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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 23, 2011 1:18 PM. The previous post in this blog was First eco-district flop: the 'Couv. The next post in this blog is Uh oh, Duckies. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jeffer-Sam Smith: "Weird works"

Who needs to recruit big business? Portland can do just fine with food carts, apparently. So says this e-mail message, entitled "Homegrown for the Holidays," that a reader received this morning:

Who writes this stuff? Do they really not want anyone over 35 to vote for the guy?

Comments (29)

I don't find much to complain about here--he's suggesting to supporters that they patronize a few local businesses for their holiday shopping. Doesn't seem too crazy or controversial to me.

I wish I could see the entire piece. It doesn't look like any of the businesses listed in the side bar are from his Outer Eastside congressional district.

However, like Dave J., aside from the plug-plug, I don't see much to be upset about here. It's a pretty typical promotional puff piece.

When you think about it, this reminds me of Molly Ivins's observation that every politician wants to "get tough on crime," because nobody wanting office wants to be seen as being soft on crime. In a lot of ways, this is absolutely brilliant, because who in their right mind is going to recommend skipping Portland small businesses in favor of Wal-Mart and Target? (Please note that this doesn't say you have to frequent small businesses. This way, Mr. Smith can be seen as pro-small business without actually requiring a commitment.)

The problem is I see too many Portlanders -over- 35 that act like Sam's hipster bike cult.

Just a nice relaxing massage for the turkeys, and he will be the happy ending!

"The chatter about jobs"? Um, yeah, I'd say there's some "chatter."

If this smug drivel from Smith and his trust fund Bus kids doesn't turn you off, you deserve him as mayor.

Economic Gardening..?

Why does Smith hate Powell's? Why does he want us to patronize "smaller bookstores"?

The problem is there are a lot of 20-somethings writing drivel for this guy that have never worked a day in their lives. They fail to foresee is that in order to create bullcrap government programs, build fantasy trains to nowhere, and hire their cronies, they need a tax base.

Jack, I didn't say that this drivel didn't turn me off. All I'm saying is that it's really cheap and really fluffy drivel that won't actually offend anybody. Give him time, though, and he'll probably drop his own "go by streetcar!" lead balloon before you know it.

Why does Smith hate Powell's? Why does he want us to patronize "smaller bookstores"?

Michael Powell is the 1%.

"Kindles be darned"?

Those look like Wiener colors. Is "Winning Mark" working for Jeffer-sten?

"his trust fund Bus kids"

Hmmm. I know one person who has volunteered on the Board of the Bus Project. She never mentioned anything about staff or volunteers being trust funders. What do you know, Jack? Or are you just trying to be mean?

"20-somethings...that have never worked a day in their lives"

This "real work" and "real job" canard is getting old. What qualifies as "real" work? Do you have to be small business owner or does being a worker bee count? What if you're a teacher or work for a nonprofit - are those "real" jobs?

I'm sure many of Mr. Smith's devout followers are living off their parents' money. He certainly is.

If your employer relies on money from the government or generous donors to make payroll, then there is a decent chance you do not have a real job.

Garage Wine,

I disagree, and I think it's rather silly how easily you dismiss teachers, soldiers, and so many millions of other hard-working Americans.

I think a real job has much more to do with how hard one works. Or how one's work benefits society.

Under your definition, I suppose a professor of law at a private or public university isn't a real job since his employer relies largely on government funding (or subsidized loans) or generous donors (parents).

These sorts of labels and slanders are useless and usually serve a political or other ideological agenda.

What am I missing? This doesn't seem unreasonable to me at all, as much as I'm not voting for this guy. This isn't the "weird" stuff that infuriates me. I think maybe you're developing an allergy Jack. The tone seems pretty universally fluffy and I can't figure out what "chatter" is supposed to be signifying. What's wrong with small business and encouraging buying from them instead of Chinese crap from WalMart? That's how my clan's tried to do it when we can for generations, and we're regular folk.

(I guess my thing is, it's not even like he's telling you to take the MAX to Pioneer Place or something I'd expect to somehow rile people up. I went in ready to rip this apart and came away nodding in agreement...)

"we can support our local banks and credit unions by putting our money in local institutions."

Really? It's never occurred to him that the major banks would like nothing better?

Did he flunk economics?

Big banks view most average account holders as a drain on their resources. They maintain your paltry accounts because they are required to do so. They love it if you pull out and move your itty-bitty cash account into a credit union.

I'm really surprised that we don't see companies like Fred Meyer start to say that they've had enough of city leaders slamming them and show they are ready to pull out thousands of jobs, leave behind acres and millions of square feet of retail and office space for weeds and graffiti, and move to greener pastures. Freddy's could easily set up their main office in Tacoma or another South Sound suburb that would die to have all of the new jobs Freddy's could bring to town.

