Government not for the Public

At the first of the meetings of the so-called Blue Ribbon Commission [so-called by it-self: chair Dwight Holton, an ambitious and unusually politically-sensitive former U.S. Attorney for Oregon who persuaded a reluctant City Council to re-join the Joint Terrorism Task Force a couple of years ago, welcomed us to “the meeting of the commission which calls itself blue-ribbon”] on the Water Bureau at which members of the Public were permitted to address members of the Commission, Individuals for Justice founder Joe Walsh was cursed out by Mike Houck, representing I believe Columbia River Keepers but a frequent spokesperson for the local environmental movement. The issue had to do with the corruption of which Joe had just advised the Commission: “Your problem is the Water Bureau is corrupt,” he said at 7:42 pm on 8 September 2014 in Room C of the so-called Portland Building, the statue on the front of which the Willamette Week is concerned to tell us has not become an icon.
Others are writing about corruption nowadays.

Montequieu and Madison

writes the Honorable George Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University in a review of the book by Zephyr Teachout, gubernatorial opponent of Mario Cuomo.

worried that as citizens grew increasingly skeptical that government is serving the public good, they will be less likely to act as public-regarding citizens and more likely to engage in selfish, short-sighted behavior.

Yet that is

the distinguished David Cole concludes the paragraph

an increasingly accurate picture of American politics today.

For another example of the same phenomenon, Blue-Ribbon Commission members might just have looked at page six of today’s Willamette Week, referenced above.  There was the picture of American politics today —

State Senator Alan Olsen (R-Canby) probably thought inviting female lobbyists to a $500-per-person fundraiser at his wife’s clothing boutique September 9th would be a great way to rake in campaign contributions for his re-election.  As an added incentive he offered the “ladies of the lobby” (as his invitation put it)  a special 10 percent discount on items purchased at Juanita Olsen’s Canby store, ‘Especially for You’.  

Problem is, there are laws against that.  Ethics and election laws bar anyone from offering incentives to give or receive campaign contributions, or from profiting from public office — by, say, inducing sales at his wife’s boutique.  . . .  Olsen tells Willamette Week that he never considered that the fundraiser might run afoul of the law.

Just as the senator from Canby cannot imagine it being illegal to profit from political office, so the Environmental Establishment in Portland takes as a given that they should receive public funds without discussion.  When the founder of Individuals for Justice tells him that $50,000 [fifty thousand dollars] in the 2014 Portland City budget is earmarked for the Audubon Society, the man from Columbia River Keepers growls, “Fuck you.  That’s shit.  That’s fucking shit.”

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
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