When I'm in port I get what I need
No fewer than eight readers e-mailed us this afternoon between 2:30 and 3:20 with the news that Sam Adams won't be running for re-election next year as the mayor of Portland. We missed all the hoopla because we were at the beach and weren't checking e-mail during that time. Finally a "breaking news" alert from KGW buzzed and flashed across the screen of our phone, but by that time we were about to dig into a sublime late afternoon double cheeseburger at the beachside lunch shack that's cropped up next to the tacky brew pub in Pacific City. We put the phone away and kept eating.
Anyway, it was surprising news in some ways. It's hard for us to see the mayor as being employable doing anything else but politics, and so we figured he'd run again to try to avoid unemployment.
But in other ways, it wasn't surprising at all. The mayor seems like an unstable guy, and we said at the start of his term -- even before his teen sex problems arose -- that he wouldn't make it through four years. It's still possible that he won't. If a good job offer comes along with a 2012 start date (or even sooner), he'd be a fool not to take it.
We're also not exactly shocked that it took one poll for him to see that his career as a Portland politician is over. Master campaign orchestrator Mark Wiener sat him down this week and told him the facts of life; no doubt old Winning (usually) Mark's got another horse in the race already lined up.
This afternoon and evening, several readers have left comments on other posts on this blog, rejoicing at the Tweet of Defeat. We'll move those over here later, but to us while the Adams announcement is good news, it's not great. Yes, it's a fine thing to have the lest vestiges of the Vera Katz years swept away, just as the city auditor has noted aloud that the city's rapidly going broke. Yes, it's a relief that in 2013 we will have a new mayor, and no longer have to cringe at being represented by a man of limited skills, plagued by creepy behavior, exhibiting a chronic problem with truth-telling, and sporting questionable values.
But who will replace him? Will it be someone smart, dedicated to middle-class Portlanders, immune to manipulation by the real estate developers and West Hills money, not ready to run off with public funds chasing every planner fad, capable of facing reality, and fiscally responsible? In short, will it be a normal grownup?
Charlie Hales is not such a figure.
Jeffer-Sten Smith is not such a figure.
Eileen Brady might be such a figure, but it's way too early to tell, and her early profile looks pretty Saltzman-esque. She might turn out to be the Obama of Portland City Hall -- big talk on the stump, but business as usual in office.
Then there's the next 17 months. With no more voters to face, the Sam Rand Twins are going to go nuts. It will take three strong colleagues on the City Council to keep them from trashing the place like a hotel scene out of Spinal Tap. And we're not sure there are three strong colleagues. Go-Along Amanda's in a pickle -- she's now running against Goldschmidt money with her own money. Will she be smart enough and focused enough to keep the two short-timers from inflicting their worst excesses? It remains to be seen.
In short, the news is good, but it's not great. The cheeseburgers in Pacific City, though -- those were excellent. [Visitor statistics via Clicky.]