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Monday, October 17, 2011

Plenty of room on the bandwagon

We've been grousing for a couple of years now about how much money government in the Portland area spends on p.r. flacks these days. Willy Week picked up on our lament a while back and did a few stories on the subject, although its catalog of propaganda merchants left out a few bigger fish.

Now the O's taken an interest in the topic, and it's sent out two reporters from its dwindling army to see what happens on the state level. No surprise -- millions are being blown on packaging and delivering the government's messages.

These excesses call for a correction. It would probably take an initiative ballot measure, but there ought to be a cap on how much the bureaucracy can blow on public relations.

Comments (15)

Prediction: next new PR budget item will be one for funds and a no-bid crony contract to combat any such initiative.

Are you out to spoil the dreams of most working in our local news who for years have been playing Nerf ball with government agencies in hopes of landing a flack job?

Add to the PR all the lobbyists and the vast machine goverments are using to "process" their agenda.

Check out this incredible list of clients of a former big shot planner now making millions off government.


How does a company get so much goverment money?


Arnold Cogan, FAICP
FOUNDING Principal

"Arnold Cogan is well respected for his more than 40 years professional
experience in the fields of policy planning, public engagement,
intergovernmental relations and public policy dispute resolution. He
was Oregon’s first planning coordinator under Governor Tom McCall, first
director of the state Department of Land Conservation and Development, and first planning director for the Port of Portland."

And of course there any many planning bureaucrats being made millionairs by their lavish compensation packages and early retirement.


It's all a sickening crony cabal.

Today it's not who controls the means of production, but who controls the means of communication.

In today's media environment, propaganda rules. The main difference between the Tea Party and the Occupiers is that the latter has a better marketing department and more sympathetic media coverage.

One can only speculate as to how much of The O and WW's "concern" is really sour grapes over having lost too many of their best and brightest to better-paying government "communication" jobs

But is the message for the residents or is this just more Portland official's obsession with style over substance and false appearances?

The same agencies that pay millions of public money for contracts puffing up the accomplishments of the politicians will charge a curious citizen $100 for a public records request that might embarrass that politician.

Let's write a ballot initiative that says every dollar they spend on public relations has to be matched by a dollar spent on making public records freely available to the public.

1984 and the Ministry of Truth and Winston Smith all over. I'm just waiting for Igorance is Truth and Freedom is Slavery and War is Peace to be trotted out.

All of this is just pitching to get more money when people can see how we help brewers in Astoria by taking money from compulsive low-income gamblers in Rockwood.

Besides it gives them an edge election-time since the taxpayers don't have PR flacks.

Death by a thousand press releases...

It's no longer important for our reps to find out what the citizens want and need. Now it's all about wrapping up a big extended middle finger in fancy typeface.

I'd sure love to see a list - names, employer, salary, benefits - of every government worker in the state of Oregon (including cities, counties, service districts) whose job is solely public relations.

I have no problem with the Police/Fire PIOs since most people like to know why there's a bunch of police cars or fire trucks in their neighborhood and it's better to have a designated person deal with the questions than stopping the officers or firemen who are doing their jobs - but these marketing types that work at ODOT, Metro, TriMet, PDC, City of Portland, DHS...it's out of control.

Here's TriMet.

Again, thanks to Cascade Policy Institute.

Matches well with Metro


A friend reacted to this post's consultant's clients and Metro salaries with this,

"And people think they want to build the CRC because of a commitment to improving interstate commerce or preserving the sanctity of light rail. Hardly. This is a gold rush."

I bet these two agencies make more millionaires than any other in the state.

I have a number in mind...

I meant millinaires out of Bureaucrats.

That's what it would take in a annuity to pay out the pensions they get. Well over a million, maybe two.

What happens to a population that is "pounded with propaganda"?

Oh wait, me thinks we have already paid consultants for a study on that and have paid even more to have it used against us!!

We have also paid for documents on how to "deal with the citizens."
I wonder if we pay for training sessions as it seems so remarkably easy for council to sit up there and vote against the citizens?

The following is an excerpt from a June, 1998 Northwest Examiner editorial (too early to link, but I kept the newspaper)

A handful of activists from around the city has recently discovered a five-year-old document entitled "The New Neighbors," produced by consultant Sharif Abdullah for the Bureau of Community Development to overcome neighborhood resistance to the introduction of homeless shelters and other types of institutional housing. The city is at least five years into this game plan, and neighborhood advocates are just beginning to discover what hit them.

The document reveals a shocking contempt for neighborhoods, democracy and due process........

Perhaps that document is in the archives for those who want to read it, I have a hunch that document and others like it exist in our city hall.

Each "survey" from an agency hikes my BP--poorly worded, even if useful, which is doubtful. And each one costs more money to analyze results than the writing and production. Another chapter is this dismal story.

Already received three handsome brochures to "explain" my role in the forthcoming changes in garbage collection. I await at least one more and won't be surprised by a follow-up in November to ask "How is it working out?"

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