I’ve been waiting for this

April 27, 2006 at 4:24 pm (Uncategorized)

The Bush countdown.

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Let’s form a church

April 26, 2006 at 6:03 am (Religion)

…and make Sean Hannity look like a flaming liberal.

As a commenter notes, this page is probably not "work safe." Fortunately most of my readers are unemployed.

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From the “Nobody Cares but Me” department

April 25, 2006 at 7:55 pm (Planning)

Author Jane Jacobs dies at age 89.

Jacobs' seminal work, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, is still required reading in urban design classes. So-called "New Urbanism" wouldn't exist without her.

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Don’t look now

April 13, 2006 at 4:03 pm (Parkersburg, Politics)

But someone on The Parkersburg News editorial board had an independent thought.

(Tom DeLay) may not have committed any criminal acts, but he certainly did something perhaps even worse: He foolishly abandoned his principles.

I thought criticizing Republicans was treason?

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Emilie Boyles: fraud

April 12, 2006 at 10:53 pm (Politics, Portland)

The other day I posted a little primer on Portland’s “voter owned elections.” Today, The Oregonian reports that City Auditor Gary Blackmer has found several, shall we say, irregularities in Emilie Boyles’ first campaign expenditures statement. Having spent over half of her money so far, the “alleged” transgressions include a payment of $12,500 to her 16-year-old daughter. I’m not saying the little girl isn’t helping mommy lick envelopes, but that extrapolates to a $50,000 annual salary. Compare that to the $90,000 salary of, you know, an actual Commissioner, and you see why the average taxpayer is a little bit wary of this scenario.

I am convinced that Ms. Boyles is a mole, contrived by opponents of publicly financed elections. No one could be as clueless as she is about basic ethics, while continuing to blame her woes on the program that has these supposed loopholes. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a smattering of excerpts from a recent interview, and my smarmy interpretations:

WW: Your campaign stands for the idea that you’re more connected with the average Portlander, yet you’re the one charged with having supporters who claim not to even know you.

Emilie Boyles: It goes back to the cultural history of this particular group, and the fact that this is targeting me, that I’m a threat. If this weren’t a viable campaign, we wouldn’t be sitting here. [Translation: I don’t have an answer to that, so I will cite a non-existent conapiracy led by Erik Sten to discredit me, as though I haven’t done a great job of that myself.]

WW:…why hire her when it looks like you’re using public money to get $12,500 to your teen-age daughter?

Emilie Boyles: She needed a job…[No comment, that’s just too easy].

WW: Do you still believe in “voter-owned” elections?

Emilie Boyles: I believe in the concept. The biggest challenge is that it wasn’t thoroughly thought through by the people who crafted it.

WW: What do you mean?

Emilie Boyles: Things such as resources available for verification. They didn’t take a look at the difference between a seasoned politician and someone who’s not, and is new to those techniques. [Translation: I am too stupid to follow the rules, especially those that are derived from common sense (ie, don’t pay people to misprepresent themselves). Vote Boyles!]

WW: If it’s determined you violated the spirit of the law, do you think people should still vote for you?

Emilie Boyles: Yes, because I’m willing to take responsibility, and I’m also willing to say this is exactly why we need change in our government. [Which is precisely why I will blame The System for the blatant, massive fraud I have perpetuated throughout my campaign.]

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SOWA update

April 11, 2006 at 6:37 pm (Planning, Portland)

Maybe you've been down to the South Waterfront lately. Probably you haven't–there's still nothing there yet. But the first residents are supposed to be moving in this month, and I seem to remember the deal involving a park of some sort. If you happen down there, which I do on a regular basis, you will notice that the Self Storage facility next to the new OHSU building was condemned and emptied in December, and a sign says "new park to open June 2006." Yet the buildings are still there, and there is no mention of it anywhere on the city's website. Perhaps this will be a model of government efficiency, with a new park being designed and built on a redevelopment site in only two months. Alternatively, perhaps this will be a typical government project, years behind schedule and millions of dollars over-budget.

I just emailed the Parks Bureau with a slightly less sarcastic framing of these questions, and I will post their reply. Of course, I have found City employees very non-responsive to electronic inquiries, so who knows if I will ever hear anything.

