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Monday, June 1, 2009

"Everyman Paulson might leave if he doesn't get his way"

I see that John Canzano, America's greatest sports columnist (at least in some people's minds), has joined the Merritt Paulson royal fan club. Canzano went out to the Paulson compound in Lake Oswego for a visit, and based on that encounter has pronounced LLP just a "regular guy."

He walks around the house barefoot! He gives his infant child playful "raspberries"! "My dad drove a Ford Bronco; he was always out back, splitting wood in the yard. My mom drove a Volkswagen; always had dirt in her hands, and loved to plant things." The butler made us cut our own veal. The nannies used scratchy toilet paper. I had to wear hand-me-down Brooks Brothers smoking jackets at Harvard. These Bruno Magli's are from Nordstrom Rack! Poor, misunderstood fellow. Uh huh.

Last night Canzano (a Beaverton resident, I believe) was on KGW-TV telling us that if the City of Portland doesn't hurry up and give Roman Numeral III what he wants, he might -- gasp! -- pull his minor league baseball team, the Portland Beavers, out of town! He might move it to Beaverton! Or Vancouver!

Let him go. It would make more sense financially to forgo the Beavers' anemic rent checks than to sign up for another $80 million to $100 million of public debt to build two more goofball stadiums for minor league baseball and U.S. pro soccer. (Money borrowed from Paulson's father's cronies, to boot.)

And gee, where have we heard this kind of threat before? Wasn't somebody going to move their operation to the distant west side if they didn't get their aerial tram [rim shot]? That sure worked out well for Portland.

If the Beavers leave town, maybe single-A short-season minor league ball will come back. Hard to tell the difference between that and what we have now -- except for the arrogance factor. Nobody goes to baseball games here until the weather warms up anyway. Bring back the Portland Rockies -- they were fine.

You can line up all the sports writers in town and have them sing in unison about how wonderful the Paulson stadiums deal is, but most Portlanders will still recognize it for what it is: a pig wearing lipstick.

Of course, that hasn't stopped the City Council before. Don't expect Commissioner Dan "Aerial Tram Profile in Courage" Saltzman to grow a backbone at this point in his career. Break out the chainsaws in Lents Park! A "regular guy" is taking over.

One last point: Apparently Canzano is taking me to task for posting a screenshot of Paulson's Facebook page, which showed Sam Adams as his no. 1 friend. I wasn't supposed to show the Paulsons' daughter on the internet, even though Paulson himself did, and in fact still does, on a page that any Facebook subscriber can see. Although Canzano's diatribe is not really worthy of a response, I've blacked out the child's face on this blog. Better now?

Oh, the poor, poor Paulsons. Regular people. Salt of the earth. Misunderstood. They might move their team to Beaverton.

Comments (42)

I read the article, and to summarize, it says "He's rich, so he knows better than us. Lets just let him do what he wants."

I will never get the fascination some people have with the wealthy. Money doesnt make you smart, son.

Your bitter local bloggerness knows no bounds.

As I always say, "You only get flak when you're over the target."

Look how well it worked out the last time we got the "regular guy you'd like to have a beer with" instead of the smart guy. When they have to start selling the scion of a Robber Baron as a "regular guy" then you know they're running out of gas.

This is just Paulson's latest gambit to join the exclusive club of pro sports owners. One requirement of membership in this club is that you stamp your feet and threaten to move if your city doesn't build you a new stadium. Show me one owner who has not done this over the years.

I'm sure they are just like us. They have their valets put their pants on one leg at a time.

I hear the shrillness increasing in pitch.

PS - I am sure every dictator's kid has some heart-warming story about Papa.

Wait, wasn't there a column by one of the puppets that repeated the canard about "MLS only stadium" being an absolute requirement?

I think the boa constrictor in III's home office has some relevance though I'm not sure what. Inspiration?

FYI you do not need to be a Facebook member to access people's pages. The pages are cached. Anyone in the world can access III's Facebook page, although not necessarily the current one. Anyone concerned about privacy should not post anything on Facebook.

pull his minor league baseball team, the Portland Beavers, out of town!

