Blog
Scott Hendison
The View Through the Windshield
Appliance Blog
The Bleat

Hap'nin' Gals
My Whim is Law
Lelo in Nopo
Attorney at Large
Linda Kruschke
The Non-Consumer Advocate
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place
A Pig of Success
Attorney at Large
Margaret and Helen
Kimberlee Jaynes
Cornelia Seigneur
And Sew It Goes
Mile 73
Rainy Day Thoughts
That Black Girl
Posie Gets Cozy
Cat Eyes
Rhi in Pink
Ragwaters, Bitters, and Blue Ruin
Rose City Journal
Type Like the Wind

Portland and Oregon
Isaac Laquedem
Rantings of a [Censored] Bus Driver
Jeff Mapes
Vintage Portland
The Portlander
South Waterfront
Amanda Fritz
O City Hall Reporters
Guilty Carnivore
Old Town by Larry Norton
The Alaunt
Bend Blogs
Lost Oregon
Cafe Unknown
Tin Zeroes
David's Oregon Picayune
Mark Nelsen's Weather Blog
Travel Oregon Blog
Portland Daily Photo
Portland Building Ads
Portland Food and
Dave Knows Portland
Idaho's Portugal
Alameda Old House History
MLK in Motion

Retired from Blogging
Various Observations...
The Daily E-Mail
Saving James
Portland Freelancer
Furious Nads (b!X)
Izzle Pfaff
The Grich
Kevin Allman
AboutItAll - Oregon
Lost in the Details
Worldwide Pablo
Tales from the Stump
Whitman Boys
Two Pennies
This Stony Planet
1221 SW 4th
I am a Fish
Here Today
What If...?
Superinky Fixations
The Rural Bus Route
Another Blogger
Mikeyman's Computer Treehouse
Portland Housing Blog

Wonderfully Wacky
Dave Barry
Borowitz Report
Stuff White People Like
Worst of the Web

Valuable Time-Wasters
My Gallery of Jacks
Litterbox, On the Prowl
Litterbox, Bag of Bones
Litterbox, Scratch
Ride That Donkey
Singin' Horses
Rally Monkey
Simon Swears
Strong Bad's E-mail

Oregon News
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune
Willamette Week
The Sentinel
Southeast Examiner
Northwest Examiner
Sellwood Bee
Mid-County Memo
Vancouver Voice
Eugene Register-Guard
OPB - Portland
Salem Statesman-Journal
Oregon Capitol News
Portland Business Journal
Daily Journal of Commerce
Oregon Business
Portland Info Net
McMinnville News Register
Lake Oswego Review
The Daily Astorian
Bend Bulletin
Corvallis Gazette-Times
Roseburg News-Review
Medford Mail-Tribune
Ashland Daily Tidings
Newport News-Times
Albany Democrat-Herald
The Eugene Weekly
Portland IndyMedia
The Columbian

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Joni Mitchell
Ella Fitzgerald
Steve Earle
Joe Ely
Stevie Wonder
Lou Rawls

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kroger comes down a notch or two

It was the perfect story to break on a Friday afternoon, when public attention was drifting off for the weekend: Oregon attorney general John Kroger was "accepting the resignation" of his chief in charge of criminal matters. But it was a remarkable announcement on a number of levels -- certainly worth pondering under the fluorescent lights of a back-to-work Monday.

First of all, what actually happened? Did the deputy, Sean Riddell, resign, or did he get canned? The announcement seems to have it both ways, but it certainly indicates that he was disciplined:

I am announcing today that Sean Riddell, Chief Counsel of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Division, has resigned his management position.... I am very proud of our record and of our attorneys’ integrity and commitment to public service. I acknowledge, however, that we have made mistakes in a small number of high profile cases. This week, I learned that in addition to these errors, Chief Counsel Riddell had deleted a large number of government e-mails under the mistaken belief that they had been backed up on computer tape. Although we were able to recover many of the deleted e-mails, an unknown number have been lost permanently. The Department of Justice must scrupulously uphold its obligation to preserve government records. As Attorney General, the buck stops with me. I take full responsibility for errors made under my leadership.
Don't you love it when the boss "takes full responsibility" by firing an underling?

