Ouch: The WW's "The Good, The Bad and The Awful"

Karol Collymore

I'm not a dedicated Oregon Legislature follower, so reading "The Good, The Bad and The Awful" is like reading US Weekly: Nerd Edition. There are some pretty scathing reviews and I'm not so comfortable with the "brains" rating, but it's worth a read.

Cringe-worthy piece about the "bad" Rod Monroe (truthiness of it is debatable):

D-Portland Overall rating: 6.18 Integrity: 7.12 Brains: 6.23 Effectiveness: 5.19 Looking more like a wax rendering of himself each day, Monroe, 66, soldiers onward for his outer-Southeast Portland constituents, although observers increasingly wonder why he bothers. Monroe first entered the Legislature in 1976, then served on the Metro Council for 12 years before returning to Salem in 2007. “[He’s] the best argument for term limits,” says a critic. “For someone who has been around public policy since before dirt was invented, [I’m] surprised at his lack of knowledge or interest in particulars,” says another. Monroe’s scores bear that out—although he’s in the majority party, he’s tied for lowest effectiveness ranking in the Senate. The Legislature’s only foreign-born member (Canada), Monroe did help resolve a snafu that threatened full-day kindergarten but largely served in obscurity.

Check it out here.

*I should add that this is an anonymous survey of Salem lobbyists, staffers and journalists. Mean when no one's watching, eh?

Comments

  • (Show?)

    When I say, "cringe worthy," I should add that I usually feel pretty bad at others potential embarrassment. This is why I can't watch "Borat."

  • Frank (unverified)
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    This survey they do is such ridiculous garbage.

    The "brains" rating is just one piece of evidence. The scores on brains bear a closer relationship to who doesn't offend lobbyists than a relationship to who is smart.

    I hesitate even commenting and giving the rag more noticeability, but people should really urge the Willamette Week to change their practice.

  • JHL (unverified)
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    That's some fine reporting there.

    Suzanne VanOrman is apparently a Republican (news to her, I'm sure!) and I think Jefferson Smith will be disappointed to discover that his water bill didn't pass after all, according to WW.

    It's one thing to take anonymous comments... it's quite another to take them for granted without checking easily-verifiable facts.

  • LT (unverified)
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    This strikes me as a compliment for a Ways and Means co-chair:

    "Long considered the most elusive legislator, Carter became even more Oz-like as her power increased. “Absolutely inaccessible. No one gets in to see the wizard. No one!” says a veteran lobbyist. "

    I believe the co-chairs, full Ways and Means members, and all those subcommittee members deserve our thanks.

    For all we know, the folks who write GBA (or other pieces in WW) could not stand the strain those hard working folks endured.

    Some of the commentary was valid, but much of it was just plain snark.

  • Cafe Tomorrow (unverified)
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    Interesting that Mary Nolan's ratings in the House have dropped so much since 2007.

    She was #1 in the House in 2007 (ahead of Speaker Merkley!) and now she is down to #4, even though she is now the Majority Leader!

  • Cafe Today (unverified)
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    WWeek's results are hit-and-miss as usual with this survey. They absolutely nailed a few legislators (Kennemer, Schrader, Burdick, Bonamici), absolutely failed a few (Harker, Kahl, Edwards), and were partly right and partly wrong on most. But, what do you expect? I'm actually surprised that WW didn't take the opportunity to punish some legislators more with their editorial descriptions.

  • Jake Leander (unverified)
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    Much of the article's info comes from lobbyists who are most interested in pleasing their employers. Understanding that, it's clear that the voters sometimes make a poor choice - or have a poor choice of candidates.

    Some of the legislators rated "awful" do truly deserve it. Democracy may be the best form of government, but it still ain't that great.

  • anon (unverified)
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    Who's "Brent Barto" under the Garrett entry. Can you win a Pulitzer Prize for spell checking?

    Willamette Week continues to go downhill by confusing rumors for news, lobbyists for sources, snarkiness for humor, and attacks for journalism.

  • anon (unverified)
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    Cafe Tomorrow: Nolan's ranking dropped because lobbyists got mad at her, and they run the WWeek asylum.

  • Insider (unverified)
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    So, let me get this straight Cafe Tomorrow: In 2007, Nolan was co-chair of Ways and Means. In short, she was an important budget writer when we had ample state resources. In 2009, she's majority leader of a caucus with 36 members, and the budget is $4 billion short. She marched her caucus up the hill on four major revenue votes, two veto overrides, and a 2/3 vote on the BM 57 phase-in. Sourgrapes from lobbyists might just explain the drop in her rankings, don't you think? Getting re-elected by her caucus as majority leader a day after sine die--and only weeks after many of those tough votes??? If that's not effectiveness and a vote of confidence...well, let's just say, I hope your client decides to renew your lobbying contract.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    I've already told Nick Kahl (D-49) that I'm proud of him for showing up under WW's "Awful" category. I consider it a good thing since it means that the lobbyists and others who do the "rating" are not happy with Nick---which means he's serving the people first and speaking his mind, which is what we voted him into office to do.