Paulson has repeatedly made it clear, at least to my ears, that the Beavers aren't leaving town. Given the choice between having the MLS in Civic Stadium or the Beavers, he'll choose the Beavers. Were he serious about bringing MLS to town, we'd be talking about building a soccer-only stadium, not sticking a "major league" team in a century-old stadium.

While Beaverton or Vancouver would LOVE to have the Beavers, neither is going to build him a stadium.

I say call his bluff and see what he does.

Perhaps Mr Merritt Paulson III should head back to the Western Ave campus of the Harvard B-School this very week to hear the current crop of grads renounce greed:

But, from behavior to date, no one in the Paulson family will embrace anything like the New Idealism developing in the wreckage left by Bushleague Treasurer Hank and his cronies.

When did this kid move to Portland (er, Lake Oswego) anyway?

The article really does recall the persecuted-visionary-but-regular-guy posture that George W. Bush and his handlers so favored. I don't know if this is a socialized attitude of privilege or not, but it sure is a pretty gross and inappropriate way to try to push any sort of civic agenda. Seriously, I am worth but a microscopic fraction of what Paulson is worth but I can assure you that I will answer the door wearing shoes because it's bad form to make others suffer your indulgences and even worse to pretend that you're not.

Jack: I'm shocked his "hired gun" Randy Leonard hasn't taken you to task.

Oh wait a minute...you're not 71 years old, he only picks on seniors in public meetings on the subject of baseball venues.

You don't have to be a Facebook "member" to see the picture of Merritt Paulson's family. Just Google "facebook merritt paulson" and the link pops right up for anyone to see.

I guess I should have put "subscriber" in quotes instead of "member".

Oh, and maybe there's something to this move the baseball team to Beaverton thing.

What's going on at The Round these days?

I loved it when John Canzano asked himself why Paulson was telling him all this? You know the "Aww shucks" stuff about having to pay for his own speeding tickets by - gasp - getting a job.

John, here's my theory: He's read your work and knows you're the type of person who can be swayed by treatment like this. He's pulling the same stunt with you as he did when he flew Randy Leonard to New York. He knows you're going to come away impressed. Then you're going to write what basically is a love letter about it.

Obviously, you've heard of this blog. I get the feeling politicians read it too. Did you ever wonder why Paulson didn't reach out to Jack to turn his head around about all this? I imagine it's because Jack could break the finances down in ways that would illustrate how weak this scheme is.

Paulson would rather deal with a fluffy reporter who will go back to what's left of the Oregonian and write a puff piece even a PR agent couldn't turn out without going into a sugar coma.

If there were no connection between Goldman Sachs and this deal, it would be easier to overlook dear old Daddy Paulson in all this. Well, when he was not busy chopping wood out back he was helping to put our economy on life support with derivatives and other deregulated activity.

He then came forward and asked for 700 billion with no strings attached to try and clean up a mess with our money. A mess he helped make. I guess you could argue it's not really our money because if it's paid back, it will be paid back by all the little babies you see and with no rasberries included.

So we might not actually be the ones to pay it back - probably no one can - but we've certainly all felt the pain of this mess, and you can't get snippy if we don't want to add to that by creating a miniature Paulson mess here with this deal. I mean how much are we supposed to take from these people? You act like we're being mean to them - how mean was it to destroy the economy of the United States?

Now that we've rescued the Goldman Sachs firm by rescuing AIG and all the others, Goldman Sachs is going to lend the son money for this? Do you know what an alarm bell is, John? Or a red flag?

You say this is a sports story - not an attack on Merritt Paulson. But the truth is it's a money story, and if you were a serious reporter you'd check that part out.
But you aren't, which is the answer to your question: Why is Mr. Paulson telling me this stuff?

You were the guy who took samples of bodily fluids from a Trail Blazer, right? Why not get a little closer to this?

