There was a lot of talk at last week's council session about... who talks the most in council. So, who's the biggest windbag?
City Commissioner Nick Fish certainly led off with a strong start, monopolizing the floor for at least five minutes to talk about all manner of issues—eventually prompting an impatient interruption by City Commissioner Randy Leonard after complimenting a Portland Development Commission (PDC) board member for being a "pretty good softball player" at a recent game in East Portland.
"You're saying you want to put a baseball stadium in over there?" asked Leonard, with a wry smile on his face—Fish was an outspoken opponent of Leonard's plans to bring baseball to Lents earlier this year. "You're just going on and on and on and on and on."
It's true: Fish can be a little verbose at times. But Leonard is no wallflower, either, and Fish interrupted him, three minutes and 41 seconds into his subsequent monologue about PDC. "Mayor, I move to waive the three-minute time limit for Commissioner Leonard, and I ask that he be allowed to speak for longer," Fish said. Touché!
Later, Mayor Sam Adams interrupted Leonard before he could compliment a retiring union member. "You let Nick talk whenever he wants," said Leonard.
All this piqued my curiosity, so I decided to time the recorded session and see who really spoke the most. In first place, after all, was HURRICANE RANDY: Leonard spoke for 851 seconds, or 14:11. In second place, GALE FORCE FISH: Fish spoke for 532 seconds, or 8:52. In third place, MAYOR GUSTING: Adams spoke for 394 seconds, or 6:34, but then, much of that was time spent officiating proceedings. Then there's COUNCIL'S MODEST BREEZE: City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who spoke for 228 seconds, or 3:48. Finally, COUNCIL'S BLESSED LULL: City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who only spoke for 118 seconds, or 1:58.
Unsurprisingly, Fritz and Saltzman declined comment on the numbers. But the mayor said he was "surprised by how much time the public spends listening to us instead of us listening to the public," on Monday, October 12. He added: "Concise decision-making is a worthy cause."
"I'd offer a comment, but your paper doesn't have enough space," said Fish. Meanwhile Leonard was unavailable Monday but his chief of staff Ty Kovatch responded: "Randy is out of town at an all-day speaking engagement."