    As for WW, well, they endorsed Nick's opponent John Nelsen (R-Fiscally Irresponsible Idiot) and stated that they thought he would be a more independent thinker than Nick in the House. So, WW has zero credibility in my mind anyway.

  • DemoFan (unverified)
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    Kahl came across as a bombastic idiot. He could take lessons from Chip Shields. You can't just has a snit fir if WWeek says something negative about a Blue legislator.

  • Cafe Tomorrow (unverified)
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    Insider: Everything you said applies equally (or more so) to Speaker Dave Hunt, so why did he rise several spots and Mary Nolan dropped several spots?

    And she was just barely re-elected by her caucus. Even they would be divided about her performance.

  • Insider (unverified)
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    Hmmmm. Was cafe tomorrow in the caucus room? I don't put much credence into the rummors spread by lobbyists. Last I checked, Hunt wasn't co-chair last session. Wasn't the banker handing out hte cash. In fact, it proves my point. As Majority leader, Hunt's job was to deliver caucus priorities, and kill bills that would tie his caucus in knots. Certainly, comparing Hunt's numbers to Merkley's numbers as Speaker is somewhat fair. But you can't compare Hunt 09 to Nolan 09. Or Nolan 07 to Nolan 09.

    I'll finish by calling into question your judgement for identifying yourself with a cafe that serves mediocre food for inflated pockets, and whose profits line the pockets of Kevin Cameron.

  • Insider (unverified)
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    check that. mediocre food for inflated prices...

  • LT (unverified)
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    Demofan, I agree with Ms. Mel.

    I found Kahl to be an excellent freshman, from committee work to personal conversation.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    Demofan,

    Actually, I can have a "snitfit",as you call it, over any damn thing I choose.

    Kahl did a very good job in his first session, especially in light of the very difficult decisions the legislature had to make. WW and its selected legislatie reviewers disagree---fine. But I reserve as much right to slam them right back as they do to slam Kahl in the first place.

    And "bombastic idiot"? According to whom? And I mean---name names. It's easy to insult and inflame (for you and for these reviewers) when you can do so from behind a screen (or screenname). You want me to take your statement seriously? Give me specific examples and reveal who you are so I can see that you are credible.

    Anything else is just whispers in the wind....or cheap ink on a WW page.

  • icepoet (unverified)
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    The drawings were as horrible as the reviews, if not worse - who did they get to do them - Napoleon Dynamite?

  • (Show?)

    Ok, I went over and read the whole gossippy mess and I offfer the following ratings for WW reporters:

    Integrity: 2.00 Brains: 1.50 Effectiveness: .75

    What a hash up.......Some of the stuff looks dead on to me, but most of it looks like it was dictated by a bunch of lobbyists......er....uh......Anyhow, it would be fun to see one of these report cards done by asking the opinions of people who are both informed, and don't derive their principle income from attempting to influence legislators.

    A few points:

    It'll take a hell of a lot more than a shaved head to make Chip Shields even remotely resemble a bouncer. Not surprising that the WW kidz would need a Trey Arrow look and smell to ID as a Librul

    Nobody's going to destroy Hass over a single day of delay on one vote.

    The assesments on Kurt and Martha are the most glaring examples of the quacking of narrowly focused lobbyists. Absolute caricatures of people that I know fairly well.....

    As for VanOrman, my rep, I've known her for about three years now, and watching her first session, she about floored me with her skills in (non-party) constituent meetings, and with her ability to adapt to her new duties.

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    I've been hearing echos about Suzanne's potential vulnerability iun the face of a "viable" opponent, since before she was elected. To the FreedomWorksCascadePolicyHairClub guys, I say, "Bring it on, boys. We're ready for another cookie cutter campaign like the Carol York fiasco that you ran against Metsger two years ago."

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    I wonder if anyone in the PDX area decides to NOT run for fear of being torn apart by WWeek? It's worse than Karen Minnis's negative attack ads.

    I hope their artist didn't get paid much for those skethces. They even made Ben Cannon look ugly. Those were even worse than the photos they used from their primary endorsement photos.

    At least they cover the leg., though, far more than can be said about the local broadcast media.

  • (Show?)

    As a constituent of Kahl's, I thought he did a great job - for his constituents. And that is who he is there to work for - not the journalists and not the lobbyists.