Don't worry about the cobwebs on Merritt's patio furniture. Get the cobwebs out of your head and do your job.

From Canzano's column: "But what's been lost here is that Portland stands to raise its profile and sports footprint with the addition of MLS."

And lose its shirt in the process.

From the May 12, 2009 ECONorthwest report "Economic Impact of Proposed Baseball Stadium" obtained by the Portland Mercury through a public records request and published last week:

"The implication of our analysis and professional studies is that stadiums are best justified as enhancements of consumer choice, and not as economic or development engines. * * * * It seems fair to assume . . . that since most of the $51 million cost of the new stadium is expected to come from public funds, users of the stadium are unlikely to pay prices that will pay for the amortized cost of constructing the facility."

Link to the report at this O post:


As usual, Canzano is just "stirring the pot." Public support for the stadium deal seems to be foundering, so Canzano will grab some attention by telling us all why we are wrong.

America's #1 sports columnist writing for a paper in a town with one pro team and no major college athletics? Please. Art Thiel at the PI (.com) writes circles around this guy.

Canzano blocked my post this morning.

Hey, I walk around barefoot too. Cool!

Now I know why John Canzano never posts any of my replies to his columns. He is a coward and a super-sucker-upper. My vision for this city is a sports columnist that doesn't write columns while kneeling in front of his subject.

Aw, poor Little Lord Paulson. If he's going to take his toys and go home if he doesn't get his way, can we send him off with the only obvious rejoinder? Somehow, telling him "Oh, please, Brer Fox, don't throw me in that briar patch!" sums things up pretty well.

And don't think that this sort of passive-aggressive behavior is limited to the sons of multibillionaires. Back in 1991, Dallas had the same situation when Oliver Stone decided to film JFK out here. Every five minutes, he had yet another demand, and his automatic threat was that he'd pack up the whole production and move to New Orleans if he didn't get exactly what he wanted. No, he couldn't use either the fifth floor or the seventh floor of the Texas School Book Depository because the windows weren't exactly like the windows on the sixth floor. No, he didn't care that the Sixth Floor Museum was already in place, and that filming would disrupt the museum's operations. If he didn't get to use the display items in the Sixth Floor Museum, such as Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle, as movie props without any compensation should the items be stolen or damaged, he'd hold his breath until he turned blue. If he couldn't block off downtown Dallas from rush hour traffic for three weeks to get the motorcade scene just right, at the same exact hour that Kennedy's motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza, he'd just recreate it all in New Orleans, and Dallas would be out the imaginary millions in tourist money that Stone promised would come from his movie. The city commissioners drew the line at the Sixth Floor Museum displays, but they gave in to everything else, mostly because Stone made friends with Dallas unbearable cross John Wiley Price. (By "friends", that meant "contributions to various minority-run businesses chosen less for their contributions to the film and more because they were run by Price's personal friends.")

The really sad part? Dallas apparently didn't believe in following Proverbs 26:11, because this happened twice. Stone had already taken the city for a ride with the filming of Born on the Fourth of July, but the commissioners and the City Council willingly bent over on the hope that Stone would make more films in "the Third Coast". He did, kindasorta, with Any Given Sunday, but every last promise he made on JFK was thrown out because it was inconvenient to him, and his filming actually cost the city money instead of bringing any in. However, to this day, start asking about what Stone brought to Dallas, and the Dallas Film Commission will threaten to withhold any support if you write anything that isn't overwhelmingly positive about Stone's contributions to the Dallas film industry.

""Money doesn't make you smart, son...""

True. Actually this month-to-month living watching my business dissolve has made me pretty f-ing resourceful.

I like Canzano, but he's all wrong on this one. I think he looks at this purely from a sports oriented perspective in the sense that the logic seems to be that the more sports a community has the better it is for the community. I think that he's missing the point that there is a tremendous cost to all of this, and he acts like Merritt Paulson is paying for all of this when he isn't. He also acts like the Lents community wants the baseball stadium when there is no empirical evidence to support that notion. The people of Lents want jobs and a safe community. The residents of Portland love their sports as evidenced by the tremendous support for the Trail Blazers and the Timbers Army. Getting an MLS squad is awesome, but it needs to be done in a fiscally responsible manner that doesn't destroy our valuable park spaces.

