When I say that I love election season so much that it's like Christmas and New Year's Eve rolled into one, what's the first thing you think? Do you think, "Wow, what a goddamn nerd"? That's okay, because I've seen your TiVo, and no adult needs to watch that much Battlestar Galactica. But maybe you think, "Yeah, me too. We should start a city politics discussion group." In that case, you should continue reading, but—seriously—I don't want to start a club, you goddamn nerd.
With less than a week before Election Night (for those of you new to Oregon, we use "vote by mail" here, which means you actually need to get your ballot in the mailbox well before May 16), endorsements in the city races are rolling in. Every newspaper in town—except ours—has endorsed incumbent Commissioner Dan Saltzman against his challenger, the publicly funded Amanda Fritz. But that didn't stop neighborhood newspaper the NW Examiner from taking Saltzman to task for his lackluster performance at a recent Northwest neighborhood candidate forum. Attendees called him "cloudy and obstinate" and "condescending and defensive." Yeee-ouch. Will Saltzman's Tin Man routine—paired against Fritz's energetic, half-British mom persona—cost him enough votes to lose his seat? We'll find out on Christm—I mean, Election Night.
Before that happens, though, Saltzman is gearing up for some high-profile developments at his other job—Portland city commissioner. On Wednesday morning, May 10 (which is after we go to press, but before you'll actually read this), Saltzman was expected to engage in the city council's favorite pastime—creating a taskforce! This one, if approved by council, will focus on the peak oil situation—specifically, what the city can do to make sure it's prepared for the shit to hit the fan once the world's oil runs out. The taskforce's goal: To issue a report!
The second installment of Saltzman's "Grab Some Headlines Before Ballots Are Due" show will come on Thursday, when he releases the agreement that his office has reached with fire and police unions over reforms to the disability and pension funds. I'd go into the details— but this is too wonky even for me. Suffice it to say that the current Fire and Police Disability and Retirement system is a gaping, unfunded liability that could cripple the city if the economy took a spill. Plugging the holes could make Saltzman look like a hero, if anyone besides goddamn nerds (us) are paying attention.
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