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Thursday, June 30, 2011

There's got to be a morning after

Yesterday's announcement that the Admiral of the Fleet is retiring after a decade in Portland City Hall got lips flapping all over town. And it triggered (or coincided with) some other interesting developments as well.

First, Jim Francesconi let on that he isn't running for mayor this time around. We thought for sure the Scone would take another stab at it, but without the campaign checks from Tom Moyer's secretary, maybe his heart just isn't in it any more. (By the way, Moyer's June 20 trial date came and went without any news. How many set-overs are there going to be in that case?) We assume this means that Francesconi won't be running for a city commissioner's position, either. Right?

Oh, but wouldn't you love to see him and Nurse Amanda go after each other?

Meanwhile, before dropping his big news on us, Admiral Randy obviously tipped off Steve Novick, giving Novick a leg up on everyone else who might run for the seat that is being vacated. This is becoming a City Hall tradition -- Erik Sten pulled the same stunt with his pal Jim Middaugh just before Sten mysteriously disappeared from public life. Middaugh went nowhere anyway, and being Randy's hand-picked successor is strike 2 on Novick in our book.

Strike 1 was when Novick gave his glowing endorsement of "Legend" Dan Saltzman as the latter ran for re-election to the City Council last year. Now Novick will get the Saltzman crowd's ample money bags behind him, and if he's elected, he and the Legend will be scratching each other's backs for years. Add Jeff Cogen into the mix as a mayoral candidate, and that's way too much Saltzman influence for our taste.

And Novick's reported hiring of local political ramrod Mark Wiener may be strike 3 already. At best, it's a foul tip. We can see the nauseating direct mail pieces already -- he'll probably paint Novick as an outsider. Yeah, an outsider with the Dunthorpe crowd's money. Anyway, paying Winning Mark no longer guarantees victory, as the school tax construction bond people found out.

We thought Novick would have been a great candidate to run against Gordon Smith for the U.S. Senate three years ago, but Jeff Merkley not only beat Smith but also is acting like a real Democrat back in D.C. And so Novick's loss in the primary turned out to be no big tragedy. Since then, his novelty has definitely worn off, and we'd certainly need to see the whole playing field before we voted for him for the city commission.

Finally, in thinking about how Charlie Hales is going to play his serious residency problems, we're coming around to predicting that he's going to "discover" that he was an Oregon resident all along. Which would mean that he's going to be filing amended Oregon income tax returns and pungling up big back taxes plus interest. If we were the state revenue agents, we'd lard on some penalties, too, and see how contrite he is. The state budget could use the revenue.

It will be interesting when some reporter corners Hales's accountant and asks him how he could have screwed this up so badly. Maybe there's going to be a new accountant.

Whatever Hales decides to do with his taxes, misstating facts to Willamette Week can't be cleaned up quite so easily. Nigel Jaquiss nailed Streetcar Charlie pretty good. And for Hales to change his story with both the media and the tax authorities looks like a fatal misstep to us. We can't wait to hear what he'll have to say after he gets his next poll results, which probably won't be encouraging. And oh, what a push poll his mayoral rival, Eileen Brady, could conduct with all these questions. Think she's above it?

Comments (12)

I was Streetcar Chucky yesterday: he was bringing some takeout lunch back to his office. He looked like he was going to hurl: I'm guessing he knows what that Oregon tax payment is going to be.

"And for Hales to change his story with both the media and the tax authorities looks like a fatal misstep to us."

Maybe, but the problem is not that he avoided taxes (since taxes are just for the little people). (See Geithner)

His political problem is that he lied about it when caught (See Weiner) Hmmm, except for the pass Adams got when he lied about his lies. And all the other liars who lied. Hard to handicap this one.

was = "saw"...

I work in the same building. He drives a FORD to work: I guess the streetcar hasn't made it to his neighborhood yet.

Der Fireman appointing his successor in a nicely paneled back-room?

Say it ain't so, Jack.

Maybe you should run Jack.

David "from Welches" should run. He's proven he has the requisite skills and experience, and he can raise the money.

Judge Wittmayer (sp?) dismissed the case against Tom Moyer on June 9th.

Randy's hand-picked successor - how many did the Admiral interview
and if handing Novick the baton, why?

If someone passes the baton to another person, they pass responsibility for something to that person. If someone picks up the baton, they take over responsibility for something. http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-cobuild/hand%20over%20the%20baton/pass%20the%20baton/pick%20up%20the%20baton

In this interview with Willamette Week, Hales makes some of the right noises about curbing urban renewal abuses and misuse of Water Bureau funds. Music to my ears, although they're probably just empty campaign rhetoric . . .

Yah, but Brady was hand picked by Saltzman for the reservoir panel. Could be a full house for Danny boy.

There’s been a lot in the news lately about the Water Bureau, and revenues from water rates going to programs that may not be directly related—do you have any thoughts about that?

Those funds cannot be used as an ATM for whatever initiative the Council wants to advance this week, whether it’s buying more green space or funding scholarships.

And would that stop if you were mayor?

Yes. They’d compete for it in the general fund—period.

Note: He did not say that he would STOP our water rates from going into the general fund (5% I believe is the figure)
In my view, he said Yes to stopping those funds then being used automatically for these various purposes mentioned above,
he said they would have to compete for it in the general fund...
most likely business as usual except Charlie would then decide where our water rates in the general fund would be used.

So examine very carefully anything clever Charlie says.

Clinamen - the 5% figure is the Utility License fee - Water, Sewer and Solid Waste funds all pay it, as do the phone, electric and cable companies. Not sure what the history is, but would guess the phone and electric companies made a stink about City utilities not paying the tax in the past, and now everyone gets to pony up. The fee is based on revenues.

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