"But what's been lost here is that Portland stands to raise its profile..."

Why "raise our profile"? With whom? For what? Why is that a necessary goal? Who are we trying to impress, anyway...corporations?

"...and sports footprint with the addition of MLS."

what in the world is a "sports footprint"?

this kind of superficial, emotional appeal is what works, though, isn't it?

it's a well-known tactic amongst debaters: if the facts are weak, appeal to the audience's emotions. the weaker the facts, the more base the emotion you appeal to.

want to make war in Iraq? appeal to patriotism.

want to get a neighborhood scurrying to give you control? appeal to self-esteem and fear.

This article not only made me angry, it gave me hives. It is lacking in context and content and attempts to manipulate the emotions of readers. Inasfar as portraying Mr. Paulson is a philanthropist, it is about as successful as the wolf dressing up in grandma's clothes and trying to fool Little Red Riding Hood. In my experience, wealthy and entitled people are always charming and "ah shucks" as long as they are getting their way.

The article talks of Paulson contributing a bundle and then bringing more family money to the table. In fact he brought less since the cost of the franchise turned out to be less than expected and Paulson did not volunteer to throw the difference into the pot. Any other assistance, if I recall correctly, had to do with using Paulson senior's influence to swing loans. That's not family money.

I don't care if Portland is a towering sports mecca. That is not a sensible priority in weak economic times, particularly if it is going to deplete the contents of urban renewal and tax coffers better spent to help developing neighborhoods, small businesses, and the low income. Look how sports funding has become an obscene priority at one major Oregon university as fees and admission costs rise and rise.

Growth for growth's sake is the philosophy of a cancer. Cancer doesn't consider the health and well being of its host. Cancer doesn't know when to stop. It only knows that it wants to grow and grow.

I, too, would like to see a reasonable monetary assessment for the various proposed projects. I think if such an article were published no amount of schmoosing and raspberries could make this one smell like a rose.

It would be great to have Single A short season ball back in Portland...those games were actually fun to watch and the players always gave 110% unlike the AAA players. I live in the Portland area and I go to a couple of Salem-Keizer Volcanoes games every summer, but NO Portland Beavers games.

I love how, according to Canzano, a globally third rate soccer league is all that stands between the city of Portland and greatness. But, I guess it's not surprising that a sports writer working in a dieing medium would want more things to write about. Let's not worry our bald heads with things like zero-coupon bonds and the rest.

Also of interest, in the comments to his article Canzano claims he has no idea of who you are Jack, despite decrying your Little Lord Paulson moniker. I makes it seem like he didn't do any reporting beyond his house call to Paulson.

Canzano blocked my post this morning.

He did the same to mine last night when I pointed out how he'd made it sound like he'd found multiple entries on multiple sites, rather than a few on just one site. I also included a link back here. It's not unusual for him to spike me, and honestly it doesn't bother me. Bloggers, imho, are welcome to publish or not any comment they wish for any reason. Just like newspapers. He does tick me off, however, when he edits comments, which he's done with me more than once. Either publish comments in their entirety or not at all.

Hey, if he is going to pump up Paulson by saying he has a cute kid and unmowed lawn as a qualification to loan him $100M for his enterprise then two things:
1) Enter all facts into evidence like Daddy's screwing of the taxpayers within one week by giving billions to GS and AIG and putting Lehman out of business within one week.
2) If that's all it takes to qualify, I can find him 1000s or people in Lents that qualify - If he can overlook the fact that their Dad didn't drive a Bronco.

The more I think of taking $45M out of Lents urban renewal to build another baseball stadium instead of funding low-income housing, the more irked I am.

Hey Bojack , you referred to
MR MAN as LLP , did you mean 'limited liability paulson'?