 UPDATE:  Well, here's what they said to me:

PDC has posted a "coming soon" sign on the Public Storage site.  Phase I Park Improvements will be completed by July 1, 2006. Improvements will include demolition of the buildings and installation of lawn, irrigation and perimeter sidewalks. A historic marker commemorating the first log cabin in Portland will be moved from SW Macadam Avenue to the park site after July 1. Phase II Park Improvements, permanent park improvements, will include an extensive public outreach process for programming and design of the park.

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You broke it, you own it

April 7, 2006 at 2:22 am (Politics, Portland)

This year's primary marks Portland's first run at so-called"voter-owned elections." The idea is to get corporate and big-money interests out of politics, and to level the playing field a bit for potential candidates. Anyone who gets one-thousand $5 donations is eligible for $150,000 from the public coffers, and even more if you happen to win the primary. Commissioner Erik Sten authored the measure, and is himself a recipient of public financing.

So is Emilie Boyles. Ms. Boyles is currently the subject of a state investigation into elections fraud, for "allegedly" submitting fraudulent donations that made her eligible for public money. Hey, maybe dozens of Slavic immigrants have similar writing styles, and dozens more have really bad memories. I don't know, I only read this in the paper. That and her explanation:

Erik Sten authored Voter Owned Elections. Either this was yet another example of his lack of ability to understand big-picture consequences of his actions or he intentionally left these holes in the Voter Owned Election Process as a tool to warn average grass-roots citizens to stay out of politics. If he didn't understand the consequences, as he hasn't understood the consequences of other decisions he's made, then he should not be in office. If he intentionally crafted this ordinance as a means of keeping challengers that are not in his circle of cronies, then Portlanders need to assure access to City Hall by voting him out of office.

In other words, shame on you Commissioner, for allowing me the opportunity to engage in a massive conspiracy to defraud the taxpayers. If you hadn't written this silly law no one would have ever heard of me and I wouldn't have been forced to violate state elections law and the Christian morality I spew all over my campaign website.

Opponents of the program, such as state Sen. Ginny Burdick, the Corporate Candidate who looks remarkably like someone's grandmother, will no doubt trumpet the alarms as to how this demonstrates the need to un-democratize the elections process, and get the interests of multinational conglomerates back into the forefront of Portland politics where they belong, without, you know, acknowledging that Ms. Boyles got caught.

Watch in the coming weeks for the coveted Jalalablog Election Day Endorsements, and don't forget to get your ticket to Candidates Gone Wild! (no, it's not a joke)

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Blue Oregon

April 5, 2006 at 10:41 pm (Politics, Portland)

This is my new favorite blog. If you don’t live in Portland, you won’t care much about it, however. It is a testament to the small town in a big city costume that typifies this place. Here, you have a sitting City Commissioner (equivalent of a Council member, but more autocratic) and a candidate for County Chair (the “mayor” of the county, if that wasn’t effing obvious) taking potshots at retarted blog commenters. Ah, the neverending duties of public service.

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Best signature ever

April 5, 2006 at 9:57 pm (law)

I took a law class last term, and I recently got an email from the prof, which concluded with this line:

Unless expressly stated otherwise, any federal tax advice contained in this
communication (including attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot
be used, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties.

I would like to know under what circumstances he would expressly state that any information in the communication CAN be used to avoid federal tax penalties. Lawyers, I just don’t get em sometimes.

I also award O’Hare the coveted Quote of the Year award: “Please do not leave your bags unattended at O’Hare International Airport. Please do not leave your bags unattended at any airport.” I have to wonder, while clearly an afterthought, is that based on altruism, or some lawyer worried about a lawsuit? “Ramzi bin-yousef al-jalalabad Hamadi acquitted of blowing up Midway, thought leaving bombs in bag only prohibited at O’Hare based on PA announcement,” the headline in the Tribune will read.

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Joke of the day

April 5, 2006 at 9:50 pm (Humor, Sports)

Still relevant 20 years later.

did you hear the Chicago Bears drafted Dwight Gooden?

They want to put a coke machine next to the ‘Fridge.

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