Also curious is the suggestion that the department doesn't back up its e-mail every night and keep it for a number of years. Unless Riddell was scrubbing his account every afternoon before he went home, one would have thought that copies were being kept. Even more puzzling is why he deleted the e-mail messages. Depending on his motivation, the matter could have merited a more serious punishment than mere loss of manager status. On the other hand, the e-mail issue may be just a pretext for demoting Riddell, whose tactics on the job have made him many powerful enemies.

In any event, Riddell didn't get completely fired. He's going to be reassigned somewhere else in the Department of Justice, after a nice mini-sabbatical. One wonders if he still harbors ambitions to become the next Multnomah County district attorney. This episode may have put the kibosh on that dream.

Perhaps most significantly, the announcement also shows Kroger on the defensive -- the first time we've seen him that way since we first met him nine years ago:

I will not always be a perfect Attorney General. I cannot promise to never make mistakes. But, what I can promise is when there are errors in practice or judgment, they will be accompanied by accountability. As Attorney General, I will get up every day and work as hard as I can to protect Oregon and uphold the rule of law.
That uncharacteristic bleat sounds like an invitation for some opposition to Kroger if he runs for re-election next year. But who would take him on? Greg Macpherson, whom he defeated for the Democratic nomination in '08? Union votes and union money propelled Kroger to victory in that race -- their raw revenge against Macpherson's pension reforms as a legislator -- but that was before the union in Kroger's own shop discovered that he's not their favorite boss ever.

On the Republican side, about the only viable candidates we can think of are Jack Roberts and Ron Saxton. Would either of them take a shot at the incumbent? It seems unlikely, but not as unlikely as it did a week ago.

At any rate, Riddell's departure is another in a series of setbacks for Kroger's program to reshape the attorney general's office from its slumbering state under his predecessor, Hardy Myers (uncharitably, but perhaps aptly, nicknamed "Hardly Matters"). Kroger's profile, established during his election run and pitched ever since through relentless press releases, consists largely of fighting crime, protecting the environment, and most recently, enhancing public access to government documents. In two and a half years, he's wound up firing both his criminal chief and his environmental chief for misconduct, and his legislative package on public records seems to be stuck in a Senate committee with time running out on the lawmaking session.

It's not the strongest performance he's ever turned in.

Comments (19)

I can't imagine a politician can have a disastrous run like this and not have opposition.

You left out the resignation of his Solicitor General, Jerry Lidz, in protest of the investigation of his wife Melinda Grier. Grier was general counsel at UO during the Bellotti payoff scandal. AAG David Leith ran the investigation, which declared she provided "deficient legal representation" and left then President Dave Frohnmayer off the hook. Now Frohnmayer's representing Mark Long against Kroger. Small town.

Jack Roberts has been writing a lot about Kroger in the Oregonian, he would be a good contender.

Earlier in Friday, the announcement was along the lines of Riddell has been re-assigned for no apparent reason.

Later in the day, it turned in to the (half-a55ed) resignation for deleting emails that should not have been deleted. (A total beginner's mistake, which says it was not a mistake at all.)

What I don't get is the way that Riddell is being set up and deflecting attentiaon away from DoE. In addition, the two whistle-blowers who are probably screwed as long as anyone in state gov has something to say about their careers.

Maybe he was over-agressive, but based on Jacquiss' account (I'd believe him before the rest of these clowns) there was a definite aura of stank about the whole deal between Mark Long and Cylvia.

"he would be a good contender."

How about Greg MacPherson again? Or have the public unions mortally wounded him?

Re: announcing on Friday.