John Canzano's column has inspired a new name to go along with Jack's contributions.

Think of the movie poster:

Randy Leonard as the Butler!!!

Sam Adams as the Valet!!!

...and Little Lord Paulson himself in a new motion picture called:

Barefoot in the Pork

Paulson, are you reading this? WHEN are you going to take the hint and get lost? Little ol' Portland was plodding along just fine before you graced us with your aristocratic presence. More than a few smell the scam here. Hit the road. Get lost. Adios already!

Stumptown foreeeever!

I also had my comment blocked on Canzano's oregonlive.com blog. What's worse, he responded to my first post that did go through with a question. I guess he meant it to be rhetorical.

Call me radical, I'd like my kid to know what schools built after the Great Depression look like. I can live with an extra 20 minutes on the drive to see minor league baseball for that.

I sure wish Canzano did a little research, even from his own paper's past articles.

How he can say Paulson is investing over $100 Million for Portland is beyond belief. His only skin in the game is around $12 Million, remainder is the costs to purchase the two teams which he owns, has value, and he can move anywhere he wants, eventually or very soon. The teams are a commodity with value that are NOT an investment he made for the citizens of Portland.

But Paulson is asking the taxpayers of this City and even the State to invest over $250 Million including debt service on bonds to pay for his playfields. The disportionate nature of $12 Million to $250 Million is absurd. Especially if you consider who makes the real profits IF things are successful. If Paulson wants to guarantee that 95% on any future profits from this risk will go to the taxpayers (that's the percentage $12M to $250M), then maybe Randy, Samo, and Canzan should try to sell that to the State and Portland taxpayers.

And who's paying the debt on the four year old remodeling job on the existing PGE Park at $28 Million?

Why can't Canzano see the reality?

Canzano is one of a group of humans that cause the most trouble on this planet: People who are not as bright as they think they are.
I've worked with plenty of folks who were flat-out dumb, but they knew themselves so they didn't get fooled too often. They seemed to use their souls or spirits to compensate for a lack of IQ and I had nothing but respect for them. I was proud they were my friends.

Incidentally, they would have seen right through Canzano's act. They would notice how he's dazzled by his own mediocrity - and how easily fooled he is.

Sure, they would never get hired to work at the Oregonian like he did - heck some of them couldn't even read or write. But I'd value their opinion over this Paulson gusher anytime.

And when it was over they wouldn't need industrial strength Chapstick for their lips either.

In sports terms, Canzano thinks he's hit a homerun here, but he just fetched Merritt an ice-cold glass of Gatorade.
He was just this week's live mouse that Merritt probably feeds his snake.

That snake is a clue, people. Just like the jumpsuit landing on the aircraft carrier was a clue from another rich kid struggling to compete with Daddy.

"Who am I? I'm a character! I'm colorful...I'm barefoot! I'm on a war footing!"

Canzano should have asked some more questions about the snake, but Canzano doesn't get it. He thinks he did something brilliant with this, and that's what makes him a textbook clown.

Does a "sports footprint" have something to do with athlete's foot?

I regret the tone of my last comment. Not being direct is a waste of time, and that becomes more and more scarce as you get older. Still, I apologize for the comment - it was too harsh.

For all I know John was ordered to write this by the Oregonian editors and you can't blame him for that. Anyone who ever worked in the newspaper biz knows that's part of it.

Also in the paper, next to the Canzano piece I think, was an article about the Timbers playing some latin american B-team to a crowd of 5000

That was an exhibition game. The night before, the real Timbers played to a crowd with announced attendance of 9081. So far their four regular home games have averaged 7985.

If he moved to Lents and actually lived there, I might buy the everyman story.

Otherwise, not so much.

Paulson can afford to move to Lents. There's nothing but affordable housing there, sez he. Affordable if you can afford to live anywhere you choose, as he can. He could be the King of Lents!

Not too long ago another blog did a stroll through online and print rental and lease ads for Lents area homes. Most were on a par with other places in town. There are no bargains in the Lents rental market.

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