The city of Portland is now under the most corrupt mayor in recent history. I thought Sam Adams was sleazy; Mayor Charlie Hales makes Adams look like an altar boy. Each week there is another scandal and they seem to be ignored by the vast majority of the citizens. The local news has carried the stories but there seems to be little reaction on the streets.
First there was the time he said bye bye to the city even though he did only half of his obligation as a commissioner way back in 2002. He was on his third term as city commissioner but money and opportunity were calling in the private industry and off he went to HDR. When he decided to run for mayor in 2012 there was a problem about where he was living and did he pay taxes in Oregon. The Secretary of State said no problem but the case is now in court and may prove Charlie's undoing as a politician. He was elected by over 60% of the vote after Smith's campaign crumbled and crashed late in the election. I did not vote for Charlie and was disappointed with the two top vote getters last November. Charlie has been in office a mere 5 months and scandal after scandal has followed his swearing in. I have to do a new T-shirt with a message each week, sometimes I wear two.
He has acted like a dictator during the city budget meetings and few, if any, of the other commissioners are aware of what will happen at the next meeting. Commissioner Fish spends most of the weekly meetings with his mouth open and Commissioner Saltzman just looks totally lost. Commissioner Novick's nick name is "Brutus" and he plays the part well. Commissioner Fritz is the bright light each week; she will fight and not just go along with the "suits."
So, under Charlie's watch we still have one of his top aides trying to move money out of the water department to the general fund which is illegal without doing some stuff first, like changing the city charter, he not only is still here, he got more responsibility. Then we have the idiot who was acting as a sit-in for the mayor and makes a sexual remark to a County Commissioner at the microphone, not very long ago. He is still at city hall and Charlie has called for an investigation. The man should be out of city hall on paid leave pending the results of the investigation. Our relationship with the county has not been enhanced due to this jerk's actions. The next time we need help or a favor who are they going to send to ask the county? This entire mess was handled badly and I think we are in for a long four years. I did not like what Adams did on the council as mayor but this guy makes Sam look good and I did not think that was possible. You must attend the weekly meetings, even if you only stay for 30-60 minutes, it is important. There was one case that sent me off to protest outside and inside the den of the 4 suits +1 representative, and that was the Gallagher Smith v City of Portland.
I am not going to give you all the details of the case; you can look it up on Google. A jury awarded Mr. Smith $300,000 because he was beaten so badly by our wonderful cops that he sustained permanent damage. His crime was asking a question. The city attorney wanted to appeal the jury award and the council said, OK? The only one who stood tall on this issue was Commissioner Fritz; the suits slithered around and gave permission to tie the case up for years. There is no basis for an appeal, everyone is just covering their asses and hope the decision comes down when they have moved on, disgusting!
The old but new issue that will consume us is the covering of the reservoirs. This madness will cost anywhere from $500,000,000 to 1 billion dollars and you are going to pay through the nose for it by rate hikes. We are now #3 in the nation, paying for water. Apartment dwellers that don't pay for water, you are getting screwed also, and the owners will raise your rents to pay for the rate increases. New York received a ten year postponement to cover their reservoirs but our city suits tell us, "We tried but lost." This battle is just beginning and you'd better pay attention or someday you will wake up and some corporation will own our water. Think the oil companies have a monopoly on oil? If corporations control the drinking water the game is over. You can do without oil; you must have access to water.