There's a very good reason that they time this stuff to Fridays. Newspapers have a fixed amount of column-inches that they need to fill, and no one* reads newspapers on Saturday. So, they dump all the stories that they don't want anyone reading on a Friday afternoon, so that way the column-inches get divided equally between the stories, and no one* reads any of it anyway. Then, when Sunday comes around, they have a fresh news cycle filled with what the talking heads said on Meet the Press.

It's referred to as "taking out the trash" and it's been done for over a decade. One can learn quite a bit about what they don't want to tell anyone by paying attention on friday afternoon / saturday morning.

*may not actually be nobody, but a very diminished readership from a midweek or sunday release

"I cannot promise to never make mistakes."

Sigh. My Dad was an English major with a great sense of humor. He would have loved the way this illustrates the point.

Imagine what AG Dave Hunnicutt would do to the entrenched cabal.

Actual investigation where it is needed would ensue.

Starting with the PDC. TriMet and Metro.

There's something very rotten in Salem. Way more than one thing in fact. But, then, there has been for a very long time. And sadly it'll never be rooted out.

I don't see Ridell as a mere underling. He was hired out of Michael Schrunk's office, and if you look at Shrunk's involvement in high level ousters-Terry Gustafson and Julie Leonhardt, for example, you can see huge amouts of money chasing thin manufactured cases.

Riddell pushed the Gushwa case, not Kroger, and Riddell isn't the only high level problem that needs to be removed in that office. I am aware of an attorney involved in a major land scam who is now running a division in the AG's office. He is a front guy for a problem instigated by members of Name firms. That is how it can work; good AG office jobs as patronage positions.

It is organized crime and that is a specialty of Kroger's. He isn't perfect,but is capable of learning from his experiences and making hard choices, and I would vote to keep him in office.

I does seem that in business or government in the USA that whenever someone in charge takes "full responsiblity" they invariably do not. In Japan the tradition is that one takes full responsibility that they at the least resign, or committ seppuku (old school approach). Nevertheless they do take responsibility.

We can probably expect a blizzard of press releases in the coming weeks as Kroger trumpets obscure victories in hopes of distracting us from this big whiff. So look for important news about investigations into Department of Energy staff taking donuts without contributing to the donut fund, criminal charges against a DMV employee who spilled water on the office copier and didn't fess up, and sick-leave abuse by Wheeler County dog-catchers.

What hubris: I will not always be a perfect Attorney General.

If he had said "I will never be a perfect Attorney General," at least he might get a few points for humility. In Kroger's case, there is none.

I wonder if Kroger would have taken "full responsibility" had his office not accidentally leaked the damaging documents in the first place. My guess is that he would have continued to deny any wrongdoing on his or his staff's part for as long as he could. It was only when the press got the transcripts of the actual interviews, and asked outside legal experts whether they were appropriate (and they clearly weren't), that Kroger finally started to "take responsibility."

I'm not sure how it works for someone like Riddell. In his position as the head of the Criminal Divsion with the AG he most likely served at the pleasure of the AG, but as a career public servant he couldn't be outright fired without good cause and a right to a hearing of some sort. If he's been a DA for awhile, maybe he wants to stick it out for the retirement benefits or something, or just can't bring himself to earning his living defending the criminal element as a privately retained defense attorney. I don't see his prospects as being very bright for becoming the Multnomah County DA after all of this controversy.

I wonder who ended up with Kroger's "purloined" briefcase, and what was actually in it. Don't you?

Mojo: I do. Kroger seems to be a slower learner that I had at first hoped, but he hasn't really lived in Oregon that long.

And Usual Kevin: There is a criminal element inside and outside of the prosecutorial realm; anyone who has been watching Oregon for a whle knows that, I think.

aka Eliot Mess & The Unbelievables.

Kroger & Co., that is.

Meanwhile, what about Cylvia-gate?

I can't imagine a politician can have a disastrous run like this and not have opposition.

Future attempts to root out general corruption will have to go through a (finer) political filter.

I expect his next high profile move to be decidedly more partisan. He has to heal alliances within his base.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
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: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
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

Clicky Web Analytics