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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 19, 2012 11:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was I believe in yesterday. The next post in this blog is "Urban Planning Overlord" is in Mountain Park. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

When the unemployable are in charge

Apparently there's a debate going on in Salem about whether the politicians in the legislature should have hands-on involvement in the running of state agencies. We have an opinion about that. Up here in Portland, the politicians run the city bureaus, and it's a disaster. Separation of powers has served our nation well, and we could use a dose of it. If only the foot-draggers on the charter revision commission would serve it up to the electorate one of these days. It would probably get shot down by the many with vested interests in the current system, but it would be worth a spirited discussion.

Comments (10)

Every time the legislature tries to micro-manage how agencies work it turns out to be a disaster. Higher Education, state procurement laws, trying to domesticate injured wild deer, you name it, the more rigidly the legislature manages agencies the more expensive and ridicules the result.

Sorry, ridicules should be ridiculous.

Regarding the Charter Review Commission, they have filed 10 or so amendments to the City Charter. The most interesting is a change in replacing vacancies. See http://web.multco.us/sites/default/files/elections/documents/26-133.pdf

The assumption is the unemployable (those of the political class meaning politicians and city workers) run the City of Portland, thus the City of Portland as it stands is a complete disaster.

Living in Fresno, where the employable (those with backgrounds in small business and the private sector) run the city. What is the result? An ugly ass town characterized by urban sprawl and strip malls. I am ashamed of the biggest inland California City. If family comes to visit, the best thing I can say about Fresno is that we are 2 hours from Yosemite, 2 hours from Kings Canyon and 2 hours from Sequoia National Park. This "city" as some would call Fresno has no sight to see.

As much as I detested the smugness of those who work or had worked for the City of Portland, I will take them any day of the week over these employable ass clowns who run Fresno, CA.

Name me a Republican dominated big city in the USA that is as beautiful and is a hub for young people as Portland, OR and I will shut my mouth. I cannot name one Republican dominated big city that young folk, like myself are flocking to make our home and put a real stake in the ground to call it ours and die there.

K: to paraphrase Governor Tom McCall, Welcome to Oregon - just don't plan to stay.

But the legislatures just gave the gov the job of overseeing the state Ed Dept., effectively retiring the elected position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Isn't this bad enough?

"whether the politicians in the legislature should have hands-on involvement in the running of state agencies."

Why not they've done such a great job running the state once every other year, make them full-time like they want and we really need. God knows how much better education and the budget and public employee benefits will become.

We're screwed.

"is as beautiful and is a hub for young people as Portland, OR and I will shut my mouth."

I can give you a whole bunch where water rates don't take two weeks paychecks and more than 2/3 of the kids graduate schools. Start with Hillsboro and Beaverton where all the good jobs are.

As far as a hub for young people, you're right our Starbucks per capita number is right up there.

There was an excellent proposal in 2002 for a system comprising a strong mayor and an expanded city council elected by district, which would have checked the mayor's power while providing some breathing room for localized viewpoints and allowing the emergence of opposing factions (something that is virtually impossible with just five people, resulting in the inevitable co-optation and assimilation of any "grass-roots" reformer who manages to get elected -- see Fritz, Amanda). The city's entire political establishment, including all the major media, stomped this initiative into the ground (Willamette Week led the charge with a lengthy and highly inaccurate fear-mongering cover piece by a reporter who soon thereafter moved to Seattle). In close to 20 years I've never seen Portland's elite more united on any issue before or since.

I've been saying for years to anyone who will listen that Portland's commission system of government is the root cause of many of the city's woes, chiefly because of the "silo effect" that empowers individual commissioners in their respective bureau fifedoms while minimizing their accountability. This is why virtually all other U.S. cities have abandoned the commission system. Most Portlanders are clueless about this causality and are thus easily buffaloed, whether by scaremongering or by sentimental appeals to Portland's unique "specialness," into opposing systemic reform.

Killiana1a: San Diego. Orange County. Claremont, California.


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