City council has devoted over an hour this morning to listening to advocates for single payer health care, in what seems to be a classic example of city government indulging in feel good antics that are totally irrelevant in shaping the national discussion.
Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioner Randy Leonard have brought forward a resolution urging congress to support an act establishing a single payer health care system. More than 25 Folks signed up to testify have included union representatives, and of course former candidate for Senate District 22, Richard Ellmyer:
"It's fine for people to do this," says Willie Smith, senior advisor to Congressman Earl Blumenauer. "Dan Bates, the city's government affairs director, sent us a copy of this resolution two weeks ago and we assume he's sent it to the rest of the congressional delegation."
"We respect what they say," Smith continues. "But it doesn't mean Earl is going to change his opinion in any way, shape, or form about where health care reform is going."
"Right now we're fighting with everything we have got to save a public option in health care," says Smith. "Council might like to turn on C-Span and see where the actual debate is going, and try to be a little more helpful in that way."
Burrrn. In the mean time, there's plenty of important city business waiting where city commissioners' votes may actually may have an impact. Including the movement of $300,000 that was allocated to support rural air service in Oregon to support the Port of Portland's efforts to keep international airlines coming to PDX.
Outside, city employees with the AFSCME union are waiting to march at noon in protest against the city's cuts to its Bureau of Development Services. BDS is going from 351 employees in July to 148 tomorrow. City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who has had to make those cuts and is traditionally a union supporter, has also devoted a great deal of time to championing this morning's resolution—"this is not a health care issue, this is a civil rights issue," he said, drawing a round of applause. "I'm pretty sure the president shares that philosophy with me."
"It's clear with the senate vote yesterday that congress needs our help," said City Commissioner Nick Fish.
Is Nick Fish running for congress? He certainly drew the loudest round of applause.