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Friday, September 17, 2010

Portland City Hall gravy train -- literally

The City of Portland office of human relations is one heck of a confusing outfit. At first I thought it was the city's personnel office -- human resources -- but no, that's a separate thing. Human relations is apparently an office set up to protect minority rights and get streets renamed when minority groups demand it.

And from the looks of things, it's also running an extensive snack service. Willy Week's latest edition of "Who had the pickle?" is a real eye-opener.

Comments (12)

Sure doesn't jive with your earlier post about government jobs disappearing. Office of Human Relations and DEEP - sure are vital city functions...

Lots of charges at New Seasons Market. Looks like we have City employees buying their groceries -- on our nickel.

She seems to have a real affinity for her neighborhood pizza joint. Now I've got to try Mississippi Pizza to see where all my tax dollars are going.

A track record offers a clue to what is meant by Human Rights, subjectively.

Diversity means something like the following (before Maria Lisa Johnson officially joined the city):

"We employ thirteen staff in positions ranging from administrative to community organizing and education. Two of these staff are Anglo. Eleven are Latinos."

Maria Lisa Johnson's co-incorporator for Latino Network was the head of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement that granted city money to their own organization.

The city of Portland human resources division refused to apply city code barring discrimination by parties that enter into contracts such as the RFP above. The Auditor refused to remedy the corruption either. (The new Auditor at least has some fancy hotline to nowhere.)

This is old news now, and Maria Lisa Johnson was receiving money under this contract at the very time she was vigorously calling white folks racist before the city council. This is how one gains credibility, I suppose, to join the city to work against racism.

The old corruption angle though stands out most glaringly to me. It is both unequivocal and undeniable. Neither Maria Lisa Johnson nor Amalia Alarcon de Morris should even be in a position to be buying donuts with city money. But then again, they don't appear to be any more corrupt than the rest of the gang posing as public officials.

Couple of things:

27 April - "Coalition for a liveab" $500 - I think this is Coalition for a liveable futurer in downtown. Don't we have rules against making donations with tax money?

18 Feb - Immigrant and Refugee - $250 - Same as above.

20 Jan - Boxofficetickets.com - $50 - Personal entertainment?

31 Aug - National Forum for Black Pub Admins membership for Angie Harris / Debbie Johnson - $400. Why isn't she paying for their own membership?

14 April - Red Dress Benefit - $107 - Tickets for a benefit. The attendee should pay for their own if this is so important.

7 Feb - QCenter - $210 - Room rental for DEEP annual retreat - Just waiting for the punch line on this.

6 Oct - PGMC - $250 - Portland Gay Men's Chorus - Again, if that is the bosses favorite cause, then let him pay.

2 Dec - Kroger Online Gift Card - $250 - Again, if for a personal cause, use your own card.

It's a well known fact that frequent snacking increases good decision making. I'm confident those snacks were consumed exclusively by humans while they were relating to one another.

The Human Relations office is simply fulfilling their charter. If they didn't spend the money, it would all get spent on sewers and bridges and roads and stuff.

Now we know why the Mayors pants were undone in the Jantzen Beach incident. Too much Pizza.

I'm telling you just get Sam back and forth on the Sellwood crosing and we can save some demolition expenses. This explains creepy's weight gain since taking office as our S.A.M.ayor

All aboard!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay!!

I'm going off the rails on a gravy train!

Ms. Johnson's purchases, cross referenced against the OHR's online calendar (which has no entries prior to June 2010):

July 7, 2010, Miss. Pizza -> Human Rights Commission Monthly meeting. Public invited to attend - but do they get pizza?

July 12, New Seasons -> Committee for Inter Group Understanding special meeting. Interestingly, no charge on July 23, the date of the CIGU regular meeting. Special = fed?

July 28, Horn of Africa -> Film and Dialogue night

August 4, Miss. Pizza -> another HRC monthly meeting.

August 25, Miss. Pizza -> another Film and Dialogue night

There are very few official events on the OHR's calendar - what does this office actually DO?
Very few of the baked goods, groceries, tacos, pizza, thai food, sambusas, can be pegged to official events.

If you go to a Citizen Campaign Commission meeting in the City Auditor's office you will probably find pizza, delivered warm. I got several pieces once upon a time, left a recorder and went for a walk. (Can't stand those kind of events.) You might even be able to complain to the Auditor personally, about the pizza.

If you don't get your slice of the property-tax-pie it might mean that you just need to be more assertive, like Maria Lisa Johnson.

You just have to redirect your entrepreneurial energy and skill away from doing something useful toward making the best whine possible. It is the modern path toward self-enlightenment, and is fully consistent with Adam Smith's "invisible hand", in a micro-economic sense.

But, just like with a fishery resource, this commons approach depletes the mature breeding stock and ultimately lowers the sustainable yield. Are you fish or fisherman? (Sheesh, this is just what was on my mind some 20 years ago when I was trying to write a paper for James Huffman. Except then I was analogizing people to cows, to be milked. There is a systemic flaw to this system, but no ready answer, even after an exhaustive search.) Be gracious and dig in. (That was about how my dad had it analyzed, I think. I wanted more; I wanted to follow a path that held out the possibility of achieving self actualization, whatever that means. Perhaps I am the fool, and so too . . .)

(. . . I have some search results to transform into pretty html, if I can . . . and need to quit wasting my time . . .)

Any middle-of-the-road candidate with endearing skeletons who has $500,000+ to blow could use this chart for ads to win Portland's next Mayoral race.

Candidates around here tend to make things complicated, but nobody would vote for their money being wasted on the frivolity described on this chart when we're cheek-deep in economic hardship. TIF is a much bigger problem but it hurts to think about. This chart is easy, like pizza.

If a candidate were to be exposed to this chart and absorbed its powers, then he or she will hatch a successful election plan and, like Mothra, could do battle against the evil Mayor's Money Munching Monster, for whatever honor Portlandia has left in her. Portlandia: The hot but wayward pierced/inked dancer at the Dolphin II, not the granite monument to actuaries (trident = sigma = MS Excel).

This chart is a clear window into the foyer of our city's house of economic calamities. Nobody needs to see how they whipped up a steaming load of TIF in the kitchen. Or how Commissioner Leonard gave that passed-out streetcar bridge an SDC in the den. You know by looking at the chart that it ain't purdy in there. Most folks don't even need to knock after a good peek like that.

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