    He helped bring funding for the Troutdale exit fix (which is the exit I use to come home off of I-84). He also helped ensure that the gang task force received its funding.

    He did more in one session than Minnis ever did for us.

  • SalemDude (unverified)
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    One thing I think is funny. I know people who filled out the survey willamette week sent out and didn't know if the entry was for Jefferson Smith or Greg Smith.

    The survey made clear "Edwards, D" to distinguish from Chris Edwards, but down the page it just said "Smith." Since Greg Smith is older, some people knew him better.

    Turns out it was for Jefferson Smith. A lot of people might have known, given the Metro slant of the paper, but I think it's funny that some didn't know. Hopefully for the Metro Smith, it didn't hurt his scores! ha ha

  • LT (unverified)
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    Greg Smith is rural, and this is supposed to be about Portland area legislators. But it is possible someone confused Jeff and Greg if they didn't know that.

    Jenni---that is what legislators should do: work for constitutents.

    To the extent that the "old boys and girls club" types who fill out these forms, perhaps they don't understand that.

  • WWisWack (unverified)
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    How can WW possibly rate legislators' effectiveness when the survey was taken six weeks before the end of session? Some of the most important pieces of legislation weren't taken into account. In the case of Rep. Jefferson Smith's water bill, they completely misrepresented the results (it actually passed).

    Would you want to be rated on a job when you still had 20% of the time to finish it?

  • insider2 (unverified)
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    and one more glaring mistake. It claimed that Tomei chaired a committee for the first time ever. She chaired Human Services and Women's Welness last session. That committee passed contraceptive equity and a whole host of other Health and women's wellness issues. Shows how incredibly lazy and inept the WW has become.

  • insider2 (unverified)
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    how about ratings for capitol reporters?

    Peter Wong: nice, and knowledgeable about Oregon politics. Doesn't chase the sexy stories. Harry Esteve: bitter and cynical. Lets his own inability to enjoy daily life influence his reporting. Janie Har: Trying desperately to dig up dirt like Dave Hogan. Fast becoming a younger, and better looking version of Harry Esteve. Enjoy your time covering city hall. David Steves: One of the few competent capitol reporters. Fair and doesn't go chasing headlines. Nick Budnick: Would be even better than he is if he worked for a worthwhile paper. His crazy editors have too much control over his substance. Michele Cole: Solid contributor. Fair. Covers the hard stuff. WWeek and Nigel: Who? What capitol? The freeway runs south? What? WWeek has as much journalistic ethics and Ted Ferioli has brains. Brad Cain: Another solid, if unspectacular contributor.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    If I had a bird, I might pick up WW.

  • Nicholas Agrular (unverified)
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    I followed the link on the Willamette Week page over here, and am surprised to read such glowing statements about this guy Nick Kahl I listened to down at the Florida Room, on NE Killingsworth, in North Portland.

    He and his entourage was loud, even considering the loudness of the dive bar, walked over others' words, and was not shy about calling his constituents "toothless" and "ignorant losers" from "east county." I assume he didn't hear me when I identified myself as a resident within his district, but then again: he wasn't there to campaign; he was there to party.

    I'm surprised that his big mouth wouldn't have already gotten him into trouble, but maybe that's how the people on "Blue Oregon" refer to we "ignorant" people out here in "east county."

    Given my brief exposure to this short loud and rude little man, I didn't think their assessment was off the mark. I assumed the Willamette Week's review was the first dose of his thoughtless loud mouth coming back to haunt him.

  • Jessica (unverified)
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    Hi Karen, er..."Nicholas." Sorry, I forgot for a split second you were going by Nicholas these days! How are things in your world these days?

  • John Silvertooth (unverified)
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    I wish Blue Oregon would conduct a similar "study" of the Willamette Week staff to see how they hold up-

  • (Show?)

    nice gossip, Nicholas. i'm not a constituent of Nick's, but i've talked to him about his district, about the job, and the reason he worked as hard as he did to get elected is that he cares about as deeply about his district as anyone can. it's his home, after all, and he's proud of it. i'm so unconcerned about what someone ways blowing off steam with a few drinks; i'm concerned about what they do on the job. and what Nick does is act with intelligence, integrity and an honest compassion for his neighbors -- his constituents -- in East County.

  • Mark (unverified)
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    Interesting that Mary Nolan's ratings in the House have dropped so much since 2007.

  • Burbs (unverified)
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    Yeah, Nolan does seem to be in serious freefall, in more ways than one.

  • Kodak (unverified)
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    I think they should add a category of how far off the offical picture legislators use versus reality. I think Clem is using a photo from high school. Johnson's is from the 1980s. Not to mention Smith's.

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