Mayor Adams delivered his "State of the City" address at the City Club on Friday (listen to it here or read the Mayor's printed version here), stressing first and foremost the theme of sustainability. He used the term "triple bottom line," which describes a model of sustainability that emphasizes three components: people, planet and profit.
In the first question, though, Larry Wallack, Dean of PSU's College of Urban and Public Affairs, wondered if the "people" part of the equation wasn't getting short shrift. Here's his question and Adams' response (pardon any errors in my transcription):
Question: Mayor Adams, last month you said that almost 3 of 10 Portlanders, 30%, are unemployed or make so little that they can barely afford basic essentials such as food. You’ve spoken a lot today about equity, and I’m glad to hear that. You also talked about sustainability. Triple bottom line approaches to sustainability try to balance economics, environment and equity – but the equity line often gets ignored. What kinds of policies, with teeth, will you put in place to ensure that the equity bottom line is adequately addressed and not sacrificed in the process? Adams' Response: We funded the single best opportunity is the use of the city’s, uh, how the city uses its spending. It can help businesses get the hands-on experience and access to market, especially minority and women owned businesses. We have an annual budget of about $2 billion dollars. This city council funded as required by court actions a new disparity study. And that will tell us the disparity in this community when it comes to wealth creation and who actually has the opportunities to access that wealth. That disparity study is going to be led by Commissioner Nick Fish, and behind it, and with the results, we will have the legal basis from which to put teeth into the city’s spending and have a platform in which to challenge other businesses to do equitable spending to minorities and women as well.
This response strikes me as a combination of kicking the can down the road and punting: Punting to Nick Fish (to whom Adams offered a hat tip during his prepared address pointing to Fish's strong leadership on affordable housing), kicking the can down the road in a process all too familiar here in Portland: delaying action pending the results of a study. Compared to Adams' forceful and detailed proposals on the environmental and economic aspects of sustainability, this strikes me as pretty feeble. You?