Those big banks that have office towers named for them...I guess they could move out to Bend and Medford and Salem and Corvallis or even just across the river in Vancouver.

Erik,

They'd probably do it if it was in their financial interest. But it's not. So they don't.

What's wrong with small business and encouraging buying from them instead of Chinese crap from WalMart?

Nothing. But dismissing discussion of recruiting major employers as "chatter," and implying it's not a good economic strategy -- now, that's just stupid.

Then he's going to capitalize on "Weird isn't working." The Harvard Law School boy is now speaking for the "weird" element of Portland. In somebody's dreams, maybe.

Then there's the constant smug tone of this guy and everybody around him. None of them have done much beyond recruiting OSPIRG kids to vote for Democratic Party candidates, especially Smith's parents' friends. When they actually accomplish something, then they can talk smug. Until then, they're legends on their own bus.

I hope Smith goes the way of Jesse Cornett after a thorough trouncing.

"Nothing. But dismissing discussion of recruitment by major employers as "chatter," and implying it's not a good economic strategy -- now, that's just stupid."

Smith seems oblivious to the fact that you can't have the cutesy retail stores he endorses without having some money coming in from somewhere, so people have an income to buy stuff at the cutesy retail stores.

And since the "we'll have Californians bring all their real estate equity from their California houses and spend lots of money in the SoWhat district" strategy seems to have failed...

Economic Gardening..?

Maybe that has a similar meaning as "cleaning Portland's urban forest", meaning Portland need to continue cleaning out a majority of the living-wage jobs to make room for the hip new wave of weird jobs, whatever those are (probably something transit-oriented or mixed usage or in government public relations, pick your flavor).

Whatever it means, I nominate it for inclusion on the list of phrases we're sick of.

Smith and our buffoon mayor are going to find out that pulling city funds out of mega banks will have interesting consequences, esp. with respect to Goliath International Bank or B of A.

Posters on this blog who have run companies in the real world are doubtless familiar with banks' and their lending policies. One which doesn't get a lot of publicity is called "compensating balances".

You want a loan? And where is your corporate checking account? Company charge cards? Company merchant deposit account for customer charge card and debit card payments? Personal accounts? Pension plans, etc."


"Sure we are interested in lending you
"$ X.yy", but as a condition you are going to have to move your accounts to us here at Goliath Intercontinental Bank."

Think that CoP's favorite go to lenders for unpublicized loans of the $ 10 - 100 million range is doing those loans solely for the interest earned? Think again.

Move city funds, sure. But there are costs to that, as well as risks. American State Bank should have been getting huge deposits from the City for years, but small banks don't have the loan capacity the city needs.

ASB and its bretheren are too small to lend the city the funds it uses r5outinely while awaiting tax receipts. There are per cent age limits on what portion of a bank's assets it can lend to any one customer. Small asset banks like ASB just don't have enough assets to be able to lend the city as much as it borrows.

And thus the city funds remain with Goliath Intercontinental. And Goliath and their ilk insist upon compensating balances as a loan condition.

To swipe the title of a year or so old comedy movie, "It's complicated,"

And Jeffer Sam Rand Smurf hasn't enough real world sense to understand it.

PS All my accounts are with a localo credit union since about 2001 when I "fired" USBank. I understand te principle and act in accordance with it personally and in business.

Doing so, especially for CoP, isn't as simple as it looks.


"Why does Smith hate Powell's? Why does he want us to patronize "smaller bookstores"?

"Michael Powell is the 1%."

That's right, we need someone to hate don't we.
If it wasn't the 1% maybe you could hate the Jews or Blacks of the Irish..

Nonny -- I think you may be confusing retail and even small business/corporate banking with the type of insitutional banking that a city of Portland's size engages in. I'm sure Portland keeps some of its assets in banks, but probably less than 10%. The vast majority are undoubtedly in safe, non-bank investments (T-bills, high grade commercial paper, etc.). A city of Portland's size does not need to negotiate "compensating balances" with banks that it does business with, as the banks actually are doing business at that level on interest earned. Or, in the case of checking or savings accounts, they're competing for the business based on fees charged and interest paid. I guarantee there are no "secret loans" of $10 - $100 million (I think you're talking lines of credit), as every public entity has to publicize those types of transactions and banks compete for them.

There is a real risk for Portland if they follow the "move your money" bandwagon: the possibility that they will get a less competitive interest rate from the small banks and local credit unions than they do from the big banks. Of course it's hard to get lower than the interest being paid now, but when you're dealing with tens of millions of dollars, every basis point counts. A city's assets should be invested 1) 100% safely and 2) at the best deal possible given #1. The decision should never be based on political influence or the "cause of the day".

What it all boils down to is after reading the fluff like Smiths does it really make any of us really consider where we may buy something?

I agree that Smith's drivel, like some have claimed, just allows him to claim "pro small business" without any commitment.


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