Rescuing Portland in 2012

Oregonian (editorial):

HEADLINE: Rescuing Portland in 2012 DECK: It's been a good month for Sam Adams, but impressive rivals are circling Y ou've probably heard that Mayor Sam Adams has a shot at retaining his post in 2012, if he decides to run. And, in the last few weeks, Adams has shown why he would be a formidable candidate. On the surface, that may be hard to understand. Never has a new mayor hobbled his own effectiveness more quickly out of the starting gate than Adams did in 2009, when he confessed to orchestrating elaborate lies to cover up his relationship with a teenager. Or is that all ancient history now? Adams' energy, magnified by his social media skills, has positioned him to tweet about a string of successes. Some are substantial, like landing a SoloPower manufacturing plant in Portland. Other "victories" may be a little more elusive. This week, for instance, Adams, looking fierce in a new buzz cut (done to help a charity), could claim he'd been thwarted in his attempt to give the city's sewer rates a trim. The council went with a 6 percent increase, while the mayor had belatedly championed 5.5 percent. But, as Commissioner Nick Fish pointed out Friday, "The politics of this (is): The mayor wins either way." Adams said Thursday that he was up against "malicious obedience" by the sewer bureau, which (he contends) failed to offer up the real budget cuts he wanted, only "Washington monument" cuts. (As in, "That's so unpalatable, it's akin to trying to shut down the Washington Monument.") During a protracted hearing, Fish helped navigate between the mayor and Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the supposedly "rogue" bureau. The confrontation had echoes of the budgetary brawl one year ago, when the mayor took the police bureau away from Saltzman on the eve of his re-election. All of which is just to say that you can't count Adams out. Nor can you count anyone else in to next May's mayoral primary yet. New Seasons' Eileen Brady also attended Wednesday's hearing (and probably not out of fascination with sewer rates, another attendee mused). Brady is said to be on the verge of an announcement concerning a run for mayor. Saltzman hasn't ruled out his own mayoral bid. Nor has County Chair Jeff Cogen. Other also-mentions for the race include former Commissioner Charlie Hales, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Steve Novick and Jim Francesconi. In 2004, former Mayor Tom Potter flattened Francesconi's hopes. Portlanders voted for Potter, in part, because they perceived him as rescuing the city from the evil of the huge campaign war chest that Francesconi had amassed. Presumably, that's a moot issue now. Francesconi has stayed very active in public life -- and, last year, voters repealed the city's "Voter-Owned" election system, apparently deciding that privately funded campaigns are superior to taxpayers footing the bill. The energetic Adams, in turn, rescued the city from what some perceived as Potter's gentle torpor. Now the question is: Who'll rescue the city in time for next May's primary -- and precisely from what, or whom? Malicious obedience, presumably, will not be an issue, not for candidates. Or voters. Next May, they'll get to do exactly what they want. It's been animpressive month for Mayor Sam Adams, but some impressive rivals are now circling City Hall

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