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Saturday, December 6, 2003

The other Bonzi

Tucked away in the Saturday Oregonian was the story of the departure of Franklin "Kim" Kimbrough after a three-year stint as the director of the Portland Business Alliance, this town's equivalent of a chamber of commerce.

Kimbrough was a tough talker and a demanding boss who decided to throw his weight around downtown. He was going to snooker the city into putting up an ice skating rink in Pioneer Courthouse Square, and he was going to bully the city into being more business-friendly by constantly badmouthing the City Council for being anti-business.

The council responded by stripping Kimbrough's group of the lucrative municipal downtown parking operation, and wondering aloud why the taxpayers were getting such negative pronouncements from a group that was being paid by the city to promote Portland as a place to do business. So alienated was much of the public that an anti-alliance blog even sprang up.

From within the circle of wagons today we hear that the departure was for personal reasons, and that the city's business leaders still supported the great job Kimbrough was doing. I don't believe a word of it.

Vera and Erik did the right thing by pushing this guy back to the Midwest, where he came from. "We are not looking for uncritical endorsement of every city decision," The O quoted the mayor as saying, "but we need an alliance that is actively engaged with the city in a positive way, full of ideas and credible solutions." Amen to that.

Comments (3)

Jim Francesconi for president of the Portland Business Alliance!

"The lucrative downtown parking operation...."

Speaking of which, whose idiotic idea was it to replace perfectly functional mechanical parking meters with these solar-powered one-to-a-block eyesores? They're inconvenient--requiring people to walk as much as a block to get a tag--, dispense disposable sticky tags which will end up littering the streets, require constant replenishment of said tags (and ink), etc. But, hey, they make it harder for drivers to screw the city out of fifty cents by parking in a spot that still has time on the meter, so...yay.

Mark, I'm with you on the parking robots -- what a waste of money at Vera and Erik's Toy and Joy Shop. My post on the subject, about a year ago, is here.

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