BATTER UP!

It's no news that the city is strapped for cash. Particularly vulnerable have been the city's park and recreation services, which have suffered repeated cuts over the past few years.

But an auditor's report last week discovered that while the city continues to tighten its belt, the private company running the city's softball league is getting plenty plump.

The city's softball league operates as a unique public-private partnership. Under the agreement, the city manages the fields but sub-contracts out the responsibility for managing games to a private entity, the Portland Metropolitan Softball Association (PMSA).

What last month's audit discovered is that for several years, the city has subsidized the program for about $100,000 annually and is paying out for managers whose salaries the PMSA should be handling. The auditor also reported that PMSA operates at a surplus of $70,000 each year and has built up a $600,000 bank account.

Meanwhile, the city is scraping by to find money to keep open two popular neighborhood swimming pools.

City officials have promised to look into redrafting the contract agreement and funding arrangements with PMSA. The report starkly says that the current arrangement is not in the city's "best interest."

In other softball news, beating the team from Matador 26-13, the Mercury team retained its number one standing in an informal restaurant and bar softball league. The Mercury team has a 10-1 record and has edged one game away from securing the league's pennant. Five summers ago, the Mercury was denied a spot in the city's softball league. PHIL BUSSE

BOTTOMS UP!

Perhaps they are simply hoping that people will forget. The OLCC had no progress to report on an investigation that an agent made racist comments.

Two weeks ago, an email published in Willamette Week alleged that an OLCC agent had made disparaging comments about African Americans. Until city commissioner Sam Adams requested that the state agency begin an investigation, the OLCC had made no public response to those allegations. A week ago, an OLCC spokesperson claimed they believed the comment was made eight years ago. The OLCC has reported no progress in the investigation since then. PB